Monday, October 12, 2009

The "Blesser"

I came across an old book in my library last week. It's called "The Blessing" by Gary Smalley and John Trent. I call it old. It was published in 1986, the year I graduated High School. I guess I just called myself old. I needed that little laugh today. This truly is an amazing work. The book basically gives instruction on how to give a blessing to our children. The authors trace back the concept of the blessing to the Old Testament. If you have studied the old testament you understand how the model of affirmation was found in the home. Friend, our children desperately need our affirmation and approval. It is critical that they get it from mom and dad while they are still at home. A child who is truly affirmed and blessed will grow to be an adult who affirms and blesses others, someone who can truly make a difference in this world. However, a child who is cursed and devalued will curse and devalue the world, making very little contribution to God's work and the world around them. Tragic. We have to get this right. And truth be told, we only have one shot.

I'll break down the book for you. The authors give 5 elements to passing the blessing onto our children.
1.) Meaningful Touch - We must touch our children in ways that say to them, I love you, you are special to me, I value you as a person.
2.) A Spoken Message - Our words are so important. Make sure you daily speak positive words into your children. Words of affirmation. "You are doing great in school, I am so proud of you." "I love watching you play with your friends, I understand why they like you so much." "I like being with you" "I am glad God gave you to me" "You are precious" "I love your smile" It goes on and on.
3.) Expressing High Value - To value someone means we attach high importance to that person. Have you ever yelled at your kids in a way that completely crushes their spirit. I have and it kills me every time. I'm not talking about getting onto them about something. I'm talking about going off on them when you are mad or angry and not necessarily at them. You have to immediately right the wrong. Say you are sorry and tell them how valuable they are to you. Been leaning to much on the grumpy side? Check yourself and bring balance (value) back to your household and the people you love.
4.) Picturing a Special Future - I really love this one. What girl doesn't like to dream about things to come, things that could be. Talk with your children about their future. Let them dream. Affirm them, encourage them, believe in them.
5.) Make an Active Commitment - No doubt about it, parenting is hard work. You have to be committed to doing these things day in and day out. He writes in this chapter about "learning our children." He says this will help us guide and direct them and it will also help us understand how to pray for them.
Do I know the following things about my children...
  • What do they most often daydream about?
  • What do they want to be when they grow up?
  • Of all the people they have studied in the bible, who is the person they most want to be like?
  • What do they believe God wants them to do?
  • What type of boyfriend/girlfriend are they most interested in?
  • What is the best part of their school day and what is the worst?

I know for certain that I do not want to hold back. I want to be a "Blesser." (I think I just made up a new word) You know, when we are focused on blessing others, we loose site of ourselves and our own problems. It amazes me that it works that way, but it does. So, calling all "Blessers.' Anybody in?

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Mother's Prayer

A friend of mine was speaking on the Holiness of God and he said this, "God calls us to come out, be set apart, and reserved for Himself, His glory and His purpose. All to often we desire the contrary, to "fit in." And while that's less risky and feels more comfortable, it's there that we miss God's best for us." (Jebo Barnes - Children's Pastor FBC Atlanta)
I had to stop and do a self-spiritual check after reading this. All of us, from the time we were toddlers, want to feel accepted. We all want to "fit in" somewhere. As a mother of two daughters, I have to be honest and say, I do want my girls to be admired and accepted by their peers. But not at the expense of holiness. This is way more easier said than done. I am trying to instill in my daughters the idea that is it OK to be different and that there will be a price to pay for holiness. That is for certain. It may mean some lonely nights and some difficult days, but I know that the pay off will be a blessed life and a life that is pleasing unto the Lord.

Oh Father, I pray that my daughters would be willing to pay the price...that they would have enough spiritual depth to understand that the pursuit of holiness is not the "easiest route." It is not the route where they are going to fit in with everyone else. Yet it is the best route. It is the route that will lead them straight to You time and time again. It is the route that will bring them true fulfillment and joy. It is the route sprinkled with your best blessings. Let them get this. Let them fully understand this. I ask that they would run to the things that please you. The things that bring joy to your heart. And may the run away from evil, ungodliness and things that break your heart. Thank you for being a God who hears our prayers and answers them. I pray this in the Holy, Awesome and Powerful name of Jesus. Amen

Monday, September 14, 2009

Relections of Summer

We are into our 4th week of school. So far, this has been the best year ever. Meredith is in 7th grade. She has become a young lady and so much fun. She plays volleyball (and can smack it, if I can brag for a moment) and enjoys church, football games and being with her friends. Katelyn, my 3rd grader is adjusting to this "kick it up a notch" school year. She loves to play soccer, create art, and hang with her best friend Maddie. Life is good at the Franzke house.
I wanted to blog today yet wasn't sure what my subject would be. I decided since I haven't blogged since June (what!!!) that I would write about our summer. The swimming pool is closed, the beach towels our carefully packed away, no more sweet smells of sunscreen. However, momma has not quite let it go and still smiles when she thinks about the fun we had. I thought I would share my Five favorite moments with you.
1.) Ben and Noelle's Wedding. My sister came from Louisiana with her daughter Emma. The wedding was held at the Caines Ballroom in Downtown Tulsa. Back in the day, this was the place to be on a Saturday night. It truly was a ballroom. Later it became the biggest Honky Tonk in Oklahoma. All the great Country Western Singers graced the stage. It is an amazing historical landmark in Tulsa. However, on June 20th, 2009, it became a place of true beauty, a house of worship as two precious children of God united in Holy Matrimony. I used to babysit Ben when he was just a toddler. My how time flies. I can't wait to see all that God has prepared for he and Noelle. God is faithful and God is so good.
2.) Beach Camp. Read my June blog for details. I have to say I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am so thankful to have children who love God and who want to worship Him and to experience His will and purpose for their lives. Looking forward to next Summer.
3.) Branson getaways. Money was tight this summer so we opted for a few Branson getaways. My family loves Silver Dollar City. Now, I am not a big roller coaster person, but God gave me 3 individuals who loooooove them. Can anyone feel my pain? My girls had the time of their lives getting me on these big, fast, scary roller coasters. They thought they were so funny. I have to say that I have experienced every roller coaster at Silver Dollar City. Check off my bucket list? Why not? Now all I need is a button that says I have conquered WildFire, Powder Keg and Fire in the Hole. And we can't forget the Giant Swing. (it will have you screaming...Mommy!!)
We will go back over the holiday season.
4.) Day at the Lake. We have some precious long time friends who invited us to the lake this summer. Katelyn had been chomping at the bit to get out there. It is so nice to have friends who have boats. Now let me back this us a few days. On Wednesday of this week, Ed's sisters come in town for Katelyn's birthday. We celebrate with them on Wednesday night with dinner at P.F. Changs. Thursday was her birthday and we head to Silver Dollar City for more partying. My mom and dad come in Saturday to celebrate with yet another dinner. Are you getting this picture. It is the birthday that never ends. Now we are back to Sunday getting ready for the lake. Our friend calls and asks if Katelyn likes chocolate or white. Meredith is sitting at the bar and hears me say...White. At that point she has had it. And I guess we are all wondering when this birthday will end. We get out to the lake, pull into a cove to eat lunch and out comes yet another birthday cake. The smile on Katelyn's face is one I will never forget. It was definitely a moment. Let me talk about that smile for a moment. After we packed up the boat and headed out onto the lake, I looked back at her and took in the look of awe and complete happiness on her face. She had the most precious smile. It wasn't a big smile, and not a little smile either. It was a smile that represented a heart that was completely satisfied. I couldn't help but think, is that the way God smile when He looks at me. I hope so. Our day at the lake was by far a highlight of our Summer. Anybody got a boat for sale?
5.) Mommy/Daughter day. At the end of each summer, I set aside a day for each daughter. I let them decide what they want to do. It is the most precious time and a day that I look forward to all summer. Meredith and I went to Starbucks, got pedicures and did a little shopping. Katelyn and I went shopping, got a Frozen Tong and played games.

It isn't time that is moving so fast, it is us humans. We have to find time to slow down, savor the moments and take in the "preciousness" of the people God has placed in our lives. I am so thankful for a truly wonderful summer. Now I can close this chapter of my life and open my heart to new blessings, new dreams and new memories. This is all part of my journey today.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

I did not think I could do it. 18 hours on a bus. Joined at the hip with 7 pre-teen girls for a week. What was I thinking? I pulled myself together and said...I can do this. I will survive. To make the trip as comfortable as possible we brought blankets, a comforter and a pillow. We packed up the area where are feet were supposed to go so we could make a small bed. Upon completion, it was not what Meredith had in mind. But, it worked. Meredith has several pet peeves. Don't we all. Let me just share one. One of her biggest pet peeves is gum chewing. She rarely chews gum and is highly annoyed when people do. There is no way I could have gone 18 hours on a bus (I am going to try and say 18 hours on a bus as much as I can) without chewing some gum. Give me a break. I must confess, at one point I ask God to deliver her while she was at camp from this bondage. It really bugs our entire family. When Katelyn wants to really get her sister, she takes her gum out of her mouth and starts chasing her. Now that's funny. So really, the only time we had issues was when I decided to chew gum or when I got up and started acting like a fool for the kids. She asked me to sit down several times. I told her when she was sleeping, I was going to put 10 pieces of gum and in mouth and have me a big time. She was afraid to close her eyes. Sweet revenge:)

Back to my question...what was I thinking? Well, I guess I was thinking how much I love and and value my daughter and how I desire more than anything in this world to pour my life into hers. Not just my life, but the life Christ has given to me. It was a joy to take this journey with her. I was so thankful that she got some things this week. Ken Freeman spoke on the power of a parable. Each day he highlighted a different parable. It was awesome. On Tuesday he spoke on the parable of the sower and the soil. You remember the story. The sower sows seeds in different conditions. Some seeds fell along the road and were trampled on, others were sown in rocky soil and when they grew up they withered away because they had no moisture, and some fell among the thorns and were choked out. But finally, there were seeds sown in the good soil, and grew up and produced a crop a hundred times as great. He shared with us that the soil is our heart and how some of us have hearts of stone and thorns. What goes in the heart must come out. It's like the food we eat. If we continue to fill our bodies with food that is bad for us, we will reap the harmful outcome. His word....Proverbs 4:23 "above all else, guard over you heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." It's all about what is in your heart. The more we fill our hearts with the things of this world, the less we want of Jesus. It's just that simple.
Not connecting in worship, feel like God doesn't even know you exist. Is is like you are talking to a wall. Examine what you have been putting into your heart. Most of us, most of the time, put in more bad than good. We just do. Want to get back where you belong? Work on the soil of your heart. Get back into God's Word and let it plow up that hardened ground. Soon the soil of your heart will be fertile again and you will blossom with the beautiful life He desires for you to have.
Meredith got this. And I am grateful to God that she did. An 18 hour bus sweat. The gum chewing issue...I can live with that. Seeing your daughter grab hold of a life changing truth...all worth it. This is all part of my journey this week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed

It was Sunday evening, January 23, 1994, and I did not want to go church. Sunday mornings have a way of wearing me out. Maybe it's the 250 plus preschoolers and 130 plus volunteers that do it to me. Ministry can be a joy but at the same time exhausting. I remember because I sat at the back of the Worship Center. I did not want anyone to see me and I most certainly did not want to talk to anyone. Hmm...godly attitude. Little did I know that on this particular night the Pastor would deliver a message that would forever change my life. The title of the message was, "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed." He shared from John chapter 17. This is an amazing passage of scripture. In verses 1 - 5 Jesus prays for Himself. In verses 6 - 19 He prays for His disciples. And in verses 20 - 26 He prays for us...for all Christians throughout the age. The focus of his message was on verses 6 - 19. From this text, Pastor gave us 7 things that we can pray for our children and our family. I remember thinking to myself, what if? What if I took this prayer and began praying it over my husband and for myself. What might the Lord choose to do with us? We had our first child in 1997 and I continued to pray this prayer over her as well. Somewhere along the way, I lost this pray. I looked everywhere for it and then eventually I forgot about it. One day I was talking with a sweet, godly lady in our church. She was telling me about her children and their mission endeavours. I was amazed. I know her kids and I know they are remarkable children. I asked her what her secret was. Would you believe she told me John 17. She said, I pray this prayer for them everyday. WOW. I went to church the next day and asked our resource man to help me find this sermon. He found it. It is in my desk even as I write. (in cassette form) So here it is in summation...The prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples, the prayer I pray for my family almost daily.
  1. Pray they would glorify God.
  2. Pray they would know Him.
  3. Pray they would acknowledge that everything they have is from God.
  4. Pray they would be one with the Father and with each other.
  5. Pray that His joy would be made full in them.
  6. Pray that God will keep them from evil.
  7. Pray that they would be world changers.

A few other things I add to my prayer for my children are..

  1. That they would grow to love God, love His Church and love His word and that God would bring men into their lives that will do the same.
  2. That they would run from evil, from things that dishonor God and they would be drawn to things that please God...things that are holy, pure and righteous.

I am constantly messing up as a parent. But this is one thing I get right. We have to parent from our knees. And who knows... who knows how God might choose to answer our prayers.

This is all part of my journey today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just Enough for Today

This was one of those mornings, when upon waking, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's not that there is anything terrible going on, it's just that most things seem to be difficult. Or so it seems through my eyes today. No matter what direction I look, there is a challenge...a struggle...a mountain that must be conquered. There is just so much to do, I hardly feel I can breathe. I simply describe it as a heaviness of heart. Oh the pressures and distractions of this blessed life. Sometime they do seem like more than I can bear. In the midst of a good cry this morning, I opened up a devotion book that I have come to love. It is called "The Seeking Heart" by Francois Fenelon. Fenelon was a 17th century French Roman Catholic Theologian, poet and writer. Christians have turned to his writings again and again for guidance and help in their quest for a deeper walk with Christ. (You can order most of his written works on The title of my the reading today was, "Live in the Present Moment" I wanted to share a quote from his writings today. Maybe it will give you a wake up call just as it gave me this morning.

He says...Each day there is just enough that God gives you to take care of - nothing more or less is expected of you. Who are you to ask the Lord, "Why are you doing this to me?" (I've been guilty of that) He is the Lord- let Him do what seems good to Him. (that really hit me) You certainly don't need to add your wisdom and your plans to His wise and good plan. The future is not yet yours - perhaps it never will be. And when tomorrow comes it will probably be different from what you had imagined. Above all, live in the present moment and God will give you all the grace you need.

This really touched my heart this morning. And in this very raw moment I was overwhelmed by His love for me. To be reminded once again that He will not give us more than we can bear. To really grab hold of the truth that the earth can change and the mountain can slip into the sea, but His presence will never leave me. It is not mine to question the weight of the burden or what He has chosen to put on my today. He just wants me to know that He is here and a heavy burden requires a mighty hand. Mine is not big enough to handle it. When I need His mighty hand, I seem to walk a little closer and pray a little harder than I have in the past. You see it doesn't matter how heavy or how light. What matters is He has promised to give us just enough for today. That is a great word and all part of my journey today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Go Ahead...Embrace it!

I have to blog about Meredith's birthday party. It was her first boy/girl party. She turned 12. This is such a fun age. I see who she is becoming and I love it. Do you want to know one of my greatest pet peeves? I hate it when people say, boys are so easy to raise...Girls are so difficult. Give me a boy any day. Or rather, I dread the teenage years with my there anyway to skip it. When I hear things like that, I have to bite my tongue. It just makes my blood boil. You're probably saying, man Gina, tell us how you really feel? It just gets all over me. As I watched Meredith the other night with her friends, I had the most incredible joy in my heart. The kids weren't acting weird (well maybe for the first 30 minutes). They settled down and begin interacting with each other in a precious sort of way. Lots of chitter chatter. They loved getting their pictures made, except for Rebekah. Not a fan of posing for pics. We just had a fabulous time. Meredith decided she wanted to attempt a party game. We googled "party games" and found a game called Balloon Tower. You divide your group into 4 teams, give them 4 bags of balloons and a roll of packing tape. When you say go, they are to construct a balloon tower that stands on its own. The team with the tallest tower wins. It was so much fun. The kids had an absolute blast. I am going to try and put pics up of the event. We had the party at Mad Pizza in the upstairs room. It was a private party until the game was over and twenty 6Th graders started popping balloons. Thus no longer making it private, because everyone in the restaurant knew we were there. It was so loud and so crazy. Ed and I just looked at each and said, "what should we do?" We were horrified. We tried to yell, but the kids could not hear us. Have you ever felt completely out of control? I looked over the loft's edge, down to the people below (who were all out for a peaceful family dinner) all 80 plus of them were looking back at me. All I could say was...I'm so sorry. Then the manager came up. How embarrassing. We chalked that one up as a memory we will never forget. The night was awesome. In Meredith's own words...."I loved it mom. I had so much fun."
Back to raising daughters. I choose to look at it like this. Every moment is a gift. Every stage of development is one to be cherished. I loved telling Meredith about the birds and the bees and I love the fact that she feels so comfortable asking be about anything. I have loved every stage and I am going to embrace this awkward pre-teen, emotional stage just the same. The goal is to raise an exceptional young woman who loves God, and who is a spiritual leader. A woman who is confident, strong and prepared to face life's greatest challenges. Character doesn't just happen, it develops over time. The pre-teen and teen years are the years I choose to embrace more than any other. They are critical, character-building, life changing years. I can't afford to sit back and dread each day, or put my head under the covers and come out when it is all over. Daughters need their mommas. Especially during these years. They need them to love them unconditionally, tell them they are beautiful a million times and most importantly to make sure they are equipped for life. It's not easy, not always fun. But always, always embraced. My friend, embrace life. Wherever you are today...embrace it. That is the only way you can successfully get through it. Life will embrace you back. I promise. That's just the way it works. God says..."Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over." Now that 's a promise you can stand on today as you do one more load of laundry, drive one more child to a sporting event, clean up one more mess or buy one more pair of shoes (again) It just never ends. We can praise God today that His mercies, His love and His faithfulness never end. Running on empty? Then get yourself filled up. He's there, He's waiting.
This is all part of my journey today.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Putting Away the "Poor Little Me's"

I consider myself to be a news junkie. I guess you can say I just want to be in the "know." I was devastated from hearing the news this morning of a private plane that crashed in Montana. All 14 on board were killed, 7 of them were children. When a tragedy like this occurs, my first thought is for the families who are suffering loss today. How absolutely heartbreaking! Then I begin to wonder if they knew Jesus, and if they did, what was it like to see Him appear in the cabin of that plane, grab them up in His arms and carry them home. Do you ever think about death in that way. I sure do. What a moment that will be!! However, on this side of heaven there are people who are devastated, hurting, maybe even angry from their loss. I know I would feel all of that and more.
I have a dear friend who lost her husband and all three of her boys in a plane crash just ten years ago. Can you fathom in your wildest dreams what it would be like to bury 3 of your 4 children and your husband on the same day? I can not wrap my mind around that. You moms must know this is something you would never get over. Every birthday, every holiday, every milestone that they should have been crossing would not be celebrated. Could not be celebrated. Instead, with each of these events, the pain and the raw emotion is brought back to the surface again and again. It is relentless. Never ending.
You know, when I look at my life, I have to say that I have suffered very little. Yes, I have walked through some dark days, some difficult times. I have worried, cried a lot of tears and wasted a lot of time living in fear. But in the grand scheme of things I have to step back, take a look and realize how blessed I have been. Whenever I get the "poor little me's," and shame on me when I do, I think of Kicia. I then have to remind myself that I really have nothing to cry about. My problems are so small, so trite. And yes, sometimes they are meaningless. There are so many people walking around on this planet carrying pain that is so unbearable, I am sure they have to remind themselves to breathe. I know God promises that He will not give us more than we can handle. I have seen some horrific things that people have had to endure and you know, I don't always agree with Him on this. That's just my human flesh speaking out. I do know this, there is nothing so terrible that could happen to us, that He would not be with us every step of the way. Life brings change, but praise God, His character never changes. He is always good, always loving, and always faithful. He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. His presence is such a gift. A gift that will never be taken away from us. Remember the story of Job. Thank you God for letting Job's story be a part of your holy word, so we can know for sure you can get us through anything. I believe as Kicia began to discover these truths for herself, that God began to empower her to get up, take steps and move toward His complete purpose for her life.
Kicia is my hero. I love her with all my heart. May we all strive to put away the "poor little me's." Let's ask God, who in my world is really suffering today? Then may we be His hands, His feet, His arms of love. May we be His ears that listen, His heart that forgives. May we worry less, and smile more. May our lives be all that He has purposed them to be. This my friends is all part of my journey today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Warrior Princess

"the Lord was not in the noise and confusion, but in the still, small voice." 1 Kings 19:11
I love me some early morning. I really do. There is just something about being up before everyone else. The quiet, early morning is my favorite time of day. I used to struggle so much with getting out of bed and having a time alone with God. It got so bad at one point in my life that I lived every day in total guilt. I thought, I can not call myself a Christ-follower if I can't get up to meet with Him in the mornings. I call it the years when I lost my quiet time. It started in college I might add. I prayed over and over to ask God to give me the discipline to get up. Then it occurred to me one day. Everyday, that I do not get up and read His Word and cover my family in prayer, is a day when I am sending my family out into this world, completely naked and without the armor of God. They are then vulnerable to the firey darts of the enemy. Wow. That will give you a new perspective. So, I play this little game in the morning. I set my main alarm for 4:50 am. I need about 20 minutes to wake up. I turn it off and grab my cell phone which is on vibrate. The reason for this - my husband kindly asked me to quit hitting snooze 10 times each morning. So alarm is off, cell phone is laying upon my chest. I let it go off two times. I am usually up by 5:15. I like a full hour with God before I get my kids up at 6:15. On the mornings when it is particularly tough, I pretend that I am a warrior princess who has to get up and fight for my family. Think that is weird. I do too, but it works. It's like I am rising up to go into battle for my children, my family. My sweet friend Jeana Floyd has taught me that most parenting should be done on your knees. Boy, am I learning that she is right. We as parents have got to get it - WE ARE IN A WAR. The battle is constantly raging and it is our duty and privilege to get up in the morning and fight for our children. Every day I tell God, my kids are yours. They do not belong to the enemy. They are yours. So protect them spiritually and physically today. Guard over their hearts and minds. And may they grow to love you, love your Word and love your church with all their hearts. And God, please bring godly men into their lives that will love you, love your Word, your church with all their hearts. And my they adore my daughters as well.
One of my greatest desires and passions in life is that I become a true prayer warrior. I am nowhere near that now....but well on my way. So I'm calling all Warrior Princesses and Warrior Princes to get up, strap on your armor and get thyself into the battle. It rages on. This is all part of my journey today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lessons I've Learned in Parenting

Tonight we will be celebrating Meredith's 12th birthday. She is so excited and could hardly settle down to go to sleep last night. When I went to wake her this morning I saw a beautiful young woman lying there. Where has the time gone? 6 more years at home. It just doesn't seem possible. I am constantly taking evaluation of my "mothering" skills. I question myself quite often, just wondering if I have done enough, if I am doing enough...where I am messing up, where I am flourishing? Believe me, I have messed up a lot with my kids. For one, they have way too much stuff. But don't we all. One day I said to my mom, "kids are expensive." Her reply was, "you're expensive." Jab well taken and received. Still in the midst of it all, I have to smile inside because I know we have done many things right. We take the lead from some dear friends of ours, Tom and Robin Joseph. They have great kids. Ever so often I will take notice of exceptional kids. Then I start asking questions of the parents of those exceptional kids. That is when I get answers, real answers on how to raise great kids. Ask and you shall receive. The Joseph's, for years, had a little, tiny television set in their home office. It wasn't even located in the main family room. It was just not the center of their lives as it is to most of us. And, are you sitting down, they did not have cable. Many days we would pop in and the kids would be hovered around the TV watching the Andy Griffith Show. You have to love that. I love that they had the fortitude to do this. Did we follow this completely? NO. But we did follow it in part. Lesson 1 learned, it is up to us as parents to guard over the hearts and minds of our children. We don't ever watch something on TV that is not appropriate for our kids and then tell them.....Go play. It's like, leave us alone so we can watch our "inappropriateness." Most nights there is nothing good on. A few favorites at our house are...Discovery Chanel, 18 and Counting, Planet Earth, Treasure Quest, The Waltons. (We just finished season 2) We have learned to turn off the TV and spend time with our kids. And thus, we are protecting their little hearts and minds. Kids are exposed to so much today. Books, Movies, and Magazines are the worst. We don't need to add fuel to the fire by being too tired to tell them to turn off that trash and come sit and talk or play a game. It takes time, energy and creativity to make sure our kids are protected. Good parents can't afford to be lazy. They understand that parenting is just good old fashioned hard work. If you are saying, you know I really don't think what my kids watch or what I watch or read for that matter affects me or them in anyway. Rethink that, please. There are actually people who have said that to me. God's word says to guard over our hearts with all diligence and that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. What is in our hearts does matter. It matters greatly. Guard their hearts with fervor.
Lesson 2. Be consistent...even when it is inconvenient. Consistency is huge. Do what you say you will do? Be the example. If you want your kids to be kind, respectful, and loving to others. Then you first must be that and especially in the home. That is when our children see us for who we are. I hate it when I blow it on this one. And I have blown it many times. You know those times when you just can't take it anymore and things start coming out of your mouth that make you look and sound like a scary 3 headed monster. Will someone say I am with you girl? Oh the pain of those moments. I know we all have them. But you know what, I always, and I mean always go back to my girls and say, I'm sorry. Momma messed up big time and I want you to forgive me. How precious those moments are!! And even more when the tables are turned and they come to me and say, momma, will you please forgive me. That is always a victory in my house. Always!!
Yep, time sure is flying by. May I remember that this day is a gift. May I love and cherish the people God has given me. May I strive to better myself as a mother and may my children reap the benefits. This my friends is part of my journey today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is my relationship with God a chore?

I am reading this amazing book called "Crazy Love," by Pastor Francis Chan. This book has radically changed the way I look at my life. I was reading this morning and came across a quote that completely gripped the very depth of my soul. He says, "When I look at my relationship with God as a chore, a sacrifice, then I am getting the glory - not God. I keep saying, "look what I have sacrificed for God..." or listen to what I do for God." Whoa!! Jump back, let me read that again. I know I have been guilty of this. Especially after serving in the ministry for almost 17 years now. I have thought to myself many times....look what I have given up for the sake of the ministry and oh how I have sacrificed. Those who are close to me have probably heard me even say some of these pathetic things from time to time. Pastor Chan has rattled me to the core. How can I ever look at ministry the same way again? How can I ever look at my life the same way again? Everything I have is a gift from God...everything. How can I not wake up everyday and say, I get to live this day, I get to worship God with my life today. No matter how tough it gets, no matter how frustrated I become, how tired, how weary.... it is a privilege. A privilege. I just have to keep saying that word so it will sink in. To live my life everyday is a privilege, not a chore, not a sacrifice. My prayer is that I will truly get this. I mean, I want to so get it that it radically changes my life, my children, my family, and others that I am blessed to know.
I dare you to read this book. It's o.k. to get a little uncomfortable, so that in our discomfort we can become transformed into the image of God. And that my friend in a very good thing. This was all part of my journey today.