Saturday, May 26, 2012
Two days ago, I had a conversation with a loved one that brought me to tears. I know that this person loves me and wants whats best for me, but I am trusting that God, who loves me more, knows what is best for me...even when I don't understand it.
How do you explain something you scarcely understand yourself?
I did not set out to homeschool my children...but God called me to it.
I was not convinced to do these things, I was (and am) convicted. My obedience to the LORD and his will for me is paramount to all other "reasoning", and my heart's desire is to please the LORD.
I love to pick apart words and better understand their meaning. Here is what stuck out to me today:
I was not "strong-armed" into any of these things. My Loving Father brought me to them, firmly and gently, and he lovingly showed me His plan for me. He has promised to love me always, be with me always, guide me and give me wisdom. The declaration of His love for me is all I need. I have all I need in Him alone. I have ALL I need in Him alone. I have all I NEED in Him alone. I have all I need in HIM alone. Yes...Yes, I do.
No amount of "proof" or "evidence", no amount of arguing or reasoning, can convince me that I should ignore what God has called me to. Anything other than total submission to His will for me is disobedience. No matter how hard. No matter the challenge. No matter the impossibility. I know that whatever God has called me to, He will equip me for the days ahead.
I will press into Him alone...my constant companion.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
And I will allow Him to produce His Will in my life.
All to the glory of God alone.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Dearest Mothers of Sons,
Today concludes our 21 day prayer challenge. I’m so thankful for this time of dedicated prayer for my sons. I hope you have been blessed as well.
As you pray for your sons today, pray and ask God to give you at least three specific things that you can pray every day for your sons as a result of this study. Also, I would love to hear how this prayer challenge went for you and if there is any way I can continue to pray for you.
DAY 21 ACTION STEPS
READ | Read through “The Power of Forgiveness” (pg. 42-43) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Honesty (pg. 44) and the 10 Prayers on Humility (pg. 45) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | As we wrap things up, please take a moment to share how this prayer challenge has impacted your heart and the hearts of your warriors! What prayer topic hit home the hardest or where did you see God’s hand move in your home? We love to hear how He is working in the lives of our sisters! Blessings, Dear Ones.
Day Twenty-One – Humility
Encouragement from Brooke
It's day twenty-one.
The LAST day of your prayer challenge. Are you a mixture of relieved and sad all at the same time? What an accomplishment! (What an amazing amount of work!) If you're finishing today you deserve a pat on the back! Think of all the work that has been done on behalf of your sons! Congrats mom!
You might've noticed that there are actually twenty-two prayers in the Warrior Prayers eBook. I chose humility as our last day's topic because it is such an amazing posture of the heart. Scripture just seems to scream God's favor over those who are humble in heart.
• James 4:10 says that if we're humble before the Lord, He will lift us up.
• 1 Peter 5:6 says that if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God He will exalt us.
• Most importantly, in Psalm 149:4 we find that it is the humble who are adorned with salvation.
Do you see that? A humble heart is required for salvation. Just as Jesus humbled Himself unto the cross, we must admit that we're sinners, admit that our own way isn't the right way, and humbly ask for forgiveness before salvation comes.
Do you show humility before your sons? Do you always have to be right? Always have to win? Pray and ask the Lord for specific ways you can show humility today so that when the time comes, your sons will know how to show it too.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." ~Ephesians 4:2
May__________humble himself before the Lord, and be exalted (James 4:10).
May__________humble himself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt him (1 Peter 5:6).
May God give grace to__________as he humbles himself (James 4:6).
If__________who is called by My Name humbles himself, and prays and seeks My Face and turns from his wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive this sin and heal his land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Lord, lead the humble in what is right, and teach__________Your way (Psalm 25:9).
May__________have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8).
May__________take God’s yoke upon him, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart, and__________will find rest for his soul (Matthew 11:29).
May the LORD take pleasure in__________, and adorn the humble with salvation (Psalm 149:4).
May__________have all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with others in love (Ephesians 4:2).
May__________be subject to the elders. May he clothe himself with humility toward others, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Today, Day 20, we pray for our sons’ Salvation. Nothing matters more than this! No matter the age of your sons, they are in need of a saving relationship with Jesus. I join you in prayer today, praying for your sons and mine, and I am lifting you up as well.
DAY 20 ACTION STEPS
READ | If you haven’t already, read through “When Hearts Soften” (pg. 38-39) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Salvation (pg. 41) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | We have many mamas in our prayer challenge community who are praying for the salvation of their sons – young and grown. If you have a son in need of a saving relationship with Jesus, leave a comment with your prayer, we’ll join you today! If your sons are followers of Christ, take a moment and leave a comment to pray for someone else who is asking God to capture the heart of their son!
Encouragement from Brooke
There is NOTHING my heart yearns for more than my sons' salvations. To quote from the eBook:
"Day after day you will parent, intentionally seeking the heart of your son. But until the King of kings and Lord of lords turns his heart of stone to a heart of flesh, your son's actions will be motivated by what is pleasing to him, rather than what is pleasing to the Lord." p. 15Everything hinges on this. Oh, we can pray for protection, good friends and influences and positive, fruit-bearing experiences for our sons along the way. But until their hearts submit to Jesus they will continue to choose themselves and their own way.
Elyse Fitzpatrick, in her book entitled, Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus, says “There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said: parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church.”
Take a moment today to look long and hard at your parenting. Is it Gospel-centered, or have you allowed the world's “stinking thinking” to creep into your home?
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved."
May__________be saved by grace through faith. Not of his own doing; but the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
May__________believe in the God who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Timothy 1:9).
May__________fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for him today (Exodus 14:13).
May the LORD be__________'s light and his salvation; whom shall he fear? May the LORD be the stronghold of his life; of whom shall he be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).
May__________take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
May__________work out his own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
May__________be guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5).
Lord, make Your face shine on__________; save him in Your steadfast love (Psalm 31:16).
Lord, save__________to the uttermost as he draws near to God through Christ (Hebrews 7:25).
Saturday, May 19, 2012
DAY 19 ACTION STEPS
READ | Read through “When Hearts Soften” (pg. 38-39) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Anger (pg. 40) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | We’ve all been there. Anger is common to all. Share your best tips for keeping your cool when those guys grate on your last nerve!
Day Nineteen – Anger
Encouragement from Brooke
So much of the Christian life is a choice. Every day (multiple times a day) we’re presented with a choice to choose God or choose ourselves. Anger is a perfect example.
You can just feel it coming, can’t you? Anger is an almost total body experience. Muscles get tight. Temples throb. Jaw clenches. Explosion feels imminent … wooing us into believing we have no choice but to react.
But it’s not true.
We almost always have a choice when it comes to anger. We can choose to embrace it and sin. Or choose to put it away, and instead choose kindness, self-control, compassion, and love.
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."
May all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from __________, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:31).
May__________ put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from his mouth (Colossians 3:8).
May__________ give a soft answer, which turns away wrath, and avoid harsh words which stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1).
May__________ not be quick in his spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
May__________ never avenge himself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19).
May__________ know that God Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).
May__________ make peace, and so have a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18).
And let the peace of Christ rule in __________'s heart, to which indeed he was called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15).
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard __________'s heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
May__________turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11).
Friday, May 18, 2012
DAY 18 ACTION STEPS
READ | If you haven’t already, read through “The Fruit of the Spirit” (pg. 27-28) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Self Control (pg. 37) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | Self-Control isn’t always an easy character trait for our wild, life-loving boys to grasp and hold onto – share some tips/encouragement for others in how you handle this in your home! Any struggle you care to share and ask for some help! We’ve got a great community here to bless and encourage each other!
Encouragement from Brooke
What's on the throne of your son's heart? I recently spoke at a small local women’s conference on the topic of finding balance in our physical and spiritual lives. Admittedly, this is an area I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’m an emotional eater, and my weight has fluctuated over the years to prove it.
I used to think that could control it by counting calories, or walking four miles a day (yes, I used to do that). I’ve tried portion control, diet pills and running, but nothing sticks. Know why? Because I love food. I turn to it for comfort, fulfillment and joy. And until I dethrone it from Christ’s rightful place in my heart, I will continue to struggle.
It’s idol-worship, plain and simple (ouch).
Food may not be the area of self-control with which your son struggles. Maybe he has video games, sports, sex, or money on the throne of his heart. The key to overcoming our tendencies toward worshipping something other than Christ is to choose to love Him more than we love our sin. A constant laying down of our desires and picking up of Christ is the only fix.
I wrote an article once on the topic of loving Him more …
It was a hot summer night, and I sat on my bed in a heaping culmination of all I'd been taught. A moment of rare heart understanding as I realized that life with Christ was not about what I could or could not do, but about loving Him more than I loved my sin.
Loving Him more.
Anything that separates me from God is sin and anything good can be made sin if I love it more than I love Him. And now twelve years later I'm still choosing.
I love Him. I love Him less than looking my best. I love Him. I love Him less than yelling at my kids. I love Him. I love Him less than getting even with my husband. I love Him. I love Him less than having a published book. I love Him. I love Him less than time to myself. I love Him. I love Him less than a stomach painfully full of my favorite meal. I love Him. I love Him less than getting my own way.
I love Him.
I love Him less.
Every time I love Him less I love something else more.
But He loves me. He loves me always.
In the moment of choice this knowing of His steadfast, never-ending love is what gives me strength. This knowing of His great sacrifice for me … and for you. This knowing of the lengths He would go to love me more.
More than I deserve.
More than I can comprehend.
More than the power of Hell can stand against.
Just CHOOSE to obey? Sigh. There's that word again.
The choice to love Him more begins from the beginning … hearts made to worship Him … choose Him. Hearts that left to themselves will choose our own way every time.
How many times have I chosen my own way when I knew the consequences? How many times have I forfeited the sweet, peaceful blessings of obedience in order to stamp my feet, cross my arms, dig in my stubborn three year-old-like heels and have my own way?
And this from a woman who has tasted the goodness of God in the land of the living!
How can I expect my little ones to choose the good all the time when their own mama, a Jesus-follower for over 20 years, still gets it wrong?
And more grace.
and choosing to love Him more.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God."
~1 Corinthians 10:31
May__________know that he is God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in him (1 Corinthians 3:16).
May__________not let sin therefore reign in his mortal body, to make him obey its passions. May he not present his members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present himself to God as one who has
been brought from death to life, and his members to God as instruments for righteousness (Romans 6:12-13).
May__________present his body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is his spiritual worship. May he not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of his mind, that by testing
he may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).
May__________discipline his body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others he himself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Whether__________eats or drinks, or whatever he does, may he do it all to the glory of God (Ephesians 5:15).
Let not__________'s heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day (Proverbs 23:17)
Remove far from__________falsehood and lying; give him neither poverty nor riches; feed him with the food that is needful for him (Proverbs 30:8).
Let the words of__________mouth and the meditation of his heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, his Rock and his Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
May__________have a tranquil heart that gives life to the flesh (Proverbs 14:30).
May__________be wise in doing right and stay innocent of any wrong (Romans 16:19).
Thursday, May 17, 2012
|And yes, he did go down that |
Black Diamond run...multiple times!
DAY 17 ACTION STEPS
READ | If you haven’t already, read through “The Fruit of the Spirit” (pg. 27-28) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Gentleness (pg. 36) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | For most of us, our boys are anything but gentle. They are rough and tumble balls of energy! What are some ways we can encourage gentleness in their interactions?
Encouragement from Brooke
Aggression in men is commonplace. It may not manifest itself the same way for all of them, but it’s there nonetheless. For the physical boys, it shows up in their need to be on the top of the wrestling pile. For the
intellectuals, it shows up in their need to score the highest on the exam or be at the top of the class. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aggression. I don’t want to break my sons of their aggressive streak and I’m learning not to be afraid of it. But I do want to teach them how and when to use it. I’m beginning to think that gentleness is more of an approach to life than a specific characteristic to develop.
Since they were born, we’ve whispered these words into our sons’ ears:
God made men to protect women and care for them. God made you a big brother! Your job is to protect your little brother, not hurt him. There’s a time to play and a time to listen. If you can’t listen, you have to feel (true in so many aspects of life). God wants you to use your strength to protect, not to hurt. Superhero’s don’t look for fights, but they will fight to protect others. It’s OK to want to be the best, but the best people in life are the ones who serve others. A gentle word turns away wrath …
For Day Seventeen, pray the ten prayers for Gentleness in the Fruit of the Spirit chapter. Consider this thought:
Helping our sons to define and set parameters for their aggression can help develop a worldview of gentleness.
May__________know that a gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
May__________take God’s yoke upon Him, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart, then__________will find rest for his soul (Matthew 11:29).
May__________be completely humble and gentle; patient, bearing with others in love (Ephesians 4:2).
May__________be gentle, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
May__________not be a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money (1 Timothy 3:3).
May__________pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
May__________correct his opponents with gentleness that God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).
May__________speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy toward all people (Titus 3:2).
May__________have wisdom from above that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:17).
May__________honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks him for a reason for the hope that is in him; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Today, commit to praying the ten prayers in the faithfulness chapter. Ponder this quote from Paul E. Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World:
DAY 16 ACTION STEPS
READ | If you haven’t already, read through “The Fruit of the Spirit” (pg. 27-28) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Faithfulness (pg. 35) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | Let’s spend some time encouraging each other today – take some time to share a few things for which you or your family need prayer. Then, take a few minutes and read through the comments of others and their prayer requests while lifting them up to the Father. Leave a note of encouragement on their post letting them know you prayed and ask God to help us all be faithful to this great calling and responsibility He has given us!
I could talk about how many men struggle to be faithful to their wives. I could talk about how some men get tossed about for most of their lives, never really knowing who they are or what they believe. I could
talk about how some of the young men I see today don't know how to hold down a job, or provide for their families, or how to be a good and faithful husband and father. But really, what I want to talk about … what
I want to pray about today … is that our sons would be faithful to God.
Doesn't this one prayer bring with it the solution to everything else we could talk about? A man whose first love is Jesus, will be faithful in all of the areas above. He won't be perfect, but he will possess the ability to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be faithful. It is something worth praying for.
May__________fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness (Joshua 24:14).
May__________fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all his heart, considering what great things He has done for him (1 Samuel 12:24).
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness for__________as he keeps His covenant and His testimonies (Psalm 25:10).
May God’s steadfast love be before__________'s eyes, as he walks in His faithfulness (Psalm 26:3).
May__________trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness (Psalm 37:3).
May the Lord never remove from__________His steadfast love or be false to His faithfulness (Psalm 89:33).
May the Lord cover__________with His pinions, and under His wings may he find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckle to__________(Psalm 91:4).
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake__________; may he bind them around his neck; write them on the tablet of his heart (Proverbs 3:3).
May__________call this to mind and therefore have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love he is not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.
May__________say to himself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24).
No temptation has overtaken__________that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let him be tempted beyond his ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that
__________may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I hope that today you are blessed with a double measure of God’s goodness!
DAY 15 ACTION STEPS
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Goodness (pg. 34) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | Look through the three questions that Brooke poses above – let’s work through some of these together! Pick the one that speaks to you the most and share your thoughts!
Encouragement from Brooke (Originally posted at the M.O.B. Society)
What are you aiming for? When your boys disobey, disrespect, are unkind. When they seek to understand what's important. When they notice girls, cheat in school or fight on the bus. When they're seeking marriage, failing in school or deciding whether to have sex for the first time or not … what are you aiming for?
I want their hearts. No behavior modification or fad parenting of the day. No, I want the hearts of our boys, because God wants the hearts of our boys. I'm aiming for the heart. But how?
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."(Matthew 23:27-28, ESV)
Looking at parenting through the lens of these verses has changed everything for me. You see I was a Pharisee. Boy was my cup clean on the outside. But on the inside? On the inside my cup was filthy, full of all uncleanness.
I had everybody fooled, even myself. I believed that if I did good things, it made me good. Actually, it's probably closer to the truth to say I believed that if I didn't do bad things, I wasn't bad. I didn't know that no one is good. I didn't really understand that everyone sins. And I didn't understand the depth of my own sin until the Lord showed it to me.
Question: In our efforts to raise our sons are we teaching them that if they do good things they are good?
Righteous even? If we teach them that being good is all it takes, if our discipline and training focuses on their behavior, how will they know they need a Savior?
Are we raising little Pharisees? Or are we raising Godly men with a heart for God? If a Godly son is your goal, you must aim for the heart. Because unless the heart is changed--touched--the behavior will stay the same. It might look a little different, morph some as they grow. But behavior is always a symptom of the state of the heart. What's in the heart, comes out.
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." ~Matthew 12:34
May__________be glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD has shown to his people (1 Kings 8:66).
May goodness and mercy follow__________all the days of his life, and may he dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6).
Remember not the sins of__________'s youth or his transgressions; according to Your steadfast love remember__________, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD (Psalm 25:7).
May__________believe that he shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).
How abundant is Your goodness, which you have stored up for__________and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind (Psalm 31:19).
May__________be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple (Psalm 65:4).
May__________taste the goodness of the word of God (Hebrews 6:5).
It is not good that__________should be alone; Lord, make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18).
May__________do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with him (Deuteronomy 6:18).
May__________go and celebrate because of all the good things the LORD his God has given to him (Deuteronomy 26:11).
Monday, May 14, 2012
DAY 14 ACTION STEPS
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Kindness (pg. 33) using whatever method works best for you! (See DAY ONE for ideas)
COMMENT | We’ve all had those moments that make our heart swell. We catch our warriors in the act of being kind to a sibling, sharing on the playground – something small, something sweet. Share about that moment with us!
Thoughts from Sally Clarkson (Author of The Mission of Motherhood and originally posted on the M.O.B. Society)
When Clay and I moved from California to Texas, I was to take all of my young children from Los Angeles to Dallas by myself. Flying with 3 children alone on several flights for a period of 11 hours, is never easy. But with two boys under 5 years of age, it seemed especially long. My now 22 year old son, Nathan, was a very active, extraverted, little boy. At 18 months, he did not have to pay for a ticket if he sat with me.
However, getting him to sit on my lap through all of the flights proved to be more than I had even imagined.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, I would have to board the plane. Being awakened in such a sleepy state did not go well for him. Then, again, just as he was finally falling asleep after wrestling with me for the whole flight, we landed and started the whole disrupting his sleepiness cycle again.
Finally, we all arrived in Dallas, exhausted, disheveled and totally drained. My mother-in-law picked us up at the airport and suggested we stop by a restaurant before we drove the 2 hours to her house.
Nathan had had all he could take! When we sat down in the restaurant, he laid on the floor and started flailing his arms and screaming and kicking. No one could get near him.
I was frantic and left him on the floor yelling while my mother-in-law stayed with him, and I walked a little bit away from him, pretending to look at some pies in a showcase, so that I could calm down and take a breath away from this little boy that had drained all of my emotional energy and reserve.
An old man was standing next to the counter, looking at Nathan, as everyone else was also doing, and commented, "My goodness, what a walleyed fit! That little boy needs a strong hand!"
That wizened old man at the pastry counter was right. Nathan did need a strong hand. But not the kind he meant. Nathan was exhausted, pushed, out of his nap cycle and with his strong personality, all he knew to do to tell us his limits had been reached, was to fall on the floor and sob.
As I grew older with my loud and active boy, I got wiser. I realized that the more I understood Clay as a man--his need for my respect, for me to be content and thankful for what he provided, that he longed for me to accept his limitations and to love him for who he was--then I grew in my understanding of how to treat my own "men in training"--with respect, affirmation, investing words of life and giving affection.
I gave Nathan (and Joel) the strong hand that they needed to grow up, without feeling guilty or shamed for who and how God had made him. I gave him a strong hand that would make him stronger as a boy, a young man, and eventually as a man.
Seems silly to say, but boys are not girls. They are as mysterious as men, because they are men. But moms are girls, and sometimes that can be a problem. Most boys (not all, but most) will be more active, louder, noisier, less attentive or sensitive, slower to pick up cues, sometimes clueless and just more “boysterous” than most girls. God designed them that way on purpose. Everything about them—physiology, biology, brain function, and testosterone—prepares them for a different role and function in life than girls. But by God’s design, they need to be affirmed in their design by their girl mothers. God has given you a “strong hand” in their lives by way of being their mother.
From personal experience and many years of observation, moms often discipline boys for being boys, instead of understanding that God wants them to grow into strong men.
If we want them to be warriors when they are big, they need to be able to practice being little warriors when they are young. Even as our own husbands want to feel that we are happy and content with what they have provided, so our boys need to know that we are happy to be their moms, and that we are delighted that they are young men in training to accomplish great feats some day.
For my boys, it sometimes meant laughing at silly boy jokes, taking time to listen to them talk or show off--this is the "glory" of man. Honoring their need to provide for me or to have me listen to them, even as very little boys.
That’s not to say they don’t often need to be disciplined and trained when they stray off the path, but it is to say that boys will be boys, and that it's a good thing. My strong hand in my boys’ lives helped shape them into the strong men they have become. Sure they needed a strong corrective hand many times, but I learned that was only one kind of strong hand. They needed a strong hand in even more important ways.
A strong loving hand (acceptance and grace)
When I could see that Nathan's larger than life personality was becoming agitated, I would pull him aside, sit him on my lap, softly tickle his back and find out what was wrong. He loved to talk and when I heard what was going on in his mind, he would obey me, just for having listened. It took more time, but I came to understand this little darling boy and he responded to my patient love.
Both of my boys, Nathan and Joel, melted when I looked at them through a grid of love and chose to respond to the boys that God had made them to be. I sought to understand both boys and to find ways to communicate love to them and acceptance of their unique personalities. Joel loved affection and back rubs and I could really teach him a lot and influence him a lot if I rubbed his back--lots of little boys respond to touch.
Nathan wanted to talk and talk and talk and when I was available to listen or to play, he always became more obedient.
When I understood that in Nathan's and Joel's hearts, that they were not out to thwart me, and that both boys were often in their own little worlds, 9and with "A.D.D." Nate was not even able to respond to my strong demands) I could be more patient. When I was patient and consistent in my training of them, they were willing to respond to me. They really always loved their "mama" so much and had a heart to please me because they knew I was on their team.
I invested words of love, admiration, encouragement and validation of their "boyish" feats, and both of my boys seemed to melt in my hands.
A strong gentle hand (kindness and gentleness)
I noticed that when I treated my boys in a gentle way, with respect and spoke directly to them, at eye level, and touched their little backs or shoulders, they were much more attentive.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath," from Proverbs became the pattern for my speech to my boys. Treating them with gentleness and patience created a desire in them to become civil with me. I was firm and consistent, but honored their desire for kindness.
A strong patient hand (understanding and longsuffering)
Learning not to react to the noise of my boys, but to understand the "glory of man" and their need to show off at times, made me a cheerleader for them, and gave me the right to speak into their lives.
Giving them time to mature took years of patience and practice of self-control for me. I learned to try to see into their hearts and motivations from a boy's point of view before I used harsh words and became frustrated. Even as men want to be respected, so I learned to respect them as little boys who would grow into fine, strong men. And they responded.
I learned that if I trained them before a situation, (“This is the place we need to use our quiet voices. Mommy wants you to be really strong inside today, because we are taking you to a big boy place”) then they were much more likely to behave.
I always took them a little bag of their own, to help them to learn to be quiet and self-controlled. Their bags had Legos, paper airplane sheets, puzzle books, colored pencils, car books, and etc. When I planned to take care of their felt needs, they learned early to behave and to control their behavior.
A strong protective hand (teaching and telling) and (encouraging and affirming)
Constant teaching and instructing gave them a positive self-image of what they would grow into.
We read all the "hero" stories in Scripture and acted them out--David and Goliath; Joseph saving his brothers and father and running away from Potiphar's wife; Moses parting the Red Sea; and etc. "Just think, God has made you a little boy who will grow up to do great things just like these men.”
“God made you such a strong boy. I know you will grow up to help many people.” “You are such a helpful boy. I couldn't carry in all of these heavy groceries without you.”
“God made men to be leaders who would be brave and courageous to help people follow His ways. I can just imagine what kind of man you will be because you are growing so strong inside and you are so helpful to mommy.”
There is so much more to say about this subject, but as I looked to God's design for men and saw the potential of my boys becoming strong, righteous men, I had the heart to become the mother that they needed me to be. One who had great respect for the holiness of manhood, even in the lives of the sweet boys that lived every day in my own home. And I girded my hands with God's strength to support and train them one day at a time.
May__________be kind and compassionate to others, forgiving, just as in Christ God forgave him (Ephesians 4:32).
May__________, as the Lord’s servant, not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil (2 Timothy 2:24).
May__________never repay anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to others and to everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
Let__________'s speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that he may know how he ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:6).
May__________love others with brotherly affection and outdo others in showing honor (Romans 12:10).
May the Lord bless__________and keep him. May the Lord make His face shine upon him and be gracious to him; the Lord turn his face toward him and give him peace (Numbers 6:23-26).
May__________not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).
May__________be kind to others, tenderhearted, forgiving others, as God in Christ forgave Him (Ephesians 4:32).
May__________live in harmony with others; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8).
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the very thing you are praying for suddenly intensifies….in the wrong direction? Here we are, praying daily for the very things that our children need most (PATIENCE!) and what do we find in short supply? PATIENCE! At least in my house…
Can I offer you a bit of encouragement? Stick with it. The battle is not ours and we already know who wins! Allow the LORD to minister to your heart, renewing your strength, and giving you wisdom for the days ahead, knowing that He will provide for your every need.
DAY 13 ACTION STEPS
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Patience (pg. 32) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | For our discussion today, let’s work through some practical ways to instill patience in our own sons. Any tips, resources, experiences, or personal victories in this area that you could share with the other mamas? Do you have a verse to cling to when your patience is wearing thin?
Day Thirteen – Patience
Encouragement from Brooke
I sat across the table from a younger friend of mine and listened to her share her heart and vision for all she wanted to accomplish in Jesus' Name. She was 16, and had decided that living an every day, mundane life wasn't for her. No, she wanted a big life spent for the Lord.
I'm convinced that God cares less about how much I accomplish in life...the "great things" I do in His Name...than He does about how I respond to the things He allows into my life on the daily. Some of the most accomplished in the Kingdom of Christ are those whose names you and I will never know this side of heaven. And greatness is only measured by how well we respond to Christ in the little things. Being patient for what God's plan is and not necessarily pursuing our own dreams.
Paul E. Miller has this to say about greatness in his book entitled A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World:
“Underneath her obedient life is a sense of helplessness. It has become part of her very nature … almost like breathing. Why? Because she is weak. She can feel her restless heart, her tendency to compare herself with others. She is shocked at how jealousy can well up in her. She notices how easily the world gets its hooks into her. In short, she distrusts herself. When she looks at other people, she sees the same struggles. The world, the flesh, and the Devil are too much for her. The result? Her heart cries out to God in prayer. She needs Jesus.”
"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant … " ~Matthew 20:26
Pray the ten prayers for Patience. Ask God to search your heart for any offensive ways in you and ask Him to lead you in the way everlasting. Ask yourself this question: Do you think we're teaching our sons that the "little things" are what matter most?
May__________be an example of suffering and patience (James 5:10).
May__________be strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:11).
May__________prove himself by his purity, understanding, patience, kindness, by the Holy Spirit within him, and by His sincere love (2 Corinthians 6:6).
May__________preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2).
May__________not presume on the riches of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience, knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead him to repentance (Romans 2:4).
May__________put on then, as God’s chosen one, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Colossians 3:12).
May__________be patient, for the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
May__________have good sense making him slow to anger, for it is his glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
May__________make every effort to add to his faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
May__________be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness (Titus 2:2).
Saturday, May 12, 2012
DAY 12 ACTION STEPS
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Peace (pg. 31) using whatever method works best for you!
COMMENT | One of our verses for today is found in 1 Peter 3:11 (“…let him seek peace and pursue it.”) – how does your family prioritize peace (either in how you structure the mood and pace of your home OR how you resolve conflict and division) according to God’s standards?
Day Twelve – Peace
Most of us are actually outnumbered by the males in our households--for me, it’s been five to one! But it’s not just the numbers that bring that sense of being overwhelmed.
For the mom of just one baby boy, a baby’s demands can be overwhelming.
For the mom of a toddler boy, the constant busyness, discovery, and rebellion can wear mom down.
For the mom of a school age son, making sure he’s keeping up with learning and homework can be taxing and worrisome.
For the mom of a middle schooler and teen boy--oh, there’s so much to worry about!
But you’re not the first mom. It’s pretty clear to see we’re in this thing called mothering together. That means others feel--or have felt--that same need for peace.
What can you do to help yourself?
First, find someone to confide in--someone who’s walking your same path, or someone who has walked it before. My biggest support when my boys were small were two boy moms whose sons were a few years ahead of mine. Find someone you can be honest with about the trials of mothering.
If at all possible, step away from the demands--for an hour, for an evening, even for just fifteen minutes. Let someone else hold the baby or chase the toddler for just a bit, and don’t feel guilty. If your son is school age, find a project or lesson that Dad or big brother or someone else can step into in your place, and take a break. Or just step back and give your son a little more responsibility--see if he can handle it. We too often see ourselves as indispensable when our sons can do some things on their own.
You can help yourself by shifting your perspective as he grows. We have to accept that they’re growing and changing, and if we resist that, it just makes everything more difficult. As he grows, do whatever you can to stay close to him. When he hits those middle and teen years, keep him talking. Do the one thing you know he enjoys doing, even if it’s not your favorite. Build a bridge, strengthen the connection between the two of you. Stay close but don’t smother, and love unconditionally. You’re poured a lot into your son. The proof of the pudding comes as he spreads his own wings and tries them. Sometimes he has to take a hit before he realizes it’s “real world time.” Don’t save him every time, or he’ll never be the man he was created to be.
And last--but most importantly--pray for him and for your relationship. Pray for the faith to let go, for confidence in your and his abilities.
The One who made you and loves you is waiting to give help and comfort and peace all along the way. No, He doesn’t take away the pain and the frustration, but He gives us a way to deal with it. When we begin to think about ourselves and our children in His scheme of things, we begin to think big. We see ourselves and our children in His plan and our “today” perspective changes.
What’s important for me to remember?
Motherhood has many demands, but I can’t do everything. In fact, I don’t need to. There’s One who knows better than I do and He’s waiting to catch me and my son when we stumble. He gives me grace to do all I can each day … then His grace provides for all I didn’t get to, as well.
It’s hard to believe anyone loves my son more than I do. But He does.
Knowing that, I can “Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (Psalm 105:3,4)
And I can help myself to peace--from above.
~Isaiah 26:3 (ASV)
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give__________peace at all times in every way (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Peace God leaves with__________; His peace He gives to__________. Not as the world gives does God give. Let not__________'s heart be troubled, neither let him be afraid (John 14:27).
May__________be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage others. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with him (2 Corinthians 13:11).
May__________sow a harvest of righteousness by making peace (James 3:18).
And let the peace of Christ rule in__________'s heart, to which indeed he was called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15).
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to__________(Jude 1:2).
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard__________'s heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
May__________be justified by faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify__________completely, and may his whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Friday, May 11, 2012
DAY 11 ACTION STEPS
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Joy (pg. 30) using whatever method works best for you! (See DAY ONE for ideas)
COMMENT | Sometimes it’s refreshing to take a moment, step back, and bask in joy. Today, let’s do that and share – let’s celebrate the blessings in our lives together! Share something you’re thankful for, a “joy” in your life and don’t forget to join in the conversation with the other moms here!
Encouragement from Brooke, author of Warrior Prayers~ Praying the Word for Boys in the areas they need it most:
What is joy really? And if my strength comes from the joy of the Lord (Psalm 28:7), then what does the joy of the Lord really look like?
As I write these words, I'm struggling with a deep desire to be grumpy and complain. Most days I handle my husband's crazy shift-work schedule pretty well. But today? Well, today I feel like complaining. So how do I find joy and strength from the Lord? Enough to make me "burst out in songs of thanksgiving?"
How do you?
Here's the secret: Focus on Christ. Focus on what He did for you (and for your sons) on the cross. I suspect we Christians have a tendency to misunderstand the phrase, "placing our trust in Christ." Placing our trust in Christ isn't something we did once and never do again. Salvation may be a once and forever event, but trusting in Christ is ongoing. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be important enough to change my grumpiness to gratefulness. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to get me through a rough day with my children. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be enough when I'm enduring tantrums in the grocery store. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross when my sons choose their own will …
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." ~Psalm 28:7
May__________be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
May__________go out in joy and be led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:12)
May the God of hope fill__________with all joy and peace as he trusts in him, so that he may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
May__________go to the altar of God, to God, his joy and his delight (Psalm 43:4).
May__________count it all joy when he meets trials of various kinds, as the testing of his faith produces steadfastness. May he let steadfastness have its full effect, that he may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:1-4).
May__________know that while weeping may tarry for the night, joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
May__________be imitators of us and of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
May the God of hope fill__________with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit he may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
May__________know that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
Thursday, May 10, 2012
|Me & my boys~ EMHE reveal, Summer 2011|
DAY 10 ACTION STEPS
READ | Read through “The Fruit of The Spirit” (pg. 27-28) and work through any (or all) of the Study Questions that enhance your time in this challenge!
PRAY | Work through the 10 prayers on Love (pg. 29) using whatever method works best for you! (See DAY ONE for ideas)
COMMENT | For our discussion today, let’s answer Brooke’s question above about how the term “love” has been watered down in our culture – “How can we begin to make changes in our life and vocabulary to help our sons understand the true meaning of the word [love]?”
Today we take our first step into one of my favorite verses to pray for my sons. I pray it most every day, if not in its entirety, at least in part. If I could only choose one verse to pray for my boys for the rest of their lives this one would be my second choice (behind Ezekiel 36:26), because having a heart full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control just about sums up everything I want for them.
I've thought for years that love can't really be all that it should be apart from God. The Bible says that God IS love. For us mathematicians, using the word "IS" is the same as using the word "EQUALS." In other words,God and love are one and the same. There is no real love apart from God, and God is behind all real and genuine acts of love.
"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." ~1 John 4:8
May our sons love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).
May our sons love one another earnestly from a pure heart (1 Peter 1:22).
May our sons, when they become husbands, love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (Ephesians 5:28).
May the Lord make__________increase and abound in love (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
May__________know that this is love, that we walk according to His commandments (2 John 1:6).
May__________not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18).
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to __________ (Jude 1:2).
May __________ love the LORD his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might (Deuteronomy 6:5).
May__________know that this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).