Friday, December 22, 2006

Preparation for Motherhood, Part 2


I know I’m supposed to write something nice and mushy for Christmas, but my mind is still going about the subject of preparation for parenting. Last time I wrote about what I believe to be the first and foremost “requirement” for successful parenting, and that is, after having a living and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, to have a wonderful and loving relationship with your husband. Today, I’d like to deal with what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of child training:


Developing “Backbone”

Mothers are famous the world over for being loving, kind, sweet, and always thinking the best of their children. I’ve noticed over the years, however, that mothers are also known for being “pushovers” – allowing their children to get away with everything short of murder!

Not being willing to say “NO” is the root of an established selfish streak in a child. A mother who is afraid, or even who has reservations about crossing a child’s will, quickly finds herself in situations far beyond her control. A mother needs to have some “backbone,” willingness to say “no,” even when she doesn’t feel like it.

This philosophy doesn’t get along very well with the modern “do-whatever-feels-good” society, and I’m afraid many young women were coddled themselves, and so do not know what it is like to have someone say “no” to them. For young women such as these, there is a very high mountain to climb, but it is not unclimbable. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”

Denying the flesh is the heart of the matter. A woman who is not willing to deny herself and work hard will be unable to require that of her children. A woman who has a “hissy fit” when things don’t go her way will find it nearly impossible to direct her childrens’ wills, and insist on quiet compliance.

We must understand the outcome of what we currently allow. Everything done to a very small child will magnify itself, until the child is grown, at which time the character traits will actually be a large part of what the young person is.

Susanna Wesley, mother of the famous men of God, John and Charles Wesley, said it this way,

“In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will and bring them to an obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time, and must with children proceed by slow degrees, as they are able to bear it; but the subjecting the will is a thing that must be done at once, and the sooner the better, fot be neglecting timely correction they will contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which are hardly ever after conquered, and never without using such severity as would be as painful to me as to the child….I cannot yet dismiss the subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children ensures their after wretchedness and irreligion: whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident when we further consider that religion is nothing else than doing the will of God and not our own; that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, not indulgence of it can be trivial, no denial, unprofitable.” (emphasis mine)

For some reason, many of us have a tendency to allow boys, especially cute little ones, to “get away with more,” for lack of better words. This does not help them at all! They grow up to be big, self-centered mommy-coddled clods! Don’t let it happen!

Ladies, we need to have some backbone! Be willing to say “No!” First to yourself, and then to your children!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Preparing for Motherhood

Here’s a question that was posed to me recently, and I thought is was a very good one.

What can I do, as a wife, to prepare myself for motherhood?

(Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically or all of the above)

When I first saw this question, I came up with an immediate answer. Then I thought to myself, no, that’s too simple. So I thought about this awhile longer. Then I came right back to the same answer. The more I thought about it, the more I can see the truth of this.

So, my answer to this question is: the best way, as a wife, to prepare for motherhood is: Learn to LOVE your HUSBAND! As I said, it sounds like a very simple answer, but I believe it is one of the keys to being a good mother. The main key, of course, is a good relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but the next major step would be constantly developing a good relationship with your husband.

Children put an incredible strain on a marriage. And it’s not just when they’re babies, either. Everything from differences in child training practices, the child manipulating one parent against the other, and even just not having much time to communicate are constantly putting stumbling blocks to a good marriage. And with each added child, though each is a wonderful blessing from God, the dizzying round of activity and confusion increases.

If a marriage is cemented in Biblical values and love, it will weather many a storm, and you can be sure the storms will come. But without both of those things, there can be no anchor for the marriage, and every problem becomes a nightmare.

When there is a problem in the marriage, it is a problem with the children. It is the old story of the man having trouble at work, comes home and argues with his wife, who in turn yells at the kids, who in turn kick the dog, who in turn bites the cat! But if the marriage is solid and the wife is right with God, the man may come home and try to argue with his wife, but her soft answers will be an encouragement and blessing to him. Then when she turns from him, she can smile at the children and speak words of blessing and comfort to them. In her tongue will be the law of kindness.

Last week, I was able to spend a most wonderful time with my husband. We talked, joked, laughed, and then went out for lunch where we planned, shared burdens, and bounced theories off of each other. It was a time of seclusion and romance, just the two of us. But when I got home from my escapade into dreamland, I had an unstoppable smile. The kids could spill the milk, fight over a baby doll, and step on my sore toe, and everything was still all right. The moon was beautifully bright, and my husband loved me more than anyone else in the world.

What makes a great mother? Love. What better preparation for motherhood could there be? And there can be no more stabilizing influence in a family than for mom to be terribly in love with dad!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Question About Blanket Training

Hi, I have a friend who is dying to know about this blanket training thing. I just want to see if you have anything to add to the way I described it to her:

"I watched Lisa train her one year old (he's now 3) to play on the blanket. She just put him on the blanket with some toys and she sat near him (off the blanket), holding a wooden spoon. She tapped/hit all around the edges of the blanket with the spoon. He just looked at her-it was funny. Then, she said, "Are you having fun on the blanket? Jason is playing on the blanket" very calmly and and happily. Of course, when he did the inevitable, put his hand outside the blanket she gently tapped his hand and said, "stay on the blanket". She only left him there for very short time and then did it for about 5 minutes the next day and so on. She said the older they are the faster/better they learn it, but every child is different, probably. Hope it works well for you. Again, she didn't even hurt his little hand, just basically touched it with the spoon to get the point across. I'm sure you could use a thump with your hand if you didn't want to use the rod. "

Thanks!
Kerry


Kerry,

I had a whole booklet written on the subject of blanket training, but it's been so long ago, it got lost in some other hard drive crash and the hard copy disappeared with one of our many moves. Ugh! It goes into great detail on the why's and how's, but...

Much could be written on the subject. I think you described it in a nutshell, though. Little children find it very amusing to see me tapping the spoon around the edges of the blanket. They think it is a game at first, and, really it sort of is. They are very surprised when they first put a hand off the blanket and receive a little swat with the spoon. But with patience, perserverence, and brief training periods, even a very young child can learn to willingly stay on the blanket.

This is very helpful for times when you just need junior to stay put for a bit. I practiced during daily family devotions, so when we needed to stand up in a church and sing, the child would sit contentedly on his blanket. It's really very effective, or at least it was with my little ones *until* they figured out how to slide the whole blanket across the floor! Well, then we had to change tactics a bit...

Hope this helps. I sure have enjoyed answering. Makes me feel like I know something. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tea Time

For just a few moments, time stands still. I an no longer the busy mother – I become Lady Elizabeth, and my tea companions are no longer my little girls – they become the most lovely acquaintances to converse with: Lady Pricilla, Princess Mae, and Lady Esther.

For just a few moments, we have the most elegant tea, surrounded by the finest things to be seen. We exchange news of our travels; one has traveled to Washington and England, another across the Great Sea to a new, strange land, and another to Michigan, to visit a Queen and her friends. We discuss the wonders of this modern era: the new steam engine and the telephone.

For just a few moments, we use the best of manners, and give each other the most lavish gifts – hand-woven silk handkerchiefs from India, the most exquisite hand-painted miniature tea cups, and the finest Egyptian parchment. We have the grandest of times. We tell stories, laugh at old jokes, and revel in each other’s captivating company.

For just a few moments, I lay aside my responsibilities, and become my girls’ best friend.

Because I know that childhood is only…for just a few moments

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Learning to Lean


The Lord has been so good to me, but I am realizing, as I reflect on this year, that some of the best things that have happened to me have been the most difficult ones. And the reason they are the best things, is because they have caused me to lean on the Lord more than before.

This past year, I lost my wonderful mother. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, to hold her hand as she was slipping out of this world, and realize that these were the hands that fed me, dressed me, and held me, like I do now to my little ones. These hands and this dear person would not be here any more to talk to, to be with, to laugh with, to ask questions of, or to share little tidbits about the kids with. Those days are gone, they are over.

But I am learning to lean more on the Lord. When my oldest daughter got married, it was a wonderful time, but a very difficult one for me, since I missed my own mother so much. She was so much looking forward to that wedding. She was supposed to be there! But, the Lord was still there, though my mom was not. I can ask Him questions, tell Him my troubles, and seek Him for guidance.

The Lord has allowed me to go through this, and grow through this. I am very thankful
for His presence and His wisdom!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Blessing of the Lord


I thought I’d let you soak on the good news for awhile before I went on with some deep subjects.

The Lord has been good to me, in allowing me to make some nice savings on groceries. I did some internet searching, and found www.grocerygame.com, a place which will match local sales with local coupons. I tried the trial subscription, and found that I saved about $44.00 in coupons in just the first week! This is my fouth week now, and I saved $43.04 in coupons! I’ve been averaging in the upper $40’s and last week, actually hit the $50.00 mark! I know that’s not big time like some folks, but it is a real blessing to me.

I’ve been paying less, and bringing home more. By maxing the savings, my pantries are slowly getting more and more full. I used to go shopping every week at Walmart, and spend about $150.00 every week, take it home, and have it all consumed within the next week! Then I’d go to the store again, and do it all over, only to have it eaten up by the next week. (That’s not difficult when you have 7 children at home, 3 of them teens, to feed.) Well, now, I’m spending approximately $20-30 less, and slowly building up my reserves, so that in time of need I’ll have something to make.

I also desire to have enough to feed soldiers who come for dinner on Sundays, without feeling like I’m sacrificing a lot. I have enough ketchup now, that if a guys comes who likes ketchup on everything, it’s not going to make any difference. What a blessing this has been to me!

It has also been a lot of fun, going through the store and seeing what I can find cheaply. As I heard someone say before, it can be very addicting.

“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth not sorrow to it.”

P.S. I hadn't thought of it before now, but if you sign on to www.thegrocerygame.com and you tell them I recommended you, I can get some free weeks!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Mother…

What a wonderful word. It just speaks of kindness, gentleness, patience, and love. It is smelling flowers, walking in windy fields, and wiping chubby hands. It is one of the highest honors to be bestowed on a human being in this life. To be a mother is to be the recipient of the greatest blessing of God known to mankind, and yet, it is the highest responsibility known to man, or woman for that matter.

Mother…

How wonderful is the word.

But wait! Could there be something more wonderful?? I’ve heard, maybe. I guess I’ll find out soon enough – I’m going to become a grandmother!

My sweet daughter and her husband found out that they have been blessed with a baby, which is due sometime next year, probably in July! Praise be to our Wonderful Lord!

Could there be something more wonderful, yet more sobering, than motherhood?

Maybe…

Congratulations, Kathryn and Matthew, my beloved children! May God’s richest blessings be upon you, and if you have children half as good to you as you are to me, you will be blessed beyond all measure!

Friday, November 3, 2006

Thinking, and Seeking, and Praying...

Lately I’ve been listening to a sermon by Dr. S.M. Davis on “Passing Your Values Onto Your Children.” I say, I’ve been listening to it, because I listen to messages dealing with homemaking and child training while I am in the bathroom getting ready for my shower, and after I get out. It takes time, maybe a week or so, but I at least get to listen to something that can impact my life during those brief moments in a day which could be wasted.

Anyway, the message has really been getting me thinking. Dr. Davis deals with the importance of leading our children to understand the “why’s” of life. I feel there is a real lesson for me in there somewhere, dealing with the things I’ve been thinking about lately, and hence, writing about.

I've been seeking the Lord, and asking Him for wisdom in this area. I feel this is an extremely important issue for today. When I solidify my thinking a bit more in this area, I will pass along what I am learning. Hopefully, it can be a blessing to all of us!

Monday, October 30, 2006

My disciples

I was going about my usual business last week, and I noticed something. It was not an unusual thing I noticed; it was something that happened all the time. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. What I noticed about this thing was something that God was speaking to my heart: I have my very own disciples, my little children.

I went outside to hang out the laundry, and my 7-year old, 5 year-old, and 3 year-old followed me out to play. As soon as I went in, they followed me inside. When I went to the store, they begged to come along. When I go to church, they are following me everywhere, to the point that if I turn around, I often trip on one of them! I must admit, regretfully, that I have often wished they could just “go play by themselves for awhile,” so I can get something done. But this past week, as we were at a missions conference and the Lord was working in my heart about the lost around the world, He very gently showed me the little ones in my home.

“These are your disciples,” God seemed to say. As I sat in my pew, with the preacher going on and on, I realized what potential I have been ignoring. Here I have with me on a daily basis, a small group of young people completely dedicated to following me in whatever I do. They love me and want to be with me. They want to do what I do, and learn from me. What an opportunity! I can pour good things into their moldable little lives right now that I will never be able to get in later on.

I asked the Lord for forgiveness for taking such a grave responsibility for granted, and asked Him for help to teach and direct them in the right way. I soon had my first test!

Saturday morning, it was time to clean the van. Now, you have to understand a little bit about us to understand the enormity of the task of cleaning the van. We have a large 15 passenger van, and it was extremely dirty on the inside from remnants of our 4 ½ month trip. I had cleaned it a few times during our trip, but it had been awhile, and if you can imagine a family of 8 living out of their van for a few months, you can begin to imagine the disaster which we called home for awhile. It was going to be a big job, and I knew it. This job would only be made bigger and more complicated if I added some small children to it. But I knew that not only did the van need cleaned, but also the children needed to spend some time helping me clean it, so we could work together. They need to learn that work is a daily occurrence.

So, we set out to clean the van. I had four helpers: all the way from the 11 year-old on down. It took all morning, and was lots of work, but in the end, we had a very clean van, and some happy kids! I told them I would give them a few caramels if they worked hard, and they sure did work to get those things! And my, did they enjoy them when they ate them! And what a clean van we have now! I made sure I told everyone how the little ones and I cleaned the van out, and all the big kids, and even Daddy oooo-ed and aaahh-ed over such a clean vehicle! How good that made those little kids feel!

They are learning each and every day. I try to drop little bits of wisdom, and now I am trying to have them work with me as we go about our days. How wonderful it is to serve God by investing of myself in my little ones! They are my disciples.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Has Your Son Asked Yet? Part 2

I’ve been looking for the proper time to get into “Has Your Son Asked Yet?” Part 2, but it’s been a long and difficult week or so. Has it been that long ago? As most of you know, we’ve been traveling, and have finally arrived home a week ago today. Well, unfortunately, someone brought their little sick child into church Thursday night, and we all came down with the stomach flu. With a family of little ones, it’s a messy time. Thank God for a washer, and a sweet husband!

Anyway, getting back to the topic of kids asking questions and our responses - our children have a lot of information they need to daily process into their brains. As a result, they have many conflicting reports, and even thoughts that are difficult to understand, depending on their age. And, as I said before, once they are old enough to see that our family does things differently than some other families, they wonder the age-old question, “why?”

It should not surprise us that they ask. Yet, for some reason, most of us are mortified by the question. I think the fear is related to personal failure. Let me explain.

I have a dear friend who e-mailed me, saying that,

“I also remember not knowing why we did certain things, and later learning the reason why from somewhere else and telling my mom. She would just say, "You knew that! I told you that already!" She indeed could have told me a lot of these things, but either I didn't get it or didn't remember. Also, if I asked about something she got impatient or mad and thought I was trying to rebel about it.”

Why did her mother get angry? Simple: she felt threatened. She had an awfully lot riding on that little gal, and if she didn’t turn out the way she thought she should, then it spelled failure for her as a mother. Her daughter’s simple question became a personal threat.

A flood of emotions instantly goes through my mind when one of my children questions why we do what we do. They don’t know? Where have they been all this time? Have I failed to communicate this to them? How unsettled are they on this? Is there anything else they are questioning? Are they questioning this because they don’t want to do it? Don’t they want to please God? Are they headed down a path of rejecting truth, ending in certain destruction? HOW HAVE I FAILED? All these emotions become balled up in our hearts and can come exploding out the mouth, and we can say ugly things to our beloved children, even accusing them of rebellion, when perhaps all they want is information.

This emotional, uncontrolled response will only drive a wedge between our children and us. Before long, they will stop asking questions, fearing the nuclear explosion that is sure to follow. But it will not help them come to a proper conclusion in the matter in question.

If we are prepared in advance for the questions when they come, it will surely help us to field them. How can we prepare? 1) Be much in Prayer 2) prepare – study up on your convictions. Be sure they are convictions before enforcing them on your family. 3) remember how the Lord led you to that conviction, and be prepared to tell your children. And 4) Make sure your explanations are rational and logical. Many young people think they are rational, for the most part, and want to have things explained to them as though they are able to think through some difficult topics logically. Encourage them to understand that submitting themselves to God is their “good and reasonable service.”

The Bible says, “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Blowing up at them is not nurture, nor is it biblical admonition.

Let’s ask the Lord to help us know how to answer our children, so that we can lead them in the right paths.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

SAVE 30% OFF MEAT!

Biblicalwomanhoodonline.com is doing Frugal Fridays, so I am participating when I can think of a frugal tip!

Anytime I can save money, especially on meat, it is a blessing! I found that the Walmarts in my area mark their meat down 30% on Thursday, to make room for the shopping rush on Friday & Saturday. If I went early enough (they begin marking down at 6:30am!), I could get many different cuts of meat for 30% off Walmart price, which is already usually pretty low.

A few months ago, I went to the meat department and asked them when they mark their meat down and they told me. It has been a real savings for our family!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

WE’RE HOME!!!

After 4 ½ months on the road, the Rolling Raub Ranch has come to a temporary halt. We are finally home – for now.

It was like Christmas all over again, with the little ones seeing all their long-since forgotten toys, and us trying to remember where everything was, including the dishes! We arrived home at around 6:00pm last night, and immediately looked over the property. With our 11 acres, it was no small task, but we did it nonetheless! Then we found out that none of us had the key to the house! Within a few minutes, however, someone produced a key which had long been forgotten about, and we went into the house with much trepidation.

Thankfully, everything was in great shape. It was a bit dirty from the hustle of preparing for the trip, but otherwise pretty good. But not for long – we began carrying 4 ½ months worth of accumulation, and it soon turned into a war zone. As of this writing, 11:25 pm the next day, we are slightly dug out, but there is still much to be done.

But for now, we will enjoy being home, and between periods of digging, we will enjoy each others’ company and keep you posted!

Friday, October 6, 2006

Frugal Fridays! Sponsered by Biblicalwomanhoodonline.com

My tip:

Finding inexpensive gas while traveling:

We travel a lot in the ministry, so it is imperative that we find inexpensive gas in the areas we are in, or going to. I just go to http://autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx?zip=&src=Netx and plug in the zip code of the area I am in or going to, and it will give me to location of the cheapest gas in that area.

This has been invaluable to us on the road, since every penny saved in the tank is a penny used to feed my 7 kiddos!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Busy times

Never fear; I haven’t forgotten – Has Your Son Asked Yet Part 2 will be forthcoming!

We have been traveling, and are having revival meetings this week. It makes for a very busy day when we have school during the day, prepare all the kiddos (baths, etc.) every afternoon, and meetings during the evening.

The Lord has been gracious in allowing us to sing and preach (my husband, of course,) this week. My Beloved is preaching on the Potter and the Clay – a series of 3 parts.

In the meantime, while I am still writing Part 2, I would love to hear from some of my readers. Please leave a comment so I know that someone is out there! It is strange sometimes to write for a faceless audience – I’d appreciate your comments!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Astrological Sign?

Someone asked me a question about my profile, wondering if the “astrological sign” is the same thing as a zodiac sign or a horoscope.

I just want to let everyone know that I did not put that on my profile personally – it must have come with the blog template. I tried another template, and that had the same thing. This time, when I deleted my birthday – hooray! – the astrological sign disappeared!

No, I strongly oppose zodiac, astrological signs, and horoscopes. These things are open doors to the occult, and I am SO GLAD they are off my profile!!

Thank you, anonymous, for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Has Your Son Asked Yet? Part 1

“And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land…that all te people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:20-24

Since we had been driving most of the day, we were all very tired. Most of us were quietly at a missions apartment, enjoying various evening activities. Though I was very busy getting the little ones bathed and ready for bed, I was definitely enjoying not being in the van. It was during this very busy and tired time that one of my sons asked a question I was totally unprepared for: “Why do we do this such-and-such a way? When I was little, you would just tell me that it was bad, but I’m older now, and I would like to know why we do it this way.” Needless to say, I stopped right in my tracks and began to try to explain why we have that particular standard. I soon realized two things: that the explanation would require much more time than I had immediately available, and that my explanation needed to be thought through completely before I could verbalize my beliefs.

You see, standards are like the stones that the children of Israel raised up: they are the outward expression of an important lesson God has taught us. It is an expression of our love for Christ (“if you love me, keep my commandments”) and a practical application of your beliefs (for example, since it is true that God created men and women to be different, then we should dress differently, etc.). Standards are visible “pillars” in our lives that make us different from those who do not know and love the Lord.

But just like the pillar of stone in Israel, one day when our children are old enough, they will wonder why we do things differently. They will one day ask, “why do we do this this way?”

There are two parts to this scenario.

One part shows me that if the parents had been doing their job all along, the son would have no reason to ask – they would already know the answer. In my case, that was part of what shocked me – I thought I had been explaining it to him, but apparently what I have been telling him was just the simple answer I would give a 5 year old. I’ve been saying things like, “we don’t do that, that’s not good. That’s not the way the Lord would have us do it.”

The second part is that your son WILL ask if they don’t already know. They will be curious. They will notice the world around them and wonder why your family does things differently than other families. They may even get to the point where they do not even ask for information, but sometimes as a challenge, “But WHY??

Knowing that they will ask, or at least will be curious even though they may not even verbalize that curiosity, we as parents need to be prepared to answer any question they may have. Many of us have been children of God for awhile, and we sometimes lose touch with the “why” of what we do. We would be wise to regularly refresh ourselves of the way the Lord has led us. As we tell our children step-by-step how we came to the conclusions we came to many years ago, may the Lord help our children to have understanding hearts in these matters.

Believe me, I am doing some heavy-duty remembering and thinking, as well as praying and searching the Scriptures. And maybe it’ll be the topic of a future entry. But in the meantime, I need to find a chunk of time in my schedule to spend some quality time with my son! J

Monday, September 18, 2006

What Can We DO?

Many people are confused about a very important issue when it comes to training their children. They wonder what they can do to put their children on a godly path. They read everything on child training they can get their hands on, attend numerous seminars, and invest in character training curriculum only to experience deep frustration when their children do not seem to be “getting it.” Though these well-meaning parents have put a lot of effort into guiding their children down the right path, their offspring may very well snub their nose at the whole business and go on their own merry way, leaving the parents to wonder what they did wrong.

The key word to that entire previous paragraph was the words “did,” and “do.” I believe with all my heart that, though what we do is vastly important in the eyes of our children, it is what we ARE that makes them into what they will be. It is not so much what we DO that is important, it is what we ARE.

This is an extremely important concept, which many overlook. That means that for any work of eternal value to occur in the lives of our children, it is virtually wholly dependent on what we ARE as parents, not what we DO, though what we do is also important. We want our children to be godly Christians. ARE we godly Christians ourselves? We want our children to be submissive to God and to us – ARE we submissive to God and to our husbands? We want them to read their Bibles and have a vibrant relationship with God – ARE we living as close to God as we should?

You see, it is much harder to BE different than it is to just DO some different things. We are now talking about our flesh – our stony heart of flesh. In our flesh, we are able to put on a good show and work hard, if necessary. We can determine that we will do a certain thing and make sure it gets accomplished. We can do a very good job at lots of things. But to BE is a different matter. To BE loving, to BE patient, to BE kind, to BE joyful, to BE gentle, to BE longsuffering – that requires the Holy Spirit of God. It would be so easy to write about a method to get children to do something, but to write about getting children to BE something for God requires the parents Being something for God.

There are so many child training methods out there, all of them the subject of much debate. Demand feeding or scheduled feeding? Use the rod, or no? Which curriculum is best? How can we teach them to be responsible? Keep a schedule, or not? Unschooling, or classical education? What should we DO????

The world is loaded with literature on the HOW of child training, and yet, it is the state of BEING of the parents that is the crux point. It is so much easier just to do something good – follow a formula, or a prescribed set of rules or regulations – than it is to BE something good. And this is right where it gets difficult – this issue demands every parent to examine herself, searching her own motives and desires. It goes right to the HEART of the matter.

The Bible says we should “keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” It is the heart which is the parent to what we do, and how we deal with our children. Do we want our children to be patient? You know where I’m going with all this – are WE patient?

So they question is not, “DID you use the rod or didn’t you?” The question is now, “ARE you consistent?” It is not, “DO you have a schedule or not?” The question is now, “ARE you seeking to please the Lord with the use of your time?” The question is not, “DID you do school today?” It is now, “ARE you seeking to do God’s Will today?”

Oh, how we desperately need the Spirit of God to guide and help us as we examine ourselves, and to humble ourselves before Him. Though what we do is vastly important, it is not so much what we do, as what we are!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

THERE IS NO PLAN B – PART 2

“My hope is in God…”

Many people think it would be great if their children would grow up to serve God. They seem to think that if their kids go do their own thing, it is no great loss. After all, how can we expect them to live godly lives in this generation? I spoke once with one dear mother of ten, who said, “If just one or two of them turn out for God, then I will be glad!” I thought, Just one or two of them??!!? Which ones are you willing to allow to go to the lions? These kinds of people think that, though living for God is the ideal, it is not really encouraged, nor is it expected. They are surprised when they meet a young person who fervently desires to live his life for God.

In my last post, I mentioned that one of the main helps to me in child training is the absolute necessity of having the help of God! I can not – repeat, can NOT – raise a child for God without His help! If I sense an adverse attitude, I must cry out to Him with an earnest expectation of His help. I do not have another option, there is no plan B.

Then, we must understand that there can be no other option for our children but serving God! Now, I don’t talk to my children and tell them that. I don’t threaten them. But deep down in my heart, I cannot be satisfied with a mediocre Christianity for my children. Whatever they may do with their lives, I want them to be the godliest person they can be. Though they may be a policeman, a plumber, or a homemaker, they must have a living, growing, vibrant relationship with God! They cannot have strength for the journey without it.

Some people seem to think that having children who will serve God after they leave the home would be a great idea. For me, it is an all-consuming passion. It is a day and night, with every breath, vehement desire on my part. This all-encompassing vision drives me to my knees and to the Word of God. I become a student of my students – I study them, searching for slight shades of attitude problems, seeking for guidance from God and godly people. I can leave no stone unturned in my quest to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

This all-encompassing desire has two outlets: 1) my relationship with my children, and 2) the passing of values to my children. I cannot, however, have the second without the first. I must have a good relationship with my children before they will embrace the values I show them from the Word of God. These two important missions are completely consuming to me. For me, there is no other option – there is no Plan B.

It is this principle that has led my husband and I as we have made some very hard decisions in our lives. The Lord has helped us get rid of things, add other things, and basically changed us as parents. He has changed not just what we do, but what we are. We cannot be the “normal” American Christian and expect to turn out great spiritual giants for the Lord. We need to be different, in order to make a difference.

Which brings me to my final point: why bother? I mean, why put all this effort into pouring our lives into our children? Someone needs to make an impact on this society for God – someone needs to reach this godless generation. There are more people in the world now than ever before, and less people witnessing – less missionaries, less pastors, less godly Christian workers. This has got to change if we are ever to reach the world for Christ.

Marriages are failing at an incredible rate. We need a generation who knows how to stay together “til death do us part.” We need a generation who will raise another generation for God. We NEED to raise our children to serve God – there is NO PLAN B!

God does not have another option for reaching the world if we don’t do it. There is no army of angels waiting on the sidelines to take over if we fail. He has given us this Great Commission, and we must accomplish it, or die trying! THERE IS NO PLAN B!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

THERE IS NO ‘PLAN B’! part 1

These next two entries are especially designed for young mothers – those who can most profit from such exhortation. My heart goes out to those godly ladies whose children have gone off into the world. Their plight is one of the most difficult in human existence, and it is not at all my intention to increase their sorrow. Please accept my humble condolences for you during this difficult time, and recognize that for many, the battle is far from over.

Ps. 119:136 “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law.”

III John :4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

A father of several young adults recently took our family out to eat after church on Sunday night. We enjoyed a blessed time of fellowship, sharing blessings from the Lord and insights from Scripture. During the course of the evening, he began to talk with my sons, ages 18 and 16. I could tell that as he was speaking to them, hearing their aspirations to serve the Lord in full-time capacity, and noticing their fervency for the Lord, he began to get very excited. It was almost as though he had never seen a young person who truly wanted to serve God with his life. He seemed joyously surprised, and troubled at the same time. Unfortunately, two of his three children have gone out into the world, and, though one has “come back” (at least for now), the third may be already pointed that direction, though she has not graduated from school yet.

I was once asked by a missionary candidate what I “do” to “make my children turn out for God.” I thought briefly and told her very pointedly, “I think a good part of it may be because I have no Plan B. There is no other option for me.” (By the way, it’s not what we “do” that makes them turn out to serve God, it is what we are! But that’s another subject for another time.)

First of all, we must understand that if the Lord does not help us in child training, there is no Plan B – we MUST have His help! “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” “…for vain is the help of man.” All efforts of pointing children to God must begin with God. He is the One to give us the wisdom, guidance, patience and strength. To attempt to do God’s work without God’s help is foolish indeed. And so, having children has truly strengthened my prayer life – when I sense adverse attitudes or habits, I cry out to God on behalf of my child. Sometimes this must be accompanied by fasting. But my God is strong enough to help, and even change the situation, though many times He changes me first.

Many people seem to have a back-up plan. There is a plethora of written material on child training, from Dr. Spock to Dr. Brazelton, to Dr Phil, and none of it is the wisdom that descends from above. None of it is empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. So to try to raise a child with the world’s philosophies and practices and expect him to turn out for God is quite foolish indeed! “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to choose the good and refuse the evil.” We simply cannot have a back-up plan of worldly advice and still raise children for the glory of God! We MUST have His help!! There is NO Plan B!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

WRITIN’ GRANDMAS

I've been thinking lately about about old age, and its effects on people. My last post was about how many compromise when they get older. This doesn't have to be the case, however. We can live godly lives throughout all our days, encouraging others to do the same. What an impact we can have on the next generation!

Many of our young people lack a purpose in their lives, and thus become fodder for every temptation and wind of doctrine that blows by. They live their lives aimlessly, not considering their future, or having any idea what they could or should be doing with their lives.

This lack of purpose can be headed off by some wise words of influential people in their lives. And who could be more influential in the life of a young person than their mother and grandmother?

How wonderful it would be if godly young ladies would determine in their hearts to do whatever it takes to raise godly children. They can spend their youth bearing children, training them, and loving them, showing them the right way to go. Then when they become grandmothers, they can write – they can write about God’s wonderful works, and about how God helped them raise a godly generation.

Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.” And again, in verses seven and eight, it says, “That they (the children) might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.”

Why did the children of Israel begin to serve other gods? Because they were not taught the marvelous works of the Lord God of Israel! Why do our young people lack purpose to serve God? Because the older generation is not doing their job to tell the marvelous works of God!

You may say, “Oh, but there’s already a lot of information out there, written by people who communicate much better than I do, and it looks better, too.” Maybe so, but no one can write your experiences, and that is exactly what we are called upon to do. Your children and grandchildren would love to know how God worked in your life and brought you through some valleys – it would help them trust in the same God who can bring them through some valleys as well.

Oh, what could be accomplished if godly Grandmas began to write what God has taught them! Oh, what a plethora of tremendously influential material could be written - and that from the eye of experience - how to serve God, how to love our husbands, love our children, and have a happy life raising a generation of godly children.

Lord, give us a generation of writin’ grandmas, that we can raise a Christ-like generation!

Friday, August 18, 2006

DANGER: OLD AGE AHEAD

Now, I don’t know about you, but I enjoy skating. So, when we got an invitation to go skating with a church, we naturally took them up on it. I’m a kid at heart, so I looked forward to skating as much as the young folks in my home. But I was unprepared for the surprise that awaited me at the rink.

Everything was going fine, until the music started. Some of the songs were recognizable as godly hymns or spiritual songs, but the vast majority of the music was nothing different than the same old rock music I listened to when I was living selfishly as a lost young person. As I was skating my circles, though the words of the songs were “Jesus words”, I still felt the same surge of adrenaline I used to feel when skating to the same old rock music. I thought to myself, This is horrible! If I wanted a rock concert, I would go to one, but I don’t want to subject myself to a rock concert!

I began thinking about the Pastor of the church, and how he used to preach against rock music and contemporary “Christian” music. I thought about how his children grew up listening to godly music, but now they are listening to worldly music, and his grandchildren may be subjected the completely secular rock music. I remembered how, as his children grew older, his music standards began to slide, and I came to a very sobering conclusion: getting older is very dangerous.

It seems to me that as many people age, they get tired of holding onto the godly ways of living. They get tired of the questions from their young people, and get tired of having to explain to others why they do what do. They get older, and they get tired.

How many times have I seen an older person who used to stand for God, and used to live a godly life, who no longer does. Somewhere along the line they decided that they have “learned better,” or have “grown out of it.” Many of these are the same people that had to endure the hardship of family pressure to compromise, but who stood for years to do God’s Will. Now they have relaxed their standards and no longer make a difference in the world around them. They are older. They are tired. They are making very dangerous moves.

I know a preacher that in his younger days stood for the Lord, and preached to live a godly life, but he had a heart attack, became sick, and got tired. His older children are living godly lives, but he is losing his younger children to the world. Though his actions may be entirely justifiable as physical difficulties, he has lost his determination to do whatever it takes to raise a godly heritage for God.

It scares me when I see folks who know better getting older and tired. I see the importance of determination, and I ask God to help me. Lord, don’t allow me to relax until I get to heaven! Rest time is later – now is the time to serve God!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Of Sharks and Daughters


Earlier I wrote about the professional shark feeder who found out the hard way that a shark is a shark is a shark – it cannot be expected to perform any way other than a shark. I applied this to our relationship to our husbands, and how we cannot expect them to act any way other than the way they are made.

Another thing the Lord showed me through this is my changing relationship with my newly married daughter. If you’ve been reading this blog any length of time, you know that my oldest daughter just married the beginning of July, and I found myself out of a dear friend. It is difficult to be only a phone call away, and even sometimes not hear from her for several days. Maybe I’m s bit spoiled or selfish, but I think of her often and miss her greatly.

Since I hadn’t heard from her in several days, I finally called her on Friday and left a message on her machine. Unfortunately, she didn’t return my call, and I actually ended up calling her on Sunday just to make sure she was still alive! Thankfully, she is, and so I am relieved, of course, but a bit irritated just the same.

Now, my memory jogs me a bit, and I remember times when my mother would call me in exasperation, wondering if I had fallen off a cliff or got wrapped around a tree. I would always be surprised that she was so concerned! And now, here I am, in exactly the same shoes.

My dear daughter is starting the adventure of her life – making her own home and starting her own family. It is a very busy, happy time! Her mind is understandably not thinking about us a whole lot.

And that’s where the difficulty lies. She has entered into a new phase of life, and I am not looking at the hard facts. Just as a shark cannot be expected to act like anything other than a shark, so a newly married daughter cannot be expected to act like one who is not. I must love her for who she is, not what I would like her to be.

By the way, I would not want her to be overly attached to me – it would greatly endanger the new relationship with her husband. She needs all the time with him and attention to him that she can muster to be the proper wife. I must love her for who she is.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Of Sharks and Men

Don Reed was a professional diver who fed tank sharks for a living. He had a healthy respect for the creatures, but still developed a special bond with one of his sevengill sharks. There were many times when he felt that just perhaps the shark was bonding to him as well – until the day he felt her powerful jaws clamp down on him!

You see, Don made a dangerous mistake: he allowed his emotions to get in the way of what he knew to be true. He knew all along that she was a shark, and that he could at any moment become shark food. But he wanted to believe that she was different than she really was. Thankfully, he survived the incident with relatively few wounds, but the words of a friend left a greater impression on him than the sharp teeth: “If you truly love an animal, you must love it for what it is, not for what you want it to be.” It was then that he realized his mistake, but he also began to appreciate her for what she really was – a slim, graceful water creature who would always be a shark.

Friends, when I read this story, it just about knocked me over! Here is one lost man telling another lost man something that many Christians never even think about, let alone understand.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me desperately and takes good care of me, but there are many times when I let my expectations of him get in the way of his sweetness. I cannot expect him to act in a given situation the way I would act. He is simply not me! (And that’s a real good thing, by the way. Could you imagine being married to yourself? J) To expect him to watch the children the way I do, or clean the way I do, or do anything the way I do would be completely senseless, and the sooner I figure that out, the better.

I must love him for what he is.

This requires a good, hard look at the facts, which we often try to sugar-coat. We want things to go a certain way, and then get upset when they don’t go that way! It also requires that we understand that our way may not always be the best way. Now, I’m not talking about living a godly life – that’s living God’s way, not our way, and His way is ALWAYS the best way – but I am talking about the day-to-day tasks that do not have a right and a wrong way to do them, like washing dishes, or scrubbing the table.

Notice that I am applying this to the upline of our authority – our husbands – not to the downline of our children. If you are trying to train a child to set a table, and you want it done a certain way, then by all means, require that it be done the way you want it done. But don’t expect to train your husband! If he wants to set the table backwards, just be glad he is setting the table at all!

Love him for what he is. If he is a man who barks orders and then whirls around and expects you and the children to follow, then love him for his command man personality (and fall in line quick! J) If your husband is very slow to make decisions, then love him for the fact that he is very careful before choosing one way over another. If he has a million idealistic ideas, then love him for his desire to change the world. Realize that if even one of them gets accomplished in his lifetime, that will be of greater impact than the vast majority of men accomplish.

Love him for what he is, not for what you want him to be.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rising Above the Roller Coaster

This month has been an incredible whirlwind emotional rollercoaster for my family and I – but especially for me.

It was the first day of this month that we gave our daughter away in marriage. And I mean, it was a giving away – she is now living in upper Michigan, and we are traveling on the road – we will not see her during the week like many people see their married children. We will not get to be with her and her new husband for dinner every once in awhile. We do not get to see the look of love pass between the two of them as they sit in the church service. She has been given away, and we no longer have her.

It has been truly difficult for me, and I have been unable to really write about it until now.

But I quickly remind myself that this is God’s plan. The man she married is a wonderful, godly, loving, hard-working young man, and a great preacher. She married in the Will of God, and I need to be thankful for the direction He has led us. I need to put my emotions aside, wipe my selfish tears, and thank God for His working to establish another godly home.

I am learning to rise above the roller coaster.

I despise emotional roller coasters. I hate the great swings of loneliness, the dips of depression, and the downs of irritation. And yet I find myself bound to this roller coaster, being in the flesh. My hormones are especially the culprits – or, at least I like to blame them! Being bound to the flesh means riding the roller coaster, unless I can find a way to release myself from the bonds of this world and float above the dipping, churning ride.

But I find myself unable to rise above this world on my own – I need God. God is strong enough to release me by His promises, to take care of me, and of my family, and of my daughter who is gone. He is strong enough to help me, encourage me, and strengthen me through these times. His Will is wonderful enough to walk even in the dark. He is enough - for me. Through Him, I can float above this crazy roller coaster of life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

OUT THE WINDOW, OR IN YOUR HEART


Yesterday I was talking to a dear friend of mine, and we were discussing our favorite subject: child training. We were talking about the fine balance between being stern and being friends with your children, and she mentioned that, in her family, the two never seemed to combine at all, and at one time her brother went out the window and ran away. To this day, he blames rules for why he left home.

Now, I know nothing of this young man’s parents, or his family, so I cannot say one thing about them. But it got me thinking: was it really rules that was the problem?

Everyone has standards. My standard for a sandwich is that it must have mayonnaise, and it cannot have mustard. Tomatoes are out, and cucumbers are in. And, it ought to have whole-wheat bread rather than dried white glue. Though my standards for a sandwich are not the same as someone elses, I still have standards.

In our lives, we have standards. The only difference is, that some people have much lower standards than others.

Since we have been on the road these past few weeks, we have been staying at church missions apartments, homes, motels, and missions houses. While staying in a home for a few weeks, I noticed the very high standards of cleanliness the host family has. They diligently washed every dish as it was dirtied, kept the washer and dryer going, and even folded and put the laundry away when it was clean! Though I didn’t do the white glove test, the corners of their rooms were visually clean, and the home had very little clutter. It was quite a refreshment to be there.

My pastor tells of the time when he and his wife and children were invited to stay in the home of a widower. “It ain’t much,” he said, “but I’d love to have y’all.” They should have clued them in, but they couldn’t have been prepared for what happened when they got to the man’s home. The coffeepot was a disgusting black, clutter was everywhere, and when you walked, it crunched! Later, they told us that when they went to go to bed, they had to moved a mound of laundry off the bed (clean laundry? Who knows?), and the roaches scattered!

This poor man obviously had a standard for cleanliness, but it certainly wasn’t up to my pastor’s standards!

In our home, we have rules. These rules are not the same as someone else’s, but they are rules just the same. My assertation is that it is not the rules that are the problem – everybody has rules, just rules of varying degrees. What happened, then? Why do people go out windows and run away? I believe it is the lack of a solid, loving relationship. Rules without a relationship always breeds rebellion.

It is vitally important that we develop close relationships to our children. We need to love them deeply, so much so that they truly know we love them! Never let down the standard, and never set aside a good rule that has stood your family for years, but increase the expressions of love to your children. They will listen to what you have to say if they know that you love them and you are looking for what is best for them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SELFISH MOTHERS

Recently, we were at a church in the area where we grew up. As young converts, we attended special meetings and picnics between this church and our church. It was during this time when we met a fine young man named Joe. Joe had recently gotten saved, and his zeal for the Lord was boundless. It was evident in his humble attitude, his calm manner of living, and his warm smile.

As we got to know Joe, we found in him a fine example of the grace of the Lord. He grew in the Lord to be an exemplary Christian, both in word and deed. Around this time, another young lady in the area got saved from a wicked lifestyle, bringing with her a young daughter. In the process of time, God led these two young people together. My husband and I had the supreme honor of being able to sing at their wedding.

I mentioned that to Joe that morning. It was then that I saw a shadow pass his face. “Ah, those were in happier days,” he said wistfully, and looked away. Throughout the morning I kept my eye out for his sweet wife. Isn’t she here? I wondered. So after church at an opportune moment, I asked the Pastor’s wife, and what followed was one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard.

It was now almost 20 years later, and her little girl had grown up into a beautiful young lady. She was engaged to marry a young man in the church as soon as she graduated from college. But something went terribly wrong. During the course of events, while the daughter was away at college, her mother began a relationship with her fiancĂ©! And so it happened that she stole her daughter’s fiancĂ©, ruined her own family, and completely tore the hearts of the fiance’s parents!

I have been shocked almost speechless all day because of this woman’s selfish acts. I knew her well – how could she do this?? I can only come up with one conclusion: selfishness! And so, I began thinking of the one thing a child cannot bear: a selfish mother.

When we think of motherhood, we think, and rightly so, of the embodiment of self-sacrifice. It is through becoming a mother that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death to bring forth the new life. We give everything we have and everything we are, to our children. We give them food, money, and clothes. We give them our names, our likeness, and our personality traits. We even give them time, love, and security.

But it is not so with all mothers. Nor is it so with us all the time. How could this mother ruin her daughter’s life? Why did she do it? She did it because she had her own desires to satisfy!

But this didn’t happen all at once. First there is a thought pattern of selfishness, then an action pattern, a group of habits. At first they are not too obviously selfish, but they are nonetheless. But selfish thoughts don’t stop on their own. Our natural inclinations take us down fast. It becomes a circular pattern, circling ever lower. Before you know it, everyone is shocked that “such a nice person” could do “such a thing as that!.”

Selfcenteredness on the part of a parent is something that is very difficult for a child to understand, let alone handle. It is too difficult for a young one to understand that Mommy wants to do her own thing and doesn’t want to “be bothered” by the little stories or songs.

Look for selfish signs in your own life. Are they there? You’ll find them lurking in the hidden places of your heart. For your family’s sake, repent! For God’s sake, repent! And if for no other reason, for your own sake, repent! Maybe God will restore to us the years that sin has taken, and the joy and peace that selfish thoughts and actions have stolen. Revival begins with us.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Love is an Action


Today I vacuumed my bedroom and bathroom. Unfortunately, our bathroom floor has carpet (nasty carpet, too – but it will soon be going! J). Now, I seem to have a mental block to vacuuming those two room, so it can build up sometimes. But my husband really likes to have the floors looking nice, so I decided that, for him, I would try to keep them clean.

As I began vacuuming today, it occurred to me that perhaps love is an action verb, rather than a noun. We had always been taught at school that love is a noun – a thing that cannot be seen or felt, but a noun nonetheless. But it seems to me that the expression of love is one of the most important things in a relationship. To my husband, a clean floor is an expression of love. And so, to be a blessing to him, I did my best to vacuum our floor all nice and neat.

Many people think that love is a feeling. I used to think so myself. When I was young (younger??), I felt the goose-pimple rush of blushing infatuation just thinking about my dear hubby. Evenutally, however, that teeny-bopper feeling grew into a deeper commitment to respect, love, and be a blessing to him. I learned that love is not merely a feeling. Love is an action based on a decision. I decided, years ago, that I would love my husband. And these 22+ years, I have been expressing that love in a myriad of different ways, showing him that I love him. I sometimes have those gushy feelings of infatuation, but I have decided that I will love him with or without feelings through various loving actions. These little expressions of love keep our marriage going these many years.

Love is putting lego arms on tiny little lego bodies for my daughter. Love is getting up and making breakfast when I don’t feel like it. Love is trying to keep a clutter-free home so we can all enjoy it. Love is serving a cup of iced tea on a ninety degree day. Love is making a mess decorating Christmas cookies, even though I hate voluntarily making messes. And love is being willing to let your sweet daughter go, to be the wife of a godly young man and make a home for them both.

Love is serving. Love is selflessness. Love is sacrifice.

Love is an action.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Joys of Soulwinning

In our town near Fort Hood, the city hosts an annual Festival which draws crowds of close to 120,000 each year. This is quite a leap from our normal population of about 40,000! Folks come from all over central Texas to enjoy the heat, the booths, the rides, and everything. Our church here has had a booth set up at the festival for the past few years. But not a booth to sell anything, and not a church booth - a soulwinning booth! At the booth there is a display which asks folks questions about God, the final question being something like, "Did you know that God can't let a person into heaven unless they have been born again?" From there, the onlooker has the opportunity to learn how to be born again, and if they want to, they can go talk to someone who can explain what being born again means, and how, according to the Bible, we are born again.

Last night was my opportunity to "woman" the booth, while my oldest daughter stayed at home with the children. (I couldn't "man" the booth, could I?) It was quite a blessing for me to take the time to pass out some smilie booklets (with the gospel in them), and then to talk to several groups of people about the Lord. I even had the wonderful opportunity to lead a young lady to Christ! This was such a blessing to me!

But even more wonderfully, each of my three oldest children have had the opportunity to present the gospel to many people. Some folks have even trusted Christ as their Saviour through their witness! This is truly exciting for me. After all, isn't that what the Lord left us here to do? Isn't that what life is all about? What a wonderful thing to be able to point others to the Saviour! And I am blessed that it has been quite a boost to my young folks, as well.

They are on their way home right now - I can't wait to hear the stories tonight!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Mother-Daughter Relationship

Ah, blessed springtime! The time of new growth – new leaves, new flowers, and baby chicks. I love spring, almost as much as I love fall. I love to grow things, whether it is a plant, a tree, or a baby chick. Or even just a baby!

With Mother’s Day here, I’ve been thinking lately about the relationship between mothers and daughters. I enjoy a wonderful relationship with my oldest daughter, as well as each of the younger ones, and I know it is a growing process. This growth does not happen overnight, nor does it happen without some work on my part, but the harvest is tremendous!

One of the most vital things in developing good relationships with our daughters is a vision! Having a vision for a good relationship with your daughter is vitally important to passing our faith onto the next generation.

Deut 6:2 says, “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statures and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.” I think this applies to daughters as well. After all, who will be raising your grandchildren?

(Psalm 78: 4, 7) “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful workds that HE hath done…That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments”

Catch a vision for what the Lord can do through you! You have the incredible opportunity to impact the next generation for Christ. Then, through them, we can reach the world! This is a very big vision, but it begins at home, one heart at a time.

It is so important to have a multi-generational vision. This is the eye that looks beyond ourselves and our own desires and needs, even beyond our own families and church, and looks deep into eternity. Think about some of the great mothers in Scripture:

Jochabed, Moses mother was nursing a future prophet of God, called the meekest man on earth

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, changed diapers of the man of God of whom it was said that “God did let none of his words fall to the ground”

Ruth, the mother of Obed, grandmother to David, held in her arms the one who would be father to the great king of Israel, called the “man after God’s own heart”

Who were the mothers of these godly mothers? We are not told who they were, but we know from the lives of these ladies that they must have been godly women! Think about it for a minute - Who knows whose diaper we are changing? Who knows whose dinners we are making or whose messes we are cleaning up? We may be raising a great man of God, or the mother of someone who will greatly impact our world. How vastly important this business of training and loving children is!

It is this very vision, an eternal vision, which will enable you to look beyond the drudgery of the day-to-day tasks and see the working of God in your family. It is this vision that will help you do whatever it takes to grow a good relationship with your daughter.

Ask the Lord to help you be an agent of His eternal will! He desires to use you to guide His daughters in the right path!

Have a Happy Mother’s Day, and enjoy your daughters and all your children!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Communication in The Techno-age

In this techno-age when all you have to do is pull a cell-phone out of your pocket, whip off an e-mail, or hop into your vehicle to pay a visit, why is it that we talk less and less to each other?

Back in the “old days,” before people began going around in cars, it would be the typical thing for people to head out for a Sunday drive with the horse and buggy to go visit some neighbors or relatives. With the work for the week being done, they would spend hours sitting on the front porch talking, laughing, and telling stories while the kids would play. Evening would come, and with it, chore time, so the family would gather back into the buggy for the ride back home. These weekly excursions were a treasured time, a memory not soon forgotten.

And much transpired during those times. Binding a family together, those old stories were told and retold, sometimes losing their shape, but always getting more interesting. The kids learned about how Grandpa was out hunting and his friend accidentally shot his foot (hunter safety), or how Grandma thought that painting an ice-box white would turn it into a refrigerator (childish thinking can get you in trouble.) More than anything, they learned that their parents were kids at one time, making mistakes and learning about life, just like they were. Those wonderful times of communication were a way of transferring values, beliefs, and philosophies about life.

But times have changed. Though we have become a faster, sleeker society, with tools for communication all around us, we rarely develop those close relationships which breed wonderful memories. Not even with those of our own household! Though we have so many useful appliances to help us get our work done faster, we no longer have those blocks of time of several hours to just sit around and enjoy being with someone. Something is missing in our relationships. Is it really that we have very little time, or is it simply a matter of focus?

What a wonderful thing it is to know that you are known, and better yet, to know that you are also loved, even though you are known. That’s what friendships are! But, oh, it is so much better to have those blessed friendships with those of your own family! Not only do we share the same genes, the same family history, and the same background, but we also share the same home, and I can be with them all the time! It is the hunger to develop those close relationships among family members that will drive you to take the time necessary.

With all the techno-inventions screaming for our attention, it would be highly difficult to turn from them and take time to be with the family. But that is what we must do, if we are to build close relationships! So, take the time – turn off the tube, walk away from the computer, and leave your cell phone at home. Go to some quiet place with your family, look them in the eyes, and begin the blessed journey of communication. Talk, laugh, tell jokes! And most of all, love them, and tell them so.