Category Archives for Parenting

I Train All Day

For the  last 10 years I have been a stay at home mom.  On more than one occasion I  have been asked what I do all day.   Um-mm let me see how to phrase this… I train all day.   Not the kind of training you may be thinking about, allow me to explain.  Scripture tells us to train our children in the way they should go, the God way, the truth way, the blood bought way.  Training is not an option.  Because of our inherited sin nature EVERY child, no matter how cute is born with a desire to do wrong.  Everyday I am training and quite frankly it is hard work.    My job is not to tame my children’s sin, instead I have been entrusted with the job of encouraging them to nail it to the cross through submission to Christ.  Training begins with teaching them the word of God, this is the manual. The end goal is beyond nice behaved children. I want them to live knowing that death and judgment is certain for everyone.  So through my training I am encouraging them  to have a right relationship with God so that eternity can be spent with Him.

I train them not only through speaking the word but by living the word through my actions.

  • I train them  to understand that true love disciplines wrong behavior in an effort to prevent worst things from happening.  I choose not to wink at undesired behavior because of love.
  • I train them to be humble and to have a repentant heart when I say sorry (even to them) when I am wrong.
  • I train them to forgive and extend mercy when I forgive their offenses; not constantly reminding them of what they have done wrong. Dish out the consequence for wrongdoing and move on.  Do not look for opportunities to bring up how they missed the mark.

I train not just concerning the spiritual but the natural, but wait… the two are very much connected.

  • I train them to  not be idle and prioritize that which is important when I choose to cook and clean my house instead of spending too much time on social media.  I also give them the opportunity to work with their hands and allow the mess that comes with learning.

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  • I train them to understand what  honor  “looks” like when their father comes home to a cooked meal and washed clothes.  When my words are tempered with grace and my eyes aren’t rolling when he says something I don’t want to hear.  They are watching more than I realize, and I have had to apologize more than once.IMG_1883

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  • I train them to have responsibilities when I sit in the kitchen  and talk to them for a hour and a half while they clean, a job that I could have done in 30 minutes. Or when I wait for what seems like forever for them to pick up every Lego off the floor and resist the temptation to do it all for them because I can do it faster and betterIMG_1930

 

  • I train them when I allow them to experience the consequences of their poor choices and not always come to the rescue.  “No I will  not allow you to be late to school because you can’t find your recorder for music class.  I told you the night before to put everything in your bag.  Are you kidding me? There is six of you, I cannot keep up with your stuff. Stop crying and get in the van RIGHT NOW!”  True story, I am not making this up.. oh it’s happened to you too?
  • I train them to love who God created them to be when I  allow them to cry because they just don’t fit in with everyone else.  I say a prayer, wipe the tears and tell them how beautiful and special they are because God said so and I believe Him.

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  • I train them to  feel secure through the meals we share as a family at the table.  Letting them know that even with the absence of fine china and a perfectly set table conversations about the highs and lows of our day can flow freely.

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  • I train them to know they are loved by putting my to do list on hold and reading a book with them or just being silly and laughing about nothing really important.

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  • I train them to know dedication when I take my tired body to bed, wake up the next morning, ready to do it all over again and again and again!

Yes, this training thing is hard work.  The struggle is real but so is God’s love, His grace and His wisdom.  I don’t always do it perfectly.   I continue to learn that God gave us our children to train but certainly is not expecting us to do it on our own. We can do this…because of Christ!

 

 

Learning Alphabet & Scripture

Reading is fundamental; not an original thought I know, but it is true.  I want my children to cultivate a love for reading at an early age and it all begins with knowing the alphabet.  Today I am sharing a simple activity that accomplishes two objectives, learning the alphabet and the word of God.   This activity kept my four year old occupied for at least 30 minutes while I washed the dishes.  I loved that I didn’t have to stop and sit with him but we still had “together” time as I gave him different directives.  It was a win for the both of us.  The steps are below.

  1. Get a printout for your child to trace letters A-Z
  2. After she traces the letters, have her say each letter and the sound.
  3. After she says the letter sound have her say things that begin with that letter.  If your child is a little more advanced you can have her make sentences with the chosen word.
  4. Have her repeat the scripture that goes with the specific letter. Please visit this post, scroll down to the bottom and you will see my ABC scripture list.

Below is an example of applying the above steps for the Letter “A”

  1. Ask her to point to the letter “A” on her sheet.
  2. Ask her what sound the “A” makes.
  3. Ask her to tell you some words that make the “A” sound.  You can go on and on with this step depending on how much time you need to buy and how attentive your child is.
  4. Ask her to make sentences with the “A” words she mentioned.   You can extend this activity and make a story about the “A” words.  Again this is all about how much time you need and how attentive your child is.
  5. Finally, have your child repeat the “A” scripture,  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.”
  6. You can extend this activity by having her draw pictures of the “A” words she listed.

If you decide to try this, please leave a comment and let me know how it works out.  Happy Friday to you!

 

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How to teach the word of God to young children

October 10, 2014

I am all for educating children.  As a matter of fact, I went to school to be a teacher.  But I recognize that beyond ABC’s and 123’s the most important thing I need to live and teach my children is the word of God.  This is the ultimate key to a successful life. PERIOD.  If nothing else, this economy has taught us that you can have enough degrees to bake a cake but it does not guarantee success.   I could not resist. I had to use the degrees to bake a cake joke.  Funny?…no…ok.   Before I make another attempt at a joke, I will try share the tips.

 

Take time to read stories of young children in scripture.  

  • This helps them to see that living for God is not just for grown ups.
  • Josiah, Moses, Jesus, Samuel, David are a few.  Jeremiah & John the Baptist  were called from the womb.
  • Some children bibles are extremely simplistic in their explanation, sometimes altering the truth of the word.  Do not be afraid to “beef” it up for your children.  Believe me, they can handle a lot more than we think.  Trust me on this one.
  • Be animated as you read.  Make it exciting for your child.
  • Read the story to your children  and find creative ways to assess their understanding of the story.
    • After reading provide them with materials to make puppets for characters from the story and have them act it out, join in on the fun.
    • For the older ones, have them come up with a song or poem to convey the main points of the story.
    • Have them draw a picture or paint (depending on how patient you are feeling that day)of their favorite part of the story.  Ask them questions like, why was this your favorite part, how did this story make you feel?
    • I also LOVE Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners.
  •  I am not a big fan of sticking children in front of the television but some days are just like that.  I figure if they are going to watch it, it might as well be edifying.  Get on Youtube to find videos of bible stories that you have read in the past.  This helps to reinforce what they have already learned.  You can also click on my “Books” tab to find some of my recommendations from amazon.

 

Suggestions for helping children memorize scripture (works for young and old, repetition is key).

  • It is helpful to have visual charts when working with children.
  • Put a scripture for the month on a poster board or note card and post them in prominent areas of the home such as the bathroom mirror, child’s bedroom door, above bed, and refrigerator.
  • Use illustrations to go with the pictures for those children that cannot read. The picture cues will help them to remember the scriptures.
  • As a family come up with different gestures for words of the scripture.
    • Example: If you are learning a scripture that has the word pray in it, you can have the children fold their hands as if they are praying whenever they get to the word pray in the scripture.
  • Young children tend to learn really quickly when the material is put to song. It does not  matter if you cannot sing, the children don’t care.
  • Look for ways in everyday life to teach children how to live out the scripture.  This encourages them to be doers of the word & not hearers only.
  •  Teach children key scriptures.
    • Examples include: John 3:16, The Lord’s Prayer Mathew 6:9-13,  Psalm 23, Ephesians 6:1.
    • To help the children and yourself learn these scriptures, you can make up your own family tune to the scripture and learn a new verse each month.   Again do not assume that they are too young to learn it, kids learn well through repetition.  Make time each day to review the selected verse.  It does not always have to be sitting down. Perhaps its in the car running errands or as you are washing dishes and they are playing nearby, make the time.

 Have daily confessions with your children including scriptures.

  • This is a good time to incorporate any prophetic words that have been spoken concerning your children; this helps them to be mindful of their destiny even at a young age.
    • Example.  If you know God has called your child to  preach you can have the child say something like, “I thank you God that I am a preacher.”  He may not have a clue as to what all of this means but the seeds are planted at a young age.
  • Also use this time to help your child understand what God is requiring of her.
    • Example: If you have a child that is having difficulty obeying, you can have the child learn Ephesians 6:1 in a personal way.  Have the child say something like this:  “God I thank you that I will honor mommy and daddy in the Lord for this is right!”  You may not see immediate results, but as the word gets in his spirit & you teach him ways to line up, you will see a shift.
  • I also like to use this time to introduce some key truths to the Christian faith.  For example, my 3 year old goes through what I like to call a daily confession. I ask him his name, his age, who loves him, who died for his sins, and who healed him.  I want him to understand early on that he is loved by us, but more importantly he is loved by Jesus.  I want him to really get that the blood of Jesus is the only thing that can save him from his sins.  Isaiah has an awesome testimony of how God healed him as an infant.  I do not want him to EVER forget what Jesus did for him. As he gets older, we will build on this foundation; sharing truths such as the power that’s in the blood of Jesus, repenting of our sins,etc.
  • Watch the video below for an example.  Isaiah is not used to me recording him as he responds to my questions so for the first few seconds he is caught up in the camera.

 

 

Finally, below is a list of scriptures A-Z that I received when my oldest was in preschool.  I ABSOLUTELY love it and still use it today, even for my now 10 year old.  I tend to review this when we are in the car or on the weekends when we have an extended devotion.  Start with the letter A and work your way through the alphabet.  I also like to discuss what each scripture means with my children; going beyond memorizing to comprehending which I pray will lead to applying it.  Print it out and put on your refrigerator.  I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful.  Leave me a comment and let me know!

A-Z Memory Verse

 

A-All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

 

B-Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!  Acts 16:31

 

C-children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

 

D-Depart from evil do good seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

 

E– Enter by the narrow gate. Mathew 7:13

 

F-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

 

G-Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Mathew 28:19

 

H-Honor your father and mother Exodus 20:12

 

I-I am the way the truth and the life John 14:6

 

J-The just shall live by.  Romans 1:17

 

K-keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  Psalm 34:13

 

L-Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

 

M-Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Psalm 100:1

 

N– No servant can serve two masters. Mathew 6:24

 

O– Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!  Psalm 34:8

 

P-pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

Q-Quench not the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19

 

R-Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth. Ecclesiastes 12

 

S-Submit to God.  Resist the devil and He will flee from you. James 14:7

 

T–  “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10

 

U-Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  Psalm 127:1

 

V-Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Romans 12:19

 

W-Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Mathew 25:13

 

X-eXalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy.  Psalm 99:5

 

Y– Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

 

Z-Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments, O LORD.  Psalm 97:8

 

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They are not too young to be taught the word of God

I was so annoyed.  I needed to to get some work done and wanted them to leave me alone.  BUT. THEY. DID. NOT.  They won.  I pushed my cleaning agenda to the side and sat on the room floor with them.  It was ONLY 9:30am and we had already had multiple meltdowns, wiping runny noses, toilet breaks that interrupted my cleaning flow…WE ALL NEEDED a word.  I must say I did not start off with a willing heart,  my mind was on all that had to be accomplished.  BUT I KNEW it was needed.  I grabbed for an old kids bible song book and was flooded with a lot of pleasant memories.  It was the same song book that I used 10 years ago when I began my journey as a stay at home mom.  I had no clue what I was in for.  I had much zeal back then as a new mother, often striving for an illusive perfection.  But from a sincere heart, I wanted more than ever for my sweet little girl to grow to love My Jesus.  I desired for her to make a choice to serve him at a young age and stick with that choice; avoiding some of the mistakes of her mother.  So my journey began with teaching her the word of God through song.

I have changed a lot since then but the desire for all of my children to know Jesus remains.  So with dirty dishes in the sink, and clothes that needed to be ironed, I sat on the floor with the younger three, opening the song book and began to sing “Jesus loves me.”  Well, let me rephrase that. We all sat on the floor.  I began to sing Jesus loves me (off key if I may add) while Faith climbed all over me.  Isaiah and Elijah were everything BUT attentive. They were too busy fighting over another book.  But I wasn’t the least bit deterred. I kept on singing. Elijah realized I wasn’t going to stop so he decided to join in and I suspect with time Isaiah and Faith will get the clue.  After our mini praise and worship I read a short bible story with half of a captive audience.  That 15 minute “interruption” changed the course of our day. There was a noticeable shift in attitudes. I especially had to take note of Elijah’s willingness to help clean up. Let me tell you, that was a major miracle because this boy becomes an instant attorney/politician when work is required of him. He can tell you every reason why he is not able to clean.

Parents often become discouraged when sharing the word of God with younger children. We feel like they are not attentive enough and aren’t really “getting” it. The temptation is there to wait until they can sit long enough to really pay attention and ask deep theological questions. But I want to encourage you with this truth today, more is registering than you realize.  Changes are being made in their spirits. Start sharing the word of God today even if it is just in song.  God knows how to take our efforts and do a work in our children beyond what we can see.  They are never too young.

I invite you to visit my site again because I will be posting some practical ways to share the word of God with young children.  In the mean time, I would love to hear the strategies you use to share the word of God with your children.  Please leave a comment below.

Faith’s story part 3

Read part 1 and part 2 of Faith’s story if you haven’t done so already.

After 14 days on bed rest, I began to have contractions. I called my husband late that night letting him know it was show time. They gave me a shot to stop the contractions. It worked for a little while. However by the next morning the contractions increased and there was no denying that our baby girl was ready to enter the world. They quickly rushed me to the labor and delivery room. The nurses ran down the hall as they pushed my hospital bed with my husband right behind them. It was like a scene from a movie. They didnt want to take any chances considering all the unknown factors. I was given a shot to prevent bleeding on the baby’s brain because she was going to be 10 weeks premature. The shot made me sick to my stomach. I was dizzy, had a pounding headache and felt disoriented. After waiting a while, the contractions slowed down again. They however decided to keep me in labor and delivery because everything was so unpredictable.

Tyrone went home to take care of some things hoping that we had bought more time. I was famished, I begged to eat something because I had not eaten from the night before when all the action began. I was placed on a liquid diet, and let me tell you jello and flavored ice never tasted so good. Later that evening the contractions started again. Tyrone was called again, and this time we knew that it was actually going to happen. In addition to my doctor, nurse, and husband my room was filled with staff from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) getting the incubator ready. It was such a surreal moment. My husband and I tried to be “normal” and carry on conversations between contractions but we both knew that our current predicament was everything but normal. In a few hours we would know if God had answered the way we desired concerning Faith. I believe the anticipation surrounding Faith’s health distracted me from the pain I was feeling with the contractions. All along I was praying that all would be well.

The NICU doctor preparing for Faith's arrival in my delivery room.

The NICU doctor preparing for Faith’s arrival in my delivery room.

The contractions became more intense and closer together and after two pushes on May 14th at 10:29pm, Faith Serenity Jones made her debut into the world. Tyrone did not cut her umbilical cord like he had done for our other 5 children. Neither of us got to hold her or see what she looked liked. She was immediately rushed to the NICU. So after 30 weeks of uncertainty, numerous visits to different doctors, 15 days on bed rest, I had no tiny feet or sweet cheeks to kiss. No baby to nurse. I had given birth but no crying baby in my arms to prove it. I felt absolutely numb and empty. No words can truly express what I was feeling.

This remained empty after Faith's birth  because she was not with me in my room.  She was in the NICU.  No words to fully express that feeling.

This remained empty after Faith’s birth because she was not with me in my room. She was in the NICU. No words to fully express that feeling.

My husband and I sat in that room and waited for over two hours with so many unanswered questions about our baby girl. What did she look like? Was she struggling for life? Were all the possible diagnosis true? We tried to carry on normal conversation but we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. I sent a text out to all those praying with us and waiting to hear news, and the only news I could share was her name. No weight or height, no pictures attached, just that she was here. It was as if time stopped for me.

After a very long wait, we received news that we could go down to the NICU to see baby Faith. I was very happy to see Faith, but it was also kind of a scary sight. She was literally skin and bone, she was so small ( weighing only 2p 6 oz 15 inches long). She had so many cords over her tiny body and a tube over her mouth for oxygen. Her facial features weren’t very noticeable because of all the equipment on her face. But I needed someone, anyone to answer the nagging questions, was my baby ok, did she have any heart defects, was their bleeding on her brain, did she have a chromosomal abnormality?

Tired but very thankful parents meeting Faith for the first time.

Tired but very thankful parents meeting Faith for the first time.

We were told that Faith had a tiny hole in her heart but it was expected to close on its own. As the days went on, more test were done. No bleeding on her brain, no chromosomal abnormality, no heart defect. Praise God, other than her low birth weight Faith was fine. Faith was healed!

She however had to remain in the NICU for 1 month to grow. That proved to be another adventure. The hospital was 30 minutes from our home and we struggled with maintaining some sense of normalcy with the other five children at home, while trying to go and see Faith. The children always looked forward to visiting their baby sister in the NICU but we were all ready for her to come home. It was a very tiring season but we thank God for his grace. After a month, we were given the news we had been praying for, our baby girl could come home!

As Faith grew and got stronger we were able to hold her.

As Faith grew and got stronger we were able to hold her.

 

Faith and big brother Isaiah,  another NICU graduate.

Faith and big brother Isaiah, another NICU graduate.

 

Naomi's first time holding Faith.  She was beyond thrilled!

Naomi’s first time holding Faith. She was beyond thrilled!

So here we are, a little over a year later and we have celebrated Faith’s 1st birthday.  She is petite and healthy.  For this we are thankful, God is indeed faithful!

Faith on her 1st Birthday!

Faith on her 1st Birthday!

Faith posing by her birthday backdrop created by Naomi.

Faith posing by her birthday backdrop created by Naomi.

Faith’s Story Part 2

If you havent done so already, you may want to read part 1 of Faith’s story.

All five children had a dentist appointment. The plan was for me to take them to the dentist and then go and pick Tyrone up from work and head to Costco (the highlight of my day). It was a very long dentist visit and as I was sitting in the waiting room for the last child to finish her cleaning, I knew something was wrong. Right there in the dentist office my amniotic sac broke and began to leak, how about that for an adventure? I remained calm, left the dentist office with all five children in tow. I went to pick Tyrone up from work and as he was entering the van, he could hear me speaking on the phone with my doctor. She instructed me to go to the hospital right away so that I could be examined. Believe it or not, I was trying to see if we could make the trip to Costco before going to the hospital. My very wise husband decided against it.

Tyrone let me out at the hospital so I could go and get examined and he went to park the van. By the time he made it in with all five kids, I had been examined. I kindly asked the nurse to tell him what she had just shared with me. She looked at my husband and informed him that my water did break and I had to be admitted to the hospital and would remain UNTIL I DELIVERED THE BABY. I really wish I had a camera at that moment to capture the look on both of our faces. WHAT?!!! NO!!!!! We have five children. I have things to do. I have end of the year papers to sign and special programs to attend at the kids school. I have things at home to prepare before the baby arrives. I STILL HAVE TO GO TO COSTCO!

There was no negotiating, I had to remain in the hospital on bed rest. They were concerned about infections and they wanted the baby to stay in as long as possible considering I was only 28 weeks gestation. So the papers were signed, and there I was just like that on on bed rest. They gave me steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop quickly, the shot was more effective 48 hours after it was given. So another layer was added to the wait and see game. Not only did the baby remain in my womb for that initial 48 hours but she remained for a total of 15 days. This was a huge blessings because every extra day was beneficial.

The nurses in the hospital were absolutely amazing and did their best to make me feel comfortable. We received so much support,help, prayer, meals and words of encouragement from various individuals. We were certainly grateful for the help. Tyrone was doing double duty, his job and mine. However I must confess that it was extremely difficult for me to not be the one doing it all, after all I am THE wife and mother. Perhaps there was some pride mixed in there…who am I kidding? Yes! It was pride. I had no choice but to relinquish control because we desperately needed help.

People kept on asking me if I was bored and the answer was always no. I really missed being at home with my husband and children, that was the most difficult part. It was definitely a challenge being still. But the Lord really used this time to minister to me in some profound ways and he also opened the door for me to minister to some of the individuals that came to my room. For those that know me, I am rarely at a loss for words. This personality trait came in handy while on bed rest. I had lots of conversation with the nurses and different visitors.

For the 15 days that I was on bed rest, there was not a day that went by that I did not think about my baby’s health. What would be the outcome? As I was in that hospital room, I would lay hands on my womb and decree that the baby was well. But there were moments where fear crept in and whispered, “what if?” God told me to trust him and what I had learned is that putting my trust in God didn’t always mean the story would play out the way it was scripted in my mind. A greater level of trust required me to believe that no matter how the story ended, it was all going to be for my good.

So after 15 long days, on May 14, 2013 Our baby girl began to show signs that she was ready to enter the world. Click here part three to read what happened next.