Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teaching Children Selflessness

My kids like to fight... a lot. And it is always over some toy that everyone wants to play with RIGHT NOW or they just might keel over. And they like to whine, quite a bit for the same reason. Part of this is just age-appropriate behavior, even though it is seldom appropriate. Whining and fighting is to be expected, and it is the perfect opportunity to teach children selflessness.

LIMIT TOYS: I find that the more toys my children get, the more their appetite for more "stuff". It is a great idea to put limits on the number of things a child receives every month. You have to figure out what works for you, but I think no more than one small thing each month is enough. Larger toys can wait for birthdays and Christmas.

LIMIT SNACKS: For the same reason as above. Not only is it good for their health to limit junk food, but it helps to lessen the "gimmies".

DONATE: Set a limit on the number of toys your child has at any one time. If new things come into the home, let your child choose an older toy to donate to needy children. And bring your son or daughter along with you so that they can be the ones doing the donating. They will be excited to help others.

ROTATE: Too many toys out at once are overwhelming and encourage a child to expect that such abundance is their "right". We keep some toys in our cellar and rotate them every couple of months. The kids like it better with fewer toys out anyway, and it is cleaner.

EXPECT SHARING: This is a hard and fast rule... not an option.

NO TOLERANCE FOR THE GIMMIES: The bible says to "Be happy with what you have." Hebrew 13:5. My kids have memorized this verse. They are far from perfect at carrying it out but at least they can be reminded of God's loving standard.

Kids will be kids... look at selfishness as an opportunity to teach selflessness, and greed as an opportunity to teach generosity. The Lord allows us to teach them young! Be firm and loving, and let God do the rest.

Rachel

Monday, September 7, 2009

Halloween Idea

A great idea from a friend of mine.... we couldn't decide what to do about halloween. As Christians we on one hand didn't want to take part, but on the other hand want to enjoy the holiday and be a light in the community. So what alternatives to the traditional are there? Here's one.

My boys LOVE superheroes. For the months of September and October we will teach them about the superheroes of the bible like Sampson, David, Gideon etc, and why they are so super. Then they can dress up as one of them for the halloween holiday. Whenever someone asks who they are, they will have a shining answer ready. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

We will probably trick or treat only to people we know for safety's sake. We may buy bible stickers to put on the candy we give out to the kids who come by. Now, for a holiday I was confused about, I am looking forward to with joy.

See also A Godly Twist on Halloween... http://biblebabies.blogspot.com/2008/10/godly-twist-on-halloween.html

Do you have any alternatives or views on Halloween? I'd love to hear them,

Rachel

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaching a Child to Fear the Lord

How do you teach a child the fear of the Lord without making him scared of God? What exactly is the fear of the Lord? The bible says that

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 NIV

and

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

So the fear of the Lord is intertwined with wisdom, knowledge and discipline. How do you teach a child to be wise and to fear the Lord?

1) Discipline him - "All children are foolish, but firm correction will make them change." Proverbs 22:15 (CEV) The bible is pretty clear here. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness. The way to lead a child to wisdom is to steer his heart by way of loving discipline. Discipline him according to the wisdom and guidance found in the Word of God.

2) Teach him about God - Proverbs 9:10 states that "knowledge of the Holy One is understanding". Everything you know about God, teach it to your child. How can a person fear the One he knows little or nothing about? It is God's greatness that commands our awe of Him, and demands our loyalty and affection. So teach... everything from the wonders of creation to the awesome character of our loving Father.

Two simple steps that are not so easy to carry out. But there is a reward for those who persevere. I love Proverbs 23:15, which states, "My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad" and Isaiah 40:11, "He gently leads those that have young."

With prayers,
Rachel

A Godly Twist on Halloween... http://biblebabies.blogspot.com/2008/10/godly-twist-on-halloween.html

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How should we teach our children to pray?

One thing I hear Christians complain about consistently is the quality (and quantity) of their prayer life... or specifically, the lack thereof. Having a deep and consistent prayer life is essential to remaining in the vine. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and unless we remain in Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

So it is no surprise that we need to teach our children how to pray. I think the Lord's prayer is a wonderful model. You can teach children to memorize it, which has certain benefits, but it is also important to teach the principles behind the prayer. Matthew 6:9-13:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Acknowledge God, who He is, and praise Him for His greatness and holiness.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
So often I pray my list of needs, as if everything is about me, and forget to pray that God's will be done. He works everything for our good, and for His glory, so of course I want His will to be done. I want my children to desire His will also.

Give us this day our daily bread.
Ask God for our needs. He desires to give them to us. Be specific. The bible says that we do not have because we do not ask (James 4:2).

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Confess and ask God to forgive us our sins. At the same time, forgive others who have hurt us, so that we can be forgiven. That's the deal. And it's a pretty good one if you ask me.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
Before Peter denied the Lord three times, Jesus warned him that this would happen. He also told him to pray so that he wouldn't fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41). There are specific sins that we are all prone to, depending on our circumstances and personalities. Again, pray specifically for protection from these sins.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Again, praise Him! He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory! Our awesome God!

Amen.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Choose a Children's Devotional Book

There are so many devotional books for children out there that it can be hard to decide which is best. I like a devotional book that is simple, attractive to children, and with relevant topics. What do I mean by relevant? Things that are:


1) Concrete. Children are not abstract thinkers. You need to tell them the facts straight, without using a lot of imagery and metaphors, until they are old enough to understand them.


2) Understandable. Topics should cover things that are realities in a child's life. If the kids are not in school yet, then books about bullying and homework may be above their heads. Think of your child and what they need to learn.


3) Biblical. Devotionals should teach truths about God. The focus should not be on self, but on the Lord. The truths should be true... know the background of the person who wrote the book.


4) Easy to use. Devotionals for young children should be attractive to both child and parent. Illustraions are good. Big, thin books are better... they are visually appealing and not overwhelming in content. Do it together. Enjoy it.


So, how about a recommendation? I like Small Talks about God, by Kenneth Taylor. Look through Amazon or Christianbook.com and see what you like. They often include views of the table of contents and sample chapters. Devotional times are important opportunities to connect with your kids on a social and spiritual level. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Bananas in Pyjamas

Oh those bananas!
I could eat three or four a day,
but I'd rather play
with my bubbly babies
and say,
"hello?"

They make me giggle
the way the peals wiggle
through their shoulders
down to their toes
and they laugh
"hello?"

Oh those bananas!
making yellow streaks
up and down my halls
like mountain peaks
my monkeys shriek
"hello?!"

Jumping like summer
No need to be glummer
Yellow like sun
bananas and fun
gleefully squeaking
“hello!”

They drive me bananas
I love them bananas
in summer pyjamas
appealing...
and squealing
"hello!"

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy... 1 Timothy 6:17

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Anger, Depression and Christian Parenting

Which parent do you know who has never raised their voice to their child? Or lost it when one kept pushing their buttons? Which parent do you know who is happy all of the time? I say... it can't be done. However for many of us, anger and depression becomes the norm, rather than a once-in-a-while occurance, and affects our parenting in a negative way.

The Lord is willing to change us if we are willing to admit our powerlessness over sin. Sounds like I'm telling you to just give up doesn't it? Not at all. I'm suggesting that we stop trying to fix ourselves by our own willpower and let God fix us by His mighty power! This is the first step in any 12 step program. Why? Because it works.

If anger or depression has taken a foothold in your life, you no doubt have tried to change to no avail. You may do well for a while and then when you least expect it... bam! It's back again. The first step has to be that you admit that you are powerless over your tendancy to do the wrong thing, and turn your life over to the care and control of God.

Another saying in the 12 step world is this: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. So if you are struggling with anger or depression, why not try something new?

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian 12 step program for all kinds of hurts, habits and hangups... addictions, compulsive eating, eating disorders, fear, anger, depression, anxiety, etc. If you would like loving Christian support to overcome what is causing you distress, visit their website and find a group near you. It's practical and it works! Celebrate Recovery Canada can be found --> here.

I am also reading a very good book right now called Mind Over Mood. It is very practical and teaches how to overcome strong moods that are unwanted and distressing, by changing the way you think. I highly recommend it for anyone who may be struggling. It is helping me tremendously.

I hope these two resources can be of help to many. My own battle with depression has been a long and difficult one, and when I reached the end of myself, there I found God... waiting to walk the journey for me - with me in His arms. So I say, give it up! God is waiting to pick it up!

Prayers,
Rachel

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Writing a Book

I have been thinking lately of writing a book. I have two years worth of letters to a friend that I wrote during post-partum depression. It is a detailed record and first hand account of what I went through during this challenging time. There are evidences and footprints left by God at times through the journey, that have been miraculous in my sight and amazingly inspiring.

What do you think? Should I go for it?

:-) Rachel

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mothering Without Guilt

Think it's possible to be a mother without guilt? We all need encouragement from moms who have been there. This is the toughest, most stressful, challenging experience of my life. And I've hardly just begun! I found this bible study to really help me... A Mom's Ordinary Day: Mothering Without Guilt. I highly recommend it, and if you can find another mom in need, do it together!



I've also read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Another great Read.



The final one on my list is one I just started... Motherhood: The Guilt That Keeps on Giving. I'll let you know how it turns out!



I find books invaluable to my parenting walk. What have you read that has been an encouragement to you? Let me know. Happy reading. I'm addicted to, and in love with, books. :-)

Rachel

Monday, June 29, 2009

Learning to Let Go... and let God

I have been in the hospital the last two weeks due to overwhelming depression that started after my baby boy was born. I have had much more time to connect with God without little ones to chase after, and I've been learning a lot.

One of the things that caught my attention (more like ARRESTED my attention... lol) was Ecclesiastes 11:4 - If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. (TLB)

This verse summarizes my life! And I think this is what has added to my depression, and has been holding me back from really teaching my kids all about the Lord. I can spell it out in 4 terrible letters... F E A R.

I know that I love my children and all that matters to me in this life is seeing them embrace Christ. I also know that I don't truly have control over this, but a great responsibility has been placed on my shoulders none-the-less to teach and pass on the faith. And fear of failure has gripped me.

Thinking about this verse... when will there EVER be perfect conditions for teaching our kids about God? Never mind that the enemy works hard to prevent us from doing our job, what about the everyday challenges of:

toddler tantrums
messes and spills
crying babies
frantic schedules
colds and flus
cooking cooking cooking
cleaning cleaning cleaning
homework
church activities
jobs and businesses
school lunches
etc
etc
etc

BUT this verse encourages me... that things can be done, even amidst the busy family chaos! I need not fear because 2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

How awesome! God provides everything we need to do what He wills us to do! That means that whatever He wants us to do... He enables us to do it. Otherwise He wouldn't expect us to do it... if it couldn't be done. Logical! Duh... what was I thinking????

So off I go... to live and to teach my babies about His awesomeness... maybe I'll start with these verses. :-o

:-)
Rachel

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If there is a God, why do bad things happen?

This is a TOUGH lesson to teach yourself, and even more so a child. We have to understand it first. Why do bad things happen if God is so loving and really exists? The bible gives us some answers, and some are not so easy to swallow:

1. SIN - the whole world is broken. God made it perfect. Sin brought death. Read Genesis to see how this happened. A person only needs to look to themselves to know that sin exists and that no person loves God and their neighbour as they are supposed to.

Why are there starving children in the world? SIN. There is enough food to go around...

Why do tornados destroy and hurricanes kill? SIN. This isn't the garden of Eden. We got kicked out of that because of sin. And its not heaven yet... God is waiting for more people to come to Him before that day comes. HE LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE PROVIDES A WAY OUT OF THIS MESS.... heaven forever with Jesus. We can choose to believe it. Wow.

2. TESTING - my faith grows when its tested. I change and grow when I am challenged. When everything is good, I get lazy and forget God. God is concerned about our eternity, and helping us to grow, just like we are concerned about our children's growth!

3. PERSECUTION - People exist who hate God, and God's children... and hurt those who try to follow Him. One day God will make this right. Be sure you are on the right side. Jesus suffered for us and we are called to suffer for Him. Everyone who desires to live a godly life will be persecuted... 2 Timothy 3:12

4. DISCIPLINE - When our kids do wrong and need to be turned back for their own good, we discipline them. Same goes for God. And I'm so glad he loves me enough to do this. God disciplines those He loves... Hebrews 12:6

Remember the GOOD stuff about this awful topic:

a) God's hand is on the thermostat, and will protect His children. If He brings you to it, He'll bring you through it.

b) Suffering and bad stuff gives us an opportunity to show God's glory! How we deal with stuff really does matter..

c) When we suffer, we get more like Jesus who suffered, and understand more what He went through for us.

Remember!! 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So what do we do? And what do we teach our children to do?
Ephesians 6:13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

We need to talk to our kids daily about their struggles and guide them in the Lord's ways on this... it is a crucial element to our faith. And talking is really the best way to tackle it.

Prayers!
Rachel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Bible Teaching Ideas for Young Children!

Here is a great idea about how to get your little ones fully engaged in learning about the bible! My husband will have them read (or read to them) a bible story, and then give them a few minutes to think about it. In that time, they come up with questions to quiz DAD about. They can even have rewards like stickers to put on the "student" parent if the correct answer is given. My kids LOVE this... and daddy usually ends up covered with car and happy face stickers (LOL). The great part is, that it gets the kids thinking, because they have to know the answer before they can ask a question (sometimes the student helps out with this... that's ok!).

The younger members of the family always join in our bible-time. They may not be ready to participate but it teaches them so much just to be present and see that bible study happens and is important. :-) And they sure do get eager to join in...

Prayers for you,
Rachel

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lunch Box Bible Lessons


My kids love to write me notes and draw me pictures. I get so many precious expressions of love and affection that I run out of room to post them on the wall. Children are just so full of open-hearted love, and I have found that they adore receiving notes from mom and dad as well.


When my second son turned 3, I sewed two large pillows for him - one of Bob the Tomato and one of Larry the Cucumber. Boy did he like them! And amazing to me, he was especially enamored of them because I took the time to make them for him. In fact, all of my sons crave affection from us pretty much all of the time. God made them that way!


So I love writing lunch box notes to my kids while they are in school. It is a personal way to connect with them, encourage them and love them while I can't actually be present. A quick note saying I love you, or written with a bible verse I know they need that day... is special to them and expands their heart for me and for God.


Not every day... or it might lose it's "specialness", but I really recommend the lunch box as a way to connect with your little ones today and encourage them in the Lord! Praise God for His love and kindness,

Rachel

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wonderful Ages 2-5 Bible/Homeschool Curriculum!


I went through this book with my little ones and they absolutely loved it! It built our relationship, they learned about God and they learned their letters/numbers and bible stories. It is chock full of easy to prepare activities, wonderful fingerplays, arts and crafts and more. I LOVE this book. My kids were 2 and 3 when we started. Highly recommended and given 5 stars... and affordable too! Check out the website and see samples (the samples are what hooked me! A whole week online, to try it out :-).


Oh yeah, so I should share the link! hahaha... here it is:


Little Hands to Heaven (or click on the picture above)
Enjoy!
Rachel

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reinforcing bible stories in a fun way!

A really easy and fun way to reinforce bible truths in our little ones is to read from the bible, and have them act out what they heard. My hubby and I love this. Our kids have fun doing it and it is so effective! They have to:

- identify with the bible person emotionally, spiritually, and physically

- picture the environment and how the times might have been

- try to understand how God interacted and fit into life in that circumstance (and thus learning how He fits into their's)

- understand the event well enough to act it out.

It's so great because it reinforces not only the bible story and how it happened, but also makes it easier for them to download the bible as reality. It encourages them to live, love and laugh with the Word of God. We all need a real relationship with our Creator and not just a book to read. I find it really exciting to see my kids eager to interact with God this way!

The Word tell us to rejoice! And this is so much fun. Hope it can be for you too...

Prayers,
Rachel

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do not hinder them. Let the little children come...

As a parent of 4 young boys, I get tired. Often. And overwhelmed by how much of me is expected to go around. Sometimes I find it easier to take care of myself... and look for more "me time" to be able to cope with the demands. Sometimes I find myself saying 'no' to requests, not for the kids' sakes, but for mine.

But I am thinking today about the time when Jesus told the disciples to let the little children come to Him and do not hinder them. He said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. I believe that "me time" for moms IS important. Moms need time to refresh and stay healthy and it is a very very demanding job. So where does the line get drawn?

Just thinking out loud... we can't always meet needs in the moment, but we can come back to them and address them at a better time. Here are some situations in which I think a parent should never turn down their children:

A child asks you to:

- pray with them
- talk to them
- be with them
- hug them
- comfort them
- answer a question
- teach them something
- tuck them into bed

Denying a child these opportunities to connect with you, and with the Lord, is a hinderance in their path to Jesus. But let me say, I understand that there are many times you can't meet these needs in the moment requested. There are ways to still be there for them:

1) make a "date" for later that day to spend the time
2) refer the child to the other parent who is willing and immediately available (then go for a hug later)
3) tell them you love them and pray with them a short prayer immediately, following up with a longer prayer time later

Its more a question of consistently I think. As I said, I've been tired... and I need to continually pray for more grace and more strength to meet the needs of my many little ones.

Prayers and blessings for you

Rachel

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free Christian Counseling Call for Weary Parents

Parenting is hard work. Every parent knows it. More than that for Christian moms and dads though, is the desire to see their children serving the Lord. For many of us, myself included, this can seem overwhelming. Life has a way of stretching you to your limit sometimes... financial difficulties, marriage problems, and more... and without the support of a faithful community, it can be easy to fall.

What do you do when you need someone to talk to? I hope you have a church body surrounding you and a family that steps up to the plate when needed. But sometimes that isn't the case. And maybe sometimes you need someone a little less "close".

I came across this number today and I thought I would pass it on. Focus on the Family is a well known and respected Christian institution committed to helping families to flourish in today's world. In the parenting section of their website I found this blurb:

"Raising children can be a challenge — especially in today's world. When you feel
overwhelmed, call us. Our team of licensed counselors is here to help you with a
variety of questions and concerns. It's quick, confidential and
complimentary.
Call 800-232-6459, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday MT."


For more information... go HERE.

Hope this might be of help to some. We all need it sometimes and it's sooooo good to call on the Lord's loved ones in our times of need.

Rachel

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Teaching Kids the News


As a Christian parent, I often find it hard to balance teaching my kids about the real world, and sheltering them from those things they are not ready for. I have found a resource that I think is a great tool for teaching our kids about the world on a level that they can handle. It's called God's World News..... and it's cool!

God's World News is a newspaper/mag prepared in different formats for different age groups. I have young children and I especially like the pre-K to 1st edition. Samples are available on-line to view, and a home subscription is reasonably priced! Editions include activities, etc to allow the kids to not only have fun, but really absorb the lessons learned. Great christian resource!

I highly recommend checking it out here at:


And when you do, let me know what you think!
Do you teach your kids about the real world? Please comment - I'd love to know...
Blessings,
Rachel

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Questioning God...

It just occurred to me that what we don't know about God, can help our kids. Think about it. Do you have questions about God? Doubts? Things you don't understand? Of course, don't we all? The question is... do you go about finding the answers?

I bet that the same things that we are confused about are things that our kids think about too. Many times I've had my son ask me something about the faith that leaves me stuttering and dropping food out of my mouth while I say "uh... uh, well.." While it can be embarrassing to admit to not knowing everything, it is a great opportunity to do some research together. Why not look in the bible together to find those answers?

What about questions that you have that you have just overlooked? How about researching what the bible and others have to say on the subject, and then asking your child what they think? What a great way to start conversations and address potential stumbling blocks in our babies' journey.

What we don't know can't hurt us... if we use it as a stepping block in seeking the Lord! Seek him together with your little ones. Their faith and curiosity is wonderful and inspiring. Let it be a mutual encouragement.

Prayers for you,

Rachel

Friday, April 24, 2009

On Teaching kids about God - Follow Through is important!

How many kid's devotional books do you own? Number of bibles? Bible story books? I think we have about a thousand... I love Christian book stores, and I love new things, but in terms of teaching children about God, there is one thing to keep in mind - NEWER is not always BETTER.

My 6 year old son is standing next to me as I write, and I asked him, What do you know about God? He responded, "Oh! I know a lot about God. I know He created everything!" I have to smile.

He knows lots about the bible and the prophets, Jesus and the apostles, and of course, the armor of God (he is a boy after all), but it struck me that what he really knows (and I mean really really, really knows) is that God made everything.

Me: "What did God make on day 4?"
J: "The stars!"

He knows the ins and outs of the creation story like the back of his hand. That got me thinking that follow-through in terms of teaching kids about faith is very very improtant. You buy a devotional book, where does it begin? Creation. You buy a new bible. Where does it start? Creation.

If we want our kids to get the whole picture.. we have to follow through and read the whole book. I love new things, but I can easily get side-tracked when the new becomes old, and I look for something else. Wonderfully though, kids are not like that. They love routine and tradition as much as they like new stuff. I am reminded that there are some pretty great devotionals around here that I should be making use of. :)

Also, we need to remember that THE OLDEST THING IS THE BEST THING. Of course I am talking about God's Word, and better yet, God Himself. But maybe "old" is not a good word to describe Him... how about timeless... forever... unchanging... all-powerful... complete... and forever-new. Yes, that's my God!

Rachel

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What a child Hears, He learns

I just blogged on the Homemakers' Library about my morning from you know where... and how I got reprimanded by my doctor for my insensitivity in being late for my appointment (four kids, two barf buckets, and a baby in diapers make it hard for anyone to get anywhere, let alone on time). I had a hard week and my gp stepped in with words that really hurt me at a time when I needed compassion. And I had to choose how to respond.

I know how I wanted to respond... but somehow I don't think it would have glorified the Lord, and I looked around at my four babies and wondered what my response would teach them. Have you ever noticed that kids are always listening? I can be having a very quiet conversation with my husband in the front of the van when suddenly my 8 year old will pipe up with a drilling question about it. Ugh....

The selective hearing my children seem to exhibit is just an elaborate front to throw me off the scent... they are watching, listening and learning from all of my habits... good and bad. So I had a very distatsteful pill to swallow when I (finally) kindly apologized to my doctor and told him I would try not to be late again. I hope the kids were listening.

But I know it takes more than one righteous action to teach my children how to live for God. Its the habits, of loving the unlovable, forgiving and praying and being grateful for His mercy, that help them to form their views of right and wrong. More than what I say, they learn by what I do... over and over.

Lord help me! I sure do need Your grace to change....

Rachel

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Step in Teaching a Child Humility

As a mom, it can be especially difficult to teach my 4 children humility. It is my very nature to protect them from hurt, emotional and otherwise. I want them to be happy, strong and confident. I want them to believe in themselves. God wants them to believe in Him.

A week ago, my 6 year old son came home from school very upset. Some boys on the playground asked him to guess the best Star Wars character of all time. Being a fan, he gave it a go. Luke? "Wrong," they said, "You can't play with us."

My heart broke for my little guy. I wanted to right the wrong, fix the problem, and teach my boy how to protect himself with pride. My heart yelled, 'You're better than them my son! Don't talk to those mean boys ever again!'

But what does the Lord instruct?
"All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it
were your clothes. Scripture says, "God opposes those who are proud. But he
gives grace to those who are not.""

I need to teach my children humility. One way is this simple habit: My husband and I expect them to say not only, "I'm sorry" but also "I forgive you", and learn to hear it too. I believe this is so important. And harder than it sounds...

When I have sinned against my brother, and he tells me he forgives me, it takes humility to accept his forgiveness. When I have been hurt by another and they apologize, I need to be humble to truly forgive them, and not to just fluff it off. For my kids, its easy to toss out a "sorry", especially with mom or dad watching, but to say the words, "I forgive you" can be hard to choke out, even for me. They can be equally hard to hear... because our sinfulness is being acknowledged.

Being in the habit of saying and hearing these words is a simple way to reinforce humility in a child's life, and a wonderful reminder of the Lord's ways. God is humble (that blows my mind!), and He has forgiven me immeasurably. Thank You God! May I, and my children, be increasingly more like You.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Encouragement for worried moms

I have observed recently that all mothers WORRY. We worry about whether or not our children are getting a good diet, if our babies are stimulated and educated, who their friends are, how much time we spend with them, how much money we make, how much weight we've gained, how much weight we've lost, who put the pork chops in the planter, and how will we ever get rid of the smell?

I see supermoms everywhere! Each morning, I see us frantically tying on our capes, squeezing into shiny blue leotards and praying that we can check off all of the items on our super-list (which makes Santa's puny thing look like a post-it note). We fly off in search of our impossible expectations and fall into bed exhausted. Another day lost. We were only able to do the job of 6 regular humans today. For shame.

What is up with us ladies??? I don't know about you, but I don't look good in blue, especially spandexy metallic blue. So why do I try?

God didn't make supermoms. God is a SUPER GOD and He made moms just the right size to fit into His palm. Do you know Isaiah 40:11? If not, please memorize it. "He gently leads those that have young." How precious is that?

Guess what? Worry is debilitating. It hinders us from doing what we were created to do. Perfectionism is stifling. It destroys our joy. It clogs our perceptions and causes us to see failure where grace should be. And both of these, I hate to say this, affect our families negatively.

Can you picure this? You wake up confident that you will have the resources to do all that God has planned for you to do today, so you smile and thank Him. You feel fulfilled and relaxed from the time you stretch out of bed, knowing that super God has all of today's challenges and problems already well in hand. You hug and delight in your children knowing that the Lord is leading you as you lead them, and that they are a gift from Him, and you are the mom He has designed especially for their needs. You have it all. No resources missing. No worries. Just joy, and motivation and freedom.

This is a picture of our calling. Relaxed Motherhood. This is what I want to encourage you to. We need laughter for our journey and to pass on to the next generation (thats in Proverbs 31 - she can laugh at the days to come... its not just a list of do's, its a picture of what we can do with joy when we have the Lord on our side). Did you also know that the Bible says that God has given us all things for our enjoyment??? Its in the new testament. Look it up! What another great verse. I want to see more moms smiling in genuine delight at life. Prayers and hugs for you all. We are blessed.
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