June 20, 2012

Adoration

That's the theme for the sermon this week at Calvary.  We started a series on prayer last week and during week two we'll be looking at Matt. 6:9.  As Sophie will be with us in the service this week, I've put together some items for her notebook and thought I'd share in case any of you needed items for your own child's worship note book!

Here is the link to the  Basic Questions
Here are some of the other pages for this week:
Adoration Draw
Who We Adore
The Lord's Prayer (Fill in the Blank)
Adoration Definitions

I also googled some pictures for her to color, just by typing in Lord's Prayer coloring sheets. 

I hope this helps and I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday (if you're at Calvary, anyway!)  If you're somewhere across the country, I hope this is still helpful as you seek to lead your family in worship!

June 19, 2012

Parenting is Hard-Part 2

Yep, I'm still amazed at how hard parenting is!  And today, I realized it while shopping for my sweet girl.  She is just growing like a weed and outgrowing so many of her clothes, so, while at Wal Mart today I decided to check the clearance aisle to see what I might find.  It was then that I realized just how picky I am about my daughter's clothes.  See, all I was wanting were just a few plain shirts, which I thought would be fairly easy to find, but, not so much!  It seemed that most everything had some form of writing or pictures on them.  You may be thinking, "Who cares?"  That's probably what I would have been thinking about a year ago, too, but that's when God starting changing my heart and mind when it comes to my children, my home, and what I wanted my children to learn.  And believe me, they learn even when we think they aren't.  Today it seemed that every shirt either had a picture of some starlet or currently popular TV show or some pointless saying (like "Princess" or "Fashion Diva").  Now, I know, you're probably thinking, "Really?  This is what you are having a problem with?"  I know, it seems so silly and, admittedly, I feel a little silly saying it, but at the same time, it's my child's heart and soul that I am battling for here, right?  Do I really want her role model to be Hannah Montana?  Do I really want her displaying the attitude of a "fashion diva" and thinking that's what life is all about?  Are these things the message I want to be sending to that sweet girl?  Or, am I just going too far and being silly about it?  Maybe, but I have to admit, I have seen a change in the attitude since we stopped the cable and stopped watching those Disney channel shows.  Her little heart and attitude were becoming very "me" centered and she was really becoming absorbed in what she wore and if she'd ever have a boyfriend, etc.  That was not what we wanted for our child, so we removed it from our home.  Shouldn't it be the same with the clothes that represent that lifestyle and attitude?  Now, please don't think I am telling everyone that they need to cancel the cable and toss half their child's wardrobe.  There may be children out there who can watch those shows and none of this is ever a problem, my daughter just doesn't happen to be one of them!  And, yes, it was hard this weekend while she was with her cousins and they wanted to watch a show that I wouldn't let her watch.  Saying no to her and knowing that would either mean she would have to go somewhere else while her cousins watched this show, or her cousins would have to choose to watch/do something else so they could include her was difficult (I am proud to say that they choose to watch something different so she could still be with them).  But, what was more important, keeping her heart and mind with a right attitude, or letting her feel part of the crowd?  That's part of parenting. (Again, I am not saying that every parent should keep their kids from watching the shows we don't allow our kids to watch, it's about knowing your child and what they need to remove from their lives in order to have the heart and attitude you know they need to have.)   Even more important, that's part of discipling.

I don't think there's much that scares me more than the thought of me discipling my children...unless it's leaving it up to someone else and me having no idea what is being put into my child's head!  And really, if I choose not to do this in my child's life, then I am living and modeling disobedience to my child (Deut. 6:6-9).  It's a scary thing!  I am so thankful that I have such great friends and family who walk alongside me in this journey.  I am so thankful to have amazing parents who walk alongside me, but refuse to do my job for me.  They encourage me, correct me, lift me up in prayer, and serve as great examples of parents who refuse to let someone else take over the job of raising and discipling their children, even when it's hard and even when they mess up and have to correct what they've done.  Lord, I am truly blessed!  Help Kevin and I to make those tough calls.  Help us to refuse to let the world take over our home and the hearts and minds of our children.  Help us to do this even in the little things, what we'll wear, movies we'll watch or not watch, places we'll go or not go. Help us to not be legalistic as we seek these things, but rather to seek out what will truly give You the most honor and glory.  Lord, give us strength to teach and train these sweet blessings in Your truth so that they will one day call You saviour and Lord and be willing to obey You, no matter the cost.  Lord, give me the strength to say NO when I need to say NO regardless of how others may respond to that.  Help Kevin and I to be models of living selfless lives full of faith and trust in You above all else.  Lord, HELP!!!!!

June 13, 2012

June 07, 2012

Parenting is Hard!

Parenting is hard.  That's not something most people tell you before you have children...or even when you're pregnant.  And quite frankly, I think for most people, it never crosses your mind that it will be because it didn't seem that hard for your parents.  I mean, after all, most of us were pretty good kids most of the time, right?  Only, they also don't tell you that the "ease" of parenting is not based on the "goodness" of the child.  Parenting is hard because it takes time, consistency, hard choices, love, patience, grace...and oh, so many other things! 

We've had a rough two days here with Ethan and his constantly choosing to disobey.  Now, I realize he's only three so nothing he's choosing to do or not do is life or death or that horrible, but it's still a choice and he's making a bad one.  And even more than that, it's pretty out of character for him.  I'll admit, while he (or Sophie) hasn't really latched onto the "do it with a good attitude/happy heart" portion of obedience, he (usually) does really well with the "do what you're told, when you're told" portion...well, until the last two days, anyway.  Not sure what in the world has gotten into him, but I feel like all I have done the last two days is discipline him.  I feel so bad about it, while at the same time knowing it's just what he needs.   Oh, why does it have to be so hard.  Why can't I just take a day off and let them both do just what they want?!?! 

But, I think recently, the hardest part of parenting for me has been choosing what to let into their lives and choosing what to leave out.  It hasn't been hard because I don't know what to choose, it's been hard because I don't want others upset with me or looking down on me or thinking I am looking down on them for choosing something different than they would choose.  About two weeks ago, I made a startling discovery: I have to be about 3 times as vigilant with what they watch than I ever thought.  Now, we don't have cable at our house, but we do have Netflix, and while I do my best to limit the amount of it they watch each day, they do get to watch it.  While I am fixing dinner, they are typically watching it unsupervised (unless Kevin happens to be home).  Not to brag, but my kids are pretty good about following the rules of things they know they are not allowed to watch, so I don't really worry about it.  One day they ran across a picture of Woody Woodpecker and asked if they could watch the show.  I told them they could watch an episode and thought nothing of it.  Well, they watched about 3 or 4 episodes over the next few days and I slowly began to notice a change in Ethan's behavior.  My normally sweet, although at times rambunctious, boy was suddenly becoming quite violent and hitting people all the time.  I was stumped as to why this was suddenly happening...that is until I happened to catch less than 5 minutes of a Woody Woodpecker episode.  All the behaviors I was seeing in Ethan were in those few minutes I saw on the screen.  He was copying everything he was seeing in that show.  Needless to say, the show is no longer allowed in our house and, while the violence has tamed a bit, it is not completely gone.  We must now be must more diligent in choosing what our kids watch and knowing exactly what is in it before allowing them to see it. 

Yes, it's a pain, but aren't their little lives and minds worth more than the trouble?  It is so hard knowing what to leave out of their lives.  I don't want them to be sheltered and know nothing of the world around them, but I so want them to be in the world not of the world.  How do you teach that?  How do you instill that in a child who sees everyone around them behaving differently, watching different things, owning all the latest things?  When have you gone too far or overboard with what you will or will not allow your child to see, wear, go, etc?  When have you crossed the line from being a good parent looking out for the physical and spiritual well-being of your child to being legalistic?  I don't want my kids to be "sheltered", but I want them to know there is a better path than what they will find the world leading them down.  I also don't want them believing something just because I told them that's the way it was...I want them to know it and believe it because they have searched it out and God has revealed Truth to them. 

It is exciting to see that when it happens.  God has really been working on sweet Sophie's heart, lately, and it is so encouraging and humbling to see.  Several times she has come to us in tears of repentance over something she has done that we would have gone our whole lives never knowing had happened if she hadn't told us.  The other night, in tears, she said, "I just don't know what's making me feel like I have to tell everything, but I just have to tell you the truth."  What a great moment it was as Kevin explained to her that God often uses the Holy Spirit to show us sin in our lives.  She still has a ways to go before she really "gets it" (well, don't we all?), but there is nothing more amazing or humbling than to be involved in that part of your child's life.  All of the discipline, scripture memory, Bible stories, Bible projects, etc. are all to lead up to those moments and those moments make all that time and effort and "hard-ness" (is that a word?) worth it. 

So, those out there expecting your first child or still waiting for children, being a parent is hard.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  There are few other things that will drive you to your knees than your children.  There are fewer things that will drive you crazy more than your children.  There are few other things that will make you feel at the end of your rope than your children.  But, there are also few other things that will reveal to you God's love, character, grace, and mercy than your children.  Hold them close.  Love them at all times.  Make those hard  choices.  Look to God at all times for the answers.  Take it one day at a time (for tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own) and lean on Him for all that you need.  I don't have all the answers and I still end at least one day a week in tears, ready to give up, go back to work and send my kids down the street to school...but those things would be disobedience to God's calling on my life (and my family's), so I must rely on Him to get me through.  If He called me to motherhood, wifedom (not sure that's a word, either), homeschooling, etc, He will give me the strength and the skill for the task.  I must believe that and rely on that.  Lord, lead and guide me as I serve my family.  Show me day by day what it is you would have me say and do so that I can turn my family to You at all times and in all things.  Show me the things (shows, movies, toys, gadgets, books, etc) that I  need to keep out of our house in order for our family to be able to honor and glorify You.  Lord, please show our family how You would have us to live out being "IN the world, but not OF the world."