Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Is Parenting with Love and Logic?

"I don't understand it. The techniques my parents used so effectively just don't seem to work with kids today." Does this statement sound familiar to you? A lot of parents today are wondering what to do with their kids and are frustrated because the old techniques just don't seem to get the job done.
Parents want to enjoy their kids, have fun with them, and enjoy a less stressful family life. But even if their kids are trouble-free right now, they fear what the coming teenage years will bring.
At no time in history have parents been more unsure of their parental role. Even the best are not all that sure about whether they are using the best techniques. They say that their kids don't appear to be much like the ones they knew in years past.
A lot of conflicting philosophies have been presented over the last 30 years. Many of these sound good, but don't seem to do the job of helping children become respectful, responsible, and a joy to be around.
Many ideas, offered with the best of intentions, center around making sure that kids are comfortable and feeling good about themselves in order to have a good self-concept. However, we have discovered that self-confidence is achieved through struggle and achievement, not through someone telling you that you are number one. Self-confidence is not developed when kids are robbed of the opportunity to discover that they can indeed solve their own problems with caring adult guidance.

  • Avoid un-winnable power-struggles and arguments
  • Stay calm when their kids do incredibly upsetting things
  • Set enforceable limits
  • Avoid enabling and begin empowering
  • Help their kids learn from mistakes rather than repeating them
  • Raise kids who are family members rather than dictators
  • And much more!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hungry yet?

The twins were born early and considered low birth weight.  Because of this, the first several months were consumed with charting feedings and diaper changes, weighing the babies, and doing all we could to ensure they were gaining weight, growing.  I  felt an immense pressure to ensure their nutritional needs were met.  I remember telling the pediatrician that often times I could not get them to nurse.  His profound words changed everything for me, he said, “You can’t make them eat, if they are not hungry.” 

Life lesson:  You have to be hungry!

Tonight we finished our small group studying Greg Ogden’s Discipleship Essentials.  The last lesson is about becoming a disciple with the intent to disciple others.  I had to ponder some of the thoughts for quite a while.  In advising the readers, Ogden referred to 2 Timothy 1:1-18, in which Paul speaks of the importance of looking for a reliable discipleship partner.  The idea is conveyed that some are not suitable for the discipleship process, because they are not trustworthy.  They are not ready.  Why not?  Because they are not hungry enough. 

While contemplating the lack of hunger, I was reminded of how my children love to eat sugary snacks.  We know snacks can ruin an appetite.  We need to carefully discipline ourselves and our kids to choose healthy foods full of nutrients over empty calories.  Consuming only empty calories will cause malnourishment, illness , and eventually death.  Could this be a problem with the American church?  Could we be malnourished because we are filling up on tasty treats rather than nourishing sustenance?  Have we lost our hunger for God’s plan because we fill up on satisfying relationships, good deeds, busyness, and idle words? 

I am once again reminded of  2 Chronicles 7:14, the Amplified Bible says, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”   Our churches need healing.  We are malnourished. 

How can we get our hunger back?  How can we earnestly crave the nutrient-rich word of God?  We must pray.  We must develop the disciplines of personal prayer and Bible study.  I had the great opportunity to speak with a lady in her 70s a few days ago who talked to me about how she is developing the discipline of a daily, personal quiet time.  It is enriching her life. 

It is never too late to start.  Make the move, get hungry and devour the word.  Not hungry for the word?  Prefer TV, Facebook, or chats with friends?  Pray, ask God to change your appetite.  He made us to crave Him! 

Monday, May 30, 2011


Seventeen years ago, 2 very young people made solemn vows to each other in the presence of great friends, family, and loving supporters.  Last night Brian and I watched our wedding video.  Tonight, we will steal away for a few hours to have dinner, reflect upon the last 17 years, and dream about the years to come.

Life lesson:  Milestones are important

Why do we celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and even mark a day of remembrance we call Memorial Day?  It is so important to set aside time for pointed reflection, to remember.  It reminds me of the children of Israel as they crossed the Jordan after God’s miraculous holding back of the rushing water.  They were commanded to stop and build a memorial of stones.  They made the memorial as a special remembrance of God’s provision which would serve as a testimony for generations to come.

The truth about the last seventeen years:

  1. Time has flown by!  Looking at the young smiling faces in the video, I can hardly believe seventeen years have passed.  It is a great reminder to stop and enjoy today and everyday!  We work too hard, take life too seriously, and don’t slow down enough.
  2. It has been better than I ever imagined!  I could have never imagined what a great adventure Brian and I would lead the day we stood hand in hand promising to love one another until death.  Our love has grown and deepened.  The love that bloomed in my heart at the wedding altar seventeen years ago is such a small part of the more mature, seasoned celebration of love as Brian and I walk silently hand in hand, or smile as our kids wow us both, or nod because we know exactly what the other is thinking.
  3. It has been harder than I ever imagined!  I knew marriage would be work, but I never imagined the pain and heartache I would suffer as I worked to submit, serve, and die to self.  Love is hard, painful work, but it is worth every bit of it!
  4. Milestones are important!  I loved hearing Brian talk to the kids about how much mom and dad love each other.  I know these talks help them find security and see the blessing of marriage.  We definitely don’t get it all right, but it is important to stop and remember how faithful God has been.  We trust our testimony will serve our children for years to come!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hard times to harmony...

Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t pray for patience!”  The idea behind the statement comes from Romans 5:3, teaching patience is worked out in our lives by trials and tribulations.  But a closer look at this verse might be a good idea.  In the New Living Translation, Romans 5:3 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (patience).”   Did you catch it?  We should rejoice in the trials.  Why?  They help us develop patience. 

Life lesson:  Pray for patience

We are so programmed to avoid pain at all cost.  We take pills to stop pain, quit on painful relationships, and rescue people we love quickly from any pain in their lives.  Because pain is bad, right?  Then, why does Romans 5:3 tell us to rejoice in problems and trials?   It is because the trials help us develop endurance or patience.  Why do we need endurance and patience?  A look at Romans 8:25-27 explains, “But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.  And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”  This passage is telling us that faith (looking forward to something we don’t yet have) is worked out in patience and confidence.  It also tells us we don’t even know what we need and we don’t know what we should pray for.  So, when we acknowledge our weakness, the Spirit intercedes for us and helps bring us in harmony with God’s will.  Isn’t that our ultimate goal?  Don’t we desperately want to be in harmony with God’s will?  Don’t we want to be partakers of His peace?  Then, we should pray for patience, and we should rejoice in difficult trials.

Are you in a difficult place in life?  Are you experiencing problems?  Are you meeting trials at every turn?   Know they can help you develop endurance and patience.  Know they can bring you into harmony with God’s own will.  God desires to bless us abundantly.  His abundance is in the fruits He allows the Spirit to work out in us.  Remember the fruits?  Check out Galatians 5:22-26:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.”

The Spirit works out the gifts in us when we submit, in our weakness.  When our lives belong to Christ we crucify our desires, including the desire to live a life free from pain.  When we are dead to self, the Spirit leads our lives.  Where does the Spirit lead us?  Straight into the harmony of God’s will.  Ready for peace?  Go ahead, pray for patience and welcome the trials.  Give God control, He cares perfectly for you!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Enter the promised land...

I remember vividly the day Kelly had a difficult seizure episode.  I held her quietly in my lap until the tough moment passed.  She looked up into my face and said, “Mommy, I don’t want to have seizures anymore!”  My heart broke.  I went to the Lord challenging His perfect love, insisting He heal my daughter.  In desperation, I hurled His word at Him accusing Him of making it too tough for my little girl.  In a quiet, calming voice I felt the Lord say, “Only I know the future.” 

Life lesson:  Struggles have great purpose

When the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, they grumbled and complained a lot.  God in His perfect love listened to their complaints and obliged many of their requests.  When they finally drew near to the promise land, 12 spies were chosen to scout out the land.  Of the 12, only 2 returned with a great report about the land God had promised.  The others saw only the giants and the difficulty possessing the land would present for a tired people.  So, only the two who had the faith to see past the difficulties were allowed to enter into the promised-land.  The others died in the wilderness.  Many great lessons can be gleaned from the life of the Israelites as they wandered.  To see the purpose of their struggles, can help us find meaning in ours.  Consider these applications:

Why the struggle?

1.      Faith will grow.  What a glorious day for Joshua and Caleb as they inhabited the promised land.  The struggle was great, but the victory was greater.  They trusted God and He rewarded their faith.
2.      A strong testimony.  Joshua and Caleb left a great legacy for generations to come, and their story inspires my heart to hold onto God’s words even today.  Their faith even in the midst of great difficulty and many obstacles proved worthwhile as they were granted victory after victory.
3.      God’s glory.  God teaches us to depend upon Him.  He could have just presented the keys to the gate of the promised land to Moses or Joshua and Caleb, but His glory was magnified as the faith of mighty men to charge into battle showed He could be trusted.
4.      Transformation.  The Israelites had become a group of complainers, self-focused.  God wanted to transform the nation.  He used the wilderness experience to prune out those with weak hearts and failing faith.  He strengthened those who chose faith and rewarded them with the land flowing with milk and honey.
5.      FOCUS.  10 of the 12 spies saw only the giants and the obstacles, but Joshua and Caleb looked past the obstacles and saw the richness of this good land God had promised as their inheritance.  Be careful not to let the giants in your life distract you from seeing God’s promises!

Kelly’s struggle continued with her symptoms increasing and her pain debilitating.  God steadily reminded me of the fact that He alone knows the future.  Kelly has learned such great self-control, she has learned to pray and trust, and she has learned that God is mighty to HEAL.  Last November, Kelly had a syrinx develop in her spine as a result of the problem with her brain. The doctor told us there was a 10% chance it would go away on its own, but encouraged us to plan for brain surgery.  I had no peace about the surgery and we prayed God would intervene.  HE DID!  Our God + a 10% chance = total healing.  Kelly does not need surgery.  The syrinx disappeared.  Her symptoms have greatly decreased, and she only needs to see the pediatric neurosurgeon once a year for check-ups. I must admit, it was so painful to see Kelly suffer, but I know God has special plans for her life.  He wants the glory for the character qualities He is developing in her through her struggles, He has built all of our faith and strengthened our family, He has given us a great testimony of His provision, and our focus has been fixed more firmly upon His promises through this journey.  No matter your struggle today, hold onto Him.  He is faithful, the struggle has a purpose, trust Him to turn it into a promise-land experience for your life! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The thrill of the adventure..

Our family is preparing for a much anticipated trip to Disneyworld.  In planning the trip, I spent some time asking the kids about their favorite rides.  I asked Jacob yesterday (the twins just turned 8!) if he is excited about riding Dumbo the flying elephant.  He said, “Mom, that is a baby ride.”  I laughed and said, “What do you want to ride?”   Jacob did not hesitate, he said “I want to ride the Tower of Terror, Rockin' Roller coaster!”  He wants to ride all the thrill rides!  The days of the purple elephants gently turning in the beautiful blue sky to a happy tune are over.  Jacob says, “Bring on the thrill of adventure!”  As I stop and think about life, I must admit, I too love the adventure. 

Life lesson:  Marriage is a roller coaster
Walking down the aisle as a young bride, vowing to love Brian for “better or worse” I could only imagine days of sunshine and rainbows.  I knew a few rain showers would come, but we would be together under our nice little umbrella and we could stand the storms.  I had no idea we would endure literal fires, fires of attack, lean times of financial famine, emotional earthquakes, and tsunami force floods of pain. Nor did I know we would experience joy I never could not even imagine, delight beyond description, and exhilarating love that literally takes my breath away.   I could not even begin to comprehend what I was agreeing to when I said, “I do.”  But I am so glad I did.
In just a few days Brian and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.  If you include the four years we dated, I have spent more of my life with Brian than without him.  I feel so blessed to have such a great friend, partner, and heart-mate to partner with on this journey.  I wanted to offer some of the best marital advice I have learned along the way as I reflect back upon highs and lows of the last 17 years.
1.     Worship God together.  Don’t isolate worship to the Sunday morning church box.  Remember your marriage is meant to model the passionate love relationship God has with His church.  Celebrate your marriage and your intimate relationship as an avenue to worship the Creator. Work to make your love resemble His perfect love. (Eph 5:25)
2.     Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t waste time arguing about things today that won’t matter tomorrow, next week, or next year.  Be aware of the little things that are attacks of the enemy, don’t get sidetracked from the joy Christ wants you to experience today.  (Col 3:2)
3.     Serve your spouse.  When I remember I am a servant like Christ who washed the feet of His disciples, I remember to serve Brian.  Rather than expecting him to meet my needs and focusing on myself, I am most fulfilled when I work to meet his needs.  (Philippians 2)
4.     Stand together.  Create a culture of partnership and teamwork within your marriage.  Never speak ill of your spouse to others.  Don’t stand facing each other in attack or vying for attention, rather stand back to back and work together in all things…parenting, ministry, finances.  (Ecc 4:12)
5.     Dream together.  Each year set aside a time to get away together and DREAM.  It can be every anniversary, every New Year, but make it a non-negotiable.  Each year reignite the flame and excitement by dreaming and planning together.  God has plans for your marriage.  Spend time together praying and seeking His perfect will and making plans to place your marriage and your family right in the center of His will.  (Jer 29:11)
6.     Know both good and bad times have a purpose.  When you commit to love your spouse for better and for worse, worse will come.  No marriage is perfect, because no husband or wife is perfect.  Be a learner, study to become the best husband or wife you can become, endear yourselves to mentors, love the word of God, always work to find the purpose in your circumstances.  Every twist, every turn, every loop can be used by God to help you build the marriage of your dreams and it can be better than you ever imagined.  God is for you and He wants your marriage to prosper!  (Gen 50:20)
Hang on and enjoy the ride.  Marriage is a thrilling adventure.  Looking back, I can say I could never have enjoyed the thrilling highs had I not endured the devastating lows.  I have learned so much about the perfect love of my Heavenly Father as I have called upon the perfect grace of God as I extended forgiveness and humbled myself many times to ask for forgiveness.  I have worshipped in awe as God’s intimate, perfect love was modeled in my marriage.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  It has been a great, thrilling roller coaster ride.  I have my hands high in the air as we gear up for another 17 years of celebration and worship!  Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do you hear what I hear?

Tonight Jacob asked Brian, “How do you know if God speaks to you?”  Brian asked him, “Why?”  Jacob said, “Because I think He spoke to me.”  Brian asked Jacob what God said.  Jacob said, “God told me he has great plans for my life.”  I know my seven year old son heard from the heart of God.  The night before, Brian and I prayed specifically that our kids would learn to hear the voice of God.  Brian and I shared such a sweet time rejoicing that God answers our prayers!

This comes on the tail end of a conversation Brian and I had yesterday afternoon about a time of ministry I received from the Spirit.  God was talking to me about hearing and obeying His voice.  Frequently I hear people say they want to hear from God.  Sometimes people ask “Why doesn’t God speak to me?’  or “How can I hear from God?” 

Life lesson:  God speaks

Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27)  Other versions say “my sheep know my voice.”  As a child of God we should know his voice.  We should listen for it.  We must place ourselves under the hearing of his word so we can follow him.

Several years ago I learned the practice of taking thoughts captive.  “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  (2 Cor. 10:5).  This passage of scripture teaches us that thoughts will come into our minds as tools of the enemy.  It is our job to destroy those thoughts and opinions which are raised against the word of God.  We must be vigilant as thoughts shoot like darts into our minds.  The more we study God’s word, the more we become protectors of our minds and guards against the enemy’s schemes.  We hold those thoughts up to the standard of the word, if they are proven against the word, then we must quickly reject the thought. 

Likewise, we must listen for the voice of God and obey His admonitions.  When we have a thought that holds up to the standard of the word, we should receive that message as a word from God.  Not long ago, I heard someone talking about a difficult situation she was in.  As she spoke, a thought flew through my mind, “Give her money.” I instantly rejected the thought, thinking rapidly of reasons to excuse the idea.  “I don’t even know her that well, she will think I am crazy, she will be offended.”  So, I quickly pushed the idea aside.  Yesterday, God brought that word back to my mind.  He gently reminded me how we are called to be cheerful gives, we are called to be his hands and feet, we are called to esteem others better than ourselves.  So, as I got the money together, I made one last attempt at my excuses, saying “God, I don’t even really like her.” The gracious spirit of God gently said, “Yes, and that is why you must wash her feet.” 

Aaah, how refreshing to hear the voice of God.  A life of faith, is a life listening for his voice and being obedient.  He is speaking, sometimes I think we just don’t like what we hear.  It is important to know He has plans to use us in great ways!  He is calling us to be his hands and his feet.  He impresses upon our hearts how to minister to and meet the needs of others.  Shh, listen…do you hear what I hear?  It is time to obey!