Raising the Bar

Big Picture Parenting

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The “self-fulfilling prophecy” is an expectation about the future that ensures its own validity. The 20th century sociologist Robert Merton is credited with coining the expression in which the expectation directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, due to the connection between belief and behavior.

I have experienced this in my own life. I distinctly remember being in sixth grade and sitting in my classroom while the teacher handed out report cards at the end of the day. As she walked around the room handing out the envelopes, she waved an envelope in the air and announced with delight to the entire room that “the person who receives this report card has earned straight A’s!” then she walked over and laid it on my desk. I sat in disbelief. Staring at the report card, I remember feeling every eye on me. I had not set out to earn straight A’s, nor was I naturally gifted in any way. But in that moment, my life changed. Every classmate knew me as the “smart” girl. They believed that I was the “straight A student” and I began to believe it myself. I became the straight A student. I had an expectation to fulfill. I had a standard to achieve. The bar had been raised and I was going to do everything possible to reach it every time. And I did. Every report card. Every year.

Over the five years I have been a mother, I have heard God speak through other mom’s directly to me regarding this very topic. Let’s face it – motherhood is no easy task. It can be very trying at times. While working one day, I met a woman and mother of six for the first time and she was asking about how long I had been teaching, if I had children, and making small talk. I told her I had three children within eighteen months and explained that at the time, my oldest was four and my twins were two and a half. Most people respond with, “you sure have your hands full.” To which I always reply, “oh yes, they can make me crazy!” Then we usually chuckle and walk away. But not this day. And not so with this woman.

As I began to laugh she looked at me very seriously and said, “do not speak those words about you or your children.” Then she gracefully spoke God’s word over me in encouragement and said, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) She told me that God gave me a sound mind and that I am not crazy and neither are my children, for crazy is NOT of God. It was a powerful message delivered straight from The Lord through an absolute stranger and I have never forgotten it.

A month ago I was at another work event with Premier Designs, my jewelry business, and I was positioned next to a husband and wife team who represented their own business. As it always happens, small talk began and we started getting to know one another. Through our conversation, the wife began talking about her nearly grown up children and reminiscing about the days when they were little, like mine are now. She told me that she and her husband decided when their children were young, they would only speak positively about their children, even if, in the midst of their circumstances they felt differently. For example, she said they always told people, “we have great kids!” or “our children are amazing!” She mentioned that she never spoke aloud the phrase “terrible two’s” or “troubling teens”. She explained that whatever they were told about themselves, they would believe. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Wow! Once again, a message God spoke to me through a stranger.

This is as valid for me today as a mother as it was many years ago as a student. After hearing this message repeated from these seasoned mothers, I began to realize that my children just might be fulfilling the expectations I have spoken over them. Could this be the reason they are running around and acting so…crazy!?! I have set that standard. I have spoken those words over them. I have set the bar and they are reaching for it. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” If we tell our children they are “wild”, then they believe they are wild and will become a wild child. If we tell our children they are “wonderful”, then they believe they are wonderful and will become wonderful.

A friend and I recently spoke about her son, Liam. She was expressing her frustration regarding his laziness. She couldn’t get him to do anything around the house because he was so lazy. He never puts away his clothes, he never does his homework, and he never helps do chores. She mentioned that he had a nick-name in their family, and that everyone calls him “Lazy Liam.” I guarantee you Liam is only fulfilling the expectations of the words spoken to him. The bar has been set for Liam to be lazy and he is fulfilling it.

Our words and our expectations greatly influence our children.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

We set the standard.

Let’s raise the bar!

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Give Me Bundles

Big Picture Parenting / Prayer

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“The results of living by God’s value system aren’t immediately apparent like clean windows or a newly painted wall…Satisfaction seldom comes instantly in mothering.” (Jean Fleming, A Mother’s Heart)

When my heart grows weary as a mother, I ask the Lord to give me bundles.

When I say bundles, I envision a cluster of ripened fruit, fresh from the vine.  I imagine that it’s the fruit of my labor, of my planting.  Out of His grace, He provides this for me…He knows my heart.  These bundles usually take form during a conversation or activity with my children.  When my son, who is 7, says…”Mom, I think I’m gettin’ used to Jesus.  I like reading the Bible,” this is evidence of the Holy Spirit stirring in his heart.  And, when my daughter, who is 5, asks me to read Psalm 139:14 to her…I know this verse is stamped on her heart & mind for a reason.

Again, I know the Spirit is at work.  I consider this a bundle of fruit.

There are many, many messages of ‘finding joy, peace, comfort’ in trials and tribulations…in valleys & war zones of life.  Certainly, in raising children, we will encounter these things, & we will need the Lord.

But, what about seasons of plenty?  Seasons of joy?  In seasons where fruit is in abundance?

A few nights ago, my children and I watched a documentary about Joseph.  God gave Joseph the gift of interpreting dreams.  While in prison, Joseph accurately interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh, leading to his release from prison.  What he told the Pharaoh was of great significance to the land of Goshen (Egypt).  In short, there was going to be 7 years of feast & 7 years of famine.  At the time of Joseph’s interpretation, food & resources in the land were in abundance.  So, the Pharaoh knew that eventually, famine would come.  Joseph told him…’you must prepare by storing food for the time of famine.’

Right now, our family is in a season of plenty with our children.  *Note :: We have not ‘arrived’ in some mystical place, nor have these steps been made overnight.  And, for the record, we still struggle…everyday.  But, we are able to enjoy God’s presence in our home.  I am sharing this to encourage you…yes, YOU.

I believe the key to our season of plenty has been a realization that only scripture can make sense of our life.  Using God’s Holy Word as the training manual for child-rearing will ‘prepare the soil of the heart for the plowing of the Holy Spirit.’ (Tedd & Margy Tripp, Instructing a Child’s Heart).  *John 3:6

My husband and I are far from perfect.  We are not Bible scholars.  We cannot recall every detail of every Bible story.  But, we are called to share the gospel of Jesus with our children. We are called to bathe our children in the truth of His word, so that they can begin to see themselves as part of God’s unfolding story.

In February, our family committed to daily devotionals and scripture reading.  Needless to say, God’s Word has become a bit more ‘real’ to us all.  We are experiencing excitement about the Word like never before.  Our children are learning the importance of redemption…not because we told them they needed to be saved, but because the ‘fall of man,’ as outlined in Genesis, explains that our only hope for redemption is through God’s provision in His son.  They are reading about role models for faith and boldness, such as David.  They are sensitive to the trials of those like Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers & imprisoned.

We have found that we are talking more about the Lord, His ways, His goodness, His glory.  I have prayed that this will ‘fill our conversations – not in a way that stifles, but so that the fresh breezes of biblical truth are blowing through the house’…(Tedd and Margy Tripp).
Like the Pharaoh in the story of Joseph, I know that a season of plenty represents a season to ‘store up’ treasures, words, experiences that will fill our hearts and our home in times where ‘fruit’ in mothering is not immediately apparent.  Our time is now.

What season are you in?  Do you need evidence of God’s goodness & mercy at work in your children, like I do?  If you are without words or feeling weary in your faith, remember this…”Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24.  

Know that He, our unchanging Lord, will anticipate your desires.  He is ready and watchful.  He will impart to you, sweet mom, what you need.  He will not abandon you…he’ll never leave, nor forsake you.  Rather, He will go before you, in your journey of mothering.

Do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8).  And, do not hesitate to say…Lord, give me bundles.

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What My Child Sees

Prayer / Teachable Moments

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner and it is inevitable that each year the kids do some project at school where they talk about their mom. (And, they usually reveal something mom may not want shared with the world.)  A discussion came up in my bible study group about this topic and the impression that our kids have of us as parents. One mom talked about a project where the kids were asked, “What is your mom’s favorite thing to do?”  Everyone in the grouped cringed a little at the idea of what our kids might say to that query.

About a week later I mustered up the courage to ask my son that very question.  “What do you think my favorite thing to do is?” And then I braced for the answer.

Please don’t say Facebook, please don’t say Facebook.  Or phone; please just don’t say playing on my phone.  Or sleeping; I do like a good nap, but please don’t let him say sleeping.

“Hanging out with me.” he said.

Whew! That was a close one!  Way to go me!

“You are right!” I said. “Spending time with my family is my favorite thing.”

A moment of pride.  Proud that the things that I am doing in my everyday is making him feel like he is important to me.  Proud that he understands that he is more important than Facebook, or my phone, or even my naps.

And then he spoke again.  “But shouldn’t your favorite thing be prayer and spending time with God?”

Dang.

My feeling this time was more of a sucker-punched-in-the-gut type thing. Huge mommy fail.

Truth is, I usually spend my time with God when my son is at school or after he goes to bed.  That is when it is quiet.  That is when I can have my time and have it uninterrupted.  In looking at it from his view point, we pray and talk about Jesus as a family and I require that he has personal devotion/prayer time, but he does not see me spending time praying or in the Word all that often.

Not that there is anything wrong with having my quiet time when it is quiet, but I am here to be an example for my child and he needs to SEE me spend personal time with God.  He needs to SEE my passion for Jesus.  He needs to SEE me pray.  He needs to SEE me serve others.  He needs to SEE that I make God a priority.

Children learn best by example.  Not by words, but by actions.

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. (Titus 2:7 NLT)

I love my husband and I love my son.  I have been called to be a helpmate and a mother.  To love them both.  To encourage and support my husband.  To teach and nurture my child.

But NOTHING is to come before God.  And my child needs to SEE that.

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Cinnamon Toast, a Lunchbox, and a Door

Big Picture Parenting / Christian Life

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Its been 5 years since my precious momma went home to be with Jesus. Boy do I miss her. So many moments I wish I could share with her. Wishing I could tell her just one more time what a good mom she was. Upon her diagnosis she looked at me and said, “I will never see you have children.” My mother was a woman of deep, rooted faith.  Don’t you know the sweet Lord allowed her to see all 3 of my babies. My little John William, who is my last,  was born in October, and she passed away in December.

Now ask anyone that knew her,and they will tell you my mom loved being a mom. I never remember a time when I felt we were a burden to her. The sacrifices of motherhood were never met with dread or annoyance. No, they were met with sheer joy. She viewed this calling of motherhood as her greatest gift and most precious treasure. Now she wasn’t perfect.  She lost it sometimes. She had a life outside of us. She was a wife, sister, daughter, friend, but we came FIRST, and knew it.

My sister, brother and I love to talk about our memories of her. We all have distinct memories that marked each one of us. Allow me to tell you a few of my favorites. Cinnamon toast. Every morning on my way downstairs to catch the bus,  that heavenly aroma of heavily sugared bread filled the kitchen. Notes  in my lunchbox. Any of you moms write those?   I had a Holly Hobbie lunchbox.  Man, I loved that lunchbox.  I can remember sitting down at the Fair Oaks Elementary lunch table, and pulling out one of those little treasures. “Just reminding you I love you.”  “Have a great day” it would read.  Another was my mom standing behind our glass storm door every afternoon as I got off the bus.  Every day she anxiously awaited my arrival.  I knew she wanted me home.

We love sharing our memories of her. Laughing and crying recalling each one. They are all different, but there is a common thread that runs through them. She found great JOY in being our mom.

What about you? Do take joy in being your children’s mom? Do you delight in the fact that to your babies you simply are their momma. Do they know that mothering them is not something you have to do, but something you want to do? That all of the sacrifices required, messes to clean up, fires to put out…. are done not out of obligation, but joy.

Doing a word study on joy…man there is a ton of joy in the bible. One of my favorite definitions I found was :

~Joy- The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.~

Isn’t that awesome. Looking further into scripture Psalm 43:4  “Then let me go to the altar of God, to God my [highest] joy, and I will give thanks to you on the lyre, O God, my God. He is the source of all joy. He is Joy.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make the path of life known to me. Complete joy is in your presence. Pleasures are by your side forever.” 

That was my mother’s secret. Her joy for mothering was a direct result of finding her COMPLETE joy in Jesus. He was her highest joy.

Moms, our joy must be found in him first.  He alone is the source of joy.  Oh that our children know even in all our “mess up moments” the absolute honor it is to be their mother.

Lord allow us to look at mothering through the lens of great delight, knowing that mothering is an exceptionally good and satisfying call.

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Slamming Doors

Christian Life / Teachable Moments

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One morning as we were getting ready for school, our daughter became frustrated with the fact that my husband and I had were not attending to her need of getting dressed in her time frame.  She wanted it done and she wanted it done right now!  We were both helping our boys get ready in the other room and told her we would be there soon.  Instantly she began to slam her door repeatedly in anger at our hesitation.  After five or six slams, my husband walked up to her door and scolded, “if you slam this door one more time…” to which our daughter slammed the door right in his face.  Discipline immediately followed not only for her disobedience but also for her disrespect.

Later that very day, as I was loading the kids in the car, I had asked them to sit in their car seats and begin to buckle themselves. We have three small children who are all still in five point harness seats – loading the car often takes a few minutes. My oldest son and twin daughter are able to do this independently while I help my twin son buckle up.  After repeatedly asking them to buckle up, I became frustrated at their disobedience.
The next thing that happened, I am not proud of.  In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that out of my own frustration and anger, I slammed my car door.

In that moment, it was as if the door of realization had slammed into my face knowing my daughter was only imitating the behaviors earlier that day that she sees in me.  She becomes easily angered.  Like me.  She shows her frustration physically.  Like me.  She needs discipline and correction.  Like me.

It was in that instance, God disciplined me.  I realized I am part of the problem, perhaps even the originator of it.  How can I expect them to do what I cannot do myself?  I know change is a process that takes time and effort.  Just as my discipline with my children is consistent and ongoing, so is His discipline with me.

Even the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15 states, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do NOT do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  I can relate.  I cannot change my children, but I can change myself as I renew my mind, my heart, and my spirit through a relationship with Christ every day.  As human beings, we learn by observation and imitation.  As a former kindergarten teacher, I taught my children by modeling instruction.  I could not just say it and expect them to do it.  I had to demonstrate and show them.  The same is true for raising our children in every aspect of discipline – behavioral or spiritual.

I must begin with myself.  I have to spend time in prayer and in God’s word.  This is essential to the cultivation of the Christ-life in me.

I must be the change I want to see in my children.

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Fanning into Flame

Teachable Moments

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I have really felt called the last couple of months to focus on the books of Timothy when praying for my son.  I have focused on ideas such as: he will know and preach truth (2 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:2), that he will be example for believers (1 Timothy4:12), that he will have a pure heart and sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5), and that he will pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, and love (1 Timothy 6:11).

But in praying through the book of Timothy, I almost missed MY calling within the verses.  2 Timothy 1:6 says “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…”

I have been praying for these spiritual gifts to be given to my child, but God is calling me to fan those sparks within him into flame.

In an earlier post I talked about my son speaking to a group of kids about salvation.  This was an opportunity to fan this flame that I almost missed.

I lead a group of kids in a Bible club once a week.  All year we have been teaching the kids about God and Jesus and the love that The Lord has for them.  As the week approached where we would discuss salvation and the sacrifice of Christ, my son asked me if he could come to the group and present this message.  I quickly dismissed it.  Logistically, it would be difficult- I would have to check him out of school a little early and drive all the way back to where the group meets, he would miss part of his last class, there would be make-up work, etc.

My husband (the very wise man that he is) said “Think about this- he is telling you that he wants to share the gospel.  Do not overlook that.”

My son was clearly displaying the very desires that I had been praying for God to give to him and I was blowing it off! The opportunity was right before my eyes and all I could see was logistics.

So many times I look to encourage my son’s talent in other areas of his life.  When he shows an interest in basketball, tennis, or a musical instrument, I sign him up for classes and encourage him to practice to increase his skill level.  When he shows enthusiasm for a science class or reading, I buy books and telescopes.  I want to enliven those passions.

But none of those things are of eternal value.

If I want my son to make things that are of eternal value the priority, I must set that precedent now.  I must make developing those skills and championing those desires in him MY priority.  For when those spiritual gifts become a flame, he truly becomes a light.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

Lord, I ask you to give me eyes to see the opportunities to fan into flame those gifts that you have given my child.  Help me to focus on those things that are of eternal value; give me wisdom and revelation to the ways that you are at work in our lives.  And Father, thank you for allowing me to join in the work that you are doing in my son. It truly is a blessing.

What are some ways that you encourage your child’s spiritual development?

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Example

Big Picture Parenting

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My life experience as a child was not cheap.  In so many ways, it was rich…not in the way of having lots of money, but in my imagination and interpretation of the ‘world;’ it was simple and satisfying.  My brother and I would play from sun-up to sundown outside.  Tree branches were magical horses, ‘tea’ was made from muddy water, & the bridge to a far away land was an old rotted-out tree.  There was a small airport seemingly close to our one-street neighborhood.  I remember spending hours with binoculars watching the planes take off & land in the distance.  SO exciting.  We had little ‘things’ of value, but lots of value in our experiences.  Those memories seem a lifetime away…

Today, ideas about what makes life enjoyable, successful, & fulfilling have been dashed.

I have the privilege of meeting each week with women whom I adore.  They are moms, just like me J We read together.  We study together.  We pray together.  We encourage.  We support.  We nurture.  We are an eclectic mix, but we have a common aim…to raise our children with the love of Jesus.  As I was preparing for our next meeting, I came across this statement…

“We must be discerning about the entertainment we provide.  We may be inviting unwelcome guests who become difficult to evict.”  (Tedd & Marcy Tripp – Instructing a Child’s Heart).

Ugh.  A train of thoughts flooded my mind.

I could’ve choked on this truth.  It was that thick.

A verse I had read earlier in the week came to mind :: “Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?” – Isaiah 44:10

Could it be that idolatry is in my home?  In my heart?  In my children’s hearts?

This is what I know about idolatry…it poses a huge risk in enjoying God and accepting Him as enough.  We were purposely created with a need that only He can fill.  Many of us, and our children alike, have recognized that need to be filled & done so through salvation in Jesus.  Yet, living in sin, the presence of the Holy Spirit is suffocated in a self-indulgent & visually stimulating world.

The nation of Israel was much like this.  They had been given everything…much like we have, if we have accepted the Lord as our Savior.  But, they traded in what their hearts could know for what their eyes could see.  In Isaiah 44:10 (above), we see that this profits them nothing.
So…how do we prevent our children from making a bad trade?  How do we prevent their hearts from becoming deluded?  How do we open them up to a rich life & not a cheap experience?

We can’t.  Not alone, at least.  We’ve got to be in step with God.  Time in prayer and planning must be spent.  Yep.  Time.  I know…it’s a foreign concept ;) But, Jesus faced a time crunch too.  Mark Chapter 1, vs. 29-39 tells a beautiful story of Jesus being in step with God.  After Jesus healed Simon’s mother-n-law, the whole town gathered at the door…many were sick and demon-possessed.  Jesus drove out the demons.  The next morning, while it was still early & dark, Jesus went to a solitary place to pray.  Shortly thereafter, Simon & friends interrupted his prayer; everyone was looking for Jesus.  Jesus replied…’let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’   

Jesus was in perfect step with God.  Why?  He had just spent time face-to-face in prayer with Him.  He sought his Father’s wisdom and direction for His ministry; therefore, Jesus didn’t miss a golden opportunity to share His richness with others.
Let this be our example.  Let Jesus be our example.

Our children may miss Jesus in their quest for satisfaction, but He is faithful & just to forgive, and to purify them from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

They may ‘feast on ashes’ (Isaiah 44:20), instead of the life-giving word of God, thus cheapening their life experience.

They may grip tightly every idol that Satan casts before them.

But…let us cling to the promise that…‘in this world, we will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33).

Thank you Lord for not condemning us.  Thank you for loving us.  Thank you for forgiveness.
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Play in the Dirt

Big Picture Parenting

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As a mom of 3 I can tell you that I don’t need anyone to tell me what I have to worry about.  I guarantee you I’ve worried, dreaded, wondered over just about everything.  I truly have to “take every thought captive” daily.

Lately though I’ve found myself fearing that one of our kids will “fall away.” Wondering if we are missing the mark in our parenting. I’m not really sure why I’ve been feeling this lately, but I’ve really been asking God to help me get to the root of it.  In my asking I feel God has given me a clear answer.  I DON’T know how my kids will turn out.  I DON’T know if they will follow hard after him.  I DON’T know if they will rebel and turn their back on him.  I DON’T know any of those things,  BUT what I DO know is that God’s word will not return void.  That everything that is of Him that is planted in their heart WILL take root and produce.

Isaiah 55:11 says “It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

A promise that the eternal things I am planting in my kids hearts WILL ALWAYS produce fruit, and not only produce fruit but ACCOMPLISH all he wants it to.  One of the definitions of the word accomplish is “to bring to completion.”  Amazing. Not only will his word produce fruit, but it will bring to completion all he wants to accomplish in their lives.  I don’t know how he will play out their lives to accomplish his will.  I don’t know what path he has marked out to”complete” this work he has begun in each of them.

Matthew 6:34 says”So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” 
So my focus must be on today. Focusing in on what God would have me plant in them TODAY. Trusting him for their tomorrow.

We must plant! We must sow into them his word. We must put it before their eyes and put it into their ears. Standing on that promise that his word PRODUCES and ACCOMPLISHES!

Go get your shovel, let’s plant.

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Glory

Teachable Moments

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I am always searching for specific prayers to pray for my children.

In my own personal study of God’s word this week, I am slowing learning how to define God’s Glory.  I believe that His Holy Bible is part of His tangible glory, presented to us.  So, if you are searching for specific prayers for your little ones, I encourage you to start (and end) with His word.  God’s Glory is one way that He shows ‘who He is.’  “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). 

Defining God’s glory is almost impossible.  Even the Old and New Testaments define it differently.  In any instance, I have learned that “when God’s glory appears (in whatever form), it just can’t help but interrupt any routine.” (Beth Moore).  I love that.  His glory is how He makes himself known.  In regards to the hearts of our children, I believe the Holy Spirit introduces the glory of God when their hearts are prompted to accept Him.

When we speak to our children about accepting Christ, we talk about the cross…how Jesus died, why He died, & the forgiveness of sin.  Hebrews offers another account of God’s glory here…”the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3).  So, Christ IS the very glory of God.

Application:
We can use this passage to pray specifically for the realness of God’s glory to pierce our children’s hearts so that they may accept Him as their savior.  Let’s pray that His glory be recognizable.

As much of a mystery as His glory is, it is His desire to ‘make known the glorious riches of his mercy, which is Christ in us (in our children), the hope of glory.’ (Colossians 1:27).

We can also pray for the spiritual maturity & glory-growth of our children…that they develop an understanding of what it means to be liberated through God’s glory.  We know that what they are meant by God to be will never be attained on this side of Heaven, but we also know that their only hope of living freely is to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.  I desperately want my children to live in freedom.  This is my plea!

We have GOOD news :: God is far too tenacious to be thwarted by our sin…our age, our family history, our unbelief, self-righteousness, or filth.  He is always in pursuit of our hearts…of our children’s hearts.  LOVE that.

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Mommy Loves You

Big Picture Parenting / Christian Life

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Jesus loves me
This I know,
For the Bible
Tells me so.

A simple song that I have known my entire life.  Simple stanzas that are so complex to comprehend.  He allows me to catch a glimpse of His infinite love; to wrap my finite minds around His incomprehensible adoration for me every now and then.

As children we hear the song and believe without question that Jesus loves us…then somewhere along the way, we grow up and begin to lose sight of His love.  We become aware of our faults, delinquencies, and weaknesses and innocence is lost.  We become privy to prejudice, influenced by immorality and meander in malevolence.  He never changed although I did, and yet He still loves us.  He still loves me.

When my first born cried as a baby and was not easily consoled, I whispered to him, “it’s okay, mommy loves you.”  Or as he learned to walk and stumbled as he fell, I would rush to him and cradle him in my arms and assure him, “Mommy is here.  Mommy loves you.”  As a little boy having bad dreams in the middle of the night, I would hold him and reassure him, “everything is okay. I am here.  Mommy loves you.”  I wanted him to know that just the fact that I was with him and that I love him was all he needed in life.  I wanted him to understand that my love was enough.  I know that he would never fully be able to comprehend how much I love him or even be able to love me as much in return, but I wanted him to know “mommy loves you”.

No matter what he may face in life, I will love my child.  No matter how much he hurts me or hates me, and I know he will in the teenage years, I will love my child.  In spite of his faults, delinquencies, and weaknesses, I will love my child.  Nothing could ever keep me from loving my child.

Parenting has given me a glimpse into how my Heavenly Father sees me as His child. “Nothing will separate us from the love of God” Romans 8:39.  No, I will never fully be able to comprehend how much He truly loves me or ever be able to love Him as much in return, but knowing He does, is enough.  It will always be enough.

Yes, Jesus loves me,
yes, Jesus loves me,
yes, Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so!

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photo credit: Sheila Steele via photopin cc

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