I don’t have time for this today. I have so much to do. So many other things in my head. I have places to go, things to do, people to see. But instead, I’m sitting here grieving and crying my heart out. The tears are flat out ignoring my will to stop and pull myself together. So I’m going with it today. I’m just going to let myself be sad. I can’t help it.Read More
The drive home from school yesterday was not a joyride.
Lately, my husband Guy and I have been battling the issue of complaining and discontent in our home—I wish I could say it was just the kids, but I fight against it too. Personally, I have grown a lot in this area. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I was either. In general though, my sweet boys have gotten into the habit of letting us know in no uncertain terms that they are displeased if things don’t go their way. And it’s been like this for months…..
It happened again after school yesterday.
I picked up my oldest two and in less than five minutes, this conversation happened:
“Hey guys, we might have a little surprise for you later” I said, cheerfully.
“We are going to the skate park?!” they squealed.
“Oh, nooooo, we don’t have time for that today,” I said, “I was thinking more like going out to dinner someplace special.”
Cue the tears. Ugly ones.
Enter complaining spirits.
Pan a long range shot of mom pulling the car over to the side of the road in an inconvenient spot.
Close up of mom’s face as she turns around in her seat to look into boys’ concerned faces.
“Guys” I said gently and calmly. “I love you, but you are complaining, again. I never mentioned anything this week about the skate park and I was trying to do something nice for you today but it is such a bummer that instead of saying “okay mommy” and being glad for a treat, you are crying and complaining. It’s okay to be disappointed, but this kind of reaction is not Christ-like.”
I’m not a big fan of trying to teach in the moments of conflict but I wanted them to know, immediately, that though I understand their emotions, they needed to learn to handle them in a way that was honoring to both me, and God.
I left it at that, and entered back into traffic. Only a minute or so later, Oliver said, “Mom, I’m really sorry for my attitude. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. Will you forgive me? I was really more upset about something that happened at school this afternoon.”
Cue repentant tears, which sound a lot different than protesting ones.
“I’m sorry too, Mommy” Quinn lamented, “Will you forgive me?”
The rest of the short drive home consisted of me listening sympathetically to what was really beneath the surface of their emotions—and how Oliver handled a frustration with a friend at school so maturely and kindly, even though it still hurt him in the aftermath.
It turns out that we had a great afternoon and a wonderful dinner out—a rare treat as a family.
But here’s where I’m especially grateful for the after school scene today: I have been praying on a daily basis about complaining and the lack of contentment in our home. Guy and I have been going over Scripture with our boys to try and reach their hearts, but honestly, sometimes as a mom you wonder when the lesson will ever take root, you know? Its days like these that remind me that we need to persevere as long as it takes when there is a sin issue or a certain negative spirit in our homes. It pays off! It may not be in the timeframe we wish, but we must be patient, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of our children—and us!
When we plant good seed, it yields a good harvest.
Galatians 6:9 is the perfect reminder for moms and dads in the trenches: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I affirmed the boys for their godly repentance and shared with their dad how much I appreciated their ability to turn it around so quickly and sincerely and I was purposeful to affirm them again at bedtime. It’s not easy to stop a wrong reaction in the heat of the moment, even for me!
Maybe you are battling a spiritual war in your home too. Perhaps your kids are entrenched in sibling rivalry or everyone is out for his own gain. Don’t let one day bleed into the next. Pray. Pray. And pray some more. Work through Bible verses together and patiently teach and train your kids in the way they should go. Don’t give up if they don’t seem to “get it.” Focus on doing the good parenting day in and day out and entrust the outcome to God in His timing as He matures the hearts of your children.
I wouldn’t choose an afternoon of conflict resolution over a pleasant ride, but there is value in these teachable life moments. And that makes my heart happy all the same.
I guess the ride home was a joyride after all.
YOUR TURN: Have you seen God working in the lives of your kids too? Or does it seem like you just aren’t getting through? Are you battling a certain issue in your home? I’d love to include your family in my prayers!
I'm always fascinated by the idea of a bucket list-those dream items, events, and places that one would like to acquire, enjoy, achieve, or visit, before they "kick the bucket.”
As I began to consider what would be on my list, I realized, quickly, that for me, who is prone towards discontentment, that a bucket list in the traditional sense is not a good idea. What if I never make it to Italy? How can I be satisfied driving my SUV if I'm dreaming about a Corvette?
I needed a different kind of bucket list.
The struggle to be content in all circumstances is already a big one for me. If the Bible tells us that it is better to give than to receive, then why not create a bucket list of blessings...for someone else? More of a “Bucket of Blessings” rather than a Bucket List.
Personally, this gets my motor running! After all, the Bible says this about giving:
“By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
Here are a few of the things I would love to do for my fellow brother, sister, or random stranger before my time is up:
- Give a car to someone to who needs one.
- Take my family of 5 on a week-long mission trip out of the country where we serve others-possibly to an orphanage.
- Offer our extra bedroom to a person who needs a place to stay indefinitely, rent free.
- Buy the groceries for a mom juggling a toddler, or two, or three who is in my line at the store.
- Plant a tree for each member of my family in our neighborhood.
- Serve Thanksgiving or other holiday meals to the homeless at a local shelter with my family by my side.
- Stand up for someone being mistreated when I see it instead of pretending it's none of my business.
- Pay for the meal of a young family at a restaurant one evening when my family is out to dinner.
- Offer to clean the house of a local elderly widow once a month for a year.
- Throw a fabulous and fun birthday party for kids in local foster care.
- Perform a washing of feet ceremony for each of my children where I lovingly tell them how deeply I love them and affirm their unique gifts and talents.
Can you imagine?
John 13:35 reminds us that the earmark of a Christ-follower is by our generous love: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." There is nothing wrong with making a list of things one would love to do one day—but let’s not forget that there is more to life than temporary things and that putting our energy into serving and blessing others has eternal value that does not compare with earthly things.
Will you join me in creating your own bucket list of blessings? Here’s to being men and women who seek to bless others in 2016!!
YOUR TURN: What would be on your “Bucket of Blessings” list? How do you keep your family’s focus on giving rather than simply receiving?
He simply would not listen.
His mom had been over and over and over the fact that dessert was not a given every night. That answer was not good enough for him. He pounded his fists on the table and burst into discontented tears. Mom hated the dinner-table battles and just wanted to have one meal in peace! Her strategies were simply not working.
In that moment, she had a choice: blow up in anger and give up or gently parent from a place of patience and kindness. That day, and the next, and the next.
By nature, I’m a “problem-solver." Are you too? Do you like to fix things? Make plans? Lists? Set goals?
It’s good to be a problem-solver. A fixer. Most of the time……
It’s great when you see a need for a Bible study or a book study and you help find a location and set up the meeting place so you can gather together.
It’s awesome when your child’s teacher needs supplies and you organize an email list to reach parents so you can all chip in and meet the need.
And it’s wonderful when your budget is tight and you figure out ways to save money as a family so that you have more breathing room.
It’s not so great to be a problem-solver when we are trying to change our children.
You see, that’s not our job as parents. We can never change their hearts. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Only God can fix them…and us:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
So often, we want to resolve our issues with our kids. We see that they talk back to us a lot, so we set out to silence them. They keep fighting with their brothers over electronics so we ban them from using their XBOX ever again. They refuse to obey us the first time we ask them to do something, so we resort to banishing them from our presence or worse—we yell and scream or scold and shame them.
God is clear about our role, and His, in the hearts and lives of our children:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
“Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)
“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Proverbs 29:17)
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Overwhelmingly, the Bible instructs us to teach, train, and lovingly discipline (like a coach) our children. Never does the Bible say that we can fix their hearts. Some of us know that we can try every trick in the book, and still, our child will act out in behavior that we don’t approve of.
Yes, there are lots of practical tips and tools to help us get the parenting results we seek, and that’s all good if we are doing so with the right heart attitude, lovingly seeking to set our kids up for success and work through their sin issues or need for growth. But I think we need to shift our thinking and relieve ourselves from the stress of not being able to change our kids. That mindset will only frustrate us and lead to strife in our home.
We become our best selves as parents when we are faithful facilitators instead of fixers.
Here are 5 key thoughts that will help us when we feel frustrated with our kids:
1.) It takes a childhood to train a child. Elongate your timeline for expected changes and maturity. It takes a long time for US to learn new lessons too—how much more so for immature kids?
2.) There is nothing that anger can do that love can’t do better. Let that sink in for a moment…..
3.) We don’t offer grace often enough—be willing to set aside your fears that kids will “get away with something” if you lovingly grace them and give them what they don’t deserve. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
4.) Consequences are often necessary, but the tone and spirit with which you discipline makes all the difference. Ask yourself, have I given myself enough time and space to discipline with love in my heart and peaceful body language? If not, get your heart right, first. We correct children because we DELIGHT in them and LOVE them, not because we are personally offended, are tired of their behavior’s impact on us, or because we are angry: “For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)
5.) Keep in mind that your role is not to shape or change your kids. It’s your role to FACSILITATE the opportunity for heart change by leading your children to the Lord and modeling a Godly example. Their behavior is theirs to bear and take ownership over.
Be a faithful facilitator, not a “fixer.” Keep running the race toward gentle and Biblical parenting, shirking off any unnecessary burdens that are not yours to bear, especially when it comes to your kids’ behavior. Prayerfully ask the Lord to search your heart to see if there is any parental behavior that needs to change so that you can be a peace-maker and leader in your home.
We have plenty to worry about with our own hearts, don’t we?
Give their hearts back to God, where they belong.
YOUR TURN: Do you have an underlying mindset that you want to change or fix your kids? What if your mindset shifted so that you think of yourself as a faithful facilitator, leaving the results up to your kids and God? What stood out to your the most from this post? Come join nearly 11,000 moms in my private Facebook group: No More Angry MOBS!
I’m NOT excited about the word that I feel God has put on my heart for 2016. It's a bit bizarre and out of the box.
These are the words that come to my mind when I think about the start of the New Year and I think that most of us become reflective about the past 12 months once December rolls around.
A few years ago, I saw the trend of people choosing “One Word” to describe their hopes, dreams, and prayers for the year ahead. I love this idea because it sets a thematic tone for the choices we make and shapes our perspectives when unexpected circumstances confront us.
None of us knows what 2016 will hold, but we can face the New Year with a prayerful attitude that God will fulfill His plans for our lives when we yield to Him.
Two years ago, the word I chose was “HARVEST.” Last year, I felt led to choose a prayer instead of a word. My prayer for 2015 was that I would “hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else.” This is what I asked others to pray for me anytime they asked for a prayer request. It will continue to be my prayer in 2016.
BUT, I also have sensed a pattern regarding one particular word that the Lord keeps bringing before me through my quiet times of Bible reading, podcast messages, sermons at church, and books I am reading. It’s also a word that I have experienced much of the past few years. It’s a rather unpleasant word. It’s a word that results from the prayer I prayed in 2015 to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Most of us choose words like “HOPE” or “LIGHT” or “JOY.” We tend to gravitate to positive words and I wanted to as well. I want my year to be crowned with happy things and beautiful moments. I’m sure they will come.
But this year, my word is “PERSECUTION.” Ugh.
You see, I have come to realize that Jesus’ model of life on earth and His ministry was powerful. Effective. Radical. Foreign. Turbulent. Intense. Controversial. And therefore, Jesus was a man persecuted. Wearied. Spent. Tested. Tried. And, ultimately, He suffered the ultimate in persecution—death on a cross.
Here’s the thing, those who seek to be like Christ are not exempt from the things He faced. The Bible says this:
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12)
‘“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,” ( 1 Peter 3:14)
““Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22)
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
These verses are just a sampling of the many times that Jesus warns us about suffering for His Name’s sake. I’m especially impacted by the reaction of Peter and the apostles after a horrific flogging from the religious leaders of the day who persecuted them:
“They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:40a-42) The apostles left the beating, “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
And they continued to obey God, rather than man.
I was serious all those years ago when I told Christ I was His.
I meant it when I said that I would live with an eternal perspective, valuing crowns of righteousness over earthly things.
These past few years, I have been entrenched in heavy ministry—blogging here and for other Christian websites, writing a book (out soon, stay tuned), leading a private Facebook group for moms who struggle with angry reactions, and leading a Bible study group of moms from my church. The persecution has already been thick. I’m not exactly hoping for opportunities to share in Christ’s sufferings as the apostles Peter and Paul were apt to say, but I’m not naïve to think that if I am growing in Christ and serving Him, then those times won’t come.
So, 2016 has me suited up for more spiritual battle. I need your prayers!!
And I’d love to pray for you too! I hope that your “one word” for 2016 is something positive and profoundly personal. We all have our different and unique walks with the Lord and I would love to know what your word is for this year and how you arrived at it!
I’m deeply grateful to begin 2016 with YOU! May the Lord bless you and keep you and may the light of His love surround you in startling beautiful ways this year, whether persecuted or called to enjoy a season of abundance and peace.
YOUR TURN: What is your “one word” for 2016? How did you choose this word?
It's time to review my top 10 posts from 2015!
I LOVE reading and reviewing all the top posts from my favorite bloggers and writers! It's also a blessing for me to go back and see how God used this blog to encourage readers. I'm learning so much as a wife, mother, friend, and Christ-follower so it's amazing to me that the areas where I see God working on me are often areas of growth for you too! Iron sharpening iron, right?
Thank you all for hanging with me through a very sporadic writing year and for your kind encouragement to me in my vulnerable moments!
Without further ado, here are the top posts from Mother Of Knights for 2015! And here's to many more (And more consistency too!) in 2016!
7 Steps To Radically Change Disobedient Kids Into Obedient Ones Without Conflict--This post went viral and for good reason! If you want to have peace in your home and learn how to help transform your kids into obedient children, read on! Then check in and let me know: Are you a reactionary parent or a proactive parent?
Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades of Gray (And You Shouldn't Either)--Another viral post! I knew this one would probably put me in the crosshairs of hot debate and boy, did it ever! Thankfully, most people championed what I had to say, even though it was controversial. I think the topic applies to any kind of protests/bans that Christians may want to stand for--this post will make you think twice.
When Your Child's Personality Rubs You Wrong--This one went viral too! I wish I had known this stuff when I first had kids! Personally, this may be one of my favorite posts from the year. Wake up and read this one in the morning to prepare your heart for parenting the kids that "challenge" you! The message here will bless every mom...and dad!
Is There Room In Your Marriage For One More? How My Intimacy Idol Almost Ruined Us--Oh, man. This one hits me right between the eyes every time. Maybe your marriage isn't the ideal you imagined it would be? You aren't sure where to turn or how to make it better? I get it. Read this one, ASAP. I hope you can avoid my mistakes......
When Your In-Law's Don't Respect You--The words here can help us with any difficult relationship, truly. I'm betting that some of us are feeling bruised and battered from time with difficult family members over the holidays. Maybe this will help towards healing!
10 Bible Passages For Exhausted Parents--Yawn....if anything or everyone is keeping you up at night, this is for you! This one comes from a place of complete and total sleep deprivation. Pass it on to your tired friends!
When Sibling Rivalry and Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer--This is a foundational way of thinking to keep your sanity over clutter and chaos! Here's why our anger is actually a gift and what anger is NOT meant to do. If anger is an issue for you, I hope this post will reframe your thinking and give you hope!
The Key To Stop Yelling In Anger At Your Kids-And Why Anger Is NOT A Sign Of Unforgiveness--This one is a vlog! If you have ever wrestled with anger and yelling, today can be the last day! Take the time to watch my message in the video and find freedom from guilt and anger. I recorded it in the aftermath of a migraine, straight from a long flight from the airport-I felt THAT compelled to record and share it, disheveled state aside! And if you have ever wondered why it feels like you simply can't get past deep anger and hurt from someone who has harmed you in any way, this will bring FREEDOM to you too!
What To Do When Your Child Says, "I Hate You!"--Dreaded words, but it happens! It can send a parent into a frenzy but it doesn't have to! Here are some practical tips for when your child speaks to you in anger.
The Christmas Stocking That Exposed My Shaky Marriage--So many spouses can relate to this one. It's another of my personal favorites because it's something I need to keep working on and remembering! If you have ever been disappointed by your spouse, this post will speak straight to your heart!
There you have it! My top 10 posts from 2015! I am continually praying that God uses this blog to impact the Kingdom! Thank you, again, for taking the time to read and be a part of my blogging family! I love you guys!
YOUR TURN: I would love to write more on the topics that interest you so please, let me know in the comments if there are any topics you would like me to write about! Which of these posts resonated with you--I'd love any feedback you have for me! Do you know someone who would be encouraged by one of these posts? It would bless me if you shared it with them!
If there is one holiday mishap I want to avoid this season, it's all the sugar! Two years ago around this time, I had been in and out of the ER every month for several months in a row.
At first, my vision would blur, and then the headache would begin, followed by vomiting for hours on end until I would find myself on the floor delirious. It would take days for the migraines to clear and not without repeated trips to the hospital for fluids and pain meds.
I started getting migraines in my early twenties and there seemed to be no particular pattern. Some years, I went with almost no migraines at all. Other years I was plagued by them. Neurologists educated me and I found relief in some measure but every time one would hit, it took me out and landed me in serious condition. I had two different specialists tell me I was there most extreme case of migraine sufferer and that I was highly resistant to meds.
They recommended that I take 2-3 times a normal dose, just to try and cut the pain. Every time a migraine hit, I wanted to die.
Something extreme needed to happen. I was suffering terribly and it was affecting my everyday life. I lived with the fear that a headache could appear at any time.
That December, two years ago, my husband and I decided to do an extreme cleanse and stop eating sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and alcohol. After 11 days of detoxing, we slowly introduced other healthy foods into our diet and began to view food as medicine.
My moods improved.
My psoriasis healed.
And my headaches STOPPED.
My son Quinn had also been having migraines for several years, beginning at age 2. We put our kids on the same eating plan and sure enough, cutting out sugar and processed food did what pediatric neurologists, allergists, surgery, and ENT’s could not. His headaches disappeared too and his joy-boy personality returned!
When my health and my son’s health were compromised, our entire lives felt out of control and we lived on edge. Living that way not only triggered migraines and other health issues, it triggered my anger, my irritability, and my moods.
I was not living life to the full as God intended because my TEMPLE was a mess. I’m certain that much of my son’s hard-to-handle behavior was a direct link to the sugar and processed foods as well.
This holiday season, it’s easy to let loose and indulge. My husband and I did our cleanse over his birthday, my birthday, and Christmas—a total of 11 extreme days. No figgy pudding or ham. No chocolate birthday cake or creamy pasta. No bags of chips or eggnog. It was HARD but I finally felt like I was doing the right thing.
Two years later, we still eat this way 80% of the time and I have only had 1 migraine since then—and that was a year ago when I decided to overindulge at the holidays. I learned my lesson-everything in moderation this year!
So let me challenge you, today. PUT A PLAN IN PLACE to enjoy your holiday treats but not at the expense of allowing it to TRIGGER your moods and angry reactions or if it will flood your mind with feelings of guilt.
The negative impact of sugar and other unhealthy foods is a holiday mishap we can avoid! DECIDE today to have self-control, make a plan, get accountability, and make healthy eating choices this holiday season, both for you and your children.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2)
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” (Proverbs 23:20-21)
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
SHARE: Is sugar or processed foods and dyes a TRIGGER for you or your children? How can you take care of your temple this holiday season? Share one specific plan you can make here in the comments!
P.S. I just picked up a copy of Monica Swanson's new book, The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends: a simple path to your best body and a healthy mind! Join me in reading this book as we look forward to healthy changes in 2016!
This post contains affiliate links to a book. That means that Amazon gives me a few cents when you make a purchase through the link, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my ministry in this way!