Friday, January 18, 2008

A Complete Love is Secure Love

If I were to interview hundreds of parents and ask them, "Do you love your children?", not one would say no. There would be no statistics to compare. The answers would be 100% yes. All parents love their children and most show their children love. However, we must aim to give them a secure and complete love.

Many children grow up insecure because the love they received from their parents was incomplete even though it was genuine. We want to send our children into the world knowing they were truly loved. Also, God has given us the keys to be the ones who transfer this secure love.

Why are so many children growing up into insecure adults? We must take a long look at ourselves and see if we possibly may contribute to this problem. Sometimes our love is incomplete because our children feel they must constantly compete for it. Are we choosing pastimes, careers, or even friends above them? Who or what are we spending most of our time doing?

Several months ago, my husband was transferred to a different area of his work place. Greater demands were put on his time causing him to be away from the family for 70 and sometimes 80 hours a week. Even when he was home, he had to answer calls and was expected to fill out reports on his computer. We value our family time, so after a few months, John went to his supervisor to see if he could work out a different plan. His supervisor ignored him and did nothing to help him. Finally, John went to his boss and told him he could no longer work that many hours because he needed to be home more with his family. He was accused of trying to dictate his work hours and was let go.

Because God values family and the time we invest in our children and spouses, He is providing for our family and we have much more time together now. God will honor your desires to have more time for your family. Sometimes we are forced to make decisions and even face losses for choosing what is right in God's eyes. We must transfer complete love to our children by choosing to let go of certain things.

Secondly, our love is sometimes incomplete because our children are made to feel like they have to earn it. They can discern if they receive our praise and approval if they are performing to make us look good to others or behaving in a way to make our jobs easier as parents. We must aim to show our children acceptance no matter how they choose to behave.

So what does complete love really look like? Dr. Tim Kimmel, author of Grace Based Parenting, defines love as "the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost." Doing the loving thing for our children is not always easy and does not necessarily come natural. Love is about making decisions based on the covenants we have with our loved ones. Love also sees our needs as second priority to those we are to love.Our children are our closest neighbors. Loving them in grace and truth is also about knowing what their God given needs are, not selfish ones, and meeting those needs.

Last of all we should remember that secure love is often inconvenient and sometimes painful. Loving our children costs so much. They cost our money,time and sleep. It may cost us our careers, it may cost us mother's our figures. It may cost you Dads a promotion. It may require that we do without.

Just the other day we took the younger children to Toys R Us to pick out a toy to buy with some Christmas money their grandparents had given them. As we were paying for the gifts, the cashier looked at me and said, 'Wow, they each get something. What do you get?" I pointed to the children with a smile and replied, "I get to enjoy them! That is what I get!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lighten Up or Tighten Up? A Note on Parenting

Two days before Christmas I looked out my back window and spotted a neighbor in the woods behind our houses ripping down a fence that seperates the residential lots from the privately owned property behind us. In fact, he was commiting theft because the fence does not belong to him but to the owner of the land. He continued tearing down the fence and the poles that supported it. Piece by piece he carried the parts into his yard and hid them in his garage. A few nights later, my son noticed that he had loaded the parts into his truck and drove off. We were puzzled at why this man would be so desperate that he would steal a chain link fence. Also, it was strange that he removed a segment of the fence from behind his house and from behind our other neighbor's home. However, the section of fencing directly behind our house was untouched. Maybe he knew we were home as I did notice that he kept looking toward our house as he was doing his work.

This event had me contemplating fences and how fences represent boundaries. This young man maybe had no boundaries as he was growing up and was free to roam and do as he pleased. He may not have been taught anything about consideration of other's property. Who knows. I am not here to judge the motiives of why he was stealing the fence. But I have been considering the whole concept of boundaries in parenting our children.

In our society of crumbling morals and decaying values, we as parents need to guard against falling to extremes. One extreme is that we become too relaxed which leads to being passive in our parenting. Just as the fence behind our home was removed and stolen, this same concept can happen easily even with parents of good intentions. Examples of this would be allowing our children to hang out with whomever they would choose or watching any movie that they would like. Also they would be free to act out any frustration with no consequences or look at anything they choose on the internet to read or view. These are extreme examples. However, one can turn on the news or read the newspaper to see that these are often the norm in our society today.

Even though most parents are well meaning, they can cave into this type of parenting to some degree. It is quite easy to become desensitized to this boundary deficient culture. We may do a good job raising our children when things are going well. But it is tempting to just let things slide when we are tired or going through dire circumstances. Many times it is just easier to feel good that to do good. In the book, "Grace Based Parenting", the author says that "raising kids with clear moral boundaries can be an extremely lonely job."

This brings us to the other extreme that can be as equally toxic to children. This type of parenting is based on an over reaction to a culture without boundaries. This refers to bringing in boundaries in far more tightly than they need to be to effectively train their children. These parents restrict and control everything. They tighten the fence regarding every area of their child's life thinking they are making it safer for their children to go through life. They think that this will be the derermining factor of how their children will turn out. There are clear moral boundaries which are set. This is needed. However, they have added an inner fence to make it more difficult for their children to even see beyond the boundaries of grace God has provided.

The key word here is grace. God parents us according to His grace and truth. We must periodically take inventory of the boundaries we have set for our children. Are they based on grace? Or have we constructed inner fences that are too tight and unnecessary? Maybe we have let our guard down and we have loose or no boundaries because we have been bogged down by trying circumstances and fatigue.

God's way of parenting us is by His gift of grace. We too must examine His model of parenting and apply this to our own parenting. God looks deep into our hearts and sees our need. He sees our needs because He knows our needs. In order to know the needs of our children we must understand what those are. This is what the next blog will be on. Knowing and recognizing the needs of our children and how grace is the key to effective parenting.

(Note:Some of my thoughts were based on the book, GRACE BASED PARENTING, by Dr. Tim Kimmel). This is one of the most scriptually inspired parenting books I personally have ever read. I would encourage you to get the book)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bless the Broken Road

This song had been in my head all week. I knew the Lord must be reminding me of it for a reason especially when I heard it on the radio several times. In addition, I came across a CD I have had for months by SELAH that I did not open until this morning. I remembered that I had it, but I did not realize this song, "Bless the Broken Road" was on this CD.

The woman who wrote this song shares the testimony that she did not marry the man who was to be her husband until she was 34. She shares about her frustration of waiting for a husband and that she continually had to give God the reigns in this area. Along the broken road she knew that God was in control.

Everytime I hear this song, it reminds me of how I found God along so many bumps and cracks in the road. Those flaws in the highway even knocked me off the prefererd path God had for me. But He was always there waiting for me to turn to Him in my desperate moments of anguish and heartache. He rescued me and set me back on the road. I love the words to this song.


This is just one verse in the song. But if you listen to the words it really describes how God pursues us to save us. His passion for us is more than I can bear at times. He romances us all through our lives. And the road is truly blessed, no matter how broken, that leads us into deeper places with Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Every valley shall be exalted, And every mountain and hill brough low, the CROOKED places shall be made straight, And the rough places smooth.

I also want to dedicate this blog to Sara, my daughter who is eleven years old today. You are a treasure to my heart, a priceless gift from God. Happy Birthday. I love you.

Click on the you tube at the top of this page to listen to the song, BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD. Make sure you click on the first box to see the words as the song plays.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Idea Verses the Reality

Everything and anything that relates to having a relationship with God is enough to set me off. I am not talking about anger, but excitement and pursuit. Yes, I am a Jesus freak. Some may say, "You are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good." Oh well. That is just an opinion.

You know, there are some people who want to get married because they are in love with the idea and the concept of being in a relationship and getting married. The idea of it is attractive. Then there are those who desire to marry because they really want the relationship and they will go to any ends to pursue the presence of the one they love so deeply.

There are many people who say they know and believe in God because the idea is interesting and attractive to them. However, we must not confuse the idea of loving God to the reality of loving God. We must be careful not to seek His presence for the wrong reasons. We must guard our motives for He is a holy God as His intentions toward us are pure....pure love and devotion.

There were times in my life when I read my bible and studied its contents not because I wanted to find out about His heart and to pursue His presence, but I just wanted to add to my knowledge and have things to say to others that sounded good and spiritual. I thought that if I did not have something to say to add to a discussion or conversation, then I was not being spiritual. Also, I loved the idea of being in love with God because I was thinking of all that relationship would do for me. Anytime you enter into any relationship with the idea of what it can do for you, you are setting yourself up for voids that will never be filled. For me, this was a religious spirit that I know was not pleasing to God. However, we serve a God who does not waste. May I say He is thrifty?

I believe all the times I thought I was being spiritual by getting into the word just to gain knowledge, the Lord knew where I would be. And the greatest thing was that He still delighted in me. The words that went in did not go to waste because I thought I was doing the right thing. In my mind , I was doing the spiritual things. Even though my motive was tainted, He in His mercy took
what I had to give and enriched the soil of my heart for later planting and revelation of His love and grace.

The reason I am sharing all of this is because as a mother I want my children as well as others who are in my life to be ready for this season that God wants to come and reveal more of Himself to us. He is a holy God. This means He is perfect, pure and unlike anyone. He is set apart from all others.

However, He is so good and full of grace that He wants to rip open the heavens within you and show you more of Himself. He wants to give more revelation. However it is not about revelation , it is about relationship. Yes we have heard this over and over. But we must ask ourselves, "Is my relationship with God a reality or an idea?

The reality is that God is coming in greater ways this year. He is inviting all to be recipients of the greater measure He wants to bring to us. Maybe you are in the place of "the idea". You are drawn to the concept of having the reality of a closer relationship with God, but you know you do not genuinely live in it. You are not experiencing it and you really do not have a true desire. There is no condemnation for you are in Christ and He is in you. All you need to do is stand before Him and simply ask, "Lord, I love the idea of being passionate for you and I want to have the desire, but it is not there. Will you Lord, give me the desire to pursue Your presence? Dear ones, this is worship. Bless the Lord Oh my soul and all that is within me (Psalm 103:1). If all you have is the idea of being intimate with the Lord, give it to Him. He is pleased with your offering of honesty. Be encouraged and be expectant because you are entering a quest for a real, yes I MEAN REAL, encounter with God. Is this mystical? Yes. Is mystical real? Yes. Is a mystical God practical? Yes. He is a real and mystical God who is getting ready to show up. You only have to ask. Get ready to receive!