Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Living in a World of Inappropriateness

One thing I say often....that I honestly never knew before having kids...is that they would teach me. Most times it is not something that I never knew...but rather something I forgot. Maybe a better way to say it, would be to say that they often remind me to have the same good morals I ask of them and to do all things with a more pure way of thinking. I didn't realize that my kids would constantly be asking hard questions; that would in turn keep me in line without them even realizing it. And I never knew that taking the time to see the view from where they are...would, more often than not, show me a perspective that radiated Christ.

One thing that my kids love to do is help me check out at the store. They fight...literally fight...over who gets to put the most things on the conveyor belt. Then they race to the other end and begin loading the cart back up with the bags full of groceries...in a quick...I don't care if your bread gets squished-I will do this before anyone else gets a chance to...type of manner. It keeps them occupied. It keeps their little unsatisfied eyes away from all of the candy, pop, toys, and beef jerky that the grocery store staff so cunningly place in the isle of our Wal-mart. So, I break up the squabbles as needed...and let them go.

A couple weeks ago I had my three youngest children with me. Ariel-8, Titus-6 and Levi-4; loaded up the groceries to be purchased as normal. But then they stayed at the back of the cart. I thought it was unusual...but since I was buying bread that had not yet been squished...I decided to let them be. They were behaving. They weren't handling all of the candy and toys and looking to me to buy it all. They were talking. Like normal little people. (I love it when they act, within view of the public eye, as though we normal!!!!) 

I looked back at them again and noticed something strange. My daughter had her arm oddly stretched across the end of the isle. After getting her attention, I asked what she was doing. She looked at her two little brothers and then back at me. She slightly lifted her hand from the magazine it rested on, while still watching her little brothers and shielding it from their view. She looked up at me, widened her eyes and mouthed one word. "Inappropriate!". I looked under her little hand and saw the massive amount of cleavage she was covering. I mouthed back two words. "Thank you!"

This world is full of inappropriateness. FULL! Commercials. Magazines. Ads on YouTube. Movies. Billboards. Christians. Ugh...it hurts me to type that last one. But alas...it is sadly true. The enemy will use anyone and anything to put seeds of inappropriate thoughts into a child's head. My children are constantly confused by how some people choose to speak/act/dress while claiming to be a Christ-follower. I want my kids to be sensitive to such things. To set their standards high no matter what is popular, accepted and easy.

I am the one who has to answer a lot of their hard questions. I am the one who is desperately trying to teach them to freely give grace WHILE still refusing to lower their own, self-set standards. I pray protection over their eyes, hearts and minds. I even go as far as to avoid 'repeat offenders' of inappropriate talk/dress/behavior when my kids are with me. They. are. mine. and more importantly...they were His before I ever knew them. I take my position, to equip them with a base of Godly morals and good character, very seriously. 

There is no guarantee that they will turn out well by chance. That is just not how life works. We are to live life purposeful and conscious. My children will have traits of Christ because I relentlessly prayed for them in the most secret places of my heart. They will know what it means to be a genuine Christian because my husband and I taught them the best we knew how. Because we led with our lives rather than our dictation. Because when we messed up, we asked for forgiveness...from our kids and from our Father.

My kids are setting their standards higher than I did as a child. I love to watch them choose what they are unwilling to allow into their life. Sometimes it is their own friend who makes them uncomfortable by the things they choose to do/say/watch. Sometimes it is an adult who dresses in a way that is scant. Sometimes it is an unwanted, non-Mom-approved advertisement that pops up while they are waiting for the newest TobyMac video to load. Sometimes it is a movie that has what they deem as evil. I give them room to choose. I respect their choice.

I'm raising up a generation in my house. A generation of leaders. Of servants. Of bold warriors. A generation that prays. That loves. That forgives. Because when I forget....they will remind me. <3

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Some Days..I Wanna Be a KID Again

I can hear the struggle from where I sit. I can't see it...but I can surely hear it. My two youngest are apparently battling. Again. Many times in a day they wrestle. Many times anger rises and falls...and yet, I can learn so much from them. It happens when I choose to take the time and watch how they are. Today...it is a lesson in love and forgiveness.

As I sit on my bed listening to them play on this beautiful summer morning, I notice their laughter and yelling takes a turn toward anger. Injustice is rearing its ugly head and I can hear the voices getting more and more heated. My 6-year old, Titus, is the one who usually comes to me in tears. My 4-year old, Levi (my baby) he. is. tough. He is still learning. He's still growing. The struggles that he has with hitting when he finds himself angry...are the ones that his older brother used to get in trouble for...OFTEN! Titus has since learned that there are consequences. He prefers most at times...to not endure them.

I don't always immediately rescue my kids at the first sounds of a disagreement with their siblings. I leave them room to choose wisely. I give them space to learn from experience rather than constant reprimand. On this morning...after a few moments of struggle...I decide to stop the fight before it escalades to the hitting phase. I begin to stand and what is it that I hear? Laughter? Yes...they have forgotten why they were angry...and they are laughing. Like for real, belly laughing. It. is. my. FAVE!!

I plop myself back down, smiling. I did not choose for them today. This one time...they chose what was right. They chose what was pleasing. They chose what was good.

I can no longer sit and listen. I want to be with them. I want to see what is funny...and I want to be joyful with them. They are teaching me...and I am learning.

Kids so often get it right when it comes to relationships. I am aiming to be more like my kids. (For real...I am!) I sometimes have to even remind my brain that they don't need to hang onto MY relational setbacks. If I am the one who's been hurt/offended...they don't need to take that offense on as their own.

These are the things that come most naturally to my kids...
-To quickly forget what made them angry in the first place.
-To easily let go of bitterness.
-To live as if they will not be hurt.
-To go from I-wanna-hit-you-angry to carefree-joyful in a moments time.
They don't need to be talked into forgiveness...it comes naturally.

Some days we adults aren't willing to get past our own anger. We feel entitled...and so we wallow. We cling to it. Or better yet...we allow it to attach itself to us. It becomes a part of us. It refuses to leave.

And when we allow a little anger here and there to become part of us...eventually it can overwhelm. Eventually joy will seem like a dream. Eventually we will struggle to see anyone without hardness in our heart.

I am learning to take my cues from children. I aim to love easily...even when it is not easy. I strive to forgive immediately...even when I want to feel entitled. And I will forget the sting of those who hurt me...and instead look for the love of Christ to fill my heart again.