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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?

Considering people have been rearing children since the dawn of humanity, one would think we'd… Click To Tweet 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

 

 

A War Room Prayer For Our Daughters

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. From watching a newborn’s chest rise and fall so you can confirm breathing to staying up late waiting for a teen to return home, being a parent can leave you sick with worry. Fear, anxiety and guilt can become permanent house guests if you’re not careful. But we are careful parents who do not let seeds of doubt and deception take root. We are parents who fiercely hold fast to the TRUTH.

 

While we may not have ALL the answers in parenting, we do have THE answer. And the answer is PRAYER. The single most effective thing we can do as parents is to pray for our children Click To Tweet I’ve fervently poured my heart out for our sons and you can read that HERE. Now let us bombard heaven on behalf of our daughters.

 

Lord,

 

You are a good good Father. You are the Good Shepherd who guides and protects us and our children. Thank you Holy Spirit for teaching us and leading us into all truth. And it is only by your power and revelation that we can effectively parent our daughters. So Lord I thank you that you see each of our daughters. You are intimately acquainted with everything concerning them for you knew them even before we did and you sent them for a time such as this. Thank you for trusting us to steward over these Proverbs 31 women in the making. Confirm for our girls that you love them with an everlasting love. If they’ve been wounded remind them that you see, that you care and that you are the balm that heals. Reassure them that they are the apple of your eye and a jewel in your crown. May they embrace their self-worth and see themselves clothed in beauty and splendor. May they seek to honor you in their temples by pursuing purity, eating right and exercising. May they be discerning like Abigail, knowing there is a time and a place for everything under the heavens. May they be judicious and wise like Deborah. Let our daughters be women of their word like Hannah. Through our own example, let us show them how to be hospitable like the Shunamite woman. Oh that they would have the faithfulness of Ruth and the courage of Esther. May they don obedience and gentleness as garments of praise. We thank you that your plans for them are for good and not evil. May they discover their purpose early and begin to walk in it at a young age. And when the lures of this world try to steal their attention, help them keep their minds staid on you. Lord let our daughters be cloaked in your favor. Above all, I pray they worship you all the days of their lives and dwell in your house forever.

 

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

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Purposeful Faith, Mommy Moments

 

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A Fervent Prayer for Our Sons

Kissing boo-boos and giving hugs.

 

Teaching, guiding, correcting.

 

Checking homework.

 

Giving advice.

 

Crying, praying and more crying.

 

A parent’s work is never done. The true work of parenting is not in what we say TO our children but in what we say TO GOD about… Click To Tweet I’ve been blessed with FOUR, yes 4 sons. Most days, I feel pretty adequate in meeting their temporal needs. It can get overwhelming though when I think about the magnitude of my assignment: to shepherd them as they discover and walk out God’s purposes and plans for their lives.

 

So whether you’ve got a son or a daughter (yup I‘ve got 2 girls also), the most effective thing we can do in parenting is to pray for them. So join me in a FERVENT prayer for our sons. Our young men have a charge from God to be strong and courageous. And we need them to be just that as they stand firm in their convictions to help heal our land.

 

Heavenly Father,

You are Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are the Creator of all, you see all and you know all. And I thank you God that you see our sons and you know them by name. You know every hair on their heads. You know their beginning from their end. Lord I pray that they will always pursue you with their whole hearts. As the deer pants for the water, may their souls long after you and YOU alone. I thank you that your plans for them are for good and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope. Lord I pray that you will keep them hidden under the shadow of your wing. I thank you that you’ve given your angels charge over them to protect them in all their ways. Lord I pray you grant them the wisdom of Solomon and the courage of Daniel. I pray they have the obedience of Abram and the faith of Joshua. I pray that they will walk with you like Enoch and be honorable like Joseph. Let our sons be a friend to you like David. Let them be filled with gentleness, love and compassion like you Jesus. May they love and respect their bodies and keep them holy and acceptable unto you. May they think critically, communicate clearly and solve problems help humanity. May they grow in wisdom and in stature in favor with you and with man. And may they walk in paths of righteousness for your namesake as you lead them in the way everlasting. Thank you Lord.

 

Amen

 

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

 

Happy to connect with friends sharing the Good News #LifeGivingLinkup, Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Grace and Truth

 

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Use Your Weakness

Unqualified

Inadequate

Incapable

Weak

 

Some days this is exactly how I feel.

 

In many areas of my life I feel strong and capable. In some areas I feel I can leap tall building in a single bound.

 

Marriage? CHECK

Health? CHECK

Ministry? CHECK

Friendship? CHECK

 

Parenting? WELL…..

 

That’s where it gets a little muddy. Some days I feel weak and inadequate as a parent. I read my bible. I’ve read some really great Christian parenting resources and even attending a few training sessions. In fact, I myself have written and taught an eight-week class on raising Godly children. Yet, in spite of that, I feel this is one area that keeps me clinging fiercely to the cross.

 

As I wrestle with the Lord on this, I wonder, why do I feel unqualified in this area? The answer to that becomes apparent. When I was a child, I had no consistent parenting. In my very early childhood years, my mother was present, loving and nurturing. Around age seven, she adopted some behaviors, which directly affected her ability to care for me. My parents, who had never been married split several years earlier and my father went on a quest to find himself so he wasn’t around. I was often in the care of my grandmother or cousins who cared for me but didn’t “mother” me. In my teens I did eventually move in with my father, but there was a gaping whole in my heart for MOMMY.

 

If I was not mothered, how can I effectively mother?

 

When the enemy of your soul sees a crack in your finish, he attempts to seep his poison in that space. Just last week he tried to play on my weakness. While I feel that one of my greatest areas of weakness is parenting, I KNOW that I KNOW that the Lord has and continues to divinely teach me to parent. There is no question about that. But here he comes spewing his venom. As I’m working on writing a parenting book, birthed out of that eight-week class I taught, this voice says, “Who are you to speak on this? You don’t know what you are doing. You mess up all the time”.

 

When people see me with my little flock and they say things like “Motherhood is your ministry” my flesh prickles like porcupine quills rising because the voice comes again saying, “Yeah but they didn’t see you roll eyes at your kid last night”. But again, I know the truth. I KNOW that the Lord has supernaturally taught me to love, nurture and lead this little flock.

 

TRUTH will always trump lies. And the truth says, where I am weak, I am strong. Click To Tweet

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

Not only am I made strong when I am weak, but God wants to use me, and He wants to use YOU right in your place of weakness.

 

Just like He used Moses. Doubting Moses. Unqualified Moses. Fearful Moses.

 

Moses who was fearful and ran from his staff when it turned into a snake; God told him to PICK UP that very thing and use it as a sign. That very same thing that Moses ran from was the same instrument that would hit a rock to bring water to nourish the people and would part the waters so they could cross on dry land.

 

The very area you want to run in fear, is the very thing God will use to bring a miracle. Click To Tweet And not just for you but for those whom you’ve been called to lead. God wants to use your weakness. He wants to use what you’ve got right in your hand.

 

And along the journey, He will not leave nor forsake you. He’ll be walking with you, talking with you and teaching you along the way. I can vividly recall having a hard mommy day about 8 years ago. I felt the children weren’t listening and that they weren’t doing the things I’d been instructing them to do. The Holy Spirit stepped in and told me, “Go to your room and open your bible.” I obeyed. He said, “Turn to Isaiah 54:13.” I had NEVER read that verse before so I was curious as to where He was leading me. There have been very few instances in my entire Christian walk where He has lead me to a single, exact verse but here was one of those times and this is what it said,

 

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

 

What a word of confirmation!

 

God used Moses’ weakness. God used Gideon’s weakness. And God wants to use mine too.

 

So I’m learning to be more compassionate with myself. I’m learning that my weaknesses aren’t flaws I need to magnify but are opportunities for God’s grace to be magnified. I’m learning not to condemn myself when I do make a mistake in parenting. The Holy Spirit is circumcising my heart and uncovering the root of the disease. I’ve tuned into the voice of my negative self-chatter and found its not even my voice but the voice of an imposter. It’s the voice of an overly critical, brutish aunt whose charge I was once under. Under God’s skillful loving hand, I’m learning to grant myself some grace, extend myself some love and nurture the me who is weak and vulnerable.

 

Being weak and making mistakes is part of the human experience. I give myself permission to experience the full range of emotions and partake of the depth and breadth of my personal experiences, knowing that perfect is an illusion.   And parenting is by far not a perfect process. I’m learning to see the beauty in the mess-ups when I take my eye off what I perceive to be my errors and put my eyes on Jesus. He is the best parent ever and loves me unconditionally. And though I have my parental weaknesses, in this He has an opportunity to rise up and show Himself mighty and strong.

 

Yup, in the parenting arena I may be weak but I’m learning that that’s okay. I’m learning that God wants to use my weakness. I’m learning that my weakness is the vehicle that makes me strong.

 

In what area to do you feel unqualified, weak, or inadequate?

 

I count you COURAGEOUS for even stepping up to the plate and being willing to take your turn at bat. You may not always hit a homerun, but you put on your uniform, took the long walk to plate, lifted your bat, and let it fly. Your arms may be weak, but in that very instance, HIS power is made perfect in your weakness.

 

I salute all the weak, inadequate, unqualified souls out there today. Let me leave you with this final thought….

 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

 

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, #LifeGivingLinkup, Purposeful Faith, Titus 2sdays, Grace & Truth

 

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Oh and one last thing, Pastor Steven Furtick has a new book out called Unqualified. In it, he highlights how God uses broken, inadequate people to do great things. Check it our by clicking on the title.

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Wonderland

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My Favorite Post: The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

As I’m celebrating my 1st Blogiversary, I’ve spent this week reflecting.  I started the week with What I’ve Learned In A Year Of Blogging.  I’ve revisited the most popular post of the year, which was a surprise to me, I Have Faith Issues. So now I’d like to share with you my personal FAVORITE post of the year.  This is one that is extremely close to my heart.  It is the thing that has me in the trenches daily.  It is the thing that keeps me fiercely clinging to the Cross.  And before I stepped into that arena, I would have never imagined it would have been so challenging.

 

Parenting.

 

So here is a peek into my heart, my mama heart, as I candidly share on The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done.

 

Recently I got a phone call that took me by surprise.

Someone dear to me is pregnant, expecting her 1st baby. She’s experiencing many of the typical 1st trimester symptoms: fatigue, nausea, heightened emotions and the like. It was an honor for me to share words of wisdom from my personal experiences, having walked that road a few times now.

 

Kiss Baby

 

I am the mother of 5 fantastic children. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Yup those are their ages; every year for the last 11 years I’ve been pregnant or nursing a baby. 2014 was the year that broke my baby streak (actually I did have a baby in 2014, just not one from my body. On October 25th of this year, my business Inspired Life was born).

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Five children.

 

I never imagined I’d be the mother of 5. Kingsland Party of Five as my cousin calls them. When I was a child, I had typical childhood fantasies of having a fine husband, driving a nice car and living in a big house. My parents were never married and of the families in my neighborhood finding a MARRIED couple was like finding the mate to that sock you’ve been looking for, for 2 years now. My vision of this perfect family included 2 kids, a boy and a girl of course. I don’t even know where that boy/girl thing began and the fact that it still lingers today is even more ridiculous as well meaning family, friends, coworkers and even strangers commented after I had 1st a daughter, then a son, “Well you’ve got your girl and your boy, so you’re done right?” People say interesting things they don’t really ‘think’ about. They just repeat what they’ve heard.

 

While being a parent is proving to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had, it is is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Siblings Reading

For some, work may prove to be one of the most difficult things they’ve ever faced. I feel like, with a clear set of performance expectations coupled with my talent, knowledge, skill and ability, I can meet and even exceed an employer’s expectation. Work, I can handle that.

 

For some marriage may prove to be one of the most difficult things they’ve ever had to face. Joining forces with a person who may have had a different upbringing, values, cares, likes, and interests can evoke trouble. Even something as simple as how your spouse squeezes up the toothpaste to hanging their towel (or lack thereof); differences in marriage are not always easy to navigate. My husband and I met when we were freshmen in college so essentially we’ve grown up together. Through constant communication we have been able to create a beautiful union and I look forward to growing old together. So in marriage, I feel like when the expectations are clearly defined and both parties have committed to executing their duties, marriage works.

 

For others it may be dealing with a relative, an overbearing mother or an absent father. These familial relationships can bring about their own drama causing one to feel like being a relative is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

 

Employee. Wife. Relative. I feel like those roles I can execute with a pretty certain degree of success.

 

Parenting on the other hand…well, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

 

The role of a parent is vital to the health and success of our world. The parent is the child’s… Click To Tweet It is the parent’s responsibility to steer, direct and lead their children. In the infancy stages, though fraught with sleepless nights and sometimes unexplainable cries, meeting the needs of the baby are pretty straightforward: fed in a timely manner, kept warmed and comforted, nurtured, kept dry, and soothed, baby will generally be well.

Pond discovery

Parenting with purpose to raise children that are responsible for positively contributing to making this planet a better place to live is a tremendous undertaking. Then stir the pot mixing in different gender, personality, proclivities, likes, dislikes, and temperaments and the stew is then indeed a mixed bag. But just as my African Peanut Stew I had for dinner last night was a mélange of vegetables, spices, beans and more, it came together to create magic on the tongue, my children will stir up their gifts to make this nation a better place.

 

And it is in being purposeful and intentional in learning each individual child and ministering to the heart of the child that the hard work ensues. It is in discovering that my 3rd born needs words of affirmation and my 4th born physical touch in order for them to truly feel loved is where it gets hard because those things didn’t readily show themselves. They didn’t carry a banner or poster or verbally tell me “Mommy, this is what I need”. It took careful observation and listening to discover.

 

It’s the hardest thing when your child is rejected by peers at school and part of you wants to go to the school seeking vengeance saying to yourself “See, this is exactly why I always considered homeschooling”. Part of you may remember what it was like to be rejected as a child and you may even still be crippled by that thing and as a result unable to even help your child move through that issue.

 

It’s the hardest thing when you know you’ve consistently taught them values such as caring, respect and honor then a child who came out of your body acts in a way completely opposite of what you know you’ve taught. You may feel ashamed, embarrassed. It’s hard.

 

But in the midst of the hard stands tall and erect: TRUTH

 

And the truth says:

 

~Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
 
~For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
 
~These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
 
~All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13

 

Mommy of 5

 

So be encouraged fellow parents. While it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it is also the best decision I ever made. In my 1st pregnancy a male hairdresser shared a nugget of wisdom that has stuck with me all these years. He told me, when you give birth to a baby, you are giving birth to your authentic self.

 

It is through having my children and parenting with purpose that I’ve come face to face with myself. All of my strengths as well as my shortcomings have floated to the surface and must be addressed if I am to parent from a place of wholeness.

 

BTW, my childhood fantasy came true. I’ve got me a fine husband, a nice car (if you call a minivan with 220,000 miles on it a nice car) and a nice size house AND my girl and my boy plus another girl and another 2 boys. Blessed beyond measure and that makes the hardest thing I’ve ever done worth it.

 

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. Psalm 127:3-5

 

P.S. When my future leaders grow up to take their rightful place in society, my husband and I will take the opportunity to fulfill some of the items on our bucket list: Bora Bora, Greece, Tahiti, San Tropez…Can you tell we like the beach? Maybe I should say I like the beach.

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Praying you joy filled days of parenting with purpose.

 

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

Back To School Prayer

Supplies?

 

Check.

 

back to school backpacks

 

 

back to school lunch bags

Uniforms?

 

Check.

back to school uniforms

Haircuts and hair dos?

 

Check.

 

From the looks of things four of my five children are ready to begin another successful school year. But temporal things aside, I don’t know if my mama heart is ready to release them back to school. Each year I feel like I’m sending my precious little flock into a den of wolves. Coming out from under my safety and protection, I willingly hand them over to be influenced by peers, taught by people who may not share my values and exposed to all manner of who knows what. Oh, my mama heart is rent in two. To be in the world but not of it is difficult enough for the mature believer, but how is a child to navigate this treacherous terrain? Even if your children aren’t leaving your covering for school, they are growing and maturing each day and will one day leave the nest.

 

Mamas let us cover them in prayer. Let us hedge them in. Let us instill His Word in their hearts that they may not sin against Him. Let us dwell with them in the shelter of the Most High. And let us stand on God’s promises regarding our children. Sit with your babies and prayer this back to school prayer with them.

 

Mama’s babies:



I love you so much. Oh how I thank God, Most High for trusting me enough to be your mother. We serve a God who is all knowing, all-powerful and all loving. He loves you and I with an everlasting love. God’s plans for you are for good, not evil to give you a future and a hope. The steps of a good man are ordered and I’m delighted to witness you taking steps toward your purpose each and every day. You will not walk in the path of evil but you will walk in paths of righteousness for His namesake. And when you do that, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. You will be mindful of what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear. You will grow in wisdom and in stature, in favor with God and with man.

 

God has given you a brilliant mind. Use it to its maximum potential. Take firm hold of instruction but above that get wisdom, as it’s the principal thing. You are an obedient child who has great respect for those in authority. You will be quick to listen and slow to speak. When necessary you will calmly make a wise appeal if you disagree, standing up for righteousness sake. You are the salt and light of the earth. Let your light shine bright so that your teachers and classmates feel and see Jesus’ love in you. Don’t hide your love for Jesus. Let it show through your gratefulness, your kindness, your joy, and your self-control. While there may be many distractions at school, focus your attention on what is right, true, honorable and praiseworthy. You will not seek to fit in but will recognize you’ve been set apart by God. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. God has given His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. Continue to love God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your strength. I am blessed because of you. The world is blessed because of you. You are blessed TO BE a blessing to others. I give thanks in advance for your amazing 2016-2017 school year.

 

(For my non-parent readers, you can pray this with a relative, God-child, neighbor, etc. Hey you can even pray it over yourself)

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with friends sharing the Good News #WordsWithWinter, Purposeful Faith, #LifeGivingLinkup, Grace & Truth, Dance With Jesus

 

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Let The Little Children Come To Me: Gather

As I call them, they come.

 

My little flock of five.

 

They gather around me.

 

From the biggest to the littlest they find safety, comfort and assurance

 

in my apron. They wrap themselves around my arms and legs.

 

My little flock of five. They gather.

 

Brings to mind the image of Jesus saying,

 

“Let the little children come to me and hinder them not

 

for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”.

 

So glad today that this is my heart’s position. So glad today that my thoughts

 

have come into alignment with His thoughts and I too have welcomed

 

the little children to come to me.

 

In the hem of my apron they find love.

 

In the folds of my skirt they find safety and security.

 

As they gather, I see a vision of my future.

 

They’ve left home but return with spouses and children of their own.

 

They gather ‘round the table to a piping hot spread lying before them.

 

My little flock now has their own little flock.

 

My children are like olive trees as they gather around the table.

 

I am blessed!

 

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

 

Happy to be connecting with friends today:

Five Minute Friday, Mommy Moments

 

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How to Get Them to Eat Right

He’s a picky eater.

Oh she’ll never eat that.

He doesn’t eat anything green.

 

I’ve heard parents say it all regarding their children’s food habits. I am persuaded that children can and will eat healthy foods. The onus is on the parent to know the way, show the way then go the way.

 

The home is a ministry center for nourishing the spirit, mind and the body. Just as we train them up to respect authority, to do well in school, to try their best in their extracurricular activities and the like, we have to train them to care for their health by consuming foods that nourish the body. It is our responsibility to point to way that leads them to eat right.

 

Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

 

We can actually begin that training in utero. Flavors are actually transmitted through amniotic fluid. Flavors are also present in breast milk. So early on we can introduce our children to a wide variety of flavors. We can acclimate them to the tastes from different cultures and different cooking methods i.e. eating cooked foods and raw.

Joaquin green smoothie

2014-10-10 10.19.06

This Little guy is always snagging my green smoothies

 

Everything you present isn’t always going to be adopted right away. One of my children never liked oatmeal. But every time we had oatmeal she took 2 courtesy bites. Guess who loves oatmeal now? But she didn’t enjoy it until she was 9. And this morning we had oatmeal and she was the first one happily lapping it up. Studies suggest it takes 8-10 tries of something that one claims they do not like before it’s adopted.  And then some things, yes, they just won’t like.  And I’m ok with that.  I don’t eat potato salad and I don’t eat Okra.  But I try a bite every now and again…just in case my tastes have changed.

 

Oh how my heart is wrenched when I see parents who’ve adopted new eating habits yet let their children continue to consume unhealthy foods on a consistent basis. I believe the parents may be thinking the children just won’t eat healthy, they’ll never try it, I want peace, I don’t want to fight with them and similar lines of thinking. I know it’s hard Mom and Dad but we’ve got to be creative, diligent, persistent and insistent on helping our children eat right.

 

The way I eat now isn’t the way I was raised as a young child either. My favorite meal as a kid was Kraft macaroni and cheese with fried chicken wings and canned corn. My mother, bless her heart did the best she could with what she had. Besides she was the baby girl in her family and never learned to cook. But when we know better, God holds us accountable to do better.

 

For those that now desire a better way, God can redeem the time and restore the years that have already passed. Do you desire change but don’t know how to get your family on board? How to get them to eat right? Try these tips.

 

Invite them in the kitchen when you are preparing meals

 kids blend Ninja

chappati

 

kids eat collards

Let them help create the menu

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

 

Stock the fridge and pantry with nourishing foods

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fridge full produce

Well, when these are your options, you eat what’s here or go hungry

 

Let them choose one new item each week from the grocery store.

groceries

Take them to places that are rich in new food experiences

Dc Veg Fest

 

Kids Food Fest

 

Make healthier versions of stuff they like

Fries

granola bars

Serve food in the “make your own plate” style. This works well for Taco Bar, Baked Potato Bar, Tapas

chipotle at home

Teach them what a serving size looks like

 

Teach them to read food labels

Following are 2 examples of doing this with my children. A McDonald’s coupon booklet came in the mail and my daughter wanted the fries. I told her to look up the ingredients. Once she saw the list she said never mind. Another time she got a rice crispy treat from a school party. I told her to read the list of ingredients. She came across a few items that she couldn’t pronounce, including tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). This additive found in many packaged foods is a preservative and in high doses is a carcinogenic. In addition to food, it is used industrially as stabilizer to inhibit corrosion and is added to varnishes and lacquers. Needless to say we got a good laugh out of that one and she went on to eat the treat but hasn’t eaten one ever again. TBHQ and High Fructose Corn Syrup are now running jokes over here. Even my 6 year old reads the labels and if she sees sugar listed in the 1st 5 ingedients she’ll tell her siblings, “That’s not healthy!”

 

I know change is possible. The children of one of my friends would only eat pancakes for breakfast and chicken nuggets for dinner. That was their norm for several years. As God began to reveal a better plan to my friend, she slowly adopted new habits and it became a family affair.

 

Now I’m no health food Gestapo. My children do like pizza and ice cream. And I do let them indulge occasionally. Besides, they get enough junk from well meaning teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, and even the dry cleaner that they don’t need it at home too.  So as a baseline, we eat our food close to the way it looked when it grew.

 

At ages 10 & 9, my oldest children have gotten to the age where they are making many of their own food choices. At home, they are presented with healthy foods (with the occasional chips and cookies Daddy brings home. I love the guys but I swear sometimes I feel like he’s playing on the other team. Mommy’s offering raspberries and here comes Cookie Man, the hero to save the day). When at a friends house, church event, or family function, I simply remind them to choose well. I may also suggest to them to think about what they’ve already consumed that day and to choose well based on what nutrients or junk they’ve already put in.

 

Studies predict that for the first time in history, the next generation will have a shorter life span than their parents. And what makes that even more tragic is that the decline in life expectancy is primarily due to obesity related diseases that are largely preventable. Just as we desire to be in health and prosper even as our souls prosper, don’t we have that same desire for our children? If so, what are we doing today to make that a reality for our children?

 

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

 

Being a parent is tough and requires us to make tough decisions. But as a parent you make the tough decisions out of the love you have for your children. We cannot be too passive, tired, weary, or frustrated when it comes to parenting and helping them choose well in honoring the temple is included in that.

 

Oh how much easier it would be for me to cook a boxed starch already seasoned, take a protein and douse it in a ready made sauce, heat some frozen veggies and call everyone to the table for dinner? How much easier it would be for me to go through the drive through on the nights we have Boy Scouts because after dropping 3 of the 5 to school, taking another to pre-school then taking the baby with me to grocery shop at 2 different stores come home put groceries away, wash, dry, fold and put away 3 loads of laundry, clean a bathroom, make ministry phone calls, take back overdue library books, pick up dry cleaning, go back to the school for afternoon pickups, take the 30 minute drive back home to change clothes and quickly eat dinner before we take that same 30 minute drive back out to the Boy Scouts meeting….whew the drive thru would have been real convenient. And in a rare pinch I may have to make a run to Chipotle but that’s rare. True nourishment comes from the love I infuse into the fresh fruits, vegetable, legumes and whole grains my family noshes on.

 

The food I offer them each day is making an impression not only on their taste buds in the moment but is being coded in their brains. They are developing a preference for salt, fat and sugar. It is my prayer that they would desire foods that nourish and honor their bodies.

 

The Lord gave me a major revelation as related to the health of my children and their children to come. I was filling out some initial new patient forms, one of which was the family history. I went down the line checking off ailment after ailment that my mother, grandmother and other immediate family members have had. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, glaucoma, migraines, autoimmune disorders and more…CHECK. In that moment the Lord said, “The choices you make today will break the curse”. In the church we talk about breaking generational curses and the Lord was telling me how I could have a direct impact on breaking some of the health curses over my family. He said, “Choose well and your children won’t have to check some of these boxes and then their children will check even fewer.” Can we say PRAISE HIM for revelation!

 

So out of my love for them, even if they don’t like me for it now, I’m training them to choose well when it comes to food. Sure, they’d probably like some McDonald’s fries on a Friday night but when I think about the 17 ingredients in there…I just can’t. My goodness, shouldn’t it just be potatoes, salt and oil? And sure I feel for them when they are ostracized at school for having “weird” food but I just have to remind them and myself that we are set apart, a chosen generation, and a royal priesthood. We are a peculiar people and I pray that in taking this small stance with being proud of what’s in their lunchboxes, that it will lay the foundation for when they come up against even greater persecution.

IMG_1770

I am confident that you are nurturing your children’s mental, spiritual, social and emotional well being. So what can you do today to ensure that you are positively contributing to their physical well-being as related to the food they consume?

Eli loves veggies

I know…the big knife’s a danger to the little guy.  He just loves raw veggies and is always reaching in to grab some.

Disclaimer

{This was a hard post for me to write, as I wanted to be sensitive to each family’s background, preferences, dynamics, finances, beliefs about food, etc. There is so much that plays into our relationship with food. Out of obedience to God, I’ve written it exactly as He’s given it to me so I pray hearts are open and receptive as I share only from a place of love and concern.}

 

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