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How Do You Reach A Child’s Heart?

So much of parental life is consumed with meeting temporal needs. Endless piles of laundry, shuttling children to and from activities, cooking meals, you know the drill. Not to mention adding in the amount of time, energy and effort expended in trying to get children to DO things they really could care less about or to get them to STOP doing things they are perfectly content with. Perhaps you’re ready to blow a gasket because you’ve told your pre-teen boy for the millionth time that he needs to shower daily. And you can’t recall how many times you’ve told your toddler not to jump on the furniture. While requests for showering and not jumping on furniture are reasonable, they do not serve as an investment in connecting with the hearts of our children.

 

The job of parenting finds us doing many seemingly important things for our children. But we want to be cautious to not miss out on the needed thing. Just as Jesus affirmed that Mary had chosen the better part, let us choose the better part and that is connecting with the hearts of our children.

 

Shuttling kids to soccer practice, hurrying up to get them to choir rehearsal, and rushing them off to bed, may be required at times but can have a way of choking out meaningful interaction. So how do we connect with our children when most of our daily interactions are moving them through to the next activity? We’ve got to be PURPOSEFUL!

 

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and novelist, Toni Morrison appeared on an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass. On the show, the prolific author dispensed this wisdom,

“It’s interesting to see when a kid walks into the room… does your

face light up? That’s what they’re looking for…when my children used

to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if

they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or their

socks were up…so you think your affection and your deep love is on

display cause you’re caring for them, it’s not. When they see you they

see the critical face…what’s wrong now? …But then if you let your face

speak what’s in your heart. Because when they walked in the room I was

glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see.”

 

She so eloquently illustrated the difference between meeting temporal needs and maximizing on the opportunity to connect with the heart. Oprah went on to say that one of her biggest learning lessons of the early 90’s was that the common denominator in the human experience is that everyone wants to be appreciated or validated. Given that, what are we teaching our children by spending so much energy on things that may not matter in five years, much less ten? How many moments will we have missed? How many hugs would not have been shared? How many smiles would have been deterred?

 

Will our children feel connected, loved, if the words we dispense are focused on what they haven’t done right, what they aren’t doing or what they’ve done wrong?

“You haven’t…”

“You aren’t”

“When will you ever…”

“You can’t…”

“You won’t…”

“Don’t…”

“Stop…”

“No…”

Yup, I’ve said them all too but I’m learning to do better. It requires reframing the dialogue. “Well what CAN I do then?” That’s what their hearts want to know. Purpose to fill their hearts with what they CAN do. Let us connect in ways they can perceive and receive. Research Professor, Dr. Brene Brown says, “We are hardwired to connect with others, is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” Will you help minimize suffering by proactively connecting with the hearts of your children?

 

We connect with children by being adults who are vulnerable, humble and gentle.

 

We reach them through open communication, connectedness, inviting them, listening with the heart, knowing them and encouraging them.

 

Let’s pray!

 

Eternal one and lover of my soul, thank you for always extending yourself and seeking to connect with my heart. I pray that you will open the eyes of my heart so that I will be available to my children. Enable me to connect with their hearts through purposeful interactions. May I present myself gentle, humble and vulnerable so that they feel I am approachable. May I keep my eyes and ears open so that I can learn who they are and know them deeply. May my words be filled with grace. May I be intentional in maximizing upon opportunities to communicate with them. Knit me closer to my children now and evermore.

 

For the practical steps on how to reach them, order a copy of my new book PURPOSEFUL PARENTING, available now on Amazon.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

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Do we ever REALLY know what we’re doing?

[bctt tweet=”Considering people have been rearing children since the dawn of humanity, one would think we’d have mastered parenting by now.” username=”inspiredfully”] And if the theory of evolution that we’ve been taught is accurate, surely we’d all be awarded PhD’s in parenting.

Yet…

~We question our ability to get it right

~We make parenting blunders almost daily

~We can be wracked with guilt for the decisions we make regarding our children

 

We don’t know for certain how they’ll end up so we spin our wheels trying to ensure the best possible outcome. We carefully manufacture every facet of their lives right down to marching into the principal’s office to demand the teacher of our choice. We want them to be “well-rounded” so they must play a sport, speak a foreign language, go on missions trips, and travel on competitive teams. Yup, I know all about it. You’re not the only one. Been there, done that and wearing the t-shirt. . But not only that; they must eat only organic, gluten free, and sugar free. So dinner at grandmas becomes a delicate dance as to not offend her. What are we really doing?

 

I was having a conversation with a woman recently and she posed a very interesting thought. She said, and I quote, “People should learn how to become parents before they have children.” Is that really possible? It made me think of preparing for childbirth. You can read about each month of pregnancy and what to expect. You can tour the hospital where you’ll deliver. You can attend Lamaze classes, practice hypno-birthing or practice the Bradley Method, but when that first contraction hits, it can catch you off guard as if you’ve had no preparation at all. It can take your breath away and sends most women into a panic screaming for an epidural.

 

Parenting is somewhat like that. You can read the parenting manuals. And believe me there are plenty of them on the market. You can read about gentle parenting, conscious parenting, helicopter parenting, free range parenting, Christian parenting and the list goes on. But until you come face-to-face with certain childhood situations, you don’t know how you’ll respond. Your own experiences as a child, your child’s temperament, and your environment all play into how you will respond.

 

What I do know is some days I seem to be lost in the parenting maze.  I’ve been sucked into the vortex of meeting temporal needs that on occasion I’ve left the needs of the heart untended. What about you? And we don’t do that on purpose right? We merely want to raise successful adults and somehow equate having teeth brushed and rushing off to soccer practice as essential components for arriving at the goal.

 

But I say no more! It’s time we reclaim parenting. Let’s turn to the hearts of our children and turn away from our plans to engineer the next crop of productivity robots. We’ll get back to loving and laughing, teaching and training.

 

And this can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit. He is our Teacher and our Guide.  He gently leads those with young (Isaiah 40:11). Having had broken experiences in being parented and not wanting to pass that onto my children, I rely on the Holy Spirit to partner with me in raising my children.  And He does not disappointment.

 

Could you use some encouragement for your parenting journey? Then check out my new book Purposeful Parenting officially releasing a week from today. But guess what? The ebook is already available on Amazon so download it now, don’t delay. Let us embark on this quest together. Healing humanity, one heart at a time starting within our circle of influence, right with the young people we know.

 

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to partner with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

 

 

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Would You Dare?

“I triple dog dare ya!”

 

A saying children would make to taunt you, to incite you to take the dare.  Well as a child I didn’t take the dare and as an adult I’m not much of a risk taker still.  No big bold claims, no risky financial investments, no bungie jumping or parasailing. NOPE. I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground with some semblance of control.

 

But what is control? Just an illusion, really. A false sense of security.  The risk taker is willing to surrender control, throwing caution to the wind, thus creating space to catch the current and take flight.  Yesterday I watched a majestic bird in flight.  This bird sailed, dove, rose again and swooped down and up again he went, gracefully catching a current and riding it.  He would have expended much more energy flapping his wings to set about his course.  But the bird knows he can take a risk, catch a current and allow the current to carry him as opposed to fighting against it.

 

Last night I was given a challenge, a dare of sorts. I was asked to write down the ONE thing I needed God to do for me this week.  I was asked to take a risk and take God at His word. I was asked to BELIEVE God for just ONE thing and to write it down.

 

But would I dare. An immediate panic hit my heart. I dare not utter the THING that I really wanted Him to do this week. Let me play it safe. I’ll tuck away the thing I really need to believe Him for in order to choose the safe thing.  I’d rather pick the safe thing because if the true thing that I want to offer up isn’t fulfilled but this other thing is then I won’t be disappointed.  If I pick this other thing then I won’t be let down.  Yeah, let me pick the safe thing.

 

But the Father, in His loving kindness is always close at hand and close in our hearts.  He gently tapped me and asked, “Daughter why do you doubt? More than you know I want to help you. I see the situation and I’m ready to work a miracle.”

 

Even in light of that truth, I backpedaled even further, layer reasoning on top of what the Father already uttered. So off to sleep I went, not writing down that ONE thing. But when I awoke as I do every morning a song played in my heart.  And the song this morning says, “You’re a great God. You are great. Yes you’re a great God. You are great!” As that refrain repeated over and over, my mind began to catch up with what my Spirit already knows. Indeed He is a great God and wants to move mightily in my life and in yours.  But have we tied His hands?

 

Have you, by way of your thinking, restricted God’s mobility? Do you have the Father in a straight jacket?  Have you put the Holy Spirit under house arrest? He wants to lead you, to guide you, to walk you into the fulfillment of His will for your life but are you hampering the process with your hesitation to take a risk?

 

If you’re going to taste and see….it requires you to take a bite.

If you’re going to try Me now in this…it requires you to exercise your faith.

If you’re going to walk in paths of righteousness…it requires you to take a step.

 

I don’t think I’m much of a risk taker. But when I look back over my life I see that I’ve taken many risks. As a child I went all over the city on public transportation by myself. RISK. I left all that was known and familiar to attend college. RISK. I took rides with strangers. RISK. I quit my job to become a homemaker. RISK. I surrendered my womb and as a result have bore 6 children. RISK. I allow Him to lead me daily not knowing where my life is headed. RISK.

 

So I guess I am a risk taker after all.  I challenge you. I double dog dare YOU. Take a risk. Take God at His word.

 

What is ONE thing you need Him to do for you this week? As my sister challenged me, tag, you’re it. I now challenge you. WRITE IT DOWN. Believe. And watch God work a miracle. Would you type that ONE thing in the comments so I can pray with you? I know He’s able to bring it to pass.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

 

Ever Been Let Down?

His dress shirt was getting soaked through. The brown leather of the shoes growing darker too as the rain pelted harder and harder. He was supposed to be on the way to a meeting, instead here was my husband, trying to assess why the car wouldn’t start. The school door would be opening shortly so we needed to be going.

 

We got the car to start and I proceeded to head to the school only to have it stop again. Start/Stop, Start/Stop, Start/Stop. So went the morning. But my dear husband, who knows  there’s always a way when I think there’s no way just FIXED it. Because that’s what he does.  He’s a fixer. He’s a doer. He’s reliable. I can count on him. And he’ll in throw some jokes in to keep you smiling through it all.

 

After we fixed the car, two days later, back to the same thing.  Only this time my husband was 20 miles away, at work, unable to run to my aid.  But with my cell phone in hand, he was right there with me. “Put it in neutral, start it, then put it in drive.”  Wouldn’t you know, that worked! I was at least able to make it home safely with a car full of children and not stuck on the side of the road. Again, the hubs came to my rescue.

 

My hero.

My protector.

My friend.

 

Then it hit me. Slammed me in the chest so hard it nearly took my breath away.  It’s something when you get struck with the blinding flash of the obvious…..

 

Day in and day out, God does the VERY same for me.

 

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

 

Day in and day out God comes to my rescue. He stands out in the rain for me, deflecting the enemy’s fiery darts. He fixes the issues in my life.  And He has the ability to bring me joy even in trying circumstances.

 

And not only does He come to our aid, He loves us y’all! He’s smiling over us. He’s rejoicing over us. He delights in us.

 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

 

So friends be encouraged today. Every step you take, every move you make, your Heavenly Father is with you. He has promised to never leave nor forsake you. He said He is with you wherever you go. He wants you to be reminded that He is with you even until the end of the age. He said that nothing will ever separate you from His love. In your mountain top experiences He is there. In your valley lows He is there. In your jubilation He is there. In your grief He is there. Even at this very second…

 

HE IS HERE!

 

His Spirit dwells within you. Leading you, guiding you, teaching you, comforting you and if necessary correcting you too.

 

Isn’t that good news? So be reassured today that The Father is here. And He won’t let you down.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

 

P.S. Have you heard? I’m an author! Click here to find out more about my upcoming book!

PURPOSEFUL PARENTING

 

 

 

 

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A Breadcrumb of Faith

FAITH

 

The substance of things hoped for.

 

FAITH

 

The evidence of things not seen.

 

FAITH

 

All is takes is a crumb. This size of a mustard seed is enough.

 

By faith God can perform miracles!

 

Join me over at Breadcrumbs of Faith where I’m sharing my faith story. Be inspired to activate and increase your faith.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired to Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth