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!



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