How to Answer Little People’s Big Questions

“Why does it have always have to be like this?” whined my eight-year-old daughter. Both of my daughters react the same way to each act of differential sibling discipline, unfair choice made, or anything else that pops up on the elementary-aged “no-fair” radar.

We’ve all been on the other end of a question that we have absolutely no idea how we’re supposed to answer, let alone on a kid-appropriate level. Or, caught ourselves dead in our tracks over-explaining our reasoning to the children we are in charge of. Spiritual preparedness is the only key to responding to the wacky, weary, and out-of-bound inquiries pint-sized people ask.

Here are a few actions to find the right answers.

1. Think about it. 

“ Think before you speak…” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

I’ve often felt privy to share my abundance of knowledge on a subject in question, especially to the audience of my own children, only to realize as it left my lips that the message was probably for me. I’ll then regret not examining my own thoughts before I let them escape into thin, unprepared, air. 

A little time to think allows us to craft the answer our children are after. (And let’s be honest; sometimes we need space to take a breath while rational thought is restored.) A bit of time may be all you need. 

Click here to continue reading …

Advertisements

How to Teach Your Kids to Discipline Themselves

The homework problem that stumps them… the toy they don’t want to share… the practice they don’t feel like attending… the commitment they don’t want to honor… the sibling they want to smack… Preparing our hearts daily with the truth of God’s Word enables us to breathe through our kids’ meltdowns and apply the discipline they need to grow into God’s calling on their lives.

“You are to honor your father and mother.” (Exodus 20:12)

He doesn’t say, “only if you agree…” or “when you feel like it…” or even “if your parents are right.” After dealing with the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, no one knows the frustration of discipling their children as well as God. He wants what’s best for us, and He’s given us His Word to help us. Here are more distinct actions to prevent your child from running wild.

1. Tell them “no” and tell them why.

“Take 20 buttons out of your jar,” I tell my kids all week long. I’ve instilled a system that allows me a break from being the “no” monster all of the time. When their jars are full, my children are allowed to cash them in for a small prize. But losing their buttons helps children see a concrete ramification of their choices. Whether kids are told they can’t have it their way, break a rule, or are on a losing team, accepting the consequence is a necessary humbling. 

Click to continue reading …

Distorted Expectations

The MidWest had more than it’s fair share of rain this summer. We count the days of summer …and it’s unfairly interfered. 

Life is like that, at times. Unfair and uncomfortable. We count on certain things to go a certain way. For my tween daughters, every emotion, discomfort, and awkward situation rains down upon them as though they’ve been caught unexpectedly in a torrential downpour. They don’t need us to throw a rain poncho over their every problem. Tweens need to know it’s a normal to get caught in the rain sometimes.

If we don’t want to get drenched by life’s storms we have to remember our umbrella and choose to use it. Better yet, when we can …avoid standing in a torrential downpour. We so often try to force our circumstances, blaming our umbrella for failing to keep us dry when we take it out into sideways rain and expect it to do the impossible. 

Faith …an umbrella between reality and the rain. The wind may blow it inside out, it may leak, we may forget to open it …but through every storm, Jesus remains. God’s Word is our heart’s guard. Prayer is our lifeline. Starting the day and traversing through life without it compels us to seek all kinds of crazy solutions for our inconveniences. Life is inconvenient, but out of our discomfort beautiful wildflowers often bloom …right where they’re planted. 

We shouldn’t expect perfection from an umbrella. It’s a thing. It’s fallible. The weather is the weather …even the people paid to predict it don’t always know what it’s going to do. Our expectations distort when we entrust humanity to protect us from raindrops. Only God is capable of instilling that kind of bubbled protection over our lives …and He doesn’t. 

We will get rained on here. Things will not go our way and people will let us down. We will let others, and ourselves, down. At some point, we’ll all stand drenched in a downpour. But not without hope …just wet! The sun comes out, and everyday God’s mercies are new. Great is HIS faithfulness. Jesus is our umbrella this side of heaven. In the sideways rain, hail, and torrential downpours, He shields us. 

To our kids, we model the resiliency of our faith in Christ by how we react to the rain. A young collegiate cross country runner, rainy mud runs were my favorite. Donning my favorite hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, I laughed through every knee-high puddle and splash of mud. I set my mind, not just to make the best of it, but to see the fun in it. 

The world wants us on edge every time life rains down on us. But if we choose to see the good, our kids might, too. Some tragedies are beyond a sunny explanation …but even in those moments, we have a good God whom we trust will right every injustice. We can’t explain the cause of every storm or season of suffering, but we can choose to put our favorite hat on and embrace what we can about the rain.

As Christians, we can run through the rain gripping Joy …because the battle has already been won.

Expect the rain …but know the sun still shines.

Megs


Moms, Don’t Trust Your Fickle Feelings

Up the stairs she stomped, quickly followed by a slamming door. Once again, I had let my least favorite characteristics bubble to the surface and rain down over my tween. Placing trust in the fickle fade of aggravated feelings hurts our kids and our confidence. Paul assures us that our sinful desires wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). Moms like me who have taken the bait and engaged in an argument with their child know exactly what Paul speaks of in Romans 7:15. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” 

Fickleness, defined by dictionary.com as “likely to change,” is not a reliable source by which to gauge our decisions to parent. God, on the other hand, is reliable, constant, omnipotent, sovereign, and patient. In my life, I’ve found it impossible to maintain any of the parental behaviors I aim for without a solid foundation of God’s truth to instruct and encourage my heart. 

Below are a handful of verses that have helped me prevent, stop, and recover from the moments that I have been tempted to, or have let my fickle feelings rule my parenting. Our children are God’s first. The goal of parenting isn’t to mimic God’s authority, but rather to submit to it in obedience as we lead our children to His feet.

Click here to continue reading …

A Prayer for Suicidal Women

Human suffering is a part of life. It’s crucial to remember what we know about God in the moments when we teeter on the edge of leaving it behind. Our hardship is never in vain, though we feel deserted and desperate. God loves us (John 3:16). He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He hears us (1 John 5:14) and answers us (1John 5:15). God alone is fit to judge us (James 4:12). We are not fit to sentence ourselves to death. God’s timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 8:6). He cares for us (Matthew 10:30) and has a purpose in place for each and every life (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Repeated together in prayer, God’s Word has the power to lift us out of the deepest pit, the darkest despair, and soul swallowing sadness. Look to Him in confidence, knowing that He is especially close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). 

Father, proof abounds of the work of Your hands… but we can’t see it. We are too engulfed in depression and angst, tragedy and pain, to look up. Help us hold onto the truth proclaimed in Proverbs 3:5-6. To trust You with our whole hearts and lean not on our own understanding. 

Thank you for Jesus. Because of His death on the cross, we know that He understands our pain and suffering. Though we do not possess the ability to process our pain with His clarity, we can take solace in knowing that even Your Son struggled on this earth. You promise us that Your grace is sufficient for us, Your power made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Father, forgive us for considering any other plan but Your own for our lives. In the middle of the pain, it’s hard to remember what we know about how good You are. That our humanity is subject to sinful nature, and all of the struggle and consequence that comes along with it. But you never leave us, never abandon us. Jesus died so that we could cry out to You. Sometimes, we can only cry, yell, or throw our fists in the air. Thank You for the comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit translates our hearts to You. 

Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait for you… to be strong and take heart and wait for you. For “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God’” (Luke 18:27). In these desperate moments and trying hours, we need to remember that our thoughts are not your thoughts. There is no possible way that we can understand You, or Your ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We just have to trust that You are good… You are love defined, and You will defend us. Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” 

Father, bless and heal our hearts and our ailments. Restore our hope in the One who has the power to do something about our circumstances. In a world that is throwing us around, help us to see Your hand reaching down to pluck us out before we are trampled. Help us to believe that our lives have a meaning and a purpose greater than what we can tangibly understand on this side of heaven. Instill godly confidence in us to live by Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

Psalm 86:7 says, “When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” It doesn’t say, “because You might answer me…” 

Answer us, Father. Help us. Heal us. Restore our life and fill our hearts with the hope that only You can provide. For Your glory, we want Your will for our lives above our plans and escape routes. You place people purposefully in our lives, Father. People who need us… who need to witness Your miracle in our comeback. People who need our love, which we are free to give because of the way you extravagantly love us. At our best and at our worst, Your love is unchanging. 

Restore our lives, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, amen. 

This article was originally posted on crosswalk.com. Click here for the original post.