Category Archives: PARENTING
Over the last few days I have read countless blogs about Miley Cyrus and how we were all sexually violated by her performance at the VMA's. If you didn't catch it, just know that there was a stripper-like, self-deprecating display of hip movement and horrible singing in front of millions of viewers, and Jesus.
Writers of blogs from every genre are talking about how surprising her behavior was. And Christian bloggers have taken it upon themselves to personally offer her some sort of official grace and forgiveness on behalf of all of us, while sharing their genuine concern about the condition of her heart.
Was her performance disturbing? YES. Surprising? NO.
Come on people. It's YOUR fault. It's OUR fault. We did this to her. The American people. The society who cares only about themselves and the wants of their children. We did this!
We bought the Hannah Montana wigs. We purchased the $200 concert tickets for our seven year olds. We told her by our actions, and by allowing our kids to idolize her that her value was found in what she did and not who she was. We have even told her that she can sing. And we ALL know that's not the truth.
We are a selfish people who love to exploit the lives off others. Our first world, spoiled curiosity enables paparazzi to shamelessly follow every movement of every star. We buy the magazines. We listen to the E! reporters. We watch the VMAs.
This is a sad, silent epidemic. As adults, we allow behavior, and dare I say encourage certain behavior, in children whether they are stars or not. And when these kids act out, or have dysfunctional lives, or sadly commit suicide, we want to blame everything and everyone else but ourselves.
But it's our fault. We raise children to believe they are infinite. We raise children to believe their actions have no life-long or eternal consequences. Our children live without boundaries, with the freedom to make too many of their own decisions without the knowledge or the maturity to handle the outcomes. We want our kids to be happy. And because of that, young people commit suicide, teenagers hate themselves, young men think that true power is in sex and money and young girls think love is found in relationship with any boy who has money and wants to have sex. Because of that, Miley Cyrus…
and Brittany Spears
and Heath Ledger
and Lee Thompson Young
and Cory Monteith
and Amanda Bynes
and River Phoenix
and all the kids who attend your child's school, and fill the rooms of your children's ministry and show up for Youth Night. And that kid who skateboards on the sidewalk with his headphones on. And that kid who throws a crazy tantrum at the restaurant when you are trying to eat in peace. And that kid you tuck in at night.
They all need us. They need us to be more. They need us to do more than passively sit by and be entertained by their pain. They need us to stop waiting for them to destroy their lives so we can offer grace and forgiveness. They need us to show them love through justice and a standard to be accountable to as they go and as they grow. They need more than what we are giving them.
So when you talk about Miley, or read tweets about her, or consider her, consider yourself and how YOU need to change–not her.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world -Mahatma Gandhi
Our Arena Football season has come to an end, and we walked out of the Tampa Bay Times Forum holding a trophy. And not just any trophy, but the championship trophy. We barely won, 8-6. But a win is a win, and we took it home when it counted! Well, I say “we” but what I really mean is Cody. Cody is my 5'9″ 13 year old, beast of a center. He has perfect snaps every. single. time. and will protect his quarterback no matter the cost! Ok, now I'm done bragging. (well, maybe.)
Cody's team had two weeks to prepare for the final game against the only team that ever beat them–by one point. Week one, Cody was sick, sick, sick and couldn't get out of bed, much less practice. The rest of the team practiced twice without pads. Week two, the Tropical Storm Andrea messed it all up for us Floridians, so there went one more practice out the window, and then a few hours of walk through. With the BIG game coming up, this wasn't exactly the hard work that was needed for the BIG win.
The team we went up against practiced in pads four days a week for two weeks. They were focused and ready to win the game. But they didn't. The team worked hard, and it didn't pay off–not with a WIN, anyway.
That's what we tell our kids, if you work hard you will be successful. If you do the work you will win! Practice, sacrifice, do what you have to! But sometimes, it doesn't work out that way. Sometimes the other team is just better.
I think of that in my life, when I find myself envious of someone else's _______. It's hard for me to swallow the reality that the someone else is just better. That's just the way it is sometimes. We want to always win the trophy, publish the book, get the job, be the best mom…and we want that for our kids. But to tell them that they will always win–to tell ourselves that we will always win–is missing the point.
Life is never about the trophy here in this world, it's about the rewards in Heaven. Of course we don't want to wait! But the waiting will be worth it. Even if you don't ever get the recognition you deserve, or the trophy you worked hard for, just remember that God sees. God sees!
You Are Loved.
My family is on a journey. We are currently searching for a new church. So for the first time in years, I get to sit with the rest of the normal people, and not work. I don’t have to set up, I don’t have to tear down. I don’t have to worry about lighting or sound or if the program is communicating. I don’t have to analyze if our people make others feel welcome. Nobody, or very few people, know me. And so I sit there. And pretty much go crazy.
This year begins my 12th year in ministry. That’s a really long time. So I’m not quite sure what actual congregation protocol is. If I was in a Baptist or Catholic church, I would most likely know to be careful because “Jesus is watching.” But in the community church, everyone is accepted, no one is condemned. There’s just love…love…love…until….
You pull out your phone. Then you get the glares, the glances, the sneers, the disapprovals. Honestly, I’ve seen some people act all crazy with their phone in church. In fact, I’ve yelled at my kids for using their phones during worship and busted some friends texting other friends, from a phone hid inside of their purse. I judge. What can I say? But Sunday I decided to use my phone as a distraction of my unhealthy need to serve and analyze and “consult” as I like to call it. I launched my Bible App and looked up the scripture that was already on the screens. Then I posted the Scripture that jumped out at me on Facebook so the world (well, the world that is mine) could be just as inspired. For the record, I think I got 12 ‘likes’.
I made notes in my Notes App. I watched my kids out of the corner of my eyes. They were on their phones too. But they weren’t looking up Scripture, no they were creating Vines and Texting. So when the pastor got to the part of his sermon where I knew my kids needed to pay attention, I text them. I asked them the same question that the pastor asked the congregation, but my kids responded to me. And so I encouraged them, and threw a nugget of truth at them via text message. I connected with them the way I knew they would respond.
Now I know some you guys are thinking, “How wretched. This mother encouraging such disgraceful behavior!” While others are thinking, “So!?”
But I think this is a big deal. It worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay or not okay. Whether or not we use personal technology in church is a game changer. It will determine the culture of how our churches grow and function. It will determine who we reach. It will determine how we connect.
What do you think?
Is it okay to text in church, even if there is no way to police what people are doing?
Should Cell Phones and iPads be discouraged during service?
What is your church’s stance on personal technology during sermons?
Today was wonderful. It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner. I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful. All day today was about mothers.
I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with. (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!) Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom. I know, I am a mom.
Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me. Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything. My husband works long, crazy hours. My kids are –well, they are kids. I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that. (yah, right! My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me. This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….
At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement. That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled. I deserved it. Damn it, I earned it!
In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family. I love taking care of my family. In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things. Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post. Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything. I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to. Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do? Absolutely. But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me. And I want it everyday. Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.
Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything. It’s a day to do a heart-check.
Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?
Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it?
Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives?
Love God first, everything will come easier!
You are loved,
Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:
“Mom, I have a headache.”
“Do you need me to come get you?”
“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”
“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”
Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:
“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “
And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:
“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”
So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.
But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:
“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1
Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:
“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.
But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.
When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.
What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?
What is your worst day ever with your kids?
Share with me!