Sunday, September 20, 2009


I was recently inspired by a friend (thanks, Rea) to consider the time I spend with my children making them feel like the blessings they are. I want my children to feel loved and valued as individuals. I want them to be secure in who they are and the love my husband and I have for each of them.

As much as I endorse this concept, it is difficult to make a reality in day-to-day interactions. There are so many interruptions and distractions from this grand undertaking that it almost seems impossible. I am often overwhelmed by the mucous-covered, dirty body parts and the bickering and the little screechy voices…It just makes me want to give up some days.

But I am not to grow weary doing good. And so I find the joy of the Lord to be my strength in this mission. He loves my kids more than I do. Surely, He’ll be willing to help me show how much I care in a way that is meaningful to their little hearts.

I have found that it is the joy of little moments with these precious people that adds up to a tremendous atmosphere of love in my heart. If I can focus and live in each moment as they come, this dismantles the lie that it’s too hard to love each kid the way they need to be loved. And we all grow closer together and stronger in our bonds. This makes tomorrow’s challenges just a minor puddle to hop over instead of a waterfall to cross.

Today was a good day for our bonds to grow. My oldest son and I shared a private joke with each other over a dozen times throughout the day. And we both thought it was funny the thirteenth time. I made a yummy, over-the-top dessert with my daughter beside me helping with each step. Our family worked on a huge project together to prepare some animal bones and skulls for display (very stinky work, but we did it together). My husband chuckled and encouraged our youngest son to make giggly, piggy faces against the mesh walls of his play yard. I was able to cuddle with our 5 year old son as he explained to me all the cool features of his favorite video game. My husband and I taught our oldest son to play Yahtzee tonight.

I know that these don’t really sound like monumental or important moments. But they were huge to me. I am not promised tomorrow. So what a joy it is to relish my blessings today!

All of us can brush off opportunities now and then to seize the moment with our children. But I need to overhaul my thinking so that I see my days as abundant in blessings instead of loaded with bothersome irritations.

Here are some reminders to me to keep my perspective in line with reality:
  • My children are not interrupting my housework. They are the reason I came home.
  • My children are not ruining my perfect school lesson plans. They are teaching me every day.
  • My children are not crowding out my dreams. They are giving me a legacy.
  • My children are not a nuisance or an annoyance. They remind me of God’s goodness and patience.
  • My children are not sent to punish me or make my life hard. They are sent to help me think of others as greater than myself.
  • My children are not insignificant or unimportant because of their youth. They are blessings with a spirit and a soul that need to be directed to God.
Leave me a comment below to let me know how the Lord has allowed you to take advantage of moments with your kids. How do you keep your perspective in line with God’s truth about your children? Is there something perhaps that you can suggest to frustrated young mothers who want to avoid seeing their children as a burden or a bother when the days are long and the children are under your feet?

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Communicating in Thirds

In my quiet time this morning I was led to these notes in my study Bible:


From The Woman’s Study Bible New King James Version

Communication: Exchanging Ideas

Communication is the exchange of ideas and information by talk, gestures, or writing. It is an active process present in all meaningful relationships. Communication is not talking but also listening, looking, and feeling. Though individuals have different communication styles, spiritually mature believers are to seek continually to improve their communication with other people and with God.

Speech is powerful. The spoken word can either encourage or discourage. Scripture teaches believers to control the tongue (James 3:1-12) and speak only words of kindness (Ephesians 4:29, 32). The Book of Proverbs discusses the importance of listening with understanding to others who speak (Proverbs 11:12; 18:2; 29:20).

Words alone cannot fully express meaning. Body language, facial expression, tone of voice, and other means of nonverbal communication are essentials for effectiveness. Those who study communication patterns have concluded that two-thirds of the intent of a message is communicated non-verbally, while only one-third of the message is communicated through words.

Obviously, communication is more than conveying information. Women especially use communication to express feelings more than facts, to establish rapport more than to give a report.

Paul underscores the significance of communication and gives advice on verbal behavior (Ephesians 4:25-32). Christians are to:

  • speak the truth in love (v. 15, 25),
  • control angry words (v. 26),
  • speak words of encouragement and healing (v. 29),
  • avoid unkind or bitter speech (v. 29),
  • speak words of forgiveness (v. 32).

Mature believers realize that clear, loving communication is important in conveying the message of salvation effectively.


This led me to consider how only one-third of my message was coming across in my conversations throughout the day. We all know that so much is lost when you talk on the phone. Gestures and facial expressions are invisible. Even more is missing from the written words we share online. When we read something on a computer screen instead of having a live conversation, vocal inflection and stresses are lost. How does this affect our intended message?

I am not always clear in what I write. I do not always take the time to measure my words to make sure that they consistently encourage others. I can fall into negative speech that is not profitable for anyone. What a waste of words that is.

I find this dilemma to be multiplied when I am attempting to communicate by typing in real time. Chat rooms and instant messaging systems add urgency and remove some of the luxury of being able to choose your words carefully when putting your thoughts in writing. I find myself getting caught up in conversations that are not profitable for building up others or possibly being so silly that my message is completely lost in foolishness. I recognize that this is not glorifying to God.

It is at these times that it is best for me to step away from the keyboard and remember that it was my Creator who gave me the ability to speak and reason in words. Since all of my words are from Him shouldn't all of my words point to Him? I do not mean that we should only speak theology and eschatology and all-kinds-of-ologies. But shouldn't I always be mindful that I represent Christ in my attitudes, word choice and manner of speech?

We as believers are called be diligent to use our words (verbal or written) to “impart grace to the hearers.” Would you label your words as encouraging, healing, loving, kind, forgiving and full of grace? I challenge each of you to ponder these thoughts as we improve our communication with God and with each other.

Please leave a comment below to share with me your thoughts and wisdom on communicating effectively online. I look forward to learning more on this subject through your comments and insights.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We All Have Gifts

Romans 12:6-8 NIRV
We all have gifts. They differ in keeping with the grace that God has given each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it in keeping with the faith you have. Is it your gift to serve? Then serve. Is it teaching? Then teach. Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them. Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

I love the New International Reader's Version of this scripture because it is the translation my oldest son memorized when he worked through Romans 12. I can still hear his voice reciting these powerful phrases. He is definitely a talented speaker who is passionate and enjoys talking to people.

All children have talents and abilities that make them special. Some are exceptional artists and others have a quick mind for puzzles, some gravitate toward building things and others are gifted at math. Even better than talents they might possess, if they have repented and put their trust in Jesus, they also have at least one of the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12. But how do we know which gifts each child should be developing? How can parents encourage their children to use their gifts to benefit the church?

I found this great blog post that helped me in my thinking about this topic. It even features a Spiritual Gifts Survey for Kids that I can't wait to give to my oldest son.

Let me know how you have discovered your children's spiritual gifts. Please leave a comment below.