I am not always an awesome parent. I am going to be honest and say that there are many days when my only goal is that everyone makes it out alive.
Today, I am praying life over my three children who, ironically, I believe are trying to be the death of me.
My 20-year-old wants another year in El Salvador, and I want her stateside.
My 15-year-old wants to live in squalor; I am declaring his dwellings uninhabitable… oh, and he is currently sporting a rather large afro, sigh.
And the little one, well, today she is six going on 26, and believes she knows what’s best for her life… and my life too.
For those of you with babies, this may seem at the very least, exaggerated, but don’t judge me too quickly.
I’ve been where you are, and today I want to share with you (and remind myself of!) a few simple tips on raising a child of the King, so that when you have a day like I am having, you are able to just stop and take a breath and remind yourself that it is just a part of the journey.
Give more hugs than rebukes
There is a Chinese proverb that states the reason that people shout when they are angry is because their hearts are far away from one another and they must shout to be heard. Try to intentionally keep your heart near your child’s (try to remember where she is) so that your love and compassion is heard through your words. And give twice as many hugs as rebukes (Proverbs 15:1-33, I Cor 13:4).
Fight the battles that need fighting
There are many lessons that they will find out on their own, whether they hear them from you or not. Perhaps the shoes don’t go with the blouse, but we will foster a stronger relationship by allowing them to make more of their own choices when we can. If the decision they are making doesn’t go against God’s direction for our lives, let it be, and be supportive. If you are anticipating a battle, stand back and ask yourself, is this a battle that I need to fight (Eph. 6:4)?
Love them with the love of Christ
I know that this seems obvious, but before you pass this one, take a moment and really take it in. We know that we love our kids, but we spend a lot of time attempting to create them in the image that we would have them to be because let’s face it, we want them to be better than us. Instead of simply loving them, I challenge you to love them with the love of Christ. Accept them as they are, for who they are, not for what they do or don’t do (John 15:9, Romans 15:7).
Above all things, mommas, remember that God’s got this. It is true that we have been entrusted with the most important job in the Kingdom: growing Christ followers. But remember that we are not expected to do this alone, so let go and place every worry, and every care, at His feet, every day, as you continue this important work for the Kingdom. And when things get challenging, remind yourself that the journey is as important as the destination and if we trust Him, He will get us all there in one piece.
Word of the Day:
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Father, thank you for these beautiful children that you have placed in my care. Even on the difficult days, the love that I feel for them goes deeper than anything I could ever explain, yet I know that you love them more-- with a greater, deeper, more encompassing love. Thank you for loving them more than I ever could. Today I ask that you guide my steps as I walk before them and please guide my hand as I raise them for your Kingdom, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Author: Kandice Adams
We have all done it. Power walking up and down the grocery aisles, hungry, throwing everything in the cart but what we intended.
Unfortunately for me, the items frequently tossed into the basket tend to be the ones that taste really good but are of no benefit to the body.
I start out with good intentions, but because I am ravenous, I become easily tempted and distracted, thus grabbing quick and easy things that I believe will satisfy me.
Recently I was having one of those grocery runs and each item that I tossed into the cart seemed to mock me.
You are what you eat.
Then I was reminded of how things had been during the month of March, when I fasted.
I would go to the grocery store, juice in hand, and with a very controlled approach, peruse the aisles. I was very precise about my selections, picking only choice fruits and vegetables. I wasn’t starving because I had been sipping on my fruit juice along the way.
Just ripe Bananas.
All excellent, beneficial things went into my basket. And I was satisfied and content.
I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the two occasions when I stopped to consider how I am feeding my spirit woman.
Is my spirit woman starving because of the lack of time I spend with the Lord, and am I haphazardly tossing things into my “basket” that are detrimental to my spiritual growth?
Copious amounts of alcohol to dull a pain.
Unhealthy friendships to lessen the loneliness.
Ungodly relationships to improve self-worth.
Ladies, we are what we eat.
Our spirit bodies are not different from our physical bodies.
If we want a healthy relationship with the Lord, we must eat of the bread of Heaven by spending time in His Word. It is there that we learn to overcome pain.
If we want to produce the fruits of the spirit, we must tap into the organic fruit of the vine of Christ through prayer. It is in the relationship we have in Christ that we find our worth.
If we want to quench our thirst, we must drink from the living water, the Spirit of God who is always with us.
Moms, this means that we need to stop waiting until we are starving thus falling for what is easy and tastes good but only satisfies us temporarily.
Today, I challenge you to listen closely to your spirit woman, and instead of running carelessly through the grocery aisle, throwing unintended, unbeneficial things into the “basket”, let’s look to our Father to sustain us. Allow the Lover of your soul to feed you what you so desperately crave: His presence, His attention, and His love as you fill your soul with Him through prayer and His Word.
Word of the Day:
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35
Lord, thank you for the Spirit who makes me aware of my desperate need for your presence. Help me to learn to seek you during the day, instead of waiting until I am spiritually starving. Help me to crave you so I am not easily distracted by things that are detrimental to my relationship with you, in Jesus name, amen.
Author: Kandice Adams
I like people; I do. I say this as I concurrently scrunch down further in the seat of my car in an attempt to hide from the poor sweet lady who has invited me to coffee three times, only to be declined. It’s not that I don’t like coffee, and it’s not that I don’t like her. I just struggle with small talk.
Small talk makes me feel like I am running in place, so after those nice coffee chats, I need a nap… no, seriously.
I confess this because I realize there are many aspects of my personality that I must intentionally own, lest I be consumed. I don’t mean owning it as in: this is the way I am, so deal with it. I mean owning it as in, acknowledging my weakness but allowing His strength to be glorified in me. Because of what I have been called to, I press on; I press into Him.
Like you, I have been called to be a rooted mom of three beautiful children, and I have been called to be the church, that is to go forth and profess Jesus to the community… a community who desperately needs to see His love displayed through me.
We each must realize the bigger picture. As the church, we were never meant to remain congregated within our walls. And ironically, I am not talking about the building in which we come together on Sunday mornings. I am referring to each of us and the walls we have built up to keep others out.
I am referring to the walls created by past hurts that keep us from trusting again.
I am referring to the walls of pseudo-perfection that keeps us from openly sharing our testimonies with others.
I am referring to my wall of introversion which, if I allow it, will keep me from those God appointments that are intended to strengthen the Kingdom.
Suddenly that coffee chat doesn’t sound like too much to ask.
What’s your wall made of?
Friend, it is time for it to come down.
Trust me, I understand how easy it is to isolate yourself behind your walls where it seems safe but God has called us out of our hiding place. He has called us to tear down the walls that seclude us and make ourselves fully available to our families and to others. He wants us to be the church who reaches people because those people outside our walls need Him as much as we do, and we each have been called to actively love them.
Sisters, today I encourage you to allow the demolition expert to tear down your walls. Take all of the energy that you burned to keep them standing and place it into the relationships that He has given you to nurture outside where those walls once stood. And as you nurture those relationships, with the leading of the Spirit, allow others to see your vulnerability, your weakness, because it is in those moments that His strength is manifested and He is glorified.
Word of the Day
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14 (NIV)
Father, I thank you for your strength which is manifested in my weakness. I thank you for your Spirit who leads me into all truth. Today Lord, I ask that you tear down my walls that are keeping me showing the world your glory which lives in me, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Author: Kandice Adams
Author: Kandice Adams
Not too long ago, I watched as my oldest daughter smiled, took the perfect selfie, and immediately uploaded it to Facebook. I am quite envious of those people who never take a bad picture, as I don’t believe that I have ever taken the perfect picture. It generally takes me roughly five shots to get one that doesn’t look goofy, and then another five just to capture a decent image.
Am I the only one?
Just once, I would like to take a perfect picture that doesn’t capture the small pimple on my chin and magnify it by a hundred. Just once, I would like to take a picture that doesn’t deepen the wrinkles on my forehead, sigh. Just once, I would like to take a picture that doesn’t capture my irritation but instead my preferred happiness. Those shots are difficult to come by and are often even elusive because pictures have a way of magnifying that which we have a propensity to hide or ignore.
Pictures have a way of telling you the truth.
It causes me to wonder what I would look like if I took a selfie of my spiritual life and uploaded it to Facebook.
Would people see the wrinkles caused by my worn out prayer life, or would they see the pimples caused by excessive spiritual grime, such as arrogance or indifference, in my walk?
Would people see my strained relationship with Christ that I try to mask with a pious smile?
So often what we want people to see is far from the reality of our spiritual lives. Instead of placing our hope in Christ and giving Him our fears and doubts, we put on a happy front to mask our insecurities or our bitterness. Instead of depending on Him and allowing Him to speak to our unbelief, we use the rose-colored filter to present a spiritually flawless image of a person who doesn’t exist.
Living the Christian life isn’t about perfection, it is about excellence.
As Christians, we must be deliberate about the health of our spiritual lives because it is imperative that the world see Christ in the lens of its camera by the way we live. It is so important that we intentionally use every platform in our lives as a catapult to usher those far from God into a relationship with Christ. But we do this by not focusing on what others see, but instead on what God sees. We do this by not posing for the audience of many, but for the audience of one. It is only when we begin to narrow our focus on Him that our spiritual selfie comes out clearly, with the perfect angle, and the perfect pose.
Today, I encourage you to stop and take a spiritual selfie by seeking God in prayer. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal that which is hidden, that which doesn’t glorify Him. Allow Him to show you the proper angle in the perfect light, His light, to bring yourself into a truer and closer walk, while really living it before others.
Word of the Day:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24
Lord, there is such relief in knowing that you know my inner most thoughts. It brings me joy to know that I can come before you and bear all of my iniquities, all of my imperfections, all of my mess, and your love for me remains unwavering. Thank you, Lord, for your love. I ask that you remind me when I forget, that you are here and always available, and that I only need to exist for you and everything else will come into perfect focus, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
By Kandice Adams
My little girl loves her daddy.
He gets her full attention.
She hangs on his every word. He speaks no wrong, and she lets none of His words fall to the ground.
She runs to him when he walks through the door.
Even though I carried her for nine months, it is still endearing to watch the pair because she is a daddy’s girl through and through.
I have to admit that she came to mind as I was reading through Revelation yesterday. In the letter to the Ephesians Jesus states, “… you have left your first love” (Rev 2:4 ASV).
I thought of my daughter and her adoration for her daddy, and then I thought of how I was when I was a new Christian. I was much like her.
I pored through His word. I couldn’t wait to hear His voice each day.
I longed to be in His presence in prayer, to whisper my thoughts, concerns, dreams, and aspirations.
I would tell everyone I met about the man in my life.
But I have to say, there have been seasons when things were different; I was more distant. There have been times I needed to be stirred by a worship song to remember how things were.
I had lost the deep desire to join him on dates.
Our quiet time had become habitual, or worse, obligatory.
Reading His word had become an item on my task list.
He was no longer the first thing on my mind.
Can you relate?
Friend, if we are not intentional those days will become seasons, and one day we will look at the intimacy we once shared with our Lord and see it as a moment in time, instead of experiencing the joy that comes with a continual relationship.
Today, I ask you as a sister, how is your first love?
Is your love strong or do you need to pray about your relationship?
Do you need to commit to doing anything differently so that your love can be made strong once again?
If you are having an off season, God offers us encouragement and hope: “"Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Return to Me," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I may return to you," says the LORD of hosts” Zech 1:3 (KJV).
We only need to return to His embrace; return to being enamored with the sound of His voice; return to sharing Him with everyone; return to not letting His words fall to the ground; return to having the deep desire to please Him.
Return to Him.
Word of the Day:
'I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” Jer 24:7 (NIV).
Lord, thank you for always being there, waiting for me and beckoning me. Thank you for your constant love. I ask today, that when I am distant, you pull me into your embrace. I ask that you beckon me with the voice of your spirit, and cause my heart to be sensitive to your presence, in Jesus’ name, amen.