Train up a child

We’ve all read the verse. Easy-peasy, right? Then I became a mom. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, (or 36 hours of labor…I mean, whichever you want to go with…) every bit of know-how seemed to vanish.

Why is he crying all the time? Why is he giving me attitude, crossing his arms and telling me “no” at 11 months old? He’s supposed to be so innocent! Are they trying to stay up later, or do they really need to pee? Did they just bully the kid on the playground? What are they doing on their phones?!

Okay, so I do need help. James 1 has my name all over it. Wisdom. I need wisdom. Everyone has something they are striving for, greedy for, willing to give up anything for. Me? I need God’s wisdom. Without it, I just make a huge mess. Thankfully, it’s freely available if we just remember to ask.

There’s this idea going around that really drives me crazy. I’ve heard so many pastors and teachers present the book of Proverbs as a “guide”. The idea that it is not a book with promises, but just a general guide for your life and what may, or may not happen. This is such dangerous territory! Who are we to pick and choose what is truth and what is a generality? It’s God’s Word!

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

I grew up as a pastor’s kid. Yep, a PK. I also grew up to be a single mother. A girl that loved to party. A girl that did not love Jesus. I was fine to leave Him back and home with my parents and move on with my life.

Of course, that left my amazing parents behind to clean up the mess. If you think that didn’t have any effect on them, their church, their ministry, their hearts, or their lives, you are so wrong. People threw this verse in their face. Some scoffing, laughing, so pleased to see failure. Others were confused, disoriented, and left to question all they had been taught. How could the pastor’s daughter be pregnant and unmarried? (Well, I won’t explain that part…)

My mom and her deep, deep rooted faith would answer ever so calmly, “The end isn’t written yet.”

She was right. The end had not yet played out.

You see, when your life is so rooted in Jesus and so intertwined with His heart, that’s what your kids are going to know. That’s what they are going to see. That’s what they are going to live.

The whole mothering thing just got a lot harder.

Basically, the burden is on you to intertwine God into EVERY. ASPECT. OF. YOUR. LIFE.

When my car breaks down, do I see it as an annoyance, or an opportunity to share God’s love with someone? When my plans get unexpectedly changed, do I throw a fit, or do I tell my kids how exciting it’s going to be to see what God has planned for us instead? When I have health problems, do I get frustrated and angry, or do I use that as a chance for compassion? How am I handling the things that I deal with on a daily basis.

So many families go to church and make big decisions based on God’s Word, but when it comes to the little things, that’s not so easy. Our kids are watching. They are little sponges that are growing up and learning how to react or respond to every situation. Are we teaching them to react with emotion, or are we teaching them to respond like Christ?

Of course there are so many mess-ups. I fail over and over on a daily basis. But, my kids know that and I am the first one to call myself out on it. I obviously need a Savior and my kids need to know that! That’s a good thing. My heart wants to do what God wants and that is a daily and hourly discussion. It’s not a foreign concept, but completely intertwined in our lifestyle.

My parents lived this kind of life. Their actions where completely in sync with their words.

So, why did I end up pregnant and away from God?

Well, that’s just it. I didn’t end up that way. Yes, I strayed away, but like the one lost sheep, God gently pursued me and brought me back. In my 40’s, I can look at my childhood and see that an act of sexual abuse by an outsider left me dazed and darkened for many years. It took God’s gentle hand and his outstretched arms to help me out from my hiding place. I needed to learn to trust Him. It took me years to see that He is happiness.

I want to encourage you to focus more on your relationship with God and your responses (or reactions) and get that aligned. Disciplining and raising your children are secondary to your heart. That is what your kids are looking at. Ask God for wisdom. I beg you! It’s there for you! I cling to that promise of wisdom to get me through life. God always delivers.

My kids often make up scenarios and ask me what I would do in this situation or that predicament. My answer, “Ask God for wisdom”. Oh, they hate that. I’m not playing along. Blah Blah. But you know what, they remember it. They know that’s my answer for a difficult situation. They will remember that someday. Now that my oldest son is a police officer, I sure am glad that’s how I answered all those times!

When we watch tv, there’s always a crisis point in the movie or show. Guess what I bring up? “If they were doing what God wanted, they wouldn’t be in this pickle! God doesn’t give us rules, He shows us what makes us happy and helps us avoid these problems!” Meanwhile, the kids, “there goes mom again” — laughing and joking. But you know what? It’s respectful and loving because they know I mean it and they know it’s true! They begin to see it themselves as we watch. They begin to see how it’s going to play out when someone makes a decision to go against God’s advice.

That’s what I want! I want them to see God’s love! I want them to see God wants the best for them! I want them to fall so deeply in love with God!!!! That’s my goal as a mom. I don’t care if they become a garbage collector, a port-a-potty cleaner, or a doctor. I only care that they fall madly and deeply in love with our Savior.

So, is it true? If I train up my child in the way that is right, he won’t depart from it? Yes. It’s a promise. If we are actually living our lives in such Light, there is no way that they will stay in the darkness if they end up wandering there. If we are living a contradicting lifestyle of words vs actions, they will run to the darkness and never look back.

Ultimately, their salvation is their decision. It’s just on us to show them how much peace it brings. How much joy. How much love. Why it’s worth it.

Praying for you, momma!

Never Say No – raising big-picture kids

by Mark and Jan Foreman

 Such a great book on a topic that I am extremely passionate about (thus the name of my blog!!). Mark and Jan are the parents of Tim and Jon Foreman…You know, from a little band called Switchfoot? In this book they teach about “Transparenting”. (Not sure if I made that word up.) Anyway, looking at the heart of the child and guiding them through love and discernment instead of harshness and discipline. The idea is to “Never Say No” when the child asks if you can play. Enjoying them while you can.

While I absolutely agree with the entire idea of this book, I fear that it may seem overwhelming to some. In parts, it comes across that this is really what you need to do or you will have regrets and the child will stop asking you. I just hope that it isn’t read the wrong way and parents start to feel guilty. I certainly don’t feel like that is their belief.

I hope that what is taken from this book will be to really seek your child’s heart. When they are misbehaving, why? What’s really going on? Also, being able to say “sorry” when we are wrong and being transparent in our lives as we are the model of what they will become.

Thank you, Litfuse, for this WONDERFUL book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Are we up to the task?

IMG_2021I was speaking to a new, sweet friend a couple of days ago. I posted a review of 52 Things a Son Needs From Their Moms and I really enjoyed it. It’s right on, as far as I am concerned. It’s how we have parented our children and have seen the fruit of doing it that way. Our children love God with all of their beings and have servants hearts. I know that can only be God.

She mentioned to me that her son is older and she might have failed him. I just felt like I wanted to run and give her a big hug! In my humble opinion, I feel that it is never too late. When we are honest with our mistakes, so our children don’t think we are hypocritical, they will come to respect us. If they know we love them, that’s what matters. Woo them and win their hearts.

I know one thing for certain, and that is God is sovereign. He gave you the children you have because He knew you were the best one for the challenge. Nobody else could do a better job becabroken-heartuse you were the one God picked. He knew that you have what it takes, with His help.

Be encouraged, friends. Seek God with every area of your life, serve together, do life together! Play with your kids and look into their eyes when they talk. They will fall madly in love with you.

I read something once that really stuck with me. What do your children see in your eyes when they come into the room? Do you look happy to see them? Don’t have time for them? Can’t look up from your iPod? Look annoyed? Delighted? You know, a huge smile and a look into their eyes saying that you are happy to see them will do wonders to their attitude. It melts the frost.

IMG_4646-0.JPGIf I was honest, I would have to say that our eyes do just as much talking as our mouths.

Let your kids see how happy your are when they are near. Drown them in love, hugs, kisses and time. I don’t care how big they are. My teenager still gets his little nose and forehead kissed. As much as he fights it, you can’t argue with the huge smile on his face. ❤

So, be encouraged!! You haven’t failed, friends!! When you do, go to them and say, “You know what? I really screwed that up. Can you pray for me because I’m really struggling with _____ right now?” Buh-Lieve me, my kids get to hear this ALL. THE. TIME.!!!

And remember, the time goes so quickly. Show them your “Happy to see you!! eyes” when they walk into the room!! Please!!! You won’t regret it. I PROMISE!

52 Things Sons Need from Their Moms

by Angela Thomas

Parenting book ALL MOMS SHOULD READ! I absolutely love this. It is how I strive to raise my boys and I love reading this confirmation with new ideas. Raising our kids is not about making sure the stay in the lines or else we crack the whip. It’s understanding why they would step outside the lines and looking at the heart to see what’s wrong. It’s focusing on what’s happening inside. Are their eyes happy and full of life? Are they in love with Jesus? Or, are they scared that you will freak out if they mess up? Are they disconnected from you when their friends are over, or do they want you around?

It’s so important to raise our kids to be connected to us and to God. The only way to do that is through being open in our weaknesses and using those to teach our kids life lessons, plus, a LOT of prayer! If my walk with God isn’t what it should be, that sets the tone for our whole household.

This is such an easy to read, wow moment type of book. I love it! Please pick up a copy for yourself and a friend!! This should be in the hands of every momma!!

Thank you, netgalley, for this awesome read. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Time is Short

parents_and_children

As parents, our time is SO, VERY short. Just yesterday, my babies were just that: babies. Now, on the verge of graduating high school, The Large Child is a man. A MAN! The Little Toot isn’t far behind.

Because we love them and want them to have stress free childhoods, we coddle them and protect them from the ugly world that’s out there. The problem with that is: if I am not teaching them how to handle the things they are going to experience, who will be? Will that person love God as much as I do? Will that person, that is teaching my child, want to bring glory to God? Maybe, mabye not. That’s a risk I’m not willing to take!

When we go through hard times and situations (my husband and I), we try to let our kids in on what’s happening. Try to show them how to handle it. Ask them to pray with us. Ask their thoughts and opinions and line those up with the Bible.

I don’t want to pretend that everything is ok and, SURPRISE! When you are out on your own, you will find out that it’s not a perfect world!!

Nope, no thanks.

It’s so vital that you are going through these things and using them as life lessons for your children (age appropriately, of course). Not only does it hold you accountable to handle it correctly, it shows them how to handle really difficult situations the right way. They pray with you and they watch your every move. Scary, really. Puts the pressure on!!!

family-prayer

I encourage you to walk with your children. Remember that God just gave them to us for a short time. He’s basically letting us babysit them before we send them out to make an impact on the world. I want to stand before God and say that I prepared them the best that I could have. I don’t want to have regrets. I want my children to see God work miracles. To see God fight for us in a way that only He could. To see God provide when there is no provision. To see God answer our prayers that we have all been praying together. A prayer based on bringing great glory to His name.

Things I heard this week…

Having two boys can be fun and exciting. You never really know what’s coming next. There’s something special about a mom’s relationship with her boys. I would never trade it!

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That being said, here are a few things that I actually heard this week:

1. Little Toot to his older brother. “You don’t have to tell me what to do. I already know how to live my life!!!!”

2. “Mom! I jumped up and looked over the stall in the bathroom at Hardee’s. There was actually a guy in there! He totally saw me! When he came out, I said, ‘Sorry! I didn’t know you were in there’. He wasn’t happy.”

3. “(The Large Child) has a new nickname. We call him, “White Shadow”.

4. “I take a long time to poop because every time it starts to fall out, I like to pull it back in. It feels cool!”

5. “Dad. Don’t forget! Happy wife, happy life”

6. “Mom! You aren’t fat. You used to be really fat, but now you’re not.”

Just a few of the many delightful things I get to hear.

All in a day’s work. Right, Moms?

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