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Can You Trust Me with your Children?

Guest post by Karli Reed, licensed minister with the Assemblies of God.

Parenting is one of the most honorable responsibilities given to us to discourage with grace and love. From the moment that they are born and take their first breath, we are scared out our wits – oh my word! What have we here!?! What am I doing and have I lost my mind? What do I do next? Next, we take a deep breath and say “Lord God, teach us each day every step we need to take to raise this one up for your Kingdom.

IMG_0214When each of my children were born, I would wait until everyone has left to go home for the night and then stand before the hospital window facing Spokane twinkling in the night. I would raise up each one and pray and give thanks for this promised child. “You gave me the vision of three children and you have kept your promise. Here is this one. Guide me to raise them for you and for the calling that You have destined to.” You would ask me if it was all piece of cake and I would say no it wasn’t. Each child you have is uniquely different and need to be raised according to who they are. As Parents, we will have moments we regret and wish we could do it over again but, we can’t. I just have to remind myself that parenting doesn’t end even after they’ve starting their family.

There is always an opportunity to change your parenting if necessary as long as we surrender it all into His hands. As we face the days ahead of us, it becomes necessary to teach your children how to walk and live the Godlike life. Teach them how to pray along side you so they learn how to communicate with the Lord.Teach them how to worship before God to learn intimacy with God.Teach them the word of God and how to read it, study it like a student with a Teacher beside you. Never underestimate your children. They can do it. Teach them ministry with you but be wise on how they can handle ministry and guard them from the harm done in ministry. Tell them about the hard stuff when they are ready. Let them see you walk it out and the teach them that it is ok to ask us about why things happen the way they do. Always keep Jesus in the center of everything you say and do.

The most important lesson to learn is this : “Can you trust Me with your children? Trust me enough to leave them in my hands so that I may do a work in their lives before I release them?”

Parenting goes through its different seasons and each season affects the next one. Each season has its sunrises and sunsets along with it changes. Parenting also goes through its storms such as bullying, suicides, death, rejection…..this list goes on. By trusting in God to carry us through the storms, we become seasoned parents ready to come along side with younger, new parents. Parenting is a life cycle with God walking beside you every step of the way.

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Make a Memory

DSC_7167By Kim Chaffin, The Midlife Domestic Goddess.

Originally written for the Whatever Girls Ministry.

“A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, but their hearts forever.”

–Author unknown

My children are adults and one thing I have learned over the years is that making memories doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Some of my best memories didn’t cost anything at all. They are moments in time, locked in my heart to hold on to forever.

This summer has been a very special time for my daughter and me. She is home from college and God has blessed me with the opportunity to live at the lake with her and work on my book while she works her summer job.

On one of her days off we had the most amazing day. It could not have been any more perfect. Other than the little bit of gas we used in the car, some money for a coffee and Gatorade, no elaborate expense was needed.

There were forest fires in the area and the firemen had cookies on their wish list. In the kitchen cupboards we found what we needed to make oatmeal cookies and even a package of muffin mix. The two of us baking together is quite funny. I am not exactly the best cook and my daughter somehow ended up dumping brown sugar into one of the kitchen drawers. We laughed while we baked. With our goodies in hand, we set out on a nice drive around the lake.

We grabbed some bottles of Gatorade for the firefighters and dropped all our stuff at a place called Autumn’s Loft. Autumn’s Loft was full of treasures and we wandered around the store sipping our yummy coffee drinks.

As we drove home my daughter yelled, “Pull Over!” and we waded into the river. When we got to the cabin I got the crazy idea to jump into the lake in my clothes. I ran down the dock fully dressed and when my daughter saw me, she yelled, “You won’t beat me!” Off the dock we went in our clothes. The people in kayaks must have thought we had lost it as we went down the slide in our clothes rather than our swimsuits. Oh how we laughed as we swam around!

Side by side we sat on the porch that afternoon. She painted while I finished writing my book. To hit ‘save’ on Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.59.47 PMmy finished manuscript, with my daughter by my side was priceless. The day seemed to move slowly and we had time for some lawn golf, corn hole, and a walk with the dogs. Through out the day she would hug me and in those moments she was my little girl, not a 20-year-old woman, working a full-time job and leaving at the end of summer to continue her education.

Life moves so fast and we need to remember to slow down and make memories with our children. The bond of a mother and daughter is so important. She is no longer my little girl but she will always be my daughter. Looking back over these 20 years the memories that really stand out to me were the simple things, the ones that don’t cost much if anything at all.

What special memories are you making with your children? Take time to stop and play with your daughter (do this with your sons also). Be silly. Run off the dock in your clothes or have a picnic in your living room. Stop at a fruit stand along the road, grab a treat and sit in the shade while you enjoy it together. Let her choose the music in the car. Take turns reading out loud to one another, play a game or color together.

When I visited my daughter at college we spent a night coloring princess pictures. Hearing her tell me how pretty mine was made me smile. But most importantly talk to your daughter. If you don’t build a strong relationship with her when she is young, it will be harder to get her to talk with you when she is a teenager.

Make memories with her that will last a lifetime.

Thank you Lord for the moms who are reading this. Some of them may be struggling in their relationships with their daughters right now. Lord I pray that you will give every mom who reads this one special moment with her daughter(s) and with any sons she may have. Even in the middle of the struggles that they may be having, bless them. Father our children are the greatest gifts we could ask for and parenting them is one of the hardest responsibilities there is. Lord we look to you for wisdom and strength. Help us Lord to make special memories with our children. Help those who are struggling in their relationships with their children right now. Give them a sweet and special memory to hold onto and in those memories may healing be done.   Amen.

For more stories like posts like this check out the Whatever Girls 

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On Solid Ground

Originally posted on The Whatever Girls.Whatever-Girls-Button

 

In November, while in New Zealand, I toured a place of geothermal activity known as Hells Gate. There were warning signs everywhere telling people to stay on the trails. To step off them, you would be stepping onto unstable ground; it’s a molten substance that could burn you to death.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.15.42 PMTwo of the features that stood out to me were called Devil’s Cauldron and Sodom and Gomorrah. Stepping off the path and dangling a toe into Sodom and Gomorrah or Devil’s Cauldron would cause excruciating pain and leave your toe badly burned. The hazards were very clear to anyone who was in the park.

While in the park, it got me to thinking about what happens when we step off the path God has laid out for us. Sometimes we choose to dangle our foot, here and there, in the world which is a huge gamble. The world offers some very dark things.

Pornography is a multimillon-dollar industry that feeds prostitution and sex trafficking. Personal ads asking for explicit sexual things are a huge part of Craigslist. Sexting is not just an adult activity, it’s ugly and sinks its dangerous claws into our children. Social media sites have taken bullying to a whole new level of evil. Cyber bullying continues to rise and with it comes the deaths of those who cannot take the pain of what is done to them.

As parents, we need to talk to our kids about the risks of what is out there. We need to give them the tools to stay on the path. Prayer for our children is huge but it can’t be all we do. We need to talk openly with them about the dangers of the internet. We need to talk with them about sex. It may be embarrassing but if we don’t talk to them, someone else is going to.

When we don’t keep communication open and give our children the important tools of prayer and scripture along with a relationship with Jesus, we are like a parent who sets their toddler on the path at Hells Gate and lets them run wherever they want with no guidance. Your toddler could be burned alive right in front of you if they fell into Devil’s Cauldron, Sodom and Gomorrah, or one of the other pools along the path.

As parents we should also be horrified by what our teens can fall into if we let them run through their teen years without guidance. Press into God and give your children what they need to stay on solid ground. Keep communication open no matter how awkward the conversations may feel.

The world is beckoning our children to step off the path into Devil’s Cauldron or Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to be guiding our children to do what it says in Philippians 4:8-9.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)

IMG_3653Teach your children to fix their thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” When they are faced with peer pressure, we need to teach them to take it to God. If it is not something that is excellent or worthy of praise, step away from it. It is our job to teach our children to put into practice everything they have learned and received from God and from us. Our children learn from what they hear and see us doing. Be sure you are a godly example. When you teach your children to walk with God, He will be with them and help them stay on solid ground.

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Obedience is a Two-Way Street

Originally Posted on the Whatever Girls

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

My children are now 21 and 23. We don’t have a whole lot of say about what they do but they still 1010340_10201155028385287_490074285_noften come to us for advice. When they were growing up and chose not to obey us, there were consequences for their disobedience. For the most part, they followed what we told them to do. However, there were times when they thought we were so mean because we would not let them do something. My daughter was so mad at me when she was about five years old that she put her hands on her hips and informed me that I could not play with her baby doll. Though the threat she made was scary, I held firm and followed through, not budging on what I had instructed.

My son told me to “shut up” when he was about three years old, and then threw a fit in his room when I moved him there for choosing to disobey me. Again I held firm, and he spent time in his room calming down. When he came out, he put his little arms around my neck and told me he was sorry. I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him too.

I need to be honest. During this time, my husband and I were not always walking with God. When my son was in kindergarten, I began to feel that I needed God with me if I was going to do a decent job as a parent. After a very hard day with my son, I told him we would not go to the lake for my birthday. I had to follow through no matter how much it hurt me to stay home and not celebrate with my family. As the weekend slipped away and my family had cake without me, my heart felt the nudge of God. I knew I needed to go to church. During the church service the pastor said, “If you need to pray, the altar is open, so come forward and present your prayers to the Lord.” In a moment, I was there on my knees with water works flowing from my eyes.

As I asked God to show me how to be a better parent, I heard the sweet sound of my little boy’s voice. When I opened my eyes, there kneeling next to me was my son. His little hands were folded and he was asking God to show him how to be a better boy to his mom and help him mind. It was one of the most special moments of my life. There we knelt side by side, asking God to help us. I needed my son to mind me and he knew he needed to listen to both his parents. It was God that would help us do that.

Maybe I am going out on a limb here, but I would like to believe that all parents expect their children to obey them. I have never heard anyone say, “I am okay with my kids not doing what I tell them to do.” Today I want to step back a little and look at Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents” from the perspective of a child. If we, as parents, expect our children to obey us then what kind of message are we sending them when we choose to obey or not obey the commands of our Heavenly Father?

If it is pleasing to a parent when their child obeys them then how much more pleasing is it to God when we choose to obey Him? God gives us instructions, guidelines, rules, or whatever words you would like to call His commands, because He loves us. God is not a mean and domineering father. Just like we put rules in place to protect our children, God does the same for us. Our children learn by watching us. Are you setting a good example for your child in how you obey your Heavenly Father? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Do you pick and choose the commands you want to follow and ignore the ones you don’t like? “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) As a parent, would you be happy if your children picked only some of what you instructed them to do and then ignored the rest?

If you asked your children, “Do you see me as obedient to my Heavenly Father, God?” Would they answer “Yes” or tell you that you need to go to your room for a time-out and get it straight with Him?

That day when I knelt beside my son I began to see that not only do my children need to obey their father but I, too, need to obey my Heavenly Father. As parents, we need to lead by example.

 

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Act 2 “Preachin’it and Teachin’ it”, Episode 6

59020_4508193394536_906363613_nToday we finish episode 6 with Act 2 of Teachin’ and Preachin’.  If you did not get yesterdays post you can use this link to Act 1.

Pastor Karli’s story about listening to God is a beautiful testimony but, before we get to that let me first set the stage and get you acquainted with our next Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom. She is a mother of 3. She has 2 boys; one who is graduating from College and another who is a junior in College. The youngest is her daughter, a senior in High School. This June she will celebrate 25 years of marriage to her wonderful husband.

Karli spends many hours each week as the Kitchen Coordinator at her daughter’s high school and after that job is done, she puts her dual degree from Eastern Washington University in Microbiology and Medical Technology to use as biology and chemistry tutor

Both Karli and Dawn (see Act 1) have very powerful testimonies and I wish I had more time to tell them. Sadly, you get the summarized version of both these incredible ladies.

Karli was involved with a local deaf church where she taught, and preached to the deaf. She has participated in a mission trip to Dominican Republic to assist in the establishing of a deaf school and a new deaf church there. At her present church she was a Missionette leader, worship team member, and currently an adult Sunday school teacher.

I asked her when she knew that she was to become a pastor and Karli shared with me that is has been a journey to this place…

“A journey of many ups and downs, many experiences. Questioning and lots of time before God in prayer brought me to the place to answer this call. A pastor, whom I respect as a friend, mentor, as well as a spiritual father, saw something and encouraged me to continue throughout the years.  While my children were in high school, a stirring began in my heart that told me that it was time to pursue the answering of the call. I attended our church bible institute and completed it in 2 1/2 years. Recently, I have completed the credentialing process and am now a licensed minister through the Assemblies of God.”

Karli is not the head pastor at her church but she is in a supportive role to her pastor. She told me that she would step in and assist him in whatever needed to be done as The Lord leads and she currently teaching the adults Sunday class and occasionally Wednesday Night as needed. On Monday nights this real housewife of God’s Kingdom blesses our bible study with her love for the Lord.

Besides being a Pastor, Mom, Wife, Tutor, and running the kitchen at the school, Karli finds time to read, decorate cakes, do some one on one mentoring and she loves sports. Sounds like a lot of moms’ right? Things are not always what they appear to be however, Karli also has a 75% hearing loss in left ear and 80% loss in right ear. It was caused by rubella in her mother’s first trimester of her pregnancy. This was discovered after her family moved back to the states from Chile. Karli would then attended an oral deaf school where she received daily intense speech therapy. “Lip reading came naturally to me during this time” she said.  In 1973, Karli was mainstreamed into the public school system where her speech improved so much that people couldn’t tell that she is hearing impaired.  I can attest to that. I was blown away when I realized this. I still have to remember to look at Karli when we talk because she can so easily appear to have no hearing issues and I am gently reminded when she give me the signal to look at her.

Today I am going to wrap this up differently than I have done my other episodes. Today I want Karli’s powerful words to be the last thing you read. I hope to see you back next month on the Real housewives of God’s Kingdom and I leave you with this…..

I asked Karli to give me her favorite verse and she could not nail it down to just one. She says, “There are many favorite verses that I have and each one applied to each season or time in my life”.  For this however she choose Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn, to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

“You see, I have been deaf since birth.  God has blessed me with residual hearing that with hearing aids, I 4561_1068094313910_7828890_nam able to hear most of everything.  My eyes do most of the listening for me through lip-reading”.

A young man once asked me, “If you’re deaf, how can you hear God’s voice?”

“I told him that there are no barriers when it comes to hearing His voice.  God speaks to us through the ears of our heart.  His voice is gentle, compassionate, loving.  He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.  He will speak to us when we come to Him anytime, anywhere. Just come as a child.  He will not force His way to get you to hear Him. He patiently and eagerly waits for us to come to Him.  It is when we listen closely to His voice and obey Him; we grow in our relationship with Him.  I may have a physical hearing loss; I can hear Him by His Spirit within me.  As we listen more and more, his voice becomes unmistakably clear and able to resist the enemy. Let nothing stop you from spending time in His presence and listening to Him.  He wants this so desperately. He is waiting.  Won’t you go and ask Him to speak to you and help you to hear for Him at all times. A treasure is waiting to be opened.”  Pursue Him! Hear Him! He loves you!

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Three Gifts

 By Cassie’s Corner

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Yesterday, my husband and our family decorated for Christmas; the tree, the lights, the garland, and all the trimmings. Our children loved the way the house looked and have not stopped talking about how beautiful the tree is in front of our large living room window. My son, who is 3, walked out of his bedroom just before bed and exclaimed, “Mommy, thatʼs the most wonderful tree Ever!” I loved his enthusiasm and excitement. My daughter, who is 7, agreeing with her brother that the tree was beautiful, reminded him that Christmas wasnʼt about the tree or Santa Claus. She proclaimed, “Christmas, is Jesusʼ Birthday!” Then, as they stood together looking at the tree, I heard them say in unison, the most amazing statement, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” They giggled, then laughed, leading them to pure joy in telling Jesus, Happy Birthday.

Christmas TreeOur simple five foot artificial Christmas tree brought true bliss to my children, without a present underneath it. So often, we as parents think, the more we put under our tree, the more excited our children will be with their “Christmas Morning” discoveries. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, how her family does Christmas; three presents for each child. She wrote, “Jesus only got 3 gifts and he survived, Iʼm sure my kids will too.” I loved everything about this statement, then, yesterday as I watched and listened to my children regarding the celebration of Jesusʼ birthday; my husband and I made a decision, this would be our tradition too.

Matthew 2:10-11 states, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (NKJV)

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season and for every season of life. Regardless, of our ability to put one or three or a dozen presents under the Christmas tree; Jesus only received three presents and he was blessed. This year, I encourage every person who reads this to remember three precious, treasured gifts, that God has given them and pass the same along to those whom they hold dearest.

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

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