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Posts Tagged ‘The Mom Initiative’

feedsheepccc“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter – you and me, too.

“Yes”, Peter answered.

Jesus told Peter – and you and me – “Feed my lambs. . . . Shepherd my sheep. . . . Feed my Sheep” (John 21: 15-19)

Last year, my family chose to sponsor through Compassion International an 11 year old boy in Haiti. He is one of those lambs that need feeding, literally and spiritually. My support allows for others to spiritually mother and father this boy – and it allows those spiritual parenting hands to fill bowls and make soul-contact that I cannot because I am so far away.

Christians are a faith people commissioned to take the gospel to the world, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to feed God’s lambs. Yet, as we minister to the great needs of those around the world, it is equally important to not neglect the mission fields in our own communities, from backyards to school yards to church yards – all filled with children and young adults who cry out to be fed and shepherded. 

It is a daunting mission-field, filled with the churched and un-churched – wearing rebellion, disinterest, eschewing group-think and God-think, daring others to look beneath the tattoos and piercings, the black clothes and saggy pants – daring you to find the beauty beneath because they have trouble finding it themselves.

“There are teens with bigger problems,” someone once told me about a churched teen, setting on a rebellion path.

“It’s all in the parenting,” someone else said about an un-churched teen not interested in God the Father because maybe he’s never experience a Shaddai-kind of father.

“There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers[mothers] willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up” (1 Cor 4:15).

I’m going to tell you straight up – I think it’s easy to send letters and financial support to a little boy in Haiti who needs. It’s not so easy to walk into the neighborhood mission field, where souls not only wear wrappings to discourage, daring you to come closer, but who fluently push back in your own language – who maybe through that pushing back allow you to feel as uncomfortable and graceless as they feel in this big old world.

When our children – yours and mine do this – we push right back, we reach right in, both physically and spiritually. But there are children – regardless of the age – who might not have a parent who is able, for various reasons, to fight that spiritual battle, to stand in the gap, to weather the ugly storm and fight for them.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asked. . . . “Feed my lambs”. . . “Shepherd my sheep”. . . “Feed my sheep.”

Not just my lambs . . . all the lambs: the lambs He puts in our path between our kitchen counter and the school desks our kids sit in or the sports field we walk on or the pew we sit in. It’s not just a one time feeding, a one time foray. It is a continual going back, our footsteps creating a path of familiarity.

“The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Spiritual mothers and fathers care enough to slog through spiritual poverty and hunger, through a minefield of emotions that our country’s children seem to battle, so many inside things that tear at them – these spiritual mothers and fathers slog through to carry soul keys to help youth and adults unlock who they are in Christ.

Are you a spiritual mother or father in your community? Are you willing to reach through uncomfortable barriers? To be challenged? To shepherd through real relationship?

Spiritual Parents do that – love children beyond their own, fight for them, push back, get uncomfortable, don’t give up in the ugliness of the challenge.

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. You don’t have to take foster classes – though both are good. You just need to make your hearts available from your kitchen counter into the school rooms, the sports fields, the church pews and in-between. God will bring them – if you will love them.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asked. . . . “feed my lambs. . . shepherd my sheep. . . feed my sheep.”

 

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Edmund_blair_leighton_accoladeA soul that doesn’t recognize that a relationship with Yahweh is as important to his development as his physical DNA, cannot grow into the man they were designed to be.

Before God was stripped out of our schools, off library bookshelves, community meetings, commencement addresses, curriculum, or our government, school shootings, from Columbine to the UC- Santa Barbara killings weren’t a thread in the tapestry of our history.

Please join me over at The Mom Initiative today for the rest of my post, for why our boys need to know they are God-Designed.

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My husband isn’t an ink-and-paper-love-letter-kind of guy, but he writes love letters to me every day, in big and little ways.

In graduate school, I had to translate French 78% successfully in order to earn my degree. In knitting, I have to translate the abbreviations and the directions so my slouchy hat looked, well, slouchy and my sock scarf had heels and toes. In my marriage, I translate my husband’s actions into love letters – because that’s how he tells me he loves me.

translatinglovelettersI’m over at The Mom Initiative for the Week of Love and Gift Giveaway with my post Translating Love Letters. Won’t you join me?

I’m learning that sometimes when I try to do extra-nice things, extra-unpleasant things happen. The subway steak and cheese sandwiches for under-weather boys after a long work day? It didn’t play out like I’d planned. I locked my keys in the van – both sets.

There I was pressed against the mini-van for leverage, wedging the flat wooden spatula between the car door and frame, on a bitterly cold Friday night without the delightful benefit of snowflakes.

Come to save me, side-by-side with me, worked my husband. No fussing, remonstrating for my carelessness, no complaints about the bitter cold, no eye-rolling as I cheered him on – just a “not so loud” once or twice – ‘cause you know heroes don’t like their good deeds announced.

Every now and then, my husband’s cold, freckled hand would reach over mine, re-securing the wedge as he maneuvered the wire hanger, attempting to trigger the un-lock button.

It reminded me of a time 30 years ago, just-married, in an apartment with no telephone, television or hot water for the first 3 months we were married. The $150 deposit was a big chunk for two college students starting life together – so we held off paying as long as possible.

“We’re going to look back at this as the best of times,” he promised. Honestly, I hoped they would get better – maybe I wouldn’t have to boil water to flush the toilet when the downstairs tenants went home for Christmas because they turned the heat off.

A woman once told me she had divorced her husband because he hadn’t loved her, he hadn’t given her the words.

I asked if he had done things for her, like build a raised-garden bed, lay creek-bed stones for a path, change the brakes, paint walls corn-silk yellows and put together bookcases, coach their kids in soccer, basketball and baseball, mentor through a science-fair project, lay wood floors?

He had, she said, done all kinds of things for her – but she wanted the words. She couldn’t translate his actions into the love letter they were.

Standing there, in the bitterly cold, snow-less night 30 years later, I thought how we’re still a committed team, got each other’s back and still crazy love each other enough to try and unlock a car door on our own (apparently locksmiths don’t answer their phones on Friday night).

Standing there watching my husband in the parking lot glow – I thought how eloquent is my husband’s love for me – not in words, but his actions – his actions translate into a beautiful love letter, written just for me.

The best of times didn’t just happen 30 years ago. They never stopped.

How does your husband express his love to you? Can you translate it into the love letter it is?

“The fire of love stops at nothing—
it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can’t drown love,
 torrents of rain can’t put it out” (Song of Solomon 8: 6b-7)

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“How’s it going? – A New Year? A New Day?” – question asked.

“Oh the same old, same old,” comes the cliched same old answer.

And it sounds so glass-half empty – so not new – so already faltering outside the New Year gate.

Sometimes, even on a shiny New Year day, that’s how I feel.

Laundry still piled up. Hungry mouths to feed. Teens still angsting – just maybe over different things. Trying to grow where I’m planted, though I find myself sometimes surprised about exactly where I am.

There’s a lot of same old, same old in my life . . . . I might be living in a same old, same old 24/7 world – but I am learning to live it with a mercies-renewed-each-morning attitude. Not like a one-time gift that we have to make last – with crazy glue and duct tape.

Won’t you join me over at  The Mom Initiative for the rest of this post. I am so excited to start my New Year there today!

 

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When “the same things” don’t work, a vigilant parent creates alternative strategies. Yet, what do you do when none of the alternative strategies don’t work.

The professionals might even say words like, “Lazy, Not Paying Attention,” “Stomach pain? It’s in their head.” “Rebellious.”

When lazy doesn’t match up. When the haunted look of pain in their eyes doesn’t match up. When doing the opposite of what you’re asked doesn’t match up? To the child’s heart. . . .

When nothing works. . . nothing . . . when the incentives don’t entice, the discipline – all those squats – don’t move behavior, when in-the-head pain is so bad it limits their abilities – to the point of risking social diminishment . . .

No child wants to be in pain. No child wants to be unsuccessful in school. Every teen wants to drive. To read more, follow me over to The Mom Initiative.

I’m over at The Mom Initiative,  a group of moms and a package of resources to equip, enable and support women as they experience Titus 2 in real life. – won’t you stop by to read further? Not only will you find my post, but you’ll find a group of  women who will encourage and pray for you. Click here or read below:

“You’re not doing the same things,” my husband said when I was working with my second son when he was 2, 3 and 4.

“Yes, I am,” I remember answering, somewhat frustrated. “The same things aren’t working.”

Regardless of the age, sometimes “the same things” don’t work. Developing children requires a diverse strategy arsenal.

For academic development, we used alphabet puzzles, flash cards, animal alphabet cards, Bob Books, Now I’m Reading Books. One learned to spell his name first in sign language. Another chose Garfield over classics – our home library is stuffed with Garfield, Snoopy, the classics, World War II literature, American history books. When two sons had trouble turning in assignments at school, I bought calendars, schedule books – and came up with the Trinity of Success.

For behavioral development, we dug into our arsenal of choices:“No,” corporal punishment, picking up rocks, squats. We even enacted take-aways: social events, media, games, phones, cars and other privileges.

For health and fitness, we’ve provided the right nutrition, the right amount of exercise, followed up with doctor’s visits for complaints that just won’t go away.

When “the same things” don’t work, a vigilant parent creates alternative strategies. Yet, what do you do when none of the alternative strategies don’t work.

The professionals might even say words like, “Lazy, Not Paying Attention,” “Stomach pain? It’s in their head.” “Rebellious.”

When lazy doesn’t match up. When the haunted look of pain in their eyes doesn’t match up. When doing the opposite of what you’re asked doesn’t match up? To the child’s heart. . . .

When nothing works. . . nothing . . . when the incentives don’t entice, the discipline – all those squats – don’t move behavior, when in-the-head pain is so bad it limits their abilities – to the point of risking social diminishment . . .

No child wants to be in pain. No child wants to be unsuccessful in school. Every teen wants to drive.

Behavior must match the child’s heart. The pieces to the puzzle must fit in cause/effect ways.

That’s a sign for out-of-the-box response – a solution revolution.

The solution revolution starts with prayer – hit-the-floor prayer.

Each time, within three days people crossed my path, providing pieces to these puzzles destroying my sons’ lives.

The solution revolution, once prayer is released will take you to the solution – to specialized responses beyond your knowledge and experience.

One son had Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Another son had severe esophagitus. Another son had ADD, not a behavior issue but a focus issue.

CAPD is like dyslexia of the ears. It has the ability to not only affect what you hear (background noise reduced this son’s hearing ability to 24%). He was hearing 2 out of 3 words correctly. It not only affected how he heard but how he learned math and language arts. He had to be taught to recognize the patterns. He also didn’t hear tone.  I don’t like to call it a disorder, though. Different shouldn’t equal disorder.

Another son suffered severe esophagitus from 1st to 6th grade. By 6th grade, he was running like someone’s grandma, unable to focus and concentrate due to the constant pain. The pediatrician said it was in his head. One specialist said it was a fiber issue. The aggressive specialist we eventually found said the pain was not located in an “in-your-head” place and scoped him. We had to totally change his diet. He had to re-develop his foundational muscles, rebuild his 6-pack. It’s hard sitting through a school day with intense stomach pain. He had to re-learn learning.

TrinityWhen turning homework in on time and organizational management – even with sports because long-term challenges. We thought it was rebellion and laziness – so did the teachers. Until an ADD adult described “living and working in a fog,” creating an inability to complete projects – we had no clue. Discipline and incentive couldn’t lead the way out of that fog.

When you’ve tried everything you know. When you’ve tried main-stream solutions.  When you’ve taken everything away or even promised much as incentive. When you’ve implemented punishment – and nothing works.

It’s time to think out of the box. It’s time for a solution revolution.

What has your family experienced that has made you look for a solution revolution?

 

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