Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blessed with Children, Gifts from God

‎"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Psalms 1:1-2

I have been blessed in so many ways, and I cannot begin to count the blessings the Lord has given to me.

My children are blessings, and I need constant reminder to see them in this light.

I am so very blessed to have a wonderful husband, parents, siblings, and in-laws that support us as a Christian family.

It is very difficult, at times, to attend events or converse with people where some of those people constitute the "wicked" and not to mock them. They may mock me, as well, but I have to stand strong in the Lord, and remember not to be bothered by the wicked ways of others.

Gossip bothers me, and I am guilty of gossiping at times. Lord, please forgive me for the pain my gossip may cause. I do not intend to gossip or mock others, Lord, as they are all gifts from you.

I stand strong in my faith, and strong in my belief that all people have God within them, and they all deserve my respect and love. In our society, this respect is becoming more and more difficult to honor. So many people have become followers of the "entitlement" frame of mind. Everyone is entitled to all of the benefits of "the good life" just because they are alive. They don't have to work for anything...they should just get it. Nothing is ever good enough for many of these people. They are given something, and all they can think about and talk about is how it could be better or what is wrong with what they've been given.

Lord, I pray that I will be able to remain thankful for the many blessings you have given to me. I also pray that I will be able to use all of those blessings to Honor You, the faithful God. I pray that others will see You, Lord, in me, and that I will be able to live fully for You and Your Glory.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Grandparents...Blessings and Babies

“"Honor your father and mother." This is the first commandment with a promise: that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”" Ephesians 6:2–3

"Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents..." 1 Timothy 5:3–4

We follow the 10 Commandments that God has outlined for us in the Bible. "Honor your Father and Mother" is a very well-known and important part of our Christian lives.

What happens when your parent becomes more like a child...and is overtaken by Alzheimer's and/or dementia???

How do you honor someone who cannot take care of themselves?

My grandmother is more like my two-year-old son in many ways. She has the same reasoning skills, and negotiation skills he has. She communicates as though she cannot remember the conversations we just had. She cannot remember the date, her full name, or where she is.

She just knows she is not where she wants to be.

But, she does not know where she wants to be either.

She wants to live on her own, but cannot. She does not realize she needs help - and that is the worst part!

I would love to have her live with me - and honor her, repaying what she has provided in my life and the life of my mother.

Would she be safe here? Would she even want to stay here?

I fear not...

Therefore, it would not be honoring her, to have her live with me, if she would not be safe, nor sound.

As much as I would love to relieve the financial strain that a nursing facility would cause, I am not sure that it would be emotionally or physically possible for me to meet her needs in my home.

My children love their great-grandma. I love her, too.
She is a widow who really in need...and I am a Christian struggling with the fact that I want to do the right thing and take her into my own home and care for her.

Please, Lord, give me the strength to do your will in this situation. If I am to consider this, I need Your strength and guidance, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Making the Best of a Bad, Rainy Situation

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Proverbs 29:15

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Hosea 6:3

My husband signed us up for a 5K walk, and the company picnic to follow. Normally, I look forward to this event with enthusiasm, as they provide so many fun, free activities for the kids that we always have a wonderful time.

Yesterday, however, we left the house to travel to the walk and picnic in the pouring rain. The kids were in a good mood, and my husband was adamant that we actually attend in the rain. Despite my own miserable feelings of uncertainty, and foreseeing that our 2-year-old and 3-year-old little boys, let alone our 6-year-old daughter, would not be able to complete the walk in the rain, I reluctantly agreed to attempt the walk.

The boys splashed in the puddles, and our two-year-old was completely soaked from head-to-toe before the walk began. When the air horn signaled the official start of the walk, my three-year-old was pulling the wagon, my husband and our daughter took off ahead of us with the empty stroller.

This left mom, and her two toddler boys splashing in the rain puddles, as the rain poured down.

Okay - I hate to be wet! But, watching my boys splash, and laugh, and smile in the rain and puddles was actually fun. They were having the time of their lives.

I had resigned to the fact that we were not going to walk the 5K distance, but stay in the parking lot and splash and have fun. My three-year-old, however, had decided to follow the crowd and walk, pulling the wagon, behind him in the rain, while the 2-year-old continued to get even more drenched in the puddles.

I tried to convince the two-year-old that there were more puddles over by his brother - and I couldn't leave him behind. I also could not let the three-year-old go on by himself...and daddy was nowhere to be seen. I asked the baby to ride in the wagon his brother was pulling, but NO, he wanted to be carried.

Finally I started I saw my shivering little two-year-old crying over 50 yards away from me, while my 3-year-old yelled for us to catch up, with a smile on his face.

I had to pick up the sweet, little shivering bundle out of his puddle, and carry him to where his daddy and sister had completed half of the 5K distance and were waiting for us. He continued to cry as I strapped him into the stroller his daddy was pushing. I couldn't carry him any more, but I didn't want to listen to him cry, either. He cried, no matter what.

We quit walking and found a bathroom, where we stood under hot-air heaters in an attempt to dry off.

The Good Lord has blessed us with the rain, and children who can enjoy it. I had to adjust my attitude to make the best of the bad, cold, wet, rainy situation.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for my wonderfully resilient children. Thank you for my husband, who has pushed me beyond my comfort zones to experience the puddles and joys of my young boys! I was wet, and not having fun, but my children learned some good lessons. Thank you, Lord, for teaching me that despite the physical discomfort the rain may bring, I can always make the best of all situations just by looking to You!

I was not Noah, needing to build an ark. I was looking to You, Lord, as you were prepared before my morning to provide me with the insight that my children and I can enjoy even the shivering, wet mess of the pouring rain.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Level Ground...finding it on the Roller Coaster of Life.

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
Psalm 143:10

Keeping Your will in sight, God, is so difficult with all the distractions that tempt us around every corner. As a parent, it is tough to remember God's will, rather than our will, for our children. The level ground is often more difficult and challenging, as it may not be our original plan for us or our families.

I remember my friends with children who have Type 1 Diabetes. I know that was not in the plan for their families when they had their babies. And I know it is NOT level ground, it is a roller coaster! I pray that the Lord's good Spirit can lead them, and teach us all as parents, to do His will, and forget our own.

There is nothing more important in this world than remembering that God made us the parents of these babies. They have us as parents for a is God's Good Will!!!

Although they may lead us down paths that appear dangerous, scary, or just plain unfamiliar, we must trust that God has His good plan, and that He will provide us with the strength and tools to make it through the circumstances He places in our lives, and the lives of our children.

Please, Lord, help all parents to be the best parents, and teach us to follow your will, on Your Level Ground, while riding the roller coaster of life.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Discipline + Youth = Patience

As my two-year old threw two temper tantrums at the mall today, I have been looking to my bible for reinforcement of how to respond to him in the future.

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment." Ecclesiastes 11:9

We all do things that we know are not right. Unfortunately, we all sin. My children all test my patience, disobey, and sin as well. Teaching them right from wrong is tricky. They ignore the warnings, and continue to do what they should know is wrong.

Discipline is ever difficult, and I know that others judge my parenting style. I take comfort in knowing that whether they agree with my manner of discipline or not does not matter. The only judgment that matters comes from the Lord.

I am thankful that my children, in their youth, can make mistakes, and walk in the ways of their hearts, and still be God's children. He forgives, and teaches us to walk in His ways.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will guide me as a parent, to walk my children down the paths You have laid out before them. Thank You for showing me that they are young, and they are Yours. I do not have to worry about whether or not they will be accepted into Your kingdom. They will - for in their youth they are to rejoice and experience life.

Help me, Lord, to react with joy and patience, as my children learn and grow. Help me to remember that they need naps (Oh, do they need their naps) and that my adult schedule needs to be structured around their little bodies.

Most of all, Lord, I pray for patience.

In Jesus' Name,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prayer over Teachers and Leaders in Schools

"Let the elders who rule be well considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." 1 Timothy 5:17

Dear Lord,
As the school year begins, my heart is full of anxiety over those who will influence my children every day of the school year. There are wonderful teachers, who will spend more time with my daughter than I do every school day. I have been the teacher you sent to guide her for so long, and now she has other adults in her life.

I pray that these teachers and other school workers will be vessels of Your good plan. I know that You have put them in my child's life for a reason, Lord. Please help me to accept that they are good influences on my child.

Please let Your light shine through my children. Let all of the students and teachers see YOU in her, more than they see her. Help my children to bless their teachers, as the teachers bless them in all they do.

Please help me, as well, Lord, to be a blessing in my child's school. These teachers spend so much time and energy making my child's life so enriched, that I hope to be able to reciprocate to the teachers in some way.

Thank you, Lord, for teachers, and for the strength to accept the new influences in my child's life. You will be there to carry her, as well as me, through the school year.

In Jesus' Name,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Closer to God...without man's rules.

"The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men." ~ Isaiah 29:13

We get caught up in the rules of our society, within our government, work places, schools, and homes. Our churches have rules, and many Christians believe that if they simply follow the rules of their church, they will be saved in the eyes of the Lord.

Is following the rules of the church enough to please the Lord?

Not according to Isaiah 29:13. The Lord says that we must not only honor Him with our lips and words, but in our hearts. I love to think that I do this....but how do I teach my children to honor the lord, not just in worship at church, but also in their hearts? We take our children to church, and we teach them how to pray. We read our bibles, and read bible stories to the kids. How do we know when we are actually following God's will for us, and not just playing along with the rules taught by men? Not one human knows the answers to these questions. We must rely upon our bibles to tell us what God wants from us.

My prayer:
Dear Lord:
Please help me to know you and honor you in the depths of my heart. I pray that you help me to teach my children how to worship you, not only in the ways taught by the rules of our human church, but in ways that are pleasing to you in our hearts.
Help our family to be centered around you, and your delight, instead of the human things that make us happy. Your happiness is our reward. Please help us to keep sight of your happiness, and help us to focus less on our pleasures.

Lord, please show me the path that leads to your treasures in my heart, so that I may know You more. Help me to teach my children to follow that path as well, Lord, so they may know You and love You.

Going to church is important in our lives, but help us to make more of the human rituals, Lord, so that we may experience your Love for us, not only in the man-made customs and ceremonies, but in our every day lives.

Live in our hearts, Lord, Jesus.