Mirror, Mirror

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I read an article recently written by a mother who was concerned about how her poor self-esteem was impacting her young daughter. I thought this was interesting because how often do we as women pick apart our bodies and don’t think twice about who is in the room?

I know I have become more aware of my own self-criticism around my daughters. They watch everything we do and everything we say. Are we passing down our poor self-image to our daughters?

The last thing I want as a mother is for my two absolutely, perfectly, gorgeous and amazing little ladies to see themselves as anything less than that, and I know that is not what Jesus wants for them or myself.

How can we combat our programed poor-self image? We can battle it with the word of God. We can take charge of our view of ourselves and show our children what Jesus thinks about us by what we say about ourselves.

Here are some verses you can use to help combat low self-image and self-esteem:

1. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. (Proverbs 139:14)- You are wonderful because God created you!

2. Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8) -You are the apple of God’s eye!

3 .For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the   earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6) – You are God’s treasured possession!

God made you an individual. Out of all the people in the world He created you to be you not someone else. Our sweet little girls are constantly bombarded by images and the media who tell us all to be a size 2 and 5’8″. Our babies don’t have to believe these lies, and we don’t have to allow the enemy to steal the beauty that God has uniquely given them.

We can start by begining with the things we say about ourselves and model a Christlike attitude for our children. We and you, yes even with all the things you don’t like about yourself were created by the most perfect being of all, and God does not make mistakes! You are valuable, worth-while and treasured.

Why would Jesus die for you if He didn’t think you were amazing?

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Parenting that Ends

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I recently spoke with a parent of adult children who claimed that since their children were grown up now, they have taught them all they can teach them. I have to say that I don’t agree with this mentality and don’t believe it is biblical thinking.

Yes, it is true that after a certain age your child will make their own choices whether you like them or not but it does not mean that you get a free ticket out of parenting. You will always be that child’s parent no matter how old they get. They may not like what you have to say or choose to follow your advice, but you can still lead by example and be a wellspring of wisdom for them in tough life situations.

Even grown children are watching what their parents are doing and are impacted by their decisions.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Neither of these verses say “until your child is 18″. We should always honor our parents in the Lord, and as parents we should always lead our children in a Christ like way.

My 22 month old daughter watches and imitates everything I say and do. An adult child may not imitate everything you do but they are still effected by your choices and behavior.

Like I mentioned earlier, we never stop being parents.Being a parent as a child grows older simply looks different and changes. We may no longer necessarily have direct control of the situations that arise in the lives of our children, but we continue to be parents by offering Godly counsel and direction.

By living like Christ and leading by example we continue to parent even our adult children.

Saying your parenting doesn’t matter anymore simply because your child is now an adult is lazy parenting. It says I am off the hook now, and it says that you no longer care about what happens to your child.

Parenting is a forever commitment. What would happen if Jesus one day said he was not our Father anymore because we were no longer children in the faith? That would be a scary and sad thing. Instead Jesus continues to parent us even as we mature in the faith, why would parenting our children be any different?

Parenting does not end.

 

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The Changing Game

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Recently my husband and I sold our home. This was our first house, we brought both our daughters home from the hospital in this house, and started our lives together there. As you could imagine there were so many memories and emotions wrapped up in our home. We had lived in this place for four and a half years but it was time for a change.

I don’t think most of us are comfortable with change. It is often difficult and uneasy. There is a fear of the unknown. My husband and I knew that it was best for our children and our family to move to a safer location.

What has helped me deal with all the emotion that comes with selling a house is knowing that even though my life may be constantly changing God is unchanging.

When our lives seem like they are out of control we can get our peace from knowing that God is still in control no matter what.

My biggest worry out of all of this was how my two daughters would handle this change. They have been struggling to adapt to their new environment and as painful as it is to see them struggle as a mother I know that we made the best decision for them.

Often times we will be faced with a change that is difficult or uncomfortable but God knows it is the best for us. Just like children who have moved to a new home, we as Christians symbolically move to a new home in Christ and the journey is not always pleasant.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I love that we can be anchored in Christ in the midst of change and turmoil. Our children will see our peace and will feel secure and safe simply by witnessing Jesus working our situation out for good.

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Perfectly Imperfect

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I was born the eldest child in my family. Being the eldest meant that I often got handed the most responsibility out of my two younger siblings, it meant that I got to do things before them, and it meant that I had to be an example for my brother and sister.

When does teaching your child to set an example for others go too far?

I think in all parents there is an idea that is imbedded within them, an idea that their child or children are perfect. Love is blind right?

Let me ask you, what is your definition of the perfect child? Is it a child who has straight A’s, who is in every activity known to man, is popular and well liked, is always well behaved, what about beautiful? My point is we all have an image of what we want for our children and sometimes as parents we get carried away and push our children too far.

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that we shouldn’t push our children, or want the best for them. I am simply saying that we must be careful to not lay the mantle of perfection on their shoulders.

Jesus was the only perfect being ever, period. As amazing as your child may be they are still not nor will ever be perfect. If your child was perfect then the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made would be meaningless. We would have no need for a savior if we didn’t need saving.

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” (James 3:2)

“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So you see we cannot be perfect out of our own will, we receive salvation as a gift from God by the grace of God. Children are no different. We all need Jesus to help us. None of us can be perfect we can only strive to be more like Jesus every day.

Have grace for the shortcomings of your children, after all Jesus had grace for yours.

 

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Temper, Temper

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I will never forget the first meltdown I experienced with my eldest daughter, it was frightening and unnerving. Not only had I never seen a child so small become so angry but had no idea that it was even possible.

Over time, and through consistent consequences for incorrect behavior the meltdowns improved and became less frequent. In addition we began to understand the issues that our daughter was experiencing that were triggering these out bursts.

Initially I questioned my parenting skills. I thought “What is so wrong with my parenting that my child is behaving this way?” That’s when the Lord reminded me that anger in and of itself is not bad, it is what we do with our anger that is important.

The Bible tells us in our anger we are not to sin.

“”In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)

God gave us emotions. Even Jesus became angry, but His anger was a righteous anger.

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]” (Mathew 21:12-13)

As parents our job is to teach our children about their emotions and the appropriate way to deal with their feelings.

For example if your child is hitting out of anger, explain to them that it is ok to feel angry but it is not ok to sin and hit others.

Ask your child if there is anything that is bothering them, then use that opportunity to talk them through the situation so they understand.

When our daughter was having problems with tantrums we realized that there was a communication barrier and her anger was out of frustration for not being able to communicate her wants and needs.

This gave us the needed information to help her communicate better which in turn dramatically improved her behavior.

God does not want your child to be emotionless, and He does not want us to eliminate uncomfortable emotions. God wants us to learn how to use self-control and not allow our lives to be governed by our feelings.

Feelings may lie to us but we can always trust the word of God and the Holy Spirit to discern right from wrong.

Turn to Jesus He will help you.

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Bully

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I recently watched the documentary Bully. It was a very eyeopening film about bullying and the impact on children and their families. I will start by saying I am in no way condoning this awful behavior, or pretending to be an expert on this subject, nor have I had to endure bullying myself; if you or your child is experiencing bullying you should seek help and intervene whenever and wherever possible to ensure the safety and well being of your child.

This being said, while watching this film I couldn’t help but ask myself some questions. Questions like ” Where is the parental responsibility in this? Do these families know Jesus? Are parents giving their children the tools they need both emotionally and spiritually to be able to withstand this horrendous behavior?”

I don’t know these people, their life circumstances, or their walk with God. What I do know is that I serve a God that is bigger than bullying, a God who loves my children more than me, and a God who gives us the tools I need to be an effective parent, and the tools my children need to be successful in life.

We can’t protect our children from everything, but we can teach them that even through these terrible and atrocious circumstances there is a God in heaven, and He is bigger than ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. There has to be parental responsibility behind this behavior.

In my personal experience children behave the way they are raised to behave. And reflect the attitudes of their surroundings.

This begs another question……

Are you a Bully?

Kid’s are not the only ones who bully. Adults bully too, and sadly there are adults who bully their children. This is not Christlike behavior and is unacceptable. If your child is a bully it may be wise to evaluate your own behavior and look into the environments that your child may be saturated in.

” Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Here are some ways that you can help your child cope with bullying:

1. Be involved : Don’t allow your relationship with your child to fall silent. Know who their friends are, what they are doing, and when they are doing it. You are their parent not someone else.

2. Teach your child about what God says about their value : Don’t allow other children’s comments and opinions fall on your child’s ears without giving them the tools to fight the attacks of the devil on their self-worth and self- esteem.

3. Pray for them every day: Pray that God protects them, and gives them strength.

4.Raise courageous children: Teach your children how to deal with fear. Give them scripture to repeat when they feel fearful. Here is a starter verse “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

5. Teach your children about healthy relationships: You can do this by modeling healthy relationships in your personal life and having clear and direct boundaries with those around you. Explain to your children that healthy relationships are not purposefully hurtful.

Even the bullying dilemma that we face in this country is not too small of a problem for God. When you feel like you have no where to turn, turn to God. He will give you wisdom, peace, and comfort, and can give it to a child as well.

Again, please seek help if you suspect your child is being bullied.Talk with their teachers, and principals. Take action to ensure your child’s safety.

Your child may experience bullying but they don’t have to be a victim or resort to irreversible measures. Give them a way out, give them God.

Below are some resources available to parents of children who have been bullied or are experiencing bullying:

http://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/BullyingSchoolSafety/Ads/tabid/529/Default.aspx?gclid=CLuy1sG73LwCFU5efgodj0kACw

http://www.stopbullying.gov/

http://www.bullyfree.com/free-resources/tips-for-parents

 

 

 

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Praying through Life

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There are so many things we can and need to pray for in our lives. We pray for God to help us with our jobs, tough life situations, finances and any other hardship we face.

Prayer was not a priority in my family when I was young. We usually always prayed at meals and at church but I don’t recall seeing either of my parents pray outside of these situations.

Children need to know the value of prayer. After all this is our way of having direct communication with God. So many adults don’t know how to pray, if you teach your children how to pray it will make dealing with life’s hard circumstances more bearable because they will not be leaning on their own strength but will know how to talk to God about things they don’t understand.

Not only is it important for us to teach our children how to pray and show them just how critical it is in our walk with the Lord but we should be covering them with prayer daily.

“Pray continually…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

What things should you pray for…..

Here are ten ideas of how you can cover your child in prayer:

1. Pray for their safety

2. Pray that God grants them great wisdom

3. Pray for their future husband or wife

4. Pray against attacks from the enemy

5. Pray for good friends

6. Pray for their spiritual health

7. Pray that they experience unspeakable joy

8. Pray for peace to  comfort them when you are not there

9. Pray that the glory of God shines through them to others

10. Pray for their health

It is so important that our children see and know that we pray for them every day. Not only does this teach them how to talk with God, and that you care about them but it shows them that even their hero’s (mom and dad) need help and their help comes from the Lord.

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