Too Much to Gain to Lose

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A few months ago I had the brainchild of getting into couponing. Now, I know nothing about it, but have always wanted to learn, and since my daughter is a recent Ultra-Couponer, I hoped I could latch onto her and get some good ideas. So I decided to start with shopping deals at CVS.

My first week, I bought $11 worth of stuff, and got $10 worth of Extra Care Bucks back! Not bad, eh? But I had to wait until next week to use those bucks, and the next week there were no real deals. The same with the following weeks.

One day I looked at my ECB receipt and discovered that this day was the very last day to use it! No problem – even though it was a Sunday, I would go after church. So on the way home from church I stopped by the CVS only to discover that it had already closed the the day! Oh no! My ECBs were expired! All that money was wasted!

I let a wonderful opporunity slip through my hands.

It reminds me of a verse: “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have learned, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

God has been speaking to me through this verse. Sometimes it is a gentle rolling, a murmer in the background, and other times it is a shocking almost visible trumpet call.

Why? Because I struggle. I struggle with allowing precious things to slip through my hands. I struggle with maintaining a lazer focus on the true and right things, and often get distracted with the meaningless dribble of life. I struggle because my attention span is so very very short.

But God in His mercy continues to call, to pull. He gently murmers in the background, and loudly proclaims His truth right in my face. And these are the things He has been speaking to me about giving the More Earnest Heed to:

1) My God – Coming to grips with the reality of God’s constant presence is something I need to pay more earnest attention to. His presence brings a clarity to my daily routine, and draws me toward a right relationship with Him.

2) My marriage – I may have been married a long time, but there’s no time for vacation or coasting. I must always pay earnest attention to my spouse, otherwise, the parade of daily distractions will pull us apart.

3) My children – For me, I struggle with screen time. It helps to remember that every moment spent in front of the screen is one less moment I spend with my family. It’s something I must always be on guard against.

There’s too much to gain to lose.

Is there anything The Lord has been speaking to you about lately? Do you find yourself struggling with the meaningless dribble of life and not doing what you know you’re supposed to?

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On a personal note, you may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet here lately. It’s because I’m allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my daily activities and schedule. There have been plenty of evenings I thought to myself, “Well, I’m not getting on the computer tonight. I wonder what I’ll do?” and before I knew it, one or the other of the young people pulled me aside and I spent the evening talking, or taking a walk, or something fun. It’s been a good thing to keep my computer turned off.

We’ve continued on our travels, and now we’re up in the northern states. It’s blissfully cool here, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the great running weather. My 5k times were good for August! Now we’re back south, and it’s more of a challenge.

We’ve been doing a lot of singing as a family, which I love. We got our new CD, “I Have Been Blessed,” and have also been learning new songs. If The Lord allows, I’m hoping to make a recording when we come back from this trip, so we will hopefully have another CD ready to put out before the year is up.

We got to visit with the grandkids last week, too! What a blessing it was to be there while Emily had her birthday!! I can’t believe she’s turning 6 years old already!!

Time flies! …and I’m constantly reminded as I look at my grandkids, “I have too much to gain to lose.” I don’t want to let any opportunity to glorify God slip through my hands!

5 Things Faith Does

Driving our bus down a 2-lane highway in lower Michigan, my husband struggled to keep the rig on the road. There had been a violent storm the night before, and the weather was still quite finicky. The wind was gusting quite a bit, turning our bus-turned motorhome into a land-roving sail.

5thingsfaithdoes

While he wrestled with the steering wheel, we continued our normal daily routines. It was not long after lunch, and both the dishwasher and washing machine were humming, while the kids sat in various favorite spots enjoying a book or writing on the computer. I sat on the couch beside several kids, while one of the girls walked from the back bedroom toward the front, absolutely unaware that the course of our lives would change dramatically in the next few seconds.

I heard my husband shout, “Look out!” and the next instant felt the bus shudder. Time seemed to crawl as I looked up and saw that the windshield was shattering. For what seemed like an eternity, I could see leafy arms reaching toward my cowering daughter, as several branches came through the hole that was once the windshield. The noise created by splintering glass, kids shouting and my husband yelling filled the air. Within seconds, My Beloved pulled the bus to a stop, although he could hardly see the road.

Even before the bus was stopped, however, several of the children began crying and screaming, blood oozing from various places. It was an instant I will never forget.

In just a second of time, a tree had fallen right in the path of our bus, not even hitting the ground, but striking our windshield. At that moment, my life was totally out of my control.

Jochebed, Moses’ mother, had a similar life-changing situation. In Exodus 2, we see that the king, Pharoah, had already made his slaves’ lives very difficult, but now, in an effort to keep their numbers down, he ordered that all baby boys be thrown into the river to drown. Jochebed’s life, which had never really been easy, had suddenly been turned upside-down.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve never had an accident, or maybe you’ve never experienced a life-changing moment, but I’m sure somewhere along the line, you’ve experienced times when you’ve felt that your life was totally out of your hands. Perhaps it was a financial situation, or sickness of a spouse or child, or perhaps something broke, and you had a difficult situation to deal with. We’ve all had times when the life we were living at the time took a sudden turn, and we were now completely in God’s Hands.

Even though she was in a awful situation, Jochebed chose to live by faith. She put her life into God’s Hands…and her faith altered the entired course of history.

What happens when we choose to live by faith?

When we choose to live by faith, we choose to place our lives in God’s control. Jochebed understood that there is no better place to be than in the center of God’s Will; no stronger Hands to be held by the the Hands that made the Universe.

We choose action over passivity. Like Jochebed, whose faith moved her to make a little boat for her baby boy, I could not just sit around after the accident. Within seconds, I popped one child in the shower to rinse off his glass, while someone else began brushing off another child. Still a third started sweeping up all the glass.

We choose the Word of God over our emotions. Jochebed had the promise that God’s people would someday be delivered from bondage and go to the Promised Land. Her emotions probably told her that her efforts were worthless, but God’s Word never changes. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee…

We choose miracles over the mundane. While every other Israelite mother was throwing their baby boys in the river, Jochobed chose a very unusual route. Her results were miraculous – her boy not only lived, but she was PAID to take care of him!

We choose to live a life of significance, rather than to fade into the obscure. All of the peole in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11 (including Jochebed) were people of significance – not because they were powerful people, but because they were people who exercised faith.

God took care of us that day along the side of the road. Amazingly, only the Rocket Boy had to go to the ER to have glass removed! Two months later, the bus was all fixed up and ready to go, and we were able to continue our journey. God is good!

Personally, I want to live a life of significance, to make the world a better place because I’ve been in it. It can only happen as I live a life, like Jochebed, of faith.

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

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

Goals for 2014: The Messy Middle

Goals Check-up Time!

goals: themessymiddle

My most recent long run was a run of 7 miles. I had run that distance before, but it had been about a year. This time, I’ve been working myself up to running longer distances over the past few months, so I had run 6 miles on my previous long run. It was time to up my milage and continue to stretch my wings – I mean, legs – by running 7 miles again!

Everything went fine for the first couple of miles. The weather was perfect – about 50 degrees with a slight breeze. After awhile, however, my legs began to feel like they were made of heavy iron. I know it didn’t help that I was running at a park, doing 0.6 mile circles. How boring is that? All that energy going out, and I was really going nowhere. The only thing worse is a treadmill! 😉

Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I survived (couln’t guess, right?;) I can tell you that it’s a lot better to be on the other side of that run – the DONE part – than to be in the middle! Oh, how good it is to be done! But I learned a very important lesson here.

Many of us have written down goals for 2014. It felt so good to get down on paper the things that we want to accomplish, by God’s grace, over the next year. But let’s face it – it’s mid-March, and a lot of us have lost contact with our goals already.

Here are some thoughts I have about How to survive the messy middle:

1. Keep moving. In a race, especially a half-marathon or marathon, the goal is merely to keep moving toward the finish line. There is only 1 winner in a race, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to give up; we can still put one foot in front of the other and reach our goal just fine.

2. Fuel up! When I get a few miles into a long run, it’s time to break out the fuel, or the long run becomes a short run! When it comes to the Messy Middle of the year, it’s important to fuel our hearts with the Word of God and good, encouraging words. If God is the original source of your goals, then staying in touch with Him will be your source of inspiration.

3. Concentrate on the end. When I was running, I watched the cars driving by and thought, “how nice it must be to sit down – even in a car!” I worked on concentrating on the “joy set before me” – a wonderful yummy smoothie when I got back home! With our 2014 goals, it’s important to remember the end result we’re trying to acheive, and why we want to achieve it.That can go a long way to pushing us forward!

4. Finally, you’re only one step away from heading the right direction. If you find yourself doing NOTHING that you had planned, it’s ok. It does you no good to beat yourself up over lost time. The only thing you really need to do is Turn Around. In other words, just look at your list, find one thing that you need/want to do, and think of your next action item for that thing. Do that one action, and it will help you get moving in the right direction.

How are your goals coming along? Mine are moving along slowly, but surely. But with God’s help and some “running inspiration,” I know I can get through the Messy Middle.

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 href=”http://www.growinginhisglory.com”>Growing in His Glory

How to Get More Hours in Your Week

Have you ever wondered how to get more hours in your week? In a helpful series called The More Organized Me! During the month of January, I’ve been writing various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed any of our posts, you can find it here!

 

HowToGetMoreHourInYourWeek

I remember one particularly busy year, one of the kids asked me the inevitable Christmas question, “So, Mom, what do you want for Christmas?” While most people instantly think of things like new phones or a Kitchen-Aid, I thought to myself, Should I tell her that what I really want is 4 hours to sit by myself and do nothing, or to hide in the bathroom for about a week? Nah…too hard to explain. Finally I replied, “What I could really use is about 15 extra hours in my week!”

I used to think that it would be great to have more hours in my day, but I think Parkinson’s law would come into effect: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.” If I had an extra hour, I would still fill it up with even more activity, and STILL end up being late for church!

To get more hours our week, there are a few solutions. I’ll just rattle some off:

1. Seek the things of God first. (see Matthew 6:33) God promises that as we “acknowledge Him, He shall direct (our) paths.” As much as we are able, we should begin our weeks with God, and our days with God, spending time in His Word and prayer. One of the things I’ve found particularly helpful is to “acknowledge Him,” or verbally and in my heart set Him as the top priority of my life and day.

2. Trim down the amount of activity we try to accomplish. Sometimes we need to understand that it really is ok to say No. For me, I often have to say No to myself, and tell myself that I need to keep focused on the task at hand – building my family. Because of so many fun and interesting things to do or learn about (and because I’m terribly curious) it’s easy to get bogged into interesting projects or activities, which only serve to take me away from my real priorities.

3. Carefully plan our days. This is a two-part point.

a. A flexible schedule is very important. When I just “let the day happen” and not do things according to schedule, time just slips through my fingers. So I’ve learned to schedule my days, but to keep the schedule flexible, to allow for all the wonderful things that go along with home education, like impromptu field trips, etc.

b. A planned week is very helpful also. I try to group projects into blocks, so two days of the week are devoted to one activity, two more days to another, and one day entirely for family, and 2 days for home and church. In each day, I have the normal round of daily activities which are scheduled in – the meals, laundry, and school. These things are more hard-and-fast, and are on the daily schedule, while the weekly plan rotates in its activities.

4. Stop multi-tasking. Studies show that when we multitask to try to get more done, we actually end up truly accomplishing less. And when little ones are demanding our attention, focus is extremely important, and multi-tasking is useless.

5. Work in 15-minute time blocks. Whether it’s writing a blog post, cleaning the house, or teaching math, I actually get more done when I set my timer and concentrate on that particular job for only 15 minutes. Maybe I have adult ADHD or something, but for some reason, it works. I suspect it would work for a lot of folks, as well.

6. Do mental work during your most productive times. Are you more productive in the morning, evening, or afternoon? I’m a morning person (much to my family’s chagrin) so I’m much more creative in the mornings. I try to schedule math class and writing for mornings, and things that require little brain work for afternoons and evenings when I’m out of it.

7. Plan your next session before walking away. At the tail end of a 15 minute math lesson, it’s very helpful for me to take a few seconds and jot a post-it-note that tells me what to do next. That way I don’t waste a lot of time at the beginning of a session, just to orient myself as to what’s going on. Maybe you could write a small post-it note, or just leaving the proper window up on your computer screen, so that it’s readily available to you as soon as you sit down again.

There’s a ton of things I could add here (I haven’t even mentioned those time-suckers, electronics!) but I think this will get your brain churning just a bit, and hopefully you won’t be hiding in the bathroom wishing for just a few more hours in your busy week!

Question: What do you do that helps you save some time? Are there any other ideas you can think of?

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