Monday, February 20, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday... 14 Days to Loving them Better

"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandment to do them.
Psalm 103:17-18

I love the idea of blogging daily, it's just not a reality for me.  I don't know how these moms with 10 kids homeschool, travel and speak publicly across the nation, keep a perfect house, and BLOG DAILY!  They must be hiding a nanny and a maid in a closet somewhere!  I say that to apologize for not blogging every day of my 14 day challenge to love them better. However, the challenge has been very near my thoughts and I have looked daily for ways to love my kids and my husband better.  Today I will list four challenges that I've given myself, and hopefully one of them will resonate with you!

1.  Honor God as an individual by keeping His commandments.     The greatest gift we can give our children is a blessing that is passed down through our obedience to God.  I want to be sensitive to the things He ask me to do and not neglect those things.  If I violate God's law in some way I want the Holy Spirit to convict me and I want to turn away from it immediately.  What a treasure for my kids to grow up and say  "I am blessed because of the obedience of my parents!"  Sometimes we need to get our focus off of what our kids' are doing wrong and ask God to show us what we're doing wrong!  Is there any area of disobedience?

2.  Give our family the gift of TIME.
     I had a favorite professor in college.  I was privileged to take classes under him 4 or 5 times.  Something he taught us in every class was how love was spelled... 
T. I. M. E.  We
are living in a culture where we are overwhelmed with schedules, and honestly, social media is overtaking our time with family.  A big reason I do not blog daily, even through a 14 day challenge, is because of the time it would take from a little 3 and 4 year old who want to read stories and play games.  It's too easy to spend an evening with a quick meal while someone in the family chills out watching TV while someone else is checking out on facebook and twitter.  The family is home together, but disconnected.  I want to be intentional about the quality of time I give to my kids.  I've learned I can be home with them all day, yet I'm so busy I'm not really with them.  Time is a precious gift.

3.  Make my Marriage Priority
     I've often heard it said that all a child wants is a mommy and daddy to love them.  I think   that's true, but only partly.  What a child really wants is a mommy and daddy who love each other.  A child's security is in the fact that things are okay with mom and dad.  My desire is to model how to love through loving my husband.  When they see a genuine love there, it gives them a sense of security that will carry with them throughout life.  My prayer is that my kids will love and respect their father because that's what they see mom do!

4.  Make Meals a Ministry
     Really, it doesn't even necessarily have to be a meal.  I've never been one to have too much yummy stuff in the house, but I'm trying to do better.  I've learned when my kids are upset or we are just not connecting well, the difference giving them something yummy can make!  I know it sounds silly, but I'm amazed at how comforting and healing a cup of hot chocolate can be after I've had to discipline the kids.  When the discipline is over, it's wonderful to follow it up with an act of kindness and love.  I'm not saying we lessen discipline because discipline in and of itself is an act of love, and I'm not saying we follow up with snacks every time.  I've just noticed the comfort it has brought to my kids when our day was really going sour.  Hot chocolate and marshmallows speak to them like nothing else.
     Another thing my kids love that makes a fun dessert is strawberries and chocolate dip. Sometimes I will use that as a reward and sometimes "just because."  When we give our kids what they love to eat (and I'm not referring to McDonald's) it can be a true ministry to them.  Had a rough day with your teen?  A trip to Krispy Kreme could be just the thing.
     Many times in the Bible we see Jesus minsitering to the disciples by feeding them.  So when you take the time to cook that meal, or make a cup of hot chocolate, you are speaking love!

This was our centerpiece the other night at dinner.
The kids ate their vegetables in no time to get to this!
They didn't like strawberries until I introduced them with chocolate.
Now they are crazy for strawberries and will even eat them without
the chocolate!

This is Kylee taking a bath because it was so yummy!

We've been on the challenge for 8 days!  Six more to go!  Hope you feel challenged and encouraged in loving them better!



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14 Days to Loving Them Better

Happy Late Valentine's Day, Y'all!  Yesterday was so out of the ordinary for me I never found a chance to get on here!  So I'm going to post 2 ways today that I am challenging myself to love my kids better

The first is through gifts. For Kylee, my oldest, that's her love language. She thrives on receiving a gift! Nearly every time I help her get dressed, she wants to know who gave her the outfit she's wearing. Every night when she chooses a toy or stuffed animal to sleep with, she will ask who gave it to her. If she receives some little breakable figurine, it goes on display for all of eternity and so help me God if I dare try to hide it from her. LOL! She LOVES gifts, and as her mom, I want to speak that language from time to time. Yesterday was the perfect day to gift my children since it was Valentine's Day.

I had this waiting for the girls when we picked Kylee up from PreK.
The flowers were from my sweet man.

I didn't take the greatest pictures, but here they are excited to open their gifts.
Nothing fancy or too expensive, but just a little "I Love You."

Gifts are a wonderful expression of love, especially if it is your loved one's love language.  For me, one of the most fun times to give a gift is when it's totally unexpected.  Not a birthday or Christmas, just an expression that some special person was on my mind!

My second challenge today is touch.  I promise I'm not going through the love languages, although if you've not read the book by Gary Chapman you should!  So often I rock my kids before bed because it's routine, it's a duty.  I'm ready to get through the process so I can have some time.  I am so blessed to have two sweet girls who long to be held and rocked and cuddled to no end, really.  I don't want to be too busy to really pour that on in a meaningful, rather than dutiful, way.  So today my aim is to minister to my children through touch.  It may be a back scratch or a tickle attack.  Whatever seems to be appropriate and speak to their hearts, I am going to be intentional with!

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of motherhood.  Help me to see the needs of my children and give me the wisdom I need to adequately fill those needs.  Your word says in James 1:5 that "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  Today I ask for wisdom.  Help me to love my children and my husband better.  From there help me to love my neighbors better as well!
In the Perfect Name of Jesus Christ,

On Assignment,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday... 14 Days to Loving them Better

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 
Proverbs 15:1

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post about being INTENTIONAL in fulfilling our God given assignments each day.  As a mom, one of those daily God given assignments is loving my children.  It's a daily assignment, and some days it is all God even asks of me. 

I was in a women's meeting a few weeks ago, when a precious woman shared about the fact that we love our kids, but sometimes there are ways we can love them better.  When I look at the phrase love them better I see the word love in a verb tense.  It's not that we don't love them to our maximum capability already, it's just that sometimes in the whirlwind of life we fail to act on it in ways that speak right to our kids' hearts.

Somehow that phrase resonated in my heart and immediately I prayed, "Lord, I want to love my babies better!"  So I've been looking for ways to do that and with Valentine's Day tomorrow, I feel God has given me an idea that will help me be INTENTIONAL about loving them better and I hope it will help you as well.  Since Valentine's Day is on the 14th of February, I am going to take the next 14 days and post a way I am focusing on loving my children better that day.  My prayer is that by the end of the 14 days I have discovered new ways to actively love my kids and that those things will carry over into the rest of my parenting days!  So, if you're up for a challenge, I encourage you to come along with me.  You may even want to leave some ideas of your own in a comment!  I'd love to hear from you!

So, Day 1 for me is the challenge of using gentle words as described in Proverbs 15:1.  When my children are angry at one another or at a situation I do not want to combat anger with anger.  That never works, and is usually what I find to tear relationships apart.  It's tough when my 3 or 4 year old is having a meltdown over something so insignificant.. it's easy to snap.  So today I am praying that God will help me to not snap at my children.  Rather, find ways to be gentle in word and action.

Whatever stage of parenting you are in, even if your kids are grown, there are still ways to love them better!  How would God have you love them better today?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giving Him our Hurts

I love that God loves me enough to take notice of every situation I go through... no matter how big or small. 

I love that He knows right where to direct you in His Word... even when you don't know you're being directed.

If I can be just this vulnerable on here, I 've carried some hurt, for well, quite some time.  It's funny how little hurt + little hurt + little hurt + time passing + little hurt = BIG HURT.  Is it just me, or does it work that way for some of you too?

This morning somehow all those little hurts opened right back up in my heart, and while I was tempted to ignore it and go on about my day, I felt impressed to stop right then and get in the Word of God.  So, I opened up my devotional by Sarah Young, and my James homework from our Beth Moore Bible Study at Gateway Church, and man, did God have a word for me!  Love how He does that!

First, I skimmed my homework from yesterday and was reminded of a very comforting verse that meant more to me today than yesterday:

"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you."  Psalm 38:9

From there I worked through today's lesson, and while I won't deliberate over all the details (you would be reading all day), I will say that the things that applied to what I was feeling in that moment were incredibly timely for me.  Certain situations remain the same for now in my life, but I am comforted in knowing that God sees, cares, and sent a Word just for me!  I can hand those issues right over to Him.  He knows how to handle them far better than I.

As far as the situations?  I know they can change because John 15:16 says this:

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

What about you?  Are you carrying hurts?  Have you handed them over to God or are you trying to bear it all on your own?  Can I challenge you to do this:  Stop everything and go to His Word.  He longs to speak to you there!