So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
~Galatians 6:9-10

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favorite Repeat: Remembering at Christmas

Another Christmas, and another shooting at a school.  Such tragedy during a time when we should be joyful is just another sad reminder that the world is sinful.  More than ever we need to share WHY Jesus was born in a manger - to deliver from hell those who accept his gift of salvation.

Originally published December 28, 2012

As we celebrate Jesus birth, we are also mourning the death of 20 precious children.  I am reminded that when Jesus was born, there was also mourning for children who had been killed mercilessly and needlessly.  Herod the Great was a man who was mentally ill.  He killed his own family members because he was so hopped up on power that he couldn't handle the thought that he might one day be usurped.  When a toddler seemed to be a threat to his throne, he had about 30 baby boys, all two years or younger, murdered.  Why?  What possible real threat from a baby was there?  None.  It was a seemingly senseless act of horror.  Yet, God allowed it to happen.

There is no knowing why God allowed the events in Newtown, CT.  What purpose could these murders have?  And what about the adults who sacrificed their lives to save the kids?  I have no answer to that. We live in a sinful world that is just going to get worse with time.  But I do know this: God is a just and loving God.  The hurt will never go away, but God can and does work through tragic events.  Just as he did 2,000 years ago.  A baby was born who would, as an adult, voluntarily sacrifice his own life to save the life of every person ever born; all you have to do is receive that gift.

I have this hope: that my sins have been forgiven by God and one day I will be in heaven.  I am sure those precious children are with God now and don't have to experience any more of the world's hurts.  And I pray that the Lord comes for his church soon.

Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Things to Remember When Talking About the Duck Dynasty Debacle

My Facebook feed has been taken over by Duck Dynasty.  I don't watch the show, but I was curious as to what was going on, so I read a few articles, and the original interview here.  There is a lot of high emotion about this.  I'm not going to dive into any of that, but if you want to talk about it, please remember these five things.

1.  Online debates aren't going to change any one's mind.  You can talk all you want, but just be aware that you're just saying what you think about what someone else thinks.  Everyone already has come to their own conclusions and you aren't going to change another person's opinion about what happened.

2.  Calling something sin does not mean you hate.  Every person in the world is a sinner, plain and simple.  My children are sinners and I call them out on their sin every day.  Does that mean I hate them?  Absolutely not.

But I think there is an important distinction to make clear:  While it is important for a person to understand they are a sinner in order for them to find salvation in Jesus, there is absolutely no point in telling them they sin in an area they don't think they sin in.  That is just going to make them mad.  If you want to share the gospel message with a friend, share in love and let the Holy Spirit deal with that sin.

3.  Don't read into what was said and put words in other people's mouths.  Sometimes you need to just take what is said at face value.  I have read a lot of statements from people along the lines of, "he's basically saying this..."  Please don't.  He said what he said and nothing more can be applied to it.  Please don't broad brush his words into saying something that he didn't say, good OR bad. 

4. No one is unbiased - even reporters who are supposed to be.  Even Barbara Walters conducts her interviews with an agenda and a bias.  The GQ article was written from an obviously biased perspective.  I am writing from the bias of a Christian.  Bias is not a dirty word.  It's just a fact.  So take into account whatever you're reading or whoever you are talking to is already biased in one way or another, and don't get mad because of it.

5. Be respectful and don't label people.  Just because someone doesn't agree with your point of view does not give you a right to call them names.  Phil Robertson has been given a lot of labels, some that he's given himself (Bible-thumper), but most have been given by other people, and most of them aren't nice labels.  If you want to talk about him, fine, but please be respectful, especially if you have little ears listening.

I have a feeling this debate will go on a while.  Duck Dynasty seems to be a well-loved show.  Whenever you're discussing the show or what Mr. Robertson said, please remember the above points, and hopefully you can have a fruitful and respectful conversation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Favorite Repeat: Things That Make Me a Horrible Mom

When I first wrote this, I had two kids and had no idea I would have another one in just over a year.   Since then, I've had plenty of opportunity to add a few things to this list.  Reading through the list cracks me up.  I hope you get the humor.

Originally published February 6, 2012

When my kids need to blow their nose, sometimes I will tell them to pick up a tissue from the floor and use it instead of a new one. 

Sometimes I laugh when my kids get hurt. 

I make my kids try the food in front of them, and if they refuse, they don't get anything else.

My kids aren't allowed to play with the following: cell phones, TV controllers, computers, and most electronics.

I rarely entertain my kids; I usually make them entertain themselves.

I make my kids have a two hour quiet time, and I expect them to be quiet - either asleep or reading quietly.

I expect my kids to have decent manners when we eat at the table, even from my two year old.  They are to sit until we are finished eating.  Fifteen minutes is not too long to ask them to be civilized.  If they continuously hit their forks on the table, I take the forks away!

I let my kids eat food off of the kitchen floor.

I sometimes turn on the television for the kids when I've had it with them and just need a time out.  Or when I'm trying to cook and don't want them hanging on my leg.

I make my kids help me with the chores.

I usually completely ignore my kids while I am in the bathroom.

My kids go to bed at 7:00 p.m. every night (except for church nights).

When my unborn baby pushes against me, I push back.

Added December 2013:
I never give in to their whining...even if I was going to change my mind, if they whine, I stand firm.

When my kids are really cranky, I send them outside and close the door so I don't have to hear their fussing.  I figure the neighbors can shut their doors too.

When my kids smash cereal everywhere, I make them vacuum up their mess, even LittleMan has to clean up after himself at 18 months old (which is sometimes more of a treat than a consequence).

When my kids break a toy, it gets thrown away and they don't get a replacement.  If they broke someone else's toy, they have to pay for it.

And then there are things that make me a Great Mom.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Favorite Repeat: Continue On

As 2013 finishes up, I'm going to go back and re-post some of my favorites.  These may not necessarily be the most viewed posts, but these are the posts that I like the best.  This particular one is also one of the most viewed posts.  I think every mother sometimes forgets that she is where God put her and that the mundane everydayness of her life has eternal rewards.  I hope this speaks to you, too.

Originally posted on January 10, 2012

Continue On
by Roy Lessin

A woman fretted over the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother.
She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband and children would make a difference.
At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
"Is it worth it?" she often wondered.  "Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?"
It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still, small voice of her Heavenly Father speak to her heart.
"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be.
Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye, but I notice.
Most of what you give is done without remuneration.
But I am your reward.
Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support.
Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know.
I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.
Your children are precious to me.
Even more precious than they are to you.
I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me.
What you invest in them is an offering to Me.
You may never be in the public spotlight, but your obedience shines as a bright light before Me.
Continue on.  Remember you are My servant.
Do all to please Me."


Friday, November 15, 2013

Hard Conversations

Yesterday, my 4 year-old CurlyGirl had some hard tumbles which left her with scraped knees, elbows, hands, and a gashed eyebrow.  That inspired a conversation with the kids about why God allows people to feel pain.  (Maybe to help us learn patience? Or a little bit about how God's timing is different from ours?  Maybe so we can empathize with others in pain?  Or maybe so we can understand a little of Jesus' pain when he was crucified?)  I said that everyone feels pain at some point.  That is when my tenderhearted six-year-old said, "Except for babies in tummies.  They never get hurt."

At this point, I could have let the conversation continue on its merry way.  I wouldn't have been lying, exactly, but I wouldn't have been correcting a misconception, either.  My husband and I decided a long time ago that we would never lie to our kids to shield them from the harsh realities of life; I felt that that there was an opening for some honest conversation about real life, without it getting too complicated.

I didn't go into any detail about abortion, but I did say that sometimes babies do get hurt in their mama's tummy.  I let my son determine the extent of my explanation with his questions.  He had some rather in-depth questions.  I explained that it is very sad that some women have been lied to and don't think that the baby is a person, and some don't see babies as a blessing from God, so they have a doctor take the baby from their tummy, and sometimes that hurts the baby.  Eldest wondered why any woman wouldn't want her baby, and then he said something that brought tears to my eyes.  He said, "We should tell the doctors not to take the babies from their tummies.  If the mamas don't want their babies, they should give them to me.  Then I'll have lots of babies to take care of.  I love babies!"  He continued to come up with ways that babies wouldn't have to be taken from their mama's tummy.  Oh, how I love his compassionate heart!

By talking about difficult issues with my kids now, I'm opening the door in the future for deep discussions.  When my kids have something on their minds, I want my husband or me to be the first person they go to.  I want them to trust that we won't to gloss over something just because we don't want to talk about.  Brushing them off because I am uncomfortable closes the door.  I don't want to squash their curiosity, or their spirits by shutting them up.

However, with that in mind, I also don't want to give them more information than they need.  I don't need to explain how the baby is taken from the uterus, or even what it is called.  I let the kids' questions guide me on how much information they are asking for.  And if I feel it is more than they need to know, I'll simply say "I know you want to know about this, but I think you are a little too young at the moment.  It's too scary/gross/disturbing for you right now.  Let's talk about it again another time."  And the kids accept that.  Just like they accept the fact that I won't let them watch Lion King right now because it's too scary for them.  The key is knowing your kids and how much they can handle.  And with that said, I've found that our kids can have pretty profound insights into real life when given the opportunity to discuss it.  I've been surprised on more than one occasion at how much my children know or understand. 

Maybe it was too early to have that conversation with my kids, but it's done, and I'm not going to dwell on it.  If they have questions, I know they'll ask (probably at the most inopportune time).  The world is full of ugliness, and I can't shield my kids from it forever.  By giving them a glimpse of the ugliness through God's lens, it helps them understand what sin has done to the world and how Jesus is the only answer to the ugliness that sin creates. 

You can't have compassion for the world if you haven't seen the ugliness.  I pray that their hearts remain tender and compassionate through all the ugliness.