Monday, July 26, 2010


We are considering moving in with some of our best friends, in order to save money, yet have a large space and lots of parking to be able to be more hospitable and increase our ministry in our home. While getting godly counsel on this matter, a funny connection was made that made the world a little smaller for me! :) This counsel came from my pastor's wife, who in turn asked her friend (who's husband is a pastor and they live with another family), who was the daughter of one of my wonderful table leaders in Seminary Wives Fellowship. What a fun connection, and really great way the Lord has once again used this family in our lives. Justin told me this professor has read through the entire Bible more than 45 times and was an amazing wealth of knowledge in his survey classes. Praise God for godly families like this one who have blessed and enriched our lives.
Here is what she wrote:
"Concerning our thoughts in terms of giving counsel to your friends who are seeking to maybe live under the same roof…

The principle Dan and I kept coming back to was the great necessity for both parties to have a commitment to the Word of God and specifically in how to biblically deal with communication and conflict resolution. Something that we have found to be a great resource is Stuart Scott’s booklet called “Communication and Conflict Resolution”. This could be a good resource for them to talk through that gets down to the practical daily living in terms of interpersonal relationships. Humility is so important in the life of a believer and we have learned when you live under the same roof you’re not just going to see sin in one another but a big question is how are you going to deal with preferences (ie things that are not inherently right or wrong).

So that is the first question: How are they planning on dealing with preferences, not just sin issues?

Other practical topics that could be helpful to think through and/or discuss:

· Regular communication: Is there a plan to meet regularly to give opportunity for both parties to discuss how things are going (ways to improve, ways to encourage, etc)? Or what will be a good manner in which to regularly give opportunity for each family to give feedback? In our situation it varied. At one point both couples met, and at other times just the husbands met. We also found it to be important for the husbands to shepherd their wife through certain issues. It wasn’t always easy.

· Are both families on the same page in terms of goals of discipline for their children? Are they open to the input of the other family in this regard? What are the expectations?

· Being above reproach (you mentioned this). We were careful to avoid situations where one spouse would be at home at the same time as the opposite gender spouse (even if kids were there). People in the church seemed to look favorably on our situation in general and I’m not aware of any concern or negativity in this way. Frankly, people had never seen it done and probably had never considered that someone would even willingly choose this situation.

· Habits of cleanliness

· Expectations/limitations in hosting people at the house or for out-of-town guests that would come visit. We could do a lot of hospitality together since we were in the same church.

· Meals/Shopping responsibilities: are you going to have meals together daily? If so, which ones, who will cook & shop, etc? Make sure to communicate if someone will not be at a planned meal. A weekly schedule in our situation was found to be helpful.

· Finances: I’m not sure if both families are planning to split housing costs up the middle. This is probably easiest for the husband of each family to discuss/decide together.

There are probably more things that could be mentioned. Again, humility, humility, humility is so huge. There will be sin to deal with at times. This takes humility to confront rightly and to receive rightly. And it is a guarantee that people will do things differently than you in matters of preference. (For example, this is minor but I learned that right now I don’t prefer that my boys play with toy guns.) How to deal with this stuff, even the “minor” preferences requires great humility because I can tend to view that my preferences are right & best J

Some of the PROS to living with another like-minded family is that it sanctifies, you learn to consider others better than self, and it can be a helpful testimony to others for the sake of the gospel.

The biggest CON that we came to was that if you don’t deal rightly with things it can lead to bitterness (which you can imagine can lead to many other negative things).

May your friends be a testimony of God’s truth and grace in whatever they decide,"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Baby Pictures!

All the girls are about 1/2 a year old in these pictures.

Name That Baby!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sprouting Scripture in the Hearts of our Children

This is my recent project I am working on; memory verse cards for my kids. This first set will be for 1-3 year olds. They are being illustrated by my good friend Sara and then we are going to send them off to a publisher!! I can't wait to have the final product to begin using them with my girls! I am using some memory cards right now but they are not good quality. I am so excited about this project! I hope others will be blessed and encouraged in their parenting as well.
Sprouting Scripture
...In the Hearts of Our Children

“I planted the seed... but God made it grow.” I Corinthians 3:6
One of the first things you can do to make a seed grow, is to sprout it. Wikipedia says “Sprouting is the process of soaking, draining, and rinsing seeds at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout.” Seeds need to be rinsed a minimum of twice a day until they sprout, and different seeds take different amounts of time and rinsing before the sprouting process begins. How true this is with our little ones! Just as it takes months of hearing the word “Ma Ma” many times a day before they actually say it, so it is with hearing the Word of God before it becomes effective in their lives. It may take years of “rinsing” our children in Scripture before God causes these little seeds to begin sprouting. The next thing a seed needs in order to sprout is indirect sunlight. These little sprouts can be overwhelmed, wither and die with direct sunlight. Our Heavenly Father gives us light from above in the Scriptures, and He has appointed us to be the ones to take this light and give it to our Children in a way they can understand and use it. It would be too overwhelming for them if we just handed them a Bible or read them a Bible story once in a while. They need us to faithfully explain it to them and teach them how to apply God’s Word to everyday situations. Our children can be the most exciting eternal horticulture project in existence, if we diligently tend to them with the loving care of scripture. With God as the ultimate cause for their growth, we can be used as His tool if we faithfully rinse our little seeds daily with His Word!
Verse Card Instructions
These cards were created to be used as a tool to help your children hide God’s Word in their hearts. Read these cards to your children daily and when a situation arises where a verse can be applied. Explain the pictures to them and eventually your child will memorize the verse and be able to recite the verse from memory by just looking at the picture. The hearts of the children in the pictures are key to helping your child evaluate the state of their own heart. "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45

Biblically Based Parenting
Since the Bible is God’s word written directly to us and for us, (All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17) and His Word should be our guide to our life (Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105), it seems only natural that our everyday parenting should be full of scripture. Our children are our greatest evangelistic project, as they are unrepentant captives, needing, willing and especially when young, wanting to hear everything we say. (Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6) It is of upmost importance that what we say to our children be “seasoned with salt”, or in other words, sprinkled with scripture, throughout the routines of each day. As parents we want to be sure that the Word of God is planted deep into the hearts of our children. (So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11, But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:2-3 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11)
2 Timothy 3:14-15
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

1 1/2 - 3 Years Old

Biblically Based Vocabulary!
Start using these words with your child before you think he is ready. You will be surprised how quickly he will start to learn them! God, Bible, Prayer, Obedience, Sin, Discipline, Forgiveness, Strength, Right Response, Wrong Response, Asking/Telling, Kindness, Love, Loving, Anger/Angry, Self Control, Gentleness, Gentle Tone, Angry Tone, Attitude, Peace, Peacemaker, Selfish, Selfless, Idol of the Heart GOD IS... (Introducing them to God) Loving, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Present, Forgiving, Perfect/Holy, Creator, In Control of Everything (Sovereign) Our Hearts are... Black, Sick, Dirty, Sinful and In Need of God to Make Them Clean. (Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 51:10)

All throughout this age range you will be establishing to your child that God is our primary authority, and the next authority is his parent. Obedience Obedience is one of the primary focus for this age group. You want the child to tie the concept of obeying the parent, to obeying and pleasing God. It is essential that obedience happen (1) right away (2) all the way (3) with a happy heart. When a child fails in one or more of these areas, he has failed to obey and must be disciplined. Discipline When the child has disobeyed, remove the child to a private location within the home (avoid spanking outside the home). Ask the child if he obeyed or disobeyed, teaching the child the difference between these two words. (Ephesians 6:1) If the child is able to talk, have them tell you what they did wrong. If there is a specific verse dealing with the sin the child has done, read and explain that verse. Tell the child how many spankings he will receive. Spank the child. (A child distracted with apprehension about the spanking may need to be spanked first, and talked to after they are consoled) (Proverbs 13:24, 23:13) Comfort him until he is ready to talk. Explain Matthew 19:26, and pray with your child, and ask God to give him the strength to obey. (Isaiah 40:29) Start the habit of you, and or your child, praying and asking Jesus to help him change his attitude every time it is bad. Ensure your child that Jesus will give the strength we need for good attitudes if we ask him! (2 Peter 1:3) Asking Forgiveness When your child is old enough to talk, have him ask for forgiveness from God, and then you or whoever else (if anyone) the child has sinned against. (1 John 1:9, Colossians 3:13) Seeking forgiveness should always have two components. (1)Acknowledge the wrong doing. Anyone asking for forgivness should say the words “I was wrong, I sinned.” (2) Ask for forgiveness. It is easy to just let “I’m Sorry” suffice, but this is not the Biblical model of repentance that we want our children to become familiar with. The words “I was wrong, I sinned against God and You. Please forgive me.” should be used.
Helpful Hints
Asking or Telling? When your child is demanding something, ask him if he is asking or telling (ex: “Mommy, I want juice!” ask the child if he is asking or telling? He should realize he should be asking, “Mommy, may I have some juice please?”) When the child asks for something without manners, ask the child to “try again” until he is able to ask in the appropriate manner. “Yes Mommy” Have your child say “Yes Mommy” with a smile when you ask them to do something (they should be saying this many times a day!). When your child is speaking with another adult, you will want your child to use manners. Have your child occasionally practice saying “Yes Sir” and “Yes Mam” to you, so that it will come naturally to them with other adults such as teachers and friends. Having the “Right/Biblical Response” As children enter into the second year, they will start to respond more prominently to all the different circumstances throughout the day. The most common responses will be joy, sadness or anger. When your child gets sad or angry, he will begin to have “sinful responses.” It is helpful to teach the child the terms “right or biblical response” and “sinful response” and demonstrate what these mean. (ex: “When your sister takes your toy and you yell at her, that is a sinful response. What do you thing the right response is when your sister takes your toy?” A possible answer: “ask your sister kindly to please give the toy back,” or my favorite, “If your sister wants the toy, how can you be selfless and show love to your sister?”) Interrupting Often when you are talking, on the phone or in person with someone, your little one will want your attention. Begin to practice having them wait until you, and any other adult are done talking before they may say “excuse me.” Another good idea is to have them come up to you and place their hand on your arm or leg. This will signal to you that they want to tell you something. Then you can choose when to allow them to speak. Practice Time If your child has a particular thing they have constant disobedience with, have them practice. Some time, when they don’t really have to do the thing they don’t want to do, have them “pretend” their obedience. They will understand better what the right response is if they have practiced it. (ex: A child hates to brush her teeth and cries when it is time to brush teeth. Sometime during the day when it is not teeth brushing time, tell her that it is time to practice brushing. Assure her that she doesn’t really have to brush right now, it will just be pretend. Say “its time to brush your teeth” and ask her to give you the “right response” which is “Yes mommy” with a smile and happy heart. Get excited and joyful too while demonstrating the “right response” for your child. Make it fun, be silly, and try to get the child to laugh along with you!) Peacemaker When situations with siblings and friends escalate in anger, teach your children how to be a peacemaker. Using this term multiple times a day will also help them learn Matthew 5:9. Ask the child how he can “be a peacemaker” in each situation. Idol of the Heart We often think about the problem of having idols other than God in our hearts but fail to recognize it in our children. Anything that they want so bad that not getting it creates a sinful reaction is an idol of their heart. Even something seemingly innocent (like a sweet little girl who wants to wear the same pink dress every day) can be an idol. When this privilege is taken away, evaluate her response to know if this is, in fact, an idol. If you identify an idol in your child’s life, explain Psalm 24:3-4 to her and take away the privilege until you feel the child is ready to try again, placing God as more important than the privilege.
Ask For Forgiveness
Ask For Your Child’s Forgiveness! If you have a toddler, I would submit that if you are not asking forgiveness on a daily basis, you are sinning towards your child without reconciling every day. Some rare people were born with an abnormally loving, and extremely patient demeanor. Some godly parents have worked hard to attain this self-controlled gentle demeanor. If you weren't born with it and haven't attained it yet, you are going to get angry with your child on a regular, daily basis. Occasionally we will use code names for anger that don’t sound as bad so we can try to justify our anger or shift the blame for our anger to our child. Some code names for being angry are: annoyed, frustrated, fed up, aggravated, etc. Becoming angry in your tone of voice without repenting and seeking forgiveness from your child (even if it is just a raised tone of voice) is teaching the child that this sin of anger is ok. It already feels natural for them to become angry and have an angry tone because of our natural disposition to sin. You will be exacerbating what they are already prone to do, and diminishing their conscience towards anger, if you let your anger go without recognition and reconciliation. (Proverbs 15:1) Your children need to see you pray to ask Jesus to change your heart and attitude, just as they need to do.