When Honoring is Hard

For many, it is the most ‘sentimental’ day of the year.  It can be a day of joy or a day of despair or even resentment.  Not all feel blessed by their birth families—not all are blessed.  Many have lost their parents and grieve what was and what might have been.  We live in a broken world.  Pain is part of it.  Honor transcends it!

Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) are great times to celebrate the legacy we each can live.

In honesty, it’s taken me decades to deeply enjoy these days set aside for honor.   The superficiality of Hallmark ‘moments’ don’t blend with the depths of reality I find.  The challenges of close relationships, the pain of loss and the joys of loving are beautiful because of their imperfections.   Maturity allows me to receive both as gifts from God for me to do with as He wills. When I do as He wills, blessings abound!

Shallow sentimentality has nothing to do with the history or reality of honoring our parents.  In less than two decades after Mother’s Day became a holiday Anna Jarvis, the lady who campaigned for the day to be recognized, became so appalled with the commercialization, she begged to have the day removed from the calendar.  Yet, she created a tradition that loves what God loves and longs for us to love too.  Awareness of the shallows may be just the door we need to enter into the depths of honoring the gift of our parents.

Children, and by default, parents, are chosen for us by God.  They are gifts, a heritage—just as we are the Lord’s heritage.  God is so passionate that we recognize our families as such, He included honoring parents in the Law given to Moses and repeated it throughout Scripture.  In fact, it is a law that brings either blessings or curses.  We choose by whether we obey the command to honor–or not.

The Word honor includes the concepts of ‘weight,’ glory, reverence and respect.  In both the New and the Old Testament, it is given as a command that includes the promise of long life.  Honoring our parents is the key to living legacies!  If we want our lives to matter—and I believe everyone does—we must learn to honor our past.

Without honor, the broken-ness of generations simply gets passed down to the next generation.  Those things in our family heritage that do not align with God’s plan are ours to change.  We touch the future when we cover the broken-ness with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Despite the Hallmark view of parenthood, none of us are the superman or woman characterized for Father’s or Mother’s Day.  Neither were the parents of Scripture that God commanded to be honored.  There are no perfect people (except Jesus) to be found in the Scriptures.  The parents we see in the Word had flaws–just like us and just like our parents.  We honor our parents as gifts given by God.  Each of us has the glorious privilege of receiving the good, noble parts of our heritage and giving God thanks.  We have the even greater privilege of receiving the less noble, committing it to the redemption of Christ and rejoicing more deeply at His goodness and transforming power.

IF YOU STRUGGLE to honor a parent who has betrayed you, believe that God does work all things together for the good of those called according to His purposes.  Receiving the imperfections and failures of our parents and covering them with the forgiveness Christ offers is the greatest honor we can give.

Do you remember how Noah’s one son mocked his father’s failures and received a curse?  The other sons averted their eyes and covered their father with a blanket.  Parents err.  As adults we must choose not to gaze on the failures but on the covering of Christ who makes all things new.

Embrace your legacy and pass it on with even more blessings!

Parents as Builders

Integrity is the key to building a solid life that will last for eternity.  The foundation upon which the builder’s life is established is critical.  We can not transfer our foundation to the life of another, but we can live in such a way that our foundation is revealed as trustworthy, valuable and worth imitation.

For parents, living with integrity offers great hope for our children’s future.  The beauty of a life built upon God is revealed only when life is lived fully on the foundation.  We can’t pick and choose when we will live for the glory of God–and expect our children will live wholly for Him.  Nor can we expect our children will make the same choices we make.  Our children are entrusted to us by God–but they are HIS kids.  He loves them more than we do, but He desires for us to live in a way that they will see Him in us.

Every aspect of life-building which we endeavor to establish in the lives of our children must exist in our own lives.  As we pray for our children and seek to direct them, we must bare our hearts before God and ask that He reveal any ways in which we may not be living with integrity.

 Perpetual prayer patterns are a large part of my devotional time; they keep me centered on God’s design.  In the coming weeks we will delve into various prayer patterns we can utilize as we seek to build the lives of our children.

Our children are our heritage; individually we are all God’s heritage.  Living lives of lasting love builds an eternal legacy…and eternal heritage.  As you implement these day-by-day prayer focuses, ask the Lord to reveal your own heart and the specific ways in which these principles can be applied to show your child the value God–and you–place upon them as individuals.  Ask Him, too, to reveal if these are the foundations of your life.

  • Monday – Love for God’s Word; an understanding that the Bible is a guide book not a devotional.
  • Tuesday – Passion for a pure heart centered on God
  • Wednesday – Health and safety in body, soul and spirit
  • Thursday – Value system founded on God’s purposes
  • Friday – Thankful living
  • Saturday – Godly friends
  • Sunday – Growing faith

For a fuller look at these prayer areas, visit Growing Up in Christ.  Contact me if you would like to receive a ‘perpetual prayer list’ on Christian Character traits!

Building a Home

Understanding God’s design for the home is critical because it is what gives our home a solid foundation.  No matter how long we have been married, we need to keep a scriptural view of marriage in the forefront of our mind.

Marriage/Family is:

• A declaration of ‘choosing to love.’ An imitation of God’s creation choice.

• A choice to create a new life—at the expense of self.

• A union created by God; a new life given by Him & sustained by Him

• A mission field, a university of instruction on unity; forum for learning to love unselfishly-unconditionally; forum to learn to build a relationship

• Treasure to be valued, honored and protected

• Intended to produce life—fruit of Godly children (perhaps natural, certainly spiritual children—and produce growth in partners as children of God.)

• Intended to produce the image of Christ’s relationship with the church; two becoming one as we are to be one with Christ as the church is to be united with Christ.

Not intended to fulfill my personal purposes of companionship, pleasure & fulfillment—though those outcomes will result IF my focus is on God’s purposes

Prayer is a necessity:

• Seek scriptures for one another. Wrestle for each other. Colossians 4:12

• Seek to see God’s work and His glory revealed to children. Build a legacy. Psalm 90:16,17

• Triumph is in mercy. Hide in Jesus. James 2:13

• Be confident in God! Hebrews 10:35

 

Families are the foundation of every society…the fabric of the world.  Christian homes are to be a place of nurturing and truth.  Honoring the heritage we have received helps us celebrate both the past and the future.  The Family Heritage Guide is a fun family activity.  Interview elder family members–share your own stories.  Celebrate the gift of family!

Will you commit to pray for your home to be built on the Word of God…and will you commit to pray for other families as well?

Family – training for relationship

God created us for relationship–and family is intended to be the safe place for learning and practicing relationship skills.  We become our very best…and relate our very best to others…when we know who we are designed to be and how to live fully in Christ!

What we learn only in our heads can be difficult to put into practice.  A.A.R.T. (animal-assisted relationship training) helps weave knowledge from head to heart to heels!

 

Riddles, unknown objects, observations, errors & blindfolded walking brought truths of our identity in Christ into the light.  AART isn’t a magical solution to building family relationships.  It is a tool to help each person grow more into the likeness of Christ and share more of the glory of God in their interactions with others.

Check out the ways Heartsong helps bring the wisdom of the word to individual walks.

Chosen Parents

This is actually a piece I did some years ago for another venue.  Sharing today because parenting has been the topic in a number of interactions.  And sharing with thankfulness that God chose us to be the parents of our precious kids.  Sorry, guys…but trust God has a plan :)!  We love you!

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutual; the plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half 12657360_10207170306008051_3018063976232311083_oago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. The ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknesses and what a superb reality!

My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hopewith certaintythat His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our liveschanging us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. 12657229_10207170304128004_2826006339242221287_oGod would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengths and the weaknesses to guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Extra Insights
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from God:  eternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His child–to be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today!
SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

 

Originally written for Handivangelism, Heart-to-Heart Magazine

Chosen Parents

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutualthe plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half ago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. Thchild parent hande ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknessesand what a superb reality! My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hopewith certaintythat His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our liveschanging us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. God would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengthsand the weaknessesto guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Do you have a Glimpse of Glory in your family life?  I’d love to hear it.  Or maybe you are in the midst of a battle that has you baffled.  Check out turning Battles into Blessings.

For Further Study
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from Godeternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His childto be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today!

SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

This piece was originally written for and published by Handivangelism, PIP Ministry.

Family Life: New Parents

Beautiful homes are not built from the roof down or from the outside in.  Neither are lives.  Leaving a legacy…being left a legacy begins in infancy.

 The heart is the source of life.  The heartwork of parenting is truly hardwork!  Make it a goal to identify attitudes and not be distracted by actions. Heart work is also eternal work and worthy of focused, faithful effort.

3020719712_a10dd80a2b_qProverbs 24:3,4 tells us a home is built with wisdom, established with understanding and furnished with knowledge.  The lives of our children require the same building plan.  The greatest goal of our parenting effort is to prepare our children for their work of building their hearts into temples of the Holy Spirit.

God does not have grandchildren.  Just as David provided his son, Solomon, with the building plan and resources for the Temple, we must parent to provide our children with knowledge of God’s design and precious, durable materials for building their lives.

 

 

What knowledge or discipline will you impart to your children today to help them build their spiritual house?

Would you like to read more on parenting with a plan?  Here’s a place to get started.