The girls and I got a chance to attend The Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair tour earlier this month! Secret Keeper Girl is a Christian program designed for tweens ages 8-12 years old. The girls had fun, and it was very silly! I got up to dance on stage with them at one point! Ella shed some tears when the speaker was talking. She is my emotional/feeler daughter. When I asked why she was so emotional, she said that she wanted Jesus to change her heart because it was full of sin. That melted my momma heart as I gave her a big hug.
Archive for the 'parenting' Category
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!) 🙂
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.
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.
It was 3 weeks before 3rd grade was ending when I got the dreaded phone call no one wants. The vice principal called to tell me that Rilyn, almost 9 years old, got punched in the nose by a boy on purpose. When we decided to enroll in public school, we didn’t just enroll our kids, but our family. I am very active in the school, and go up there at least twice a week to help in the classrooms. Rilyn is well-liked at school, and most of the kids know me, having seen me for the past 5 years at the school. Who could of done this?!?
All this to say, initially I was shocked she got punched. Then I remembered that this world we live in is not our home, and many things here are dark and scary.
First thought: “How could someone possibly punch my daughter?” (selfish and angry)
Second thought: tears streamed down my face. I was sad for Rilyn, but I was even sadder when the vice principal asked Rilyn if she wanted to talk to me on the phone and she said no. Rilyn was embarrassed and emotionally hurt.
The VP told me that Rilyn was not badly hurt, no swelling or blood. The incident occurred in the cafeteria, (they sit next to the person who was next to them in the cafeteria line at the tables.) Rilyn was next to this boy (who was a new kid this year, and I had not met him personally yet), and Rilyn was “shushing” him, (she put her finger over her mouth and leaned in to the boy) because lunch was over, and they are to be quiet as they are waiting for their teacher to come pick them up. This boy felt like Rilyn was invading his personal space, so he punched her. The VP told me that this boy would have consequences, his parents would be called, and he wouldn’t be able to participate in any of the end of the year activities.
I hung up knowing Rilyn was safe, and called James to discuss how we were going to handle it when she got home. You feel so hurt for your child, but on the other hand, you don’t know this boy’s situation and what he goes home to each day. We didn’t want Rilyn to play victim when she got home, because I knew she would be getting a lot of that “poor me” treatment from her classmates and teachers. It’s nice to have people that stand up for you, and want to protect you, but it can easily go too far, and we don’t want our kids feeling that false sense of security.
Rilyn got off the bus that afternoon, and I brought her into her room alone. I told her, with compassion, that I was so sorry that happened to her, and asked her if she was feeling any pain. She recounted the whole story again, and told me she was okay, but she was scared. The boy is on her bus, and she was scared that without the protection of teachers, he would strike again. I told Rilyn that Satan wants us to live in fear. He wants her to be scared to come back to school and see him. We prayed through a verse that we had memorized during the school year:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Proverbs 56:3-4) “Lord, help my child not live in fear. You are her protection!”
Then we talked about how she feels about the boy. We talked about how Jesus feels about that boy. We talked about Jesus, who lived a perfect life and did nothing wrong, was nailed to the cross and how He was beaten, spit on, persecuted for Rilyn’s sin, my sin…our sin. And what were some of His last words? Luke 23:34: “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I ended our time telling her that “Jesus came to rescue us so that we can live in peace…peace with our creator and peace with each other. This peace with each other requires forgiveness; a forgiveness He gave us on the cross to share with each other. Jesus wants us to forgive the boy who punched you. It’s okay if you don’t feel like it right now. God knows your heart, and you can’t fake forgiveness with Him anyway. But dad and I will pray for you that you will be filled with God’s love and forgiveness, and in turn be moved to share it and forgive him.”
And she did. (And there was no reaction from him she said. He was just quiet, staring at her when she told him she forgave him. Sometimes life isn’t like the movies.)
Thank you Lord for parenting moments like these, although they are hard, they are GOOD because they lift Your name higher!
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)
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
CONFORMITY-2 Kings 17:15
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
JUDGING OTHERS- Matthew 7:1-5
NAME CALLING- Proverbs 4:24
DISRESPECT- 1 Peter 5:5
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
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!
James and I had the privilege of attending the national Desiring God conference last weekend in Minneapolis. The theme was Act the Miracle. We got to see and listen to many great Christian authors/speakers including John Piper, Russell Moore, and the author of my favorite children’s Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Read-Aloud Edition: Every Story Whispers His Name,
Sally Lloyd-Jones. By the way, she has Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing , a new book for ages 6-9 that I recommend! We are using it as dinner devotionals. And she has a new version of the Christmas story for the younger crowd, Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
My favorite speaker was Sally Lloyd-Jones. (Probably because children’s ministry is where my heart is!) She has a beautiful British accent, and listening to her talk was mesmerizing. She asked us if we were protecting our children from life or EQUIPPING them? We need the darkness to show the light.
I thought about Rilyn, and how I watched her run the track two times at the end of cheer practice last week. I watched her (from my car in the parking lot) cry and gasp for breath on the track. When she got back to the car she went into the “It’s NOT FAIR! I didn’t do anything wrong at practice, it was the other girls who were not listening, and coach made us all run! I couldn’t even breath either it was so hot!”
It was hard to watch Rilyn suffer, but God gave me these words to speak to her at that time, “Rilyn, was it fair for Jesus, who was without sin, to suffer on the cross for all of OUR sins? He didn’t just suffer either, He died for our sins to be forgiven. Running the track because of other’s “sins” doesn’t seem like such a big deal now, does it? I know it’s hard, and it’s not fun to be out of breath. I am sorry, and I will pray for you to endure it well next time it happens. Because it WILL happen again. It might not look like running the track, but it will be something that feels not fair. Next time you are suffering, you can think about how grateful you are that Jesus paid it all for you to be forgiven.”
How do we give them hope? Take the focus off of them, and put it on God. We don’t need a moral code, we need a Rescuer.
|at the top of the Foshay building|
|this picture was for Asher-look, your daddy is Spiderman!!|