You were chosen! Not based on anything you did or will do. I needed this reminder today.
A Filling of Peace
God’s love brings peace. You can experience freedom from fear!
Re-dos: Fostering Repentance and Forgiveness
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
If you have followed Jesus and studied his life you know he is the prime example of love and grace. When I read Jesus’ interactions with people in the Bible, I see that he forgave people and their hearts were forever changed.
But, he also upheld boundaries for those who were hard-hearted and not willing to receive the truth. Jesus instructed his disciples to “shake the dust off their feet” when not received by a town. Jesus set a boundary.
In my own parenting, I am seeking the balance, the dance, the perfect marriage between forgiveness and boundaries.
One way in which I am doing this is with “re-dos”. This is not a new concept, but it sure is effective.
Here is how I use the “re-do”.
Child walks right through an adult conversation, immediately jumps into what they want to say. I make eye contact with the child and then gesture to the adults around me, drawing the child’s attention to the others. Then I say, “Let’s try that again.” The child then goes around the group, comes back by my side, placing her hand on my arm while she waits her turn.
Or a child snaps at her sister in a loud, rude tone and I say, “Can we try that again?” She then has the chance to use the tone she would have liked to have used the first time around.
In these examples, I am setting the boundary of what behavior I am willing to accept and what behavior needs correcting. And, I am also able to see the child’s heart and grant forgiveness.
Another way I use “re-dos” is for myself! When I am having a mindful moment, I might hear myself say something in a tone I’d rather not use. So, I will say to my child, “Can I have a “re-do”? And, then I proceed to take a deep breath and try it again. This allows the child the chance to forgive me and our relationship can be restored.
These “re-dos” foster learning, repentance, and forgiveness. My impulsive response, lacking self-control, can be reframed in my mind, draw me closer to God for change, and give my child the chance to forgive me. And, my child’s impulsive interrupting can physically be changed by realizing what went wrong and how she can improve it. I, then, see how she intended to behave and I can forgive and move on.
These “re-dos” remind me of the Lord’s new mercies which are new every morning. Every morning I wake up, I have received a “re-do” from the Lord! What a gift! What a gift I can also give to my children.
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Seek Him and Brush Your Teeth!
Yesterday I didn’t smile.
Yesterday I didn’t look my girls in the eye.
Yesterday I didn’t brush my teeth until the afternoon.
These confessions glare what kind of day I had yesterday.
Last night, when my youngest daughter asked if we could have our monthly breakfast date in the morning, I said, “No.” Don’t worry, I went on to explain why. I told her about how I had not had my quiet time in the morning and my whole day went downhill from there.
Now, truth be told, it wasn’t just the missing quiet time with the Lord that did me in. It was literally not taking a second to slow down and hear from the Lord all day. He is so good to me. When I slow down, and seek Him, He shows me what I need in each given moment. Maybe it’s fresh air, a nap, His word, a snack, a tough conversation, time with my husband. But when I just plow through the day, I am useless.
This morning, the Lord brought to my mind the image of the flight attendant reminding parents to first place the oxygen mask on themself and then tend to their children.
That is how today looks.
Placing the oxygen mask on myself first today looks like: taking time to study God’s word and be filled up through prayer, exercising with weights and sweat, making a green smoothie, listening to piano hymns, taking a shower AND brushing my teeth, and letting my girls sleep in so they get what they so needed.
Dear One, it is not selfish to take care of yourself. God loves you so much. He does not want you to neglect yourself. You are not able to serve Him if you are completely spent. Seek Him today!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Update: at 10:00 am when my youngest daughter finally surfaced and asked once again about our breakfast date, I could answer, “Yes!” Thank you, Oxygen Mask! You truly are my Savior!
The Power of Life and Death
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
My encouraging friend, who lives out Proverbs 18:21, sent me that verse the other morning. Every morning I receive a nugget of wisdom from her. Because God has proven to me time and time again that nothing worth anything is ever by chance, I take what she sends me to heart.
For years, I have been aware of the power of my words. God began revealing this to me through Joyce Meyers TV broadcasts, where she openly shares her struggles with words and how through God’s Word and power, she has overcome.
I don’t know about you, but I have set backs in this area. I am not tempted to smoke cigarettes, overeat, or drink alcohol, but I am definitely tempted to criticize, especially those closest to me.
1 Peter 5: 8 tells us that the Devil is watching us, looking for what he can use to destroy us. For me, it tends to be my words. He feeds me the words to say, especially when I am tired, sick, discouraged, or just simply not alert.
But I am so tired of it. I am so tired of Satan having his way with my words. And, I am not powerless against him!
Some truths about taming the tongue (just in case you, too, struggle in this area):
- I cannot tame my tongue (control my words) in my own power. James 3:8
- My life will be happier if I obey God with my words. James 1:26
- My words can bring healing. Proverbs 12:18
- My words are powerful. James 3:5
- When my words are gentle, the can bring forth life. Proverbs 15:4
Practical ways in which I am obeying God with my words:
- Making sure my children are looking me in the eye when I give them a compliment. I don’t want my words to go unnoticed. I will say their name or something to get their attention, wait for their eyes, and then speak the words I want to say. I usually benefit by seeing their face light up in response.
- Keeping a list on my phone for both of my kids and my husband of compliments I want to give them. Often, I will think of good things about them when I am apart from them. I just make a little note on my phone and then I keep it there until I give them the compliment. Then I put a little check mark symbol after that particular compliment. Once, I am more fluent with my family, I want to add more people to this list.
- Making sure I am full of God’s truth about me, so that I am not running on empty and have nothing to give.
Dear One, how do you see the power of words at work in your life? I am praying we each see someone we can encourage today.
A Perfect Heart
When I seek mercy and justice
When I offer mercy and justice
When I receive Your mercy and justice
My heart is renewed
My heart is cleansed
My heart is healed
When I seek Your way
When I offer Your love
When I receive Your Spirit
I behave as a woman following You
I love as a whole person
I give from a complete vessel
When you come to me, oh Lord
When you walk with me, oh Lord
When your Spirit fills me, oh Lord
I am set free
I am made alive
I will walk with a perfect heart
I will sing of mercy and justice; to you, oh Lord, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:1-2
My child doesn’t trust me. My child doesn’t trust me. My child doesn’t trust me. The words haunt me. Torment me. Cause an unending grief.
My child whom I gazed at all hours of the day and night as a newborn. My child who cried for hours and hours each night in my arms. My child who stole my heart from the moment I heard of her existence. My child who captivates my attention with her many gifts and talents. My child who serves her family.
My child was wounded before ever making her presence known on this earth. My child’s heart and brain were told this world isn’t safe. My child’s fight or flight response was on alert when she should have been experiencing the safest place she will ever know.
My child lost innocence too soon. My child faced toxins too soon. My child experienced stress too soon.
But, my Father is faithful. My Father is gracious. My Father is healer. My Father is hope. My Father is sovereign. My Father is true. My Father is righteous. My Father is all-knowing. My Father is all-seeing.
My child doesn’t trust. My child doesn’t trust. My child doesn’t trust…yet.
Looking in my child’s eyes each time we speak. Carving out one on one time, devoted to her. Refusing to engage in arguments. Seeking to understand her past and present. Becoming a consistently safe, available person in her life. Verbally and physically reminding her that NOTHING can separate her from my love. Praying daily to my Creator…her Creator.
My child comes to me. My child opens up to me. My child seeks me in times of trouble and joy.
My Father listens. My Father heals. My Father brings unity. My Father holds all things together and
my Father has not and will not ever leave my family. Amen.
From Pity to Gratitude
Groggy, quiet, and contemplative I enter my prayer closet this morning. Holding my hot coffee in one hand, I open the closet door with the other hand. Upon opening the door, I am filled with defeat from a night of tossing and turning with doubt and hopelessness. Yet at the same time, I remember Hopeful Expectation, the promise the Lord keeps whispering.
I enter the closet, overcome with envy, self-pity, and discouragement. Envy over the moms who have children that can get themselves ready in the morning. Envy over the children who got ideal starts in this world. Envy over kids who are able to hold two thoughts in their minds and complete those tasks. Pity for myself for the elaborate measures I take to help my kids follow simple routines. Discouragement over the lack of progress seen.
Stepping into the closet and then plopping down on my pillow, I begin my seeking. Matthew 7: 7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
I come filled with ugliness, but seek the Beautiful One. I come filled with doubt, but seek the One filled with answers. I come full of myself but leave filled with His Spirit.
As I begin my study and prayer time, I am reminded of how Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew 6:
This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
I remember my Father in heaven who leans in to listen to me, who meets me there before I even awake. I remember my need for Him and His ability alone to meet my daily needs. I remember His heart to forgive me (even my stinking pity party) and my need to forgive all those around me. I remember to seek Him to deliver me away from the temptation of self-pity.
This morning, He changed my pity into gratitude. This morning, I entered my time with the Lord covered with stains. This morning, I left my time time with the Lord with one last whisper, “Lord, that I’d stay connected to you all day today, that this wouldn’t be the end. That it would just be the beginning of our day together.”
Thank you, Lord, for these children that keep me at Your feet…keep me coming back to You. Keep me seeking You for wisdom, peace, encouragement, and hope. Amen.
What I Learned in September
Psalm 25:4-5, Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Here we are wrapping up September. This is year 3 of homeschooling for our family and it’s been the smoothest transition thus far. I attribute it to several things. One being that we continued some schoolwork all summer, but never missed anything fun that came up. Two being that it’s year 3 and in my experience year 3 is like a magic year. When I was a public school teacher, I found that year 3 of teaching the same grade level or same curriculum really finally came together for me. And, three, many of the changes we have made to handling discipline in our family, have brought about greater peace for us all. Amen to all of the above!
My Reading this Past Month
- Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio
- When Parenting Isn’t Perfect by Jim Daly
- Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (I try to read this once a year!)
Our Reading this Past Month
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton
- What to do When It’s Not Fair by Jacqueline Toner
- What to do When Mistakes Make You Quake by Jacqueline Toner
- Story of the World Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer
1-2-3 Magic (123 Magic)
A very wise counselor shared with me the idea of utilizing the 1-2-3 Magic approach for stopping negative behaviors in my children. Think of any lower level behavior you want to stop: arguing, whining, badgering, and complaining, etc. There are many short youtube videos you can watch to learn more about this approach.
Here is how we are using it and finding it successful in our family:
First I set up the plan with the kids. I explained to the kids that we have been allowing behaviors such as arguing and complaining to ruin perfectly good days for us. We want to deal with the behaviors in a quicker way so that we can get back toward whatever God has called us to for that day. I told them that if they argue (complain, whine, badger), I will say, “That’s 1” and hold up 1 finger. They have a choice to make. Stop or continue. If they continue, I will say, “That’s 2” and hold up 2 fingers. If they choose to continue, I will say, “That’s 3” hold up 3 fingers and say (as unemotionally as possible), “It’s time for a break.” I will designate a spot for a break and tell them I will let them know when break is over (5-10) minutes.
After the first explanation of this plan, one little darling almost immediately thought she would test it out! Okay, here we go! Help me, Lord!
Darling child, “Can I have a snack?”
Mom, “No, it’s 30 minutes until dinner.”
Sweet, darling child, “But, I am HUNGRY. I haven’t eaten for 10 minutes! Why can’t I have a snack?”
Mom, “It’s 30 minutes until dinner. And, that’s 1,” holding up 1 finger.
Dear, sweet, darling child, “But, I am so hungry! Why can’t you tell me why?”
Mom, “That’s 2,” holding up 2 fingers.
Lovely, dear, sweet, darling, child, “Oh great! So you can’t even tell me why!? I just want a snack!”
Mom, “That’s 3, time for a break. Please go sit on the stairs. I will tell you when break is over.”
Precious, lovely, dear, sweet, darling, child, “Why did you have to talk to that counselor!” stomping off to the stairs.
I am not worrying about the behavior on the way to the stairs because my goal is to quickly and unemotionally stop the badgering and to reset. We are doing that by taking a break.
I set a timer for 10 minutes and then call to the child, “Break is over.” I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the child returned in a pleasant mood, ready to find something to do until dinner.
Flash forward to the next morning. Darling child, “Can I make pancakes for breakfast?”
Mom, “That sounds good, but we have to leave in one hour so there just isn’t time today.”
Sweet, darling child, “But, why can’t I make pancakes?”
Mom, “We are leaving soon. And, that’s 1,” holding up 1 finger
Child sulks off grumbling something under her breath, all the while developing self-control. We move on with our day.
For more serious infractions such as physically hurting someone, damaging property, or aggression, you go straight to 3 and the child takes a break. Usually a more serious infraction also involves some sort of restitution in our house…fixing what they broke, mending the relationship, doing something physical to get the aggressive behavior out appropriately.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
At age 25, when I first became ill with an ultra rare disease, aHUS (atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome), doctors had little idea of what was going on or what to do about it. And, I didn’t know that when a doctor said, “Let’s try XYZ to treat you,” I should say, “Why? Explain this to me.”
I didn’t realize the doctor was not my boss. The doctor is not all-knowing. And my life is not in the doctor’s hands.
In a healthy patient/doctor relationship, the patient is free to ask questions, seek clarification, share about their own research, and discuss concerns. If a doctor does not accept this from you as the patient, you should strongly consider finding a different doctor.
I have had a few wonderful doctors over the years. Besides accepting questions and thoroughly listening to me, the wonderful ones are those that admit when they don’t know something and then they seek to learn.
What about you? What did you learn this month? Is that a tough question to answer? Don’t worry! God has an answer for that. James, 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Need wisdom? Need to learn something? Need to see a breakthrough in a certain situation in your life? Need greater understanding?
ASK GOD, the one who gives it to you liberally!