Little Dreams – a poem for mothers

Marys-TreasuresYou.

Heavy eyes.

Arms wrapped

we rock.

You.

Nuzzled rolly neck

of graham cracker smells

and stickiness.

You.

Tiny fingers lightly pinch

your brows

eyelashes

lips.

You.

Far away smile

halfway to dreams.

Baby-Boy-Smiles

I.

Drink it in with

mother’s heart.

Drop lips upon your

sun-kissed hair.

Remember other tiny heads.

More kisses for those

bigger now.

I.

Soak your sweetness in.

Wistful how

it flies.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Blessings, Christy

Using God’s Word to Correct in Your Family

Using God's Word to Correct in Your Family

Reboot.
Or maybe boot camp.
Something of a control-alt-delete sequence is how this parenting class has felt for me.

My husband and his friend have been leading a parenting class at our church.
As couples, we led a similar class about 5 years ago and it’s not that I’d forgotten everything or that any of the material has been actually new.
But it has been a good reminder–
Of what our deepest goals are for our children.

We pray for true heart change and not just outward external obedience.
We want them to know and love the Lord and live for Him.
We desire close relationships and connection with each on of them.
And we need God’s Word to permeate every aspect of our interaction with them.

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is, in the heat of the moment,
when I’m digging half-melted-Disney-princess-plastic-dolls-shoes out of the heater vent for the second time…
To forget that my words, my response, needs to flow from God’s words of grace and it also needs to be rooted in His call to obedience.

His “children obey your parents in the Lord…that it may go well with you” (Eph. 6:1-3) is the foundation for my response, not irritation at the inconvenience.

So, I’ve been thinking about ways to get back to the basics of letting the Bible be the foundation for the discipline and training of our children.

Here are some ways you can start using God’s Word to correct in your family.

1) We need to go back and teach or re-teach biblical foundations.

The everyday talk of biblical concepts comes fairly naturally to both my husband and me, but especially with our youngest, we need to go back to some of the basics of parent/child relationships.

At a time before correction is needed, we need to sit down and explain God’s desire for children to obey their parents.  We need to pull out our Bibles and read through some key verses about correction and training.
A couple of good ones to start with are: Eph. 6: 1-3, Col. 3:20, and Hebrews 12.

We need to redefine obedience.  In our family, our definition is obeying– quickly, completely, and with a good attitude.

2) As a family, we need to memorize verses that will be helpful.

If there is a particular area where we, or our children are struggling, we need to find and memorize Bible verses that apply.
Instead of merely telling our children to “get along” or “stop fighting” we need to let God’s Word speak into our relationships.
Lately we’ve been struggling with self-discipline, so you can find this verse in various places around our house.

2 Tim Collage2

3) We need to use actual verses in correction and training–

Instead of telling our 4-year-old to “stop whining” we need to be prepared to take our children to Phil. 2:14 where God says to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” or to walk our child through the Exodus story where God reprimanded the Israelites for grumbling against the Lord (Exodus 16).

One of the best resources I’ve found to help me quickly find verses is the Child Training Bible.
Over the years, it has also helped me to create my own little symbols that I put next to verses that relate to a particular subject or topic.

Here’s an example from Proverbs where I’ve used “PC” to note any verse that relates to a parent-child relationship and ”HW” to note those that relate to marriage or husband-wife relationships.  The odd scribble-ish-mess-symbol is my attempt at a “fire” which is what I put next to verses that have to do with the tongue or words.
This has just been a helpful way for me to prepare ahead of time so that I can quickly locate a verse when I need to share it with a child (or with myself).

bible verses
4) We need to weave God’s words and truth into everyday life.

Whether it’s watching a movie, checking the weather, reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, or driving to swim team practice– we need to “talk freely and naturally about God” with our children.

My husband and I both really appreciate John Younts’ book, Everyday Talk, for its emphasis on using “ordinary conversations to show (our) kids the goodness and wisdom of God”.

We need to pray each morning that we will look for and notice opportunities to mesh God’s words in the Bible with moment by moment life.
Even something as simple as cutting open a pear that looks beautiful on the outside, but is rotten within can bear witness to God’s Truth.

pears

5) We need to pray God’s Word for our children.

There are so many resources available to help us pray for our children.  My friend Brooke has a new book specifically about Praying for Boys and this past post from The Better Mom has free printable prayer cards.
I love Jodie Berndt’s book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. In the forward to Berndt’s book, Fern Nichols writes:

“I believe the greatest influence a mom can have in the life of her child is through prayer. As she stands in the gap for her beloved child, the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth hears and answers her prayers…When we pray the promises of God for our children, our faith increases because we are praying back the very words of God.”

It can also be as simple as just picking a passage from God’s Word to start praying this very day.  A great one to start with is Eph. 1: 15-19:

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…”

We know that the Bible is living and active, able to determine motives, correct, and change hearts.
I want to move back towards using God’s Words vs. my own words when it comes to correcting and training our kiddos.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite resources or ways that you have used God’s word in parenting your children.

Love,
Kara at The Chuppies

Overcoming Anger With Eternity

Overcoming Anger with Eternity

Eternity changes everything.
I’ve written in the past about why I don’t want our children to feel at home here.
Because–
I want their true home to be in Heaven.

But…
I’ve also come to realize that when I lose my temper and the anger rises,
And especially when I start to see a pattern of quick-to-annoyance-why-can’t-they-all-just-do-what-they’re-told-and-quit-dropping-full-cups-of-yogurt-on-clean-tables–
It is usually because of two things:

1) I’ve allowed idols to creep in.
If you missed my friend Ruth’s post at The Better Mom from a couple of weeks ago, please take time to read it.

2) I’m suffering from eternity amnesia.
Whether I say it or not, I’m living like Heaven isn’t real.
As if my current state of laundry piles, runny noses, bills, and stringy gum stuck in hair is–
All there is.
I have forgotten eternity and the promises of forever that I have in Christ.

“I often lived as an eternity amnesiac.
I, too, often lived with the unrealistic expectations and functional hopelessness that always results when you tell yourself that this life you have right here, right now,is all there is …
This present life is not all there is.
There is a forever on the other side of this life.
Eternity is not a mystical creation of overly spiritual people.
Forever is a reality …
Living in this present world is designed by God to produce three things in me–
longing, readiness, and hope.”
~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pages 12, 13, 14, & 35)

So how does remembering Heaven change things?

How does it help a mama who is about to lose it because–
There is a popsicle stick stuck to the corner of the couch, he forgot to mention signing “us” up to bring cupcakes for the class party, there wasn’t a trash bag in the garbage can when they scraped the breakfast plates, and someone used a stamp pad to wallpaper her sister’s room?

Focusing on eternity reminds me that:

1) Life is not all about (me).
“(I) am not in the center of my world now, and (I) won’t be then.  What makes eternity wonderful is that God is restored to His rightful place at the center of all things.”

2) (My) heart will only  be satisfied when it finds its satisfaction in God.
“In eternity (I) will no longer search horizontally for what (I) will only find vertically.”
~Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 76)

I lived a whole chunk of my life not really thinking much about Heaven.
But then our daughter Selah died.
And I needed to focus on eternity.
And while it brought comfort as I thought about the future joy of seeing her again, learning about and thinking about Heaven did so much more than that because:

Heaven changes everything.
It shifts our dreams, our goals, our direction.
It affects our pain, our sorrow, our fears.
Heaven gives us hope.

Heaven moves us to invest in what will endure–
Forever.
Heaven gives us courage to sacrifice for what will last–
Forever.

Heaven reminds us of what is truly important.
Especially, when I’m tempted, as a mama, to unleash the flood gates of anger.
Heaven calls me to patience, as I remember the patient grace that God offers me daily.

“When circumstances rise to levels of importance way beyond their actual importance, they exercise more control over us than they should … The resurrection of Jesus and the hope of forever give us a sense of priority and proportion.” ~Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 87)

“Peace is found only in knowing that this world is meant to prepare us for the next and that the temporary pleasures and pains of this world are not our final address. When we live knowing that the God of grace will lift us out of this broken world and is now readying us for the world to come, we can face difficult without wanting to give up and experience pleasure without becoming addicted to it. We live with hope in our heart, eyes to the future, and hands holding this present world loosely.”
~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 37)

Heaven reminds me that this world is broken.
That I should not be surprised when I face frustrations and failures in myself or even in those I love best.
But that there is hope because–

Jesus said,

“And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may also be.”
~John 14:3

And I want to live–
To really live in such a way that when I reach Heaven I will say:

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

“Our citizenship is in Heaven,
and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
~Philippians 3:20

Practical Ideas for Renewing an Eternal Perspective:

–Do a Bible search on verses that relate to Heaven and find creative ways to display them around the house. 

–Ask God to remind you of Heaven throughout the day, especially when you feel tempted to lash out in anger.

–Read any/all of Randy Alcorn’s books about Heaven.  Heaven for Kids is probably our favorite.

–Read Paul Tripp’s book– Forever  and/or Joni Eareckson Tada’s book– Heaven.

–Begin every morning thanking God that “we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” ~2 Peter 3:13

Overcoming anger with eternity perspective makes it all worth it!

His for eternity,

Kara @The Chuppies

*photo source– my dear friend Anne-Marie

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy…To Great

I Held a Dying Baby Today–And Saw God

Hospital in  Uganda A small village house

Holding a babyActivities with Kids

Uganda is wrapped in red roads, like ribbons around a present, and we followed them today–this motley crew of five jet-lagged storytellers, kissing Africa on the cheek and gripping her ancient hand.

And I held a dying baby.

He was 18 months old, but he weighed less than either of my babies  when they were first born. And he was too weak to cry, so I cried for both of us there in that pediatric wing of Kampala’s only hospital.

A hospital that has no well or clean drinking water, that makes mothers sleep beneath the cribs of their infants because there are no beds, that has a mortuary for the babies right beside the wing.

“Don’t cry,” his mama said to me. “God is still alive.”

Another bed held a seven year old boy, just seven pounds when they found him abandoned two months ago. He was so stunted he looked three years old. He smiled and cooed in my ear.

And Evah is the mama for all the abandoned babies. She is a warm woman with a soft face and sad eyes, because her husband died two years ago in a car accident–and she started the orphanage, Destiny Villages of Hope, years ago with her husband, as well as a church for 2,500 in the middle of the second largest slum in Africa–Katwe.

We walked the dirt path of the slums lined with garbage and babies in underwear and distended bellies, and the children all wore shining smiles while picking at gnats in their hair and carrying jugs of dirty water. Piles of trash, and mothers washing clothes in buckets, tin and cardboard and plywood nailed together to make homes.

A little girl, no bigger than a thimble, ran to me, wrapped her arms around my neck and wouldn’t let go, and I held her there amongst discarded Coca Cola bottles and plastic wrappers.

And God was there too.

In the color of skin, leaping rich off their bodies, in their laughter–which carried across the trash, like a bright yellow bird–in Mama Evah and her church with its plastic chairs, and then, we drove into the lush countryside filled with banana trees and corn plants and Jackfruit, and we found Destiny Villages of Hope.

We found 1,500 children rescued from the slums and given a second chance, thanks to Mama Evah–and World Help, the organization we flew here with: a Christian organization that partners with Evan, empowering locals to do good in their own country.

Kids from the slums of Katwe are now being taught how to read and write at Destiny, are being given clean rooms with bunk beds and steaming plates of rice and plantain for lunch, singing hymns and playing the bongos, kicking soccer balls across the red dirt.

We laid out rolls of canvas and paints and the kids, they made art on the dusty floor. The swirling of tempura colors, the swish of brush against canvas, the children grinning up with white teeth, and Mama Evah in a chair watching it all with her sad eyes.

And so this is Africa–the wounded heart of the world where people with strong backs and shining eyes forge onwards.

I held a dying baby today, friends.

And I saw God.

***

Will you help us?

Mama Evah wants to build a third rescue home for abandoned and neglected babies. Will you consider helping Evah save more children from the slums? IF EACH OF YOU GIVES JUST $2 TODAY, the  first phase of the rescue home will be FULLY FUNDED. Here is the link. Love to you (and thank you).

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