Thursday, February 26, 2009

Selective Hearing

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the Lenten season of forty days leading to Easter. My daughters attended a church service with me last night while my husband played in the praise band.

The service was advertised as a “family” service, which to me meant it would be geared toward kids with a message the younger crowd could appreciate. Imagine my surprise when the sermon was about David’s adulterous encounter with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. I never would have guessed that church would be where my children learned the word “affair.” I also didn’t think it would be the place where they would find out babies don’t always come after marriage, the way I have implied. When we got to the car, I asked my kids what they thought about the service. Thankfully, they both agreed that they didn’t understand a lot of it because “the guy talking used too many big words.” Whew, maybe we dodged a couple of bullets there.

However, despite her lack of understanding some vocabulary, the Lord still used that service to work a transformation in my eight-year-old’s heart. The whole way home she happily chattered on about how she had gotten out of the habit of reading the Bible every day and wanted to resume the discipline. She asked if we could read from the Bible before dinner each night during Lent, and if she could start getting up earlier in the morning to have time to pray or work through her devotional guide. She asked if it was okay to pray at school. She also expressed her sadness for a girl who doesn’t know Jesus, and said she wanted to tell her friend about Him at recess. Clearly, while I was worrying about what was said in the service, God was speaking to her in an entirely different way.

I love that about God. I find it fascinating that He can lead two people in the same worship service to hear two entirely different things. My oldest daughter left the service on fire, I left trying to figure out how I would explain some of the speaker’s more colorful descriptions of David’s behavior, and my youngest left wondering how long it would be before she could get home and into bed. She also wanted to know why everyone had ashes on their foreheads. The same experience left us in different emotional states and fueled unique responses in how to move forward in faith.

This experience has me feeling a bit more confident in sending my daughter out into the world at large. While I believe it is important to let kids enjoy the innocence of youth and to shield young children from some of the harsher realities of life, I can now see that I am not alone in this effort. God is obviously at work in filling her ears with what He has to say, protecting her from things she doesn’t need to hear. That doesn’t mean she is oblivious to the four-letter words that float around the third grade, or the way her peers all giggle at the word “sex,” but I trust that God can temper her understanding of these things until she is developmentally ready for them.

Have you ever had an experience where someone at church gave your child more information than you hoped? What was the result of this?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrating YOU!

“They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” - Psalm 145:7

I am a day late in posting to my blog because yesterday was overrun with Valentine’s Day celebrations. My kids don’t have school today, so they both had class parties yesterday. My hubby and I honored the day of love with a dinner out last night because on the real Valentine’s Day I will be selling Girl Scout cookies with my daughter at Safeway (and people say romance is dead).

In the midst of the festivities, it occurred to me that we recognize every holiday, achievement, and milestone for our kids, while not taking the time to celebrate our own accomplishments. I have never done anything to commemorate the publishing of a story, article, or even my book. I didn’t go out or raise a toast after my first speaking engagement, or when I completed my parent coaching certification. My personal growth gets stirred in with the carpooling kids, making dinner, and checking homework of daily life. I don’t do anything to take my special moments and set them apart. Perhaps you don't celebrate your success either.

This is a mistake in several ways. First of all, everyone deserves recognition. Occasionally hearing “atta girl” is good for our self esteem. It is healthy to have someone recognize our efforts once in a while. Secondly, it is good for our kids to celebrate us. They need to understand that moms are whole people who contribute more to the world than macaroni lunches and rides to soccer practice. Letting them learn how to be proud of other people, and how to express that pride, is a great skill for them to have when they have spouses and children (and employees or coworkers) of their own. Thirdly, letting our spouses see us in a different light can be good for kindling a little romance. When we celebrate, we typically trade in our everyday garb for something a bit more special. We often put more effort into our hair and make-up. And what celebration is complete without wine and chocolate? After the kids go to bed, let your hubby spend a little time showing you just how great you really are.

Most importantly, when we celebrate, we can make a point of publicly (even if our family is the only “public” there) acknowledging our gratitude to God for using us in meaningful ways. 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Our ability to accomplish the things that are important to us comes from God. We must always remember that and give Him thanks. When we start thinking our good work is ours alone, we wade into dangerous waters.

Remember, mom, you are important and your accomplishments (even little ones) are cause for celebration. Go get the party started! I have a big speaking engagement coming up next week. I think I’ll go put a bottle of wine in the fridge for the festivities.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

25 Random Things

I know this is a departure from my typical blog post, but several of my friends on Facebook and Twitter have tagged me for “25 Random Things” and I figured it would be easier to direct everyone to my blog for this list.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter and we aren’t “friends” yet, look me up – I would love to keep up with what you are doing.

So, here is the list – 25 random things about me:

1. I love all things chocolate—the darker the better—as long as they are gluten free.
2. I was mostly gluten free for about three ½ years before becoming completely gluten free a little over two years ago.
3. The only organizational systems that work for me are the kinds where I can see what is inside – I am an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of worker.
4. Thankfully I am not an out-of-sight out-of mind friend, and those I see the least are those I think about most often.
5. I used to be a cat person until I got my dog. She is definitely the greatest dog ever. Now I am a cat and dog person.
6. I would love to go on the K-LOVE Friends and Family Music Cruise.
7. Every time I have to teach Sunday school I think, “Ugh, I don’t want to go.” And every time I have so much fun that I leave thinking, “I should do this more often.” I teach kindergarteners and first graders once a month.
8. See number seven and replace the words Sunday school with “the gym.” Same concept applies.
9. More time to read would be lovely.
10. It will be a thrilling day when my youngest daughter can ride her bike without needing me to come help every three minutes. Of course, when she’s all grown up I know I’ll sit around thinking, “I wish I would have helped her more with her bike riding.”
11. Actually, I AM going to go help her ride her bike—I’ll be back in a little bit…
12. When I was a teenager I loved gum. I always had a piece in my mouth. Now I find it annoying to chew, the flavor never lasts long enough, and it leaves a weird taste in my mouth when I spit it out.
13. I don’t know why anyone drinks regular Coke when Diet Coke tastes so good.
14. For our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta. We would both like to go back again sometime.
15. If I could talk my husband into it, I would move to Mexico for a year. My Spanish would move from pathetic to fabulous, the sale of my American house could buy a lot of groceries there, and any culture that takes a nap in the middle of the afternoon gets two thumbs up.
16. I loved swimming when I was a kid and I swam every day in the summer. Now I don’t like it because I hate getting cold and don’t like having to shower and get ready twice in one day.
17. Did I mention that I really like chocolate?
18. I also like chai tea.
19. I do not like coffee. Never have, probably never will.
20. When I was in college I interned for a year doing public relations “for the stars” in Los Angeles.
21. At 15, I brilliantly rode my bike in the dark, wrecked, and broke my jaw. I still have a pin in my jaw to prove it.
22. The pin does not set off the metal detector at the airport, but it does make the remote control for locking and unlocking my car work from farther away. Nice feature.
23. I am apparently a Facebook loser because I don’t know what it means to poke someone, have a snowball fight with someone, or grow a lil’ green garden.
24. You’ll be really happy if you visit my blog again next week, and if you leave me a comment!
25. You’ll be even happier if you go to and buy my new book, Mothering Like The Father: Following God’s Example In Parenting Young Children.
26. I’m glad you are my friend! (I know it is only supposed to be 25, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a bonus item.)