Monthly Archives: January 2011

MM Meditation – Look to the Sky!

My son called from outside a few nights ago,
“Mom, come out here now!
Look at the sky!”
Immediately I thought of the little ditty,
“Red at night, sailors’ delight.
Red in morning, sailors take warning.”
Even in Bible times, people knew this simple way to forecast weather.
In fact, the Lord Jesus used this little ditty
to chastise the unbelievers of the day.

Matthew 16:
1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came,
and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
 
2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say,
‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;
 
3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today,
for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites!
You know how to discern the face of the sky,
but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
 
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign,
and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
And He left them and departed.

They refused to believe the prophetic “signs” from John the Baptist.
They watched Old Testament prophecies fulfilled before their very eyes
 by the Messiah but still wouldn’t believe.
The Lord still asks us only to believe.
Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
We look to the sky,
but not for signs
but for His soon return.
As we watch,
we
walk
and
wait
in faith.
Look to the sky…
Revelation 22:20
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

 

Daddy’s Way is Funner

 Yea, I know you fellow grammar geeks are hung up on the word FUNNER in my title,  as I would have been until I read a newspaper article a few months ago with this news flash –

Funner is now a word. 
It’s even in the dictionary.

Any-hoo, back to funner, especially as pertaining to Daddies.

My kids found out early in life that Dad’s way is OK.  They also found out that Dad’s way can be funner than Mom’s way. I don’t feed kids cake for breakfast. Another adult in the family did once, while left alone with small children on a Saturday morning, and he was a hero for a lifetime, I can attest to that.

I don’t know about your home, but here the majority of the time Mom is the meal, Dad is the desert. Even if I’m the cake, Dad’s the frosting. That’s fine. I’ve learned to hang  onto my fork and enjoy the sweetness Daddy brings to life.

I’m home all day, it’s reasonable that the majority of the training and discipline comes from me. I regulate chores and schoolwork.

Daddy enforces the rules when he comes home, (you don’t want to disobey Daddy’s wife!)  but then  gets to play games or go somewhere fun.  If I’m busy resenting that, I’m not busy enjoying it.  It isn’t just relief for the kids, it’s relief for me, as well.  He brings just as much joy to my life as to the kids’ lives.

In our house, Dad is a “spur-of-the-moment, let’s find an adventure kinda’ guy.”  I’m a “let’s plan for a week, clean the car and buy snacks on sale kinda’ gal.”  How did our worlds peacefully collide?  I became an organized woman whose diaper bag and car were both stocked and ready for adventure at all times.  That way when Dad came up with one of his prize-winning ideas, I was quickly ready to throw together a few last minute things and pack the kids in the car.

We’ve had some incredible adventures together as a family.  Once we drove into the middle of a herd of elk. We grieved together over the Viet Nam War.  We’ve watched deer and raccoons up close, found secluded beaches, hiked mountains and napped by rivers.

Even when I do  fun and adventurous things with the kids, they react differently. I sleep outside in the tent with them.  I showed them how to use waxed paper on the 14 foot high slide in our backyard to whiz down faster.  I make the summer lists

It’s not that I’m not fun, it’s just that Dad is funner.

I remember the thrill in their stories after a trip to the dump with Daddy.  Seriously, the dump?  My week of homeschooling crafts and outdoor picnics were overshadowed by a trip to a smelly dump?

The Lord showed me, it’s not a comparison.  It’s not a competition.  It’s two people who love each other giving their children differently flavored experiences.  The kids obviously miss Daddy so much when he is at work, suddenly anything he does with them is exciting.  Because they love their Daddy.  Not because they don’t love Mom, not because Mom isn’t fun and not because Mom isn’t doing a great job.

It’s because they love their Daddies.

This is a good thing.

What good is cake without frosting?

If Dad’s are funner, then we can have our cake and eat it too.

What if Daddy Is Wrong?

Yesterday, we determined that Daddy’s way is OK.  Daddy may use too many wipes, Daddy may put the sheets on the bed the wrong way, but as long as there is no harm, there is no foul.
Sometimes the problem isn’t Mommy being too picky, too naggy or too much of a perfectionist,  and not allowing Daddy to function his way.  There are times when  Daddy is wrong in his decisions or actions.
Determination
Is it really wrong?
Are you using your standards or the Lord’s?  If you’re thinking about Daddy hanging the toilet paper the wrong way, please go back and read yesterday’s post. Pray and meet me back here.

It’s amazing. A young mother who thought she knew it all, I was soon humbled  by the realization that my husband was rarely wrong on issues that mattered.  He was in the Word, he prayed about his leadership in the family. Yes, he might be at work all day, but when he walked through that door, he could tell if I had been neglecting to instruct or discipline in areas such as whining or prompt obedience. He could also tell if I’d been nagging  the kids.  My initial responses were due to wounded pride and I wasn’t open to encouragement to improve my parenting.  It wasn’t Daddy that was wrong, it was me.

Direction

If you’ve determined he is wrong, don’t point it out in front of the kids. Present a united front as a team, deal with issues behind closed doors  in a way that honors the Lord.  Like we tell our little ones, “God can hear you!”

If his parenting or housekeeping methods are causing you extra work, talk to him.  Just don’t sound like his mother. Find a way to make it easier for him to follow protocol.

When approaching a  on a small issue, use the sandwich method. Like with a real meal, give thanks first, pray for your husband, pray about the issue, then discuss.
COMPLIMENT-CONCERN-COMPLIMENT

Be sincere in your praise and thankfulness, effort is as admirable as ability.  But, if he’s throwing the laundry from the dryer into in the laundry basket  and causing you hours of ironing, it’s necessary to work out a solution together.

Disagreement

Occasionally the kids ask something and Scott and I will answer at the same time, but disagree. 

If I have no serious opinion, I will laugh and remind the kids – Daddy has veto power.

If I have opinion, I respectfully give it.  If we have disagreed publicly, it’s fine to work it out gracefully in public. My husband married me because he loves and respects me.  He wants my opinions and doesn’t want me silently nodding and following any and every decision.  At this point, he still has veto power.

For serious disagreements that require more conversation, Scott and I take it offline.  I’m not trying to show the kids  I can snake my way through daddy’s heart and get my own way, I’m trying to show them Daddy is approachable and will admit when he’s wrong or when there’s a better idea. I’m also showing  my willingness to lovingly submit when I don’t agree, because he still has veto power.

The goal in resolving a disagreement is not to always get my way, or to let my husband always have his way, but to move the family in the Lord’s way.

Deliverance
When there is serious spiritual concern about the spiritual leadership of your home, it can’t be solved with a candid conversation between a husband and a wife or with a casual approach.

 

1.  PrayTell the Lord instead of a friend.
2.  Pray some more. Remove your reactive sin before you approach his active sin.
3.  Pray until you pray. When you are grieved and understand your husband sins against a holy God and not against you, you might be ready to say something.
4.  Seek verses in the Scripture about the issue to make sure you have the mind of the Lord.
5.  Wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit if and when to bring up the conversation. Sometimes at this point I still pray, because I would rather have my husband changed by the Holy Spirit and not by my directive.
A conversation begun with these steps will have fruit, can bind your hearts closer together and impact your family.

Even when we’re right about their behavior, if we pound on our husbands with self-righteous pride or give them ultimatums, we’re wrong. Many times these steps  silence me before the Lord because I no longer see my husband’s supposed error, I see mine. Other times, the Lord gives me patience to wait and watch Him work in my husband’s life.  He’s the One who began the good work, I can let Him finish.

A truly changed man is changed by the words of the Lord  and the faith of a praying wife, not the drips of a nagging wife. 

When I was young, we always bought shoes just a tish too big for “growing room.”  It’s not just kids’ feet that need growing room, it’s husbands. 

If you learn to wisely and correctly encourage your  husband when he’s wrong, he’ll not only increase in   praise and love for the Lord, he’ll increase in  praise and love for you.

Dad! That’s Not the Way You Do That!

While I was making the bed one morning, I noticed the bottom sheet was inside out, the seam sneering me, waving a serged thread tail  triumphantly in the air.

I recalled hearing an 8 year old voice a day before, “Dad, that’s not how you do it!”

It wasn’t the first time Dad heard those years in 24 years of parenting.

My husband hated changing diapers.  It wasn’t that he was lazy or didn’t want to participate in parenting, it just made him queasy.

Yea, the man who could gut a deer and throw the guts over his left shoulder, the man who could swiftly clean a fish and throw the entrails over the side of the boat,  was the man that could barely hold down his lunch when faced with a little pile of mustard squirts.

My hubby sent me to the craft store one  blissful Saturday morning.  All. by. myself.  No kids.  Totally alone.

When I returned home a few hours later, my oldest daughter, Jana, 4 years old,  met me at the door with a disapproving look on her face.  An equally worried Daniel, 2, stood behind her.

“Mommy,” she said.  “Daddy used wotsa, wotsa  your wipes.”

Looking down next to the couch I saw the mountain of mustard-streaked wipes piled high on top of a squishy diaper.  Sheepish that he’d been tattled on by a toddler, he said, “I used a lot of wipes, because there was a lot of poop.”

“Mommy,” Jana continued, “I twied to tell him.  You use the diaper first to wipe off the poopy.  I also twied to give him kweenex.  He didn’t even wip the wipe in half.  He used a whole one each time!”

I think she was wondering if Daddy was in enough trouble to be spanked.  She looked worried. Daddy hadn’t used any of the tricks I used to try to save money on a Christian school teacher’s salary, and she knew them all.   I had to reassure her that Daddy’s way was fine. 

It was her first of many examples that Daddy’s way wasn’t Mommy’s way, but Daddy’s way was fine. 

It was my first  of many examples that Daddy’s way wasn’t Mommy’s way, but Daddy’s way was fine.

Daddy’s Way is OK.

My husband coined this phrase as we talked about the issue of women trying to drive the husband’s actions from her side of the road. Because we moms are with the kids the majority of the time while Daddy is at work, sometimes it’s easy to think our way is the best or only way.

Women fuss at their husbands about how they hold the baby, how they change the diapers, how they play with them, how they feed them. They don’t like the clothes they pick out, the way they fold the laundry, the way they pour the milk.  The reality is, the more you criticize Daddy’s way, the less Daddy will have a way. Sometimes, daddies will just give up trying.

If your husband isn’t participating actively in the parenting give yourself an honest evaluation of how you have handled his “contributions” to the family. 

If you find yourself criticizing your husband’s methods, ask yourself these questions – is he bringing any physical, spiritual or moral harm to the children?  Does the process matter?  Is the outcome affected?  Ten years from now will it still be a big deal to you? Do you have Biblical reasons for your stand? Is he causing more work for you with his help?

The biggest question to ask yourself is this –
do you want your children to constantly be questioning Daddy’s ways? 

If Mom questions Dad’s decisions, the kids will. Doubt for your husband’s leadership can creep in and destroy trust as the decisions and actions you take as a family take on bigger dimensions and more serious consequences  each year.

How many wipes used for a diaper change didn’t matter.  Teenage issues mattered.  I needed my kids behind Dad 100% when we entered those years. Little nags can turn into big nags.  Little doubts can turn into big doubts.

Men and women are not the same.  Our life’s goal is not to have our husbands become the second wife in command, but to become the husband as the spiritual head of the home. By giving them the assurance they can husband and parent in the way that’s suitable to their experience, ideas, gifts and abilities, we give them the ability to serve in a way where respect isn’t commanded and demanded, it’s willingly given.

And you know what?  That husband who was really, really horrible at wiping little baby bottoms?  He was extremely wonderful and incredibly wise at wiping up teenage messes, without leaving a trail of destruction in the wake.

**********
What do you do when Daddy really is wrong
I’ll tell ya’ tomorrow.

SH!!! Mom’s on the PHONE!

Why is it that by the time I figure out the rules of parenting,
it’s too late to apply them?
Too late schmart,
I will share my late-bloomed wisdom with you.
Arencha’ lucky?
For years I maintained the rule,
“You come when I call.
I will only call once.”
Sometimes, my kids were hard of hearing,
other times they were hard of obeying.
It took diligence and discipline to train them to come when I called
the

first

time.
The rule saves yelling.
It saves getting annoyed.
It saves time.
It teaches prompt and pleasant obedience.
(It teaches Mommy to be pleasant, too.)
If you can train a dog to heal,
shouldn’t you be able to train a child to come?
The other day I was on the phone.
It was an important call.
It was another adult with a writing opportunity.
It was the kind of call that mandates silence in the background.
The kind where you want the kids on another planet.
It never happens that way, does it?
The importance of the call only escalates the noise level 
and the proximity of the kerfuffle to your phone.
They’re just suddenly there and loud
and there in your face
and there under your face
and there breathing unbrushed-teeth breath in your face.
Then, they become blind.
They can’t see your pointing fingers,
your eyes boring holes in their scalps,
your eyebrows creating one angry-unibrow,
your lips over-exaggerating threats you’ll never carry out.
They know they have you captive.
You have to be nice,
you’re talking to another grown-up.
So, my inspired genius occurred while I was hearing
thumping and wacking up and down the hallway outside my bedroom.
I know the sound of sibling smacking sibling,
I know the sound of fake cries to get the sibling in trouble,
I know the sounds of hushed, forced apologies,
as the tale-bearing, heel-thumping, self-righteous indignation
pounds closer and closer to my door.
I know the sounds of whispered yells,
“SH!  Mom’s on the PHONE!”
projected at greater decibals than the original infraction.
This is when I realized my utter failure.
 I instructed and disciplined,
training them to come when I called the first time.

What I should have done,
is picked up the phone instead of calling them,
holding it in my never-manicured hand,
knowing they would come running
and breathe their unbrushed-teeth breath in my face.

Next, I should have whistled
and made them stand at attention like those Von Trapp kids.

Then
and
only then
should I have made my phone call.

Oh,  I’m too late schmart.

SH!!! Mom’s on the PHONE!

Why is it that by the time I figure out the rules of parenting,
it’s too late to apply them?
Too late schmart,
I will share my late-bloomed wisdom with you.
Arencha’ lucky?
For years I maintained the rule,
“You come when I call.
I will only call once.”
Sometimes, my kids were hard of hearing,
other times they were hard of obeying.
It took diligence and discipline to train them to come when I called
the

first

time.
The rule saves yelling.
It saves getting annoyed.
It saves time.
It teaches prompt and pleasant obedience.
(It teaches Mommy to be pleasant, too.)
If you can train a dog to heal,
shouldn’t you be able to train a child to come?
The other day I was on the phone.
It was an important call.
It was another adult with a writing opportunity.
It was the kind of call that mandates silence in the background.
The kind where you want the kids on another planet.
It never happens that way, does it?
The importance of the call only escalates the noise level 
and the proximity of the kerfuffle to your phone.
They’re just suddenly there and loud
and there in your face
and there under your face
and there breathing unbrushed-teeth breath in your face.
Then, they become blind.
They can’t see your pointing fingers,
your eyes boring holes in their scalps,
your eyebrows creating one angry-unibrow,
your lips over-exaggerating threats you’ll never carry out.
They know they have you captive.
You have to be nice,
you’re talking to another grown-up.
So, my inspired genius occurred while I was hearing
thumping and wacking up and down the hallway outside my bedroom.
I know the sound of sibling smacking sibling,
I know the sound of fake cries to get the sibling in trouble,
I know the sounds of hushed, forced apologies,
as the tale-bearing, heel-thumping, self-righteous indignation
pounds closer and closer to my door.
I know the sounds of whispered yells,
“SH!  Mom’s on the PHONE!”
projected at greater decibals than the original infraction.
This is when I realized my utter failure.
 I instructed and disciplined,
training them to come when I called the first time.

What I should have done,
is picked up the phone instead of calling them,
holding it in my never-manicured hand,
knowing they would come running
and breathe their unbrushed-teeth breath in my face.

Next, I should have whistled
and made them stand at attention like those Von Trapp kids.

Then
and
only then
should I have made my phone call.

Oh,  I’m too late schmart.

Running on Empty?

Running on empty? 
Pushing yourself through another Monday of another week?
Does your  To Do List
dwarf the strength you have  to do the To Do?
Mark 12 gives the perfect description of a disheveled soul.
A vineyard owner sent a servant to collect the fruit due him. 
Those taking care of the vineyard didn’t deal kindly with the servant.
Mark 12:3
And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
We have all felt this way, beaten and empty,
facing another day only because we have to.
If the gas tank was leaking,
it would be foolish to keep adding gas.
We must give our souls the same concern as our cars.
When we are empty we must figure out why.
What have we been filling our tanks with?
Personal strength and abilities, worldly wisdom, caffeine and sugar, pride…
Not all sources of stamina are good,
especially apart from the Word of God.
This is our spiritual gas.
Ephesians 3:17,19

“… to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all
the fullness of God.”
What are we wasting our gas on?
Remember when we first got our driver’s license and our parents
nagged incessantly about not cruising Main and wasting their gas?
They were right.
Putting out energy just for the sake of putting out energy is a waste.
Our life is no different than our car.
Are we cruising to be Super Mom?
Are gifts and talents wasted on activities not led by the Lord?
Are we seeking after too much entertainment and fleshly enjoyment?
Why are we forgetting to refuel?
Sometimes, we’re driving in the right direction, but don’t check the gas gauge.
Are spiritual activities keeping us from filling up on the Word of God?
Have trials or physical sufferings kept us from refueling?
Check your gas tank.
Fill up the right octane.
Colossians 1:9
“We…do not cease to pray for you,
and to ask that you may be
filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
Philippians 1:11
Filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
2 Corinthians 7:4
 I am filled with comfort.
 I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.


How much gas should we put in?
We love the perfect pump. 
Not $20.05, it has to be $20.00.   
We cringe especially at the $30.01,
begrudging that little penny, longing for nice round 00’s to fill out the final columns.
The Lord isn’t satisfied to just fill us up, He longs for us to be overflowing.

The first time he fed the multitudes there were leftovers. 
Matthew 14:20, “And they did all eat, and were filled:
…the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”
The second time he fed the mutlitudes there were leftovers. 
Matthew 15:37, “And they did all eat, and were filled…
the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.”
Fill up on Him,
and He’ll tell you where to drive.
MomsTheWord
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…”

MM Meditation – Be Thou Exalted

We love to sing, pray and proclaim the Lord to be exalted in our lives.

We also know the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.  Sometimes, our bodies have a hard time living up to  what the lips are saying.

With convicting accuracy, A.W. Tozer mentions a few areas of our lives to evaluate, so we can turn  lip service into life service.

**********
Be Thou Exalted

The Lord lives! Blessed by my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation!
2 Samuel 22:47

O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life.

Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.

Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses, I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.

Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase; let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.

Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, “Hosanna in the highest.”

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p. 101-102.

Chewing On the Last Bite

I’ve loved sharing the bite-sized nuggets of wisdom
from our godly, older friend, John.
We began our little feast by tasting,
We moved on to the tasty morsel called,
Tonight, the finale in the spiritual feast of simple wisdom is
“this too shall pass.”
Disappointed because it’s too simple?
Remember, they aren’t pat answers,
they’re promised victories.
When I was given this advice,  I have to admit,
it didn’t make me very happy.
I thought it didn’t exude enough sympathy.
It didn’t acknowledge the depth of my agony.
I wanted something I hadn’t heard before.
Nodding in agreement?
You know what I learned?
It’s  true, very true.
The trial you’re going through?
“This too shall pass.”
Agonizing over potty training?
Guess what?  I’m not.  That stage passed.
When  agonizing with another mother of teenagers she cried out,
“And we used to think potty training was hard!”
Speaking of teenagers?
Agonies that caused me more tears than my cancer have passed.
A friend heard over a year and a half later of a certain trial we experienced.
 She wrote, relaying her love, prayers and sympathy.
The trial was so resolved,
the Lord had restored what the locusts had eaten,
and I could hardly remember the agony she spoke about.
It had passed.
Time passes without help,
but trials only pass with prayer and faith.
 Ignoring struggles doesn’t make them go away,
cling to the Lord and His Holy Word.
Some trials  may never pass on earth.
 I’ve been told my papillary thyroid carcinoma 
will never be in remission or be healed.
But, the trials will still pass.
Whether our faith in Christ brings us to heaven through physical death
or through the Rapture, we have a great eternal promise.
Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.

 

Since there’s a promised end to the trials,
on earth or in heaven,

To gain that peace we must
“take it from the Lord”
“leave it with the Lord”
and then by the grace of God,
“this too shall pass.”

our focus shouldn’t be on the trial,
but on our testimony and obedience while enduring the trial.
When it passes, we don’t want to look back with regret.

Second Bite-sized Nuggets

Yesterday, I introduced the concept of Bite-Sized Bible Nuggets,
breaking down the wisdom of a godly, older man into three of his
 basic bite-sized pieces of  Biblical advice.
I began with
Today, we need to take another bite-sized nugget and chew on
“leave it with the Lord.”
As Christians, we know we should pray, and we do.
Sometimes, we give Him burdens in prayer,
and take them back with worry.
We pray about burdens,
but we’re telling Him how He should answer.
We might be willing to accept His answer,
but in our timetable, which is usually 
now or yesterday
Even when we’re wronged in this world,
we may expect Him to vindicate us according to our plans.
Our dear friend John not only gave this advice,
he lived by it.
He had worked his way to Vice President of a local bank
and was going to retire with a nice pension after 35 years of service.
The younger executives decided to change the retirement plan
to a more current 401k plan just a few years before his retirement.
He lost a sizeable chunk of his retirement,
his faithful savings and provision evaporated.
We were angry and thought something should be done.
John did something about it.
He left it with the Lord.
Twenty years later, he still lives frugally, but not bitterly.
He has trusted the Lord to provide.
When we were mistreated by believers he told us,
“leave it with the Lord.”
When we were grieving over souls he told us,
“leave it with the Lord.”
When past painful memories ripped at our hearts he told us,
“leave it with the Lord.”
When we were falsely accused he told us,
“leave it with the Lord.”
When Christians took advantage of us financially he told us,
“leave it with the Lord.” 
It wasn’t a pat answer, it was a promised victory.

The Lord Jesus laid down His life,
so we can lay down our burdens.
We bring them with tears and agony,
then,  trust and wait for
His way,
His reasons,
and
His timing
to work out all things for good.

As John has urged me for decades,
I urge you with love and prayers for your burden,
“leave it with the Lord.”
Please join us for the final bite – “this too shall pass.”