Monday, December 2, 2013

Spiritual Care Planning

     Ask any nurse what a care plan is and nightmares of all-nighters come to mind. It is part of every nursing program... this structure that is taught in hopes to train you in how to think through problem solving varieties of health issues. Not diagnosing diseases as doctors do, but making a nursing diagnosis of an ailment, and explaining how we are going to fix it. Something as simple as a rash, can have a 3 page write-up, covering every aspect of the rash. First we make an assessment: what is the problem?     Then we make a nursing diagnosis: What is the cause? Then we make an expected outcome: What do we want to see?  Then comes the action plan: How are we going to achieve the desired outcome? The last step is to evaluate your plan after implementing. How is it working?
     Immediately when introduced to this method in nursing school, I saw the awesome spiritual parallels. Sin is a disease of our soul, and God is the doctor. He is the one who can heal our hearts. If we are purposeful to ask the Lord to change our hearts, and let his Word take hold of our soul, He will be faithful to change our hearts.

2 Peter 1:3 "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Psalms 119:11 "Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You."

I wrote this Care Plan a long time ago. My small group girls and I all wrote a few for the different things we were struggling with at the time. It was helpful for us to share them with each other, and they have been helpful through the years in different counseling situations. It is fun and so helpful to get creative in our fight against sin.

I can honestly say that any anger I struggled with towards my husband during the first few years after having children, when he was studying in seminary, is long gone. My love for him grows everyday. It is not from me. The Lord changed my heart. He refined this area of sin for me, He took it away. I praise Him with all my heart for this work he has done in me!

Spiritual Care Plan
Anger at Spouse
(Fall 2008)

There are times when I feel angry at my husband. When his plans are different than mine, when he doesn’t do what I think he should do, or when he does something I don’t think he should do. I dwell on what he has or hasn’t done and I think in my head about what I want to say to him about it (usually not in a friendly tone). I might snap at him or give him a hard time, nagging him about it. 

Heart Diagnosis: 
Selfishness:  I want him to do what I want and when I want him to. 
Laziness:  I think that he should do more, when really, I should serve him more. 

Expected  Heart Change:
Servants Heart: Expect nothing of him and everything of myself.  Serve him faithfully no matter what he does or doesn’t do.  Focus more on how I can serve him.
Diligence: Focus on working hard all day as working for the Lord. 
Love: A love for my husband that is peaceful and steadfast, not determined by circumstances of the day.  A true love that can overlook anything, even outright sin, and love him just the same, just like the Lord does for me.

Action Plan:
The Word: I will wake up EVERY morning and spend quality time in the word and in prayer. I will read these scriptures daily:
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  
Mark 9:35 “Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
Romans 12: 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, [each of us is to exercise them accordingly]

Romans 12: 9[Let] love [be] without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10[Be] devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Colossians 3:8   But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Colossians 3: 1-10   1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

Colossians 3:12-17
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things [put on] love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Prayer I will pray every morning that the Lord will give me love for my husband and the ability to forget about what bothers me, but be enamored with the qualities I fell in love with in him.  I will pray for him.  I will use the “Praying Daily for my Husband” as a guide to help me pray daily for him.

Through the day: I will listen to several worship songs during the day that talk of my upmost depravity and remind me how I do not deserve anything or anyone. I am a total sinner in need of a savior.

Before he gets home:  I will pray once more before he gets home from work and read through a few scriptures.

When with my husband: I will put on acts and words of love for him no matter what I feel. When I start to feel angry with him: 
I will look for a way to serve him. 
I will recite, in my head, the verses I have memorized
I will silently pray for grace, peace, joy and love. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Family Camp 2013!

Sara's 5th Birthday!

This is the face of one excited little girl, about to attend her 5th birthday party. It was such a fun birthday with lots of friends and family, and some awesome purple marshmallow flower cupcakes that Mommy and aunt Emily produced (didn't end up looking like the magazine.. but still a hit).  It was such a beautiful spring day, the 4th of May at Ygnaco Park. The party was super duper fun, complete with hot dogs, scruffy, a water fight, and a piƱata.  

I am so thankful everyday for this enormous ray of sunshine wrapped up in a tiny little body. She is such a fun, spunky, energetic, joyful girl who is quickly friends with anyone and loves to have fun. She is so tender and thoughtful with people around her and is always helping with her favorite little baby boy Andrew.  Sara is very sensitive towards the Lord and is quick to remind us all of God's love and also different verses in the Bible that apply to different situations.  Her favorite Bible verse she loves to quote is "Blessed are the gentle" Mathew 5:5  She is such a quick learner (reading like crazy!) and I pray she will continue to learn about God's world and apply it to her life. I love you forever and always my little Sara Bear. You are my sunshine!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Christ Centered Dicipline

Christ Centered Discipline

Many of you are in the thick of disciplining your young kids right now so I want to take a moment to encourage you and give you a booster shot in the arm... to KEEP IT UP!!  It is so easy to get complacent and lazy so I have to review biblical principals of discipline myself on a regular basis. 

Discipline moments can be redeemed for the gospel. Don't be discouraged, these moments are an open door to teach your children about Christ. 

Discipling without the gospel might cause behavior changes, but is not making spiritual progress.  Think about the difference. Think about your discipline. Where does your discipline fall in.. is it gospel/Christ centered? Are you making those heart connections with your kids, or do you just want them to obey so life is easier?

Set the stage for Christ centered discipline, by having Christ in the center.  Have God be the one they are sinning against.  Have Him be the one who is rejoicing when they obey.  Guide your children on a daily basis to become more and more in love with an awesome Creator. Study your child. Find out what fascinates them. Link the fascination to such a kind and loving God who makes all these wonderful creations for us. My daughter was obsessed with ladybugs. When we ordered a ladybug farm and got ladybug larvae in the mail (yes, larvae... gross) she slept with the larvae container under her arm. This is how fascinated she was with ladybugs. I was able to show her that because she was a ladybug lover, she was really a God lover, since God created them.  Does your boy love trains? God was the mastermind... causing a man to think up the idea to build a train. Praise God for trains!  Your love for this great awesome God can be contagious to your kids. 

Naturally then, if God is so great, it begs the question: How can we please Him with our lives?  When you ask them- “do you think your behavior pleases the Lord?”  If they are in love with God, they will care about the answer they give.  If they don’t love God, they will be obeying to please you and your spouse, or for themselves in their pride. Start to re-structure your everyday language to be God centered. If you never talk about loving God, they will naturally just start to obey because they love you and it pleases you as their mom. 
Once we love Him, and ask “How can we please Him in our lives?” We can bring out the Bible and explain that God gave rules to live by that will bring blessings. (as well as learning all the other stories and truths about God to leave us awestruck!)

As soon as kids start saying sentences, they can learn verses.

Here is a list of common verses I use when disciplining my kids.

(NKJV) Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing 

(ESV) John 13:34 one another

(ESV) 1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(ESV) Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always

(ESV) Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers

ESV) Titus 2:5/6 Be self-controlled (Titus 2:5 addressing young woman, 2:6 addressing young men)

(NASB) Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the gentle...

(NIV) Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another... 

(ESV) Colossians 3:8- Put…away… anger (some versions say put off or put aside)

(ESV) Colossians 3:12- Put on… kindness 

* A danger with the put off – put on method... if that is all they get, their heart will never change, only their behavior. In-between put off and put on needs to come training on how to change one’s heart/mind to hate the sin and desire righteousness or else it is just a behavior change. The biblical pattern of Eph 4:22-24 is Put Off – Be Renewed in Your Mind – Put On. This puts Christ at the center of our obedience, not our own will-power to just put off – put on.

(ESV) Proverbs 15:1 A harsh word stirs up anger, a gentle answer turns away wrath. *(good for mommies too!) 

(Ex 20:15) You shall not steal.

(Prov 12:22) Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

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

(ESV) Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in ... 
  • EVERY SIN FALLS BACK TO A VERSE-  My Katie is a screen licker. She LOVES to lick the screen door. She licks up, down, sideways... its gross. The sin of habitual screen licking (since I don’t have a verse for that one ;) - falls under “Obey your parents.” Therefore I can confidently say, “Screen licking is not pleasing to God” by default because it is not obeying mommy. (This one calls for constant explanation :)

Questions: Don’t just tell your child what is right and wrong all day. Get them involved and talking about their own sin. Ask them questions. How does a teacher in a class get kids brains to open up and really start to think? Questions!! All kinds and in lots of different ways. 
Question examples:  Are you obeying or disobeying right now? What does God want you to do, obey or disobey? 
Is your heart happy or angry? 
Right now are you being a peacemaker or a troublemaker? Which one would God want you to be? Lets find out from the verse.
When you took that toy, from your sister, was that selfish or selfless?

Examples of world focused statements in discipline:  “Mommy wants you to be a generous boy” or “share so you can be nice to your friend” These statements are not “bad” but they are focused on mommy, the child and the friend. Get them focused... all day long... on God. 

Review of Spanking 
Never spank in anger.  Spanking can be damaging to your children, if done in anger. Anger is one of the biggest stumbling blocks parents face with kids. I would like to do a brief biblical counseling review on anger.  99% of anger is self focused and selfish anger. We are upset by what is causing “ME” annoyance, frustration, and extra work, rather than being more sad with our children’s sin. We should have the desire to train and instruct, rather than make sure we “make a point” and show anger so they won’t do it again. Their sin should not surprise us, we are just as sinful and children may take years to learn to love God and want to obey. Getting angry will only stir up anger in our kids (or spouse).  Steve M. says that when you are angry with your children, you cause them spiritual confusion. You are doing damage to them spiritually when you are angry, and causing them to want to imitate you. 
If you become angry with your child, confess your sin and seek forgiveness biblically, right away. It can be hard in the moment, but give a heart-felt apology with the truth that even mommy and daddy are sinners. Don’t defend yourself or explain your sin. Confess what you did and that it was wrong and then ask for forgiveness. “I’m sorry. I was wrong when I _______. Please forgive me.” This is another opportunity to share the gospel and rejoice that the Lord has saved “mommy”! Praise God! Your true repentance will help the child learn how to confess their sin and ask for forgiveness. It will give them an example of what to do when they sin. It will help clear the spiritual confusion caused by becoming angry. 
Don't stay in a pattern of anger at your children or spouse. Get help. There are vast resources in the Biblical Counseling department at NorthCreek and at the book store. There are numerous people you can call (any of us in OneLife) to hold you accountable. If you don’t fight it, the sin of anger gets bigger and bigger and you don’t want to pass it to your kids. 
*Become sad at the sin instead of angry.

Acronym for Spanking: RASPBERRY 
This is an example of a Biblically thought out way to spank your kids. This is my way, there are others out there with different ways.  My children seem to have a healthy respect for this process of discipline, and since it is done in an abundance of love and training, they are not traumatized or terrified of it. ( and neither am I :)
R- Remove- remove the child from the situation (go in another room) goes back to Mathew 18, confronting people in private- even little people
A- Acknowledge the sin- Have the child say the sin out loud or at least admit to it. (*Occasionally the entire process is halted at this point. Listen to the child. Ask questions. Don’t assume you know the entire story or why the child did what they did. Let them explain. This may not be rebellion. Instruct ignorance, discipline rebellion.)
S- Spank   Explain how many spanks they will get (we do 1-3 depending of the severity of the sin and the age of the child) This gives you accountability not to get carried away in anger and gives them security in knowing what to expect. Never leave a bruise and never break the skin. A flexible plastic material such as a fly swatter or flexible plastic ruler can give quite a sting without leaving a lasting mark. Try it on yourself first. 
(Proverbs 13:24 whoever spars the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Proverbs 12:1 whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. ) I love Proverbs 22:15 Spanking brings wisdom and drives out foolishness. 
P- Pray- The p in raspberry is silent, and I almost forgot it... but don’t forget to pray! Pray for your little one’s heart to change and for true repentance and a heart that desires to please the Lord.  On our own, we can’t stop sinning. We need His help!!  Mathew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”   As they grow older, you will then hear them transition to pray for their own heart change, which is incredibly sweet!!
B- Bible Verse-  Teach them the specific Bible verses about the committed sin, and also the proverbs verses on why we need to do discipline. (Because we love them!)
E- Encourage your child!  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”  we are going to do this... together! Mommy will help you, God will help you! 
R- Rejoice in God’s forgiveness- Another opportunity to share the gospel.  We all deserve to go to Hell as sinners, but God provided forgiveness through Jesus. What an awesome God!! What great news!
R- Review- At bedtime, go over what happened, the sin, and the verses, and/or review with Daddy when he gets home or with him before bed. (“Tell daddy about it- and tell him the verse we learned”) 
Y- Year after year.  This doesn’t happen in a year. It takes years. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t grow weary in doing good. This is what God has called you to do. 

Elize Fitzpatrick asks “Are you using life-giving words or life-taking words with your children?”  We want impart spiritual life to our kids in our everyday words. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Almost 2!!

Andrew is almost 2!! Around Christmas as he turned 18 months, and we were so excited then to begin to understand some words he said (although very few). He has always been so talkative but we didn't ever know what he was saying until recently.  He would just ramble on and on in his sweet baby talk, obviously telling us many things. Now just recently his ramblings have become sentences that we can understand! It is fascinating to watch each of our kids learn to speak. It is one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Now Andrew is repeating everything we say and building sentences and thoughts on his own too. It is so exciting getting to talk to my sweet little boy!! I pray the Lord will cause our sweet boy to grow in his ability to talk for the purpose of spreading the love of God to others, and teaching and preaching the truth!  

To say that we are all in love with this little one is an understatement. He receives constant huggs and kisses all day from all of us. He loves his sisters and they adore him.  He calls Kalena "Na Na", Sara is "Ra Ra", and Katie is "T.T." I love it when he talks and talks using hand gestures and facial expressions, but no one can understand him. We all just laugh and say "Thats right Andy!" 

He has a sweet and tender heart. He is always caring and seldom disobeying. His new word is "OK" which he says constantly when I tell him "No" to something. He is such a precious baby boy and we are praising and thanking God for giving him to us!! We are so excited to celebrate these wonderful two years with our boy!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chaos into Order

4 small children and one bathroom sink. You can imagine the chaos that occurs when I tell the kids to go brush their teeth.  We have started to implement something we learned from Kurt Gebhards.  It's simple but goes a long way in our everyday lives. Youngest to oldest.  It is our instinct to try to figure out who got there first or who deserves to go first, however, there is a great biblical principal we can teach to our kids in this. Older kids must see to it that their younger siblings (or friends or cousins) are cared for first before themselves. We should always put others first, especially when others may take longer than we do or need help.  The younger kids will see the example set by the older kids and do the same with other younger children they come in contact with.  It has been refreshing and peaceful to see Kalena and Sara work to see that Katie and Andrew get to go first and get the help they need, whether it's getting sox from the drawer, getting up into the car, or dishing out the first pancakes. It works well that even though Andrew will get to "go first" for the majority of his young life, at some point when he is older, we can switch to "Ladies first" :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Healthy Easter Egg Fillers for Kids and Toddlers

We have been trying to eat healthy and cut back on the junk. We are not planning to buy any of the typical candy at Easter this year.  It is so tempting to buy chocolate marshmallow bunnies and all the other yummy goodness out there at easter, so I am putting together a slightly more healthy list for egg stuffers and Easter baskets that I can refer back to every year (and change if needed).  Since we have cut back on most refined sugars and “boxed foods,” any of the foods on this list will be considered a treat to the kids. 

Egg Fillers:
colored goldfish
fruit snacks
chocolate covered raisins/peanuts
strawberries (part of the fun is just the suprise of finding out what is inside)
dried apple rings
cinnamon sugar gram crackers
semi sweet chocolate chips/ mini chips

dollar store rubber bugs or animals
hair bows
bouncy balls
deflated balloon to blow up (esp for andrew, he loves balloons)
flower seeds for spring planting
silly putty
rub on tatoos

Easter Baskets:
gardening tools
cookie cutters
framed picture of you and your child
flash cards or game

I am sure this list will be updated and added too. (updated, May 2013-  i took off some of the more unhealthy things from this list.)

Some other easter activities:
Resurrection garden: Make the path from the Last Supper through to the tomb in a long rectangle garden planter, adding some fun plants to make it look real, and a small circle pot on its side for the tomb and a stone to cover the opening. Make some people out of clothes pins and walk them through the story. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It is one of the most frustrating problems I came across with a very young child. I would be on the phone or having a conversation and my little one comes to running up "mommy ...mommy ...mommy......." It is a frustrating situation for the child and parent alike. Years ago I came across a simple solution, when I saw my good friend Julie do an amazing interaction with her small child. While she was talking to me, her child came to her and quietly put her hand on Julie's arm without a word.  Julie put her hand over the child's (to acknowledge she knows the child is there) as we continued our conversation completely uninterrupted. When Julie had finished her thought, she said to me, "excuse me one sec..." She then turned to the child waiting patiently, addressed the child's issue, and was then back to our conversation. I was shocked and wondered if that was really even possible?!  I gave it a try with Kalena and was amazed and pleased at how fast she picked it up and how often she started to remember. With consistency and loving instruction kids can really learn to be polite!  It has been years now that we have been using this simple instruction for our kids.  It has saved both us, and our kids, a lot of frustrating moments. It has also been fun to see the kids learn and be reminded from each other.  Our third child learned almost entirely from watching the older kids.

How much I would miss if I didn't have amazing godly families to learn from and the Lord being faithful to give us wisdom when we ask for it. I know I have so much more to learn and am excited to soak it all up! Lately I feel I have become complacent with asking the Lord to continue giving wisdom.     I am encouraged by James 1:5 and commit this week to ask the Lord to give me more and more wisdom as I train these treasures He has entrusted to me.

James 1:5
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, 
let him ask of God, 
who gives to all generously and without reproach, 
and it will be given to him."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Katie is 3!!

Our sweet bundle of craziness is now three! Justin and I both breath a sigh of relief that our spunky tornado is now exiting her toddler years...alive.  Katie has been caught in many crazy moments...licking great portions of the screen door because it felt good on her tongue, and spreading cream cheese from her bagel all over the bottom of her feet and in between her toes... just to name a few. She constantly thinking of new exciting things to try and do which makes for some incredibly funny moments.  We are so thankful for her and the excitement, surprises and laughter she brings to us everyday.   She is a sweet little one who's enthusiasm for life is explosive! She is also extremely cuddly and sensitive. Katie loves her siblings and is so sweet to them. The girls are starting to love playing more with her as she develops in her ability to pretend. She aslo plays with Andrew so well, and is always trying to make him laugh. She loves to tackle him to the ground, and, although I am not fond of the game, he seems to think it is great... most of the time giggling out of control.  Katlyn's favorite toys are her cars. She loves the disney movie Cars and plays with Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, Doc, Filmore etc. For Halloween this year, she opted out of all the ballerina and princess costumes we have and wanted to be an astronaut.  Katie is such an amazing blessing to us, we love her more than words can say. We pray that she will continue in her extreme love for life and would develop a love for the Lord as well.