Father of the Fatherless

It’s sad but true; many moms are serving in dual roles, as mother and father. Divorce happens. Some fathers, though outside of the home, are supportive and involved. The numbers of those who simply walk away, abandoning their children, is staggering. Fatherless children, confused and hurt, face many challenges throughout life.

Feelings of insecurity and trust issues are common. Having no good role model for a father of their own, they often repeat the mistakes of the past generation. As a result, their children suffer; once again, mom has to carry the sole responsibility of parenting. There is hope. The cycle of failure can be broken. We must place our trust in the Father of the fatherless.

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land (Psalms 68:5-6 NKJ).” God’s word comforts those who feel lonely and unloved.  If mom shoulders the entire load, the Everlasting Father waits to lift her burden.

Hershey’s Kisses

Mary pondered over angelic messages and the mysterious miracle of birth to the Christ child. The marvels of worshiping shepherds and their report of a heavenly host announcement were beyond the scope of a maidservant’s understanding and it would take an eternity to unravel the depths of the Father’s love. He had sent living proof through the swaddling clothes babe that nestled near her chest. She leaned down to caress his cheek and smothered Jesus with “Her-she’s kisses!”

I have kissed the precious faces of my own children; I ponder how much I have in common with Mary. “But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them (Luke 2: 19 HCS).” Words are insufficient to express our adoration for the incarnate Savior; I cannot place kisses on His face but I can demonstrate my love through acts of love to those I encounter. Colorful red and green Hershey’s Kisses are a seasonal reminder to follow Mary’s servant heart…

 

Cookie Cutter Creations

Preschool age children love to get their hands in Play-Doh and cookie dough. They roll it, pound it and squash it when they get mad. Mommy ads to their fun when she puts cookie cutter molds into their tiny hands; youngsters now have the excitement of creating favorite shapes.  The tikes laugh with glee when they see that they have created an exact copy of animals, Christmas trees, stars or snowmen.

As their mothers or grandmothers, we must guard our hearts and minds. We must not conform to the molds of our godless society. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2 KJV).” The Creator places no cookie cutter into our feeble hands; He writes His word upon our hearts and watches to see its transforming power in our walk with Him.

What’s In Your Bucket?

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.

*thankfully*

We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.

It had been a tough parenting day.  One of these days.

Actually it had been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we had been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we had not experienced from her before.

And that particular day, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel.

This explosive day, I had grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills that it breaks my heart to even think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have neverspoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter that day.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart remained heavy.  Grieving over our exchanges.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart has emerged lately.  And my 3 year old, tender-hearted little girl, often has a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vital support and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message}

What will you choose to bring to the fiery times, the heated conversations, amidst your day…?

Water

or

fuel

The choice is solely ours, friends.

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Is Your Child Missing Out?

I came to the conclusion recently that I didn’t have to rely on my children’s school to teach them everything.
 
Of course I would like their school to stretch them and work with their strengths while helping them strengthen their weaknesses. But I’ve found that the classroom doesn’t seem to touch on everything that I want touched on.  Even if I discuss something with a teacher at parent-teacher conferences, not all teachers have the time or are equipped to focus on certain areas; no matter how greatly I want it.

I am my child’s advocate. The first thing I think I need to do IS to go to the school. But I don’t have to stop there.
 
I found out recently that my oldest daughter was no longer getting spelling tests in 6th grade. In 6th grade!! I was astonished. I had noticed some spelling errors on some of her papers and thought to myself how much this is still needed in her classroom. But instead of getting discouraged, today, I whipped out the dictionary and gave her my own spelling test. I had her write the words she missed 5 times. I plan to do this every so often. Just because the school no longer focuses on her spelling doesn’t mean I don’t have to!
 
You can do this with any subject. My youngest has been whining that they never do art anymore. So I’m thinking I should come up with an art project for her in the near future. It’s something she loves and something I want to encourage her in.  Last year she was bored in math because her level exceeded that of where her class was. It had been talked about, that she could go in an extra math learning program but that never happened. Looking back, we could have done extra math with her at home to help her continue her learning.
 
As a Christian parent with my children in a public school – I can also teach them Bible lessons at home. Just because they don’t have a “set” Bible class doesn’t mean I can’t incorporate one!
 
We are our children’s advocates. We are here to speak up for them, to motivate them, and to help them flourish. Part of that is their learning.  It doesn’t have to be a grueling system. You don’t have to make your child do 3 more hours of science or history every night in addition to their school experience. But you CAN embellish what they are getting at school by incorporating a little extra learning at home. You CAN stand up and say, “My child WILL learn this subject even if their school doesn’t think it’s important enough to spend more time on it!” Or, if your child struggles in a subject, spend a little extra time on it with them at home.
 
You can make learning fun. There are so many sites on the Internet where children can learn keyboarding, do math games, etc. And you can take them to places in your community or family vacations to places like Mt. Rushmore to teach them about history.
 
Don’t rely on the “system” to do all that it should for your child. Hopefully it will – but if it doesn’t – stand in the gap and do it yourself. It’s in your child’s best interest.
 
 
~ Dionna Sanchez parents her children from her home in Idaho. She is the Founder of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry and maintains a blog for women at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Do Hard Things

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
   James 1:2-4

Today was Carson’s first track meet.  It was a beautiful day; sunny, blue skies, 80 degrees.  We were all excited to see Carson run.  In fifty years of living, I’d never been to a track meet, and I was eager for the experience. 

We got to the meet as they were announcing Carson’s first event, the Two Mile Run, eight times around the track.  It was a lot of running, but Carson held his own and finished respectfully.  But he was tired.  His little face was red, and he was worn out.  He sat down in the bleachers with us for awhile, catching his breath.  He was scheduled to run the One Mile a little later, but he was considering not … he said he was too tired to do it. 

I told him he needed to go ahead and do the hard thing … he needed to run the race.  His dad and I did not teach him to give up, that yes, he was tired, but that with some Gator Aid and a snack, he’d get his energy back and he could run the race.  And he did!  And he did even better in the second race.  I was so proud of him!

The boys are reading a book by Alex and Brett Harris,  Do Hard Things.  Alex and Brett were nineteen years old when they wrote about their desire to start a teenage rebellion against low expectations.  Not the normal rebellion.  But they are not normal teenagers.  Their message uses biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life, not a vacation from responsibility that has been the underlying theme for so many, for so long.

We have many examples of young people doing hard things in the Bible.  My favorite is David.  I image it was pretty hard for David to face Goliath with just a sling and five stones. David was a teenager … Goliath was a grown man, a very large grown man.  But God was with him. And David was the victor.  And the course of history was changed.  (I Samuel 17)

This is a great message to teach our children, but it’s also the attitude that we need to adopt as well. 

So my question for you today … what hard thing is waiting for you?

Father, enable me to embrace the difficult aspects on this journey with you.  I don’t want to take the easy road … I want to learn and grow and step out of my comfort zone into the life that you have planned for me.  I want to fulfill my purpose through you.  And Jesus, thank you for giving Carson the endurance to finish the race.

I love you!
   In Jesus Name I Pray
,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Finding My Smile

I was 9 months and 1 day pregnant with my first daughter feeling as if I would be pregnant forever! I had wanted to be pregnant so badly, but at that point in time, I desired so deeply to be able to tuck a shirt in or lay on my stomach again. Above all, it seemed like it would be forever before I would get to hold my beautiful child.

Each night, my husband, stepson and I would pray that this “little one” would come soon. But there came a point in time as my due date approached and left, that I decided I wasn’t being fair to God to ask for that; impatient as I was. As much as I was ready to have my baby at any moment, I thought, “Maybe there is a reason why God hasn’t allowed me to go into labor yet!” I thought about getting a mean nurse or the fact that maybe my parents wouldn’t be able to make the 4-hour journey up to be at the hospital in time. I realized that maybe God’s timing was better than my own. I remembered all the times that I had gotten what I asked for and it was all wrong. Sometimes God answers our prayers not because it’s HIS will, but because He’s simply granting our request. And it’s all wrong then, isn’t it?

I knew that my child would be beautiful (and she surpassed beautiful) and I knew that when all was said and done – the timing would be perfect in my eyes as I held my new miracle. Thinking these thoughts helped me find my smile again when I was so uncomfortable and so impatient. I knew that so many women would give anything to be where I was at – 9 months pregnant with a baby. So even though I was having a “feel sorry for me” moment, reminding myself that God knew every detail and His timing would be perfect; helped me find my smile again and remind myself to be thankful and blessed for the position I was in.

When the day came and my daughter did arrive into our world, God was right there beside me watching it all unfold. And you know what? I think He was smiling.

~ Dionna Sanchez (http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com)

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