Life Lessons


Last week, Brian and I spoke in church together about parenting.  I mentioned that our kids aren’t born with an instruction manual or a little tag that tells what they are supposed to be when they grow up.  God does not tell US the purpose for our child’s life–He communicates that to THEM, as they walk with Him and look for His direction in their lives.  It is our job to point them to God, to teach them how to seek Him and hear His voice.  Then they will know why they are created, what their purpose is in life, and what they are supposed to be.  When our boys were too young to seek God on their own and ask for His direction, I remember singing the song “Be The Center” and thinking of them.  The song is a prayer.  It says, “Jesus, be the center…be my source, be my light, be the wind in these sails…be the reason that I live.”  I sang, “Be the wind in THEIR sails…be the reason that THEY live.”  What a huge responsibility we have as parents; and what a joy to point our kids to God.  He has a great plan for their lives!

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Tones are set in the first 5 minutes–  the first five minutes of a movie, or concert, the first 5 minutes of a work day, a blind date, a race or even a boxing match!  Early on, a tone is set that often lingers and almost dictates the rest of the event–or at least our initial feelings about it.  As women, we are TONE SETTERS.  Think about it.  The first 5 minutes of the day, when everyone is getting up and ready for the day, we have the opportunity, whether we think about it or not, to set the tone for the morning.  If mom is grumpy and bossy or happy and smiley–it usually impacts the way everyone else feels. The first 5 minutes of the evening when everyone walks in the door or gets off the school bus we have the opportunity to create an atmosphere–and we do create one–whether it is a positive one or not.  How cool that it usually only takes five minutes!  I want to really “clock in” for that short period of time.  After that, everyone is about their business and the tone has already been set.

My Dad is 65 today.  I knew him in his twenties!  I can’t imagine that that cool, young, athletic guy is breathing the word “medicare.” But you need to know that he is graduating in May with his PH.D IN COUNSELING!! Still cool, young and athletic!  I have to write about him today because he and my mom are waiting patiently for God to come through for them.  I have watched this man through the last forty years, and seen him to be completely FAITHFUL to God.  God in turn has never let him down.  As a child, my parents would pull all of us into the living room and teach us to pray for God to come through when we had no money.  When we could see no help in sight, God did amazing things in our lives!!  As an adult, I want to work out everything and give my parents the best situation (as I am sure they felt the same when we were little.)  But I KNOW, not just in my head, but with my heart, and a lifetime of experience, that God can be TRUSTED and that He can handle every situation!!  Mom and Dad taught us that God is faithful, and now it is our turn to watch Him be faithful to them!! I am thanking God ahead of time (like they taught us to do) for what He is going to do with Dad and the job He will provide!  I will keep you “posted.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!

Brian spoke a couple weeks ago about making 2 degree shifts.  I love that idea, as I am sometimes an extremist.  To change a little, turns into a lot of change.  The book he referred to is Heart Shift, written by John Trent.  Good book.

As Brian and I prepare to speak together in our parenting series, I am remembering another great book I once read:  Raising Faithful Kids In A Fast-Paced World by Dr. Paul Faulkner.   This book was compiled  by interviewing exceptionally successful people who had managed to raise strong vibrant families.  You will see that they had much in common.  Great book!!!

And my last book mention–The Saggy Baggy Elephant.  I love this little Golden Book.  I once used it in a meeting to speak to teachers!  It is about a little elephant who doesn’t really like himself and tries to change to be like others, until he finds out how special and valuable he really is!  Good children’s book for all of us!!

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the needs of people.  I wish I could personally help everyone.  In a church where there are too many needs for me to personally address, I have had to ask myself, “How do I know who to help?”  I have recently realized that, if I will stay close to God and be sensitive to Him in my life, He will, as they say in the church world, “put someone on my heart.”  I guess to me, that means that if I keep thinking about that person’s need over and over; and I can’t stop thinking about it,  then I know that I need to personally do something to help.

Are you praying for something and you feel like God is just not on your timetable?  He probably isn’t.  He has His own timetable, and He will do things the way he wants to do them.  Several years ago, Brian did a 40 day fast and prayed for many things, one of which was for God to “show us” the land for our church to build a building.  As he prayed each day on a rock on a familiar piece of property, he had no idea that he was across the street from our future land.  God had actually “shown him” the land as he was looking at it each day.  The crazy thing is that he did not know this until 4 years later when the property became available for sale.  I heard a great quote once, “God may delay, but He is never late.”  We can trust Him, because His ways are higher than ours.  He is at work now in His possible silence to bring about His best plan for you!

I wrote earlier about The Case For Faith For Kids.  Here’s a little bit about another chapter.  It is concerning doubts, and it asks if we can believe God and still sometimes have some doubts about things.  It says, “One day a man came to Jesus with a son who needed healing.  Jesus told the father that everything is possible for someone who believes.  The man said, “I do believe!  Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).  Now there’s something–a man who says that he believes and he doesn’t believe.  that’s kind of like…well, pretty much everybody.  It’s not that people have no faith.  They just want God to help them with those little unfaithful parts inside them.”  Now remember that this book is for kids, but I think it explains things pretty well.  Strobel goes on to explain that doubts can be like a “faith workout.”  It can make us stronger as we seek to understand God more.  He also says,”  Faith is never blind.  (it) is walking to the edge of all the light that you have and taking one more step.”  Reading this book with the boys has certainly sparked interesting conversation in our house.  I think kids can be pretty good thinkers.  

 

Along these lines, I began to think about faith in my own life.  I wasn’t there when Neil Armstrong arrived on the moon, but I am choosing to believe that the footage we see on TV is accurate.  I can’t understand weather forecasting, but if the weather man calls for a 95% chance of rain, I will probably take my umbrella with me.  I have never been to heaven or met anyone who’s been there, but in faith, considering all the evidence, I choose to believe there is a heaven and that Jesus is my way there.  Maybe this children’s book is interesting to me because I worried and doubted things (mostly myself) as a child, growing up in a Christian home.  I think it is great for our kids to have the freedom to share thoughts and doubts and for us to have the opportunity to guide them into growing faith that will one day strengthen them and give them boldness as adults.

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