Friday, December 13, 2013

Teaching our kids Gratefulness

Now to look at these beautiful faces, you'd think - they're perfect, polite, sweet, and beautiful, right?  I know most of the time those are MY thoughts too!

And because I love them, I want to give EVERYTHING to my girls - and I know I'm not alone!  I didn't have the childhood of my dreams, so I want to pour all I can into being sure my daughters have the amazing, and LOVING experiences I didn't necessarily have growing up.

How do we find the balance between giving our kids what they want, yet them being grateful kids?  

I had a moment where I realized I was doing my girls a dis-service by offering EVERYTHING I could to them. 

It's SOO frustrating when you sacrificially give something to your kids, and they just want more, and are not grateful for what they have.  During a time where we were extremely pinched financially, my husband took his birthday money from a family member and bought a doll one of my daughters wanted.  He was SO excited to give it to her.  At first, she was excited, but it quickly turned into her wanting more - a better doll, & more dolls.  My hubby was heart broken, knowing what a sacrifice it was to give her THAT doll.

I prayed for a creative solution - because I wanted her to be excited for what we CAN give, but for us not to feel taken advantage of when it's not what SHE thinks she deserves. 

It was near Easter time, so I told her I was going to take her shopping.  Oh boy, oh boy, was she excited.  When we got to the mall, I explained how ungrateful her attitude towards the doll her dad got her was, and pulled out scripture explaining it is better to GIVE then to RECEIVE, and this is the lesson our shopping experience is going to teach her.  And, I told her the money she got for Easter was going to be used to bless her father.  Oh my, the tears & upset; I'm sure the people in the mall were thinking I just sliced off her left arm because of how upset she was.

The reality sank in that she was getting NOTHING for Easter, rather, she was going to be the one giving this time.  Once she realized I was not going to change my mind, she pulled herself together and even got excited to bless her father.  We made sure to make a BIG deal out of what she was giving - and it was actually a lot of fun!  She even asked if she could get something for her sister too!  We spent that Easter just enjoying each others company & playing games rather than doing they typical Easter baskets & finding the Easter egg hunts.

To this day, 4 1/2 years later, she is a testimony of gratefulness & a BIG giving heart.  No matter how small the gift for her, she is overly thankful...and from her heart too. 

We need to be sure we're teaching our kids the art of giving so much more than receiving.  That's worth more than any gift we can give to them. We are called to give & serve the people around us; so that's a huge gift to our kids when we teach them the same principal.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Decisions, decisions...

You know to some people, the burning question may be, "What IS the meaning of life?"

And for some of us, the burning question may be, "WHY EVE, WHY?!?!"  Yah, I'm actually getting in line to ask that one...just saying!

But honestly, in this crazy world with all the variables & chaos flying around in life, the question needs to be, "Daddy, am I on the right track?"

You see, attack is going to come - it's just one of those realities that absolutely blows chunkies when you're a follower of Christ.
  • You get attacked when you're doing RIGHT because the enemy of your soul wants you to fall so he'll cause fear in hopes you turn away.
  • You get attacked when you're doing WRONG because you drifted away from the covering of God's protection. Now you're in the enemy's torment field being pushed around - and God's waiting for you to get out of there, and return to His protection.
A person can make themselves crazy trying to figure out what category they fall in when they're feeling the arrows of attack shot at their lives & circumstances.

When in the heat of attack, the solution is extremely simple - hard at times, but simple:

Nestle into the arms of the Almighty, lean into His chest, and hear His heartbeat.  His heartbeat for you, your family, and your circumstances.  Relationship with The Father is the most important thing to hang onto in this life.  It's not enough to know OF God, but to KNOW Him.  He's the best friend & guide you'll ever have.  Staying close to God is a MUST so during times of crisis you'll know clearly if you are to push past your pain, but stay on course, or change direction because you're on the wrong path.

We are living in such a "self help" age & society that it's very easy to forget that God wants to be involved in the operation of our lives - and let's face it...He'll do a MUCH better job of management that we could ever hope to do. 

First things first...PRAY
RUN, do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200 - but RUUUUN straight into your prayer closet, nestle close to God and be honest with yourself, and Him.  

If you're called to STAND FIRM
Ask which chaos this is. If you're confident you're on the RIGHT track, trust Him to cover you (with the peace that passes all understanding - Philippians 4:7), and He'll deal HARSHLY with the enemy who's sabotaging your circumstances.  Be at peace. God is bigger than your circumstances and will take care of the chaos, details, and the enemy who's trying to ruin your day. 
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life...  
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  
                                                             Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

STORY TIME...Recently we were faced with quite a fork in the road & this very question - did we do right, or wrong in making ____ decision???  After much prayer & talking it out with my hubby, we decided God had ordained our direction and we were to hand this attack over to HIM - and not give another hour to it's yucky-ness.  Of course when we're stressed, our kids also can feel the anxiety - so we decided to take an impromptu family day.  We told our girls that we needed to Praise God through this storm, and stay in unity.  I could have sat at home to stew over all the possible terrible scenarios that COULD play out by our circumstances, or go play at DISNEY as a family.  Through the day we laughed, held hands, hugged, rode rides, and made silly jokes.  THE MIRACLE:  God worked out the circumstances WHILE we were out playing.
Be extremely honest with yourself. Admit you MAY have taken a wrong turn & God in His mercy is trying to get your attention to move you somewhere else.  If this is the case, hit the brakes as hard as you can (even if it gives you whiplash), and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit to find your new direction.  Don't worry about your pride being bruised because you are not's a SHOCKER - none of us are!  There, the pressure is off. Your storm will end the sooner you face it, and change direction to blow WITH the wind of the Holy Spirit rather than against it.  I've tried fighting against God, but in the end, He always wins - so the sooner you embrace that, the faster things will become peaceful because you've now put yourself back into the secure place of the leading of Almighty God for your life.

PARABLE OF CHRISTY...There once was a young dumb girl who thought she knew everything.  She made some decisions in life being independent & strong - dumb ones at that, but she wanted to do things HER way.  She went from one chaotic battle to the next, and the more she fought, the more miserable bitter, & weary she became.  Then she shook her fist at God in anger and said, "WHY, GOD WHY - don't You love me?" and He gently asked if she was done trying to do things her way, and trust Him with her life because He DID love her?  She ran straight into His arms, nestled into His chest, listened to His heart for her life, and she's held onto Him ever since.  Now she lives with peace and a LOT of laughter because she knows her life is not being directed by her own knowledge, but by the Almighty God's.

Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)

5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.

I see now how true it is; "It's the child He loves that God corrects" so when He asks us to put the brakes on a direction, it's because He loves us.  He's wanting the torment to END, and peace to reign in our life, family, and home.  Isn't that our motive for disciplining our children too?  It's out of LOVE.  So trust your life to LOVE.