moms

Tips for Maintaining Your Peace

As women of faith, we are directed to live peaceably whenever possible. It must be important if it can be found in various forms 429 times in the King James Version of the Bible! The scriptures talk about different types of peace, including false peace, inner peace, peace with God and peace with man.

maintaining peace

But have you ever taken a minute and really thought about what peace means to you? I know whenever I think of the word “peace” it is immediately followed by the word “quiet”, yet I have learned as I have aged that they don’t always go together.

According to the dictionary, it means:

  1. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
  2. freedom from or the cessation of war or violence

In the Old Testament, the primary Hebrew word for “peace” is shalom, and it refers to relationships between people, nations and with God.

In the New Testament, the primary Greek word for “peace” is eirene, and it refers to rest and tranquility. This is the peace we are seeking now.

As a woman of faith, we have an obligation to “let the peace of God rule” in in our hearts (men too but I am visiting with the ladies today) Colossians 3:15.  In my understanding, this means I have a to make a choice either to trust God’s promises by letting His peace rule my heart and life, or decide to rely on myself which is actually rejecting the peace He offers me. In John 14:27, Jesus gave His disciples peace based on the truth that He has overcome the world.

We also know that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 reads that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. These fruits are things that we are instructed to add to our lives.

So how do we get this fruit called peace? This peacefulness in the chaos of our day to day life? We all know ladies that never seem to get flustered when things get crazy around them. I have wanted to know their secret for decades.

One day I asked the lady that I call my Titus 2 Mom. I call her that because she lives the example shown in Titus instructing the older women to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

According to her, the secret to a peaceful life (at least at home) is as simple as how well prepared I am. Whoa – wait a minute. That is not what I wanted to hear. I wanted a profound moment or insight that I could just tell my family was being enacted and then TADA.. everyone would live in peace (and quiet) forever and ever.

She just smiled and said, no sweetie. The peace in your home is on your shoulders. She assured me it comes with practice.

Since then, I have been honored to counsel with younger moms feeling overwhelmed and searching for peace in their homes.

My tips for Tips for Maintaining Peace

Accept Our Role and Our Responsibility

Starting right now, remember that you are the parent. You are the adult in the house and you are their mom. You are not their buddy, friend, cleaning lady or doormat.

As the parent, it is your responsibility to set boundaries and expectations for your children. They need you to remain calm when they get all out of sorts. The best way for us to have peace is when we direct or respond to our children instead of the often panic reactions we have when things are wild and crazy.

Being peaceful and showing our children how to resolve issues in a calm manner goes a long way to the “peacefulness” of the home.

Offer Grace for Mistakes

Don’t give up on yourself or your children. It is okay to do a “do over” when a situation fails to meet your peaceful meter. Stopping your day and gathering your little ones around for a moment of calmness, prayer and discussion on what was happening that could have been handled better doesn’t take long, and it gives everyone a fresh start.

Be Prepared for Your Day

Only you can determine what this looks like in your home. For us, it was making sure the calendar for tomorrow was posted so everyone could pick out their clothes, pack lunches and gather anything needed for the day. We also spent a few minutes “clearing the deck” aka picking up the community areas before heading up to the bedrooms to prepare for bed times.

I love the saying, “Failure to plan on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine”.  As much as I love saying that to my children, as a mom – it often does result in an emergency on our part if we do not plan ahead.

Being prepared for me also means getting up before everyone else in order to get some time in the Word and in prayer. It also gives me a few minutes to look over the schedule and make sure everything is ready to go.

I also offer a count down to things such as a 15 minute warning before departing the house, or a 5 minute warning that it is lights out upstairs. Just this little warning works wonders for those that don’t keep track of time themselves.

Expect and Look for Praise Opportunities

I strongly believe that our children behave the way we expect or at least the way we enforce our expectations. If your guidelines and expectations are clear, and the enforcement of the consequences is consistent; your little ones will fall in line.

That’s when you look for praise opportunities. Just watch how your approval and praise lights up their face! We like being praised for good work. Our children are no different.

Make Sure to Keep Your Heart Right

When my heart isn’t right; it isn’t long until nothing in our home is right. I heard that the mom is the thermostat of the family. Her heart setting is what the family feeds off of each day. When I have a grumbly heart…my children give it right back to me.

But when I am thankful and at peace, they also follow my lead.

example of peace

Be the example for your family. Spend time in the Word and in prayer. Seek God’s wisdom on ways to manage your home and heart so you are being the mom your children need in order to grow and learn the love of Christ.

We are all capable of becoming a peaceful mom. Start today by sitting down and clearing your mind and heart in prayer. Perhaps start a journal for you to use each morning to kick off your day by writing out scriptures on being at peace, or by listing three things you are thankful for and three things that you can praise your children for during the day. As you get ready for bed, look over the journal again and make a note or two for you to start off tomorrow.

 

That Child and the Nature of Sin

 

I want to talk a little about that darned sin nature that rears its ugly head and often (as least we think) we see it more often in “that child.” It’s often accompanied by some real defiance and an attitude. Even what may be the most terrifying for most of us, is this response to having lied or sinned in any way. This attitude of “So? Who cares?” That is very disconcerting and it should be. 

that child

It’s NOT a phase

I have heard before people talk about children and their behavior and different things, and they’ll say things like, “Eh, it’s just a phase. It’ll pass.”

My friends, it’s not just a phase that will pass! It’s sin which is a serious issue. So, if you are in a circumstance with a sinful behavior with your “that child”, or one of your other kids or even in yourself, it needs to be taken seriously. We cannot blow it off. We cannot even have a “deal with it later” mentality.

The first sign of sinful behavior should arrest us. We should deal with it immediately, in ourselves and in our children.

Before we can talk about the whole issue of behavior, though, I want to back up the bus. I think too often we settle for dealing with behavior and we totally leave out the heart issues

I want to double dog dare you. Don’t reduce the bar of behavior. Don’t settle for the bar of “do it because I told you so”. We are in a world now that is sending a really mixed message to this generation. They are really confused about what it means to be a man or a woman of integrity. 

While most of our culture says it’s OK to do just about anything as long as you don’t get caught, I’m fairly certain that’s not the standard in which you want to raise your children. I’m going to challenge you today to raise that bar and elevate it to be, “We obey because God said so.” 

We might have compliant kids that will fall in line and they’ll have integrity, and they’ll be honest, at least they’ll try to, but without the power and the might of the Holy Spirit within them to strengthen them, to be all those things, they’re not ever going to achieve and be the young men and women that they need to be to, to be the young men and women that God’s planned for them to be, to be part of the generation that’s going to change the world. 

So we must elevate that standard. We’ve got to give them a why. The why can’t just be, “Because I told you so.” It cannot be, “Because you make me look good when you obey.” It’s got to be more than that. It’s got to be deeper than that. 

We must teach our children that the importance of obeying is because it glorifies and honors a mighty, living God, the sovereign of the universe. 

We hold them up

Where do we start with these issues of sin in the lives of our children? We start the way that Ted Tripp talks about starting in his seminars and that is, we hold up before our children every day a holy, mighty, awesome God, the God of the universe, and we say, “Oh, my children, that you would know God. That you would KNOW God.”

When we introduce our children to God it makes all the difference! If we are just going to be about trying to formulate their behavior…do this don’t, do this, do this, don’t do this…we aren’t reaching their heart and we are short-selling ourselves and them.

We are not giving them the motive that they need. So, we must start by introducing them to the God of the universe. 

When they get who He is, when you and I get who He is, it makes all the difference. It changes how we behave from the inside out, which is what real change is.

I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the little boy who was sitting in his high chair who was 18, maybe 24 months old, and his mother kept telling him to sit down. She says, “Johnny, sit down.” And he won’t sit down. She goes over and sits him down. She turns around and he stands up. She says, “Johnny, sit down!” She goes over and helps him to sit down. She turns around and she notices that Johnny’s sitting down. She says, “Johnny, thanks for sitting down!’ He says, “I’m standing in my mind.”

Look, Johnny wasn’t changed from the inside out. It was a game to him. I don’t want my children to be in a game of behavior. I don’t want them to only do what I want them to do when I’m looking. I want them to do what they ought to do because the God of the universe is on the throne. 

I want to invite you, get to know this God of the universe. The bottom line is you and I are not without sin either and our kids know that. As you and I come into a deeper, richer, more abiding relationship with the King of the Universe, guess what? Our kids witness our being changed from the inside out, in subtle and not so subtle ways.

One of my best tools is “Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer. This is a very readable book by a man who was sold out to the cause of Christ and to God, the Father, all about having a higher view of God.

We have reduced God in our culture, and I’m going to dare to say it, in our churches, we have reduced God to merely being our bell boy who is supposed to do whatever we ask Him to do, in faith. 

Look, God doesn’t owe us anything. He has already given us the ultimate gift, His only begotten, not made, Son who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. He doesn’t owe us anything! 

It’s all about Him.

We have an opportunity to glorify Him. This life that we are living here is not about us. It’s all about Him. As we look to Him, as we point our children to Him, as we embrace His sovereignty when nothing makes sense, as we appreciate and give Him glory when we’re confused and when we’re tired and when we’re overwhelmed, when we seek to serve Him in all we say and do, we honor His holy name, and our behavior is like incense to those around us and they’re drawn to Him. 

The first step in affecting, for God’s glory, this sin nature of your child, is first you have to acknowledge that they have one. They’re all born with one. If you doubt that visit a friend with an infant. They all came that way.

Selfishness and pride are at the core of our being. We are sons of Adam and we have a sin nature.

But if we want to remedy that, we cannot reduce this to “do what I say”; we must first hold up before them a Holy and Mighty God and get to know Him together. Get to know Him through singing praise worship songs, through singing the old hymns.

Get to know Him in a nature walk, the beauty and the majesty of His creation, get to know Him by reading about him in books like A.W. Tozer, and get to worshipping Him. 

Introduce your kids to the God who not only deserves their obedience but is worthy of their praise. 

Next, after we’ve had an introduction to the God of the universe, we need to start talking to our kids about what sin is. Again, we have failed in this way, not just in our families to discuss what sin is, we have failed in our churches. 

Some churches, in fact, pride themselves in not using the sin word in their services for fear that it might make some people uncomfortable.

The reality is we have a massive, deadly, lethal self-sin issue. If we don’t talk about sin then there’s no need for a savior.

We must talk about sin to our kids. We must acknowledge sin in ourselves and sin in them. There’s no sense in talking about it being a phase. It is an offense to the Holy, mighty God of the universe when we sin. Sin means when we fall short of the glory of God.

In Leviticus 19:2 we are told, “Be holy as I, the Lord your god, am holy.” That’s the standard. We are to emulate Him. We are to be and live as daughters and sons of the king of kings, His ambassadors. 

Live a life that’s worthy

We are to live a life, worthy. When we don’t do that, when we fall into sin, we offend the Holy, Mighty God.

So, what’s His response to the sin? Here’s the deal, His response to sin is His wrath. It is a just response. The Holy God of the universe cannot exist where sin exists. It is not possible for Him to be where sin is.

But, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. 

Not only does God have just wrath upon our sin but He offered us freely a solution in the gift of His son, who was the holy lamb of God. 

Remember when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and he said, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin, whole, of the world.” 

That lamb of God lived a perfect, sinless life as he walked on this earth. He laid down His life. 

They didn’t take it from Him. He laid it down as he outstretched his arms on the cross of Cavalry and paid our sin price.

Only a perfect, spotless, lamb of God can pay our sin price. That’s what Jesus Christ did. 

These are the truths that we discuss with our children. We talk to them about how holy and mighty, and sovereign, and glorious God is. We talk about the issue of sin and the real penalty. Then we talk about the beautiful solution that God has given in the gift of His son.

Because He loves us

As we are having these conversations in an ongoing manner, around our house, as we drive, as we are having these ongoing conversations about God’s glory and His goodness, about our sinfulness, about His goodness and His grace, His everlasting forgiveness, His loving kindness that endures forever, the psalmist writes, we talk about the sin.

john316

As they come into fellowship, as they come to acknowledge and know who God is, there is a natural brokenness that comes when sin comes.

Look, our culture tells us that we don’t need God. Our culture tells us that our sin isn’t so bad. Our culture tells us that we are going to be OK. The reality is that God’s word says that we’ve got a problem. But because of His glorious love for us and His grace, He’s given us a way to come into a relationship with Him. That’s through the gift of His son.

When we frame behavior away around “have to”, we don’t do the right things because we might get in trouble doing the wrong things, we don’t do the right things because we are terrified of the consequences. Our motivation is not coming from a relationship with the Father. 

We must do the right thing because it honors God. Not because we have to but because we get to.

We elevate the motive for being honest and good. and kind. and generous. and selfless. and self-controlled. That’s why we do it. 

We do it because we have an opportunity every day to give Him glory and praise as we worship Him in all we say and do.

As we live a life worthy of that to which we’ve been called. 

 

“That Child” : What they aren’t and what they are

 

I want you to think for a moment of the little precious face that is your “that child”.

When I am speaking at a women’s event on the topic of “that child”, I’ve started sending around a sheet so that all the moms can put the name of their “that child” on the piece of paper. Then I pray over all those names because I figure we are in this battle together for the hearts and minds of these little ones. At one conference recently, one of the mothers wrote six names. I think she was thinking all of them were her “that child”. I’m here to tell you, I pray for that mom!

that child

Whomever in your family is your “that child” I want you to keep that face at the front and center of your mind today as we discuss “What they aren’t and what they are.”

 

Before I start my list, I want to remind you that my “that child” journey has been a long one. My oldest son is actually my original “that child” and I have one that I am currently working with. Some days are better than others just like probably in your home; if you’ve got a “that child” you know exactly what I mean. They’re unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. They might be in a fabulous mood and when they’re in a great mood you wouldn’t sell them for anything. But when they’re in “that mood” you might just give them away!

Three things to remember about “That Child”

I was just confident that some of these things are not true. I was sure that they were true. I want to help you get over these lies faster than I did and reframe “that child” for you. 

  1. First of all, I want to assure you that your “that child” (whether you have one, or six), I want to assure you that “that child” is not divine payback for your childhood.The God of the Universe loves you, and me, enough not to leave us where he finds us. He is constantly in the process of glorifying himself and growing us. Often, he will allow things to show up in our children to get our attention. If you have a “that child” they have your attention! God should have your attention. That ought not mean they have your frustration and your resentment.
  2. Number two, they are not broken. When I first had my oldest son, Charles, I was confident that he was messed up and he was broken. God loved Charles enough to send him to me because I could fix him. Do you hear the arrogance and the pride in that? Yes, I thought that he was broken and he needed to be fixed.We talked about last week the issue of the sin nature in “that child” which sometimes is far more evident than in the other children we have that might be more compliant. Those children might be more prone to apologize, or repent, if you just look in their direction. They’re convicted by the Holy Spirit and they respond to that. “That child” however, their defiant rebellion, makes the sin nature often more visible and vile to us.

    “That child” isn’t broken but they a are sinner just like you and me and we need to treat it like that.

    Remember, the way we deal with the sin nature in “that child” is the way we need to deal with it within our own lives. That is, we need to make sure we are getting to know who God is every day. My dear friend talks about this as a high view of God. When we get who God is, we are broken by our sin because we realize that our sin separates us from a loving, holy mighty God in who’s presence sin cannot co-exist. But because of his great love for us, He sent his son.

  3. Finally, your “that child” is not THE problem at your house. When we were first parenting Charles, and as we had six more children come along, I often felt that pain of not spending time with one of the other children because I was having to deal with him!I just want to say to you something none of us want to verbalize, but there were moments when I thought, “What if…” That’s raw and that’s ugly, because in those moments I thought the whole problem was HIM!

    Look, your “that child” is not the problem in your home. They’re just NOT!

    I know a lot of people who would say, “If it weren’t for “that child…” But, I promise you, they’re not the problem. We need to keep that in mind.

Look, if you’re thinking that your child is divine payback, if you’re thinking “that child” is broken, if you’re thinking that your “that child” is the problem at your house, you may think that you’re hiding it from them but they know. They know how we feel about them. Even if we think that we are hiding it, even if we are telling them we love them…. Because, look, there was a point in my parenting my oldest, my original “that child”, that I loved him… Because I had to, I was his mom. But let be honest. I didn’t like him too much. The reality is, you can’t hide that, Mom. You can’t hide that! 

that child

We’ve got to deal with these lies that we’ve chosen to believe about “that child”, we’ve got to acknowledge them as lies, and they are not true! These are not true about “that child”.  

Here are three things that are true about “that child”. Three things that I want challenge you to embrace. 

  1. Your “that child” is a divine invitation to draw closer to God.If my original “that child”, my first born, had been compliant and obedient, cooperative and calm, and all the things I thought I wanted my kids to be, I wouldn’t have needed God. I would have thought I was doing it. I would have thought that I was the most amazing parent on the planet.

    I have a friend who had three compliant children. THREE! She told me that she used to criticize and judge from across the room other parents with “that kid”. She didn’t even realize what she was doing. Her first three children we so cooperative and so obedient. She would look at other people whose children who would throw fits and not behave she would think, “Oh my goodness! If you would just know how to parent. If you would just this… If you would just that…”

    If you’ve got a “that child” you’ve heard that kind of criticism! You’ve encountered that kind of judgment.Then my friend had baby number four. Guess what? She gave birth to the most consummate “that child” I have even known! He would give my oldest a run for his money. All that judgment, and all that criticism, she had been so happy to dole out to everybody else? She had a lot of repentance and work to do with God. This is a story she shared with me. She is now so grateful to have had her own “that child” and to walk in the grace that she’s been given.

    That’s the divine invitation; is to draw nearer to God! Your “that child” gives you a front row seat to your own sin. An invitation to walk in the grace that you’ve been given, and to continue to live a life of repentance and conviction, and let His grace, and forgiveness, and mercy wash over you. Embrace the patience that He has with you and me. I am overwhelmed with the patience that God has with me when I deal with my “that child”.

    The reality is it’s an opportunity for us to look in the mirror and own our issues that sometimes we’ve not dealt with. God divinely allows it to show up in one of our children. Know what? Our sin is usually a lot more hideous when it shows up in somebody else’s face. But it’s just as hideous to God.

  2. Your “that child” is a blessing not a curse. A gift from the hand of God. Do you remember Psalm 139 when it talks about the Master of creation is weaving inside of you a unique person? This child is a gift from the hand of God. That’s one of my favorite things about being pregnant, feeling that child move within me and just imagining God weaving this person together. A gift from the hand of God.It’s not a curse, not a curse!

    We often will think of “that child” as “THAT child”. If we could just do something with THAT one. Right? No!

    They’re a blessing. Your “that child” is a blessing from the hand of God. Not a menace but a blessing. Given for your happiness and your well-being. God loved you enough to give you “that child” to you to draw you closer to him and to show you the marvelous works of His mercy and His grace.

  3. Finally, your “that child” is a unique person for God’s glory. Your “that child” is going to have questions about things that none of the rest of your other children even think about. They are going to just connect dots when no one else in the room can. They are going to see dots that no one else even sees, and connect them in unique ways.Your “that child” is out of the box. They’re not a round peg that fits in any hole at all. They’re never going to be able to be characterized by a formula. Your “that child” is totally unique! God has a plan for “that child”, uniquely gifted, uniquely talented, unique perspective, unique solutions! Your “that child” is totally unique for the specific purposes that God has made “that child”.

He Has a Plan

We know that the overriding purpose for each one of our lives is to glorify God. God has a plan to use those unique perspectives, those questions that are probably driving you crazy, those answers that you have never thought, or those questions that you have never even thought of, God has a plan to use all of that.

blessed-that child

Let us not be the ones that just berate them and allow our exasperations to characterize our relationship with them. Let’s hug that child as the unique gift that they are from God. Let’s cradle their face in our hands and say to them, “I’m so glad that God sent you to this family. I’m so glad that you’re here.” 

Mom, I want to give this as an invitation to you not just because you love that child because you have to, but to like that child, and be grateful for that child, because you are blessed to be raising “that child”.

“That child” is a world changer.

Go give him a hug!

Humility Is Not the Same As Unimportant

As a mother, I have been hearing that my position is an honorable one, a selfless one, and a humble one. In fact, I often encourage other moms with those very statements. We can go on Pinterest and see beautiful images of a mom and kids at sunset on the beach or cuddling on the couch, along with a sweet statement about motherhood written in swirly gold letters…all this to encourage us in our position. It’s mentioned so much in Christian circles that sometimes I wonder if we are trying to convince ourselves even as we are saying it!

humility is not the same

Well, because we are studying humility this month, I thought it would be a good idea to go back to the scriptures and see exactly what they say about the humility of motherhood.

1 Cor. 1: 26-28 tells us,

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.

Though this passage doesn’t specify mothers, I love how we can get a glimpse of our Creator’s character. He chooses what is foolish to shame the wise. He chooses the weak to shame the strong. He chooses the lowly to bring to nothing things that are. It doesn’t make sense to our worldly minds.

Yet we see this thread throughout the Bible. When Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, was carrying Jacob and Esau, the Lord told her the older would serve the younger (Gen. 25:23). Now Jewish tradition held that the first born…the oldest…would receive the double blessing and extra inheritance. God’s choice of the younger Jacob discounted that.

Jacob had twelve sons, yet God chose one of the youngest (Joseph) to rise up and become second in command in Egypt (Gen. 37 and 45). He chose Jesse’s youngest son, David, to become king after Saul. Samuel said in 1Samuel 16, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

It is clear that God’s ways are not man’s ways. He looks at things differently than we do. Our culture looks at the outside: the strong, the important, and the famous.

God looks at the heart.

And that got me thinking about something else. Matthew 6:28-29 says,

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Lilies are pretty flowers, but they are simple ones. When poets speak of superlative flowers, they usually go to the showy or fragrant ones like roses, birds of paradise, dahlias, and irises.

Not lilies.

Even in the botanical world, lilies are considered simple flowers in their structure and biology. But God chooses to clothe the grass (Matthew 6:30) with these humble lovelies!

Do you see a pattern here? In His great wisdom, God chooses the things that the world’s eyes would not choose in order to do His work.

What does that mean for us as moms?

“Humble” is not a bad word. A humble spirit is something the Lord desires in us. And humility is not the same as unimportant. Humility is lovely. It is desirable. It is God’s beautiful adornment on us.

Well, I am the first to say that motherhood can be a humbling experience. But I often thought of that in a negative way. There were days, especially when my children were younger, that I felt like a lily walking among women who were roses. I remember going grocery shopping with one child in the kid’s seat of the cart, another inside the cart, and others in tow. I would be scrambling up and down the aisles, trying to find the best purchases, gather my coupons, and get out of there as soon as possible so we could get back home and finish school for the day.

humility is lovely

Definitely. Not. Glamorous.

And we would walk by them: quiet, composed, perfect hair, and sipping on Starbucks as they slowly walked through the store. They were the roses and dahlias that made me feel unimportant.

But it wasn’t anything THEY actually did. It was MY incorrect perception of them (They were probably nice roses!). Yet their presence made me and my job as wife, mom, and homeschooler feel lesser, or in my mind: humble.

That is wrong. Humility is NOT the same as unimportant! The humble position of motherhood is anything but unimportant, too.

Consider the character of God. He chooses the humble and exalts them for His glory. He considers who you are and what you do to be a highly exalted thing. When we meet someone and they ask what we do, don’t mumble through your lips that you are “just” a mom.

God, in His wisdom, has chosen YOU to do the amazing work He has for you. So be that gorgeous lily and bloom to adorn those around you!

When I Live My Faith

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10

Jesus came searching for me!
Jesus came to save me!
It was part of His plan when He chose redemption for the world.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Love was written all over our Savior’s heart.
His compassion is unmatched.
Jesus did the ultimate in pouring out; He gave it all.

When I Live My Faith

This is the kind of love, compassion and sacrifice that I want to make sure my children place their faith in. This requires me to talk about my faith in God, believing who Jesus says He is, and how the Holy Spirit is our Helper and Counselor.

Our children are very receptive, and I’ve found that they develop an appetite for Jesus when we present the truth to them. When I live my faith for my children to see, they develop a yearning to know the Lord. They see our faith in action; how well we trust God. Once they develop a relationship with Jesus, they have just as much right to Him as we do as their parents. THAT is a great relief.  All of the burden isn’t on us to be their El Shaddai.

The Holy Spirit Will Guide Them

Now, our children still need earthly parenting. We must never be hands-off with that. But just think of the dynamic partnership that we’ll have with them and God.

When solving an issue with a child, I’m learning to incorporate this phrase, “What does God’s Word have to say about this?”
It’s God that brings the solutions. They see it for themselves, and it bolsters their faith.

Whenever we’ve needed to believe God for a prayer to be answered, it’s God’s word again to the rescue. We find a Scripture promise that supports what we’ve prayed for (this is praying God’s will). When the answer comes, the children get to rejoice because they experience it first hand. It bolsters their faith. This also aids in long-term remembrance of how God answered them.

living faith

I’ve even seen this carry over into a married adult child’s life. She recalled the times that God answered our prayers of faith when she was younger which gave her a foundation for how she needed to presently pray for herself.

Mom, we won’t always bat 1,000, but we’ll hit some when we swing. I learned that I couldn’t leave their faith up to chance. It made me more aware of my own faith in Jesus, and what I truly believed about Him. When I live my faith I gain experiential knowledge that carries our family closer to God.

We can start today by asking God to bolster (support, strengthen, prop up) our own faith so that we can continue to lead our children in faith.

Ordinary Love

“I knew motherhood was going to be hard sometimes, but no one told me how mundane it would be.”   Our married daughter, who is in the midst of raising a toddler and a baby, was sharing her struggles in this season of motherhood. Now mind you, she is the oldest of 8 kids, so she has experienced the baby stage all the way through high school as she watched each of her siblings join our family and grow up over the years. She’s familiar with motherhood.

Somehow when YOU’RE the mom, though, it’s so much different.  You feel the full weight of responsibility for everything concerning your children.  It can feel like a daunting task…and yes, often very mundane.  Sometimes you feel like you may just lose your marbles.

ordinary love

Somewhere in the diapers, potty training, eating, sleeping, and cleaning up, over and over and over again you feel like you have lost yourself.  Remember her?  She was cute and fun and energetic and full of ideas and now the highlight of her day is to be able to pee alone.  She was romantic and flirty with her husband, but now she is more attracted to him than ever when he volunteers to change a poopy diaper, brings home dinner or does the dishes.

Ordinary Love

I’m not gonna lie.  Motherhood is NOT for the faint hearted.  But what if I told you that the most mundane things you do actually COUNT for something?  What if I told you that every small (and big) act of kindness and service you give to your family is an act of LOVE that matters to God?

“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’

 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.”  

God loves and values children.  

He knew that our children would be a humbling example to US in so many ways.  Kids are honest, they are loyal, they are loving and they call things as they see them.  Yes, they have a sin nature that we have to frequently address, because that’s what good, godly parents are called to do (Proverbs 13:24), but overall children are unpretentious, full of wonder, trusting and, for lack of a better term, organic in so many ways.  They represent the opposite of what the world calls GREAT…they are helpless and vulnerable and yet Jesus calls this good and encourages us to come to Him LIKE a child and to embrace and love these children right here, right now as though they were him.

Luke 9:46-48 says:

“Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest.  But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side.  Then he said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest’.”

Did you catch that? “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me.”  Another translation reads, “If you do this unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”  Every act of motherhood can be a sweet sacrifice to God as though Jesus were in the room and we were serving Him personally! Changing diapers, giving hugs, kissing owies, fixing meals, doing laundry, dishes…all of these are ways to LOVE HIM!  

Many of the greatest acts of love are the ones that no one sees…and we all know that motherhood is FULL of those!  Those secret, ordinary love sacrifices we make are a sweet aroma to God and are holy in His sight.  It’s a special something we share just between God and us.  

coloring page - love

We can love because He first loved us.

Be encouraged.  We can love because NOTHING ever separates us from HIS love…not sick babies, stubborn toddlers, difficult teens, mountains of laundry, a boatload of dirty dishes, or a never ending to-do list:

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

We hope this devotional series is blessing you in your motherhood and your walk with the Father. Please enjoy this printable coloring page, take a few minutes to dwell on the truth that every loving act of motherhood, no matter how ordinary, is, indeed, a sweet act of service to the Lord. Be blessed! 

The Lord Inhabits the Praises of His People

“The Lord inhabits the praises of his people.”

Since I first heard the “praise” theme for our devotionals this month, I haven’t stopped thinking about this quote. While it’s not exact scripture and more of a paraphrase of the rhythmic text in Psalm 22:3

But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

I don’t know about you, but I need the Lord’s inhabiting of my life. I need His rhythms in my plans and steps. I need Him to abide with me as He promises. If the way to bring Him closer to me is by coming near to Him through praise, count me all in! I’ll be here, hands high, crying from the depths of my soul, the very inmost parts of my spirit, voice rising from the top of my lungs, “I need you more, come, Jesus, come! Inhabit my praises! Abide in me! I want You to be an atmosphere I carry through life!”

praise worthy

My first experience feeling the presence of God through praise was when my husband and I had a very rough season a few years ago. My pastor’s wife calls us, “the most supernatural couple she’s ever seen.” The Lord certainly healed our marriage supernaturally, inhabiting our praises. Through this season, I could’ve chosen to withdraw and especially be angry with God. Instead, my husband and I both chose to draw closer, raise hands higher and praise Him, moment by moment, praising, worshipping and thanking Him right through tears.

Since then, I’ve really learned, and chosen, to recognize and feel God’s abiding presence with me day after day. I seek for places to give Him glory, in all I do. I remember that old Bible school song,
Praise Him, Praise Him. Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the noon time. Praise Him, Praise Him. Praise Him when the sun goes down.”

No matter our circumstance, it is with head held high and eyes lifted up that the Lord abides with us. Mamas, our families and our children take note of these praises and can’t help but be affected by the indwelling of our sweet Lord and Savior with their mom. You know, it will rub off and get soaked deep down in their beings and some day, they’ll too recall the songs, words and praises their mom sent our Savior, just like I recall those Bible song lyrics. Through my prodigal years and all the way back around to being sold out, on fire, arms high for Jesus, He surely took note of those sweet praises of my youth and has blessed me, and my family as He dwells among us, and you, through our praises.

The Lord Inhabits the Praises

Here are a few practical ways I praise Him morning, noon, and night.

I don’t even get out of my bed in the morning before I talk to my Papa.

I praise Him, I thank Him and I ask Him for strength for the day before I even roll out of bed, make my coffee, walk the dogs, open the app with my Bible reading plan or even kiss my family good morning.

My day becomes an active conversation with God. 

As a busy wife, mom, blogger, travel writer, homeschooler, volunteer, board vice-chair, all of the hats that I wear (and I know you wear, too)… it’s hard to set aside time to “pray without ceasing” as Paul says. But don’t we know our God knows our schedule, too? My prayers become constant and active conversation with my best friend. I speak, and expect Him to answer, and He does. In thoughts, words, through people, surroundings, and experiences. When I had the blessing of traveling to Greece last year, I learned something significant about Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians. He did it in the marketplace. His praises were raised and messages were given to the people right in the center of town, right in the midst of craziness amid the chaos of every day life of grocery shopping, trading wares, and entertainment. There was Paul, shouting out his praises to our Lord. I want to be like Paul, in a constant and unashamed state of praise.

Worshipping Him in the Minivan.

The car rides as a busy mom seems to be never ending. So, let’s use that time as just part of our day to invite him to inhabit our lives. Turn on the worship music. Singing out loud, our hope in Him affects the minds and hearts of our children and, hopefully, will stick with them as long as that Bible school song has stuck with me. I love Seeds Family Worship because their songs are simply scripture set to music. (I think personally I’ve memorized more verses this way than any other!) One time, we had VBS songs on in the car while we were transporting a construction worker! I’ll never forget the look on his tattooed face and can only pray God’s presence of our praises rubbed off on him!

Praise Him Publicly.

  Last week, I was at a theme park with a group of seven kids and before we ate I said, “Ok, who’s praying?” Some of the kids said, “I prayed in my mind.” I said, “well, we praise Him aloud.” And that’s just what we did, holding hands, right there, in the LEGOLAND diner. We pray every time we eat out. I want my kids and those I influence and encounter to know He is worthy, at all times and in all places. I hope my simple example of prayer at the theme park can leave that mark in each mind and heart.

Whatever your way of praising Him morning, noon, and night, I pray that He comes to inhabit your lives, hearts and families more than ever before and you recognize and feel His presence through your praises. Maybe there’s some things I haven’t thought of that you do, too?

You Might Have That Child If…

 

I want to take a little break from all the serious talk about That Child. Don’t worry, I still have more insight to share about raising That Child, but I think it’s important for us to keep laughing and understanding that God has a sense of humor even in the midst of all the hard stuff. At the end of the day He’s always trying to do two things glorify himself, and grow us. It’s really good for us to use the gift of laughter that He’s given us, to create a little levity in what can be very overwhelming circumstances with “That” Child.

So I just want to go through this little list, I actually have eleven items, and i’m hoping that at the end of this you will be able to add your own items in the comments below. I’m sure there’s a lot of other ideas that we could all add to this list, let’s start with these:

11 Signs you might have that child

You might have a “That” Child if…

#1:  You might have a “That” Child if they demand all of your attention.

Can I get an amen?! If you have “That” Child, they demand all of you, they demand parts of you that you didn’t even know you had, they demand the exhausted and the tired and the overwhelmed parts of you. The spent parts of you, the parts of you you don’t know what to do with. They demand it all, and they demand it all the time. Yes they do.

I’m here to tell you that when my oldest “That” Child was still at home, I used to go in at night and just watch him sleep, cause he was so still and he looked so innocent. Laying in there in the bed he wasn’t demanding anything of me. And then I would just go cry.

If you have a “That” Child you know exactly what I mean. They demand parts of you, and so much of you, and the glorious part of them demanding so much of you is it means you need that much more of God. See, the blessing of God sending me “That” Child, more than once was that it caused me to have to lean into Him. I knew that I needed Him, because of how much my “That” Child needed me. And when I ran out of me, I needed God. That was the blessing of it.

#2: You might have a “That” Child if their mood is completely unpredictable, moment to moment.

If you have “That” Child, you don’t always know who’s gonna wake up in their room in the morning. They might be totally agreeable and joyful and cooperative and you will want to know who woke up in their room. And they might be that way to breakfast…but after breakfast, you don’t even know what happens, it completely changes. “That” Child’s mood is all over the map, as are their interests, and their curiosity, and their attention, it’s all over everywhere.

“That” Child they can change, and turn around on a dime, and you keep trying to figure out “What did we do to get the cooperative, and what did we do to get the not cooperative”.

Here’s one thing I’m going to tell you over and over about “That” Child for all those times we’re thinking “I don’t know how to do this, this is so hard, this is so tiring” I want us to take the opportunity to pause, and consider what might it be like to be “That” child.

I’m going to propose this: it is hard to be “That” Child. It’s hard for their emotions to be all over the map. It’s hard for them to not know what they’re interested in, or how to pay attention, or how to focus, or how did they get on this, that, or the other thing? They’re wondering all that too.

It’s not just us.

And they deserve more than a little bit of our compassion as they navigate the intersection in those pre-teen and teen years of not just their “That” Child wiring but also those hormones when they kick in. They don’t know themselves – so we could stand to be compassionate and more caring with them.

#3: You might have a “That” Child if you cannot hear them, you know you must find them.

I had two boys before I had any daughters, and I had friends who had girls first and I remember going over to one of my friend’s house who just had daughters and I was like “Uhm, where are the girls?” And she said “Oh they’re in their room playing” And I thought to myself, Wow, what must that be like? My boys, If I couldn’t hear them I needed to find them, and I needed to find them quickly because you know what? They were probably doing something, that they shouldn’t be doing, and that’s how it is!

Not necessarily sneaky, not necessarily deceptive, although that was certainly true, but I’m talking about doing things because they were just so curious. Things they shouldn’t have been messing with. It’s truly what they needed to do. They needed to chase their curiosity but I needed to be around them when they did, giving them permission to be curious.

“That” Child is very curious, “That” Child wants to know things and investigate things, and if we can give them permission to do those things when we’re with them it cuts down on their need to do those in a sneaky way. But you know what I mean, “That” Child is not generally quiet, so if they are, ya need to find them!

#4: You might have a “That” Child if their thinking rarely precedes their actions.

Yes, you know what it’s like. You’ve told them a thousand times, you know you’ve told them, you’ve trained them, you’ve intentionally interjected truth in their lives, and guess what they do? Not what you say.

But it’s not because you haven’t said it, it’s because they aren’t thinking.

Many many many times I would say to mine: “Wait, think. Were you thinking? You need to pause and think. Make sure you’re thinking.” See, they just rush into action. But the good news is, they’re home with us and we can teach them!

If we can have the patience of the holy spirit over and over again we can teach them the power and the importance of thinking before they act.

#5: You might have a “That” Child if graduation seems really far away.

On The heels of one of our most difficult years with “That” Child as a homeschooling family, we went to our state conference in May. We had just been through 9 months of really challenging character issues and self control issues. I’m not even sure how much we actually accomplished in school that year because we were constantly dealing with these issues. Anyway, it got to May and we went to our state homeschool conference. Our state conference offers a senior graduation and I went in to watch it because I felt like I’ve just gotta get some inspiration, it just seems impossible that we are ever gonna make it to graduation with “That” Child.

So I’m sitting there, by myself, and there was this woman behind me and I began to cry and in her compassion she put her arm around me and she said “Which one’s yours?” She asked this as they filed across the stage and I said “none of them, my oldest one is twelve!”

But as I was looking at those graduates I was like “Oh please God, can we get to that? Can we make it to that? Would you give us what we need to make it to that?” On that day, that graduation seemed really far off.

If that’s you today I wanna encourage you to hold on, God’s got this. You’re on a journey, He’s got a plan, hold His hand, and take one day at a time.

#6: You might have a “That” Child if nothing seems to work.

Yes, it’s difficult with “That” Child. I went through all the books, I read The Strong Willed Child, The Sensory Sensitive Child…I mean I read everything I could get my hands on. I was looking for something that I could actually do to help. If they gave me any indication of time out, or putting them over here or doing a chart or whatever they said I was like “Ok we’re gonna try this”

And I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried, but nothing seemed to work.

And I felt like “My goodness, what am I gonna do?” But again, I wanna tell you, the fact that nothing worked made me again, lean into God, made me go to God. The numbers of times I was on my face just trying to call out to God and say “What do you want me to do? I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to train him, I don’t know what to say.” And I would go and God always provided. He always gave me some creative Idea of something to try, He always gave me discernment and the wisdom I need as he dried my tears, and he bonded our hearts together as I leaned into God for that.

So even though it felt like nothing worked from what the world was offering, it gave me an opportunity to go to God and ask God “What do I do for “That” Child? For this specific “That” Child, what do you want me to do?” And He always answered.

#7: You might have a “That” Child if you worry about the effect they’re having on your other children.

This is one of the more serious ones on the list, and I had this in spades when we were going through this really intense time with our oldest, who was “That” Child. I remember just crying out to God and saying “I don’t understand, you sent me 6 more after him, how is it possible? He needs everything! I don’t even know how to do this and I don’t even know if I talked to this child today, I don’t even know if I hugged this other child today and I know I didn’t read to this other child today.”

And I would just cry and cry and cry.

I want to tell you, all of these years later one of the things that we would say to the kids when our “That” Child was having so many problems and one of the other kids would come up and say “What’s wrong? I don’t understand. Why does he have to get so angry? Why does he have to argue with everything? Why does he get so mad?” And we would talk to the other children about this and I would always encourage them to pray for him and we would always pause and pray for him and obviously we prayed with him many many times. Today I can tell you that my kids don’t resent it, that’s not how they remember it because you know what?All of my kids have had issues and we’ve had to pray them all through different things, that just happened to be his thing.

Look, I’ve said this before and it’s very valuable, I wish I knew who to credit with this saying because it is so poignant: “What defines you as a person, is what you believe about God.” And everybody will know that by the way you live, how you give, what you do, and what you don’t do, what you watch and what you don’t read, ok?

What defines you as a family is how you deal with your weakest link, whether that link is a behavior problem today, or some sort of a physical issue, or a mental disability, or an illness, you know like, at your house when somebody is sick at your house it doesn’t mean that you carry on as usual, you tend to the needs of the ones thats sick. And if someone has a learning issue, you tend to the needs of that learning issue.

So, as you’re dealing with “That” Child the rest of your kids are watching and they’re seeing how you deal with that kid, and it is ministering to them, you’re giving them an example of how to deal with their weakest link when they grow up and get married and it’s all about compassion and patience and love, and love, and love, and grace, and grace, and grace.

So the effect it’s having on your children is they’re getting to see God intercede in your family and in you, and do something amazing, as long as you keep pointing everyone to God. The effect on your other kids can be amazingly positive.

#8: You might have a “That” Child if you’ve cried yourself to sleep.

Night after night after night I remember my pillow being just soaking wet cause I just kept feeling like a failure. And you know what? My enemy wanted to keep me in the place where I felt like a failure, he wanted to keep me under condemnation for the days I lost it, for the days I did not allow the Holy Spirit to come and fill me with patience, for the days when I was frustrated and I let him know it, for the days that I didn’t handle it well in a God-honoring way, for the days, you know what, I didn’t wanna ask God, because I knew God was gonna ask me to be patient and I didn’t wanna be.

I would cry myself to sleep, and cry myself to sleep, and ask for forgiveness, and ask for a fresh new day, and you know what? God always gave it.

I wanna tell you, God, in our brokenness that is where He meets us. Over and over, and over in scripture it’s in our brokenness and our desperate need that He meets us, and He comes and does something glorious.

As long as we think we’ve got it, we don’t need Him. But when we know we don’t got it, that we need Him, that He is glorified and we get to grow in our dependency on Him.

#9: Yes, you Might have a “That” Child if you know they know all of your buttons, and they know how to push them all at the same time, regularly.

Yes, My “That” Child was able to find buttons that I did not know that I had, and he was able to consistently push all of them at the worst possible moment. Again, I really believe that the God of the universe, sovereign over all things, has blessed you with “That” Child. This is not a burden, it’s not payback, it’s not a curse, it’s a blessing that God has given you “That” Child To show you your need for God and the opportunity he’s granted you to grow this child into somebody that will glorify his name.

Pushing all your buttons is a blessing!

It’s a blessing to find weaknesses, and failures, and faults that you didn’t know you had, or in my case, I had covered up so well I had learned to ignore. I’m glad that I’ve had that child to point out the issues in myself that I really needed to work on. And that was again when God came and began to heal.

#10: You might have a “That” Child if discipline dominates every day.

Now, I used to have a thing with my “That” Child and when he would disobey during the day I would take away his favorite toy for that day. So let’s say that it was this little train, But, I wouldn’t just take it away from him and put it away, I would take it away and put it somewhere where he could see it and want it, but not be able to get it. And so my husband could walk in, and within five minutes of being in the door he could look at the mantle, and assess how the day had been.

I was looking for creative ways to get this child’s attention all the time. Whether it was putting him in time out, taking away things that he wanted, not allowing him to go and participate in things that he wanted to do, I had charts and graphs going, I was constantly trying to discipline him. Because with these kids what I know is they thrive in consistency but I fail at consistency.

So the discipline was not just disciplining him, but it was learning to discipline myself. The discipline of spending time with God every morning, of praying, of choosing to glorify and focus on God, even in the midst of a really lousy day, just going “Ok God, I’ve blown it. But I Praise you. Thank you for sending me this kid. I thank you, and I praise your holy name for the plan that you have, even though I don’t know what it is right now.”

That’s what it means, everyone of these issues gives us an opportunity to lean into God, or, we can choose to continue to lean into ourselves.

#11: You might have a “That” Child if giving up is really tempting.

I want to encourage you with every ounce of my being, don’t. give. up. Don’t give up on you and your ability to allow the Holy Spirit to work through you and to bless “That” Child, and don’t give up on “That” Child. Too many people already have.

When I started doing this presentation a couple of years ago, I actually called and talked to my “That” Child who is now a college graduate, married with my first grandchild, and pursuing a master’s degree. I called him and asked his permission to continue telling our story, and he said “You know what mom? Tell our story, and tell the moms this: don’t give up on us.

That is the message from my “That” Child to you as the mom of “That” Child. Now, your “That” Child may not be able to say it to you right now, and it may seem like they’re screaming at you right now to give up on them. But I am begging you, don’t. give. up.

Determine that you are going to trust that God has a plan, and that God has in them a mighty warrior for His kingdom, that He’s given you an opportunity to raise for His glory, and yes, to grow through your junk.

God has a plan.

Remember this mamas: you might have a “That” Child if God has blessed you abundantly, and I pray that you will hug “That” Child, and you will seek God, and you will lean into Him.

In His Grace-

Rachael Carman

 

 

 

If you would like to read more of my “That Child” series, click here.

Dear That Child Mom – You are Not Alone

It’s easy, when you are facing That Child every-single-day, to get into a place where you feel so incredibly alone.

When you are just sure that you are the only one who had that kind of day with that child.

Again.

Dear That Child Mom, you are not alone.

dear-that-child-mom

I’m glad you’re here.

I want you to know there’s a whole bunch of us out here.

And we all need each other!

I’ve had a couple of those kids come through a household with seven children, and my current one was just wired today.

Completely wired.

Could not sit still.

Was asking the same question over and over and over…

You get the picture.

You completely understand what I’m talking about.

So, Yeah. It was one of those days.

I assure you, if you’re coming to our discussion today, and it’s been one of those days…

Welcome. And you are not alone.

I gave a presentation a couple of years ago where I was sharing about my That Child to a group of moms in Minnesota. And before I even started, I looked into the middle of the crowd, there must have been seven hundred moms in the room, and this woman just started crying. 

I hadn’t even said anything yet. 

 

I can remember while I was being formally introduced to the crowd, I was actually praying for that woman saying “God, just hold her, I don’t know what’s going on… but she needs you right now.”

I watched her.

As she sat and cried.

woman-audience

 

The entire presentation.

After I was done she started coming towards me, and I was thinking… 

“Oh sweet Jesus, give me the words of encouragement that I need for this mom in her brokenness and exhaustion!”

She came up to me and said “You have no idea. Just sitting and looking around this room at all these other moms and to realize I wasn’t the only one, was so powerful for me. The enemy had me so convinced that I was the only one and no one understood.”  

Look, you’re not sitting in a room with me presenting to seven hundred moms right now, but maybe you will someday and I look forward to that time with a lot of hope that I can actually give you a hug.

But for right now…. from this computer screen, I want to assure you,  you’re not alone.

You are joined by thousands of moms across the country who are in the everyday battle that you are.

To maintain your sanity and find a way to love That Child that God has sent you.

flourish

If you have not read my confession about my first that child, I encourage you do to so.

I think you will quickly see I’m right there with you!

Lots of us are.

Join us for the rest of this series as we discuss, vent, and pray over our own version of That Child.

I hope to challenge your perception and encourage you in your mothering.

I pray that you will be blessed as we lift each other up and mother These Children.

Every Thursday at 3:00 pm Eastern, I’ll have a new live discussion on my Facebook Page about That Child. Meet me there! Bring your questions. Bring your struggles. Bring your heart. I’ll meet you where you are and do my best to help you work through this very challenging stage.

In His Grace –

Rachael Carman

 

Look. At. Me.

“Look. At. Me.”

How many times have you said that today?

We say that all the time as moms.  

Often when we say it to our kids, we’re flustered or frustrated and we say “Look at Me! Pay attention!

When I want my kids to look at me it’s because I have something REALLY important and serious I want to convey to them and I want to make sure that I have their total attention.

With no distractions. I want them to tune everything else out, and look at me.

I want them to look at me because I feel like when they’re looking at me- I’ve got their heart.

I feel like I can tell if they’re really listening when they are looking at me. But I can’t tell, If I don’t have their eyes on me.

And I want to tell you a secret… I now have four out of the house and only three at home. But a mama’s ear can tell when they’re not looking at you.

When they are distracted…

Even if they are on the phone!  I sometimes catch myself saying “Look–are you listening?” because I can’t actually tell if they are looking. But I can usually hear it.

That practice of imploring your children to really look at you and listen is something that we establish when they’re home, so that when it is the phone call or even Facetime, we still have the privilege of asking them to look at us.

But you know what?

Pay attention to Me.

Lift your eyes up.

See when I get distracted it’s because I’m not lifting my eyes to Him.

I’ve forgotten about Him, who alone, sits on the throne.

I’ve become distracted by the things of this world  that just don’t matter.

I have let my eyes and mind get distracted.

And I have to admit…

Sometimes, like you, my kids are actually looking at me when I’d really rather they were not watching.

Like sometimes when I may be scrolling through the internet for a few more moments than I need to be.

Or maybe I’m watching a television show that I don’t need to be.

Or maybe at the checkout I’m looking at all the headlines in the rag magazines by the checkout and I don’t need to be.

Or maybe I’m even in the middle of a bad habit that I hope nobody else notices.

And those are the times when unfortunately, I had my kids’ full attention.

Just like you, our Heavenly Father whispers in those moments “Honey, look at Me, Look at Me!”

The key to overcoming those distractions, the key to overcoming those terrible habits that we find ourselves in (because we’re caught up in a sinful world) is to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ.

To focus on our heavenly home and to continually be looking to Him.

Today, I bet you’ve said “Look at me”. While you were saying it to one of your little ones, did you perhaps hear God whisper to you “Look at Me”?

See when we look at Him, all of our stuff, even the things that seem so huge, pale in comparison to the sovereign King who sits on the throne.

I want to invite you to look at Him, especially when we’re so incredibly focused on our kids focusing on us- I think we can say that with more honesty when we make sure that we’re looking at Him.

I remember when we would go to Poppy’s house when we were first married and we would go over and paint the barn or bury a cat or plant a rose bush for Poppy. And on Saturday morning when we would get there I wouldn’t see Poppy reading his King James Bible, but I would see his King James Bible, open on the table as evidence, of where he’d been that morning before we even arrived.

I have a question for you…. When do you want your kids to look at you? What is it you want them to see you doing?