By Kandice Adams
My friends often comment on how well behaved my children are, and for the most part, I would agree. But I have got to be honest, there are many days that our youngest breaks me. Until recently, I wondered where on earth she had gotten some of her shenanigans.
Need an example?
A couple of weeks ago, Mia and I were shopping and she asked if she could have a particular toy that I was purchasing for a friend’s daughter for her birthday, and I told her, “not this time.” She was shocked that I wouldn’t compromise or be persuaded into buying her the toy, so…
She begged, as she flung herself to the floor.
She pleaded, as she clung to my legs.
She threatened, and believe me when I say: she’s actually a little scary.
The scene ended with her throwing a five year old tantrum.
After we were home, we talked about her not always getting her way and about her attitude of generosity, but I also emphasized that it was nothing that she had done wrong, but the answer was still a resounding no.
Later that evening, I was surprised to learn that I needed to review the same lesson I was trying to teach my child.
As she and I were preparing dinner, I turned on the stove, but instead of getting the familiar smell of gas, I heard a click, click, click.
It didn’t take us long to realize that our wires crossed and we hadn’t paid the bill.
I figured I would just call and they would turn it on again; after all it was only $67.00.
The answer was no.
We would have to wait five days to have it turned on again.
After having a curt conversation with customer service, I waited on hold for 40 minutes for the supervisor who I knew would fix my problem.
The answer was still a resounding no.
So I begged, as I dropped to the floor.
I pleaded, as my eyes began to sting with unshed tears.
And then my eyes shifted and landed on my daughter’s face. As I looked into her eyes, I knew that I had a choice. I could throw a grown-up sized tantrum, or I could ‘walk the walk’ before her and handle it with the poise and delicacy of Christ.
With the Spirit’s prompting, my attitude shifted towards Christ.
Instead of being angry about the gas being off, I praised Him for the electricity that was still on.
Instead of throwing a tantrum like an oversized toddler, I praised Him for the warm days that were forecasted.
With further prompting, I realized that my daughter and I shared an attitude of entitlement.
Sometimes when the Spirit begins to uncover an area, what’s underneath isn’t pretty. But we have to acknowledge that the arrogance of entitlement is both subtle and poisonous to our walks because it threatens the very nature of the reflection of Christ in our lives.
As rooted moms, we will do more to teach our children by how we live than by what we say to them; therefore, if we want them to display the attributes of Christ, we must be intentional about living it before them.
Today, if you are challenged with something unexpected or undesirable, display an attitude of humility, dig deep and find the attitude of grace that the Spirit provides and praise Him.
Word of the Day:
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11 (NIV).
Father, I thank you for my challenges that illuminate the opportunities for you to shine through me. In those moments when I begin to reflect an attitude of entitlement, I ask that your Spirit prompt me to demonstrate humility and grace, in Jesus’ name, amen.
By Amanda Becker
Have you ever experienced something that had you so worried it made you physically sick?
I have. In fact, several times come to mind.
One of the most worrisome times of my life was when I became pregnant with my son. My husband and I had been married nearly seven years before my son was born. We really felt that God was calling me to be at home with our son, so my husband began searching for a job that would better meet our needs. We knew that we couldn’t afford for me to leave my job if he did not find something else, so we continued praying and holding onto faith.
At six months pregnant, worry and fear really started to creep in, adding “fuel to the fire” of already high emotions.
In those few months before we had our son, I probably thought of every terrible outcome possible…
What if he never gets a better job?
What if I can’t juggle being a new mom and working a job at the same time?
What if we have to struggle financially for the rest of our lives?
I was overcome with fear.
While fear and worry are natural emotions in times such as these, there is danger in staying in that place, allowing the lies of the enemy to take up residence in our mind.
Maybe you're in a place of constant worry or fear, today. Maybe from problems in your job, finances or an illness. The more we hang on to anxiety and fear, the less space we have for God's truth. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes to Timothy saying, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)
Friend, God doesn’t want us be worried, confused and scared. When we constantly worry, we’re telling God that he’s not big enough. If we want to experience God's faithfulness, grace and peace in the midst of our situation, we must evict worry and fear from our minds.
How wonderful would it be if every time we were thrown into a difficult situation or trial, our thoughts automatically went to God's love and provision over us instead of the rabbit hole of what ifs.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (AMP) says this, “ We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.”
God’s truth helps us see lies and doubts for what they really are, but it takes practice, and it has to be intentional. Spending time in the word on a regular basis gives us the reinforcement we need to be assured of his love and guidance in the midst of our anxiety.
To start, here are three scriptures that you can meditate on when you feel worry starting to creep in:
“... Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 ESV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
I wish I had meditated on these scriptures during my season of worry; I wasted all that time that I could have spent being excited about my new bundle of joy being afraid when, surprisingly, just two months before we had our son, my husband got the perfect job. My worry had been in vain. God was faithful just as he has always been and always will be! Instead of allowing worry and fear to preside over our thoughts, let's plunge into God's truth and allow his peace to permeate our hearts. Only then can His word-- not worry-- be at the forefront of our thoughts.
Word of the day:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
Lord, please forgive us when we are consumed with worry and fear. We thank you for your faithfulness and love for us. Thank you for working all things for our good. We pray that you would give us peace and understanding in the midst of our trials. Help us to become people of faith, not worry. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
By Karen Beauvais
While any mother of a two year old could hardly imagine this, parenting a young burgeoning adult is sometimes just as exhausting. While you can practically bubble wrap a toddler and hover like a helicopter over them at will, when they edge towards adulthood, the game begins to change.
Suddenly you are not the all-knowing expert, hugs are not as abundant as they used to be and for some crazy reason you are no longer allowed to dance in the privacy of your own kitchen. And dear Lord, they drive cars instead of being ratcheted down in a 5 point harness. The anxiety potential is limitless!
There is something so magical about being a mother, but I don’t get why God allows us to give our hearts away to talcum powdered, wonderfully smelling babies only to have to let it all go when they grow up. Suddenly, you trade diaper bags for gym bags and playdates morph into a day out with girlfriends... sans mom.
Hey remember me? I sometimes think. The giver of life. The one you wanted to go to tea with and paint your nails! I have been reduced to a dot on the horizon in the rear view mirror as my daughter runs off for lunch with her friends.
While I always grappled for time as I was raising my four kids, now there are times that I long for them to be little again, as I attempt to busy myself with a new career and hobbies. I would even take the sleepless nights and ear infections if I could go back. I would go back to carefree days of making bubbles in the driveway and cuddling up to a pop-up book before bed. Only this time... I wouldn’t worry about how clean the house was.
Now, towards the end of vanishing time with my children, I have learned to relish the short time instead of ruminating over body image, house demands, academics, work and all the other things that waste us.
Friends, when life is a pressure cooker of diapers, bottles and spit-up rags; or SAT prep, driving lessons, college exams and orthodontist appointments we must remember that this time of our lives is only a season that will all too soon be gone.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take in every hug, every laugh, every tear, every milestone of the journey. It seems like just yesterday my daughter was running off to prom, then graduation…
Before you know it, the amazing children we are trusted to raise are adults. So today put your time in the perspective of eternity and raise your children well. Don’t rush that hug or let your temper spill like lava to the point of regret. Live in the present and be thankful for it, like the “present” it is-- another day to be well lived. This is your gift. Enjoy it.
Word of the Day:
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.” James 4:14 (NLT)
Father help me to dial down the pressure and live in the moment, appreciating the joys of motherhood, before it soon passes. Help me to shape and prepare my children for tomorrow. Keep me focused on today because tomorrow has trouble enough of it’s own. Keep me in the present and appreciating the gift that today is.
By Kaylie Hodges
My kids sit at the breakfast table and chat every morning while my husband and I piddle around the kitchen, getting breakfast ready. More often than not, we end up avoiding eye contact to avoid dissolving into giggles at their antics.
The range of topics they cover is broad, from the highly spiritual: “How old is God?”
To heated debates: “No! Space guys can’t go to Saturn!”
To their favorite topic, bodily functions: “I heard a tooty!”
Why, oh why are potty words so funny?!
When I get to the table, the focus always shifts to me. Their questions are directed to me, and their desires are laid out before me. These conversations dished out at the table are so delightful, that I often find myself lingering over a pot that doesn’t really need to be stirred anymore just so I can listen longer without interrupting them.
In the safest place my kids know, they pour out their hearts to one another. I can see where they are struggling, questioning. I can see what they really care about and what makes them happy. I can see what is really holding them back and what is motivating their behavior.
It makes me think of our Heavenly Father, the One who sent the world swirling on its axis, and how he hears us.
“But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.” (Psalm 66:19)
Just like I stand in the kitchen and listen to my kids hash out life, God sits on his throne and listens to me pour out the dreams in my heart to my husband. He hears me answer my kids’ strange questions. He hears my quiet cries when I feel insufficient. He hears the laughter at our dinner table.
He hears me, and He knows things that are hidden in a place deeper than I can see. His omniscience can see past my questions and worldly desires of today, to what I truly need... to draw closer to Him.
God is compassionate. He mourns with us and He rejoices with us. He delights in us.
So today when you are just talking yourself through daily life, doing laundry, kissing ouchies, running cab service, and simply trying to get it all figured out, take heart. Your Heavenly Father delights in watching you serve in the place He has set you. The God of the universe not only listens to your prayers, but to your thoughts, dreams, conversations, and commands. He cares about the little things you care about because He cares for you!
Word of the Day:
Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:23-24 (NLT)
Lord thank you today for delighting in me, your child. I pray that you would guide my steps beyond what I can see, help me to take comfort in You, knowing that you hear me.
Read more of Kaylie's blogs at www.kayliehodges.com
By Kandice Adams
A few months ago, my husband texted to tell me that Mia had fallen from her bicycle and it looked as though she had injured, and possibly fractured her ankle. Immediately guilt washed over me as I recalled the events in which my son walked around for days with an illness before seeking medical attention, and I decided quickly that I wouldn’t be that parent again. When I arrived home, I watched Mia walk with a limp, and in the dim light of dusk, noted that her ankle was swollen and bruised, so off we went to get it looked at.
While we were sitting there in the compact room awaiting an x-ray, I used the opportunity, and the great lighting, to really exam her ankle. I disregarded my little girl’s whimpers; I wiped off the smudges of-- soil, not bruises; and I pressed around the swollen ankle, only to find out, it was a mosquito bite. Oh, and the limp, disappeared as soon as she learned the truth.
I would have had a good chuckle if it wasn’t the story of my life.
It may seem that this isn’t a big deal, but this is not the only time I have been duped by what I see, nor is it the first time that I have allowed my limited knowledge of a situation to guide my decision making. More often than I would like to admit, I rapidly triage circumstances and draw hasty conclusions that are clouded by residual hurts from my past or the misinformed advice of others.
This escapade to the Emergency Department may have been expensive financially, but spiritually, I gained a wealth of wisdom because the Spirit caused me to stop and consider how impressionable our children are, and how important it is that we walk in wisdom and clarity when raising them.
As rooted moms, our primary duty is to raise children who will become followers of Christ and be active members of a body who will zealously impart the gospel to a desperate, hurting world.
To be successful in our effort, we must be able to examine how we raise them and every situation in which our children are involved, in the good lighting of Christ. It is so important that we wipe away the smudges of dirt– the bad advice of well-meaning friends or society, our bruised egos and our sullied pasts. It is so important that we deal with our exaggerated limps, where healing is long overdue. It is important, as their parents, that we are able to raise them with wisdom and lead them into all truth.
Instead of showing them how to walk with a spiritual limp due to insults from long ago, such as fractured friendships, broken promises, or shattered hopes, and let’s show them our God is able to heal all wounds.
Instead of allowing society’s short-term solutions to sully how we raise our kids, let’s wipe away the specks of dirt such as the decaying moral standards, and point them to our God who is constant.
Instead of teaching our kids to rely on what they see on social media, on television, or in the world, let’s teach them to rely on His truth.
It is when we raise them with the wisdom imparted by the Spirit of God that we are effective in our walk before them. It is only when we show our children to walk in the light of Christ that we will reach our ultimate goal of raising disciples for Christ.
Word of the Day:
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13 (NLT)
Father thank you for blessing me with the opportunity of raising children for your kingdom. I know that my children are highly impressionable, please guide me, as their mom, to walk before them in all truth and teach me to raise them with the wisdom imparted by your Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen.