Category Archives for Parenting

Confess, Forgive, & Move On!

We were having an ongoing problem in our home and my assumption was that the culprit was a particular child. For months as the problem continued, I would reprimand this child and he would vehemently deny it. I didn’t believe him and the more he denied it the angrier I became. We recently had an impromptu devotion with the children because we all needed a spiritual tune-up. I shared Proverbs 28:13– “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” After reviewing this scripture with the children, I invited everyone to confess their sins to God. Right before bed, I was reminded of the reoccurring problem we had been having for months. I approached the one I assumed was the culprit and before I could finish my accusations, another child began to confess that he was the guilty party. All this time, he kept his sin hidden. It shocked me. I could see the shame on his face as he confessed, and I could tell he was expecting a negative response, but the grace of God overwhelmed me, and I responded accordingly. I told him that even though his actions were wrong, I was happy that he confessed his sins. I encouraged him to apologize to his brother-the one he allowed to carry the blame for all these months. What happened after that warmed my heart. The other brother who was accused all this time responded with grace. He let his brother know that he forgave him and just like that he carried on playing with his Lego. He didn’t take the time to relish because he was finally vindicated. He forgave and moved on.

I had a few exchanges with them and went to my room and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father. I want my children to know Jesus, like for real know Him. I want them to respond to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. I want them to confess their sins. I want them to know the beauty of forsaking sin and receiving God’s forgiveness. I want them to experience the grace that comes from true repentance. I also want them to freely forgive others and not hold on. The struggle with sin is real in our home, that I won’t pretend! But this incident was a sweet reminder that God is at work, and He is greater!

I encourage you to, confess your sins when needed.  Our sins not only impact us but it can impact others, so when necessary apologize to those who have been affected by your sin. If you are the one that has been offended, be merciful and receive the apology and move on, no need to remind the person of what they have done! In other words, respond with mercy- the way God responds to us when we repent.

10 Things To Do Instead Of Getting On Your Phone

I will be the first to admit that I love the convenience of having a smartphone BUT there is a dark side to this device. The phone can be a time thief! Mindless scrolling on our phone rob us of time and hinder our productivity. If we allow, it can also have a negative impact on our ability to have real connections with those we love. Below I have compiled a list of 10 things you can do instead of getting on your phone.

  1. Read the hardcopy of a book. Yes, we can read a lot of things online, but there is something to be said about having the physical book in front of you. Did you know that studies have shown that when you read offline you comprehend and retain more of the material? Looking for book recommendations? Of course, at the top of my list is the Bible. I recently read this great Christian fiction and I’m currently reading, Servant Leader. I also recommend my recently published book, Lessons Learned Along The Way: A 40 Day Devotional. If you would prefer not to buy books, your local library is a great resource.

 

  1. Exercise. Get out and move, you will be happy you did. If you have a gym membership, great…use it! However, if you don’t have one, don’t use that as an excuse not to exercise. My main means of exercise is walking, and it has proven to be very effective.
  2. Have a real conversation with those around you. It is so easy to be in a room filled with people and hide on your phone-how tragic! We miss out on opportunities to connect with others because we are consumed with watching other people’s fake realities on our phone. We long for what we THINK they have and miss out on what is right in front of us. Challenge yourself to be intentional about putting your phone away at different times in the day and connect with those around you.

  1. Clean a specific area in your home that you have avoided. We all have that one area in our home we would prefer not to clean. At some point and time, we should stop looking up different cleaning schedules and strategies on Pinterest and implement what we have been researching for months. I’m just saying! It is so fulfilling when you can complete a task you have been avoiding, so put the phone down and start cleaning!

 

  1. Sit and brainstorm your goals. It is so easy to sit and waste time on our phones watching other people live out their goals and we forget to set our own. Ask yourself, “What are my short- and long-term goals?” Have I met the goals that I have set at the beginning of the year, am I taking steps toward meeting those goals? What are some things that distract me? How can I get back on track? Reflection is a great form of personal accountability.

 

  1. Pray & Meditate. It is so calming when I sit in God’s presence meditating on His word and speaking to Him. While I enjoy listening to different things on YouTube and various podcast, this should not consume my day. I need to spend more time talking and listening to God, the one who knows it all, rather than human “experts.” When I spend too much time on my phone in the name of relaxation, I feel drained and exhausted. However, time spent with the Lord brings peace and focus to my day.

 

  1. Cook. Get in the kitchen and cook a healthy meal. We may find ourselves in the drive through and eating a lot of process foods because we waste time on our phone and lament that we didn’t have time to cook dinner. I am not anti-eating out, but this should be an exception, not the rule.  Get in the kitchen and have some fun. Work with your hands and don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

  1. Play A game. Believe in or not, there are many games to play that are not on your phone! Have fun with those around you. Break out the old board and card games and have a good time laughing and playing together…well, that is if you are not playing with super competitive people.

 

  1. Do Nothing. We are often overstimulated and are always ON. If we have a free second, we grab our phones and start scrolling as if there is something wrong with being still. I once heard someone say that we should give ourselves the gift of boredom. Be still, clear your mind and relax!

 

  1. Go to bed. We stay up longer than we should because we carry our phones with us to bed. This is a bad idea! Scrolling on our phone unsettles us instead of calming us down. The research is there to prove it. The artificial light on the phone has a negative impact on our ability to have sound sleep. Let us also consider how the constant influx of information on the screen keeps our mind swirling right before bed. We live in a generation where many suffer from anxiety, and constant phone usage is a huge contributor to this dilemma. Do yourself and favor,  get off the phone before you get in the bed and give yourself the gift of rest!

I would love to hear from you. What do you do instead of getting on your phone?

Be Blessed

Anika

Music & Scripture Memorization For Children

I am a huge advocate for teaching children scripture and encouraging them to hide the word of God in their hearts so that they do not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Music is great way to accomplish this goal. Select the scripture you want to memorize and sing it to your favorite tune or make up your own beat. You can also create your own “instruments” with household items like my children did in this video. There are so many fun things you can do to help children memorize scripture. Repetition also helps them remember the selected verse. I typically review the scripture at least three times each day when they are first learning it. Once the scripture is memorized, we rehearse it at least once a day in addition to the other scriptures we have memorized. I desire for my children to know the word and also LIVE IT!   How do you help your child memorize scripture?   Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

 

Be Blessed,

Anika

Creative Devotion With Children

I normally get up before the children to have my quiet time with the Lord. Then later when I have devotion with them, I share what I studied in my devotional time. I love this approach because it gives me an opportunity to teach what I just learned, which further solidifies the lesson for me.

In this post, I shared the insights I received from reading the genealogy of Jesus in Mathew 1 during my personal devotion. When it was time to have devotion with the children on the same topic, I took a more creative approach. I believe it is important to encourage the children to get a deeper understanding of scripture, but this process doesn’t have to be boring!
After reading Mathew 1:1-17 as a group, I divided the children into groups of two. I assigned each group one indivi dual that was mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Each group had to read a passage of scripture that gave more details about their assigned individual. For example, group 1 was assigned Ruth and they were asked to read the entire book of Ruth since it is short. Group 2 had Jacob and they read Genesis 27. The 3rd and final group got David and read 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12. Each group was given 30-40 mins to read their assigned passage and then come up with a creative way to present what they learned to the large group. One group wrote a rap, the other two did a dramatic presentation with props, and drew pictures to retell the story. This helps them to learn in different ways and helps to break up the monotony of devotion. It helps that my voice is not the only voice that they hear, and they are given some “ownership.” The movement also helps the younger ones to not check out. Also, when the children present what they just learned, this helps me to assess if they have really grasped what they read. The children really enjoy this approach to devotion and thinking outside the box. I would love to hear from you, what are creative ways that you have devotion with your children?

Be Blessed,
Anika

 

They Got On My Nerves And God Gave Me A Hug

I had an awesome Mother’s Day. I really did. I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside and was just so grateful to be a mother.

HOWEVER, the warm and fuzzes disappeared yesterday. I mean all the way disappeared. I was trying to process some not so good news that I received in the morning. Then my children worked my already worked nerves. Praise God for the grace to not yell like a mad woman, instead I lifted my heart to God in prayer. After the kids left for school, I prayed and cried some more. I was so exhausted midday that I decided to take a nap. Ten minutes into my nap, the doorbell rang…3 times! I was not happy. Reluctantly I got out of bed and looked through my bedroom window and saw the vehicle of a sweet friend that attends our church.  I yelled out the window and told her I was coming down. When I opened the door, she handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I asked her what they were for and she told me no reason. She smiled, gave me a hug and then left. I took the flowers and went and sat on my couch and cried. Even though she didn’t know all that was going on, she was on assignment to give me flowers and a hug from my heavenly Father.

I was so overwhelmed by the love and concern of God. In that moment He ministered to me and let me know that my tears and prayers that I prayed that morning did not go unnoticed. He saw and heard me. Only a true and living God can do that. I continue to be absolutely amazed at how He ministers to me in such personal ways. His love for me is mind blowing. It makes me want to serve Him even more! Be encouraged, God hears your prayers and sees your tears.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Quick Study: Identifying the call of God on my child’s life

The enemy is shrewd and is always looking for ways to devour our children.  His goal is to have them live contrary to their God given purpose and to ultimately destroy them. We must not be passive.  As parents we have been given the great task of speaking life over our children, reminding them that they were called before they were born.  It is imperative that we let our children know God has a purpose for their life and encourage them to live accordingly.  Below I created a quick worksheet highlighting the call of Samson in Judges Chapter 13.  Take some time to read the passage and answer the reflection questions below.

 

Reflection Questions for Judges Chapter 13

God gave specific guidelines for Samson before He was even born.  Why did God give these specific guidelines?  In other words what was Samson’s purpose?

 

Even though Samson’s mother was not called to be the deliverer for Israel, she also had to be careful about what she consumed as she carried Samson.  Are you aware that what you consume (spiritually) can affect the call of God on your child?

 

What are some things (spiritually speaking) that you need to remove from your diet, to help foster the call of God on your child’s life?

Sometimes we may need more clarity on the call of God on our child’s life, it is ok to ask. What does Samson’s father do in Judges 13: 8?  What does He ask for?

What does James 1:5 tell us to do?

 

Has the Lord given you any insights concerning the call on your child’s life?  Please list them below.

 

Have you been asking God for wisdom on how to help develop the call/purpose for your child’s life?  What are some practical things you can do to help develop that call?

 

 

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