Teaching Them Diligently pt 2: Family Devotions

Last week, we started a series on Teaching Them Diligently.  We started with the most important topic- loving God.  Over the next weeks (Tuesday and Thursdays) we are going to look at some specific areas where we can be diligent in teaching our children. We are going to move on this week with talking about family devotions.

The first thing to know is that it is important to have family devotions. Like we talked in the first post about loving God, we have been given stewardship over our children. God has given them to us as a blessing- but they are His. I always feel like my kids are on loan from God. They are His creations, and hopefully, one day they will choose to worship their Creator, and surrender their lives to Him. In the mean time, they are in mine and my husbands care, and I want to be a good steward over the time I have with them. I know that we will give an account for the way that we raised them – not for the choices they make – but for our time, investment and teaching of them. This is why it is important that we be diligent.

In today’s world, it is a fight for family time. Screens have taken over the time family used to spend reading books, playing games, doing crafts, and playing outside. Screens have become our children’s closest friend and where they turn when they need something to do. With this in mind, children have lost their already small attention spans. If it isn’t full of lights, sounds and action, sadly, it doesn’t hold their attention. How then, do we as families make time for family devotions? What do we use? How do we facilitate them?

1.When and Where: Set a place and a time – Make a family appointment each day to spend time with God and each other. This needs to be a screen free environment. We have chosen to use our dining room. TV’s, computers, I-pods and cellphones are not welcome there. We enjoy meal times where we talk and interact. We get this privilege almost twice a daily, 5-6 times a week.  Our family does devotions in the morning after breakfast before we head to work and school. I find this to be important because it gives them positive things to think on as they start their day, and my hubby and I have a time to pray over them before they go to school each day. We also keep this same “rule” in place for dinner time- and we talk about our “high and low” for the day – and discuss any prayer request or praises we might have had from the day.

2. What to use? Our family has used some great resources over the years. One we love, that is free, is the Children’s Resources from Good Morning Girls. Good Morning Girls does several sessions a year, and usually all but the Summer Book Club has resources.These actually go along with the adult reading plans and so you and your child are reading and sharing about the same things! Another one I love during Christmas and Easter is found at – she has Truth in the Tinsel and A Sense of the Resurrection.These are great, hands on resources that you can buy for a small fee, but allow you some great, engaging resources to use. Another one our family has liked, especially for mornings where we might be shorter on time is Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids: Time-Tested Answers to Your Toughest Questions. This one has short devotions, with a few scriptures, that allow you to read it as though Jesus was speaking to you. I also love The Dig Luke Vol. 1 and The Dig for Kids: Luke Vol. 2. These are written by Patrick Schwenk, who is the husband to my friend Ruth over at The Better Mom and For the Family. I got the opportunity to walk my kids through the book of Luke by using these- they are so much fun, interactive, and right on kids level- while still being interesting and deep for parents! The last one I want to share is the one we have used most recent, and that is Our 24 Family Ways: A Family Devotional Guide. This one is dear to my heart because it teaches our kids a lot about character, and gives them a great spiritual foundation. It is written by Sally Clarkson, who I highly respect.  Maybe you will have another one you would like to share with me in the comments! Also – it is important to remember  – and something we do often – you don’t need ANY book outside of your Bible. Maybe your child is struggling with Anger… well, this is a great time to do a word study on Anger. Or the tongue. Or kindness. Or any other struggle that your child might face. Just find scripture and read about it, write about it, and talk about it!

3. How? Well, each devotional has had different ideas, however, our family has a simple pattern we typically follow. We always have our Bibles. Real Bibles – not screens. I find this to be important for several reasons – but mainly, it keeps integrity, and doesn’t cause them to be tempted to change their focus. Daddy leads in our home- but Mama, if Daddy isn’t a Christian or not home- don’t feel bad about training your children! We open in prayer and ask God to teach us. We dive into God’s Word. We take turns reading- and allowing the kids to read – so they read God’s Word for themselves. Scott and I then share about what we have read. We ask questions. We discuss things that are brought up. Then we pray again. This doesn’t usually last for more then about 20-30 minutes – and we change topics often to keep everyone engaged.

No matter HOW, or WHAT you use, the important thing is that you get into God’s Word with your kids. That they see you interact with the Bible- both in personal and family devotions.We are setting up the habits now for our children- and we are building that foundation of their spiritual lives! Walking them to the cross daily is an act of Worship to our King.

Worshiping With My Life,

Bible Study, Marriage, Parenting, Womanhood

Mercy To The Least of These

Who is our neighbor? When this answer was asked of Jesus, the response was – anyone who  is around us. The story of the Great Samaritian showed that to be true. It wasn’t the person who should have helped- who should have shown himself to be a neighbor to the hurt man. No, it was the last person you would expect.

I have found the same to be true lately. The people who are closest to me are not always to people in closest proximity. Yet, we are called- called to minister. Not just to those who are near us. Not just to those who it is easy to love. We are called to show

The people that automatically come to mind as neighbors are those I live with. My family. These are the people I live with. How generous with my time and resources am I with those who are closest to me? It would seem that we are the most generous to them- but they are often the first we take from. We need to remember that our family is our first ministry. Behind God, they are our first priority. Yet, they are often the ones we are quickest to give our least to – the end of our resources. We need to give them the best of us.

The next people are those who are truly our neighbors. The ones who live in front, behind, and beside you. We live in a culture that doesn’t know their neighbors anymore. You give the casual wave as you drive out the driveway – but yet, we give no care to their deepest need – the way they might be poor – in their relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to take back hospitality and get to know our neighbors.

What about the homeless? The less fortunate. You may even know their faces in your community. Are you blessing these people – or just scared of them. I do think we need to use caution – but I believe God places them in our lives for a reason.

Lastly, I want to take a step out even further. To the widows and orphans. The book of James tells us that true religion is in how we care for these important people. If you have spent any time here at all, you know my heart for adoption. It goes beyond the baby I am going to one day hold- to all the orphans- the 101,666 orphans world wide – that don’t have a home. That are poor. They live in less then great conditions – or are born to parents that can’t take care of them, but don’t feel like they have an option either. The wonderful women who choose life for their babies  – even at the cost of their own. Then, the widows. The ones we have left behind. They feel uncared for by the world. They need encouragement. A meal. Cards at the holidays. A visit. Simple moments of our time, that show that they are still cared about – after the one human in the world who loved them with all their being is gone. These two groups of people will pull at your heart strings, stretch you – and push you beyond yourself. We need to extend the mercy of God to these.


Goodnight Ark: A Review

One of my favorite parts of the day is reading my little girl her bed time story. Lately though, she has been reading good night stories to me. Today, I am excited to share one of our new favorites, “Goodnight Ark”.

Good Night Ark   tells the story of Noah and the ark in a humorous way for children. It parody’s how many nights go in lots of our households- with extra people in the bed! Noah is trying hard to get some sleep, but his new animal friends just won’t let him! It makes light of the age old question of how Noah would get any sleep with all those animals!

I loved how easy to read this book was. As a mom, this is important to me- I want my little girl to be able to read the book along with me. The pictures are beautifully done. I also love that the author used some unusual animals in the story- like a quail! There are lots of repetitive words and animal sounds for the early reader to be able to help you read the story to them. It’s bedtime theme makes it a great story for bedtime.  I would say this book is geared for ages 3-8.

Now, if you are looking to teach the story about Noah’s Ark – in it’s complete, Biblical way, then this might not be the book you would use .There is no reference to Noah building the ark, to his wife and sons (or their wives). It actually looks like Noah was on the ark by himself with all these animals. Noah never gets off the ark in this book- he barely gets any sleep! I really loved this book as a story book – and a sweet, funny story line- but I would not use it on a Sunday Morning when i was teaching Bible story. I would us it in the preschool setting the week I teach Noah’s Ark – but I would be teaching that this book is fiction and not meant to tell “the whole story.” It would be a great story to use for a compare or contrast activity.

All in all, I think this book is an awesome book for homes. There is nothing that goes against our Christian beliefs – and it led to some great conversations in our household.


Adoption: Not Just A Journey For A Baby (Homestudy Pt 2)

A few weeks ago, we finished our home study process. I wrote the post about this first visit- and how you can prepare. However, what they don’t usually tell you when you are starting the process is that the word “home study” doesn’t mean one visit- it means multiple visits and talks – and it means digging down and sharing things you might not have talked about in a long time.


Our second visit didn’t happen in our home- it happened at the adoption agency. I didn’t get to go with my hubby- we had to go alone. I walked into the agency that day not really knowing what to expect. I was met by our social worker – and taken into her office – and there, sat a couch.

Yes, a couch. I didn’t think of it much at first. I mean, one of my old pastors had a love seat in his office at one time. Comfy chairs. I figured it was just a nice and comfy place to sit. I was then asked to fill out a questioneir. I felt like I had already filled out a ton of paper work. After all, another term for adoption is “paper pregancy”. So, I filled in the survey about drug and alchol use. Wasn’t hard since I never struggled with those things.

We began to talk, and I realized why there was a couch. I felt like I was being psychoanalyzed. We talked about my whole life- and how I dealt with the cards I had been given. From having only a mom till I was three, adjusting to having a step dad (which was hard- since I don’t remember ever adjusting!), the entrance of sibblings, being picked on, my families socioeconomic status. College. Past relationships. The list was long- and old hurts came back up.

I left the office feeling different than when I walked in. I know the reason WHY behind the questions – but I still struggled with the old feelings that were there. Feelings of not being accepted or loved. Not being enough. I had the day off that day, and so I took myself to the local coffee shop, and pulled out my trusty Bible.  God spoke very boldly to me that day as I read Psalm 139. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. His thoughts toward me are precious- and more than the numbers of sand on the shore. He knew me in my innermost being. He created me. He loved me.

It was in those moments, as I read these reassuring words, that I remembered the process that I am in-  adoption. That I am going to bring a baby home who is going to have to deal with some of these same feelings. Even though we will always tell our child how loved they were by their birth mom – there might be questions of that love. Even though we won’t care if their skin looks like ours- they might get asked hard questions or get picked on. They will have to adjust- even though they are a baby, I won’t be the voice they are used to, or the smell of their birth mom. They will get siblings. Their story will be written differently then others. God will use that.

I saw God weave my story into the story of my unborn child. I cried tears of joy as I understood – from Heavens persepctive – why some of the things have happened to me over my life. I felt incrediably loved in that moment- that God would care so much for me, that He would plan out things that would bring me to this very moment- and prepare me “for such a time as this”.

I was able to praise Jesus in that coffee shop. I am sure I looked like a crazy girl. I am. Crazy in love with Jesus- and the child He is forming for our family.

I say all that – for this reason- God’s ways are higher then ours. If you are going through an adoption, and you are in the part of the journey where you are being “studied” – remember – God wrote your story. Let others study it so that they may see the fingerprints of God all over you, and praise Him for His unique care over YOUR life.

Don’t forget- this week we are promoting the bundle sale that will help with our adoption. ALL of the funds raise -every dollar given- will go toward that adoption. We are trusting God for 1,000 bundles to sell – can you help?


Why we Struggle to Manage our Children.

Consistently addressing the behavior of our children can become frustrating. All the commands we’re repeating wear us down bringing discouragement. When their behavior is corrected, we enjoy a slight reprieve, but who are we kidding? Five minutes later, they are at it again. Can you relate?

I was a Behaviorist in the early years of my parenting. Behaviorism is, as Tedd Tripp explains in, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart,” an attempt to control or constrain behavior through offering negative or positive consequences. This method only scratches the surface of the problem. I’ve since grown into the parental shepherd, who shows them their need for a Savior.

I’ve come to the realization, that although their behavior needs to be rectified, most likely immediately, I need to dig a little deeper into the soil of their hearts. For their behavior is rooted in this soil which is contaminated with our sin. Of course, the fruit from their behavior is going to reflect their struggle. The Bible clearly states, our words and actions express what’s in our heart.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

“A person’s life is the reflection of his heart.” ~ Tedd Tripp

We can conclude then, the behavior we see our children demonstrating is a reflection of their heart. To achieve lasting change we need to cultivate the soil of their hearts. Managing or controlling their actions is not sufficient, and this is why we struggle.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

If our goal is to only change their negative responses, when called to do so, there is a possibility we may raise Pharisee’s. The Pharisee’s honored Jesus with their lips, while their hearts were far from Him. (Matthew 15:9). This is a recipe for rebellion. Instead, we’d like our children to honor us with their hearts, not just give us lip service, while resenting the boundaries or discipline within our families. Most of all, they need to own their own faith in Christ, desiring to give Him their all.

So how can we cultivate the soils of their hearts then? Once their behavior has been tackled with, we could consider the following:

  • Asking our children questions that’ll expose the attitude of their heart that resulted in the negative behavior.
  • Explain how this attitude/sin reflects a heart that is far from God.
  • Explain their need for Jesus and the sacrifice He made for them.
  • Once the attitude has been uncovered, replace it with a good character quality. For example, replace hatred with love. (1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 16:14).
  • From scripture, read a story where hatred was expressed, and the consequences that ensued. In this case, you could read the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:8. Hatred was motivated by jealousy and resulted in murder. Other stories that illustrate hatred are Esau and Jacob (Genesis 27:41), and Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37).
  • We can ask our children to memorize a scripture. For instance, “Hatred stirs up strife; but love covers all sins,” (Proverbs 10:12), or “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
  • Consider spending a month of consistent teaching on an attitude that is often dealt with. This will uproot the bad habit and form a new one. A great resource I’ve used is the, “Write upon My Heart,” series by Keepers of the Faith.
  • Pray together with your child, asking God to create a new heart of love within them.
  • Encourage the little improvements you notice, and they’ll naturally want to please you.

We need to know scripture well in order to apply it to our parenting in discipleship and discipline. Consider making a notebook with all the bad attitudes and corresponding good character qualities with scripture references and related Bible stories. A great resource is, “For Instruction in Righteousness,” by Pam Forster. It’s a topical reference guide for child training. All the research has been done for you. I realize this book is expensive, it took me a while to purchase it, but I was not disappointed. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

We can try to manage our children’s behavior until we are red in the face and exhausted, but it’s not going to bring the lasting transformation we long for. Only accessing their hearts, and leading them to the cross where the Holy Spirit can mold them will bring peace to our homes. Cultivate and plant the seeds of Gods Word within them, and leave the rest to Him.

May the Lord give you discernment as you seek to dig a little deeper into their hearts, and may the Holy Spirit be your inspiration as you shepherd your children.

How else can we cultivate their hearts? I’d love to hear your ideas.


When Your Ideas and Reality Are Not The Same (Adoption Journey – Homestudy Pt 3)

There are times in life when the ideas and reams you have in your head and reality don’t end up being the same. I have experienced this quite a few times in life – like when I didn’t get married till 28, when most girls got married at 24. Motherhood didn’t come the way I expected- I thought I would get married, wait a few years, and then have babies. Sadly, that wouldn’t be the way my body would cooperate. Adoption was the way I wanted to grow my family – but after I had some biologically. However, reality and my ideas didn’t line up then… and even with our adoption, there have been parts that have not lined up with reality.

The last day of our home study process was on August 4 – which happened to be mine and hubby’s 2 year anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary – by finalizing the home study process. The kiddos were going to stay with my parents so we could get a dinner date in – just the two of us. We knew we were going to have a lot to talk about. We were right – but it wasn’t all what we thought it would be.

Our social worker got to our house, and we began our discussion. Hubby and I were prepared for the discussion, and we thought we were ready. The topic- was parenting. No problem. Scott had been doing the parenting thing for 13 years, and I had been at it for 2 – with tons of child experience. We figured we knew all the answers.

Except to the question about when and how we would tell the children we had been “matched”. The magic word in adoption world, that everyone is waiting on. Everyone wants to know that there is a baby on the way – that a birth mom has picked you, and that it is a sure deal. Problem is – it isn’t a sure deal until you get that baby home from the hospital. I couldn’t wait to tell our kids that – to share if they were getting a brother or a sister (or both!).

However, our social worker didn’t think that was what was best. My kids – and my in-loves – have been through a lot of loss. What would happen if we told our kids they were getting a baby sister – and then, we came home empty handed. Not only will Scott and be disappointed and heartbroken – but so would our kids.

Well, I was heartbroken. Being someone who would probably not get pregnant – I felt like I would never get the opportunity to share my good news. That I was going to have to keep a secret from all of those I love dear – including my kids. My dreams and ideas were again gone, and I was left with reality, a hard truth, but one nonetheless.

We finished up our meeting and headed to our favorite reasturant. We began to discuss how we felt about what was shared. Scott, being the more levelheaded, understood our social workers point. All I can see was my hurt and disappointment.

A few days later I talked to my good friend who just went through an adoption – and is going to do another. I asked her what she felt about telling her children about future adoptions. She gave me great advice. “Adoption is a faith journey. For all of us. Including our kids. We plan on telling our kids that there is a birth mom, and she is thinking about our family as a good fit for her baby. The baby is a girl.” That is truthful and honest- without getting their hopes us. We wont be telling them we have been chosen (although I will be screaming it on the inside!) but, they will know what is coming. When we go to get the baby, we will just tell our children we are going to visit the birth mom and the baby. If we get to come home with the baby- the surprise will be great. If not, there will not be as much disappointment for our kids. However, they will still get to pray and wait and enjoy the journey with us.

No, it wont look like me dream, but it will work for our family. Life doesn’t look like our dreams- and I am sure glad it doesn’t. My dreams are nothing compared to God’s – His are always better!

Right now, we are trying to pull together the funds together for our adoption. My idea and dream was that all my friends and family would rally around us, and we would come up with the money no problem. Again, this has not been God’s idea. We have had family and friends support- but many have said they are waiting till we are matched or that they want to do a baby shower. My heart cries as I wish I could tell them that a match doesn’t mean a baby. That they could give to us then – and we still might not bring a baby home. That we don’t really desire a baby shower- we are good with things we have picked up, or already loved items from friends. Right now, we can’t move any further until the funds are raised.

I am so blessed by my friends Misty (from Beautiful Ashes) and Bridget (from Becoming A Godly Wife) and the rest of the blogging community for all the love and support they have given us. This week – and we are running out of days- they are doing an Ebook bundle. For $10.00 (two starbucks coffees or a McDonalds lunch) you get 26 eBooks -worth over $100.00. You can also enter a giveaway (worth over $300.)  Or, you can simply donate. We feel strongly God is going to use people we DON’T KNOW to bring our baby home – because in that, HE GET’S ALL THE GLORY! Not us. We couldn’t get the glory.

Won’t you join us – when a child is adopted into a Christian family, they are going to be exposed to the gospel – and that – could change the landscape of eternity.

Bible Study, Parenting

Living With Infertility

“You have a hormone imbalance.” Simple words spoken by my female doctor that would forever change my life. Being unmarried and 26, I wasn’t sure what those words meant for me. I just knew I wasn’t getting a cycle like I once did. I had gone through some weight gain- and then weight loss – and so I thought my infrequent cycle was due to changes in my weight. The nurse that came to sit beside me smiled and told me we could talk or cry if we needed to. I was still unsure what any of this meant, told the nurse I was fine, and left the doctor’s office.

I went home, and did what any person of the internet age would do – I got on Google. I started looking at what hormone imbalances meant. Struggles with getting pregnant. Medicine – that could alter my personality and how I felt. Whenever you deal with hormones- you are altering more then just the way your body reacts- you are altering who you are. My head began to wrap around the idea. I struggled with something that would require medicine – for a the rest of my life. Or, I would live with the effects.

The doctor had told me since I was not sexually active, nor wanting to get pregnant – that I didn’t need to take medications yet if I didn’t want to. I choose not to. I didn’t see a real reason to change what was working okay for me. I figured when I got married, we would deal with it.

I lived with this knowledge for a few years alone. I didn’t want to talk about it – because I didn’t want to deal with it. I felt like if I didn’t talk about it – didn’t share – that it wasn’t real. Then, I met my husband. Back to the doctor I went. I tried the first medicine, and felt crazy on it. Hot flashes, horrible dreams, and increased hunger. Tried another- similar results. Since I tried some of the medications, I have gained a lot of weight. All the while walking toward my wedding day – and the truth. I was…

Before Scott and I even started dating, he had told me that He had his first wife (who had passed away) had thought they were done with children – and so he had a vasectomy. I told him in the same conversation that I struggled with a hormone imbalance. Nothing big about it – no issue. However, as we moved toward dating -and than marriage –  our desire to have a child together one day grew. I was so excited to become the “bonus mom” to our three blessings – but the longing inside my heart was still to have a baby. To experience life with my child from the very beginning.  Hubby and I talked, and prayed, and cried. Many tears out of our eyes and hearts. I had such adverse effects to the medications I tried – that I just couldn’t stay on them. So, Scott and I sought wise counsel.

We talked to several friends, and older wiser people in our churches. Medical counsel. We came down to some blunt basics. There were choices for me- but they were expensive. IVF  (In Vitro Fertilization) is very expensive and invasive- and it doesn’t always take. My medication was expensive – and had adverse effects (that I didn’t want to have while being a mom – and some of them would effect the physical side of mine and hubby’s relationship.) If we tried just medicine- Scott would also need reversal surgery – which is also expensive and doesn’t always work. Or then there was adoption.

If you have heard much of my story- you know adoption started in my heart from before I was born. I didn’t know my biological dad- and was adopted by my step dad at the age of three. He never treated me different then my siblings. I always knew I was loved. He was a wonderful example of God’s love for us (found in Romans and Ephesians 1:4-6). I had been around families that had adopted and had always thought I would like to adopt after I had biological children. I just never thought it would be the ONLY way I would grow my family.

Scott and I did a lot of praying. We realized a lot of money was going to go into any of our choices. However, we want to be a good steward of the money God has given us. So, we decided adoption was our best bet. The other options didn’t really promise us a baby- adoption had the most promise. Plus, we would get to have an eternal effect on the life of a child, and maybe a birth family. We could be a missionary in our own home.

Currently, Scott and I have paid almost $9,000 for our adoption. Please don’t think that all these fundraisers are a way for us to ask others to do for us. However, we know God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns EVERY DOLLAR IN THE WORLD. We know that He has people that He will use to bless us – and to help us bring our sweet baby home.

Every day, I live with infertility. I see “I am pregnant” announcements. Gender reveals. Ultrasounds. And I am excited – for every. single. one.  However, some of the greatest advice I have been given has been to grieve. Yes, I grieve. Three to four times a year, when I do get a cycle, I cry. I grieve for the loss of a child that will never be in my womb. Eyes that wont look like mine. Kicks and flutters in my tummy that wont be felt. Yes my friend, if you struggle with infertility, please grieve. You have a right -you have loss. Most people don’t feel like I have dealt with loss- because the baby was never there. However, it is the loss of what WON’T be.

I hold my hands open. I don’t know what God is going to do. I know in just 3 days, this adoption fundraiser will be over – and although there will still be post about adoption (for education) – we wont be asking for as much help. We have given SO many ways that people can help us. But the days for these fundraisers are coming to a close.

If you were thinking of waiting until we have a “match” to help us –  the reality is, we might not share that information with everyone. We know there is a chance the birth mom will back out. We might share- we might not. We don’t know yet. However, we can’t be matched without the funds. It doesn’t work that way at our agency. There is no payment plan. You don’t get matched without the funds. So, please, if you feel like you are waiting – don’t wait.

Besides the fundraisers listed in the link above, we are selling t-shirts (and we need to sell about 40 more!) and bracelets. If you follow the link from the t-shirt graphic – it will take you to a secure site for your address. You can pay via the GoFundMe Link. T-shirts are 20 – bracelets are 2.00.


Then- there is our adoption bundle. 26 amazing eBooks – all for $10.00. The authors are not making a profit- they are giving everything to our adoption. You can get yours by clicking the image below. Also, be sure to check out the giveaway (valued at over $300.00)


I live with infertility. Every day. It isn’t going away. I hid and kept quiet for a long time. But, if I have learned anything from this journey – it is that I shouldn’t hide. That there are other women like me out there. We need each other. We need to lock shields, and support and encourage one another. Hold each other in our hard times- and rejoice in victories.

I will worship as I LIVE with infertility. I will live – giving ALL glory to God – for He is going to give me children in a supernatural way.

Worshiping With My Life,


Peaceful Parenting: Peaceful Training

The beginning of peaceful parenting starts with planning. We must plan how we want to raise our kids, what we want to teach them, how we will correct their behavior, etc. Once we’ve planned, our plans must turn into action. In order for our homes to be peaceful, we must be at peace in our parenting choices and begin training our children according to those same choices and plans.

Peaceful training comes from peaceful parents. Peaceful parents come from a close relationship with God. His peace passes all understanding and when we’re walking with Him, we are blessed with His peace.

So, how do you implement child training in a peaceful way? What steps should you take to get started?
1. Mind your manners.

Yes, we are the parents and we need to be obeyed, but we must ensure we’re practicing the manners we expect from our children. Sometimes including a please or thank you can instantly change an attitude or a conversation’s direction.
2. Be consistent.

Once you’ve set up the rules or told your child no, stick to it. Don’t give in or change your mind, it simply confuses your child and can weaken your authority. This step is exactly why planning first is key to peaceful training, you must know what your rules and expectations are in order to be consistent.

Peaceful Parenting: Peaceful Training
3. Lower your voice.

Even if you aren’t yelling or upset, the tone in which we parent comes across more harshly than we realize. Take 2 seconds and lower your voice one decibel, you’ll be surprised at how different it sounds to your own ears.
4. Expect your child to obey and do well.

Our kids are very in tune with us and if they sense we don’t expect them to obey or that we think they can’t do something, then they often won’t bother to try. We must believe in our children so they can believe in themselves.
5. Lovingly disciple.

Our children will make mistakes, after all they are sinners just like us. We must take them to God’s word to show them what God says about their specific incorrect behavior and why it’s wrong. Showing them in God’s word teaches them it isn’t our rules, it’s bigger than us, they’re God’s. Parenting requires retraining throughout our kids lives. It’s important to readdress the specific rule or expectation we have that they’ve broken and why it’s important to follow then, each time they’ve disobeyed us because…(see #5) consistency is key.

Peaceful training isn’t an overnight process nor will it happen 100% of the time. We don’t like in a perfect world and we aren’t perfect people.

When we make the decision and efforts that creating a peaceful home requires, we will find ourselves more at peace as parents when the difficulties do come along.

Remember…peace comes from God…

We are peaceful parents when we’re walking closely with Him…

Peaceful training begins with planning and continues with loving consistency.


Peaceful Parenting: Peaceful Rule Establishment

We touched on planning being an important first step in the peaceful parenting process. Yet, it can be difficult to find the right balance for peaceful rule establishment.

Peaceful rule establishment is easiest when your children are little because they grow up only knowing the rules as they’ve always been. Often times parenting throws us for a loop and we don’t set up rules when they’re long and then it is harder when they’re older to have a peaceful rule establishment. But, I believe it can be done.

1. Pray.

Especially if your kids are older, because setting up new rules will be “rocking the boat”.

2. Write down the rules you won’t budge on.

You know the no smoking or drinking, curfew is _____ and no later, etc. write down your non-negotiable rules.

Peaceful Parenting: Peaceful Rule Establishment

3. Have a family meeting.

Openly discuss the areas of your kid’s lives that you feel need some sort of direction or rules and work together to establish them. Maybe your kids always want to do homework at a friends house, find a balance together and make it a rule. After setting up the rules that you were willing to work together on, bring up the non-negotiables. Explain why you’re putting these rules in place and let them know that they are non-negotiable.

4. Post the family rules.

Design a subway art or graphic containing your family’s rules and put it up where it can’t be missed by you or your kids.

5. Be consistent.

As I’ve said before, our kids are sinners, just like we are and they will make mistakes. Our consistency in peaceful rule establishment is key for our children knowing what’s always expected. When the rules change or we waffle on established rules, it confuses them and will make them angry when we try to go back and reestablish them.

We must be consistent in all aspects of peaceful parenting. That is one of the most important steps in parenting. Consistency. Without consistency we can not direct our children because we aren’t pointing them one direction. So, as you start planning your non-negotiable rules make sure they’re only rules you can be consistent with requiring and maintaining. Non-negotiable rules aren’t meant to change and disobedience must be dealt with when they’re broken. Ensure you can uphold these with non-negotiable rules before you establish them.

Peaceful rule establishment won’t happen perfectly, but when we pray for direction and wisdom before we begin this process we will have peace inside as we follow God’s will. After all isn’t God’s peace in parenting what we need most?

Parenting, Womanhood

A Few Steps Behind: A “Timothy” Relationship

“When I grow up – I hope that I am like you.” Those words came so humbling to me from a girl that is dear to my heart. It was in those moments that I knew she looked up to me – that I was a “Paul” relationship in her life. I think that was honestly one of the most scariest things someone has ever said to me – probably only second to me hearing a little girl, walking behind me in pink high heels that were far to big for her, saying that she was going to be like Mommy when she grew up. If you realize it or not- you are probably the Paul to someone  – and having a Timothy in you life is just as important as having a Paul.

In our previous post, we talked about the importance of having a Paul relationship-  someone who is ahead of you in your walk with Christ – so that as you follow and look up to them – you can be seeing a woman of the Lord who is pointing you to God.  However, it is just as important to have a Timothy in our life as well.

A Timothy is someone who is just a few steps behind you. They look up to YOU. Yes, you. You are the one pointing THEM to Christ. You are the one praying for them. You are the one instructing them in God’s Word. You, yes you can be a Paul for someone else – no matter how old you are.

The reason it is important to have a Timothy in your life goes back to that accountability word we talked about last week.  When you know someone is following you – and even walking in your footsteps – you are more likely to keep your life in check. When you know someone is watching -you don’t want to make mistakes. Your going to – but it might help keep you out of some of the harder choices. Having a Timothy increases your prayer life- it gives you someone to pray for – because you desire to see her grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. She is going to ask you hard questions- and need you to help her find the answers from scripture. With that in mind, it keeps you digging each day in the Word of God. Having a Timothy following you helps you grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus Christ  – because you truly want her to be led into a closer relationship with Christ. You don’t want to cause her to stumble.

The young ladies I have had a privilege to mentor have changed my life. They have pushed me deeper in my walk with God- they have asked questions that have driven me to the Word and my knees. We have taken faith steps together. We have climbed walls and seen mountains move. I have watched strongholds come down and God answer prayer.  Yes, I have even cried tears when they have made hard choices. It has been good for me, and my walk with the Lord, to help them on this journey.

We were never made to walk alone. That is why God created a man AND a woman. That is why He has given us friendships. He wants us to have communion. He wants us to strengthen and sharpen one another. So, just as it is important to have women that you are looking to for guidance and wisdom – be that woman in another woman’s life.

I have had the privilege to invest in teenage girls for many years- and have missed it so much since I got married. Those girls are now off in college now -and I still hear from them. They still call (or text!) to get advice about school, relationships, finding churches, and general life. I still pray for them each day – and try to send goodies in the mail! I keep up with them through social media. I couldn’t be prouder of  “my girls” as I have called them since they were just 8-9th graders. Just yesterday, I got a text from one of my girls, Camryn, who just wants to catch up on life. She (and some of the others) have pushed me further in my walk with God than I could have ever dreamed. Farther than any teacher or mentor- because I knew they were watching me. I am so thankful for Camryn, Mackenzie, Katelyn,Brooklynne, Danielle, and Hannah (and many others I am sure I have forgotten to mention) – you girls pushed me like no one else could during that time.

Today, I have some new “Timothy” relationships in my life – my three sweet children. Sweet Friends, if you have children – any children, not just your own – in your life- you have little Timothy in your life. They are watching. They do mimic what you do. You are teaching your children faith. I even feel this with pressure with my niece, who I also hope always knows her Aunt loves her and wants her to know Jesus in a sweet way.  No matter how you are in their lives- if you know children – you are investing in the lives of others.

Having those you invest in is just as important – if not more so in some ways- then having others invest in you. If you just let others fill you up – you will begin to stink. People who are full of wisdom, who don’t give out- become like a sponge full of water. If you leave the water in your sponge- and never ring it out- it will begin to mold and stink. Wisdom that isn’t used rots- and things that rot stink.  Discipleship is a ministry that can happen in our homes, in our church – and in our world. It is a process- and it is what we were left on the planet to do.

Who are those that you are investing in? I would love to hear about who and how in the comments! <3

Worshiping With My Life,