Does Good Parenting Require Worry?

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Children are God’s most precious gems. The Lord knits a baby, fearfully and wonderfully made, in a mother’s womb. And it is our job as parents to raise our children in a life of full-faith so that they may bask in our Lord’s splendor and glory. But the enemy wants to interfere with such plans.

Do you recall a time before your children were born when you were carefree, bold and courageous? Whether it was a life of full-faith or being youthfully carefree, the enemy likely did not haunt you with worry, fear and guilt near as much as he did the moment your first child was born. Sure, there is some healthy wisdom and responsibility that comes with parenthood, but the enemy also plants seeds of doubt in the hearts of parents the moment they bring God’s baby into this world. And it is up to us to prevent those seeds from flourishing.

All parents wrestle with anxious thoughts when it comes to their children. Some days are better than others. But if you are losing sleep and wringing your hands from worry and fear when it comes to your children, then you are under attack from the enemy. As parents, we must boldly claim our children for our Lord and rebuke the enemy’s seeds of doubt. We shall stand strong and not allow the enemy to steal the joy that comes from raising our children for God, through Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. After all, “if God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

So set out today and every day to cast away the plague of parenting worry. Instead, stand confidently in full-faith of the Lord’s cover, provision and glory for our children.

From Psalm 91 (NLT), let’s confess the following in full-faith for our families and our children:

We live in the shelter of the Most High so
we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

This we declare about the Lord:
He alone is our refuge, our place of safety;
he is our God, and we trust him.
For he will rescue us from every trap and
protect us from deadly disease.
He will cover us with his feathers.
He will shelter us with his wings.
His faithful promises are our armor and protection.

We will not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
We will not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at our side,
though ten thousand are dying around us,
these evils will not touch us.

We can just open our eyes, and
see how the wicked are punished.
We make the Lord our refuge,
we make the Most High our shelter,
so no evil will conquer us;
no plague will come near our homes.

For he will order his angels to
protect us wherever we go.
They will hold us up with their hands so
we won’t even hurt our feet on a stone.
We will trample upon lions and cobras;
we will crush fierce lions and serpents under our feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life and
give them my salvation.”

AMEN!

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Season of Ho-hum?

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Are you yearning for glee? Do you long to return to a peak season in your past when you experienced feelings of contentment and joy? Most all of us feel this way at times.

When we do feel this way, we tend to look inward and evaluate what is causing the ho-hum feeling within us. But maybe our contentment and joy is really found outside of ourselves.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT

A selfish life filled with plans only to make a person happy in and of themselves may work short term, but it will fail to bring lasting joy and fulfillment. So it stands to reason that when we begin to help others, our own problems will shrink and the ho-hum blues will lift.

When our God-given time on earth comes to pass, what we have done to help others will be valued and celebrated on earth by the ones we leave behind and in heaven by the ones waiting on us.

So today, take a step to cure your ho-hums. It can be as simple as calling a family member, sending a random card to a friend, preparing a meal for a neighbor, looking at your spouse and saying “You are great and I love you” or inviting someone to coffee. Spend your time listening instead of talking. Try to think of any small thing that might brighten someone’s day. Lifting the burdens of others does not have to be a heroic feat, but even something “small” for someone else will help cure your blues.

Slip Sliding

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Got kids in school? What do your mornings look like before school and work? If it’s anything like my house, it is usually scurry, hurry, scurry and hurry some more! We have five people running different directions with a dog barking at the cat who taunts him from high places. We try to fit in a morning devotional, but sometimes it’s simply me whispering under my breath, “Lord, please help me.” It really is an organized chaos…. Well, mostly organized.

One morning we were all running later than usual. I hear my 10-year old daughter yell from her bedroom to no one in particular, “Has anyone seen my pink sneakers?” I begin to think of all the places I might have seen her favorite pink sneakers, “Living room floor? No. Entry way? No. Backyard? No. Laundry room? YES!” So I holler back at her, “Check the laundry room!”

Then I start to become even more frazzled when my 9-year old son says, “Mom, have you seen my hoodie? I can’t find my hoodie.” Now you can imagine what my self-talk was at this point. And please don’t lecture me about night before preparations. We actually do pretty good most mornings, but this was just an off day and my exasperation was growing.

As I am giving the “FIVE MINUTES UNTIL WE LEAVE!” shout-out, I am feeling like we really need to get going. In all my hurriedness, I look up and notice my daughter running through the kitchen and sliding in her socks around the corner singing as loud as she can with a big smile on her face. She gives a little jump of glee and exclaims “There you are!” as she sees her pink sneakers.

I furrowed my brow and thought to myself, “We don’t have time for such nonsense. Doesn’t she know that we are in a hurry?” And then it struck me like a lightning bolt. Time is going to pass at the same speed and we are going to accomplish the same things we need to accomplish no matter our attitude. We can be hurried and scurried or we can be happy and glad. My daughter had it down. She was being joyful and expressing glee. She was not going to focus on the fact that she could not find her sneakers. Rather, she preferred to express joy for finding them! She made me smile.

Of course we have time for such “nonsense”. I felt ashamed that I was the window for the enemy to bring impatience and frustration into our home where it did not have to be. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could all be as joyful as our children? All too often we trade our glee for the hurrying and scurrying of our world. And then as parents, we can sometimes use our exasperation to stifle the joy in our children’s hearts.

So the next time your child is being joyful amongst the chaos, just remember, the expression of glee is Jesus in their heart! Embrace that joyful “nonsense” and maybe sing along with them.

Luke 10:21 (NIV):
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

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Sweet to the Soul and Healing to the Bones

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Gracious = Polite, courteous, kind, pleasant, merciful, compassionate.

Never underestimate the power of gracious words.  As the Body of Christ, remember your words have mighty power.  Gracious words encourage a person’s soul.  How amazing is that!?!  Gracious words are healing to the body.  How amazing is that!?!  Offer gracious words to everyone you see today.  Whether they be big or small, young or old, friend or foe, you never know whose soul or whose bones could use the Lord’s uplifting grace… which come from your words!

De Colores!

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. -Proverbs 16:24

No Break Spring Break 2014

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Spring Break 2014 in Red River, NM was epic. As my mom would say, “We licked all the sugar off that candy!”

After skiing 5 days without a single incident, with only 2 hours of ski time remaining, my dear husband Troy succumbed to the altitude and was overcome with delirium. He saw Tanner and Tia shredding and rocking some major jumps on one of the black diamond runs. Not to be outdone, a serious delusion set in… He thought to himself, “I am Iron Man!” It was his reality. Until the third jump where he was reminded he is not Iron Man. Rather he is a gray haired 47-yr old white man that can’t jump, much less jump on skis.

Ski patrol was kind enough to feed him his “humble pie” and drive him down the mountain. Meanwhile, our ski professional super-hero children impatiently waited at the bottom of the mountain thinking, “What is taking daddy so long?” Fortunately the x-Ray confirmed no breaks in his bones. We will try to get into an ortho on Monday to determine whether the soft tissue injury will require surgical repair. In the mean time, he has to keep the knee immobilized with a brace and use crutches.

I had the joy of packing the car with all of our ski gear and then drove us home yesterday. Troy was literally a backseat driver while Tia kept me company as my co-pilot. He doesn’t seem to be in much pain. But I think the thought of March Madness on TV and a wife waiting on him hand and foot is quite the silver lining. Tia has already decorated his crutches in pillow pets to keep him comfortable. And I think the purple unicorn in particular is a good reality check…. You are not Iron Man! Gotta love him. Thank you Lord for your covering. And despite the ending, it was a very blessed spring break!

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Jesus and Back-up Bologna

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What does bologna have to do with Jesus and Easter?

I am not a practicing Catholic. However, as a family, we decided to give something up in the spirit of fasting and prayer in anticipation of Easter and celebrating Christ’s resurrection. So tonight, we explained Fat Tuesday to our kids and enjoyed a not so pretty, but yummy homemade strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. Woot! Woot! We are Mardi Gras wild that way.

While indulging in this sweet treat, we went around the table announcing what we would sacrifice in the days ahead. My boys dug deep sacrificing candy and sodas. Then my 10-yr old daughter proudly announces, “I am giving up all meat… except for bologna.” My husband and I traded our raised eyebrow looks.

Now I am not sure where that bologna comment came from, because we don’t have bologna in the house. And I don’t know the last time she has eaten bologna. But I was more surprised about her entertaining the sacrifice of meat. You have to understand, we are a meat and potatoes family! Some health experts would probably shake their head at our weekly meal plans, but a meal is not a meal in our house unless it has a heaping helping of protein. And that protein is usually meat.

So I asked her, “Are you sure you want to give up meat lovers pizza, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken, steak, bacon and all of your favorite meats?” I explained that I did not want to discourage what is in her heart to sacrifice, but I wanted it to be reasonable. We also discussed the number of days between now and Easter. She respectfully took in all of my “wise” counsel. Then she confidently replied, “Jesus died for me. He gave up his life for me. I am pretty sure I can give up meat for him.”

She also reminded me that she has bologna for back-up. I love it when my children are bold for Jesus. They often teach me how to live in bold faith. I am one proud mommy tonight.

Matthew 19:14 ESV
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

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The Glamorous Life of Motherhood

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“Motherhood is glamorous”, said no mother ever! With three kids, a dog, a cat and a man-child for a husband, my house is less than perfectly clean most days. Ok, let’s get real, we’ve got kites strung out in one corner, leftover valentine’s day celebrations scattered on the dining room table, a pile of lite sabers, toy guns, hulk punching gloves, mustache duct tape and a 3′ stuffed tweety bird stacked in another corner. And since these piles of treasures made it to the corners of the room rather than the middle of the room…. That’s pretty darn clean.

This morning, with a yawn and one eye still half asleep, I scratched my messy hair and sought the refuge of a warm shower. I was greeted by an army of rubber ducks.

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After I did a double take and a silent head shake, I left the audience of ducks undisturbed. I had to tell myself that they couldn’t actually see me! Later, I would visit my “royal throne room” and would ponder what my kids were thinking, saying and doing as they aligned those mighty ducks. I love my children. And I love how they see the world. They create joy even around rubber ducks. I eventually started talking to the ducks. I think I might name them.

My house ain’t clean most days. But it is full of life every day and for that I am thankful. And that is the glamorous life of motherhood!

I encourage all the moms that are working hard to clean up here and there, to slow down and see the world through your child’s eyes. See the joy in the little things. Share the joy by leaving a post here…. What do you see?

Mark 10:14-15–“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”