# Powerful Ways Dads Can Forge Relationships with Daughters

Without words, my dad faithfully repaired the doorframe every time my teenage angst slammed it off its alignment. No one ever asked him to check on me after an outburst that ended in tears behind that slammed door, but he always did. My dad loved me despite the massive cloud that took over from time to time during those hard, teen years. When I was wrong. When I overreacted. When my heart was broken by some boy. My dad always checked in to make sure I was OK. He reminded me who I was and that he loved me.

I realize not everyone is blessed with the same story, but from the outpouring of mine, I share ways that fathers can forge lasting and real relationships with their daughters. It’s not rocket science. Rather, it’s simply putting the door back on the hinges, wiping the tears away, and lending hugs to let them know they are loved more than they could possibly understand.

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“Marriage,” a Book Review

“Marriage,” Edited by Curt Hamner, John Trent, Rebekah J. Byrd, Eric L. Johnson, and Erik Thoennes.

“Personal union is the ground for all human being.” -“Marriage”

This book met me knee deep in the frustrating fights repeated in my marriage over the last decade. The educated stance and Biblical root of this book seek to give sound answers and understand instead just a feel good motivation to keep staying positive through it all. It tackles the hard topics, and digs into the foundational cause for many quarrels within and misunderstanding about marriage. I feel more equipped to walk into the next decade of my marriage after reading this book, because I understand why things go wrong and what to do in the middle of good times and bad. 

The contributors to this book were passionate about the topic of marriage, and it’s Christian foundation and institution, and every page oozes it. They wanted to get it right, give people answers to their questions, and affirm and better understand the Biblical purpose for marriage. 

I felt less like an outcast for having questions and problems and empathy and equipping that will help strengthen my marriage.

This book is research heavy and Bible study laden. It’s a good thing! The language is easy to read, and the book is well-organized. For those seeking answers, you’ll find them here! But it takes time to read through it thoroughly. This is not a book to rush through, rather savor and keep on hand for reference. 

From my perspective, I recommend this book to married couples and singles, alike. It’s a book that can be re-read as life goes on, and I believe will be applicable at any stage. 

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to receive a copy of “Marriage.”

Happy Reading!

Megs

#saywhat?! …What’s Up With My Mouth?

Hashtags are now a part of verbal communication. The words we # have power the power to create searchable content. The words we verbalize, type, text, share and air hold the power to dignify or deflate. 

My current parenting resolution is #dontraisemyvoice. Once I factor out school, playing with friends and extra curricular activities, I only have to hold it together for 3 or 4 hours on weekdays. Most would say my odds are pretty good, and I wish I could tell you it’s been a smashing success … but there’s a reason for resolution. #stillyelling

“The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint.” Proverbs 10:19 VOICE

“Mom, you don’t have to apologize to us …we don’t even deserve you.” 

What did I have to apologize for? #yelling. Unfortunately, lofted above the apology are the hashtags formed while I was losing my patience. My careless words distort and begin to plant seeds of deceit …#lies.

Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” We don’t always like, much rather love, God’s law in our everyday lives. Which is why our bad attitudes drip down into our words, and the opportunity to water lies in the minds of their recipients.

Great peace. “Complete security and well-being,” to be accurate. (NIV Study Bible Notes) People that have peace don’t need to make #dontraisemyvoice resolutions. What was I missing? Love.

Proverbs 10:12 says that “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.” (NIV) The love in this verse is different. This love accomplishes what we cannot: love for a law that we don’t understand, like, or want to follow in the moment. The love of the Law, Himself. (Strongs 157/160) 

My mouth represents my heart, which could be undergoing all manner of spiritual battles at any given time. The risk of blowing up at my kids is that they will start to believe and apply the wrong hashtags. Above the endearing and encouraging words I speak and pray over them for the 3 hours and 58 minutes I have with them some weekdays …they start to carry around …wear around …the other 2 minutes that I was overly critical and terribly impatient while they acted like the 8 and 10 years olds they are. 

“Oh, yes I do have to apologize,” I explain, “because no matter how disobedient you are or impatient I am …I know better than to react like I did.”

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8 NIV

Again, same English word, different definition of Biblical love. This time, “brotherly love, affection, good will, love.” This New Testament love is possible because of Jesus. Through Him, we can love each other with the same love that covers a multitude of sins. We can become living channels of His love. 

When my bad attitude leaks out of my mouth, it’s a heart problem. My problem. Not my children’s fault. Not my husband’s fault. Not the ridiculous pendulum of a midwestern winter’s fault. (And not the Brown’s fault for not clinching a spot in the playoffs …OK a wild card spot -let me dream.)  It’s a hearth issue. So, how do I fix it?

“The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:8 

  • Get the Right Advice. The way to peace and love is through their Author. There’s no shortcut to this. I have to set aside time to read God’s Word before I talk to anyone else. Maybe you can handle conversations before Jesus and coffee, but I can’t. 
  • Listen to Your People. God doesn’t do coincidence. He places us purposefully. I can choose to walk through daily life paying attention to the people in my live, and focusing on how to love them well.
  • Do it. Submission means to drop my way for the right way. Repeated, it becomes a reflex. In the case of my bad attitude controlling my mouth …I can consciously reroute that authority, choosing to apply wisdom before my words fly out. 

Matthew 12:34 reminds, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” 

I speak love when I know who I am. Forgiven in spite of my 2 minute meltdown, and loved before I can find the discipline to fix it. When I wear those hasthags, I’m more likely to pass them on. #neverlovedless #alwaysforgiven.

Happy #-ing …

Megs

A Prayer for Struggling Relationships

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Relationships remain imperfect because humanity is incapable of selfless love. Due to the fall in the garden of Eden, we are continually cursed with sin, keeping us from accomplishing correct communication with each other. Only one pair of feet have ever trod the earth in perfect obedience to God. Jesus came out of compassion for us. It’s through Him, that we can find victory in life, and our relationships. Not through perfection of our behavior, but through the perfect forgiveness and hope that His love grants us.

The very definition of ‘struggle’ is “to content with an adversary or opposing force.” We often pit the people on the other side of our relationships against ourselves. In addition to the disagreement at hand, we internally mull over all of the ways that we want them to treat us, and expect to be treated. We are set to a defensive default, but created to love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Jesus taught that this was the most important command. The NIV Notes on this verse say that “Jesus’ teaching united his followers around love.” Unity is the opposite of struggling opposition. There’s nothing we can do to force our relationships to work. But we can focus on Love.

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The Radical Resolution

RADICAL …Living Life Within the Love of Christ.

“Always forgiven …and never loved less.”

Fresh tears hit my shoulder. After-school conversations leave my throat hoarse and my heart raw. Moments earlier, my daughter let shreds of hopelessness bounce off the bright kitchen walls.

“I don’t even know who I am, anymore.”

Walking through change is never easy, and tween life had been taking it’s toll on her. We’ve been able to laugh through many moments of out-of-character outbursts, but today was not one of those days. 

“Well, I do,” I assured her. “Do you see that girl?” I asked. 

A square plastic frame atop my desk holds onto the picture of her 3-year-old face. Below it, a sticky note contains carefully scribbled out words from a daughter who had witnessed her momma in pain: 

“I love you 

Mommy and I’ll always

be there for you. 

I just want to let 

you know you can tell 

me anything. 

Luv, BB.”

 “You are still that girl,” I pushed the words out through the lump in my throat, “You will always be that girl.” 

The truth I spoke over my first-born knocked the wind right out of me. As I listed one attribute of her character after another, her eyes slowly brightened.

“You will grow wiser and change in some ways …but you will always be that girl …and I will be here to remind you when you forget.”

Christ utters the same truth into my heart, and yours. Romans 5:2 says, “Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace.” (VOICE paraphrase)

In one half of one paraphrase of one verse of one book from one Testament of the Word of God …we wrap our arms and minds around who Jesus is, what radical means, and how grace saves our lives. 

When I look at my life I hardly recognize anything I would classify as “radical.” It takes strength to be radical, joy to be strong, and faith know joy. But if we look at this verse a little closer, we’ll realize how radical our everyday lives can be …and perhaps already are. 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NIV

“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” (emphasis, mine.)

Paul is talking about the grace fundamental to who we are. In Christ, the way we were created to be, causes us to rejoice in our everyday lives. By continually coming back to Him, and seeing who we are in Him, we are able to find peace and joy in life. (Strongs 5485)

…”Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith …” (emphasis, mine.)

Faith is the conviction of the truth. The character of one who can be relied on. (Strongs 4102) I can’t be relied on, but Jesus can be. Him in me allows me to be reliable for someone in a moment when they need to know that He knows they are alive and desperate down here. Hurting and barely holding on. 

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]-“ (AMP)

Walking by faith means to pay attention to the world around us, ready and willing to participate in opportunities to love others each day. (Strongs 4043) I don’t always do that, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I have a bunch of problems, failures and missed opportunities I don’t air out on facebook, nor does anyone we’re still following after the political season. But outside of the confines of social media, we need to live radically authentic lives. 

My daughters, friends, and others placed purposefully in my life need to hear the disappointments I wouldn’t trust to my facebook friends. God has placed us purposefully in this life. If we hide our gaping wounds, no one heals.

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight  …” (emphasis, mine.)

Faith doesn’t operate on what we can see. Even when we’re walking like we should be, we can’t always see the struggle behind the smiles. (Strongs 1491) If we want to have radical faith and live radical lives, we have to turn the “this makes sense to me” filter off, and start operating on the truth of God’s Word. I choose to remember His radical love for me, in the shape of cross.

For the last decade I’ve treated motherhood like a career, reading books, seeking advice and praying harder than I have ever prayed. Being a mom has taught me how quickly I reach the end of myself, and every stage of motherhood includes a part I don’t like to willingly embrace …letting go. With the onset of every aggravated tween-age tone and frustrated glance, I’m reminded. 

But I choose to remember who she is, and that makes all the difference. 

To function below the surface we have to foster and fight for our faith. Everyday reminding ourselves that we are part of something bigger and going somewhere better. Choose to remember. Aim to receive this radical love every day, from whomever or whatever His delivery system is …then look around to pass it on.

“I love you 

_________ and I’ll always

 be there for you. 

I just want to let 

you know you can tell 

me anything. 

Luv, Jesus.”

Have a Happy and Radical Year,

Megs