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“Here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false.” Jesus

IMG_1071This is a great story to help our kids (and us) absorb the idea of being honest, that it’s okay to have questions, and that Jesus wants us to come to him.

Before traveling to Galilee, Jesus asked Phillip to follow him. Phillip found Nathaniel and told him they had found Jesus of Nazareth. Nathaniel was skeptical and asked, “What good could come from Nazareth?”. Phillip said, “Come and see.” In the midst of Nathaniel’s doubt, he chose to go, and he encountered Jesus.

With Nathaniel’s doubt, was honesty and vulnerability, and here was JESUS’ RESPONSE: “When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, he said, ‘HERE IS A TRUE ISRAELITE, IN WHOM THERE IS NOTHING FALSE.’”

Could you imagine Jesus saying of you: “Here is a true follower of me, in whom there is nothing false.” Lord, forgive us when we fall short and help us to be true followers of you – to be real and honest, and in the midst of doubt and questions, to choose faith. Please give our kids the wisdom to do the same. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

When our kids don’t act Perfectly

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I remember when one of my kids was five and lied about something small. I was shocked since we talk often about telling the truth. Are you also surprised when your child acts up? Why do I expect them to be perfect when I sure am not? It’s as though once I’ve told them how to behave, Poof! They should be perfect robots who do all right, and I am dumbfounded when they don’t.

While we should have expectations for them, I remember reading that a child’s job is to see what they can get away with. Our job is to be consistent with discipline. But just because we are, doesn’t mean they will act perfectly. When my child lied about that tiny thing, I brought up PV 12:22 and gave him a natural consequence. Time and time again, I am called to keep at it – we, as parents, are called to love our kids and keep at it.

Lord, help us stay committed to discipline when we want to throw in the towel. Remind us of our shortcomings when we are so shocked by our kids’, so we can have a spirit of humility. Make us more like you so our kids will also be drawn to be more like you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Correcting in Quietness

pexels-photo-701014“The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:17

When we’re around friends or in public, correcting in quietness has been far more effective than correcting loudly. Attracting attention like that just embarrasses our children and others, and most of us would rather not be called out in public either. (;

When we’re around friends and one of my kids misbehaves, I walk over to him or her and whisper to come chat with me in the other room. Or, I’ll whisper my expectations in my child’s ear – whatever attracts the least amount of attention. Sometimes I’ll let them know the consequence if they don’t follow through and other times I’ll just give a little reminder.

Continuing with those quiet voices in the home, when it’s just us, is far more challenging, but something I’m striving for. When frustrated, it can be helpful to leave the room instead of regretting words said or to send our children to their room if they’re old enough, to lower our voices to keep control, and to pray – when humility leads us, it’s harder to “shout like a ruler of fools.” While I fail at this many times, I am encouraged that Jesus is our DAILY bread, that his mercies are new EVERY morning, and that He make us more like him when we run to him. Amen to that!

Let’s take on confident, but quieter voices this week when correcting our kiddos so they can be REASSURED with our consistency and BUILT UP by our gentleness and love.

“Bad Moments don’t make Bad Mamas.” – Lysa TerKeurst

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Maybe our bad moment isn’t getting our hair stuck in the vacuum (ha! ha!), but we’ve all had our moments when we just don’t get it “right” in parenthood, in life. I recently heard Lysa TerKeurst say in a podcast: “Bad moments don’t make bad mamas. If you had a bad moment yesterday, ask for forgiveness…Let bad moments be what they are: they’re bad moments. Don’t let them define who you are as a mom, as a woman, as a child of God.” (Check out Courtney Defeo’s podcast with Lysa @leadinggirlspodcast.com).

Lysa said that when we lose it with our kids, that doesn’t mean it’s a ruined day or that we are awful parents. It simply means it’s a bad moment that can be redeemed and forgiven.

Jesus’ words in Luke 5 echo this point: When the Pharisees and teachers of the law questioned Jesus, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus pointed out that those who consider themselves “righteous” and perfect don’t see a need for him. But those who know they miss perfection, can see their great need for grace. For a Savior. For Jesus.

Let’s show our kids Jesus love in those bad moments by admitting our imperfections, asking for forgiveness, and walking forward in grace. Our kids will better understand the Gospel of Jesus and the words of Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Lord, we pray you would help us not be fixated on our mistakes and what we lack, but that we would set our eyes on you, enjoy the gift of our children, relish in your grace, live in your freedom. Please make us more like you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

Your children do not need perfect parents. They need…You

IMG_0781This quote is such a relied! It’s easy to get wrapped up in being the perfect parent and “getting it all right” that we become overwhelmed. What a great reminder that our kids just need us.

In their book, “Raising Girls”, Counselors Goff and Trevathan say, “Families don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. In actuality, THE MORE THE LINES DON’T MEET JUST RIGHT, often the more life and passion and personality that is contained within. Girls don’t need perfection, they just need a group of people willing to walk alongside, love them, and help them transform into the women God is calling them to be.”

Let’s not be like the Pharisees who thought all “their lines met up just right”, but rather, let’s hold onto a humility like the one who saw his need for Jesus in Luke 18:

“Two men went up to a temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or evenlike this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Jesus

Jesus recognized this man’s need for him and lifted him up. When we see we are indeed human and in need of Jesus, he will also lift us up.

I think our kids are also refreshed when we admit that we mess up too. That we also need grace. I remember asking author Tedd Tripp at a conference how not to come across as constantly looking down on our kids and like we have it all together when we correct them. He said to get down on their level. To tell them we are working on the same things. To show humility.

Lord, when the lines don’t meet up just right, and we let our kids down, please remind us that they just need us. Help us not get bogged down in being the perfect parent that we miss what our kids really need- us. I pray for each family reading this, that you would fill them with your strength and wisdom. Help them to be encouraged that each of them is the exact person you have created to be the parent of his or her sweet child. Give them your peace today to breathe and simply enjoy their kids. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A Simple Way to Slow Down these Fast-Paced Days

IMG_0702As busyness emerges with school and activities, we can slow down these fast-paced days with one-on-one time with our kids. Four years ago, my husband came up with the idea to take turns bringing each of our children on a weekend trip. I love the parts of our children’s personalities that spring up during that sweet time.

When we can’t take trips, we’ll take advantage of one-on-one time with normal errands like going to the grocery store, walks, picking up donuts, reading, playing Uno, or riding bikes. There are plenty of times our whole family joins in (like on hikes or Costco visits for samples!), but those one-on-one adventures are so key for our relationships, whether it’s five minutes or an hour.

This doesn’t happen every day, but we strive to regularly connect in this way. It’s slowed down these fast-paced days for a sweet, sweet moment.


Here’s a picture from our kiddos’ first day of second grade – can’t believe it!!! For all those mamas and dads shedding tears as your kids make the big transition of being in school all day, I wrote an article last year about it that I hope will lift you up! Search “God will go before me” in the search bar to the right to read it. You can do this!

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Keeping Conversation Going in the Midst of Busyness

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As the busyness of school and activities begins, asking open-ended questions is a great way to keep conversation going. Instead of asking your kids, “How was your day?”, throw some questions in that don’t end with “fine”, “yes”, or “no”, such as “What was a low and high point today?”, “What did you do at recess?”, “Tell me about your day.”, or “Were you able to encourage anyone that was having a hard time? Tell me about it.

It’s easy to get distracted and miss opportunities to hear about our kids’ days, but let’s take that extra second to connect through asking open-ended questions while eating a meal, tucking them into bed, or driving to the next activity. (And in case you’re wondering, no, we don’t do all those activities on the post-it-notes! (:

Jesus asked about 80 questions in the book of Luke. He not only used questions to teach truth, but also to create authentic relationship with him. Let’s do the same with our kiddos!

“But what about you,” he asked. Who do you say I am? Jesus (Luke 9:20)

What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?” Jesus (Luke 10:26)

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Jesus (Luke 12:25)

“Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Jesus (Luke 15:4)

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus (Luke 18:41).

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” Jesus (Luke 24:38)