Saturday, September 15, 2007

What our prayer should be

I came across this on another blog ( It is beautiful and it should be what we desire every day. I pray it touches you, too.

Make Me an Instrument of Your PeaceLord,
make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred,
let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
as to console,
not so much to be understood
as to understand,
not so much to be loved,
as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we awake to eternal life.
- St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, September 14, 2007

Raising Children

I have been so blessed with well behaved children. I would love to think that it is all parenting, but I know that so much of it is just who they are, who the Lord made them to be. I also know that I am only the parent I am for two reasons:

1) By the grace of God. I did not inherit good parenting skills, while I love my mother very much and have a very close relationship with her, she just did not have time to do a lot of parenting, between dealing with my dad and working, we just didn't get as much of her as she would have liked to give us. I do believe if she had more time with us I would have learned much from her, she had an amazing upbringing. My dad has had major depression and anxiety issues my whole life, so I didn't inherit any parenting skills from him either. He mostly parented out of anger.

2) My husband taught me. As you probably have realized he was married before and already had a child from his first marriage. He is very good about learning from his mistakes, so he brought to the table what had worked with his son and what didn't and lots of patience.
Many times people comment on our children or ask what we are doing that is working. So, first I want to let you know that we are no experts. We still have battles all the time and it isn't uncommon for me to dig out some books and have to try to figure out how to deal with it. Know that we will never be perfect here, so though we may improve our parenting skills we will never be perfect parents. But, we can work at it and learn as much as possible so when they are grown our good will win out over our bad. I wanted to share some parenting books that I have found to be very helpful.

Parenting with Scripture (A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments) - Kara Durbin This book works with topics. For instance the first topic is anger. First it gives you the definition of the word then it gives you scripture. For anger it gave Genesis 4:6-7, Psalm 37:8a, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 22:24-25, Ephesians 4:26-27 and James 1:19-20, each of these has the verse already printed on the page. There is a see also section that gives you verses to look up. There is then a discussion section that gives you ideas of how to talk to your kids about it. Then there is a take action section, essentially a challenge, something to do to work on the problem (i.e. For one week Take a deep breath and count to ten when you feel angry, use the time to think how you can handle the situation calmly). I love this book and really use it. Yesterday the girls were arguing about really silly stuff that easily could have been worked out if they had not been being so selfish. I had them sit and write the definitions of the words self-centered and compromise and then a couple of verses to go with each one. I read and discussed them with them before they had to write them.

Creative Correction (Extrodianary Ideas for Everyday Discipline) - Lisa Whelchel This book also gives scripture, but my favorite thing about it is the object lessons. I am not naturally very creative, so it's very helpful to have a resource for this. I do believe that children learn more when they are doing something. For instance when her son was using hurtful words toward his sister, she had him go outside and hammer nails into the fence posts, then she had him pull them all out. She told him those nails were like his words, that even though the nails were no longer there, there would always be a whole left where they had been, just like our words. (I hope I explained that well enough, I told you I'm not creative). She also gives prayers for them to pray when they are dealing with something in particular.
To Train Up a Child - Michael and Debi Pearl Okay, I really like this book. I think it packs all of the important aspects of discipline and training into a pretty short, but very wothwhile read. I will caution you that I don't agree with every single thing that they say and do (as a friend of ours says "Even a mule knows to chew around the briars") I do believe that this is a very biblical perspective on raising children and I believe that with consistency it will produce very godly children. A word of caution the first few chapters seem to only deal with discipline and can make the pearls seem pretty harsh, however when you get on into the book (chapter 4 I think) they begin to talk about tying the heart strings, about how important having a close loving relationship with your children is. He will tell you that discipline without relationship and training will only produce angry children. I encourage you to read it and tweak it to fit your family.
Also check out .
I also want to add that no matter what you do, it will not be fruitful if you are not consistent. I believe that consistency is one of the hardest parts of parenting. I go in spurts. I will do really well for a while, then I will begin to feel like my home is getting out of control and that is always a sign to me that I have dropped the ball and need to regain some consistency.
I pray that you will find this helpful. Be blessed!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Feeling a little better

Ok, I'm sorry my previous entry was so dark. I am feeling a little better. I called and talked to a friend (she was my counselor when I went through all of this before) and she reminded me of some truths that I needed to be living in. She also helped me distinguish which parts of what I am going through are flesh and which are attacks from the enemy. This was extremely helpful, because I actually believed it was all flesh and I was beating myself up for living in my flesh.

Just an FYI. It is so important to recognize the voice of Satan. I had somehow forgotten how important. If we think that what we are dealing with is flesh but it is really warfare then it will not be taken care of. You cannot combat them both in the same way. While both do require that you get and keep your focus on the Lord, they also require some other very different things from us. For instance, I must die to my flesh daily, but I must speak the word to the enemy, etc.

Also, a good quote from my friend : Whatever I am focusing on will control me. (If I'm focusing on someone else's faults that will control me, If I'm focusing on good and evil that will control me, If I am focusing on the Lord He will control me, etc.) I hope I explained that well.


Do you ever have days when you just think, " I don't want to do this anymore". I mean anything "I just don't want to do anything anymore". Everything just seems so hard right now, like so much work, nothing seems to be coming naturally. I just don't feel like I'm getting anything right. I'm discouraged. I'm broken. The Lord brought me to this place about 3 years ago and I made a million changes. So many that I sometimes barely recognize myself. I became a better wife, mother, friend, etc. Now, I'm here again, I've made many changes (Lord knows I still have a long way to go), but I'm still back here. I must say it is much more of a helpless feeling this time. Last time I knew I had so much to change, so many faults, I knew I was bringing most of the hardships on myself. Now what? Now I'm not that person. I'm the one that works hard at being a godly wife and mother, who rarely ever lashes out at her husband and children, who isn't as insecure as she used to be (although I still struggle with this), but still I'm back here. Back to feeling unworthy, overwhelmed, fearful, etc. I'm sorry to be so gloomy, I'm sure I'll be better soon. I know the Lord is walking me through this for a reason and I know what it is. I've taken my eyes off of Him. Not all the way off, but enough that He's not the main focus. I know what I need to do, but for some reason, I'm resistent. I'm just tired, I'm weary, I want things to be easy. Please pray for me. I'll let you know how I'm doing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How To Change Your Mate

You Can't!!!!!

The only person that you can change is yourself.
God has really been laying this on my heart lately. I tried for years to change my husband and I blamed all of my problems on him. Lately God has been really prodding me to share this.

We are responsible for our own behavior, that's it. We can't even change our childrens behavior. However, their behavior is dictated by ours (i.e. am I being consistent with discipline and training, am I equipping them with the knowledge that they need to choose right behavior, am I living a life worth imitating, etc.).
My life is proof that changing yourself can cause others around you (your spouse) to desire to make changes in themselves. But, it will never work if that is your goal. You cannot change yourself for the sole purpose of getting what you want from other people. And, no matter how hard you try, no change done in your flesh without God's help and out from under His will, will ever last or be effective. You must make changes only for the purpose of becoming who God has called you to be. We must realize that we don't deserve anything (i.e. I deserve to be treated better than this, I deserve more help, etc.). We are born sinful, deserving nothing and it is only by Christ's act on the cross that provides us with righteousness through Him, but we will never obtain it on our own. I know that sounds depressing, but the point is that we should look to God to meet all of our needs and that must be enough. When it becomes (more than) enough, you will be willing to wait on your husband to allow the Lord to change Him and if he never does that has to be ok. Your focus has to be on you and the Lord. Are you living a life worthy of the calling God has placed on your life? Are you seeing people through God's eyes and loving them more? Are you spending time in your word and in prayer? Are you allowing Christ to live in and through you? Are you dying to your flesh daily? When we meet the Lord He is not going to say well done you managed to change your husband. He is going to be looking for how we lived in spite of our circumstances. Were we joyful no matter what He placed before us?
There is a lot of really good stuff in the book of James about the way we ought to be living. First, I want to point out some things about our walk in general. (But let me remind you that so much of this book should apply to our marriages.)
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:2-4
"God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
"My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God's sight." James 1:19-20
"If you claim to be religious, but don't control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself and your religion is worthless." James 1:26
"So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free. For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over His judgement against you. " James 2:12-13
Ok, too much there for one post. I will add more really good (and rather convicting) verses to a later post. But here is the big one that I wanted to get in: "What is causing quarrels and fights among you? Isn't it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can't possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure." James 4:1-3
So are you slaying your husband with your tongue to get what you want from Him? Are you praying that God will change Him because it will make your life easier or because you love Him so much that you want God's best for Him? What are your motives?
Do you read books about marriage or being a wife and say to yourself "He needs to read this book, I think that was written for him, etc." Do you think about things he needs to be changing while your reading the Word? If you do, you need to check your motives? If you don't know them ask God, He will show you what they are. Don't read another book on marriage until you are ready for it to be all about you, until you are ready to be who God has called you to be, regardless of your circumstances. I hope this helps someone. I know I wish I had understood this much earlier than I did. I highly recommend that you sit down and read the book of James and really examine your behavior and how each verse applies to you.
Also, while we were away for anniversary we read a really good Marriage book. My husband usually has trouble getting through these because they are often very dry and a really heavy read, but this one was light and funny, but it touched a lot of major points. We just ordered it for ourselves. It's "Clues for the Clueless: Marriage"
Be blessed today!