Archive for October 2013

My Mom’s Wisdom – “You’re too pretty to…”

As I sat in church next to my sweet teenage niece, I couldn’t help but notice that she chewed and picked on the skin around her nails throughout the entire service.  I tried to decide whether to just let it go or say something.  I sent up a quick prayer asking my Father to give Auntie Kara wisdom as to what to do.  Later in the hour, He gave me my answer.  I remembered doing exactly the same thing as a teen and my mom kindly saying, “Kara, you’re to pretty to pick at your nails like that!”  Brilliant, she was!  In that one simple sentence, she knew that the sincere compliment would mean enough to me that it would impact my action better than if she had just incessantly nagged at me about not doing the unsightly habit.   “Lord, please give me such wisdom in my words as I parent my children!” 

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5


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Teachable Moment – Name Calling

3rd grade began this year for my son, Jake, with hearing rumors of some of the 4th grade boys thinking of a name to call the 3rd grade boys.  My son was on the fringe of all of this and pretty much unaffected.  So, I don’t know the whole scoop.  However, it presented some great teachable moments to discuss name calling.  First of all, it was important to find out if the 4th graders were intending to be hurtful or playful.  Then, I asked what my son’s approach would be if they started calling them this name in a hurtful way. 

Our pastor, Buddy, recently shared a perfect example from his college days.  Being a die-hard Auburn fan, he went with a friend to a rival team’s game, sporting an Auburn jersey.  During the game, an inebriated rival fan got in Buddy’s face and started yelling at him.  Buddy’s friend stood up and said, “If you want him, you gotta’ go through me!”  Neither my pastor or his friend were looking for a fight.  But his friend had the guts to stand up to the bully and was even able to talk him down.   In his sermon where this example was used, Buddy referenced this verse.   

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

The bigger point of the sermon was living out and sharing our faith despite our circumstances.  I realized that for Jake, standing up for what is right on the playground is what that looks like in his 3rd grade world.  Though my karate kid would love to swing into action in such a circumstance, we discussed what would be a more appropriate approach…a more “self-disciplined” one.  Just like Buddy’s friend, I challenged my kids to be the kind of friend that stands up for others and for what is right.  And, they can try to do that with “power, love, and self-discipline.” 

It turns out that the principal handled the situation so there was no need for Jake to intervene.   Simultaneously however, there was a friend of his who had a nickname that I felt needed to be addressed in light of our discussion on name calling.  One of Jake’s friends in his class is a good deal taller and bigger than the rest of the kids.  I overheard that his friends were calling him, “The Giant.”  When I questioned Jake about whether his friend was ok with this or not, Jake said he was and that he knew they were just teasing.  Be that as it may, I know what it’s like as I was called “Too-Tall Kara” in the 4th grade for the same reasons.  While it didn’t truly bother me either, I shared with Jake that I would have appreciated a friend checking with me just to be sure.  I challenged Jake to pull his friend aside and find out how he really felt about the nickname.  He did and the friend is indeed ok with it.  I told Jake I was proud of him for being a good enough friend to ask him. 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14


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Grace in Parenting

Grace.  That word carries such peace within it.  It means not getting what we deserve.  God loves us no matter what!  This is a principle we try to speak of often with our children.  Just as God loves us all unconditionally, so do we as parents love them.  We ALL sin and make mistakes and are in need of God’s grace.  We say regularly that there is nothing they could ever do that could keep us from loving them.  We may be grieved at their actions, but we will still love each of them as a person.  We remind them that they can come to God and us for forgiveness for anything.  In this day in age where suicide is sadly a too common way out, we want it engrained in our children that they can always, always, always turn to us and God…no matter how bad they think the situation is. 

“Does this mean we can do anything we want?” a precocious or wise child might wonder?   Romans 6 helps answer that question.  “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”   Romans 6:1-4

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. 
Ephesians 1:7

This sign hangs above our pantry and I love the daily reminder.  The older I get, the more  I realize how broken we all are and how much we are need of grace from God and each other. 


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Teachable Moment – Honesty

“You pray for us to get in trouble?!?!” my kids asked in wide eyed disbelief?  “No,”  I explained, “I don’t wish for you to get in trouble.  However, we all make mistakes.  It’s easier and better to learn from them when we are young.  So, if there are issues that need to addressed, I pray that God allows them to be uncovered so your daddy and I can help teach you through them.”

This discussion was in response to my commenting that a lie that had been discovered was an answer to prayer.  The issue of honesty in my children had been heavy on my heart because I could see one of my kiddos tending in the direction of dishonesty.  I began to fervently pray that God would give me and Tim clear opportunities to address the issue and for the Lord to work in the child’s heart.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the incident.  Tim had just finished up jury duty and the judge shared with the panel that he had recently sentenced a woman to 14 days in prison for lying.  Had she told the truth, she still would have been fined, but spared the prison term.  Tim explained to the kids that it’s similar for us with parenting them.  If they do something wrong, there will be a consequence.  However, if they do something wrong and try to cover it up with a lie, the consequence will be multiplied many times.  

We asked the kids whether they thought we were being loving or mean by teaching enforcing these values.  The jury example helped them connect that we love them enough to help them learn these things now, in order to spare them harsher consequences as adults.  As far as honesty goes, Luke 16:10 (see below) is in frequent discussion at our home.  Whether we can trust them in piddly little things that they might be tempted to think are no big deal, determines whether we can trust them later on with babysitting, driving, etc.  Their choices do indeed have short and long term consequences. 

Grace.  After a heavy discussion like this, I appreciated that Tim reminded the kids that we know they are going to make mistakes (we still do!) and that we will always love them (and so will God)…no matter what! 

Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
Psalm 120:2

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,
and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10

Honest is the best policy.
(There’s disagreement in research about who said this first.)


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