Posts Tagged With: family

Everything Else Can Wait

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight as I lay down to snuggle with my son we visit for a few minutes before sleepiness comes sneaking in around him. I can see it in his eyes and feel it in him as I notice his body relaxing.

But my mind has jumped ahead. I’m wondering how much longer I need to lay here. Because if I try to get up too quickly, he’ll wake up. And there is a list a mile long of things I need to do:

Clean the windows.

Wash the dishes.

Wipe the counter.

Clear off the table.

Scrub the sink.

Pack my sons lunch for tomorrow.

Fold the blankets on the couch.

Put toys away.

Sweep and mop the floors.

Do the dusting.

The list goes on and on.

And when all that is done I need write another post for this blog, send a few emails, find a pair of pants that are long enough for my husband and order them, and send a couple thank you notes.

Without even thinking about it, I suddenly realize that I am becoming overwhelmed and I am still laying here with my son. My sweet, sweet, precious son. This is supposed to be a special time. A beloved time. A time just between the two of us and I’m not enjoying it at all because I’m too anxiously anticipating all that my evening will hold.

He is sleeping soundly by now.

I prop myself up on my elbow so I can watch him more closely. I love the way the dim light falls on his face. He really is a beautiful child. He lies there so peacefully, so calmly. I look at his long, dark eyelashes, his chubby cheeks, and his small hands. I watch his chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall.

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me…  It will not be like this forever.

There will be a time when his cheeks are no longer chubby and his hands aren’t quite so small. He won’t beg for me to stay just a little bit longer because he won’t desire that anymore. He will only be little for a little while.

There will be a time when the hours will no longer run quite so quickly out in the day. When I no longer struggle to find time to clean my house. When the house is quiet enough during the day that I can write all the blog posts that I need to. When I read a book during the day free of distractions and interruptions.

Yes, my house will probably be a little cleaner in a few years. The content of my blogs will be put together much better and more thought out. And I’ll be able to attend a few more Bible studies.

But my home will be empty of children.

And then I am reminded of Psalms 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Just moments before I had not been doing this. I was not rejoicing but allowing sin and selfish desires to overwhelm me. I had neglected to treasure this fleeting time with my son that was ordained by God. I had fallen into the temptation to trade it in for worry, anxiety, and anticipation.

No more!

I will cherish this time.

Big deal if the dusting doesn’t get done. Who really cares anyhow?

This blog can wait another hour or day to be written.

So I decide to take the time to rejoice in my day, in my moment. I stay a little longer, hold him a little tighter, and love a little longer. I choose to treasure the child that God has entrusted to me.

Everything else can wait.

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Categories: parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because Loyalty Is Important

 

Lately, my family has been talking a lot about loyalty. It begins with loyalty to Christ, loyalty to our family, loyalty to one another, and loyalty to the body of Christ.

We, as the parents, must model loyalty to our children. We must set an example for them.

We start with showing loyalty to them. Every weird comment someone makes is a chance for me to show loyalty to my children. In public, many people make comments without even thinking about what they are saying or the little ears that hear the comment too. I work to respond to the comment by showing my loyalty to my children. A comment I hear a lot is, “Two boys. How exhausting!” I try to say something like, “Oh, they are so fun. I am very blessed to get to have not only one, but TWO boys!” The point is that my children hear over and over again that I am happy that they belong to me.

There is another much more sneaky way that I can show disloyalty to my children. Every gripe, moan, and grumble of discontentment about my life they may hear as disloyalty to them. When I complain about my post-pregnancy body, the lack of time alone, driving a minivan, making fun of my own social life, and in general talking bad about motherhood, they hear that I am complaining about them. They know that they are specific reasons for these problems. Don’t let your attitude be an attitude that insults them. Children belong with their parents. Let the message they get from you be one of overwhelming love, joy, excitement, and contentment.

Loyalty extends to our everyday life in how we deal with one another. We do not allow our boys to make fun of one another, tell embarrassing stories about one another, or choose friends over siblings. If my older son has a friend over, they must include the younger brother. This is an expectation in which the parents must live out first – we do not tell embarrassing stories about one another, making fun in unloving ways, remind one another of their shortcomings, or sharing stories about each other’s weaknesses. Loving one another as yourself should encompass your family, begin with them, and be demonstrated by them. This is also a wonderful way to instill loyalty in each family member.

There are a number of meaningless and silly ways that divisions are created in the family. For an example, we used to have a list of chores that each family member was responsible to complete. But we noticed that one person would see something needed to be done and not do it simply because it was not their chore. We did not feel that this created loyalty in our family, but division. It is now our rule that if you see something that needs to be done, do it. It does not matter if you made the mess or not. Everyone cleans up after everyone. There is no great injustice done if a child who did not shoot the darts out of the Nerf gun is the one cleaning them up. Because the child who did play with the Nerf gun will be cleaning your dirty dishes tonight or folding your clean clothes tomorrow morning.

Does this seem strange? Why should someone clean up a mess that they did not make? We desire our children to have a much larger view of themselves, one that includes the people around them. As they grow into adults, we want them to serve the church and community without calculating what they have done for whom. We want them to serve freely, openly, joyfully, and lovingly. We want them to serve without even thinking about it. And we might as well start here at home.

But the heart of what I want to say does not have to do with any parenting style or choices at all. It has to do with Christ. When I put Him first and keep my eyes focused on the cross, failure is completely avoidable. We will not fail our children, our spouse, church body, or community if we are obedient to Christ. Loyalty to anything or anyone begins with loyalty to Him. If I am loyal to Christ, I will forgive easily; remember how He has forgiven me even though I don’t deserve it. If I am loyal to Christ, I cannot be without joy. If I am loyal to Christ, I will gladly serve my church, community, and family. If I am loyalty to Christ, I will look for opportunities to encourage my brothers and sisters, especially when I notice they are struggling.

The truth is that my children do not really belong to my husband and me, they belong to Christ. He is just allowing us to raise them for Him. It is our job as parents to help them grow consistently and to never let them forget Who they really belong to. We want them to be loyal to Christ throughout their whole life. And only by God’s grace will we show them how this is done.

 

 

Categories: Loyalty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Church Leaders Need Prayers And Encouragement

 

Sometimes I listen to my pastor on Sunday morning and can’t help to marvel at the knowledge that God has given him. I notice Elders counseling with various members of our congregation multiple times a week.

They have it all together, don’t they! Of course our leaders don’t fall into the same temptation that the rest of us do, right? They know the Bible forwards and backwards. They are the ones that we go to for counsel. They have a good knowledge of the Scriptures and put it to work. The time they spend studying God’s word is evident. The wisdom that they each contain and their desire to follow it is undeniable. They are men of God. They would never ever fall to sin, right?

Wrong! Very, very wrong!

First, let’s be clear about who the leaders of the church are. We often think of the pastor as the leader and that’s true. He is a leader but he, alone, is not “the leader”. When we speak of the leadership in our churches, that also includes the Elders.

Please remember that our pastor and Elders are human too. This is too easily forgotten. Sometimes we hold them in such high esteem that we forget that they too have a family with needs. They too have a wife that would like a little bit of attention once in a while. They too are tempted to sit in front of the tv instead of sit in front of their Bible. They are not above any sin.

We too often forget that there is a spiritual warfare going on all around us. Think about it, who would Satan love to see fall? Who does Satan target? Who can do the most damage to Christ’s name?

Someone in leadership.

And when Satan attacks these men, do you know where he most often strikes? In their families. Because if he can destroy the leader’s family, he can destroy his ministry and discredit any teaching that he has done. Ouch!

All too often we forget to pray for these faithful men. We may feel that they are so much above us that we mistakenly think that they don’t need our prayers. But nothing could be further from the truth. They need prayers as much as anybody does. Perhaps more.

Because right now, as you are reading this, Satan is attacking. He is scheming. He is planting seeds of discontentment in your pastors’ family. He is doing all he can to create discord and chaos.

If you have the thought that your leadership doesn’t fall into temptation, remember King David. He was chosen by God to be king. He was the first Godly king and was blessed greatly by the Lord. He is remembered as one of Israel’s greatest kings and is described as a “Man after God’s own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14). But he fell into the temptation of his lust for Bathsheba. And Christ came from his family! Nobody is above sin. Nobody!

So what can we do to help them?

1. Pray, pray, pray!!! I cannot stress this enough. Pray that the Lord will give them strength, wisdom, and diligence with their time. Pray that God will give them rest. Pray that they will have unity with their wives and children. Pray for their whole family.

2. Encourage them. Sounds simple, right? Yep, it is. Yet it is something that few of us often do. It does not take long to write out a simple note letting them know of the appreciation you have for the time they have devoted to their ministry and invested in you.

3. Encourage their wives. Usually wives are behind the scene. But your leadership could not do their job as well as they do if their wives were not supporting them. Realize that they make sacrifices too for the sake of the Kingdom. And this sacrifice is often a loss of time with their husband. They choose to share their husband with you. And on occasion, I’m sure they would like to know you appreciate this.

4. Be respectful. Remember that your leaders are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. While they would really like to attend every function that the church hosts, every birthday party that they are invited to and visit with each church member every Sunday morning, they just can’t do it all. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. They MUST make time for their family too.

Please don’t misunderstand me, we ought to take advantage of their wisdom and counsel. To seek Godly influence and instruction is a good thing. No pastor, Elder, any of their wives or children would ever want you to feel like you could not speak with them.

It is a good thing to develop relationships with our leadership. They need friends too. Nobody wants to feel left out. This also gives us a window into their everyday lives so that we have a better knowledge of how to pray for them.

What I am saying is that they do have a lot of responsibilities. If you invite them over for supper and they decline, please don’t be offended or get upset. Just realize that it may be an opportunity for him to reconnect to his family. He is working hard to guard time with his family and not allow Satan a foothold there. Grant grace and be respectful.

While this post is meant to be about the necessity of praying, encouraging, supporting, loving, and being respectful to our leaderships and their families, the truth is that we all need these things. We all need to be prayed for. We all need encouragement. We all need to respect one another’s time. Truly, we each need to realize that Satan uses busyness to whittle away our family time. We must diligently guard against that and our church leadership is no different.

Even the notion that church leaders have it all together is an attack on their family. Because it is 100% complete deception. Just because God has placed them in a place of leadership does not mean that they are immune to sin. It means they are attacked more.

The reality is that church leaders are just like you and me, someone who is striving to model Christ. This month is Pastor Appreciation Month. So it seems fitting that this would be the perfect time to begin storming the gates of heaven for them, letting them know how much we appreciate their investment in us, and the sacrifice their families make for us. Let’s do all we can to encourage them and their family. Let’s show them that we support them, love them, and value them and their time.

Categories: leadership | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Husband Is NOT Stupid And Neither Is Yours!!!

 

Have you watched a sitcom recently? My favorite series went off the air about ten years ago. Since then, I haven’t watched much. But a few nights ago, my husband turned on the television and then fell asleep on the couch before he got it turned back off. I came into the room and noticed the tv was still on. There was some show on and I watched for a few minutes before I turned it off.

I was appalled by what I had just seen. In the show, the husband/father was shown to be rather clueless. Somehow, the word “idiot” comes to mind. Over the next couple of days I made an effort to flip through stations at many different times of the day to see if the was the norm. Sadly, I think it is.

Has it always been this way? I don’t think so. Growing up, I watched plenty of Different Strokes and The Cosby Show. I recall in both of these shows the fathers were very wise, loving, and eager to help their children.

So what happened? Are men now our punching bag? Or the laughing stock of all jokes? I really don’t like this. Even though it is meant for entertainment purposes only, people do perceive things to be as they see them. I do realize that the entertainment industry does certain things just to get laughs. But this is disrespectful. I certainly don’t want either of my sons to watch this!

Men are not stupid or clueless or even out of touch with reality. I know some men who have made some dumb choices (just like women) but I still would not say that they are dumb. They have just made mistakes. But who hasn’t?

The other thing I noticed, which is maybe even more appalling, is the way women are shown. In these sitcoms, women are the strength of the family, making all the wise and insightful decisions. They have stolen the leadership role from the men. In fact, they have to work doubly hard to make up for their dead-weight-husband.

Something is definitely wrong here!

Women were never meant to be the leaders of the family. 1 Peter 3:7 tells us that women are the weaker vessel. This should be no surprise to anyone. God has created men with strengths that ladies just don’t have. And I’m not trying to be hateful here. I AM A WOMAN! Yet, I know that my husband handles certain situations and make better decisions than I am capable of doing. It’s just the way God made them.

Still, I suppose I should not be taken aback by these displays. The Lord told us it was going to happen. It’s part of the curse that occurred from Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 3:16, God is talking to Eve and says, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” He is telling us that the complimentary unity that they once lived in will be no more because sin has entered. There will be a constant ongoing battle between husband and wife for leadership within the marriage/family relationship. She will now have the desire to oppose Adam, taking leadership away from him and in doing so, reversing God’s ordained plan for marriage. Also, this means that Adam will have the desire to rule over his wife. Gone are the times of his perfect God-given role as provider, leader, and protector of his wife.

So what does this mean for us?

Simply put, it means that I am Eve and my husband is Adam. I will admit that I do have a desire to rule over my husband and make decisions for our family. All women do at times. That’s part of our curse. Likewise, I know that my husband struggles with ruling over me. It is very easy for him to tell me “this is what we’re going to do” without even asking me or considering my view, nullifying my role as his help-mate.

Since there is no wisdom apart from Christ, I should not expect the world to depict the husband/wife relationship as it was meant to be. I should not be shocked by it either when I see it. But I had not seen it on such a display before.

All this does remind me of the darkness of the world. Our men are not stupid. We, ladies, should not be the bosses of our husbands or families. What can we do? Pray! Oh please, please pray. This goes much deeper than just my family or your family. It goes to the first and most basic institution that God created—the family. And take a look around, the world is filled with families. Nearly all watch television. I sure don’t want our sons and daughters growing up thinking that this is the way a family is supposed to operate.

I don’t want to desire to rule over my husband, but I do desire to be a God-honoring, submissive, help-mate for him.  And let’s call it what it is, an issue of the heart. What does the Bible have to say about the heart? “And above all, the heart is deceitfully wicked” Jeremiah 17:9. A change of heart really needs to happen here. I cannot change your heart. I am not even capable of changing my own heart. But I know someone who is in the heart changing business! “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). So let’s pray. Let’s pray that our husbands will be the God honoring men that God created them to be. And ladies, let’s pray that we will honor not only our husbands but God as well by the way we fulfill the roll He has given us.

Categories: marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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