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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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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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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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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Little is Much

Big Picture Parenting

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, endless blogs, etc., etc.- you could say we moms have enough things to occupy our time and our eyes.  We are but a click away from seeing how we measure up to other moms. I must admit, I’m guilty.  I love social media.  I love my IPhone.  But like everything else in my life, I have to balance it.  Constantly asking myself, “What am I setting before my eyes?”.  Is it the constant comparisons I see on social media?  We tell ourselves that we aren’t good moms because we can’t cook like her, pray like her, dress my kids like her, so what do we do, nothing!

God has called and equipped each of us to do something.  God is in the business of making MUCH of LITTLE.  In Matthew 14 the story of the loaves and fish; it was just 5 loaves and 2 fish that fed a multitude and had 12 baskets leftover.  In Luke 17 Jesus tells us all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed.  Now the mustard seed is the smallest of the seeds, yet Mark 4 says that when planted,it becomes the largest of all garden plants.  1 Samuel 17, it was a smooth, SMALL pebble that David used to slay Goliath.  Example after example of God requiring only a little, yet making much of it.  As a busy mom of 3, that is so freeing to me.  We mustn’t let what we can’t do paralyze us to do nothing.

Now I have some very talented friends. Friends who can cook like nobody’s business, whip up some beautiful wreath for their front door and sew beautiful clothes for their kids. I cannot do any of those things. But, I am learning that when I offer him my little; He turns it into MUCH. The funny thing is when my kids eat my cooking, they say I’m the best cook ever. When I draw some stick figure picture for them, they think it’s a Picasso. When I try to recreate something I’ve seen on Pintrest, they think its the most beautiful thing ever. They don’t need all the “fluff.” I think it needs to be big, grandiose, gourmet and like that other mom did, and yet they are a satisfied with the simple and the small.

God is asking for our little. We can simply stand and watch him make much of it. Stop comparing yourself to the standard you see on the Internet. Hebrews 13:21 ” may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”  

“We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

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The Heart

Big Picture Parenting

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I am a Southern Baptist gal at heart. Yes, this means I appreciate singing from the hymnal ;) In the age of David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, & Casting Crowns (all of which I LOVE!), I’m warm & fuzzy over hearing the songs of my past. One of them came to mind this week as I read a story about a potter.

The potter explained that he could only create the type of pot the clay he was working with would allow him to create. In other words, clay is not passive. It is elastic and supple, & responds to his ‘molding.’ Some clay is hard to shape…crumbly.

The Lord brought this great hymn to mind:

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

In that moment, I was reminded that our children are not passive. Like clay, they respond to our shaping. Their response is tied directly to their heart…their God-ward orientation…what they know and believe about God…whether they love Him, and whether they truly understand a ‘need’ for Him. If our focus is profoundly on securing their outward behavior, we will never help our children understand the matters of the heart that push and pull it. I believe the application here is 2 fold. First, reaching their hearts. Second, trusting God with the rest.

Sometimes, when one of my children makes an inappropriate choice or acts out, I say…WHY did you do that? (Do you ask that question also?) This is how my children react (typically)…by saying “I don’t know,” by placing blame, or by shutting down completely (we are in the ‘running to your room’ phase. I say phase, because I hope it’s over soon…;) I think (on most days), I’m missing the mark…the heart. You see, straying behavior represents a straying heart.

Tedd Tripp sheds some light on why it’s crucial not to ‘miss the heart…’ “When we miss the heart, we miss the glory of God. The need of children (and adults!) who have fallen into various forms of personal idolatry is not only to tear down the high places of the alien gods, but to enthrone God. Children are spring-loaded for worship. One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness, and glory of the God to whom they are made. Parents have the opportunity, through word and deed, to show children the one true object of worship-the God of the Bible. We know that the greatest delights our children can ever experience are found in delighting in the God who has made them for HIS glory.”

When I ask my children, ‘why did you do that, say that, or think that,’ I’m shining the light on their sin, which may cause them to feel guilty or shameful, but I’m not helping them understand the source, which is the focus of their heart. This is when mothering gets tough. Most of the time, when our children do wrong, it’s at a very inconvenient time of day. And, usually, it catches us off guard. And, almost always, there doesn’t seem to be time for teaching. But, our children are not taught through thought-out, polished presentations. They learn in the moment. So, we MUST claim those minutes! We should engage them, show them grace, remind them of God’s goodness, & extend forgiveness to help direct their thoughts and hearts to God. We should be careful not to withhold love & acceptance based on how they respond (remember…it is the Lord’s spirit that will provide true cleansing of their hearts…whether the clay is supple or crumbly). This requires consistent devotion to the Lord, asking Him to keep our mommy emotions at bay…:/

The hearts of our little ones are small; yet, the battlefield is HUGE.

Truth:
A child’s heart (clay) is not neutral. It responds.

Challenge in thought:
The Lord will work in and around our efforts to hem our children in (thanks Joy!) & make them people who know Him & honor Him (we should pray to this end).

Day to day, moment to moment, let us pray…Let the hearts of our young ones be ‘yielded and still,’ as the Lord molds them ‘after His will…’ And, let us be God’s agents in leading these small hearts to Jesus. Lord, help us to “look to YOU, as the author and perfector of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2.

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My Daughter-In-Law

Big Picture Parenting / Prayer

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I pray for my future daughter-in-law.

This isn’t something that I have always done. I mean, my son is nine- I have no idea who he is going to marry. (Although, there is a really cute little girl in his class who asked him if I was his sister. I wouldn’t mind if he married her. :-) ) Marriage is a long ways off though and I was just concentrating on getting him through the third grade. Sure, I might have said the “God, let him marry someone that loves you” kind of thing before, but I prayed more about his life with his future wife than I prayed FOR her.

Then one day, a conversation with a dear friend of mine changed everything.

I had sort of a rough childhood. And somewhat messed up teen years. Which lead to very messed up young 20′s. I sat there describing the events of my life to my friend, explaining to her that I was always right on the edge of really messing up my life, but something always kept me from falling over. And while lots of people around me seemed to be falling off of that cliff, I always stayed right on the edge. Then she looked at me and said “Someone must have been praying very hard for you. Maybe it was your husband before you met him, maybe it was his family, but someone was praying hard for your well being.” Um, wow. I had never thought of it like that before.

Now my husband is a good bit older than I am (just don’t tell him I said that), so it is very likely that as I was in my teens and early 20′s, he was praying for his future wife. And that made me think, what if his prayers saved my life?

And what if my prayers for my future daughter-in-law could save hers?

Everyone knows that your marriage partner plays a huge part in a very large span of your life. Who she is and how she becomes that person will have an affect on my son. Her life story will impact my grandchildren. And she will be a part of my family. Why wouldn’t I pray for her? I mean, I may not know who she is yet, but God does. So when I tell Him that I cannot mention her by name, He knows her name and He sees her face.

So I pray for her life development just as I pray for my son. I pray for her salvation, that she grow in her knowledge of The Lord, that she seeks and speaks truth, that she hungers for the Word, and that she hear the calling of God upon her life. Everything that I pray for Aidan, I pray for her.

Who knows…it may just save her life.

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How’s Their Appetite?

Big Picture Parenting

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Recently I’ve been visiting my girls at their elementary school. They are always so happy when I’m helping with their class, or simply just visiting them at lunch. (Man I tell you; if you want some insight into the company your children keep for 6 hours of their day, sit at their lunch table.)

One particular day I noticed an abundance of note-cards floating above my head. Our school’s music department had the children fill one out with the name of their favorite artist. As I walked down the hall, I found myself captivated by the names of the artist these children had written down. I must say I was a little shocked by several choices. I quickly thought to myself, who would my girls pick as their favorite artist?

I found myself hoping the artists I’ve fed my kids for the past 11 years would be their choice. In our home we listen to about 10% secular and 90% Christian music. Knowing there are some fine “secular” artist they could pick, I felt their choice would be telling of what they have an appetite for.

I am a HUGE book person. Books mentor me. My mentors instilled in me a huge love for reading sound, Biblical books. One of my favorites is Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She says “Children will cultivate an appetite for whatever they are fed in their earliest, formative years. I have known young people from “committed” Christian homes who know more about movie stars and rock groups than they do the patriarchs or the disciples. They can sing along with all the hit songs but do not know the great hymns of the faith. I can only assume that they have an appetite for what they have been exposed to.”

Luke 6:45 says “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Wow! Seeing those simple note-cards served as a reminder of the task at hand. If I’m not feeding them, THE WORLD WILL.

I must work at starving their desires for the world and feed their appetite for the things of God. It must start with me. In our home, am I cultivating an atmosphere that stirs in them an appetite for the things of God? That alone beckons me to desperately cling to the Holy Spirit. My efforts without His help are of no value. I must partner WITH Him, trusting Him to make them hungry FOR Him.

The GREAT news is for me (and anyone who has eaten my cooking)….there is NO cooking involved! :)

Joy Signature
photo credit: Wendy Copley via photopin cc

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