Today at MomHeart:The Ones I’ll Apologize To Most

My two youngest apology recipients

My two youngest apology recipients

 

Here they are.

These two; the last of the bunch; the ones I hope I’ve learned enough to do a better job with! We had such a fun day at our local fair. Giant cows with those chocolate brown eyes framed with long lashes; the best lemonade we’ll find anywhere all year; giant corn dogs on a stick … yup. The fair was the perfect place for my littlest guy’s birthday.

Not sure if that day required too many apologies. Maybe there just weren’t as many as there should have been. Last week someone shared a statement with me about her child that made me stop in my tracks and ponder. I’m sharing a bit about it today at MomHeart Online. Want to join me? Click here for The Ones I Will Apologize to Most. See you there!

Those Helpful Habits: Memorizing Scripture w/Kids!

Helpful Habits: Memorizing Scripture With Children

Good habits.

They’re a good thing.

They’re also a bit hard to come by around here, lately!

With a daddy who’s been mostly out of town for the past five months, leaving mama tired and a bit overworn, multiple family issues needing a lot of emotional attention, a cross-country move, and more secret pains than one can shake a stick at, it seems many good habits have fallen to the wayside around here! We have two more weeks of homeschooling to finish, and then summertime arrives and along with trips to the pool (some pool, somewhere yet to be determined!) this mama also plans to reinstate some of the habits that help our home run a bit more smoothly.

Think assigned laundry days, chore charts, nightly baths and setting out clothes (for *me!!!*), and one more thing: Bible memorization!

I’m missing our family reading times and they’re going to be one of the very first things set back into place. I wrote a bit about it at MomHeart today!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
            By keeping it according to Your word.

With all my heart I have sought You;
            Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
            That I may not sin against You.” ~Psalm 119:9-11

I’ve always loved the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who, when she visited her cousin Elisabeth who was also miraculously with child, couldn’t stem the tide of scripture and praise that came bubbling up from her young soul. What a picture of being full to overflowing with the Lord (in more ways than one!) and what an example to all of us of what we surely need to be filling our own hearts with.

You’ve probably listened in awe yourself to a child reciting scripture at some point–whether at some church awards ceremony, a homeschool event, or maybe at the end of your local VBS week. It’s pretty awe-inspiring to hear little lips quoting verses, passages, even chapters! And recently Ann Voskamp, Beth Moore and many others have spearheaded movements among many adults to follow the little one’s example–a wonderful reminder, to be sure. Why is it, I wonder, that we encourage our children to do so many things we ourselves don’t do? Ahhh, but that’s another post. ;-) 

You can read the rest by clicking through: Tips of Memorizing Scripture with Children, at MomHeart!

The Bad News About Raising Christian Kids {part two}

momgirlssmallest

Click here for The Bad News About Raising Christian Kids {part one}!

We mamas, we love. Oh, how we love! And love means correcting and cuddling, training and teaching, reading pages of books and writing hundreds of notes and letters and cards. We decide to try to love the way God does. We read about Jesus’ example with His disciples and we pray and pray and repent when we mess up and miss another night’s sleep and try again.

And in all our effort, we miss something very important; something that’s there, embedded in the Story, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise …

Our sons are sons of Adam; our daughters, daughters of Eve, and rebel blood runs in their veins. We want them to miss it; want to have trained and loved and discipled it out of them. We are hoping they’ll miss the heartache and bad decisions we made, that surely our love will speak louder than the voices of culture around them and all our hours and days and years will have proven us as their best friends, the ones they should listen to and trust.

If only.

We forget how God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, yet they turned their ears to the serpent.

We forget how He rescued them from Egypt with signs and wonders, feeding and clothing them along the way, yet they rebelled and rejected and lusted for leeks and onions.

We forget the cycles of rebellion and repentance the Israelites repeated over and over again for hundreds of years.

There are a lot of guilt-ridden, broken mamas out there. Your child has rebelled; turned her back on you, your values, your family, your home. They blame you, revile you, disparage you in private and public. And your heart shatters over and over and over as you weep before God and ask …

What did I do wrong?

I hear you, my friends, though your voices are muffled. We are a hidden sisterhood; the broken ones, hiding our hurt with a brave face, hoping no one will ask how the child is doing, fearful of opening emails and text messages and facebook. We are misunderstood and have the wounds deepened by well-intentioned people who have plenty of opinions and little information to base those opinions on.

We weep on bathroom floors and crumpled in chairs and hiding under covers. And we try to figure out how and where to find the strength to love well one more time, two more times, many more times. How, when all our effort seems to have been a waste?

Here’s what I’m hearing our Father remind us of, today …

He, God, is the perfect Father. Yet it’s obvious that many, many make the choice not to follow Him. Why? Why don’t all His children walk with Him? Has He not told enough stories? Not given enough gifts? Not shown enough love? I have surely made plenty of mistakes in my own efforts at mothering. But He? None. He has handled every situation perfectly, with grace and wisdom and care.

And yet He painted the picture of Himself as the Father of the Prodigal.

“And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.”~ Luke 15:11-13

The husband of a wandering wife.

“The Lord said to me, ‘Go again and love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.'” ~Hosea 2:1

The hen longing to gather her chicks … yet they would not.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” ~ Matt. 23:37

If God’s perfect parenting is rewarded this way, why on earth would we expect our imperfect parenting to turn out perfectly obedient, grateful children?

There’s teaching out there that says if we will parent well, if we will follow a certain formula, if we will love enough, we will skip the whole teenage angst and rebellion thing. And so we parent hopefully. Then the children hit their teen years, go through a period of trying to assert their independence and figure out what they believe–which for MOST includes a time of rejecting what we believe–and we are absolutely shocked and start fine-tooth-combing every interaction we’ve had with them for fifteen years, trying to find the mistakes.

We find plenty, surely. Eve’s daughters haven’t yet reached perfection. But overall, we’ve worked hard. Hard enough that a broken heart shouldn’t be the result. Hard enough that this loss can make it feel impossible to try again.

I think it’s time to change our expectations. If we are going to follow God’s example in the way we love our children, perhaps we ought to consider that their response might just mirror the response of millions of others throughout the ages to His love. Maybe we ought to acknowledge that our kids need more than a good–even wonderful–even well-intentioned, purposeful, God-filled childhood.

They need an encounter with the Living God. And their hearts need to bow to Him.

Because when all is said and done, the problem is this:

 Christian kids can’t be raised. They must be born (again).

 

 

Click here for The Bad News About Raising Christian Kids {part three}