Archive for the 'Christianity' Category

16
Aug
13

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle

For the past 3 years, I have spent an evening in August having “the talk” with each of my daughters.  It is not easy.

I was talking to an older couple last month, and we were talking about the generational gaps.  It was acceptable in their generation to keep things hidden, especially things that were not socially polite to talk about such as sex.  In church back then, you just didn’t talk about your struggles out loud either.  If you went to church, you were probably pretty holy, but no one was going to ask you about it, just in case you weren’t.  And you certainly didn’t have social media to share things!

But my children live in a generation which I would describe as the “authentic” generation.  Everyone, everywhere is okay with talking about who they are, whether that be heterosexual, bi, homosexual, Republican, Liberal, prolife, prochoice, etc.  Even Christians now feel the freedom to confess sins and repent to others on their blogs, in church programs, etc.  Facebook is filled with statuses of how it’s okay to be different, this is who I am, love me for me!

While I believe it is good to be authentic, and not hide struggles, this creates a dilemma for us as Christian parents of young children.  I believe we MUST tell our children the Biblical view of sex and marriage at young ages.  I don’t care if you never let your child step foot in a public school, they will see/hear people of all kinds doing things you will not approve of on the TV/movie screen, commercials, on the sidewalk, at the neighborhood pool, social media, their older cousin’s house, billboards, and…brace yourself…CHURCH.  And parents, I want broken people (which is all of us!) to feel welcome at church no matter how much of an outcast they may feel they are.  After all, in Luke 5 it says,

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

So, starting at age 5, we age appropriately share the Biblical view of sex and marriage to our children.  I know, you’re thinking, “Really?  5 years old!” But we must prepare our kids for the battles that lie ahead in this world.  And our kids are experiencing things that we have NEVER experienced as children because we didn’t have the internet.  Don’t be naiive parents to what your children will see and hear.

This year, I decided to get a new book to help with my oldest daughter, age 9.  She HATES talking about sex.  And although What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (God’s Design for Sex) is good, I need something that I can read to her, that is written for her (i.e. written FOR girls) since she feels SO awkward about talking with me about “it.”   Book 3 in God’s Design for Sex series is written in a question/answer type format and does not naturally flow conversationally in my opinion.  It still is a good book to discuss with your 9-11 year old, but like I said earlier, for a child who doesn’t even want to look at you during “this” conversation, it just isn’t the right book for the job.

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity (The Every Man Series) has been a great resource for me to use when talking with my almost fourth grader.   First off, I would recommend this book for girls ages 9 and up.  I also bought my daughter a journal before we started so we could do the activities at the end of each chapter in the journal.  The first half of the book is written just for mom to read alone.  The mom section convinces you that it is good to read this to your daughter BEFORE she starts puberty.

After I read that, I skimmed the back half of the book and saw there was 16 mini chapters for me to read with my daughter.  Every chapter is about a new topic:  getting curves, starting your period, dating, sex, sex before marriage, friends, etc.  I started doing a chapter a day with her during the later half of July.  Each chapter took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  What I really liked about these chapters was at the end of each one, there was a short activity to do with my daughter.  She got out her new journal I bought her and a Bible, and together we did the activity and then I wrote a sentence that I wanted her to remember for that day.  Example:  After we read about getting curves, she had to draw different fruits on a page of her journal.  We then talked about if a banana could ever be a pear or an apple could ever be a banana, etc.  Obviously the answer is no, each fruit is made with unique curves.  We are to be happy with the bodies God gave us!  So I wrote on the bottom of her page:  “Thank you God for creating Rilyn in Your image!”  My hope is that she can look back over this journal throughout the school year and remember everything we discussed, (because she is not one to comfortably talk to me about these things, although my prayer is that she will one day.) Warning, this book is very graphic about sex.  It feels very unnatural to read these things to an innocent 9 year old, but 1.) I have to remind myself no one is innocent and 2.)  I want her to hear these things from me first, not on the playground at school.  My prayer for her is that knowing all these things now, she will be a friend of influence rather than be influenced by peers at school.  (And parents, just tell your daughter not to discuss the things in this book with others unless the topic comes up!)  🙂

me and my girls!

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19
Jul
13

breaking “invisible bad”

I had my first deep spiritual conversation with Asher (my 5 year old).  You see, this son of mine, he is a clown-the boy that wants to make everyone laugh, and wants to be the center of attention.  He is the youngest in our family, so I guess it’s not his fault.  🙂  He has never been one to sit quietly through a Bible story or any intentional family night where we are teaching a lesson.  I pray desperately for his salvation at a young age, but do I really believe it?  Honestly, after the 100th time of reading Noah’s Ark to Asher, and I ask him who is on the ark and he says Adam, I’m not really feeling it.  I’m scared for Asher.  Scared that he will do whatever it takes to make people laugh, and because the Bible isn’t filled with stories of fart and poop jokes, he will reject it.

Pray, pray, pray.

me and my boy!

So imagine to my surprise when I was putting him to bed one night he told me out of the blue, “I don’t want to be ‘the crazy one’ mommy.  (Referring to being the crazy one in our family.)  I don’t want to be bad and keep making bad choices.  But I keep doing it! I can’t stop!”

I looked at him and said, “We ALL make bad choices.  We all sin.  But there is good news!  We have a rescuer!!!”

He said, “But mom, YOU never do bad things.  You always make good choices!”

“No, I don’t Asher!  Mommy may not sin like you do (throwing tantrums, whining), but I make bad choices in my head and my heart a lot.  I think and feel bad things about people.”

“But mommy, you’re invisible bad!”   (Parenting lesson for me:  I need to be more transparent when I sin against him.  Too often, I let my sins against him slide because I tell myself he is too young and he doesn’t really get it.  If I yell at Asher out of anger, I must point out my sin to him, and ask him for forgiveness.)

“No, Asher.  God knows every sin we do.  We can never hide our bad choices from God.  But remember, we have a RESCUER!!  He can save and forgive us of our bad choices!  Who is our rescuer Asher?”

“Jesus!”  (He didn’t say Spiderman or Angry Birds-YES!)  “But mommy, I asked Jesus to help me, and I keep on sinning!”

(parenting pause…wow, what do I say?  At that moment, I told Asher to pray with me, and ask God to help him trust Jesus more and more each day.  We hugged, and it was just a really neat moment.)

And when I closed his bedroom door that night, I thought, do I wrestle over my sin?  Or am I content to just “keep on sinning”?  When was the last time I asked Jesus to help me stop sinning?  I tell myself, “I am who I am.  I sin this way, and that’s just how it is.”  But through the words of a silly 5 year old boy, God spoke to me.  And I love parenting for that.

Romans 7:24-25  “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more…enter in the mysterious, wonderful power of the Gospel.  The humbling truth is that on this side of heaven, there will always be sin in my life…in our lives.  But the great news of the gospel there is a WAY out!  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

What do we say to someone who recognizes their utter depravity?  The answer:  turn to Jesus.

16
Jul
13

the sanctifying power of the Gospel in vacationing

A few weeks ago we went on vacation to the Northwest with some friends of ours.  James and his friend dreamed of this vacation being a great, relaxing time.  The problem was that I wasn’t too excited about going on this trip.  I love our friends, but it’s not my idea of a great time to visit down towns (and we were going to visit 3!) and eat all the “best food” in the perspective cities.  I’m a comfort eater, meaning if I have my Reduced Fat Cheez-Its and my Honey Bunches of Oats cereal after dinner, I’m a happy girl.  I don’t care about eating the best “____” in the USA, and I’m not one for trying new foods.  I will do it, but I definitely won’t order it as MY meal.  How horrible would that be to have a gross meal just because you wanted to try something new?  🙂

Back to my point, when James and I vacation, we usually have the whole vacation planned out before we go.  And we, (or maybe I should say I), like to have an excursion to do everyday.  I want to see everything I can while I’m in the destination.  If I’m being honest, I did not want to go to the Northwest, and I surely did not want to go there without a real plan.  (Eat good food and explore is not a plan.)

We went to Vancouver first, and we were going to go skydiving but the weather would not allow it.  I was sad, but it wasn’t James’ fault, no big deal.  We really didn’t have a back up plan though, so I just took a nap and felt bummed.  My attitude kinda kept rolling downhill from there.  I tried to put on a happy face, but James, (and I’m sure my friends), could tell this wasn’t my idea of a fun vacation.  Walking miles to get to a restaurant that has the best “____” or window shopping was not my idea of excursions.  I was definitely grumpy inside, and my heart was not right.

James kept on pursuing me though in love.  He asked me a million times what things sounded like fun, and all I could think was “None, because this should of been planned out BEFORE we got here, and not waste time deciding while we are here.”  He wanted to make sure I was happy.  He treated me to a facial.  He relentlessly loved me even when I would turn to him and say, “Stop treating me so sweetly!!  I don’t deserve it!  Just let me be a grump, and wallow in my self-pity!”  He never gave up.  He took me to steak houses when our friends were at sushi (he would of had sushi otherwise), he found a way for us to skydive in Oregon even though he was dreading doing it.  He always said to me wherever we were, “Get whatever you want!”

Over dinner one night I told him that our marriage, and this vacation was sanctifying me.  His pursuit of me, even in my yucky sinful attitude, reminded me of how God pursues me.  God loves me even in my sin.  And James told me that he was reminded in this vacation that to pursue is costly.  To pursue requires sacrifice, and God sacrificed his own Son for us.  James would pursue me even when I’m “difficult.”

Thank you Lord for James, our 12 years of marriage, and times like these to be reminded of Your *Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love*!

*from my favorite kids Bible- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name“>

06
Mar
13

March

Life has been BUSY this month, with no slowing down til mid June (when we take a road trip to Colorado-yay!)  A quick glimpse of what we are up to!  We started our gold verses for St. Patrick’s Day on March 1st.  The kids love hunting for the gold chocolate coins each day and I love etching Scripture on their hearts. We also have been going through a sinning stone each day since Feb. 13th for Lent. It’s been going well, and each day as we talk about the sin, we confess, and repent as a family.  This morning’s stone was “criticism”…gulp.  Being critical is something I am very good at.  😦  We talked about just because someone doesn’t do something the way you would do it, doesn’t mean you have the right to be critical of them.  We should speak kind words of others and not judge.  Zechariah 7:9

And on March 14th, we will start the Easter countdown!  Yes, we will have 3 things going on at once, but it’s only for 3 days, then we finish the “gold verses!”  🙂  You can find such fun ways to incorporate Scripture in the holidays!

Rilyn is finishing up her Dazzler season dancing during halftime at the Manor Falcon basketball games.  She loves it, and loves performing.  You can’t tell by these pictures though, right?  😉

Rilyn on the far left

Asher  just had his 2nd soccer game!

Malachi is the oldest on the team, and sometimes has to help coach the other boys, like Asher, on which direction they are going!

This is Asher and his cousin when they are on the sidelines “taking a rest”.

Go Rolling Stones!

01
Feb
13

Girls club!

Rilyn and Ella were blessed last school year to be a part of a neighborhood girls club.  The girl who lead it was our pastor’s daughter, (who was in 4th grade), and it really was an awesome first time “discipling” experience for the girls.  Once Rilyn started going, she told me she wanted to start a girls club one day!  Well, fast forward through our busy fall (no excuse though!), and the pastor’s daughter has moved out of our neighborhood, and Rilyn and Ella have plenty of girlfriends from school that live in the neighborhood-we are ready to start up girls club!

The flyer we made to pass out said, “crafts, Bible lesson, snack, and play!”  The girls meet every Friday afternoon from 4-5 p.m.  I wanted to keep it in the neighborhood, so parents could feel comfortable at the ease of sending their daughters over to our house.  We are trying to live missionally in wherever God has put us.  This girls club is a great way to help with that!  They have lots of friends with whom they can share the gospel with in a very non-threatening way-what girls doesn’t love crafts, girl talk, and snacks?

Rilyn wanted to start with Genesis, and so for 10 minutes she “teaches” a lesson that James has helped her with.  James has taught Genesis for a few years at church, so he is very good at asking the right questions that get to the heart of every story…Jesus.  Every story whispers His Name.  This week Rilyn is teaching about Noah. James typed out some questions for her to answer so she could go over them with the girls. She took the questions to bed last night, and we found them answered next to her head when we went in late to tuck her in.  Her answers warm my heart.

The activity that Rilyn did with the girls is she gave them a box full of popsicle sticks, tape, yarn, pipe cleaners, etc. and their job was to build an “ark”. Then the girls tested their arks in water with plastic animals on them.  They were testing how many animals did it take to sink their ark.  They discussed afterward how challenging it was to build a boat, (especially for all those animals!), and how Noah must of felt, especially when there was “no reason” to build an ark.  Noah had to step out in faith.

building their arks

Hosting a girls club requires a little sacrifice.  Last week, a parent picked up their daughter 30 minutes late, which made us late for our dinner plans.  Yes, as parents, we have to help Rilyn think of and create a Bible lesson/activity each week.  I might have to spend some more money in my grocery budget for snacks, materials for the craft, etc.  Having a bunch of  girls over (ages 5 and up) can be a bit loud…:-)

But the rewards?  We dream of Ella leading girls club one day, as she watches her big sister, (who is naturally gifted as a leader), step out in confidence to share the Gospel.  We dream of these girls (who mostly go to school together) become a community of their own at school where they can pray with and support each other because they have built up this (spiritual) bond.  We dream of girls coming to know Christ who otherwise would never have opened a Bible.  We dream of having daughters who have a BIG heart to evangelize because they are so used to doing it each week in girls club.

So, come on!  Help your son/daughter start an after school club!  🙂

21
Jan
13

Sinning Stones and Blessing Basket

Lent is just around the corner-Feb. 13th.  Our family has never really observed Lent before and this year, I wanted to (in our own way).  A couple years back, I heard of an idea that I knew one day, when my kids were a little older, I wanted to do.  This year, we will start!

 

1 John 1:8-9

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Each day of lent (40 days) we will focus on a sin and a scripture verse, and talk about how God forgives us that sin. (I have included the list of sins and scriptures that I made below.)  Write each sin on a “sinning stone,” (I used a silver Sharpie on 2 bags of Panacea 70033 River Rock, Black, 2 Pounds .)  We will start on Ash Wednesday, and discuss a “sinning stone” everyday until Easter.  We will place the sinning stone we discussed in a basket that we will place in a prominent place in the house.  At the end of lent we will have a whole basket full of sin (sinning stones), and we will talk about how those sins led to the Jesus’ death. Then on Easter Sunday, God has replaced all our sins (stones) with the blessing of Christ-our Easter baskets!  We are going to replace the basket full of sinning stones with a basket full of life (a “blessing basket”) on Easter morning with gifts that remind us of life for the family (seeds to plant,  etc.)

Sinning Stones and Blessing Baskets

(the 40 days of Lent)

ANGER-James 3:5-6
CONTROL IDOL-  Proverbs 3:5-6
POWER IDOL-  Genesis 3:1-24
COMFORT IDOL-Romans 1:21-25
APPROVAL IDOL-Matthew 10:32-33
TEASING- Proverbs 18:6
HITTING/TANTRUMS- Proverbs 16:32
BRAGGING- Proverbs 27:1-2
CHEATING-Amos 8:4-7
COMPLAINING-Philippians 2:14-16
CONFORMITY-2 Kings 17:15
CRITICISM-Zechariah 7:9
BEING DRUNK/DRUGS- Proverbs 23:29-35
DOING EVIL- Romans 12:21
FAKING IT (HYPOCRISY)- Matthew 7:1-5
UNFORGIVING- Colossians 3:13
WORRYING- Matthew 6:25-34
GOSSIP- Proverbs 11:13
GREED- Luke 12:15
HATRED- Leviticus 19:17
DISHONOR- Galatians 5:14
DISOBEDIENCE- Ephesians 6:1
REBELLION AGAINST AUTHORITY- Proverbs 30:17
JEALOUSY-Proverbs 14:30
JUDGING OTHERS- Matthew 7:1-5
NAME CALLING- Proverbs 4:24
DISRESPECT- 1 Peter 5:5
LAZINESS-Proverbs 28:19
LYING- Proverbs 12:22
PREJUDICE- Galatians 3:28
PRIDE- James 4:6
IMPURITY- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
REVENGE- Romans 12:17-21
STEALING- Ephesians 4:28
UNREPENTFUL- 1 John 1:8
WORLDLINESS- James 4:3-4
GLUTTONY- 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
LACK OF FAITH- Romans 14:23
NOT RESTING- Exodus 20:8-11
MURDER/ABORTION- Genesis 9:5-6

10
Jan
13

fighter verses (season 2)

If you read my blog regularly, you will remember I posted about starting fighter verses to help us all memorize Scripture more intentionally. Because of God’s grace, we were VERY successful in the fall! Even Asher was able to memorize a little of each verse. The video below is Ella demonstrating how the fighter verse songs helped her memorize 7 lengthy Bible verses this past fall.  All we did was make a CD of the 7 songs, and consistently played the CD with the verse of the week(s) in the car ride to school each morning.  I truly believe these songs (aka Bible verses) will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives, as I still remember the Bible verse songs I learned as a kid at camp.

The video below is unedited and 6 minutes long, (she recites all seven verses at one time), because I wanted you to see the process of how Ella struggles in areas, but just one or two notes from the song, she instantly recalls the verse.

So we march onward into the winter/spring with 7 more verses to memorize. I picked them from the 40 fighter verse songs they have available right now.
Weeks 1-3: Proverbs 3:5-6
Weeks 4-5: John 14:2-3
Weeks 6-7: 1 John 1:8-9
Weeks 8-9: Psalm 56:3-4
Weeks 10-12: 1 John 2:15-17
Weeks 13-15: Psalm 23
Weeks 16-18: Eph. 6:10-17

*They also have Foundation Verse songs that are shorter Bible verses for 2-5 year olds to memorize.  We might try this with Asher!