Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ch. 8 Ignoring Instruction

  Well, I don't know about you, but May is always such a busy month.  It seems that between kindergarten and high school graduations, along with Mother's Day - which by the way Happy Late Mother's Day - my calendar is very full.  Oh, yes, how can I forget the ending of school.  Which if you haven't read about me, I am a homeschooling momma.  In any case I don't mention any of this in complaint at all!  I actually enjoy the busyness of these activities.  It is just that sometimes in all of the coming and going, I get less sleep and in turn am shorter than normal.
  Just because we are tired doesn't mean we throw in the towel on our training as parents.  Quite the contrary!  We can call on the Lord to strengthen us through Him.  That last statement leads me into the next chapter of this wonderful book I have been reading for a little over a year -- Triggers:  Exchanging Parent's Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses.  Don't forget that you can get the book and workbook on Amazon.
  So let's get into this next chapter of "Ignoring Instruction."  This is actually a trigger for me.  I call, and call, and call, and call -- you get the point.  I sigh and then make some remark or yell, and then I get a response.  The ladies write in here, "Does their 'selective hearing' make you feel powerless, disrespected, and insignigicant?" (Lia and Speake, 64).  They go on to share that "eventually, when only one male person comes to the table, after another gentle reminder, my feelings of powerlessness erupt into an unhealthy display of power.  That's when sad turns to mad." (65)  "And I get mad at them for making me mad.  It can be so difficult to stay centered and serene when we feel we must FIGHT TO BE HEARD.  However, what would God prefer for us?  I would rather learn new Christ-like tools for healthy and effective communication than give into loud shaming communication that won't actually help anyone to respond differently the next day."  This is powerful and true!  This next bit is even better!
  They share that "Yelling doesn't change behavior long-term.  The power of a loud voice isn't real power."  The ladies share that we need to find a quiet moment and share from our hearts with the family what is causing you to yell when you are completely ignored.  They share - and I am sure you can relate to this - that whenever they are called that they stop what they are doing or as soon as possible, and they go to see what the need is.  They tell us to take time in a quiet moment and think about what it is that needs addressing.  "Consider how you might find real power in clear communication." (67)
  I get this!  I really like this next part -- "Learning to communicate with my loved ones has been a very practical resource to help me climb out of this pit of powerlessness:  Speaking words that communicate clear expectations and consequences;  expressing my feelings in appropriate ways at appropriate times;  teaching my children that if they learn to listen to and honor me, the rest of their relationships for the rest of their lives will go better."  
  "And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by His power."  1 Conrinthians 6:14 KJV  "That said, communication is not the source of all power.  Good communication is a godly tool, but the real power behind all we do and say is found entirely in Christ alone.  Abide with Him, that you might bear fruit of His peaceful, purposeful, and powerful presence among your precious people." (68)
  I hope that this speaks to you as it does to me!  It is such a blessing to know that we can draw strength from an Almighty, awesome, most Holy God.  He is where we need to look when we are getting upset.  Not only that, but we need to invest time in thinking of how we can respond and what we need to say and do before we are in the midst of the triggering moment.  In the workbook they say to take a moment and "journal your thoughts, and then purposefully commit those primary feelings to the One who promises that, with Him, we can respond to all these things with gentleness and grace." (Lia and Speake, Triggers Study Guide, 37)  This is a great exercise, and I encourage you to do this :0)
  I am so thankful for these ladies and how they have ministered to me in my parenting walk. Ultimately everything they speak of is surrounded in God and Jesus.  When they speak of needing His power and not our own, I think of this song by Matt Maher called "Lord, I Need You."  May you continue feeling empowered by the Lord as you continue in this journey of parenting!!! 

Love, "Hugs," and Blessings!

:0) Chandra

And a reminder that this is all from the book, Triggers, by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  I have permission from them to share parts of the book and talk to you about it.

Don't forget you can get it online at Amazon :0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Chapter 7 of Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses -- "Sibling Rivalry"

  We have just come off of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus this past weekend.  Praise the Lord for His sacrifice that we have a way to be with Him forever.  Not only that, but we also can have a wonderful, loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.  I am so thankful for the gift of grace --as my dad puts it, God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  I pray that you celebrated along with us, too.

  I am continuing on in my reading of this amazing book.  It has really helped me along my journey in parenting.  This next chapter was a huge help to me as I have 5 kiddos-- only 4 of them interact where the rivalry happens.  Our Sully is intellectually and physically disabled, so he gets along with everyone!  :0)  I hope that you all get as much out of this as I did.  Don't forget you can get the book and workbook on Amazon.  I encourage you to - and I am getting no monies from this.  I just think Amber Lia and Wendy Speake are spot on with their thoughts and words.

  The first thing they shared that hit me was this statement, "Have you ever felt like your kids' sibling rivalry is a sure sign that you are not a good parent?"  I say a resounding, "Yes!"  They go on to say that we aren't alone -- praise God for that!  It is "human nature."  We often get frustrated. She says that she found she "needed to reframe the way I thought about sibling rivalries to view them as opportunities."  They define Triggers as "OPPORTUNITIES if we choose to handle them that way."  (Lia and Speake, 57)

  "If we reorient our thinking about these triggers to see them as opportunities, we can be spiritually victorious."  Sibling rivalry gives us these two opportunities - 1)  My boys (which we can apply to girls, too;  these authors have boys!) learn how to identify their feelings, communicate well, and problem solve.  2) I learn to respond biblically and train my kids in righteousness.  They also said that it helps them to set a short list of family values.  They share scripture from Romans 12:17-20 as a basis -- read this set of verses.  Such good stuff in there!  They encourage us to read this to our children and ask them what it means to them.  It is a "foundational in dealing with all kinds of fighting and arguing."  (58-59)

  They share the following steps in dealing with this very situation:

1. Separate them or intervene to calm them down (59)
2.  Listen and investigate (60)
3.  Ask questions about their feelings (60)
4.  Use natural consequences and use empathy (61)
5.  Forgive and move on (62)

The key in all of this is to continue to model a biblical response, calm and gentle.  "Peacemaking moms produce peacemaking kids."  (62)  "When conflicts erupt, don't become discouraged as if their arguing is a benchmark for your mothering. (62)  I just love this verse that they end this chapter with!  It is 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (63)

  I know these sections of these books are kind of heavy stuff.  This parenting gig isn't very easy -- I told Benson that we were only 15 in our parenting since our oldest is 15.  I am thankful that this book has come along in this season.  I wish I had had it a few years ago!  I hope in some way this is applicable to you - whether you are parenting or grandparenting or know someone who is dealing with a time or season where they can help someone out.

  I always try to think of a song that fits with the post - well, this one makes me think of this song, "Life is Hard, but God is Good."  I pray that you will keep on keeping on in this job that the Lord has called you to do.  May He bless you and keep you as you parent :0)

Love, {{Hugs,}} and Blessings!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chapter 6 - Whining and Complaining!

  Wow has February flown by or what???  I think January was just slower because of our coming down off of two months of Hallmark Christmas movies -- which I own some of so now I can watch whenever I want!!!!  LOL!  :0)  But as a homeschooling teacher, I am like all other educators and really wanting Spring Break asap!  We are still trucking along, but I can see my kiddos are getting weary.  I am giving us a long weekend in March, though, because I am going to the Great Homeschool Convention! I love getting to go - it refuels my tank to keep on doing what I am doing as a mom and a wife.
  If you have been following me, I have been sharing (with permission) some parts of a tremendous book that I think all people should read by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It is the book  Triggers:  Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses.  This chapter I am in is the title of this post -- Whining and Complaining. Now I know all of our kids do this, so it is very applicable to us.  But I will say that we all do this, so it is good to use these principles they share in us, too.  Anyway, I am going to share some highlights, but I do encourage you to buy their book and workbook because they are such wonderful tools to have on hand for reference.
  They open up chapter 6 with the words "Uh-oh" and the power that they have when discipling our children.  They talk about how wonderful these simple words are when mistakes happen. 
" 'Uh-oh' reminds us that mistakes happen.  And it sounds so much nicer and more gracious than, 'How many times have I told you...'." (Lia and Speake, 51)  They shared that "we need to say 10 encouraging things to our children for every one correction."  It goes on to share that "...this morning it occurred to me that I don't need to fit more encouragement in (there is plenty in our home) - what I need to do is trash a good deal of the criticism.  Gently acknowledging wrong behavior, reminding them that mistakes happen with a genuine "Uh-oh"...(52)  This next sentence really spoke to me - "Out heart's desire, both yours and mine, is to speak life into the hearts of our children." (52)  It convicts me even as I typed that.  Do I speak life into my children?  If not, I need to start that now!
  So now the tips in dealing with whining and complaining!  The first step is "Behave right even when they behave wrong."  They go on to state that in the whining and complaining that we whine and complain right back to them.  We get sucked into their immaturity!  This is a genius question - "Do you ever feel like you meet them in their wrong behavior rather than minister to them from a place of sincere authority?"  It goes on to state that "Their job is to be children.  Our job is to be adults:  Teaching them how to grow up and out of their childishness into maturity.  Whining is not a sin, it's merely a sign: a sign that they still have a few things to learn - and we still have things to model well.  'Uh-oh, Honey, let's try that again'." (53)
  The second step is "Use God's Word like a scalpel, not a hammer." (53)  They shared this wonderful word of scripture that I want to write on the walls of my home and heart - "Philippians 2:14-15 14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; They go on to say, "Do you use Scripture when you're frustrated and angry? When we meet our children, in the height of their fit-throwing tantrums, with Bible verses...we wield the sword of truth inappropriately....we shouldn't use them to shame our kids in the middle of the battle. Let them calm down first, as you take a few moments to calm down, too. And let the Holy Spirit do His own convicting work. Then, once their hearts are soft, go in and plant those perfect seeds." They share that we should deal with a softer heart to impart scripture --
  They share this set of scriptures -- Isaiah 55:10-11 10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (54)
The third step is "Act like a child of God." They go on to say, "One of the overarching themes of this whole book is the need to take our frazzled focus off of our children's behavior, and fix our eyes firmly on our own hearts. Is it possible, if you're being totally honest, that you have the same toddler tendencies that your children have?...And have you applied Philippians 2:14-15 to your own life, before preaching at your own children?" Do everyting without grumbling, complaining, or arguing, so that you may behave like the blameless and pure child of God that you already are!....we want this from our children, but God wants this for us. We have already been made holy through faith in Christ. Now it's time we act like it. Of course this takes the spiritual fruit of self-control; minding our tongues and behaving rightly. But the fruit in our lives becomes a generational gift! They learn from us as we hold every thought captive, before it leaks in negative ways out over our lips and into our homes." (56)
This last sentence of this chapter really seeps into my heart - "Let us do these mothering years well, without complaining or arguing, without whining or shaming, that we might act like the blameless and pure children of God we already are!" (56) Wow! That needs to be on a magnet or a pillow or a cross stitching on the wall in all of our homes. This chapter really spoke to me in a huge way.
This has been a longer entry but worth the time. You are worth the time to spend to work on your heart and examine your life. You are a child of the King, if you are saved. It is good for us to take time to let the Word of God seep into our hearts and help us change!
Well, as usual, I have a song that I want to share. It is one of my favorites by For King and Country called "Pricless." Take a few minutes to listen to it and think in reference to what we have just talked about on here :0)

I hope you have a wonderful rest of February and a really blessed day!

Love, {{hugs}} and Blessings!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A New Year -- starting reluctantly!

  It is a New Year!  I am actually struggling with getting going with our routine again.  I place all blame on Christmas cookies and Hallmark Christmas movies!  I am going through a little withdrawal.  I am, however, trying to get back into the swing of things.  And while I don't want to do school -- we homeschool -- and I don't want to do my chores, I must carry on the call that the Lord placed upon my life.
  That said, I am still working on the Triggers Bible study written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It has truly taken the Word and started a transformation in my life.  
  The next chapter focuses on Angry Kids.  If you have been following this study, I am sure by now you have realized that this isn't a quick fix book on fixing our children, but rather it is a way for moms, and dads, too, to examine our own lives in the magnifying glass of scripture and see where we need to work on our own lives.  This book has shown me that I need to work on myself before being able to help my children.
  Angry Kids more than likely mirrors angry parents.  I realized this a long time ago with my kids.  I didn't have this intense anger until I had the three children.  Why is it that I had this anger?  I can attribute it to several things -- being tired, being under a lot of stress, being tired, being under a lot of pressure to do it all, being tired...LOL!  I think what it truly boils down to is my own lack of self control.  Being tired is my own fault for not stopping and going to bed.  But I am not going to focus on that point.  I want to focus on what this book has pointed out to me.
  No one likes having an angry child.  As moms who struggle with anger, we often fear that we are modeling this hotheaded beahavior and that our kids are picking up on it.  We may not like to hear it, but we ave to begin with examining ourselves before trying to help your children.  What is it that we do to provoke them to anger? (46)  The authors of this book have this list:

  • unreasonable expectations
  • inconsistent standards among siblings
  • favoritism
  • punishing them in anger
  • scolding or lecturing
  • physical or verbal abuse
  • discouragement or not praising them enough
  • conflicts in our marriage
  • our own inability to ask for forgiveness
  • not listening to them or hearing them out in a reasonable manner
  • restricting them too much or controlling their every move
  • failing to keep our promises
  • belittling them
  • constant fault-finding
  • overprotecting
  • taking our anger with someone or something else out on our kids (47)
They share that we must first take ownership of our part.  That is the biblical response to an angry child.  They share this scripture about pulling out the speck of your brother's eye while we have a log in our own. (Luke 6:41-42)  Yes!  We cannot fix that child or help them we walk around with an even bigger problem! (48)
  "Much of the growth in our own spiritual walk is a result of being refined by motherhood.  The great news is that God longs to help us and He always answers the righteous prayers of His children who long to do the right thing!  Don't be discouraged by any conviction that the Lord may be laying on your heart!  Allow holy conviction to catapult you towards spiritual growth.  Moms don't need to be perfect, but we must yield to being perfected in Christ!" (49) Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you His wisdom to become a more gentle and Christ-centered mom, so that neither you nor your children are displaying sinful anger. (50)

  This next area is from the Triggers Study Guide.  They share these scriptures to read from Colossians 3:21, Galatians 5:25-26, and Psalm 119:1-6.  They also share these questions that I am putting on here for you to ponder and maybe even write out and answer. (26)

  • What resonated with you or challenged you most from this chapter on Angry Kids?  How can you practically deal with this trigger in your own life?
  • Take a look back at the list of ways we may exasperate our children.  Which of these may be contributing to anger or resentment in your kids?  What practical things can you do that will help you abide in Christ and grow in your spiritual walk? And remember, there is ABUNDANT GRACE for us as we confess our part and yield to Christ's perfecting work in our lives!
  • Which of the above passages resonates with you today and why?(27)
  It isn't ever easy being faced with our own problem areas.  I think that I see in this for me that I try to do on my own what I so desperately need Jesus to help me do.  I cannot do this parenting thing without His help!  I am excited to see there is some progress in my own life because I know that on my own I can do nothing!  But we can Philippians 4:13 this!  "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

  These ladies always end their chapters with a prayer.  But before I pray with you, I want to leave you with a song, "Nothing is Impossible," by Building 429.  I love this song and being reminded that with the Lord there is not one thing that we can't do WITH Him!
  I am going to pray Amber Lia and Wendy Speake's prayer with you.  "Father, I don't want my child to be angry because of anything I have done.  Reveal to me the ways that I may be provoking my child to anger and forgive me.  Help me to feel Your love for me, even when I mess up, and allow me to love and teach my kids in a godly way.  Soften the heart of my child, and help me to be patient as You transform my heart and theirs.  Thank you for convicting me, but not condemning me!  Thank you for promising to give me wisdom to reach my angry child.  In Jesus' name, Amen!" (50)

  Be blessed and know you are loved with an everlasting love!!

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dealing With a Strong Willed Child - sharing from the book Triggers

  I am still reading the Triggers book by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It is such a help to me as I am in the process of parenting - along with my Mr. Benson - our five children.  It is an area that I am still struggling with.  One thing I will say that I have gotten a lot from this book is to look to the Lord for the words I need to say to my children.
  I know -- easier said than done!  That is true, but I think that as we read the Bible and study and try to plan what we can say in certain situations, it may help us in this journey.  If you are done with your parenting, it may be that you can help out another parent with their journey.  You may be in a time where you don't have any kiddos.  I can say that this information is still helpful because it arms you with how to deal with other people and different situations.
  The chapter I have read this time is called "Strong-Willed Children."  Amber Lia shares about a lady that shared about her daughter having a typical toddler tantrum and how she fought to get her own way. (41)  She says she leans in to hear what the lady has to say about how she handled it.  The lady proceeded to share stories of the daughter and how she is now a very strong, independent Christian.  She says that her daughter reaches out to non-Christians at her college.  Her point is this -- a strong willed child turns into a strong willed adult that has tenacity and can stand up against some of the bad stuff that is out there in this world. (42)
  I love these next words -- an encouragement to a mom of a strong willed kiddo -- God made our children strong willed so that once they put their faith in Him and submit to His will, they will not be detoured. (42)  Strong willed children were designed to cling tenaciously to the strongest will of all -- the will of God.  (43)  This doesn't mean that we just excuse and let them do whatever.  Oh no!  In fact it is through the love and consistent and long-suffering care that these children grow up to be world changers! (43)
  I love the way these two ladies said to address a strong willed child -- "God did a good job when He made you.  Now let's figure out how He would have you to behave in this moment." (44)  Going to Jesus and His ways is always the best!  Also approach them with the idea that they have the chance to control themselves -- as do we!  We have to be the ones that also model self control.  We cannot expect our children to lose it and then think they are going to learn to do the right thing when we just lose it along with them.  Are we just sinning along with them?  
  The ladies also go on to say "Let us not undo them in our attempts to redo them better, but let us partner with the One who made them for His glory - strong willed, tenacious, and fierce!"  They remind us that we need to not feel like failures.  "Because when all is said and done, and the beauty of His plan for their lives bears fruit, I won't be able to take any credit myself." (44 - 45)
  The very fact is that this journey we are on is a very hard one.  No one said that our lives were going to be easy.  But knowing that we aren't alone at any time is such a blessing and an encouragement.  Actually, I have found that when I try to do life without getting help from the Lord, I fail.  Aren't you so glad that we have the Lord Jesus along with us and sometimes carrying us along the way?
  It is in the valley times that we see the most growth.  We can remember that when dealing with that strong willed child.  In those times where we are frustrated, do like these ladies have suggested.  Instead of giving in to the flesh and sinning along with them, go to the Lord and pray.  Try out the methods they have suggested.
  Before I give you my song, I wanted to leave you a few thoughts and questions that come from their study guide.  Wendy Speake says, "I know that it often feels like things will never change, and the constant battle wearies you out something awful most days.  But we must press on!  Press on in doing good;  press on in good parenting; press on, one foot in front of the other!  Press on in cultivating (and exhibiting) the fruit if God's Spirit in your own heart, even when you're exhausted by the lack of fruit in theirs." (20)  She also states that"The more we believe that God has been purposeful in their design and is still at work in their lives, the more we're able to join Him, fighting for our children rather than against them!" (21)
  Now some questions --

  How can you plan to deal with your strong willed child? (21)
  Is there a strong willed personality in your home that rubs you uncomfortably?  When you get really still and talk to the Lord about that child of yours, are you able to catch a glimpse of His plan and purpose for their life?  What did you think God was planning when He created them just as He did?  And how might you partner with Him in these parenting years? (21)
  Why do children sometimes despise their mothers? Is there an area in your parenting that is despicable and worthy of despising?  Confess it to the Lord right now, and ask His Holy Spirit for the power and perseverance to transform into a more gentle, Christ-like version of yourself. (22)

I know these are long thoughts, but they have helped me to know how to better handle parenting a child like this.  And it has also helped me to also examine myself and see what I need to change.

I am leaving you with this song, "Breath of Heaven," because it reminds me that I am not alone, I am loved, and I am chosen by the One who made me to be who I am right now in this life for this time and parent these precious children that He gave us.

I hope you have a wonderful day and feel the love of Jesus!

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!

Lia, Amber and Wendy Speake, Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.  Roanoke, Virginia:  BRU Press, a division of the MOB Society, LLC, 2015.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dealing With Disrespectful Children

  It is November 1st - I can't believe it, but October is over.  That month is probably my favorite fall month.  I am not a huge Halloween person, so it isn't that -- not that we don't get out to get the free candy!  But, I just love the smells in the air, the thought of fall leaves, and school has found a bit of a groove.  Some days it isn't too hot, and it isn't too cold.  We get out our flannel shirts -- we're country/mountain people, so it is a requirement :0)
  Time is swiftly passing by.  The time I have with my children, giving them the foundation stuff for life, is so very precious.  I see the world and how it is becoming worse and worse, but I take heart, and so should you, that the Lord is in control.  He knew it would be like this.  Mankind is lacking in respect for each other, and frankly, they lack concern for themselves.
  That is why this chapter, to me, is so very important to read.  I am getting it now.  It isn't solely about the children when it comes to parenting.  Parenting causes us to stop and listen to the Lord and hear His voice.  It drives us to our knees and to His Word to help us parent as Jesus would.  
  This chapter talks about the child that treats you with disrespect.  In the chapter it defines respect as "Valuing someone else more that we value ourselves."  Philipians 2:3  "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;  but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."  I like the next verse, too.  Philippians 2:4 "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."  (Triggers, Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, 32)
  The ladies in this book point out that when we parent, we must keep in mind that we are parenting immature kids.  "They need our kind instruction and humble example to grow in this area."  They go on to mention that when we are disrespected, it often "feels like a personal attack."  As hard as it is, and I know it firsthand having five little people to parent, show them unconditional love.  Matthew 7:12 "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them;  for this is the law and the prophets." (32)
  I appreciate the steps that they share in the book.  They call these steps "How to act like Jesus when our children are disrespectful." 
1.  Remain calm - Jesus, even in the many times that He was persecuted, remained calm.  They shared these references that tell about this -- Luke 22:63-65; Luke 23:8-25;  Luke 23:36-38;  Isaiah 53:7;  Luke23:34-35. (34 - 36)

2.  Speak the truth in love.  This is a suggestion of what to say, "Son, your tone of voice comes across as unkind and I don't think you are showing me respect.  If you would like to talk in a calm and normal voice about this issue, then you can come and find me in the other room when you are ready to speak nicely so we can work this out." (36-37)

3.  Pray! - Jesus prayed fervently.  They share that "it's not our role to change the hearts of our kids.  It's God's job to do that.  We fight the battle for their hearts in prayer!" (37)

4.  Forgive (38) - Jesus forgives us time and time and again.  If He can forgive us, we can forgive our children -- we must!

5.  Just do the right thing - "be long-suffering.  When we love them like Jesus does, it's very hard not to change with time under the power of loving-kindness."  (38)

6.  Commit yourself to your Heavenly Father - Like the ladies said earlier, we aren't responsible for the outcome of our children.  That we have to leave to the Father.  We can work on our own heart and life and live out the fruits of being in Jesus.  I love this that they said, "...trusting God to transform the lives of your loved ones in His timing."  That moves my heart!  (38)

  Amber Lia writes, "When my kids' disrespectful actions trigger my anger, I can tun reflective instead of reactive.  I can use it as an opportunity to reflect on my own deference to Christ's authority over my life when I was immature and lost, and how He bent down to lovingly restore me anyway."  The times they are disrespectful are "opportunities for me to consider whether or not I value them enough to hold my tongue and treat them with the respect that they are not showing to me." (39)

  I don't know about you, but I have really been challenged in this chapter.  Like I said earlier, I have had an "Ah-ha" moment.  I realize that the parenting is not a one-sided deal.  It isn't getting them to conform to me and what I say, but they need to take on the mind of Christ and conform to Him.  In parenting we need to be doing and modeling this for them.  I am excited that the Lord sent this book and these ladies along to share and speak to our hearts.  It is a time for me to reflect on my own heart and to take time to see where I am in my walk with the Lord.  I am not a finished project, yet!  He is still working on me and breaking me and heating me up and purifying me -- you know how the potter does!

  I am praying for you as you are walking in the way.  You may not be in the parenting season, but I think there are nuggets that can be taken away from this book.  We deal with immature people, so I think these words can be applied to a lot of situations.  I have heard this song on the radio lately, and I love it.  It is called, If We're Honest."  I know that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."   Take your area that you are struggling in to the foot of the cross!  Jesus is there and wants to take that burden.  Just remember, you are not alone and you are loved!  

Love, {{hugs}}, and Blessings!

I encourage you to purchase the book and study guide.  They are both awesome tools in this journey on parenting.  And I am not getting paid for this, I just think they are excellent tools!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Triggers -- A Book by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia

  I have mentioned in prior posts that in the past I have dealt with anger, especially when it comes to parenting.  I think it is because I have never taken time to research.  I think that the "Fly By the Seat of Your Pants" parenting technique is not good -- not at all!
  This book, Triggers:  Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses, is going to be a huge help for me, and I hope you, too.  I encourage you to buy the book and the workbook  I am not being paid at all for recommending this study but just think you will get more from having it.  The chapters are nice and short - easy to read.

  Anyway, I am going to get started with some areas that spoke to me. From the forward that is on pages 10 - 13 by Brooke McGlothlin, she writes "Getting out from under the anger when things didn't go the way I wanted them to was an act of God...actually, it's an ongoing act of God in my life, even today." (11)  This book, Triggers, "is not just for moms of little ones.  It's for all moms who are ready for a change, ready to replace angry reactions with gentle biblical responses that have the power to work miracles in the hearts of their children." (12)
  In reading this section, I see that it is a problem that we need to have God's help with.  It isn't something we can do all on our own -- we need His divine intervention!  We need His strength when we are weak!  It also shows me that this area can be applied to not just the early years when we are so exhausted and overwhelmed.  It spreads over into all the years of parenting.  As I have only had children up to 15, I don't have the experience of young adult children. But I think that even in those years, we can use tools in dealing with our own anger and helping our young adult children manage theirs.
  In section one titled "External Triggers  When it has everything to do with them," several statements stood out to me.  The triggers that they mention in this first section talk about "the most common things our children do in their childishness that drive crazy and make us angry." They mention "talking back and ignoring our instructions to angry fits and whining meltdowns." (19)  Another statement that they make is that "parenting is anything but easy."  They share that they can tell us methods and approaches "But what might be missing personally in our quest for obedient kids?"  I don't know about you, but that just hit me square in the face!  Read on -- "We may very well miss an opportunity to become more like Christ ourselves."  Can these ladies be hitting the nail on the head???  I am totally not saying that it is all of our faults and the children have no blame.  The book goes on to point out some verses that I love, 
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." 
Ephesians 6:1
"Honor your father and mother, that you may live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you."  Exodus 20:12  

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this 
pleases the Lord."  Colossians 3:20

In order to keep this brief, I am going to just share the remaining statements that spoke to me:

"God wants us to obey because obedience gives birth to blessings." (21)

"He is the God of 70 times 7 chances.
He doesn't whack us upside the head continually or deal harshly with us from the get-go.
No more condemnation.
God is not cookie cutter, yet His character is consistent.
...I see far more evidence throughout both the Old and New Testaments that support an overarching attitude and character of patience, mercy, kindness, and grace extended towards us from a Holy God who loves us and gave Himself for us.
Even while we were yet sinners.
Even when we were enemies.
Even when we reviled Him as He died on the cross for our sins.
I'm so thankful God didn't treat me as my sins deserved - I missed out on blessings by my disobedience, for sure.  But God, in His grace, drew me in with His loving-kindness over and over and over again.
Proverbs 10:12 reminds us, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
As mothers, we often forget that our kids are immature.  Yes, they will also be outrightly defiant at times; but I find that often, we are dealing with our own unreasonable expectations for obedience.  These expectations lead to biting and cutting punishment, instead of training our children in the way they should go by pointing them to Christ.  We are tough on our kids because we can be - because we are the authority.
Iron fists chisel stony hearts, but graceful hands shape responsive hearts.  (23)

Let's tweak our parenting perspectives a bit.  View ourselves more like coaches.  A coach is an authority figure, too.  A coach is part of a team....if we coach our kids through life, we become their cheerleaders too, offering them hope and confidence to become more like Christ. (24)

Let's embrace what it means to be a Mom as Coach, patiently and lovingly training our kids toward the blessings of obedience. (25)

  I don't know about you, but I want to have a peaceful, happy parenting experience.  When I am yelling my head off and acting out myself, that is definitely not peace.  In fact I fuel the chaos when I indulge in that behavior.  It is like I am a child myself - fussing and fighting with my own children.
  I am so thankful the Lord put these ladies in my life for such a time as this.  I agree with them -- parenting is not easy, but I think with the help of the Lord, support from friends, God's Holy Word, and the teachings from these ladies, I think it can be easier.

Let me pray for us -

Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your sacrifice that You gave for us.  We thank You for these children that You have indeed given to us to train. Please forgive us for failing in this parenting.  Please forgive us for words and actions that did not reflect You.  Please give us grace and mercy for our own children as You give it to us on a daily basis - sometimes on a minute by minute basis.  You are a good God and blessed Heavenly Father.  We ask that You bless the ladies that wrote this book.  Help us to use it wisely and help us to be the parents that lead our children in grace!  We are thanking you in advance for all that You are going to do in our lives and our children's lives.

In Jesus' name I pray,

As I always do, I like to end with a song.  Let's remember we are not perfect, and "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away." 

Blessings, {{Hugs}}, and Love!

All the references I have made with page numbers are from the book, Triggers, by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia.  The words in quotations are from them, and I take no credit for it.