Cara Meredith: “Everything I Ever Needed to Know in Parenting I Learned from Tim Fall” (a guest post)

[I begged Cara Meredith to write a guest post. She did, sending me something I never expected: a beautiful Thank You Note that made me blush. She is quite an encourager as you will soon see. Everyone should be Cara’s biggest fan.]


This is how it happened: I’d been invited to lunch. And not only was it a lunch where Real Live Food was involved (which tends to be a draw for me), but it featured a tableful of female writers, of women seeking to find the balance between heart and passion, motherhood and creativity.

We sat at Bronwyn’s dining room table, homemade bread in the center and bubbly, steaming bowls of soup before us. Children screamed in the background and Lesley bounced her new baby boy on her lap, shushing and cooing and sprinkling him with love. One by one, updates were given and questions were asked; dreams were whispered and ideas were birthed.

I talked a bit here and there, but mostly, like water to sponge, I soaked up their camaraderie. I questioned whether I fit in then and would fit in in the future. And I listened, intently, closely, scrutinizing their interactions to see if I was one of them, to figure out if I could belong.

And that’s when it happened: as I sought validation, advice spewed forth.

“Cara, you should connect with Tim Fall. He loves women in ministry.”

The woman who spoke abruptly corrected herself, clarifying that Tim, a married, faithful Christian man, had a heart for promoting male and female writers alike.

“He’ll be your biggest fan,” one of them said. And that was all I needed to hear.

Later that afternoon I struck up a conversation with Tim, a man I’ve still never met in person, but – like with many of you, I’d assume – has been one of my biggest cheerleaders over the past two years. He’s asked questions and he’s told his own stories; he’s linked to earlier posts of similar nature and he’s passed along buckets of wisdom to me.

Every comment he’s left, I’ve read and responded to, and friendship, in return, has emerged. Maybe because I’ve known that he is an encourager, an exhorter, a fleshy, living example of Paul’s words to the church to encourage and build one another up, just as we each should be doing, I’ve taken notes.

So you may think it snarky or even weird, a bit overzealous and extreme, but for our purposes today, this I’ll tell you: Everything I ever needed to know in parenting I learned from Tim Fall.

When I’ve had a hard day, and I’ve wanted to be right, and I’ve not wanted my son to wear swim trunks for the 30th day in a row, and I’ve Spirit-reign-down been made to say I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry to said tag-a-long three year old boy, Tim says this: “Do-overs with the kids is tons better than because-I-said-so.”

And when I’ve been up all night with the newborn, and I’ve wondered if I’ll be binge watching Gilmore Girls for the rest of my life at 2:45 every morning, my friend reminds me that This Too Shall Pass. [This, of course, is soon followed by a more realistic dose of parenting advice: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Dante’s words, I’d add, don’t merely apply to the entrance of hell, but to all households with cherubs under the age of three.]

There’s Tim’s ever-popular parental math: “As soon as parents have the second child they are outnumbered.” With a two-to-one ratio, parents come out equal to the task – but when a second child comes along, all laws of seventh grade math are thrown out the window.

For example: 2 kids > 2 parents.

(For you brave, brave parents of three, four, five children or more, first, I salute you. And I’ll let you add in your own math equation, which I assume will quantifiably leap from addition to multiplication).

But he also makes me think and, in the midst of hard questions and conversations around issues of race in particular, he reminds me of Truth: “People and color and society are full of beauty in ways that lead to tension, I think. Some people can’t handle that others are precious too.”

And the preciousness of others is one truth I am eager to pass on to my children.

So thank you, friend, for your wise words.


Cara MeredithCara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco area, whose new memoir The Color of Life speaks of white privilege, racial healing and seeing the image of God in everyone around you. She is passionate about theology and books, her family, meals around the table, and finding beauty in the most unlikely of places. A seven on the Enneagram, she also can’t help but try to laugh and smile at the ordinary everyday. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.



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20 Responses to Cara Meredith: “Everything I Ever Needed to Know in Parenting I Learned from Tim Fall” (a guest post)

  1. What a lovely post!

    I have some more to add in relation to the babies and maths principles:
    1. A child with special needs is like having triplets. Quadruplets. Sextuplets. Depends which way the wind is blowing.
    2. If you have a special needs child as your first born, and subsequent children are more ‘normal’, the second and subsequent children seem like heaven-sent little angels (mostly).
    3. Being a single parent ought to mean it doubles the workload. It doesn’t. It’s not double but ten times the work because you never get a break, ‘specially if your darlings have special needs and never sleep (see note 1).

    • Michelle says:

      Very lovely post indeed. I second the statement about special needs children. I have three children–the middle child having significant special needs. And while there are wonderful lessons I’m learning from all my children and my special needs child especially, the workload is increased exponentially. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who partners with me though. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to try to handle all this as a single parent. ((hugs)) and prayers to you.

    • caramac54 says:

      Sandy, thank you for your encouragement – and yes, I totally agree about having a child/children with special needs. That is something I’m personally unfamiliar with when it comes to parenting!

  2. Jeannie says:

    Cara, this is a great post and a great tribute to Tim, the Barnabas of the Blogosphere. Here’s another Tim-ism that I like; it can apply to all aspects of life, including parenting: “What doesn’t kill you can still hurt quite a bit.” It’s always nice to have someone bypass the cliches and tell it like it is!

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Jeannie. I may have to meme that one. And can I just say that Cara’s post and these comments are making me blush something fierce?

    • caramac54 says:

      The Barnabas of the Blogosphere – Jeannie, you named it (him the Tim) perfectly! And I love that quote, because there’s a whole lot of hurting going on when it comes to trying to learn how to parent.

  3. Michelle says:

    I am coming from (and trying very hard to break free from) a very legalistic background. Tim’s writings, along with the Holy Spirit, are helping me to understand that nothing good comes from a rigid set of rules. Thank you Tim for your grace filled words. They matter more than you’ll ever know.

  4. Ruth says:

    Sure will! Tims blogs have opened my heart to a better knowing of forgiveness, that ability to move on, and the freedom from guilt I suffered needlessly. Tim even gave me some wonderfully encouraging advise about a situation causing some of the above. Joy of joys, my 27 yo son has found the woman of his prayers, and she the man of hers. Posts about Gods endless love and care have helped me to reassure my son he hadn’t committed the unforgivable sin by being frustrated and angry at God but coming back again and again to tell me he had been mad and rude but he knew forgiveness and peace….seeing he told me he wouldn’t see me in Heaven because he thought he had turned God from him…..oh my heart just broke at the hopelessness in his voice and expression….we never taught him that…..some one had a bad theology indeed that got him with a Satanic grip. Much prayer and a God driven talk with me, and he just leapt up and pressed forward, wrote amazing poetry, and there the girl was! Match maker as well Tim, and you let me ramble and share and blather on, and YOU don’t tell me to be quiet when my heart is full and I need to share. Thank you precious friend from a grateful blogger in Oz! 😀

    • Tim says:

      Ruth, that is wonderful about your son and the young woman he is now with. What a blessing to see family grow in relationship with God and to enjoy his blessings.

    • caramac54 says:

      Ruth, your words are an encouragement to him, I’m sure. Forgiveness, the ability to move on and the freedom to be freed from guilt = that’s pretty powerful stuff.

  5. Pingback: everything I ever needed to know in parenting… | be, mama. be (cara meredith)

  6. Ruth says:

    She is here now, and I’m so happy to at last be able stand aside and watch him, them, grow together. All this since early July wow!! She has come over so they can pray together… as, I reckon…in my other sons lingo. 😍

  7. Nancy Le says:

    Thank you. And he is a great, great example!

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