Change

It is remarkable the impact that 6 letters, strung together to form a word, can have on a child’s heart. This is what I faced this week head on and it was not at all easy. However, the lesson learned will make a difference on this generation and those to come.

IMG_8870One of our kids is very much like me in personality and sensitivity. We also tend to hurt each other the most. When this particular child was getting ready for school, I made a few appearance suggestions. They were not well received, but that did not stop me from pressing for this child to make the “necessary” corrections. Silent tears fell and words were exchanged. I remember the feeling of conflict before heading off to school and how it cast a dark cloud on my day. This is exactly what my words did to this precious child. I sent a few texts, but they were read and not answered.

Later that morning, I was very convicted about my actions and knew the Lord was telling me to stop. I would be sharing this with my child and asking for forgiveness. That forgiveness took all day to be given and I understood. The next morning went much better, but the following did not. It is true that disobedience to what the Lord clearly instructs is for our benefit. When we “go sailing off on our own”, as my youngest put it the other day, we have consequences. In this case, it was a broken relationship and a heart that hurt.

We had another bad morning due to my suggestions. Then a little boy of ours had stayed home sick from school. He walked up to me with paper and pencil. He said we needed some rules and asked me to write them down. There were 10 rules in all, each written just for me. The remarkable thread that I immediately saw with the rules it that each had to do with the outward appearance of me or our home. He taped them up right beside my makeup mirror. Just looking at the made up list gave me such a feeling of heaviness. Who could ever measure up to this list? And then it hit me. This is exactly how my child felt with my suggestions. Conviction returned and I repented for my heart and words… again.

When school ended and we talked, I heard powerful words that cemented in my heart and mind the crushing weight I was placing on my child. This is what was spoken, “What if you heard everyday CHANGE”? I could have wept right there in carpool line. I know that feeling. “I spend my day trying to figure out how.” Who does that intentionally to someone they love? I did. Our home is suppose to be a place of love and where you are accepted, not told who God has made you is not good enough and you should change. Sure makes a case for why kids seek an escape and acceptance from others outside their homes. If they are not accepted at home, why not try drinking, drugs, vaping, sex before marriage and all other lies of sin satan sets before them?

I am convinced if we would follow God’s design for families, our homes would be different and our world would be too. I was more concerned with my standards and needed correcting. For our children to know and hear they are deeply loved and accepted for who God uniquely made them, is the least I can give them everyday. Honestly, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I am so thankful this happened and a child’s heart will not have roots of ‘you need to change’ planted. It takes years to uproot those, but it can be done. The Lord in His kindness used a little boys list of rules and another kids powerful words to get this mama’s attention. I am so thankful!

Love

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a good day. It is funny what becomes important and the things you want to receive on your special day as you get older. For me, I love words in any form. This is what communicates love to me most. Gary Smalley has written a book entitled, Five Love Languagesand it would be helpful to read if you have not already. Knowing the best way to show people, especially in your family, that you love them is important. He has one for kids too. My family knows this and that is a gift in itself. To be known and loved is a big deal in our home.

IMG_9538I am not sure if you grew up in a house or a home, but there is a difference. A house provides shelter, but a home cares about the hearts of those inside the shelter. A home, to me, is a place where you learn what love is. You learn by hearing, seeing, feeling, giving and receiving. But what if you do not know how? What if you came from a house where love did not live? Where do you start? You go straight to the inventor of love – God himself. You read your Bible and see how He showed us what love is and what it is not. Then you take His example and you demonstrate it every single day. Will it always be received by others or perfect? Unfortunately no, but His love is always present, available, real, perfect and the list could go on and on. His love never ends.

Our home is far from perfect and we act unloving towards each other all the time. However, we talk things out and move on. This is easier with kids than it is with years of hurts, but it can be done. Another thing is, I do not make my kids say they are sorry immediately after they have done something wrong. In this case, words will not cut it. It is a heart of repentance and actually seeing how they have hurt someone they love that I am after. This might take 10 minutes or it might take 2 hours, but it is always worth the wait.

In our home we make each other a priority. I have fallen short in this when I felt more important or recognized volunteering outside of our home. I remember dropping everything several times to run to “emergency” meetings and leaving my husband to handle all the moving parts of school pickups, etc. He can run this home like nobodies business, but I momentarily got distracted. You know what happened? I am no longer apart of that organization, but the Lord moved me to other incredible places to serve. He also opened my eyes big time to the importance of discernment. I am much more protective in what my time outside our home is given too these days.

This family is the best gift, apart from my salvation, that the Lord has blessed me with. He has entrusted me and provided everything I need to raise these children in a place where love lives. I want to know them and give them a place to belong. If you ever hear me say, “In my house…”, please take me aside and wash my mouth out with soap. The last time I checked, this house belongs to God and it is every bit as much theirs as it is mine. To make a child feel like they are an outsider, is not loving. Kids know and feel the difference.

So, may our homes be a place where patience, kindness, trust, protection, hope and perseverance matter. May envy, boastfulness, pride, selfishness, anger, grudges and evil never be welcome. And according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, this is love and “it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Lets work to be a home where love is known and given as the best gift.

*The picture is a precious sign given to me by dear friend, Missy Schierloh. It is by Timber Jane.

 

 

 

Truth Be Told

Our church is doing a series of sermons based on the Old Testament book of Malachi. We looked at chapter 2, verses 10-16. The sermon is entitled, “With This Ring” and it is probably the best I have ever heard on marriage and divorce. Our pastor spoke truth, with boldness and cast light into the lies of darkness. He gave hope, direction and the way of grace, all taken from God’s Word. You can watch it at https://www.ccbcfamily.org.  I am certain there will be those who get upset. Truth has a way of doing that to people who have lived believing a lie for so long. When will we learn that we have been told what is best for us by God? When will we stop making up our version of right and wrong? It did not go well for the people in the scriptures and it is not going well for us today.

IMG_9486I look at all that is going on in our country alone and think truth needs to be shouted from the rooftops! However, the shouts would probably be drowned out by all the protests. So much is being shouted. When will voices give up and grow hoarse from all the demanding that sin should be accepted? I wonder if anyone has ever changed their mind because they heard shouts of protest? Has anyone ever thought that murdering a child is wrong, but heard “you have a right to your own body” and changed their mind? Did they hear a way out in that loud voice, but what about the consequences? Shouldn’t they be told too? Honestly, is it your heart you are stopping? Then please tell me, is this really your body then? What about marriage? What does God say and what is SOME of our country shouting? It is heartbreaking to see the blatant disregard for what God created in both cases.

I am not sure what has gotten into me, but the boldness I witnessed today encouraged me to speak truth. I have this little space and it is and will continue to be a place where God’s word is lifted up as the final authority on truth. Some might be offended and that is a risk, but the consequences of not telling the truth are too great. When you know what true life now and for eternity is, how can we stand on the sidelines and do nothing? So, I will stand here, at home, at the grocery store, at the kids school, church and where ever my two feet take me, pointing others to the source and author of truth. This will require me to stop and think a bit more about the words that come out of my mouth. I have a terrible habit of speaking and then thinking. Not sure what happened to the quiet girl I was up until 9th grade, but I sure would like a bit of her back. Seems like truth would better be heard that way.

So, can I ask you what are you proclaiming today? Is it your “truth”, God’s truth or cries of pain, fear or anger that have found a place in protest to support sin? The state of our country is terrible, but how can we expect change if we remain blinded? We can choose to open our Bible, pray and ask the Lord to search our heart. The crazy thing is He already knows what is in there. Nothing is hidden from Him. The best news is that He loves you despite all of it and died for you anyways. Now that is worth putting on a sign and shouting about!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Remind Me

Do you ever feel blindsided in parenting? The only reason I know that term is because of the movie. I think it is fair to say that it feels like an unexpected tackle when it hits. That is exactly what happened just the other day in our home. We had all the “right plays” in place and felt prepared. Then bam we were hit and taken to the ground. Heartbreak and defeat were shouting loudly after the surprise. What had gone wrong? How did this happen? Does this child not know their worth and love? How had they been so deceived by satan?

IMG_9435One sinful decision made can lead to a web not easily escaped from. This I know to be true. However, I also know the power of what Jesus’ death and resurrection did to defeat sinful decisions we all make. The enemy would love nothing more than have us stay in this web thinking and believing that we are too far gone. How could a holy God ever want to have anything to do with us now? Does that sound familiar? Yeah, I have heard those lies before and kept my distance from God.

There was no way I wanted this child to stay entrapped, but that was their decision. Yes, punishment was given, but a new idea came to me. I cannot remember where I read this account, but I will sum it up. There is a tribe that uses the most unique approach to members that fail. They place this person in the middle of the tribe and speak words that remind them of who they are. They do not cast stones of failure at them, but words of worth. I wanted to follow this example with our child. It also very much reminded me of Jesus’ approach to the woman caught in adultery, ready to be stoned.

So I wrote note after note of scripture for this child. I picked up their favorite after school snack. I bought bath stuff to give a physical reminder of being washed clean. I opened up an age appropriate devotional and it “happened” to land on the topic of forgiveness. That was left open for repetitive eyes to read. I told this precious child that they are a masterpiece and loved. I told them that if they felt whispered lies of accusation in their ear from satan, remind him of the truth in God’s word. I wish you could see the physical relief in this child. I wish you could see their peaceful sleep and feel their constant hugs. Repentance, forgiveness and restoration are very evident in the lightness of this one.

Today if you need reminding that it is not too late to be and live forgiven, I hope you hear me and make an eternal decision. May you live a life of freedom only found in truth. And if you think you cannot possibly be found worthy of Jesus’ death on the cross, I want you read these words that I copied for my daughter. They are straight out of God’s word so they are true and can be trusted.

“He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

“Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2

“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

“God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace that God gives is so great that we cannot understand it.” Philippians 4:7

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:4

“For God so loved the whole world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18