Wisdom in Youth :: A Guest Post

Sunday, June 30, 2013  ::   11 important comments

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Each of my kids are so very different. Some are math and science whizzes, empathetic problem solvers, story tellers, funny jokers, loud, emotional, logical, gift givers, performers, hand holders, attentive to the needs of others, art creators and mess makers. I could go on and on. 

Please know that I'm under no delusion that they are perfect, but I'm not about to air their short comings to you. That's not my job. We have wonderful discussions about their growth and maturity in our home. They do not need me chopping away at their security by proclaiming their junk to others. How absolutely horrible would it be if our Father did that with our junk? It would be devastatingly mortifying. I choose to model His love to my kids as much as I humanly can. 

Today you get to read the words of my son, Kyle. You will notice right away that he's a word guy. Both of his parents value words, so I'm not surprised. I want you to know that these are his words, his thoughts, what he is learning. I pray it challenges and inspires you. 

Within my own life, I often find that I personally avoid the task of memorizing scripture, not for a purposeful detachment of myself from God's word, but out of a lazy mind set in which my humanity ultimately deems such a task pointless. This is most certainly and undeniably false, as I also find that when I struggle into a place of spiritual depth that includes reading and memorizing scripture, I am entirely fulfilled. Not with the sort of fulfillment you gain when you win a championship, or finish a good book, but an entire fulfillment that lifts my whole being into a new purpose, a purpose that calls me to glorify God's greatness. It is in this realization that I find a certain irony that applies itself to my situation, mostly because if I truly dive into scripture I find specific verses that speak of our human interests and of a redemption that we can obtain through walking with Jesus. 

When I say these things, one verse specifically comes to mind: 1 Peter 1:14-15 which says: “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all of your conduct.” This is one of my favorite verses because it applies so exactly to our current society and my personal situation. It not only tells us to leave behind our evil but also that we have a great God that urges us to be like him and we can leave behind our evil so in that we can be more like him.
I also am incredibly thankful that the word of God is so relevant to not just our situations but also our life stages. I am 13, coming up on the prime of my youth, and the problems and hardships I face most certainly differ from a grown and working adult. It is in this that I find yet another incredible verse, Psalm 71:5 which states: “For you have been my hope, sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” What this reveals to me is that no matter where you are in your life, whether it refers to your age, job, or social standing, you can hold a secure confidence in God that will stay with you even from your youth. In short, when I memorize scripture I marvel in God's relevancy, which is apparent in all of our day-to-day lives.
As we advance in our relationships with God I urge not only myself but all of us to push forward with scripture memorization because if we truly strive to involve ourselves in God's word, we must know God's word, and keep it with us in every situation we are presented with as our lives progress.

Yes! We must "keep [God's word] with us in every situation we are presented with as our lives progress." That's what memorizing scripture is all about! We don't puff our heads up with a bunch of sentences. We ask God to search our hearts and lead us through this life in a way that honors Him and makes us more like Christ! I pray without ceasing that my kids know this truth deep in their bellies. I'm beginning to see some fruit to my prayers. 

I'm happy to report that my brain is getting stronger. I've been able to review and actually remember scripture. I used to be able to multi-task in many ways, especially scripture memory. I could review pretty much anytime I wanted. Now I have to sit in the quiet, keep my eyes closed, and say the verses out loud. It's kind of funny, but hey! I'll take what I can get! 

This month I'm solidifying Proverbs 17:22 in my heart and mind. 

Proverbs 17:22 
A joyful heart is good medicine. A crushed spirit dries up the bones. 

What are you learning? Do you keep God's word active in your life in every situation you are presented with? Are you going to "push forward with scripture memorization?" 

Please comment with your verse. Leave some encouragement for Kyle. As you do, please pray that his heart will continue to be captivated by God and that his mind will grow in depth of understanding and insight. This happy and hopeful mom thanks you for praying for him! 

Talking Sex :: The Littles

Wednesday, June 19, 2013  ::   1 important comment

If you missed it, I decided to write a series on talking to kids about sex. After this post and this post, I received more than a few emails which led to good, hard, expectant, and hopeful conversations about personal growth and healing. I appreciate when people think deeply through their own lives to discover God's very best intentions of making them more like His Son. Thank you for being such thoughtful friends. I'm praying for you as you learn, grow, and heal.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

As we journey more into this process, please continue to be mindful to journey through your own story. It is naive and ignorant to think your own life in this area will not affect your kids' lives in this area. We are to steward them with diligence, faithfulness, attentiveness, wisdom, and with much, much prayer.

Kids are not dumb. They are observant, funny, talkative, little sponges building who they are and what they will think about life with each and every interaction they have with the world around them. Whether we actively value the foundation laying process of their lives or not, they will build, grow, learn, mature.

Below are a few thoughts on talking with young kids about these important topics.

Thought One 
One of the successes Chad and I have had in this area with our kids is to not freak out, tease, or ignore their actions or questions.

When Kyle approached us as a young kindergartener and inquired, "What does f@*$ mean, mommy?" Well, we may have freaked out a little because as we sat in shock he said it about five more times. Finally, Chad was able to calmly talk to him about choosing wise words as we speak. He answered Kyle's innocent question appropriately. Knowing our kids is so important in these times. Kyle has always been a word guy. He soaks up language, was hearing a new word in school, and wanted to know what it meant. It is not over simplifying to state that taking time to converse with Kyle in that moment built security in him to know he could come to us with his next question. Believe me when I say his questions have only grown in depth and complexity through the years.

Meet their questions with gentleness and respect. Think through the age of the child asking. What can they handle in your response?

Seven years ago one of our dear family friends was about to give birth. Kyle and Esther had been very excited and interested in the arrival of a new baby to our community. At lunch a couple of weeks before our friend's due date, they decided to question me about how the baby would make its arrival.

Esther asked, "Mom, how will the baby come out?"

Being skilled in diplomacy, I responded, "(Our friend) will go to the hospital and the doctor will get the baby."

She asked, "But how will the baby come out?"

I simply stated, "The doctor will help her, and then the baby will be here."

Not satisfied Kyle chimed in, "But how will the baby come out of her stomach?"

"Kyle. Esther. Are you sure you want to know?"


I started a very basic explanation and almost immediately their hands flew over their ears and they yelled, "No more! Stop talking! That's terrible!"

The next time they saw my friend, they approached her to give her a warning about what she was about to endure. My little community loving kids were willing to brave a difficult conversation for the sake of their friend.

Again, age appropriate answers. I didn't jump immediately into directly answering their questions. I gave them enough information to satisfy their need for knowledge of the situation. As a parent you must decide who you want answering your kids' questions. I don't know about you, but I want Chad and I to be the people they trust most in the world with their precious questions. Of course there are other people in their lives, but Chad and I ultimately are the ones responsible, especially in this sensitive topic.

Thought Two
Not overreacting about body parts is so fundamental in giving them security. Professionals generally state we should teach our kids proper names for their parts. I agree. But, because my family is a bunch of goofs, we also use all the other funny words. We are not a proper bunch. A few years ago a couple of my kids asked what the lady part was called. Their response was, "That sounds a lot like Virginia!" Why, yes it does, and it henceforth shall be called. My response? I laughed! We all laughed. Because it was funny. Teaching them is so much easier if you allow yourself to laugh. But, here is the key. I did not laugh at them. I made sure they knew that I thought they were brilliant and funny, not stupid for what they said. There is a huge wide world of difference. We laugh with our kids in these moments, never ever ever at them. That will build sexual insecurity faster than you can say Virginia.

But, we must make sure we are balanced. We cannot always make jokes about our bodies or we stop taking the special nature of ourselves seriously. We cannot always be so serious, or we dry up and blow away like dust because we are so boring. Roll with the style of your family. We all cackle like a bunch of middle schoolers (oh wait, half of us are middle schoolers) whenever the words balls or wiener show up in life. Every single time. It's weird. And I don't think it is unholy. Above all, honor God even in your humor. (And yes, those words show up more often than you think.)

For the most part in our home, we call body parts "privates." This is intentional. The word private means belonging to an individual person, restricted use. Yes. Exactly. "Private" does not conjure up shame. We've spoken to our kids that God made us beautifully, perfectly, intentionally, and there are certain parts He made that only belong to ourselves. "Private" means no one else touches, takes a peak, or has access to. We've talked with our kids at length about protecting what is private in life, not just body parts, so they have a healthy understanding of the word. Again, their is no shame associated with who they are, male or female, God created each.

Thought Three 
Chad and I want to treat each other with respect and dignity, especially in front of our kids, to show them Chad does not view me as an object and I do not view him as a taker. There is no groping in our home. Neither of us ever objectify other men or women. My kids have never heard Chad comment on a woman's body parts. He is a kind man who desires to teach our daughters they deserve to be treated as treasures. He is a strong man that desires to teach our son to see women as image bearers of God, not objects.

What about your heart, attitude, or home? How will the way you respond to the opposite sex influence how your kids respond? Does how you treat your spouse in public and in your home demonstrate love, respect, and dignity? Does how you look at people around you teach your kids that humans bear the image of God?

It is important to remember the difference between groping and affection. Showing your kids that you love each other through physical touch is also important. Holding hands, cuddling, a sweet kiss show kids that the love mom and dad have for each other is different than the love they have for anyone else. They will find security in the love you have for each other. Building security in your home shapes the security they will know in Christ.

Thought Four 
This one may be extreme for some of you, but I am speaking from experience here. Don't let your kids play too long by themselves or unattended with friends. Keep bedroom doors open when they have company. Check on them. Observe what they are playing. Ask them about their conversations. Don't interrogate them, but be interested in their thoughts, friendships, imaginations. Too much can happen to our kids when they are left alone. Know where they are, who they are with, and who they are talking to in your home, when you are out and about, enjoying the hospitality of others, and even at church.

Pray over them as the play. Ask God to give them pure thoughts. Pray that at the very least they will not be followers into areas they know are wrong, and also pray bold prayers that they will lead peers into good conversations and play time. From the beginning of parenting, I've begged God to not allow my kids to be given to rebellion and that each child would to desire to please Chad and me which would ultimately lead to their desire to please Him.

Final Thought for Today
Honestly, I could keep going on these thoughts. The more I write the more I want to tell you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about what I brought up in this post? I would love to know where you are in this journey.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Moxie Memorizers, One Month and Three Days Late

Monday, June 03, 2013  ::   8 important comments

I'm so sorry for dropping the ball on giving you an outlet for accountability and encouragement in memorizing scripture. All my excuses revolve around discouragement and pity, so I'll spare you the details. I know you do not need this post to keep at the discipline of taking in the Word. I hope you are sticking with it.

Summer brings new intentionality with my kids in taking in scripture. Each day we are setting aside time to review old verses and work on a new one. Each kid has their own personal goal in how many verses they want to learn. Their minds are so fresh and ready, so the words practically stick like glue. I love it.
I'm asking each of them to learn Colossians 2:6-8. My heart's desire is for them to be rooted, established, and built up in Christ so that the hollow philosophies of this world will not take them captive. I pray this over them daily.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord,  so walk in Him, rooted and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thankfulness. 

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of this world, and not according to Christ. 

Yes! This is exactly what I want for my kids. And for myself. And for you. And for the church.

Without being too whiny, it is still very difficult to remember new things...names, songs, schedules, and verses. People ask me regularly how I'm doing. Honestly, I feel better and better. However, this is an area that I can still notice my brain was changed. It's ok though. Don't fret. Little by little, better and better.

I'm still working to take in new verses, but as I patiently wait for it to stick, I've been focusing on old passages I've memorized. With Chad teaching through 1 and 2 Peter, I've thoroughly enjoyed remembering and reflecting on verses that have been written on my heart for awhile. Right now I'm playing 2 Peter 1:3-10 over and over in my heart and mind. 

His divine nature has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 

Can you believe it? He has given us everything we need for life and godliness! Meditating on this alone has been mind blowing for me.

Skipping to verse five Peter tells us to "make every effort to add to your 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 kinds, love."

A life marked by these characteristics is a life that is effective and productive in knowing Jesus and making Him known. Yes, please. I want that. I re-play this list over and over in my heart and mind. It's the meditation piece of memorizing that we should work towards.

Friends, I hope you are sticking with this discipline. I know you've heard me say at least a thousand times how beneficial it is.

What are you memorizing? What review verses are especially meaningful to you right now?