Reading tonight in “Grace Based Parenting” by Tim Kimmel, I was reminded that Satan is fighting for our kids. Scary thought. He knows the needs they have and tries to fill those needs in counterfit ways, even our youngest children. He operates within our children to lie and deceive them. A child’s three most basic needs are: (1) security, (2) significance, (3) strength. It is our job to daily processs everything we say or do to our children through the filter of these needs. If we’re not keeping these three needs to the foreground of everything, then Satan will use false ways to fill these needs in our kids. We need to shower them with love, purpose and hope. This first begins when you find it in your own relationship with Christ. As they see your needs fulfilled within the Savior, your example will put power and authenticity behind your words and actions.
It’s a GREAT book for Christian parents to read!
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I was having a parenting discussion with a friend today that led me to thinking (as most parenting discussions do!). As a society we value the attribue of independence in our lives and in the lives of others. From the time our children are born we are concerned with them sleeping through the night, when they can play on their own, when they can walk, as they can achieve benchmark A, B, or C, go to school, get a job, move out of the house, etc. As a parent we make these large issues that we choose to “fight battles” over. Some are large issues, although in the scope of everything in life, some are not.
Why is it so important for our children to achieve independence? Is independence biblical? I actually think it isn’t. We have been made to need each other -we desire companionship, close relationships. Actually I believe dependence is the Biblical model – first and foremost we are supposed to depend on God – ultimate surrender. There’s no room in our relationship with Christ for independence. God desires that dependence from us.
Society has made dependence a negative attribute to have. When we depend on another person we are perceived as a weak and a lesser person. But if God parents His children and desires dependence from them, shouldn’t we desire the same from our children? Is the value placed on creating independent children who only need a parent to “guide” them through life? I think children need parents who know their children are dependent on them and take care of all their children’s needs despite magical ages or moments in life. That’s not alwys easy, especially as your sleep is interrupted at night, or you are ready for empty nest. Children need parents who respect them as individuals and through that children will respect their parents. Respect begets respect. We need to start seeing dependence on each other as part of God’s model of parenting and see it as a stage of development rather than a weakness. And we need to step out and see where our own dependence is on others and on God. We need a healthy balance of dependent relationships in our life. God created us to need each other, community. God created our childrne to need us and depend on us 24/7.
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With a new year starting, a familiar theme in most people’s lives is trying to get their lives in balance. In ministry this is a HUGE topic. How do you balance ministry and family? How do you balance your time? Your resources? Work for someone in the church doesn’t end when you go home at 5:00. Most people in ministry work way more than 40 hour work weeks (even if on paper it’s 40!). So how does one achieve balance with what God has called them to do — and specifically, how does one balance their family if they are a woman in ministry?
One thing for me is that my work situation is unique. The church I work for is incredibly generous in giving me time for our family. I am technically employed “part-time” as being 30 hours a week, not full time at 40. But we all know, the time is done when the work is done. From the beginning our church has understood that my first importance is my relationship with Christ, then our family. After that is work. Ministry gets done, limits are set, and we’re in balance most of the time. Of course there are those crazy camp weeks or right before a large event when you’re working overtime and sleeping and breathing church, but they are the abnormality.
So, how do I achieve balance as a mom in ministry? One thing is that I know my limits. I try to simplify the ministry we do, place importance on the things that yield the most return for what our church’s purpose is. Our church’s purpose is to “Discover God, Develop Relationships, and Demonstrate Love.” I try to weigh the things we do in the Children’s Ministry against whether or not it fits that purpose. Does our Sunday morning environment – large group/small groups fit into this? Yes. We use that as our main teaching time for children to Discover God and the small group portion is the time to Develop Relationships. These things should get priority of my time and resources. A children’s choir. Does that meet our purpose? Not currently, so therefore we don’t have one, it was eliminated recently. I’m not afraid to say no to doing events and activities. We want to do what we do well and not compromise the quality by being cluttered.
I think I also am able to balance things with ministry and our family because I am not afraid to delegate. It hasn’t always been this way. I am a Type A, like it done my way type of individual, but I realize now that with 2 young children that I need help. I can’t do everything on my own, I cheat others by not affording them the opportunity to use God given talents and gifts, and I’m not benefiting the ninistry overall. Things like scheduling, supply room organization, and snack purchases are handed off. When we do a large event I try to work with a team to pull it together. I have a great volunteer staff that has some workers that really go above and beyond.
The biggest thing that has helped is finding a schedule that fits the rhythm of our family and being committed to it. From the beginning of working I have been open with the church we’re at about what I can and cannot do. My office hours are set for times when I have child care for my kids. We did open a preschool program last year at our church that our children are involved in so that is wonderful. It brought more responsibility for my job position, but it was worth it for the child care aspect for our family. Some evenings I go up to church and do a bit of work when the kids are in bed at night or during naptimes on Saturdays. Gathering supplies and prep. work can be done at home. It doesn’t have to all be done in the office.
I hope these ministry thoughts can help someone who is in ministry struggling with little ones and trying to do what God has called them to do with excellence. It’s tough to balance everything and it isn’t always done well, but I think we’ve achieved a pretty good rhythm to our life. The biggest thing that overrides everything is to be open with your church leadership and your priorities. They are only little so long before they’re in school and the whole situation changes.
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Posted in family, parenting on November 8, 2007 |
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Funny story that revealed to me yet again the heart of a 3 year old…
This evening I am in a hurry leaving Barnes and Noble trying to get to church on time for First Wednesday. We were parked in the parking lot where we had to walk across the street to get to our car. So I am holding Benjamin in my right arm, have the kid bag and purse on the left arm, a hot cup of coffee in each hand, and have Cade holding onto my purse since I had no hands left.
As we cross the street, Cade did pretty good walking with me. Ben was trying to twist down and I was sloshing the coffee out of the cup. A man walking past us asked if I needed help and could he help me. I politely declined as we had reached our car.
As we were getting in the car, I was buckling Cade in when his three year old working mind got the best of him. “Mommy, why did that man ask if you need help? You don’t need help.”
As I was driving to church I chuckled when I thought of this. Mommy is the invincible, handle everything one, at least it appears so to my preschooler! Mommy’s don’t need help, despite what we may think! Such confidence, such faith, such trust they have in us.
If only he knew the prayers I prayed each morning in the shower for my daily dose of help to get me through!
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Posted in family, parenting on October 8, 2007 |
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Found the following mind-blowing statistics today. If you work with children or are a parent, take notice.
• Family dinners have declined by one-third, based on the number of families who report that their whole family usually eats dinner together. But the rebound may have begun. A poll that tracked adolescents from 1998-2004 found a 28 percent increase in families having dinner together five or more times per week.
Dr. Doherty has written the book Putting Family First: Successful Strategies for Reclaiming Famiy Life in A Hurry Up World. Doherty, W.J. (2002)
Doherty stated: “For young children, meal time at home is a stronger predictor of academic achievement and psychological adjustment than time spent in any of the following activities: school, studying, sports, church/religious activities, or art activities. For teens, having regular dinners with parents is a strong predictor of academic success, psychological adjustment, and lower rates of alcohol use, drug use, early sexual behavior, eating disorders, and risk for suicide.”
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Posted in church, parenting on September 19, 2007 |
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Tonight as we were eating dinner at a restaurant, the waiter was setting up a new table for a large party. It involved the moving of chairs in order to get it ready. Cade, our 3 year-old exclaimed, “Papa does that!” Since I am privy to the world of 3 year-olds and their interpretations, I immediately knew he was talking about my dad who stacks chairs each Sunday following our worship service. I said to Cade – “At church?” To which Cade replied, “Yes Momma, Papa does that!”
Wow! Something as seemingly insignificant as stacking chairs is setting up a testimony of service to my 3 year old. They notice what the men in our church do. Young girls notice what the women in our church do. For some of us, stacking up chairs is something we do just because it needs to be done or we’ve been guilted into it. Maybe it is greeting with a smiling face each week, or preparing communion in a kitchen room. It could be teaching Sunday School or leading a Community Group. Little ones watch. They see. They learn. They model.
Thanks Dad for being the kind of grandfather and man that I want my children to model. Thanks for living a life beyond yourself of service to others and the church. It doesn’t go unnoticed. I love you!
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Posted in parenting on September 14, 2007 |
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As I am living this life longer as being a parent, I am learning many things. One of the most frustrating to me is to learn that I have choices. See – a lot of things about parenting lead you to believe that “x” is the way to do something. Whether it is to vaccinate your child, methods of feeding, discipline, medical care, or schooling – there are choices that we have available to make as parents. I guess this frustrates me because on the surface one thinks they have no options. I once thought this about all these areas and more. But the more I spend time in being a well researched advocate for my child, I am realizing that there are actually a world of opportunities and choices we have as parents to make. I wish more parents would take the time to being exactly that for their child rather than taking the first suggestion as “what I have to do.” It has caused me to think and rethink on many things and then to make the best decision for our family and our children. Knowledge goes a long way and opens many doors.
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It seems like the same spiritual theme chase me down each day. They can be summed up by the overarching theme of “trusting God.” Really, when you stop to think about it – whether with your own children, your future, your ministry, or even your marriage – you have very little control. None of it really belongs to us. We work hard, put in time, effort, and a lot of energy – but it then all comes down to trusting God. I wonder if I put the trusting God part first, if I wouldn’t have to feel like I work so hard!
As I enter into bigger things in ministry – a growing school program, new, unfamilar ministry, installation of a professional playground, HUGE events — I realize that my role in them is very miniscule. God is the BIG picture of all of it. When I feel like my inadequacies are squeezing the life out of me, I need to be on my knees even more. I need others on their knees. I need to be in God’s Word, encouraging myself, finding those treasures that challenge me and comfort me.
I won’t even get into the relationship of trusting God and being a parent. Let’s just say, I don’t think I could parent two, rambunctious preschool boys without a HUGE amount of trust in God. One say “trusting God” will come naturally. It will be a way of life and then maybe the precious challenges I face won’t seem like such large tasks.
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Timely for the return of school, I ran across this article tonight. Bulletproof backpacks.
What do you think? Paranoia as a parent? A great new school list item?
I find it incredibly sad that we even need to consider buying such an item for our children.
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I have failed two major ways this week as a mom. The first was when my husband’s family was over on Sunday, we had all gone to the store, come home, arms laden with grocery bags. Coming into the house, putting them on the table and starting prearations for dinner. A good 10 minutes or so had passed by when someone asked where Benjamin, out little one was. After looking all over the house for him, my father in law mentioned, I hope he wasn’t left in the car. My heart sunk in the deepest pit of my being. We all know the media headlines of children forgotten in vehicles. But, I opened the door to the outside, and no he wasn’t in the car. Thank God. However, he was running from the front yard to my arms screeching “Momma!” We can only figure he doubled back through the front door when we all came inside with the stuff from the store. My heart still feels heavy from that day and my throat wells up thinking about the what-could-have-beens. Not to mention I sure looked like “Mom of the Year” to my in-laws! God is so perfect and good. His protective hand watched over Ben Ben like nothing else and for that I am forever thankful.
Failure number two against my child was today. I won’t go into detail, but my worldly, selfish, ungraceful, sin drenched side got the best of me. Once again I failed as a mom and won’t forget for a long time.
I fail every day as a mother, wife, minister, friend, to my self, etc. I am naturally a want-to-succeed person. I rarely settle for not making it, and failure bothers me more than anything. Usually when there are isolated incidents of failure, I can pull myself up and realize that I am wallowing in self-pity. A form of pride. Thinking about myself. Whether that is in a positive or a negative light, I’m allowing the glory to be taken away from Christ and placed upon myself.
I am thankfu today for the overflowing grace I receive from my Savior. As I try to lavish it upon my children, I need to remember to allow a little grace for myself and the failures I constantly struggle through.
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