4.7.2016

Connecting our Kids with God’s Truth

As a mom of five, my greatest desire has always been to connect the hearts of my kids with the reality of God’s Truth. But sometimes it’s just plain challenging. Can I get an amen? That’s why my friend Courtney DeFeo is guest posting today – to show us a practical way to get our kids into God’s Word so God’s Word can get into them.

I have to be honest, some of my parenting decisions are made with the wrong motive. I just want my kids to make me look good on some days. Isn’t that sad?  I do care what other people think and say. I do care how my children behave, because it reflects on their mother dearest. I’ve also recognized this is a dangerous pattern for parenting and quite defeating if you try it for long.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of biblical virtues. You can find me writing, ranting or speaking about the topic on any given day. I LOVE watching virtues like generosity and service and responsibility come to life in my kids. And in the core of my heart, I have the right motives for these virtues. I want them to know Jesus personally and discover the fruit of following Him. However, it’s so easy to get caught up in focusing on these virtuous things so that our kids behave like good little Christian kids.

What happens though when a real life issue creeps up into their life? Will they know the motions to the song and the definitions in their head? But stand frozen in fear because their heart has never engaged personally with God? 

Let me illustrate…

My daughter Ella is 9 years old and she has been biting her nails for a while. We have tried every tactic to get this habit to stop. And, I’m not really proud of all the tactics we used, from bribing to demanding she stop. We were getting concerned and frustrated.

One day, Ella decided she really was tired of hurting and was embarrassed by her fingers. She wanted our help to stop. Although we had tried so many things, I could tell her heart was in a different place.

We pulled out this self-control virtue card and talked about the idea of self-control.

It hit me – here was that tension! I really wanted Ella to stop because her short nails reflected on me as a parent. And I am so glad God nudged me to see a bigger lesson was at play. I could get visibly frustrated with her and just make her memorize this self-control card. Or, I could encourage her that she could do it. Because she loves Jesus and he lives in her, she has the fruit of the Spirit – and one of those is self-control.

I reminded her of the definition: Showing restraint even when desires are strong.

I reminded her of a key verse we’ve discussed many times: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

I reminded her what she was doing was hard but not impossible and that I was cheering for her.

I reminded her that Jesus does care about struggles like this.

We did offer an incentive and we put some gloves on at night, but the difference was my attitude with my girl. I was her chief encourager, not her most frustrated coach. And her attitude went from “I can’t” to “I can.”

We didn’t talk about it much more, but something clicked in Ella. And I do think God cares about our struggles – even biting nails. And she did it.

I’m so so thankful God used this little (but huge) moment to remind Ella that He is alive in her and working. That self-control is something she will need in her life for many years to come. And the next time she needs restraint? She can look back on this time. When she called on her Savior and together they won.

Lord, I want the heart of my kids. I want them to know You. Please guide my days to show them You are real. Help me to let go of looking like a great mom. Let me be more concerned with my children and their hearts than any outside appearance or performance.

This story is exactly why I created the Virtue Memory Cards. My heart’s desire is that families will grow closer to God and experience Him. I would never want a family to pick them up and use them to look good or score points. They were designed to impact the heart.

You can help your child begin to tie everyday character qualities to Scripture verses by getting your Virtue Memory Cards today! Click here for more information.

11.27.2015

Where I Really Fall Short

Can I admit something to you on this cold fall day? It’s not pretty. It’s not something I’m proud of. And it’s certainly not something I want highlighted about my life.

But, I must share just in case it might help you.

I struggle at times trusting God with my kids.

There’s just something so hard about this for me. Though I say with my mouth and I posture my attitude to give off the appearance of complete trust, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of fully living like I trust God with my kids, I fall short.

I worry.

I get incredibly anxious.

I make lots of suggestions to God on their behalf.

I try to keep things in their world calm, free of hurt, and on track toward some “best plan” I’ve imagined for them.

It’s like I gather up my people in my arms and tell God, “See? I’ve got it all worked out. Now, if You’ll just bless all this. Don’t mess with it, just bless it. And life will be good.”

I suspect I’m not the only mom who feels this way. So if you can relate, join me over at (in)courage today for the rest of this post by clicking here.

9.29.2015

Remember Who You Are

There were so many things I wanted to say in this big moment for my daughter. Shouldn’t I have a speech? Or a famous person’s quote? Or a highly engaging devotion all planned out?

She was heading to her first day of high school. And I knew she would soon face choices that carried more weight than ever before in her life. We make our choices and then our choices make us.

I swallowed hard and blinked back the tears. And suddenly I knew exactly what to say: “Remember who you are.”

This was the perfect statement. Not because it’s incredibly profound to the rest of the world. But it is to my kids. It’s our family motto.

We’ve spent years teaching our kids character lessons and highlighting people who model solid integrity. We’ve tied these lessons to be defining marks on what we want our name to stand for when people think of us.

But, we wanted a way to encapsulate all those lessons into one quick statement that could be said every time our kids head out into the world.

And, it had to be a statement that made sense to all of our kids, whether it was one of our teens heading out on a Friday night with friends, or a younger child going over to a friend’s house for an afternoon playdate.

So, we came up with the simple statement, “Remember who you are.” In other words, you are a child of the Almighty God. Live that truth today.

This is our family signature. This would be that quick reminder of the spiritual vision of our family.

All those life lessons …
– upholding purity in our thoughts and actions
– honoring God with the words we say and choose not to say
– keeping a good attitude whether we win or lose
– extending grace to others as God has extended grace to us

… boiled down into one easy-to-remember and easy-to-repeat statement: Remember who you are.

And this isn’t just a reminder to hold our family name in high regard. No, even more importantly, it’s a reminder to hold the fact that we are part of God’s family in high regard. Our name is worth something.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Calling ourselves Christians is a huge responsibility. Christ’s name is part of our identity.

Yes, “Remember who you are,” was the perfect thing to say on this day of new beginnings, opportunities and choices.

Does all this mean we have kids who never mess up or let us down? Nope. It doesn’t even mean that I never mess up or let others down. It’s tough having a sold-out-to-Jesus soul stuck in a flesh-filled body.

It means we’ve defined what we’re shooting for, and hopefully we’re all in the process of getting closer and closer to hitting the mark.

I’m so excited to announce that today is the release day of my new children’s book, Win or Lose, I Love You! With this book, you’ll be equipped to help your child:

• Replace the selfish characteristics of competition with an understanding of how to treat others fairly.
• Overcome the tendency to display poor sportsmanship by using Biblical truths to develop a Christ-like attitude.
• Reject the labels of winning and losing and embrace that they are loved no matter how they perform.

Get it now for a special release day price of only $10.99! Purchase your copy here.