0

Renewable Energy

I saw this on facebook and had to laugh.  And then I sort of wanted to cry because it seems so true. How do I find the answer to my energy crisis?  And this might sound crazy, but I think I’ve figured out a trick that helps. It might surprise you.

My light bulb moment came during worship time in church.  We sang the song, “Everlasting God,” and when I sang the phrase, “You do not faint, You won’t grow weary,” I quickly looked up that verse in the Bible and saw this:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Of course we’re going to be tired.  BUT, if we hope in the Lord, we will be renewed.  We will be able to keep going.  I can have the strength to raise my boys for the Lord rather than drop from exhaustion because

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) including chase after my boys when my tank is on empty.  I need to head on over the Lord’s station put my hope in Him again and renew my strength so I can do all things.

After all, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) even having enough energy for those cute little energy thieves to siphon my energy and still make it through the day.  Earthly wisdom says I should exhausted all the time because of all we have to do, people on the street even comment on how busy I must by and wonder how I do it.   Here’s how I do it, I “trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5.)  My understanding are the dark circles under my tired eyes, but I become more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37.)

Am I tired?  Am I exhausted? I am overwhelmed? YES! Quite often!  But there is hope for those of us who feel tired! There’s energy and life and grace for those of us who live in chaos with children (and whatever other chaos!) Think about the song, “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham:

“Who brings our chaos back into order…
The King of Glory, the King of Glory”

I realized that despite my tiredness…and despite knowing how tired I might be in the chaos of the coming weeks and months, I have hope in my Father, who gives me strength beyond my understanding, strength and energy to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint, to be more than a conqueror, and to be confident that the He will bring my chaos back into order.

I hope this encourages you, and reminds you to put your hope in the our AWESOME God.  Are you ready for some strength and energy?

Advertisements
0

Experiencing Peace

When I was in high school, I’d get very stressed over tests.  The night before, my mom always reminded me to pray and ask Jesus to help me remember what I studied or to guide me to the right guess (she has a great sense of humor!) And she showed me a verse in the Bible that I memorized and still use as an anchor during overwhelming times.

“Peace I leave with you;  my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

And as I think about my busy summer and all that needs to be accomplished, while keeping up with daily things, and taking care of my boys, I find myself running back to that verse yet again.  That verse was one of the best things my mom taught me.  It’s still just as much a comfort and help to me now as it was when I was in school.

Jesus freely gives his peace because he loves us.  And it’s not the kind of peace that the world understands, and you can’t get it anywhere else.  Over the weekend I started thinking about my to do list, and wondered how it’s going to all happen?  The more I thought about it, the more ovewhelmed I felt.  I talked to a friend, who listened lovingly and patiently.  But I felt even more stressed than before, especially as I remembered other things I needed to add to my to do list.  And then I remembered the promise Jesus gave me all those years ago. And I started reciting John 14:27.  The more I recited the verse, the more I started trusting Jesus to get me through this time, the more peace I felt in my heart.

I woke up this morning, with the same long to do list,  but feeling much more at peace.  And when I start to feel overwhelmed, as I know I will, I’ll remind myself that Jesus promises peace, and it’s the kind of peace that transforms my heart from worried and anxious to calm and peaceful.  And hard as I try, I just can’t do everything (ugh!) so I ask for grace and understanding when I say that my posts might be a little less frequent during these next few weeks.  But I’ll cling to the peace Jesus’ gives to get me through.

One of the greatest lessons my mom taught me is that she knew Scripture.  In order to point me in the direction of John 14:27, she had to know it herself.  She encouraged me to trust in Jesus’ peace, because she had experienced it herself.  My mom gave me an incredible gift as I was growing up that I am forever thankful; she taught me to know the Bible, to run to it for comfort, and to experience Jesus’ promises in my own heart.

As a mom, I wonder, what better gift could I give my children?

 

0

Whisper, It’s Scarier!

When my mom got upset with me, I knew I was in big trouble if she whispered so softly I couldn’t hear what she was saying.  She didn’t yell.  And trust me, her whispers scared me into submission!  And I always thought, I’ll do the same thing when I have kids. Then I had children.  It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Everything is urgent with little ones.  They repeat everything:  unwanted misbehavior, phrases, and requests…not just once, but a million times.  And they blatantly test and disobey.  Add in exhaustion and being pulled in every direction and mommies feel like they’re gonna blow.  Mt. Vesuvius ain’t got nothin’ on us!  Yelling is a completely natural response, but that doesn’t make it the best response.

The day I realized I wasn’t following in my mom’s footsteps was very distressing.  And leave it to my children to show me.   I heard my oldest yelling at his friend about who knows what, and as I was about to yell at him to stop yelling, it felt like someone punched me.  His friend may or may not have been at fault in the situation, I can’t remember, but I definitely knew I was at fault.  It’s a natural reaction to yell when people (our children) aren’t responding to you the way you want them to, but I knew right then I hadn’t been a good example of responding calmly or quietly.  I had often heard myself yelling before and made the excuse, “the situation deserved it.”  But when I heard Diego yelling at his friend, I knew it was time to change, to work harder and more consciously to control my responses, and no more excuses.

And wouldn’t you know, that parenting handbook, God’s Word, has a great parenting tip regarding yelling.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

“A gentle answer.”

Is a quiet, gentle answer as powerful in expressing disappointment and disapproval in poor behavior as yelling? Yes. A resounding YES.  I was scared to death when my mom would whisper to me!  It does work!

It’s so simple. But it’s not easy.

But I wanted my example to be based in God’s Word, so with “a gentle answer” in mind, I had new a new determination.  I also decided to be accountable.  I explained to Diego that both he and I needed to work on gentle answers instead of yelling.  And if I started yelling, I asked him to remind me.

Is it easy? No. Way.  In fact it’s one of the hardest things ever!  I mean, I want to yell sometimes.  But instead of yelling at me when I mess up, God quietly whispers correction in my ear.  (Thank you, Lord!)  Am I great at answering gently?  Nope, but I’m getting better.  Has Diego caught me starting to yell at him or his brothers? Yup.  And after I apologize for yelling, in a gentle tone, I continue the disciplining and they still get in trouble.

But, have I seen a difference in the boys? Most definitely. They respond in a more receptive way to the gentle rebuke rather than the harsh yell and things don’t escalate into quite a chaotic frenzy.  Not as many tears over hurt feelings from being yelled at but rather we can focus on the problem with behavior.  And I see a difference in Diego, too.  He still gets all hyped up and yells — he’s five, remember?  But I don’t think it’s as often and when I do correct him, I can do so knowing that I’m setting the kind of example that I want him to follow.

Thank you, Lord, for the quiet reminder that “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.”  (The Message Bible) and help me to respond gently.

0

Training Produces Lasting Results

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

To love our children wisely, we are to train them in the way they should go.  God entrusts us with these precious children, and He expects us to train them.  I’ve been hearing a lot about “training” lately, and I think God is trying to improve my “trainer” skills as a mom, so bear with me.

Training our children means we need to teach them about Jesus and his love for us.  Read His Word together.  Pray.  Listen to God’s voice for His direction and purpose in their lives.  My pastor told a story about talking to his wife’s pregnant belly when she became pregnant with their first child.  And at delivery, the doctors were examining his newly delivered son because of complications, and his son was crying and screaming.  The pastor went over and started talking and immediately his son stopped crying and turned his head toward him.  He had trained his son to hear and respond to his voice.  Talking to our children about Jesus’ love and grace, his truth and commandments, his life, death, and resurrection, reading His Word and praying trains our children to hear and respond to His voice.

But training our children in the way they should go also means training them to respond to our voice.  If I want them to be hard working, independent, honest and respected adults, I need to train them while they are young.  That means creating boundaries and limits and teaching them the truth is always the best avenue (and usually leads to lesser punishments than lying to my face after doing something they shouldn’t!)  It means not waiting on them hand and foot and making them clean up after themselves.  It means saying the words, “No” and “Stop.”  Those two words are invaluable parenting words!  We need to train our children to respond appropriately when we say “no” and “stop.”  (This is very much a work in progress at my house.)  Training a child in the way they should go is actually really really hard because the cute bundles of energy just don’t get it the first time…or the first hundred times!  It takes time, consistency, and discipline…for me!  When I do those things, I see much greater results with the training of my boys.

“You can begin your work too late, but you can never begin your work too early…The earlier the training, the easier the work, the more encouraging the result.” — Alistair Begg

If I put the time and effort into training my kids in the way they should go when they are little, they’ll grow into responsible, trustworthy teenagers, and one day become independent, respected, and productive members of society. Training is doing the little things every single day and not slacking off.

“It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.” — John Wooden, renowned UCLA basketball coach.

Lord, help me do the little things when training my children in the way they should go so that the big thing happens…”and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

 

0

The Parenting Handbook

20140521_101733

“By nature we love our children dearly, but we need Scripture to love our children wisely.”– Alistair Begg

I heard this quote recently and can’t get it out of my head.  It just struck a chord in my heart.  It’s not enough to just love our children, we need to love wisely.

So, how do we love our children wisely?  Loving wisely means using the parenting handbook God gave us to help us figure out these daily challenges.

Wait, you didn’t know there was a handbook?  Yes! There is!  I bet you’ve even read it.  Ready for the secret?  It’s…the Bible!

I mean, let’s get real. Our kids may scream with outrage and argue with us, they’re stubborn and talk back, they fight with their siblings, confuse and confound us, and they seem to cry constantly.  Maybe it’s time to take full advantage of the nifty book of parenting wisdom and helpful advice called, The Bible!  It’s methods have been tested and found to be the most successful on the market!

I’m rereading (and rereading and rereading) Proverbs and it feels like a brand new book of the Bible!  But it’s definitely not the only spot in the Bible that helps guide a parent in how to handle tricky situations and attitudes.  This week, instead of looking at a woman of the Bible, I’d like to share a few helpful nuggets God has shown me over the past few months through reading his Word, the parenting book, to love wisely.  I certainly have not perfected anything, but I can say that when I follow the instructions, it works! Maybe it’ll encourage you, too.

 What do you think it means to you to love your children wisely?