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Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Months ago, I was reading Proverbs 4, and I was struck by the rich teaching in that one chapter.

This weekend I viewed a video called, “When I Became a Man” and I thought the two went together so well.

Below you will find the video, followed by the passage from Proverbs.

May we, as parents (not just father to son, but simply parent to child) provide good teaching, good modeling, to our children of how to live. And if you or I have grown up with a parent who provided a poor example of what it is to become a man (or a woman), may we have the wisdom to know that we still have the choice, to live differently!

“Confess, pray and heal my heart.”
James 5:16

“Pick up the gospel,
and put the toys away!”

“4 O sons, hear the teaching of a father. Listen so you may get understanding. For I give you good teaching. Do not turn away from it. When I was a much loved and only son of my mother and father, he taught me, saying, “Hold my words close to your heart. Keep my teachings and live. Get wisdom and understanding. Do not forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not leave her alone, and she will keep you safe. Love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: Get wisdom! And with all you have gotten, get understanding. Honor her and she will honor you. She will honor you if you hold her to your heart. She will put on your head a crown of loving-favor and beauty.”

10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you on the right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be stopped. If you run, you will not trip. 13 Take hold of teaching. Do not let go. Watch over her, for she is your life. 14 Do not go on the path of the sinful. Do not walk in the way of bad men. 15 Stay away from it. Do not pass by it. Turn from it, and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they do wrong. They are robbed of sleep unless they make someone fall. 17 For they eat the bread of sin, and drink the wine of wrong-doing. 18 But the way of those who are right is like the early morning light. It shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day. 19 The way of the sinful is like darkness. They do not know what they trip over.

20 My son, listen to my words. Turn your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them leave your eyes. Keep them in the center of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. 23 Keep your heart pure for out of it are the important things of life. 24 Put false speaking away from you. Put bad talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight in front of you, and keep looking at what is in front of you. 26 Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not turn to the right or to the left. Turn your foot away from sin.”

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images-1Sometimes we encounter a story which we will never know with certainty if it was true or not, but we wish that it were true, for our own encouragement and for our own faith in mankind.

That is the case with my guest post today.

A few weeks ago when I finished reading this post, all I could utter was a sigh. I pondered at the ‘fairness’ of the story, I pondered at my own strength, and the depth of the love I feel for my own children.

Whether true or not, sit down, have a read and imagine that you would have the will to love your child to the same degree. It does not have to be a true story to truly motivate us to live better.

http://www.livelifehappy.com/30-days-of-carrying-my-wife/

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If you are reading this, then yes, you have survived the chaos that can be associated with Christmas Day.

For me, Boxing Day means two things; one is that I am ready to take down the tree, and clean up the house, and the other is that I start to think about next year.

Over the next few days, my posts will be related to my thinking about next year. Each day I will share Ten Goals that I have for myself, my children, my marriage and my relationship with God.

Today, I am starting with my ten goals for 2013, related to my three children.

Wheaton+Family-38-2-1602627366-O

God has blessed hubby and I with three healthy, productive, God-fearing/loving children. There was a time when we wondered if we would even have children with our own DNA. There was a time when we understood contentment with one, believing that our chances of carrying another to term would never be. There were dark and sorrow-filled times, times when we cried out to God, times when we grew to understood that today we only see a part (1 Corinthians 13:12) …

As parents we have taken those experiences, that pain, of the past and promised to not forget the gifts that these children are to us. Oh, we fail – daily we fail as parents, but our hearts desire is to not take them for granted, not forget our responsibility to be active in their lives, and to daily hand them back to their Creator.

My goals, as their mom, for 2013 are:

  1. Be intentional in spending at least one time per month with each child – they are individuals, and I need to know them individual
  2. Pray with each more often – so easy when they were young, but it is still such a beautiful thing to lay our burdens at His feet together
  3. Be more involved in assisting them with school work (even unsolicited … mostly unsolicited) – I often am so desiring that I give them independence in their school responsibilities that I forget that they still need help, and I am able to help them!
  4. Tell each child, every day, that I love them – I cannot just think it, for their benefit I need to give wings to my thoughts
  5. Do not end the day, or go apart angry – this applies to so many relationships (every relationship). There is wisdom in “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26)
  6. Laugh with them – Oh how sad to spend a day living under the same roof and not sharing a laugh together … what sweet memories laughter provides!
  7. Tell them why I love them – not just ‘I love you’ but ‘I love how you ….’, ‘I love that you ….’
  8. Tell them that I am proud of them – I do believe that success breeds success, and if I let them know of the successes I see in their lives, I believe that it will magnify their ability to do even greater things
  9. Praise their father, in their presence – although hubby and I do not parent exactly the same, we are one, united front when it comes to our kids, and our kids need to know that we love each other, and that we respect each other … and thinking it is not enough … I need to give words to my thoughts.
  10. Give them wings – I cannot hold them too tightly, I need to hold them with enough flexibility that they can come and go. God’s example to us is to give us the choice to come to Him … there is no better parenting example! And there can be no greater gift than having my child choose to share their life with me.

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It was a miracle! It was a weekend AND it was sunny and beautiful!

With hubby and all three of our kids gone, and with our two from China opting for retail therapy, the beast and I were free to do whatever we desired on that gorgeous day. So we chose a brisk walk on the trail.

People were out in droves. There were the young teenage couples who couldn’t keep their tonsils eyes off each other, and the older couples who walked arm in arm for both physical and emotional support. There were the single walkers, with or without a beast, briskly marching along, and the families with little ones, walking at a snails pace to take in every bit of wonder around them.

I am never really sure of the real reason that beast loves to go for walks. Oh, she loves the actual walk, but deep down the thing I think she likes most is the people we meet. There is nothing like a comment like, “oh what a pretty dog” to make her ears soar, and then she will prance down the path … head swelling bigger by the moment! If the passing compliment is not enough to excite her, there is also the adoring “puppy!” from a small child! Often we will stop, and allow her adoring little admirer touch and see her up close. If there is a child’s cry or screech within earshot of our beast, I am at risk of shoulder dislocation! She immediately wants to fly into action in the direction of the cry.

For me the walks encompass so much more than just the exercise, which is beneficial, of course. It is the opportunity to be still (I rarely ‘plug in’ on my walks, but I have been known to stop and quickly email a blog post idea to myself) mentally. It allows all of the cells in my body to inhale fresh, oxygen-rich air, that can clear my mind like nothing else. I am enabled by the combination of fresh air, beauty of creation, and physical activity to become more creative, and despite that fact that I have walked this path frequently, these walks “still take my breath away and offers so much scope for imagination!” (Anne of Green Gables)

What a gift the exercise, the fresh air, the sun shining brightly in the sky were to the beasty and I … cheaper and more effective than any other therapy!

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When I got married to my hubby, there were two people who wondered aloud about the life (as a pastor’s wife) that I was entering. But I was young, in love, and there was nothing that we could not survive, as long as we were together!

It did not take long to realize that this life had it challenges, but it also had amazing blessings. Our life is designed around the challenge of making the life of Christ one that others want to follow, in a deeper, more sincere way. Along with that, much of our mutual desire is to help those who have been hurt, deceived, or ignored by other Christ followers see that we are not all like that, and that the One we follow is not in the business of hurting, deceiving or ignoring.

Through the years we have added three kids to our family, and as our kids they were born into the title of Pastors Kids PKs). There were negatives like having a busy dad (who has made a commitment to not miss the important events of their lives) and a life where everyone in the church knows you (but often that has meant the blessing of many dear people who pray for them), but I really did not see PK as a negative stereotype for our kids.

Our kids, like their peers (and their parents), have moments when they blow it royally, but they do so not because they are PKs, but because they are fully human.

The reality of our life in the church means that they know things others in the church do not. Things that we sometimes do not want anyone exposed to, especially them. Things like times when their dad has been spoken of derogatorily, or when their mother has been hurt. They have experienced the social ‘shunning’ by peers whose parents do not support the work of their dad. Then there are the times when they have been the center of the negative conversation, and a ‘friend’ has relayed the conversation to them (without any mention of defending them at the time). They know the discouragement and disappointment that ‘serving’ God in ministry can mean.

God has given us such a beautiful life, and we have laid down our lives for the sake of this ministry. But God has given us the beautiful responsibility of introducing His love to two daughters and one son, and that is a responsibility I will never sacrifice.

So, I do what other mothers may shudder to consider. When our children reach high school, I sit them down and explain that I want them to know the freedom of Christ without the confines of the title they were born with. I tell them that we, their parents, have no expectation that they will choose our church as their church. And then, I encourage them to …

GO!
-to a church where they choose
-to a church where they are ‘just’ another believer
-to a church where they can serve simply because they feel compelled
-to a church where the style of worship encourages them to worship
-to a church where the delivery of the message feeds them

“go into the world, and tell everyone the Good News” (Mark 16:15).

That is the most important message I can give them … that, and wings so that they can choose to fly.

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I was first introduced to Thom Schultz back in the day when hubby was still working in youth ministry. Hubby was very influenced by Mr. Schultz, and he was foundational in how hubby saw youth, their families and the church. This rubbed off on me, and I have appreciated his wit, wisdom and resources over the years in everything from Sunday nursery to ladies groups. Even now, working as an Educational Assistant in a high school, I am eager for newsletters from Thom, as they never fail to educate me, and make me think.

Thom is a writer of at least a dozen books, books about children, youth, teens and the christian church. He is founder of Group Publishing (resources for children, youth and teen church ministry), as well as the more newly founded Lifestyle Cafe (to quote their website “it’s a “conversation café”-a place and time for people to gather weekly to experience stories and talk about thought-provoking topics relating to life and faith”).

He also has a great blog HolySoup and this particular post was one that I thought worth sharing with my readers.

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A few years back singer, songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman invited us into his heart with his song Cinderella, inspired by his daughters. The song wooed all of us with daughters, into thoughts of our own little girls growing up so quickly, stepping from one stage of life to the next so very quickly, and reminding us all to take the time and opportunities when they are young to dance with our little girls.

But what about our boys, our sons? I know of one, almost thirteen year old son who would NOT have any interest in dancing around the room with his mother, to a song about Cinderella!

So, as I drove down the road, listening to the Cinderella song, I wondered what is the male equivalent of dancing with Cinderella, for my son? So, I looked at the lyrics to the song, and did some personalized editing 😉 …

He spins and he sways
To each play his coach says
Giving all to the football world
And I’m sitting here fretting
With the fear of him being hurt, on my shoulders

It’s been a long day
And there’s still laundry to do
He’s pulling at me
Saying “Mom, I need you

There’s a game at the field
And I’ve been practicing
And I need to know that you’re in the stands
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He says they’re all nice guys they just fake the frowns
He tells me his improved tackles mean more touchdowns
He says, “Mom, the game is just one week away
And I need you to make more pasta
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He will be gone

Well, he came home today with a dream in his head
Just glowing and telling us the CFL is where he will head
He says, “Mom, the league is still years away
But I need to practice my hitting
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

So, that is my ode to Cinderella, for my son, because soon he’ll be gone …

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