Are you WITH your children actively or passively? No time to waste-they will fly away!

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Saying goodbye to my sweet one at the airport.

“Mama, all I want to do is to be with you. Let’s spend as much time together as possible,” from Joy this holiday season, my always extraverted child who wanted to be going and doing when she was younger. But this holiday season, being together and being friends is what she longed for–the comfort of being with someone who knows you, validates you, loves you with all of your warts and takes time to listen.

Over and over again in the Gospels, we read that the disciples were “with” Jesus. Our Lord developed the hearts of his followers by spending time with them-instructing them, advising them, modeling right behavior. He spoke with them one-on-one and in small groups. He included them in his ministry and in his daily life. But what he almost never did with his disciples was to sign them up for activities and programs!

In contemporary society, we tend to value activity, and this is certainly true for most Christians I know. We don’t want our children to miss out on anything. We take them to church on Sunday, to AWANA or some such Bible memory class,  and perhaps to a Sunday night meeting or youth meeting. We are on the go for God. We are busy doing may activities and going to this meeting and that seminar and one more lesson.

Church discipleship and meetings can be great. My own children benefitted greatly from Awana–but it was at home that they learned to believe the verses, to love the God they were studying, to take to heart what God was speaking because we were appealing to their heart through our daily love.

And I wonder how many minutes every day the average woman spends with her eyes glued on a screen, hoping someone else will have thought of her or validated her. I also wonder how many moments each day a mom looks into the eyes of her child to be present, to listen and to hear the unspoken hopes for a time alone with mom. How many opportunities do we miss to cultivate that friendship instead of just passing through the wasteland of busyness and distraction.

 All of the “going” in the world will not make us or our children spiritually deep and alive. It is only by coming to the living God and developing intimacy with him that we will really draw near in our hearts to Christ. What many in our culture don’t understand, and many more forget, is that a relationship with Christ is best taught through a long-term personal relationship with someone who knows the Master, and reflects Him personally in all the moments of life–not through activities organized around lots of people in impersonal and distracting instructional situations.

Jesus didn’t meet with his disciples once a week for Bible study and then say, “I’ll see you next week!” or “I gave you your 15 minutes today.”

He gave them his whole life. He lived with them, slept with them, traveled with them, and lived out a life of godly maturity before their eyes… In the same way, our children will learn righteousness best by seeing it lived out in every possible way in our lives, moment by moment, in the context of normal life. The first principle of reaching our children is that we have to make the time to be with them–so that when they grow up, they will want to be with us!

1ogiftsifwisdom3D

On Books and Boys {A Review of Two Books to Nourish the Hearts of Sons}

Nature Got There First

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The following post is written by Lynn Custer, a wife and mom of two grown boys, who is passionate about books, whole- hearted education and encouraging moms. Lynn makes her home in North Carolina, where she has been leading Mom Heart groups and mentoring women for over 15 years. We are so thankful to have her sharing with us today! 

Nature Got There First by Phil Gates is a book that will grab the attention of that rambunctious, easily distracted, eight to thirteen year old boy. You know the one? The little guy that runs up to everything and anything with wheels or a motor and looks underneath it to try and figure out what’s making it tick? This book is perfect for the young boy that plays outside for hours coming up with all sorts of make-shift uses for sticks, rocks, and insects.

What do earthworms and elevators have in common? What about leaves and shoes, or your knees and engines? This book explores these things as well as many others. Take the example of squid for instance: what invention could have resulted in the study of the way squid drive themselves through the oceans? Phil Gates says it’s jet propulsion. And what about armadillos? Is it possible that man’s idea of the armored car or a knight’s medieval armor was first formed after observing the suitably attired armadillo? How about a tropical tree? Could man have really got the idea of building mighty cathedrals based on their knowledge of how these trees are rooted and stabilized?

When Nature Got There First will cause your guys to look out of doors through a completely different lens. It draws upon the similarities between modern day inventions and those things found in nature, designed by a Creative Genius. While I wouldn’t say this book is necessarily written from a Christian perspective, I will say that it draws the Christian reader in and causes his or her gaze to fall upon the Master Designer. It will reinforce the fact that man’s ideas and creativity is not original to man. It all begins with the Maker of all things, the Inventor of all things, and the Giver of every creative thought. Who knows what other inventions can be inspired by further study and investigation of God’s amazing world?
Furthermore, who needs a boring biology textbook when there is something like this available? In fact, if more boys were allowed to read books like this one, they may find themselves a lot more interested when that biology class finally rolls around.
 
“Nature is but a name for an effect,
Whose cause is God.”

~ WILLIAM COWPER

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 ”Gotta go, Mama,” called Billy. “I finished my Saturday chores, and now I need to meet Seth and the fellas for a game of stickball.” So begins The Day the Circus Came to Town by Melody Carlstrom, a story of a young boy who is about to learn the valuable lesson of thinking for himself and following that still, small voice of God. Read the rest at I Take Joy

Be His Best Friend

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May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18

A couple of weeks ago, my husband called me and told me “great” news. His boss had agreed to fly both of us to the annual 4- wheeling trip in Oregon. My husband was so excited because the trip was right up his alley-lots of ATV’s, sand dunes,  great food and fun with his friends from work. (Not to mention a bit of danger because the sand dunes were 3 stories high in some places!)

You see, my husband’s  hobby has always been riding dirt bikes. It’s kind of his thing. He goes to ride on Saturdays (on a very dangerous track) and I do other things around the house, go shopping  with my kids, or have a bit of tea somewhere with a friend. It’s been a great arrangement, because I did not have to go. But now I had to make the decision to leave my children, (who are older but I still like to make sure they are taken care of) arrange for a party to be covered at my house and go do something that really makes me nervous and is not really my interest. (God does put opposites together and has a great sense of humor!) I realize that some women would jump at the chance to go do something like this, but I am quite a chicken and don’t really like to camp, etc. (I know this could be considered blasphemy since I live in the great outdoors state of Colorado, but I really like the indoors- actually, I LOVE the indoors) Think of something that you REALLY don’t like to do and that is how I felt about this trip.  So you can see my dilemma. [Read more...]

How a Scrapbook Journal Helped me Understand Life’s True Journey

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Summer’s end has come where I live at the edge of a forest, reminding me there is more of the year behind me than ahead. When I was much younger, I would have become depressed… thinking of all the goals still unmet and desires set aside.

Somewhere along the journey of life I learned it is not “all or nothing”. If I found joy only when all my goals were achieved and desires met, then I’d be waiting a long time to know true joy.

For instance, in a perfect world I would live on a small homestead, raise chickens, grow all my own organic food, have my grandchildren over each day for lemonade sipped from quaint Ball jars, and host Sunday afternoon meals for family and friends on the long farmhouse table sitting at the edge of the freshly cut field of corn.

Circumstances will not allow that to happen. One could stomp their feet, threaten to hold their breath until they pass out, and whine to God that the life they have is not what they asked for. Don’t bother… I’ve tried. Doesn’t work. Especially the holding your breath part.

Instead when I finally listened… really listened to Him… He gave the wisdom I needed. It was when I began to keep a scrapbook journal that He was able to show me the Truth. Perhaps because I learn best when I can see what is being taught. [Read more...]

God Sees Your Broken Heart- You are not Alone!

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“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

This week, I have heard from lots of sweet, broken-hearted moms. So many of you carry loads that are so soul-bending. Yet, I want you to know you are not invisible. Many times, as I look back on my life, I wonder how I made it. At times, huddling in the dark of our bedroom, with no lights on so that no one could see me, I would cry broken-hearted tears, and pour out my grief to the Lord.

At times, I felt helpless and hopeless, but because I loved my children, I would, by faith, put one more foot in front of the other and live the day as well as I could. So much of my despair came from having no support systems, and no one to give me a break.

Psalm 139 tells us that even darkness is not dark to God. As I look back now, His hand was at work behind the scenes. The dark place built depth and beauty in the souls of my children and in me. And at each juncture, God taught me something about the world, people, life and that He would guide me through the obstacle course of life, even when I was not aware of His carrying me.

I was living a life of ideals that most of my old friends didn’t believe in and few understood, so often loneliness and lack of support were my companions.

Because of no training and having been raised to be spoiled, housework was a constant battle, and often I doubted what I was doing, or if I was doing anything right at all. Was I ruining these children? Couldn’t some one do better job at raising my children? I didn’t always feel like mothering, but I would put one foot in front of another. And obedience to do the right thing, ended up in them feeling secure, even though my feelings sometimes swayed. Read the Rest at I Take Joy