Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Power of a Mom's Words

Recently, I have been reminded of the power my words have over our girls. I know that their daddy's words speak to them too, trust me, I see their eyes light up when he speaks words of encouragement or their shoulders droop when he is lovingly correcting them. They have a desire to hear him tell them they have done well and they are his pretty girls. But the power of a mom's words speak to the heart of a child in a different ways.

 What words did your mom speak into you that made you who you are today? Were they words of encouragement? Words that make you cringe? What kind of words do you speak into your child's life now? Are they encouraging words or do they tear that child down?

 I have witnessed or heard of way too many moms using the power of their words to control their child or tear them down in order for the mom to feel better. It saddens me to see or hear of a mom taking out her frustration on her children. Now, don't get me wrong, we all snap and are a bit snarkier with our kids from time to time. And for that we apologize as we should. I am talking about the situations where the only positive words that child hears comes from someone outside the home. Do we realize what that does to a child? If their own mom can not find something worth praising, then there must be something wrong with what goes through their head I am sure! As a praise junky, I know even now what happens to my heart when I hear my mom tell me she likes what she sees me doing or who I have become. The reverse is true as well, if I have let her down or made her angry, her words of disappointment cut me to the core of who I am. I am over 40 and my mom's words still have that kind of power in my life. Imagine what a 8 year old kiddo must feel if mom never praises her/him. Think of what they must feel as they go off to can they perform their best when the one person who should believe in them most has no faith in them?

 I challenge all of us to use our words to our children wisely. Speak truth into them, correct them when needed, but most of all love on them through the words you choose so you can witness God's plan for that child rise up and shine. Don't smother them with false truths, don't cover them with sappy words....speak words of power, words of truth, words that live on in their mind as they become what God created them to be. I still hear my mom's voice in my head when I go to do certain things and I am sure you are the same. Our decision now is what tone will that voice be in our child's head and what words will they hear you saying over and over? I know for me, I want my girls to hear my voice telling them over and over how precious they are to God and us, how they can do anything God wants them to and they set their mind on, that they are strong women of God who are made for more than whatever the trial they go through. I want them to find Him and His comfort through my what do I need to change now to make that be a reality? Hmmmm......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reply to Where My Parents Went Wrong Question

After much thought and prayer, this question, "where do you think your parents failed" is not so easy to answer. Let me say this right off, I adore my parents. They are two of the most lovely people I know. They have shown me not only an amazing love for the Lord but also an amazing gift of strong marriage my entire life. When I stop to consider what they did as we were growing up, I am so in awe of how they went back to school with three kids and got their masters. I just struggle in doing school with my kids let alone for me! I love the special times we had together camping, swimming, with them as our youth group leaders. All of that and so much more, molded me into who I am today. With that said, I do not believe my parents failed at all. They did the job God had them to do and did it well. I feel I failed as a teen. I chose rebellion. I chose to be sneaky. I chose to lie. I chose to chase after things I knew would leave me feeling empty. I will not pass off my stepping away from the faith onto my parents. That is so wrong in my eyes. What I chose to do is my own sin nature and not their lack of parenting, in my opinion.

Now, are there things they would do differently if they were to do it again? Absolutely! I know my mom has said that there are things they know now that if they knew then would have changed what they did. I feel the same way. One example would be in the area of understanding protecting my heart for my husband. I thought that meant sexual purity but emotional purity is just as important. Guarding our hearts is not just about saying no to sex. Having a plan and action steps to take in protecting your heart as a teen is vital. I know we discuss this with our girls often. How do you handle foul language around you? bad movies? inappropriate talk? etc. Knowing what you will do in these situations helps kids be successful. Talking about it is the best defense.

 I regret that I did not heed instruction of my parents but in no way do I feel they failed with passing along the information they had at the time. I feel I needed to sink in this area so I could lead up the young women God has in my home now and share it with my nieces and sweet friends girls as well. God will use what you go through to strengthen you so He can use you to strengthen others. So now, I am passionate about young girls guarding their hearts for God's plan. Don't allow a sweet word, kind gesture, cute face to cause you to let your guard down and have regrets later. I can assure you it is not worth it. God's plan is so much better and the rewards are amazing! :) You are worth more than a teen fling! Guard your hearts girls!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Locket~ What Our Girls Need

It never ceases to amaze me how God brings things into my life at the exact moment I need to hear it or view it. Just when I struggle to get across what my heart was screaming in protecting our girls hearts, He leads me to this video from a dear friend. Please take time to watch this if you have girls. Truly a blessing and I am forever grateful my man already has the same kind of relationship with his girls. God is so good!
The Locket from Vicki Courtney on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Protecting Their Hearts

Recently, it seems I keep coming into conversations or am asked my opinion on some boy/girl situation with young teens. Who is asking...the mom of the girl usually. I have to say, as a mom of two girls, one 14 and one 11, I don't get what some of these moms are talking about at all. They describe times of long trips together, overnighters,spending holidays together,  encouraging this couple to be together as much as possible and all the while there is mom snapping photos to display proudly. It gets me thinking....who is really living out this it the young teen girl or is mom living vicariously through this little girl?

This is a hot button for me and I will apologize now to any who are offended by my words for this is not intended to be directed at any specific person but a mindset of my generation of moms. So, if you are offended, stop reading now because I am sure my next words will really honk you off. Sorry, but I feel very passionately about our job as moms to protect our girls hearts. That does not mean to keep them in a bubble. Absolutely not! They are only young once and the future holds lots of opportunities to decide what kind of MAN they want to live life with or spend time with but at 14/15, there is no way they are comfortable in their own skin enough to jump into a serious relationship and come out unchanged and unharmed. I see it happen over an over again....The girl starts liking what he likes. She starts wondering what she should wear to make him happy. She starts or stops saying certain things because he doesn't like it.She does her make up or hair a certain way. She wakes thinking of him and goes to sleep thinking of him.  Come on! At 14/15 the only one she should be trying to please is God!

Why is this such a hot button for me? Because I did not heed my parents instructions as a teen. I did go crazy over guys and I changed who I was depending on who I was with. I became what they wanted me to become and I regret that. I hurt friends over a guy. I chose a guy over God most of my teen years. I became dependent on a guy in my life to feel complete. I lost Jane Ann. As I hate that I chose man over God as a teen and I want to protect my girls from making that same choice. I think the world wants us to be believe that having a boyfriend/girlfriend at 13 is normal. That there is no harm done. I think if you ask most women about their past heartaches, they would say something different. Why give so much of yourself to this teenage boy when God will never leave you nor forsake you? Why spend so much time getting to know this boy instead of pouring yourself into getting to know who God made you to be and what He wants of you? Why not get to know your passions and your strengths before you step out to share a life with a guy? When the time is right, when God has your heart where He wants it, He will lead you to meet someone special. Until then, why not focus on Him?

I tell my girls,  Jesus should be the love of her life. The only opinion that matters truly is his. Learning to hear is voice is what will get you through everything in life. So if I want them to learn that, why would I allow hormones to take over and risk losing who God intended her to become by jumping into relationships too soon? As their moms, it is our job to step in and slow things down to help guard their hearts. Yes, it is normal and healthy to find someone attractive or special. Yes, it is normal and healthy to want to spend time with them. Where our generation has crossed the line is in this need to push them together and almost treat them as if they were married before they are even out of 9th grade! They are still our girls and we need to make sure we are doing our job as parents and not trying to be their friends yet. That is a gift of doing the parenting thing well. For now, we are to make healthy boundaries and listen to all that God is doing in their lives while encouraging them to become that young woman God has in store for them. We are not to be dressing them to please this boy, encouraging her to do her hair a certain way or act a certain way to get more attention. It feels as if some moms are trying to sell their daughters off instead of protect the for the one they will marry. So, I will step off my soapbox now and trust me, I could say more. Please, if this struck a nerve with you, ask yourself why? Is it because you agree with me or is it because you need to make some changes in your thinking or do you just think I am nuts? Whatever the reason, at least it gives us all  something to think about.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fearsome Foursome

The Fearsome Foursome at the lake house 2011

Driving away from my girls today, as I dropped them off at their cousins, I could not stop thinking what a true gift it is as a child to have so many cousins who enjoy each other and want to spend time together. My girls are blessed to have 8 cousins (6 on my side and 2 on Matt's) who they love to get to see during any break from school. This time, it is with Matt's side. These four truly just want to be together as often as they can and giggle most the time they spend together. 

                                        Secret Agents...or something you
                                                       should fear....I think!

 Due to the fact Matt's sister lives further away, they don't always get to see each other but I am thrilled they asked the girls to come up for some time with their family before we start back to school. It is so nice to watch the kids running to give hugs when they see each other and sharing whatever is new in their world via text or facebook as well as in person. These four do some of the silliest things when together, sock wrestling, blind makeovers, play murder in the dark often! They just like being together....and I love sitting back and soaking it all in....and laughing my head off at some of their antics! Love you all! :)  
                                                     And again on vacation this
                                                          summer....way too fun!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taming the Techno Bug

It's official...we have a bug floating through our home. We all have manage to catch it this season. As hard as we try, there are times a bug just gets hold of you and takes you down. This time, it is not the flu bug, instead it is the technology bug! That one is even harder to get rid of at times. With the purchase of new technology toys for Christmas, our entire family starts feeling the pull to those items. Of course, we can say some of the toys encourage play together and I do agree. However, I feel the bug has started to take over our lives and we all need a good detox from some of it. Between phones, iPods, tv , laptops, Wii, etc, we spend so much of out time with "things" I begin to wonder how I can break this pull. It is very helpful to know we are not alone in this struggle. We have many friends whose children can not take their faces away from the screens long enough to interact with family or friends. Since this is true in our home at times, me being just as guilty at times, I start wondering what can I do to break some of the pull to these things and instead have that pull be towards family and ultimately time with God or serving Him?

That question is one that I think is easier to ask than to solve. One thing I know I say often to my girls is that when that thing you are playing with becomes more important to you than your sibling/ is gone. Our mission as a family is to be a light to the world and attract others for Christ, if that is true, we must be with people to do so. We can't be a light if our face is in a laptop all day long. We also desire to rid ourselves of any false idols in our life, including electronics.  If it has become an idol, meaning you can't stop thinking about getting to play it or use it long enough to spend an evening with family or you talk about it non-stop when you are with others, then you need to give yourself a "time out" so to speak and not use it for a set amount of days.

 I have to say that when Doodle got her iPod Touch last year, she was very good at monitoring when it got out of control. She would set up times where she would only play it on weekends for a bit. It helped her reign in that ugly beast. Whether it be the technology or toy beast, the one thing I  have always said to my girls is that people are always more important than things and if we ever have anyone in our home who leaves feeling differently, we need to adjust our focus. So, with that focus, there will be less facebook for me, less Wii games and playing games on the computer for a bit as I get it all under control a bit more. I would much rather spend my days playing scrabble with my girls in person than with a stranger online anyway! :) And what about you? Your family? Are there any of you that need to have a little taming of the techno bug as well? It is not easy but it is so worth it  as I see that with each step of becoming more disciplined in this area, our faith grows and our family gets closer. A huge bonus!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gentleness Challenge

One of my favorite blogs to follow is WomenLivingWell. The challenges given during the year are amazing in building your marriage, digging deeper in God's Word as a woman, mom and wife, as well as yummy recipes. This week, she has thrown out a  challenge for January. The challenge is called the Gentleness Challenge and is set up to start this year off with being more gentle with our children in our speech and our actions/attitudes. Wow! When I saw this, I thought, has she been listening in to our house? ha! 

Truly, before our break from school, I had hit a place in parenting that was not pleasant. My girls were not responding to me as they usually do and I was just tired. I started snapping more than I usually do and next thing you know, it becomes second nature. Boo! So, I am jumping on this challenge and going to make every effort to be intentional with my words and tones with my girls. I want them to not only hear God's Words spoken in our home but feel the heart that goes with it. The only way they will soak that up is if what I am speaking about is what they are hearing and seeing through me daily. Ouch! So, question is, are you up for a challenge with me? 

New Year....New Start

Wow!! It has been way too long since I have sat down to write on my blog. Recently,  I had to really do some thinking about why I write and what is the purpose of the blog after someone questioned an earlier post. So, with much thought and prayer, I have decided that I know the answer now... I write my blog for many reasons, the main one is that I enjoy it! I love getting my thoughts down and seeing how God is using whatever is going on in my life to stretch me. When I journal that through my blog, I see His hand in all situations. It is amazing. Secondly, it is a gift to my insight into their momma. While they don't really read my blog now, one day they might. They can have access to these words written as they were growing up and know just what my heart was feeling as they experienced different phases of life. I think the prayers of a mom passed on to her kids is a good enough reason. Lastly, if my thoughts on the life experiences God has walked me through so far will help one other woman in a similar situation, than it is well worth it. So, with a new year and a fresh new look to my blog, I am excited to get back to doing what I love and seeing where God takes me on this journey this year. Hope you will follow along as we learn together!
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