Archive for October, 2012

As a mom, the pressure I put on myself  to “raise the kids right” sometimes makes my head buzz with an endless list of interrogation questions and the conversation sounds a little something like this:

(Q) Am I disciplining properly? (A) I don’t know… I’m trying. I read Focus on The Family… sometimes.

(Q) Am I being consistent enough? (A) I was yesterday… I think.

(Q) Am I doing enough to teach my kids about God?  (A) Oh no I forgot to read them a Bible story last night!

(Q) Am I doing enough activities with them? (A) They look a little bored… I should take them outside.

(Q) Am I teaching them enough academics? (A) I hate math. We will read a book, that’s literature.

(Q)Do they have enough brain stimulating toys? (A) No more toys! This place is a mess, I’ve got to clean!

I’m sure there are many moms out there who can relate to this mental self-interrogation. We try to analyze and re-analyze to see what else we should be doing to feel like a more awesome mom, but today I read a quote from Dr. Meg Meeker that made me think. She said “Rarely do kids describe their mothers as being fabulous moms because of the material things they provide. When I ask adult children about their parents, they talk about their mothers’ greatness in terms of their kindness, affection, and caring.” Now, I am a fan of healthy self-examination, but if you are like me, you probably have a tendency to try too hard and over compensate for the areas you feel like you fall short in. I find that when I get focused on grading myself, I try to do more activities to make myself feel like a better mom. However, in doing so, I then I forget to focus on the things that really matter. Like remembering to show affection and just cuddle for a while; or trying to care about what is going on in my little girl’s heart and not just reacting in frustration to her behavior.  These are the things that matter most to my kids and I know that when I take the time to do them instead of just trying to add more steam to the crazy train, there begins to be warmth in their responses to me. It’s not that I don’t have to discipline or spend time teaching them things, but there has to be a balance. Sometimes the things that make me feel better about myself are not necessarily the things that are best for my kids.

So to all my fellow moms out there, I hope you will take this encouragement and realize that sometimes the pressure to do more stuff so you can feel like you are “raising the kids right” is all in your head.  Galatians 5:22-23 says “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” which means that what really makes us great moms is letting the fruit of God’s spirit bloom in the moments of our daily life. Maybe we don’t need to do more; maybe we need to stop so God’s spirit can show us how to focus on the things that matter.

Moment of the Week!

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Moment of The Week

So last week there was a moment of revelation for me. My husband brought home a piece of pottery that I had made at a class with some friends and it was supposed to be a bowl but really turned out to be more like a plate. Looking for some affirmation, I held it up and I asked him what he thought of it and after a few moments of silence he simply said “Honey, I just don’t think pottery is your calling.” After an outburst of laughter at the truth of his statement, I now know that pottery is not my strongest talent and I am free to focus my efforts elsewhere. Sometimes a little honesty from someone who loves you is exactly what you need!

This was a great perspective and one that I really needed in my life right now. My oldest daughter is three and my youngest will be turning two in about three months so I am constantly in a battle of the wills… To all those parents out there with toddlers, this one is for you!

The Village Blog – A Parent of Your Word.

I don’t know about anyone else out there but I ALWAYS imagine myself to be a much better person than I actually am. In my day dreams I always say the most profound words at the most profound moments, do the perfect things at exactly the perfect times and of course, I look amazing the entire time. In my mind, I sit on an imaginary throne; I hold the final judgment on all things, everything always goes the way I determine it should go and everyone sees me as this perfect and all-knowing being like the elf lady, Galadriel in Lord of the Rings. Of course this is far from the reality of who I really am on many levels, and if I told the truth, I spend more time than I care to admit in these imaginations of my heart. I know that to some this may seem a harmless diversion. It is something that everyone, if they are honest, engages in on a daily basis. However, I have recently been reminded that these “imaginations” or “day dreams” hide a poison that is so deceptive, I can’t even see it in myself unless God Himself reveals it…Pride.

Luke 1:50-52 says this “And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. 51 He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.”

In the Amplified Bible, verse 51 reads like this “He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts.”

Have you ever noticed that someone who is proud is consumed with how people view them? They are always imagining that when they get that new car or achieve that dream they’ve been chasing that people will see them as important and maybe even be a little bit jealous. They draw very quick judgments on other people’s behavior based on what they imagine to be the person’s motivations. They have a need to control circumstances to achieve outcomes they imagine are the best for them. They sit on imaginary thrones in their minds, where they are perfect and all-knowing.

Well, I think it’s pretty clear that “they” is me, which means that Luke’s description of God scattering the proud “in and by the imagination…of their hearts” cuts to my soul like a double-edged sword. As a mom, do I really want to teach my kids that they should navigate life based on what they imagine to be true? Not at all! I want to teach them to have a reverential, grateful fear of God and view His truth as the ultimate authority on who they are and how they should navigate life. This is the only way true humility can be born in the human heart. I want my kids to be humble because as Luke says, it is to the humble that God shows mercy and it is the humble that He exalts. As always, the only way to teach them this is by example. I desperately want to be that example but even more than that I desperately want to be an object of God’s mercy not His resistance. So today I am begging God to take me off my imaginary throne and teach me how to live life at His feet. I truly hope that I have inspired some honest self-examination and maybe God will make us all better examples to our kids.

Moment of The Week

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Moment of The Week

Moment of the Week is a new segment that I am adding to my blog! There are lots of little moments in life that I just find really amusing so I thought I would start sharing them as something fun for everyone to read.  However, I would also love some participation so if you have a moment that is fun, amusing or just plain hilarious please send it to me in 300 words or less to sexton0104@gmail.com. Each month I will try to share some of the ones I receive on my blog so please send me your moments!

Insignificant is a word that describes how I feel on many days. It is the feeling I get when it seems like all I have done is wipe up poop, do dishes which are now dirty again and argue with a two-year old about the necessity of a nap.  Somehow it never seems like I accomplish what I want to, much less anything of significance. Despite the fact that my husband is fantastic about telling how grateful he is for everything that I do, in those moments when it’s just me there’s something that still whispers to my heart that my life of endless task lists is nothing but a chasing after the wind.

Well, this makes me think about a sermon by Matt Chandler on the book of Philippians. His message was a challenge and he asked why we do as modern day Christians have no passion for Christ? He referenced many places in Scripture, including Psalm 63, where people in the Bible describe their desire for God with a desperation that is totally lost on most Christians today. He also described how the creation itself is depicted in Romans 8 as “groaning” for the redemptive presence of its King. So if this desire is the standard as shown in Scripture, then why is our relationship to God so platonic instead of the passionate pursuit it was meant to be? Philippians 3:1-11 gives us a hint. It describes Paul as having more reason than anyone to be confident in his own flesh; he was found blameless according to the law which means he kept a pretty impressive list of good deeds. However, in verse 7 we are told that he counted his list as loss “… in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.” He counted his list of awesome deeds as loss because his pursuit of the list kept him from pursuing Christ. When my Christian life becomes about a list of things to do, it becomes chasing the wind and I will always be left feeling like I haven’t quite done enough. But when my Christian life becomes about building a relationship with a person named Jesus Christ, it begins to breathe with life.

I think this same principle can be applied to our daily lives as well. When I measure my life by a list of things that I do each day then it will always leave me feeling insignificant and like I haven’t done enough. If however, I measure my life by the people I am touching and the relationships I am building then suddenly my day seems to pulse with a sense of life. Wiping poop will never be my favorite thing to do but the time I spend meeting my daughter’s needs and showing her affection will become a part of who she is and suddenly it seems less insignificant. How many times I do the dishes is not important, but the fact that I have made life a little cleaner for the rest of my family is important. It’s all a matter of how I measure… lists or people. Just like my Christian life is measured by how well I know Jesus Christ the person, my daily life is measured by how well I love the people He puts in my path. So, I know this perspective won’t make the chores do themselves or magically clean the kids, but I hope it will be a reminder that our significance is in the people we touch not in the lists of things we do.

Seriously?

Posted: October 10, 2012 in Soap Box Moment
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Today I am going to get on my soap box and talk about something that I know will make a lot of people upset, but honestly I am so irritated, I don’t really care. A few weeks ago, my husband was invited by a group of his friends to go grab a drink at a place called Twin Peaks which is touted as the new Hooters just with less clothing. For those of you not familiar with either of these restaurants, they are quite simply, titty bars for the suburban man. They serve a variety of “man foods” such as burgers, wings and ice cold beer but in addition they offer a choice selection of scantily clad waitresses for men to tantalize their lusts. Don’t believe me? Go to their websites, they make no secret of it.

Needless to say, my husband is a man of character and had no problem telling his meat head friends that he would not be joining them for personal reasons. As expected, they responded with ridicule and accused him of not being able to “handle himself”. SERIOUSLY? Now, to those of you who do not hold to the truth of scripture, I have nothing to say to you but to those who claim to be a Christian, I am calling you out. In Romans 13:14 we are commanded to make “no provision for the flesh.” In Galations 5:13 we are told that we are free but not to turn our freedom into opportunity for the flesh. In Matthew 26:41 we are told that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. In Proverbs 5:17-19 men are commanded to “rejoice in the wife of your youth… let HER breasts satisfy you at ALL TIMES.” Need I go on?

Sadly I have met professing Christians, both men and women, who seem to feel that this indulgence of lust is no big deal and it is this attitude that I wish to challenge. Do we take the words of the living God seriously or do we think He is a joke? He gives us these guidelines because He is the creator and He knows what tools we need to protect ourselves and our marriages so why are those who take Him at His word looked at as prudish and unintelligent? The world tells us that marriage is only valuable as long as it suits us; it should not impede our desires or cramp our style and if it does, it’s ok to toss it out with the rest of the garbage and do what makes us happy.  So how’s that workin’ out? Statistics would say, not so well. Is this really what we want to pass on to our kids? That marriage is not valuable enough to protect by standing up for what God says is true?

I say no. I say you can get wings and hamburgers at Chili’s and that the only reason to go to suburban titty bars is to get as close to sin as you can without feeling like you have technically done anything wrong. If you are always trying to get as close to “the line” as possible then your heart is really on the other side of the line, it’s just that simple. Now, I’m not telling anyone what to do but I will tell you this, I respect my husband more than I respect any man in this world because he takes God seriously and he proactively protects our marriage. He did not turn down the Twin Peaks invitation because he can’t “handle himself”, he did it because he is twice the man those guys will ever hope to be.