What I Learned from Misplacing My Computer

All of us deal with failure at some point or other. Some failures are more embarrassing than others, but all seem to have something we can learn from them.

You’re not going to believe this, but – I lost my computer! Yes, I know it’s here somewhere, but, you see, the house looks like a bomb went off! My men went to get our things from storage in another state, and everything ended up all. over. the house!

Our big goal yesterday was to offload the truck, and then get everything out of the cardboard boxes by nightfall so we wouldn’t be invaded by roaches. It worked! But – we didn’t have much time to put things away, and so everything we own is strewn around the house!

I wasn’t expecting such a disaster. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to MISPLACE my computer!! (How in the world does THAT happen??!!)

Well, when life gives you lemons, as the saying goes…make lemonade! Usually I use my blog template and my planned posts to prepare the next post, but…they’re all on my computer! So today I’m writing on my IPad, just from the heart.

That’s ok, right? We can do that sometimes, I suppose.

Here are some things I’ve learned through this time of computerlessness:

  • Always make plans, but expect your plans to be changed, at least somewhat. I had planned on spending the next few days organizing my stuff, in addition to preparing this post, etc. But I hadn’t planned on the complete disarray that occurred when all the stuff got pulled out of boxes! It basically turned my life upside down for awhile.
  • Don’t blame others for the unexpected. Sometimes I get the raw deal of someone else’s lack of planning, but blaming them doesn’t help the situation – it only makes it worse. (In this case, that didn’t happen, thankfully!) If I experience a lot of pressure because someone failed to plan, then I try to go ahead and make things work, and afterwards talk to the person and express to them the difficulties I experienced – rationally!
  • Along the same lines, I must be careful not to beat myself up over failures. Failures are important opportunities to ask some vital questions and discover what went wrong, but they’re bad times to tell myself how awful I am. The Devil loves nothing more than to get a child of God to think either more highly or more lowly of themselves than they ought. Try to be completely honest with yourself, and give yourself some room to grow.
  • If you have a choice between being with your hubby and getting something done, choose to be with your hubby. In this case, my hubby was away for about 4 days, so I wasn’t about to keep working to organize late into the night when I hadn’t spent time with My Beloved in awhile! I’ve been faced with that choice many times, however, and I try to choose the person above the project. Investing in relationships is a million times better (and lots more fun!) than just “getting something done.”
  • Make the most out of the change. Try to reflect about what you can learn from the situation, and how you can prevent it from happening again. In addition, you can take advantage of the change and do something completely different and unexpected – like this post – and share what you’ve learned with others, so that others can grow as well.

Well, if I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that I need to keep better track of my own possessions!! 😉

Question: What have you learned from your failures? Have you ever lost something important to you, and had to make some serious adjustments for it?

Some additional reading:
Here’s an excellent article about Learning from our Mistakes at Daily in the Word.

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you. Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

6 Successful Parenting Strategies

While doing research for my upcoming book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, I found an interesting poem titled “A Fence or an Ambulance,” which was written in  the 1800s. Here’s part of it:

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
“To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best
To prevent other people from falling.”
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence ’round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

—taken from the poem, “A Fence or an Ambulance,”

by Joseph Malins (1895

Many of the 2nd generation Christians I interviewed for my book mentioned the importance of the principle of Building a Barricade. Jamie told me, “Although I was only little when my parents came to know the Lord, I remember how dramatically their lives changed,” Jamie went on to explain.“They went one hundred percent for the Lord, absolutely head first. Anything that they felt was good or godly they began incorporating into their lives, and everything that may have remotely been considered wrong they walked away from. They made some tremendous adjustments very quickly, and have never wavered since. Their consistency over the years has had an incredible impact on my life.”

Another 2nd Generation Christian (and red-headed Christian school teacher,) Arianna, made this statement: “One of the things I feel very strongly about is protecting children. I simply don’t think many people realize how vital it is to shelter young people from the manipulation of the Devil.

Arianna’s comment was typical of these godly young people. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of them said that they were sheltered while they were growing up.

My last four posts have discussed what we need to BE in order to raise children who will follow God. Here is the post everyone’s been waiting for: what to DO to raise godly children. But let me caution you not to sacrifice the internal on the altar of the external; the heart MUST be right before the externals have any meaning whatsoever.  I almost hesitate to write this post, because I fear someone will think this is the most important thing. To those who are concerned primarily with externals over and above heart attitudes, I urge you to seriously consider the outcome of such a philosophy. Those people I talk to who were raised with an over-emphasis on externals told me that their childhoods were not very happy.

Here are some of the principles the godly 2nd generation Christians mentioned:

  • They were raised with an emphasis on attending the House of God.  All of the godly 2nd Generation Christians I spoke to are still in church today. Their parents made church a priority, and these dear people still do.
  • By and large, their family had regular Family Devotions. Although some did not, most of them had Family Devotions. They didn’t have to be long or big preaching sessions, but a time to gather the family and read the Word of God and comment on it.
  • They taught their children a decidedly Christian world view. Almost all of my 2nd Generation Christians attended Christian schools or were home educated. The parents made the sacrifices necessary to ensure their children received a good Christian education.
  • They limited their children’s’ entertainment – TV, videos, movies, internet. They were very careful about what went into their children’s “ear and eye gates.” They understood that what goes into someone’s head really does affect their thinking.
  • They monitored their children’s friends. The influence of friends cannot be overstated. Friends can influence for good or bad, and these parents carefully kept track of their children’s friendships, encouraging them to choose good friends, not bad ones.
  • They were careful about the kind of music allowed in the home.  Music, regardless of the lyrics, has a tremendous effect on our spirits and minds. The parents of these folks wanted their children to be surrounded by godly music, rather than music which irritates the soul.

I hasten to add here a warning to those of you who wish to stop reading right here. You’ve been supplied with all your tools to build your barriers and keep your children from the world. And it is true that they must be sheltered. However, understand that it is very easy to fall into the trap that many good parents fall into, and that is the tendency to pull the barriers so tightly that they choke a young person and stifle his ability to interact with others. Be careful; if you create a cloistered environment, it is quite possible that your dear sheltered young person may find a break in the hedge someday and decide to make a run for it.

If he does, he plays right into the Devil’s paws. You can be sure that the hungry lion will be waiting for him when he, with eyes round with bewilderment, comes out of his safe haven. He is right where Satan wants him.

An animated youth pastor, Brandon explained, “Rules—standards—existed, but they were not the central theme of my home. My parents didn’t focus on rules; they focused on the Lord.”

All sorts of additional information, including research, other interviews, and workbook-style questions at the end of each chapter are included in my forthcoming book, Lionproof. If you are interested in what you see here, you will be completely riveted by the information in the book. The interviews changed my life; they may just change yours as well!

Question: What or who do you think is the most formative influence in your children’s lives? In your opinion, how does a child’s environment affect him?

 

Special Announcements:

  • I have many  people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

Linking up with:

Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

 

If You Love Your Kids, Love Your Spouse!

At a friend’s funeral, I was amazed to see her remarkable legacy of nine children and thirty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are being raised in the ministry. Each of her children and most of her grandchildren have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and are living their lives for Him. Mary has been a wonderful testimony of a godly wife and mother.

I would have never guessed, however, that her marriage hadn’t always been wonderful. In their early marriage, the fights were almost constant and Mary wondered if she had made a terrible mistake. Still, Mary and her husband were unwilling to get a divorce, so they turned to God and began attending church.

God graciously rewarded their search for truth by leading them both to trust Him for salvation. Now that they were born-again, they began to seek Him for every decision. Through His Word, they discovered that as they drew closer to God, they drew closer to each other. It created a strong foundation for stable, happy children.

How can I raise happy children who love the Lord? Love my spouse!

Amazingly enough, the vast majority of 2nd Generation Christians I spoke to felt that their parents’ marriage was excellent. At least I thought it was amazing, because in many cases, I personally know their parents…and they don’t have the storybook romance! Not that they fight like two children over a candy bar, but that they have their differences for sure.

That tells me one thing: even if your marriage isn’t perfect, if you’re careful to keep your disputes private, the kids perceive the marriage as excellent. And a child’s perception is the child’s reality.

So how can we love our spouses, even through the differences?

1. Having a desire to please the Lord is probably one of the best things you can have that will strengthen your marriage. One young lady told me, “Both my parents had a tremendous desire to do whatever the Lord wanted, and often that seemed to settle the disputes.”

2. Present a unified front to the children. Successful-parent marriages always back each other up to the children, even if they disagree. They wait until later to talk over the decision privately.

3. Say positive things about your spouse, especially in front of the children. This may be a tough one for some folks, but I feel that it is possible to take the good of your spouse, however small, and show how thankful we are for it.

4. Never tear each other down in public, and especially not in front of the children. Successful parents know that to tear down their spouse is to tear down themselves.

5. Invest in your marriage. Take a little bit of time each day to flirt with or express love to your spouse. The returns on your investment will be tremendous! Take a look at my series on A Lasting Marriage for more ideas!

Let us learn from people like Mary and her husband. They didn’t always have an ideal marriage, but they sought the Lord and did their best to obey Him in their roles as husband and wife. They learned to communicate with each other without animosity, to present a unified front, and to speak positively about their spouse. They learned what the Bible says and began doing it. And because they did, there are now many young people across the globe living as a light for those around them. Oh, to have a legacy like theirs!

Question: Do you believe in the permanency of marriage? How does tearing down our spouses affect our children?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

There are plenty of wonderful marriage blogs that are a real blessing. Here are a few of them:

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

Messy Marriage

The Alabaster Jar

Also, some good books I’ve read on this subject:

Created to Be His Helpmeet, by Debbie Pearl. Debbie has some very insightful principles in her book. The one thing that changed my life completely was her description of the three types of men. If you read nothing else of hers, this alone will help you.

Lovebusters, by Willard Harley. Dr. Harley tells about the things which tear down marriages, and if we’re able to prevent those things from happening, we can build up our marriages.

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. I love the premise of this book, “What if marriage was more to make you holy than happy?” It’s so true. God can use the ministry of marriage in our lives to change us to be more Christ-like…if we let it. Right now, Christian Book Distributors is selling it for only $5!!

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Why I Choose Joy (& Why Complaining is Toxic to Your Family)

 

When my husband contracted Lyme Disease over 20 years ago, we didn’t realize the many long-term effects the disease would have on him. One of the more serious effects is a weakened immune system. If there’s an illness floating around, he is unfortunately the one in the family to get sick first. So to combat this, he takes extra vitamins (and extra precautions) than some of us.

I read a saying once that said, “It’s not that the outside influences are too strong, it’s that the inside fortifications are too weak.”

It reminded me of the verse, “ . . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”(Nehemiah 8:10c)

 

Joy is a powerful influence for good, and a deterrent to evil. Being one of the very first fruits of the Spirit, true inner joy is a quality that Satan despises. It is so powerful, in fact, that the Lord says that it is your strength!

In raising godly Christian young people, joy in parenting is a must! It is like raising a tall, stout wall of defense in the lives of our children. Many of the second-generation Christians I interviewed told of their parents’ joy, and the impact it had on their lives.

While in the northwest one spring, I met Shari, a young assistant pastor’s wife with two small rambunctious children. Her late father was the pastor of a mid-sized country church, where her parents had ministered for 20 years. Shari, a fourth generation Christian, is part of a remarkable family with all six adult children serving the Lord. Her parents’ attitude was that serving the Lord was the best thing in the world.

“My parents simply loved serving the Lord,” she told me. “They truly enjoyed everything they did for God, whether it was soul-winning, bus visitation, cleaning the church, counseling, or anything. It wasn’t just ‘working in the church.’ To them, it was serving the Lord, and it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I guess I grew up thinking the same thing. It seemed to me to be the best thing ever; it was all I wanted to do with my life.”

Shari’s sentiments were not at all unusual. A vast majority of the godly people I talked to felt exactly the same way. In fact, 98% of my respondents said their home was happy!

Let me remind you that these young people know why they are now serving the Lord. It is not rocket science, nor is it merely a theory; it is the principles of Scripture lived out in the lives of their parents that made all the difference.  In some cases, like Shari’s, we see generation after generation of joyful Christians that have impacted the world.

I was quite surprised to learn that the vast majority of my 2nd Generation Christians felt very strongly about these caustic characteristics. They felt that:

 

Complaints are poison.

Unthankfulness is cancerous.

Criticism is corrosive.

 

Does this mean that these folks never had anything to complain about? Hardly.

“My parents had a lot of hardships, raising us seven kids,” Lance told me. The son of a pastor, he is one of the older children of a large family. His mother had recently succumbed to cancer, after a short but brutal battle, leaving his father with several children still at home.

“With a passel of very active boys and one special-needs child, there was always something going on. We kids knew they must have had financial troubles, but we never heard about them.”

How, then, did they deal with difficulties?

PRAY, PRAY PRAY! – One young man told me, “I saw God work in our family’s life time after time, in incredible ways, in direct answer to prayer. There was no other way these things would have happened.”

Trust God – Another middle-aged lady said, “My folks had a deep trust in God—almost unbelievable. Words could not express how much faith they had. To me, his trust in God connected that abstract thing called faith to my real life. It became a kind of security blanket to me; I began to trust in God through trust in my parents.”

Never Complain! “Did your Dad complain?” I asked Robbie. “Never,” he replied emphatically. “How about your Mom?” I wondered. He thought for a minute and then answered, “No, not that I can remember.”

Be Content!Godliness with contentment is great gain! I asked my 2nd Generation young people,“Would you say your parents were content?  Were they generally satisfied with their life?”  One man answered this way: “Yes, I really think they were.  Of course, they always wanted to improve themselves, but they were satisfied with their lives.” Not surprisingly, his answer was very consistent with the rest of the interviewees: 78% said that their parents were content.

Because Unthankfulness, Criticism and Complaints are so toxic to my family, I choose JOY! It may be hard to let things go sometimes, but the benefits to my family outweigh any desire I have to hold grudges.

Question: Why do you choose joy? What makes it hard to choose joy sometimes? What other things are toxic to our families?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

Here are some helpful resources:

One Thousand Gifts – Here’s a book that you can’t read too quickly! And that’s a good thing – because the whole theme is to help us to slow down and enjoy the little moments of life. One Thousand Gifts shows us that we can be thankful even in the hard times.

The Power of Parent-Child Play – is an excellent book with all sorts of ideas to help us lighten up and enjoy our kids! They love to play, so it’s a tremendous opportunity to connect with them.

Christine Carter, at http://www.christinecarter.com/community/blog/ has a whole pile of good research on the subject of happiness and how it applies to parenting! Her blog has given me heaps of food for thought.

Sara at AJoyfulMother.com has some good advice, too.

The Barna Group has some tremendous articles about why young folks leave the church and why some stay. They can be found here and here.

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum