prayers

These are the prayers I’m praying for me and my family this morning…

God, I pray that my family – the 5 of us – would do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility we’d consider other better than ourselves. I pray each of us would look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil. 2:3)

I pray we would not argue or complain about anything so that we may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Life. (Phil 2:14-15)

I pray that in view of Your mercy, we would offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You – that it would be our spiritual act of worship. That we would no longer conform to the pattern of this world, but be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds. Knowing that then we will be able to test and approve what Your will is – Your good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1)

1 Corinthians 13 parenting

I once had someone tell me, “in parenting, even if you get the rest of it all wrong, if your kids know what it is to be loved by you and by God, that’s all that really matters”

Soon after, I found myself in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8…or what is more well-known as the “love” chapter and I began to see what she meant. I have re-written the verses on love for me to be reminded of what this passage says to me about parenting…

If my kids are well-behaved and well-mannered, complete with “yes ma’am’s and yes sir’s”, but do not know that they are loved, my parenting is nothing.

If they can take responsibility for their actions, share the gospel of Jesus with everyone they meet and quote scripture from memory, but don’t know that it was His unconditional love that nailed Jesus to the cross, my parenting has meant nothing.

If they can get good grades in school, excel in extra curricular activities, be placed at the top of their class and be well-liked and well-respected by their peers, but they don’t know that they can rest in God’s constant and loving presence, my parenting has totally missed the mark.

If I can teach them how to clean up after themselves, the importance of order and responsibility and even understand consequences that come with poor choices, but they don’t know of the grace and love that saves us all from every mistake we will ever make, my parenting is worthless.

If my kids grow up to give all of their lives and possessions to the poor and hurting in this world, feeding thousands and saving lives, but do not know God’s intimate love for them personally, my parenting has meant nothing.

I am well aware that I am not a perfect parent,

I never will be.

But God is.

And if I fail at all other things,
but my kids know what God’s love is,
I have succeeded.

For God’s love…
is patient
is kind
is not envious
is not boastful
is not proud
is not self-seeking
is not easily angered
does not keep record of wrongs
does not delight in evil
rejoices with the truth
always protects
always trusts
always hopes
always perseveres
never fails.

 

I Corinthians 13:1-8

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails

devotional

We got a new devotional book last week that I absolutely love! The great thing about this particular book is that all it’s devotions are written as if God is talking to you, like love letters written straight from God. Honestly, I suggest this devotional for anyone…at any age (and honestly wondering if I get more out of it than my kids!)

What else I love about this book and what God has chosen to do is that one night at dinner I thought it would be a good time to read it. Dinner is one of the more stressful events in our house. Combine my anxiety about cooking with a picky eater or two and things can turn really negative really quickly (who else knows that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?) So this week, I’ve been getting the devotional out after I’m done eating and reading it out loud at the table. And the most amazing thing has happened…I am less stressed and dinnertime is much more peaceful.

What a sweet gift it is that God continues to show me that if I bring Him and His Word into any situation, the focus changes and I am reminded of His great love and involvement in every situation!

grace to grow

I set¬†her¬†on my mother-in-law’s kitchen floor and I looked up and said

“I don’t even like her”

And as¬†I stood¬†sobbing, I wanted nothing more than to leave…without her.¬†

 

I hated being a mom.

I hated what Kaitlyn’s constant crying told me about how I was doing as a mom.

I hated being attached…responsible for another person’s life.

I hated that I didn’t feel all mushy and warm inside when I held her.

Instead I felt resentment, guilt and anxiety.

And I just wanted it to go away.

I wanted her to go away.

 

So, when people tell me I’m a good mom…

All I can do is smile and thank Jesus for His grace…

Thank Him that He’s never given up on me.

For everday I am made aware that I can do nothing of any worth without Him.

And if He can make me an ok mom…I know nothing is impossible for Him.

 

I pray daily that He protects my kids from my selfishness and my sinfulness.

I cherish that He has given me a promotion in this life from just caring for myself to letting me care for them too.

I beg Him for guidance and direction daily, because I know His ways are better than mine.

And that¬†only He knows what my children’s future’s hold, and what they will¬†need to get¬†to where He wants to take them.

 

I’m so thankful that although I know He does not need me to accomplish what He will in their lives, by His grace, He lets me be a part of always pointing them back to Him.

Motherhood

A great article by Ed Young about motherhood…

Trading Spaces – Mom for a Day
by Ed Young

Mother’s Day is past but motherhood marches on. So it is important to carry the principles highlighted on that important day into the rugged plains of parental reality. This past weekend we learned that motherhood is all about trading. The godly mother needs to make three types of trades as she strives to bring her children up in the ways of the Lord.

Trade Up: Your Objectives for His Perspective
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The Bible tells us that God ways are greater than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. Being a godly mother begins with trading up our human objectives as a earthly parent for God’s divine perspective as a heavenly Father. God’s plans for our children far surpass any plans we could devise or even imagine. When you make a trade up to his perspective, you are bringing the promise of a better hope and future for your children.

Trade Off: Your Activities for His Priorities
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Being a godly mother is not about being a Supermom by the world’s standards. Rather, it is about being a mom who is sensitive to the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit. There are a myriad of activities that can encroach upon your time and that of your children. But many of those activities, while fine and good, can take the place of what is best for you and your children. The simplicity of God’s priorities can bring order to the chaos of your schedule. Your first priority as a mom is to bring your children up to be followers of Christ and his kingdom. And every activity needs to be evaluated and reevaluated in light of that kingdom agenda.

Trade In: Your Lemon for His Limo
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
God is an expert at taking whatever we have to offer and turning it into something incredible. Sometimes as a mom-whether a stay-at-home mom, a single mom, or a working mom-you might feel like a lemon: inadequate, weak, and not worth much. But God by his grace can take your trade in, the sacrifice of your life (Rom. 12:1-2), and transform it into a limo. Your weakness turns into his strength. And by the power of Christ in your life you can be a super mom in God’s economy.

For more information about this and other subjects, visit the Ed Young Ministries website: www.edyoung.org
(c) 2005 Ed Young Ministries

Activity charts and the treasure box

In the quest to encourage my kids to “do the right thing” and become part of the team we have here at home (yes, Keith is an avid sports fan…so “team” is an easy concept to build in our house) I use¬†what I call “Big Girl/Boy Activity Charts”.

Each child has a chart (yep, even Samantha) taped to the playroom door and each chart has 6¬†activities¬†for which they can be rewarded. When they do the designated activity, they get to put a sticker on their chart in the corresponding column. When they reach 10 stickers – and have at least one sticker in each¬†activity – they bring me their charts and get to go to the “treasure box” to pick a treasure (a plastic storage box that I keep in our coat closet filled with small trinkets).

Every time they fill a chart and it’s time to print a new one, I sit with them and we go through each of the¬†activities to see if any need to be changed.¬† I try to make sure there are “easy” ones and ones that will challenge what they would choose to do if the chart was not in place. In our house, the “try a new food” never gets to go away…I have some picky eaters and any leverage I can gain on getting them to try new things I’ll take ūüôā

Here are the¬†activities I have on the charts¬†for each¬†of them¬†right now (and I just use a clip art insert to show them since they can’t read yet) and pictures of the charts below:

Kaitlyn: Empty dishwasher, get dressed first thing in the morning, do homework, getting a star stick at school, try a new food, helping mom with laundry

Dylan: empty dishwasher, get dressed in the morning, cleaning up toys, laundry, try a new food, dry pull-up

Samantha: empty dishwasher, sharing, cleaning up toys, helping mom with laundry, try a new food, sit on potty