Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The heart behind parenting

This quote from Jim and Lynne Jackson struck me as a pivotal concept in how we train and discipline our children:

"It is often said that consistency is an important key to effective parenting. We agree wholeheartedly.
"However, we believe consistency is not so much about the method we choose, but the heart behind the method. If our heart is consistently operating from an abundance of God’s grace and truth in our lives, we can effectively use any variety of methods for dealing with our children’s misbehavior. But if our heart is filled with frustration, fear, or anger, no method for dealing with misbehavior is likely to be effective."

Faith

"Faith does not eliminate questions.
But faith knows
where to take them."
-Linda Watkins

Saturday, October 18, 2014

He will show me the path of life

Oh my.  It's been a long time since I've blogged.  Can you tell school is in session again? :)  Not only have I been striving hard to stay motivated to home-educate my 9-year-old, but also to be disciplined with my health goals which include: daily exercise, eating whole foods, no processed food, no coffee, no joy, and drinking 72 oz. of water daily.  (This isn't just some optional "nice thing to do"—it is vital to my mental and emotional health!)

Those two focal points consume a ton of my energy (physically and mentally).  Add in maintaining the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry—the usual stuff) and I seem to have little energy left to connect heart-to-heart with my Lord... which leaves me feeling spiritually dull.

Earlier this week I read this bit of inspiration in a weekly e-newsletter called The Homeschool Minute.  It was sort of one of those "V8 moments" (if you remember those old commercials!). Senior editor Deborah Wuehler writes about being strengthened by "eating Godly bread" throughout the day, and gives this example about how to meditate on a Bible verse:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11  
  1. You will show me the path of life: Nothing and no one is able show me the path for my life or for the lives of those around me except God. I can read books or blogs, talk to friends, purchase the right curriculum, but ultimately it is God alone who will show us His path, the reason we are here, and how to live. If I am lacking direction, I have probably begun to walk in my own understanding instead of seeking His.
  2. In Your presence is fullness of joy: Nothing else and no one else can bring me joy. I can look for joy in many things, but will only find it in one thing: the presence of the Lord. I can look for joy in material wealth, or physical healing or close relationships. I may hope for joy in dreams fulfilled or just in the lack of chaos. But I will never find fullness until I am in His presence. It's not about the things in this life that have to come to me in order to bring joy. It's not about the things in this life that have to leave me in order to have joy. It's all about me in the presence of God and the presence of God in me!
  3. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore: I tend to seek pleasure away from closeness with God. I am prone to wander and look for pleasure in earthly things or people. I think I will find it in time to myself and by myself. Pleasure is found at the right hand of God. Stay close to Him. A wandering heart will only find pain and loneliness and confusion. Wander right back to Him. We can sit in the heavenly places with Christ even if we are on this earth as we fix our hearts, souls and minds on Him; He is our pleasure.  
I just really, really needed to read that TRUTH about where my joy—fullness of joy—comes from: His presence!  Seems like a woman who has been walking with the Lord for 18 years shouldn't need to be reminded... but I know I need to schedule-in that precious time with Jesus!  Nothing I pursue on earth can replace the joy of His presence and the peace that only He can give!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We're a work in progress

This is my new mantra:  We're a work in progress.

It is SO much easier to handle the day-to-day stresses involved in child-rearing when you realize and accept that you cannot control the outcome, but you can trust God to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)!

I am reminded of Philippians 1:6... The One who has begun His good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ.  (Phillips)  We all make mistakes. Sometimes intentionally.  [Gasp!]  But we are a "work in progress" which God is developing... molding... shaping... continually refining... until Jesus returns!  We won't "arrive" at perfection here on this earth.  Perfection is really not the focus—growth is.

I also think of Philippians 2:13... For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. (NLT)  Have you ever felt disappointed in your behavior?  Guess what?  It is GOD who has given you the desire to please Him!  He also doesn't give us an impossible task—He will give us the power to do what pleases Him too.

Ahhh.  Proper perspective makes such a difference!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Houses

If I got a chance to do it again—buying a house, that is—I would choose a house where the bedrooms are upstairs and the kitchen, dining room, and living room (which would be on the main level, of course) are open and flow together without walls between them.  Here's why.

My children are early risers.  I am too.  However, I would like to rise before they do.  But, living in a rambler—where the main living area and bedrooms are on the same floor—if I'm making any noise in the kitchen, they hear me and get up.  What's the point of getting up at 5:30 if the chil'uns are up then too?

Regarding having what I believe they refer to as a "great room" these days—having the kitchen, dining room, and living room one open space without dividing walls—would be beneficial for parental supervision purposes.  Presently, I can be working in the kitchen and all kinds of shenanigans and tom foolery are going on at the dining room table, of which origin I cannot discern because I do not have x-ray vision!

Anyway... just thinking.  Truthfully, I am happy with my humble abode, all in all.  We have a warm, cozy home in a safe neighborhood with kind neighbors.  What more could we ask for?  (Well... er... see above... hee hee)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Understanding the world of boys

One of my favorite blogs/ministries is Raising Real Men.  These folks—Hal and Melanie Young—have a window into my world.  They have six sons and two daughters! 

Today I happened upon this terrific advice.  (It comes out of the middle of a blog post entitled It Seems I'm Always Yelling.)
Don’t be put off by comments from parents in different circumstances. A wise man once wrote, “Once I had no children but six theories about raising them. I now have six children and no theories.”  We had a friend with several daughters who was blessed with a boy at the end; after a couple of years, she went to all her friends with sons and apologized. “I thought you must be poor parents, with all that noise and energy and dirt going on,” she said. “Now I know.”  Often times we really don’t know the challenges our friends are facing, and we should give them the same grace we want for ourselves. Smile, thank them for their concern, and follow what the Scripture and experience tell you!

I love that quote from the guy who had many theories about parenting before having children!  (I walked in those shoes, too!)  Ultimately, we don't know the challenges other parents are facing... and we should never judge.  Give them grace—and give yourself the same grace!  Seek God earnestly for direction in parenting your children... in your set of circumstances! 

...And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus... 
[Hebrews 12:1-2]
.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chores and developing character

I don't think I needed to be convinced that chores are good for children.  But this little snippit written by Marilyn Rockett really sums it up:

The lessons our children need to master are greater than how to make a bed, vacuum a floor, clean a toilet, or consistently feed a pet.  They need to develop perseverance, stewardship of possessions, cheerful service to others, teamwork, selflessness, completing a  job they start, and working with excellence as unto the Lord. †

To rephrase it, by doing chores our children aren't just learning housekeeping skills.  They're gaining valuable character lessons in:
  • perseverance
  • stewardship of possessions
  • cheerful service to others
  • teamwork
  • selflessness
  • completing a job they start
  • working with excellence as unto the Lord

I'll admit, I'm often tempted to just do the household chores myself—not necessarily because I just love doing them, but because I can do them more efficiently, and with a whole lot less complaining! (hah!)  But when I see the benefits of children doing chores "spelled out" in these terms, it helps me make the effort to keep my boys on track with their daily tasks. 

† From "PACE Yourself: Plan, Assign, Change, Execute" by Marilyn Rockett, which appeared in The Paper MACHE magazine, August/September 2014 issue