Choose to be Real

The choices we make in our lives impact our future happiness. One of the most important choice, the choice to be real, is by far the most far-reaching decision we can make, impacting generations to come. In a world of pretenders, let’s choose to be real.

The ancient tradition of the Olympic Flame became the longest and most popular relay in the world in the early 1900’s. Lit from a concave mirror in Olympia, Greece, the flame is carried to the host city and is used to light the Olympic Caldron. The final torchbearer, who often sumbolizes Olympic ideals, is kept a secret until the very last minute. Bt the time the flame reaches the stadium, excitement and fervor has reached a fever pitch. But in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, something very supriseing occurred.

On its way from Cairnes to Melbourne, the torch had already gone through several mishaps. Runners battled heat exheaustion, thunderous downpours, and a finicky flame. But it was in Sydney that the flame made Olympic history.

Harry Dillon, a cross-country titleholder, was suppposed to take the flame to the mayor, Pat Hills, who was prepared to make a speech before passing the torch along to its next runner. Excitement ran high in Sydney, with 30,000 people lining the streets waiting for the torch to arrive. Police escorts, reporters, and multitudes of anxious onlookers fidgeted in the tense moments.

Finally the runner emerged, carrying his flame with a proud, light step. Applause and cheers rippled through the crowd as they surged forward with cameras blazing to catch this momentous event. In an effort to protect the runner, the police surrounded him and escorted him as he lightly ran through the streets.

With the confidence of an athlete, the runner bounded up the steps and handed the flame to the waiting mayor. Mr. Hills smiled, thanked the runner and turned toward the rowd, clearning his throat to make his speech. Before he could oen his mouth, however, someonw stepped up to him and whispered something startling:

“That’s not the torch!”

The mayor looked startled and stared at the object in his hand. Suddenly it dawned on him that what he was holding was nothing but a chair leg topped with a plum-pudding can, with the “mighty Olympic flame” coming from a pair of kerosene-soaked underwear!

What everyone thought was the real thing, was NOT the real thing. As a matter of fact, the prankster was so concinceing that the police, the crowd, and even the mayor were all fooled!

Our Christian life can be a lot like that false Olympic torch. We can have lots of people convinced that we are really Christians, at least for a time. We may have cameras clicking, the applause of the crowd, and even a police escort, but someday SOMEONE will realize that we don’t have the real thing. Time reveals the truth. (excerpt from Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil)

Being a real live authentic Christian is the first and foremost way to pass down our faith to our children.

What are some of the marks of a true Christian?

1. Righteous Living (See Acts 4:34-35, Acts 5:1-10)
2. A Heart for Souls (see Mark 16:15)
3. An Abiding Walk (see John 15:1-8)
4. A Loving Spirit (see John 13:34,35, John 15:12)

One day I listened as Joanne, a 23-year old graduate from home school, told me, “My parents were REAL. Christianity was their life, and more than anything else that stood out to me.”

Herein lies perhsp one of the greatest challenges of parenting: that of really, truly, honestly believing what we say we believe as parents. If we are to change the world, it must begin at home. If we are to bring up young people who are passionate about living daily in the presence of the Almighty God, then we mst ourselves experience that same burnign passion.

It is realness, it is true transparency, and it is life.

In a world full of pretenders, let’s choose realness – let’s choose life.

What are some other marks of a Christian you can think of?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word,  Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

De-Lurking Day & GIVEAWAY!

It’s De-Lurking time…hat time of year when those of you who lurk around will finally reveal yourselves and let us all know you’re there. As a birthday gift to me, I ask that you comment below, letting me know you exist! One of those of you who comment will receive a free copy of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil!

delurking-day-giveaway

Well, folks, it’s been a special time for me these past few days. Last week was my birthday!! But it wasn’t just any birthday, mind you – it was my 50th birthday!! (Did I really say that?? Online??)

I guess I must say that, though I easily breezed into my 40’s, I’m not really very fond of turning 50. I know it’s just a  number, but it’s a BIG number! But I can tell you that I feel much healthier and better at 50 than I did at 40. For some of you that have read my fitness story, you know that after I had my youngest child, my body was in terrible shape, and I was a real couch potato. Finally, a few years after he was born, I decided to start getting myself back into some sort of shape so I’d be useful to my family and the Lord.

So I slowly began first to walk, and then to run. I tell folks now that I’m a endorphin junkie! I praise the Lord for the ability to run.

I’ve also added weight training, something which I do about 4 days a week. I can tell you that it sure has helped this old girl stay sane and injury-free, for which I’m very thankful.

The eve of my birthday, I did something I’ve never done before. I laid in my bed and very ceremoniously “turned the page” in my mind from my 40’s to my 50’s. I’m entering a new chapter in my life, and I wanted to thank the Lord for His goodness to me in my 40’s, and dedicate my next decade to the Lord. It was a special time, with just me and God.

I’m also entering my 8th year of blogging! I think it has helped me grow as a person, and enabled me to express some things that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do. Hopefully somewhere along the line it has been a blessing to you, as well.

This year, for my birthday, I’m asking everyone who reads this blog, even occasionally, to comment and let me know a few things. Tell me who you are, how old you are (approximate) and a topic that you really enjoy reading about. If you want, I would love to know what country you live in, as well.

And this year, I’m going to do something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do: I’m going to do a GIVEAWAY for my birthday!! One of the commenters will receive a free copy of my newest book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil!!

I’m so looking forward to reading your comments, and getting to know who you are!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

My Husband Socks Me in the Eye Every Night

Sneak Peek: Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT!! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED! “Friends, come praise the Lord with me!” 

Lord willing, I’ll be uploading the Kindle version within the next few days!

 

 

OK. The dirty secret is out. My husband socks me in the eye every night.

You see, I hate sleeping with any sort of light in the room, so I put something over my eyes to keep any light out. I discovered that the very best thing to put on my eyes at night is one of my husband’s dress socks…the thick ones, of course (the thin ones are too light, and just don’t feel right!)

So every night he “socks me in the eye…” or rather, he lets me use one of his beloved dress socks to cover up my eyes at night. In fact, I’ve been using his socks for about 25 years…so long that he just automatically knows what socks I like and gave me a whole bag of his old “singles.”

So what does that have to do with marriage? Everything! You see, we all have our odd little idiosyncrasies – our little preferences for a thick sock rather than a thin one, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the end rather than at the middle, or pulling the toilet paper off the top of the roll rather than the bottom .

My husband learned long ago to just accept my little oddities as a part of me, and to not try to change me, but to let me learn and grow on my own. So he smiles at me, shakes his head, and gives up some of his own dress socks for my whims, letting me use them every night.

Just as we have our own little preferences (and we want our husbands to indulge us) so our men have their own preferences. Ladies, it’s to our advantage to bless him by allowing him to have his own little idiosyncrasies and not trying to change him.

How to Learn to Live with Idiosyncrasies:

1.       Don’t try to change your spouse. It’s very common for newly married couples, or even those that have been married for a while, to have it stuck in their head that it’s their responsibility to change their spouse. This is all despite the fact that often it was those very differences that drew them to their spouse in the first place. However, somewhere along the line, they concluded that their own way is the “right” way (though in reality it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether the toilet paper comes off the top of the roll or the bottom!)

 

 First, let me say that those differences have been there longer than you have been part of his life, and they’re not likely to go away just because you don’t like them. One of the very best things you can do for your marriage is to stop trying to change your spouse.

2.       Show them that you love them, not just despite their idiosyncrasies, but also FOR them! Forgo all nagging, huffing and puffing at their oddities, but even accept or learn to laugh at them. They can be “inside jokes” in your relationship. Remember that the thing that is so weird about the other person actually has some very special merits to it. Though it will never mean as much to you as to the other person, it does help you to pick up on some of those things, and espouse them as your own.

For example, I often pick up on some of My Beloved’s unique humor, phrases he goes around saying, or songs he so cavalierly mangles. They say that imitation is one of the finest forms of flattery. It sends a signal to the other person that they are very valuable to you and cannot be replaced. It gives a feeling of security in the relationship.

3.       Remember that you have your own idiosyncrasies that your husband puts up with. The other day I walked into the bathroom, saw the lid up, and thought to myself in a huff, Why does he always leave the lid up?? Instantly, the Lord brought another thought to my mind, He could just as easily say to me, Why do you always leave the lid down?? I had to smile at myself, knowing that some of the things I do probably seem quite odd to him, I just don’t think of them that way, because I think my way is not only the right way, I often think of it as the ONLY way!

Harping at him will never change him. Loving him in spite of his oddities will. Or maybe they won’t – but I’d rather be happy in an enjoyable marriage than miserable in a horrible one.

What does your husband put up with? What are some of your oddities? Rather than concentrating on what we have to put up with, let’s look to ourselves and think about what HE has to put up with, and thank him for his patience.

For me, when I snuggle into bed with one of my hubby’s socks (clean, mind you!) I enjoy knowing that my husband loves me in spite of my oddities. And do you know what? I know he has some too, and I love him anyway. That’s cozy enough to sleep on.

So what are some idiosyncrasies you’re willing to tell about? Don’t embarrass your husband, but it’s ok to tell about your own. Also, is there some other tidbit of helpful advice you have for younger ladies who have difficulties dealing with their husband’s oddities?

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!

  • If you missed my announcement at the top of the page, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!
  •  In this book, there is:
    • 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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 Attending a Bible Preaching Church Really Does Matter to Your Kids

I’m doing a Parenting Series which is based on dozens of interviews I’ve conducted among 2nd Generation Christians which I’ve outlined in my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil (soon to be released!) For more on this series, click here.

I was a young 25-year old with 3 children 3 and under. It was Sunday morning, and of course, my hubby was the pastor. (For those of you who don’t understand what that means, I’ll spell it out for you: I – had – to- get – the – kids – ready – for – church – all – by – myself! Yikes!) First off, I laid out Kathy’s clothes and got her started in the “getting-ready-for-church” process. Then I got Stephen, the baby, and fed him and got him all dressed. Last of all, I got my oldest son, all of 20 months, ready for church. By the time I got him ready, the baby messed himself and Kathy had put her shoes on the wrong feet!

It’s easy when you have small children to want to stay home from church. After all, it’s a real challenge to get the little ones ready, and by the time you’re dressing the baby, the oldest one has already begun undressing herself! And timing the feedings so that you can sit in on the services is also tricky.

Is staying home easier? Oh, yeah. But is it best? Absolutely not!

Statistics show that it is very important to have a solid basis of faith instilled in our children.

1. The habit of attending church is important– It’s easy to think, “Oh, I don’t care if we attend church or not. After all, I can be just as good a Christian in church as out of it.” Well, let’s just think about this for a while.

First, remember that the habits you instill in your children will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Habits like taking a regular shower, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, etc. are all good habits to instill. Attending church is another good habit to instill. Now, they may one day get out of church, but I can tell you as someone who does street ministry on occasion, that church never gets out of them.

I’ll never forget the time my family and I were singing some gospel songs on the street corner in Oceanside, California. Many folks laughed or jeered, but some slowed down to listen, and I could see a hint of recognition in their eyes. In fact, there was one time that a Marine stopped and began to weep. “Those songs brought back so many good memories of my childhood,” he told us with tears. “I’m so far away from God! I need to get back into church.” Those blessed memories never left him.

The Commission on Children at Risk sponsored by the Dartmouth Medical School Institute for American Values states that the recent study on young people in America showed that Religiosity and spirituality significantly influence well-being.” (see the abstract of the study here)

Also, to the parents who think they shouldn’t make their child go to church with them, I ask, do you make your children brush their teeth? Then it is perfectly plausible to make them go to church – with you, of course! (I know there are sometimes abusers at some churches – I’m not saying to keep attending those!  But that’s relatively rare, and I know some folks use that for an excuse.)

Lastly, if you don’t instill good habits in your children’s lives, what other habits will they develop? ‘Nuff said!

2. The teaching we receive at church is important– Although it’s useless to attend a church while doesn’t teach the Bible, it’s necessary to attending a Bible-preaching church, as it helps to instill the Word of God into our children. That’s one of the most important things we can do as Christian parents. In fact, God’s Word says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.will not return void, it will accomplish that which it was sent out to do.” (Isaiah 55:11)

3. The community of like-minded believers we enjoy at church is important – life is not lived in isolation!

The church community provides encouragement

It provides accountability

It sharpens our thinking spiritually

The community will bind together in prayer for us when we need it.

The Lord can use others to point out error or apathy in our lives.

The Lord can also help us to be a blessing to others!

Here and here are some excellent articles about Why We Attend Church with Our Children.

When I was a young mother struggling to get my little ones ready for church, I didn’t think a lot about the future of my children, except that I knew that I was obeying God and that He would bless my efforts. Now, 24 years later, I think about my children: Kathy is a pastor’s wife, Jonathan is a faithful husband and father helping us start our church, and Stephen faithfully attends and sings at his church. And I’m so thrilled with their decisions they’ve made as they’ve grown to adulthood.

Attending a Bible-preaching church regularly does take a lot of commitment and effort, especially when you have small children – but it’s so worth it! It’s part of the whole package that the Lord has given us to pass on our values to our children.

Question: Why do you take your children with you to church? What are some difficulties you’ve had to surmount in order to be faithful to God’s House? What are some blessings you’ve had because of your faithfulness?

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!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

How NOT to Let Our Children Go

I’ve learned a lot from many 2nd Generation Christians I’ve interviewed over the years, trying to discover some common threads in the parenting practices of their childhoods. I’ve documented these common threads of successful parenting in my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming out in October.

 

If you’re new to this series, you can find the rest of it here.

 


 

Letting go of our children is one of the hardest parts of parenting.  After all, when they are under our roof, we know what’s going on in their lives and can provide guidance when they need it.  But to let go is to allow our children to take over the control of their own lives and make their own decisions.  It is a nerve-wracking time; we realize that soon it will be apparent whether or not we parents have done our job.

 

Some of the most significant advice I heard on Letting Go was while talking to the younger second-generation Christians.  Their experiences, and those of their friends, are still new and fresh in their minds, unclouded by the whirl of activity surrounding growing families.    They remember clearly the process they went through as they were launched from their homes, and the experiences of their friends as well.

 

THE DEATH GRIP

 

Some parents hold their young people back with a Death Grip. Oddly enough, the young person is gripped almost to a strangle-hold, and then suddenly released to live on his own with little or no preparation. This is not only unwise; it is dangerous.

 

Shaunna was a homeschooled kid who was sheltered from worldly influences, but also well prepared for life outside the home.  She told me, “Many of the young people I went to school with were totally unprepared for their newly found freedom and the worldly influences they were suddenly surrounded by.  They were the ones that went into a tailspin.  Strangely enough, it seemed that those who had some contact with the world growing up did better with their freedoms.”

 

HANDS OFF!

 

The Hands Off method of Letting Go is the way your average American is launched.  It is also the way your average young person in a Christian home is raised.  There is a philosophy pervading in America, and in the world, that we should just let young people go their own way, and they’ll find their useful place in society.  Once again, it’s a dangerous and difficult way to live.

 

THE GUIDING HAND

 

On the other hand (pun intended!), the vast majority of our respondents were sheltered and received guidance from their parents as they were growing up.

 

Jennifer told me about how her mother maintained a good relationship with her, even while she was away at college. “Because I have a disability,” she said, “I have a very hard time finding clothes that fit me just right.  I was really busy at college, and had a low time when I was desperate for some clothes and had zero time to sew.  My physical troubles were also a constant challenge, and I had a difficult time battling with depression.  One day a package arrived in my mailbox, and it was a special package from Mom.  Inside, there was a carefully sewn skirt which fit me beautifully, and a precious note which I still have to this day.  She wrote, ‘I just wanted you to know, that every stitch was sewn with love and prayer.  I love you!’  That little gesture of love and concern got me through the rest of my college days.  I knew Mom was there for me.

 

How NOT to let our children go? Neither the Death Grip nor the Hands Off method are good ideas. In my experience with the many 2nd Generation Christians I’ve interviewed over the years, those that have experienced the Guiding Hand are by far the most likely to continue to serve God when they are out on their own.

 

May we as parents learn from the experience of others and give our children the Guiding Hand they need as they approach adulthood.

 

Question: How was your relationship with your parents when you were a teen? Rocky? Violent? Or peaceful? Why do you think this was so?

 

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!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips to Successfully Navigate the Teen Years

If you’ve been following along with our little series here, you’ll know that I’m writing about the things I’ve learned while interviewing many 2nd generation Christians on their childhoods. Many young people are leaving our churches, but I wonder…why do those that stay remain? Perhaps there is something we can learn from their childhoods.

So I began asking them many questions, and the results are in my upcoming book, Lionproof, due out in October. But I wanted to share the things I’ve learned with you all here first!

Today we wrestle with the age-old ponderous question: “Why is the little Chihuahua so eager to get out of the fence to the huge Rottweiler?” In parenting teens, is seems as though they are so eager to get out on their own, and yet they know so little about the hardships they’ll face. Join me today as we learn again from our 2nd Generation Christians!

For the rest of the series, click here.

 

“In my opinion, Dianne told me, “I think my parents were not strict enough on us as teenagers especially with the boyfriend/girlfriend issue.  Of course, now that I’m married, I see how God protected me, but I don’t think my parents quite knew what to do with us when we were teens.”

While Dianne spoke (and I typed!) I wondered if any of us really know what we’re doing. Yet I was struck by the thought that ignorance is nothing we can afford when our children approach their teens.

 

How do successful parents handle the teen years?  Do they, as I’ve often heard, put the young person in a barrel when they turn thirteen and take them out again when they turn twenty-one?  It may not be a bad idea, but somehow I don’t think it will go over very well.  There must be some better way to deal with young people.

 

I believe it is possible to know what we’re doing.  Successful parents, and their children, know the answer.  I learned the principles through these interviews, and now you will know, too.

 

Successful Parents Expect Questions

 

One young lady, Shaunna, told how her father understood the spirit of questioning things. She said, “In his mind, our questions were not challenges, they were simply questions wanting to know how or why.  If he didn’t know the answer, he was honest and told us so.” 

 

Questioning helps kids understand what they believe and why.

 

We cannot afford to ignore their questions!  Rather, expect them.  Successful parents did, and now that you know how important it is, you will anticipate them too.

 

Successful Parents Respond Rationally

In addition to expecting questions, our response to questions is vastly important, as well.  How should we answer when our young people ask questions?  Certainly, we should try to prepare in advance for their questions.  But even if we’re unable to prepare in advance, we can rationally respond, and then search for the answers. It would be foolish to respond roughly and not give them any answer other than, “Because I said so!” In addition to answering rationally:

Successful Parents Taught Their Young People the Reasons Behind the Rules!

Remember how the people I spoke to understood why they were sheltered?  They not only understood why, but eventually embraced the values their parents taught them, and now they themselves are sheltering their own children.  The parents took the time to explain the rules, and the reasons behind them, in a rational, casual manner, and in a happy, relaxed atmosphere.

 

Successful parents understand that some lines will be crossed. 

 

Several of the young people I talked to told me what their parents did when they crossed a line. But the most important event took place BEFORE the young person did something they weren’t supposed to.

 

Before the line is crossed, parents need to decide in advance what their response would be.  Without having clear lines and definite responses, things are up for grabs.  Like we said before, children do not need an “anything goes” atmosphere in the home.

 

Remember that a life lived straining against authority can never be happy.  Let’s not doom our children to a wasted life; don’t let Satan catch them in his claws.  Let’s do whatever is necessary to make them LIONPROOF.
Successful Parents Take Swift and Decisive Action.

 

Some parents will deal strenuously when their young person crosses a line, while others respond calmly and deliberately.  One example of the effectiveness of the latter response was given to me by Steve, who remarked how he backslid from God for a short time. His mother was very frank with him, and told him, “Steve, I didn’t raise you to serve the Devil.”  The strength of her relationship with him is what enabled her to be so bold.

 

 

The teen years need not be turbulent ones, though they may be difficult.  With God’s help, we can expect questions, respond rationally, teach the reasons behind the rules, understand that some lines will be crossed, and take swift and decisive action.  We can make the right decisions and set our lines carefully.  The Lord will help us stick to the decisions we’ve prayed about . . . the ones He Himself has given us.  God is not willing for Satan to catch any of our young people in his claws!  It is not only possible, but necessary, to make them LIONPROOF!

Question: What do you think are some good ways to handle the teen years? What can parents do to make the transition to adulthood easier?

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!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 

 

3 Barriers to a Child’s Heart

Building relationships is not easy, but the alternative is, in my mind, unacceptable. During my interviews with many 2nd Generation Christians for my forthcoming book, Lionproof: Keeping your Children from the Claws of the Devil, I learned many thing about what to do…and sometimes what not to do. I hope their words speak to your hearts like they did mine! (see below for more information about the book!)

Have you ever wondered if there was a missing element in most parenting philosophies?  Have you ever seen families who seem to have everything just right, and yet they still lose their children to the world?  Could there be something – some insidious practice or philosophy – that has crept in to these families to steal away their children?

Sometimes we put ourselves into a position where we make it easy for Satan to launch an attack.  Anything that puts a barrier or a wedge between you and your child is a potential area for deception, division, and finally consumption by the prowling lion!  If we’re not careful, Satan will come upon us, invade our homes, and take our children unawares.

Below are three ways my 2nd Generation Christians told me were very detrimental to their friends as they were growing up:

 

 

CRITICIZING AUTHORITY

Every one of the second-generation Christians I interviewed energetically agreed that it is detrimental to a child’s spiritual growth to criticize a spiritual leader in front of them.  Many of them told about friends whose parents complained about a Christian leader or someone else in the church.  In every case, it was damaging to the young person.  Dianne told me, “My older brother went away from the Lord.  It started in junior high, probably as a result of a split in our church.  Some of the deacons were saying bad things about the church, and it was nasty.  To this day, my mother thinks that all the complaints and criticism caused the church to lose ground in my brother’s mind.  He felt that my dad had been treated unjustly, and maybe he was.  Then to top it off, we went through difficult financial times because of the split, and I think my brother ended up with some bitterness through that whole ordeal.  He doesn’t serve the Lord at all today.”

 

PARENTAL ANGER

Even in secular circles, parental anger is well known to cause troubles in the family.  It comes as no surprise that Satan uses it as a platform for attack.   In fact, one of my respondents put it this way, “Anger is very destructive to a child.  There are two kinds of anger, good and bad.  When we as parents are angry in a good way, it is when we are angry at sin and bad things.  But when we become angry toward the young people themselves, it causes wrong discipline and a wrong atmosphere.  The spirit of the young person gets hurt, and their pain turns to bitterness.

 

NOT WILLING TO ADMIT WHEN YOU’RE WRONG

Lance remarked, “I remember a time when I was nine years old, and my dad got angry with me.  He corrected a problem too hastily without verifying, and later discovered that he had made a mistake.  But instead of ignoring it, he came back and apologized to me.  It was very helpful to me, because I knew I had been dealt with unjustly.  Instead of me becoming bitter, his acknowledgement and apology went a long way.  My dad was not afraid to apologize when he was wrong, and I learned a big lesson from that.”

 

 

Childhood and youth are not forever.  The little blades of tender hay appear in our homes, the young grass pushes up through the earth, and the little lambs are only young for a short time.  The Lord has given us this special time in their lives to feed them, strengthen them, and guide them.  If we do not look diligently to know the state of those little lambs in our “flock,” who will?  I often need to ask myself, How are those little lambs?  Are they healthy?  Do they know they are loved?  God has no hands but ours to show them His love.  Someday, they will rise up and be a blessing and encouragement to us.

He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.  (Proverbs 29:21).

Would you like a son?  Bring up a servant delicately – carefully, gently, deliberately – and you shall have your son who will love and take care of you the rest of your life.  Though we may not be perfect, through God’s Grace and by humility, we can prevent our imperfections from adding poison by neglecting to apologize for our wrongs.

Always be mindful of the dangers of criticizing authorities, and recognize that anger and a failure to apologize is equally toxic.  These Barriers to a Child’s Heart may be just three points, but I think with the Lord’s help, we can use these encouraging words to turn our parenting – and even our lives – around so that Satan will not take our children and destroy them in his jaws.

QUESTION: How do you think the parents’ attitude toward authority affects the children? Also, how do you think parental anger affects the children?

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!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 

5 Ways to Build Powerful Relationships with Your Children

I often need reminded of the important role I have in my kids’ lives. It’s so easy to get distracted with all the interesting things available, so building powerful relationships with my children is something I need to be reminded of regularly. Here are some things I learned from the 2nd Generation Christians I interviewed for my upcoming book, Lionproof: Keeping the Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming out in October.

“When I was growing up and we did something against the rules,” Rachel told me. “Sometimes privileges were taken away. More often than not, though, we just got a good talkin’ to. Mom or Dad would say, ‘I’m disappointed in you, for these reasons . . .’ and then go on to tell me what I did wrong and why it broke their heart.

“To me, those talks were worse than a whoopin’. It was a heart-wrenching sick-to-my stomach feeling when I found out I disappointed my parents. I guess when I hurt my mom or dad, it would hurt me.

“I think I got to the age where I realized that they wanted the best for me, and they loved me more than life itself. It was just heartbreaking to think that I would hurt someone who loved me so much. For me, the effect was that I would do almost anything rather than disappoint Mom and Dad.”

Thomas Edison, the great inventor, gave the credit for his success to his mother who deeply influenced him. “My mother was the making of me,” Edison explained. “She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”[i]

Edison’s mother influenced him in temporal things; how much better is the eternal influence of a godly set of parents?

Herein is your primary offensive weapon: have your child’s heart, and he or she will never want to disappoint you.

Here are a few thoughts on how to have your child’s heart:

    1. Keep Home Happy: Focus on the Yes’s rather than the No’s (98% said their childhood was happy)
    2. Beware of busyness – According to a recent UK study, the average working parent spends only nineteen minutes a day with his or her children.[ii]
    3. Kids need TIME, not things. Don’t try to load your children down with THINGS – it only clutters up their lives.  
    4. Pull together as a family– DO things together. Keep independent hobbies down to a minimum or eliminate them altogether.
      1. Sing together, work together, play together! Do yard work, clean the house (or other people’s houses!)
      2. Make memories together! Do something different, and it will be a vivid memory for your young people.
      3. Be approachable! Tell the young folks that you want them to come and talk to you, and then when they do, don’t react negatively.

Josh is a man of few words. His perception is as precise as his sniper bullets in the Special Forces. “I remember getting to a point where I was too big to spank,” he remarked. “That was about the time when I started to realize I didn’t want to disappoint my father. I was around thirteen at the time, and I just still did what Mom and Dad wanted me to do, because I loved them and didn’t want to hurt them.”

Leaning forward, Josh continued, “My dad wasn’t just a father…he was a friend.

Thank you, Josh. I needed to hear that.

Question: What are some other ways to build good relationships with our children? What works for you?


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!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to OctoberThat will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 


[i]No author cited, September 2007, Samuel and Nancy Elliot Edison, http://www.nps.gov/edis/historyculture/samuel-and-nancy-elliott-edison.htm, Accessed April 2013

[ii]Barrow, Becky. July 2006, 19 Minutes – How Long Working Parents Give Their Children, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-396609/19-minutes–long-working-parents-children.html, Accessed April 2013

5 Ways to Show Consistency

When builders in India illegally constructed a six-story structure in Rajasthan in 2010[i], they made many errors, not the least of which was using inferior materials. Inspectors had been called in to look at cracks in the building, and within minutes after their emerging from the structure, the entire building collapsed in a shower of cement, dust, and rebar! The footage of the sudden destruction was incredible! Amazingly, and thankfully, no one got hurt.

In the parenting process, it is easy for everything to look just right on the outside, but on the inside be built with inferior or unreliable materials. When the barricade is erected to keep the Devil out, it is imperative to use high-quality materials in the workmanship.

The most integral material we must use to build our barricade is the glue of consistency. Without it, we are playing with a strong possibility of the collapse of the family structure, and death of the residents of our home.

None of us is perfectly consistent; otherwise, we would be in Heaven. Still, there are many ways we can show consistency in our parenting. In my interviews with 2nd Generation Christians, I came up with 5 of them:

  • Be faithful through the hard times.

“When I got older,” Brandon told me, “I often thought of my parents, and how consistent they were through trials and tribulations. They stayed true to what they taught, and I realized that if they could do it all these years, that’s what I wanted—even needed—to do.”

Joni and Friends and God is so Good Ministries are both excellent resources for suffering, difficulties, and hard times. Even if you have no one to walk the difficult road with you, don’t try to do it alone – get some encouragement online!

  • Be consistent in discipline.

In Steve’s childhood it made a big difference. “My parents were definitely not lax,” he said. “They were very consistent. Whatever they said, that was the way it was. I don’t think they were harsh, because there was a lot of love, but rules were very consistent (dress, attitude, motives) yet implemented with love. They were enforced consistently, too, all the way through my youth, till I was out of the house.

Focus on the Family and The Better Mom are great resources for helping us be consistent in discipline. And don’t forget the good old-fashioned Bible, God’s Holy Word, which can guide us into all truth, and show us our weaknesses!

  • Be consistent in your devotion to God.

Robbie said, “My dad preached about how important it is for a Christian to read his Bible and pray at the same time, same place every day. One week, I got up at 4:45 every morning to see if Dad was really reading his Bible like he said a Christian should, and sure enough, he was there—every single morning.” What you do speaks so much louder than what you say!

One of my favorite resources for Bible study is Bible.is, an app I downloaded to my Ipad that will read the Bible to me every morning. I also daily refer to Daily in the Word, where I get a great application of the Proverb of the day. Often I use my Olive Tree app and look up a commentary while I study, too.

  • Don’t relax as the children become teens.

Brittany told me the story of a dear friend of hers: “I had one friend that I was especially close to. Consistency, or lack of it, was an issue. My friend’s mother ran the home, and her father was weak. So when the kids got older and didn’t want standards, the parents let them slip. Finally they got out of church altogether. Every once in a while I hear from my friend, and she’s having some pretty tough marital problems. I know that lack of consistency is at the root of it.”

Frontline Moms has been a real eye opener when it comes to my teens. Reading some of Lisa Cherry’s posts helps me realize that I can’t back off or shy away from the difficult topics with my young people, and I certainly can’t afford to be inconsistent with them.

  • Don’t cater to a “favorite” child,

or let the youngest do something you wouldn’t let the other children do. “Inconsistencies in the parents kill spiritual desire in young people,” Larry said. “I’ve seen it many times. There are several ways parents can be inconsistent. Sometimes parents behave one way in church and another way at home, and sometimes they laugh at a child’s behavior one time, then spank him for the very same behavior later. But one of the most serious forms of inconsistency is when one parent wants the affection of a child and will undermine the other parent in order to win the child’s affection. We’ve seen it happen in our own home, and it was disastrous. Now that she’s older, our daughter simply dislikes both my wife and I, and is in an abusive relationship. It’s terribly heartbreaking.”

In essence, Larry was saying that those who try to win the affection of a “favorite” child do so because they themselves feel the need to be loved.

For me, the realization that no human can give me the affirmation that I truly need from the Lord is enough to help me not to seek it from my children. Neither they nor anyone else can do for me what God can.

Perhaps you’re like me, and you see areas where you need to shore up on consistency. I know I do. So I’m asking the Lord to help me be more consistent with my family. It may be a daily prayer, but that’s ok – I have a God who gives strength day by day!

Question: How important do you think consistency is for children? Can you think of any other areas where we can strengthen our consistency?

 

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! This week I will probably not be posting anything, because I’m supposed to be on “vacation!” But if something really good pops in my mind… 😉

  • 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