What’s Your Worth?

Is your child perfect? I’m betting not. I’d like to think my children are perfect but there have been so many times when their behavior hasn’t measured up to what I’ve expected of them. Maybe they were too shy in a social setting and didn’t participate. Maybe someone asked them something or invited them to join in on something and they said, “no.” Maybe it was in a restaurant when they just didn’t sit still or they spilled something numerous times causing me embarrassment. Or they said something really loud causing everyone’s heads to turn in our direction.

We’ve all had those moments. For our children are in training. They certainly don’t know how to be perfect and even though we know we shouldn’t expect them to be – we do. We can get so uptight when they behave in ways that shocks or embarrasses us! Have you ever wondered why that is?

I heard someone say that we get so upset by our children’s less-than-perfect behavior at times because we feel it’s a reflection on us. We tend to build our self-worth based on our children’s behavior.

Do you realize that God loves you regardless of the fact that your children don’t always behave? He doesn’t “rate” us based on how perfect our kids look or act. He loves us unconditionally. He loved us before we were parents and He will love us after we are parents, just as we love our children unconditionally.

Of course we need to teach and instruct our children. We need to show them how to respect others and take care of themselves. We can share with them about how and why a certain response or situation may not have been the best choice on their part. But we need to free ourselves up from expecting them to be perfect. We need to pray for them, love them, and guide them – leaving the rest up to God.

Our children’s behavior up to a point – IS a reflection on us and our parenting skills. But it does not dictate our worth or value. God has said we are valuable and He does not base that on performance.

Maybe if we can remind ourselves of this, we can ease up on expecting so much out of our children (and ourselves) and let them be free to make mistakes and learn in life. God’s love will be there as they do… every step of the way.

~Dionna Sanchez is Founder of the EmphasisOnMoms.com ministry. Visit today to sign up for her monthly publication full of encouragement for moms.

Overcoming a Fractured Past

They say where you come from impacts who you are as a person every day.  So, as a parent, what if you came from a home where you didn’t have the best of parents?  You may not have had the best examples yourself, of what and how to be a loving parent. 
 
It can be far too easy to remember the bad and negative stuff than it can be to remember the good. As much as a challenge that is, it’s important that you don’t sift out that good part of your life growing up just because the bad may be so overwhelming.
 
No person is perfect. No parent is perfect. Your parents probably made loads of mistakes while raising you. Some may have even delegated the raising of you to someone else and that could have really hurt you, or it could have been the best blessing in your life possible.  Whatever your situation, don’t allow Satan to define your heritage for you. Don’t let him define you!  Your parents’ weaknesses and strongholds don’t have to be yours.  Strive to embrace whatever good you can remember about your childhood and let those thoughts, memories, and feelings reside in your heart.  You can’t erase your past altogether. If you try, you will only be denying yourself an important piece of who you are. You can heal your heart for your families’ health and sake and then set about defining who you want to be as a person and as a parent.
 
Your children may ask you about your past. Children are naturally curious and they want to know everything there is to know about family and where they come from.  You will have to decide ahead of time, how you want to tackle these questions. Simply waving them aside won’t squelch them… for they will come again.  If you take the time to deal with your past with the Lord ahead of time, maybe you can be prepared to be honest about the ugly stuff while still finding something good and positive to share about your history.  You can be such a great example of finding something good in the bad – and you can change the color and perspective that your children have of their heritage.
 
Today is the day you can make a change and a difference.  God tells us that if we follow Him and are faithful and obedient children, that He can bless a whole generation following us! What a beautiful goal.
 
You are who you are – whether or not you wish your growing-up-years could have been different. And God can take those hurtful and painful feelings and memories, and turn them around inside of you. He can use them and use you in a way that only God can do. If you try to erase everything, you may be shutting out powerful ministry opportunities that God may have in mind for your life.
 
No one ever said that parents have to know it all. We are all still learning as we go. So as you learn how to take the good from your past, filter out the bad, and incorporate a positive heritage and environment for your family – know that God is right there with you – cheering you on every step of the way.

~ You can view words from Dionna’s heart each week at her blog – http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Doing the Right Thing

I went shopping with my girls. We each picked up a new shirt; I got some under things and a couple of décor items for my house. 
 
When I reached my car, I went over the receipt because I had used my debit card and I wanted to record the amount that went out of my checking account.  I noticed on the receipt that they did not charge me for the two-décor items that I had gotten. I had thought the amount was a little under what I had estimated in my head, but did not know their mistake until I was already out of the store and in my vehicle.
 
What to do?
 
My heart sunk a little because I was immediately prompted by God to go back into the store. I knew what I had to do. I explained to my girls that they did not charge me for the décor items and that we would need to go back into the store. I told them that since I had discovered the mistake, if I drove away with the items in my car it would be the same thing as stealing. I would be willingly leaving the area knowing that I did not pay for something. And that was wrong.  I wish I could have left with the original amount charged to my receipt; I was already a little tight that payday. But I was more concerned about being right with God and being an example to my girls.

So, we tromped back into the store where I showed a clerk the receipt and my items, telling her that I was not charged for them. She thanked me for coming back in and rang up my merchandise. Then, I left.
 
Such a simple action and yet it took willingness on my part to go through with it. It took me being willing to make the right choice and decision when I knew it would cost me more. It took a willful choice and decision in my heart to get my feet to move back into that store.
 
It is so easy to let things like that go. “No one will know,” we think. “It was their mistake, after all!” But God sees. And someday we will have to account to Him for our honesty. I’d rather be able to stand before Him and know I did the right thing than have to explain why I didn’t do something that was so simple.
 
I am proud of myself for being a good example to my daughters’. I hope that they will have the courage to do the right thing as they grow up – despite what they might possibly get away with if they don’t. I hope that they will grow a heart that is pricked and prodded by God to be honorable people.
 
I have a new saying that I’ve been telling them. It is “Do something good – just because you can.”  Oh, how life would be different if everyone felt this way.
 
~ Dionna Sanchez works hard to be a good example to her children. She tries to be authentic both in her home and to other women. You can always keep up with her at her blog – http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

The Energy of a Hug

I have always been a hugger. I love hugs and how they make me feel on the inside. I never really thought about what it was that a hug gave me emotionally until one day recently when my daughter put it all into perspective for me. She told me that she needed some energy and she came to me with arms wide open and encircled my waste, giving me a huge, long hug. When she felt better and had a smile on her face, she went on her way, saying, “I have energy now!”

Hug = energy. That is so true! I know how much a hug can fill up an empty tank that I have on days when I’m feeling blue, low on self-esteem, or just “blah.” It also makes sense why, when my husband and I are having an argument or a disagreement that I tell him that I really need a hug at that moment. It’s because I feel low and need something to refuel and recharge me. That “something” is a hug.

I think hugs are more powerful than we realize. They can give someone the motivation they need to go on, they can encourage a heart that has been bruised and battered, and they can heal. A hug is a powerful energizer!

As a mom, there are so many days where our energy can get low, we can get stressed and we struggle with feeling tired or overwhelmed. Have you tried giving or getting a hug to help you get through those days? I encourage you to do just that. My daughter taught me that a hug can go a long, long way.

~ Dionna Sanchez (madetomom@yahoo.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)

Home For Adoption

I’ve wanted to share this for quite a long time, but never really had the words to express the change happening in my heart. It’s not easy to share regret.  It’s humbling to share failure and loss when a life depends on letting go.  I guess I should start at the very beginning.  Ten years ago, we lived in a darling country home just perfect for our little family.  It had everything I had dreamed for my kids…. white picket fence, huge farm porch, stone fireplace, acres to run and play, as well as a spectacular view of the lake.  The price was right.  We didn’t feel stretched financially and worked hard to save for family fun.

I don’t exactly know when we got bit by the bug, but we started longing to build our “dream home” closer to town and schools.  We researched the best builder, dreamed about the perfect home for our kids, and moved forward with plans to build our future.  It was a big stretch financially, but our eyes were fixed on the prize.  A 2-story French Country with all the little trimmings.  Our builder was indeed amazing, one of a kind Italian stallion.  He and his wife put their personal stamp from top to bottom.  We fell in love with every cedar beam, knob and light fixture scattered throughout our new home.  The most ironic thing, the day before we moved in a couple drove up and offered us cash to buy our home.  We declined.

We’ve had the glorious privilege of living in our dream home for almost 9 years.  We had no idea God was going to wreck our lives several years ago and ask us to expand our family with adoption.  Let me define the word “wreck”.  God calls and wrecks everything in our path we think is important and valuable.  We did not tumble accidentally into the crazy world of adoption.  It was a strong calling and we knew He had big plans for our family.  But for certain dreams to come true, sometimes we have to give up dreams.  I admit I had all 10 fingers dug in deeply.  It was a long, painful, humbling process for me personally to give up my home 4 adoption.  I would tell the Lord I would be willing to give up just about anything… just let me keep my home.  I was wrecked!  I sobbed miserably several months ago, I was so guilty of my wood floors, brass knobs, all the trimmings… how could I have been so selfish.  I felt really crushed in spirit and so embarrassed before the Lord.  I’m grateful He changed my dreams.  Adoption has been the best decision of my life.

God changed the way we wanted to spend our money.  We made the decision to sell our home to pay for our adoptions.  I will never forget the freedom I felt when the For Sale sign went in the ground.  I was free!  I just knew that in days our home would sell and we could pay for our adoption, as well as help with other adoptions.  It was the perfect miracle plan… Home 4 Adoption!  Well, its been almost 2 1/2 years and we have not had a single nibble.  The house we gave up for adoption is now the perfect candidate for HDTV’s Unsellables.  We feel confused, tired, and stretched.  I think the only thing that brings me peace is knowing God just isn’t ready for SOLD to happen.  The one thing I learned through our crazy adoption was God’s timing is perfect.  He knows what is best for our family.  We started the process for adoption #2, but will continue to lean on Him for every penny to bring home our new daughter(s).  We will creatively fundraise with boundless energy and renewed strength.  I guess in the end, the easy way out was to sell our home.

My heart knows God would not penalize a beautiful orphan due to our financial woes.  He will work through our job changes, fears, mistakes. and economy crisis.  His power will be revealed each and every time we owe a payment to AWAA. He never leads us where he will not sustain us- The manna will come!

Please share…I would love to hear your adoption struggles and how you overcame financial fears.  Please contact me at http://www.mycrazyadoption.com

Kari Gibson, crazy mom of 3

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