HOW NOT EATING CHANGED ME

At the beginning of May I entered into a 21 day fast. It was the second time I've done this crazy thing. But what I found even crazier is that there are people who have been Christians forever and ever and ever who have never ever fasted before.

Now I'm not super Christian who fasts all the time and does everything right and who is always obedient–in fact I'm quite the opposite. Just a few nights ago you could have found me fully clothed, sitting in an empty bathtub with the shower curtain closed screaming at God because he doesn't seem to be listening.

This was the very reason I began my 21-day fast because I needed God to listen, and more than that I needed Him to speak. I have been drowning in grief and confusion and every voice I heard was muffled and water logged, so I exhausted myself wondering if it was God speaking, or simply one of the echoes of my temper tantrums that daily emerged. I needed to empty myself…to empty my stomach…to remove distractions and caffeine and all the things I love so the sounds of my heart could maybe become audible.

This fast: no bread, no sugar, no meat and water only. Not quite as strict as my last one, but no less difficult–I love me some caffeine…I LOVE me some bread, I adore, absolutely addictively adore, sugar. I knew my soul needed Jesus more than my tastebuds needed anything. And so I embarked.

For twenty one days:

I prayed and prayed.

I read scripture.

I cried.

I yelled.

I discovered some really ugly…like really ugly parts of me.

And He answered.

Not every single thing in the way I hoped, or in the timing I wished for. In fact daily I'm still going before the throne and praying for a specific miracle. But I emerged with a new perspective, well..mostly.

With every fast comes the specific requests. Mine were personal and filled with hope.

Please lift depression from my daughter and give her vision for her life.

Please give me some sort of vision for my own life, because why do I wake up every morning?

Please please please break this financial bondage that we are in. Too many years, too much stress, too many curses.

Please just fill us. Empty our lives of us and fill us up with you.

God has answered my prayers for my daughter, given me a new hope in him, even though I hate it here still. He has filled us up, drawing us each nearer to him–however, we are still broke.

Fasting isn't realllllly about having Jesus wave his wand and bless you, answering all of your prayers because you so sacrificially deny yourself of something you love. What it's reallllly about is you becoming less like you and more like Him. He will answer prayer, but only if it's in your best interest. He will answer prayer but only if you have a heart change first. He will answer prayer but only if it transforms you–making you less and Him more.

Him more. In your mind…your heart….your thoughts…your requests.

I'm not hating because he didn't methodically check off my list of requests. I'm loving because I am free in a way I wasn't free on April 30th.

I'm a work in progress–and so are you

So plan on fasting with me.

For three days:

July 1

July 2

July 3

And the rest of this week I will convince you why …. I will show you how he worked in my daughter's life. I will envision you with the vision He gave me. I will explain the importance of obedience and fasting and obediently fasting. And we will do it together…Changing our hearts, and changing the World…solely for Him.

Are You In?

Comment and Share with me your emphatic or reluctant “YES!” And stick around the blog this week…

LG|LP Tiff

 

MY RESPONSE TO ‘SHOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CHILD SHARE’

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family, an Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Popsugar recently published an article that has gone viral in the parenting world. Why I Don’t Make My Son Share focuses on real life scenarios with pre-schoolers who struggle in a world of determining what is mine, what is yours and what is ours. Granted, preschoolers, and actually most children, are territorial in they find a sense of comfort and security in things. But is it so wrong to teach children to share?

In fact, there are many aspects of your child to take into consideration when teaching the “sharing lesson.” The first and foremost is the age of the child. Not all aged children can be taught the same lesson in the same way. Depending on the developmental age of the child will depend on how they respond. A toddler does not have the reasoning or abstract thinking skills of a 2nd grader, or even a preschool child. Teaching “sharing” is more difficult with a toddler because in their mind, everything in the entire world exists for them.

Regardless of age or anything else for that matter, I believe we should teach our children to share.

Here are a few comments from the article and my thoughts:

“I think it’s a great disservice to to teach him (the child) that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it.”

I agree. We are a generation of parents who teach our kids to remain toddlers their entire lives by feeding the lie that the world exists simply for them. I think the concept of sharing has absolutely nothing to do with the idea found in the above statement. To me the concept of sharing isn’t about entitlement it’s about serving.

Sharing has less to do with the child who wants the toy than with the child who has the power to be kind. The hope of the lesson of sharing is ‘pay it forward’. If I share with you, then you share with her. Along with the problematic sense of entitlement in the Ygeneration is also the sense of selfishness and lack of ability to work as team or within a family. Sharing encourages working together. To me there is nothing wrong with that–actually our kids need to learn all the characteristics of teamwork such as negotiation, communication and fairnes.

In addition, by not teaching your child to share the sense of entitlement simply shifts from the child who wants the toy to the child who has the toy. All I can visualize are all the seagulls in Finding Nemo chirping, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

As a Christian parent one of the most important lesson we can teach our children can be found in these passages:

I Corinthians 10:26 “the earth and everything in it belongs to God.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share-it’s not yours!”

Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; praise the name of the Lord.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share- or I’m taking it away.”

“…think about your own day-to-day adult life. You wouldn’t cut in front of someone in the grocery checkout line just because you didn’t feel like waiting.”

Hopefully as an adult, by now I would have been taught kindness and social graces, so no, in fact, I would not cut in line at the store. Even most small children know that when you go to the store you have to wait in line, because they’ve been taught.

Teaching the concept of sharing is basically the same. It takes time, trials and persistence. The ideology of sharing is transcendent. Teaching sharing is not just about toys or things. Sharing is a deeply rooted part of every aspect of life. We share our time with others. When we grow up, we share our lives and our toothpaste with our spouse. We share our emotions with one another. We share life. People who do not share life with one another are found to be miserable and lonely. Our entire lives center around the concept of sharing. My hope is that because I’ve taught my children to share, someday when they are grown they might just let someone cut in front of them in line at the grocery store, just to be nice!

“Let’s teach our kids how to cope with disappointment because it happens.”

Yes, disappointment is a horrible part of life. But each lesson in life needs to be taught in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I’m not sure disappointment should be the lesson taught along side the fundamental, and universal lesson of sharing. Disappointment is never intentionally taught by a person who loves you. Disappointment is the school of hard knocks. Life brings enough disappointment in itself. Perhaps better opportunities to teach a child to cope in disappointment are if your child doesn’t make the team at school, or your ice cream falls on the ground maybe even if a much anticipated spend-the-night just can’t happen, or sickness on field day. There are times and places….

In fact, Scripture teaches in Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

Translated by THIS mom: “We are playing with friends right now, so now is the time to SHARE.”

 

Teaching our kids to not share perpetuates the lie of the culture that I deserve and I have rights and it’s all about me. More importantly we rob our kids because there is joy in sharing. In fact there is so much joy in sharing because sharing is simply an expression of love–the love we see throughout the Scriptures and the very reason Jesus died for us. He died so that we may share in his inheritance, even though we are undeserving. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad Jesus decided to share.

Jesus AND his bride are BIG fans of sharing. The entire church was built on the premise of sharing:

Acts 2:

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

Translated by THIS mom: “You need to share your bubblegum, you need to share your time with your friends when you are playing, you need to share your space and let your friend sit next to you. You need to share your ideas with the world, and your faith with the unbelieving. You need to share love and kindness and hope to a hopeless world. You need to share your uniqueness and amazing gifts God has given you to make this world a better place. You need to not worry about who wants what, because it’s the person you are sharing with that is more important–even sometimes more important than you. So stop being the selfish person the enemy so wants you to be and be the wonderful creation God intended you to be. And share your toys.”

What do you think…the new trend of teaching our kids that we don’t “have to” share—is this a good thing?

Comment and SHARE!

 

Why I Can’t Watch TV…It’s a Sickness

Last week was the Season Finale of my favorite show ever– Parenthood.  I am so overly, and unhealthily attached to the Braverman family.  There is something about the way they connect with each other and talk and still love one another after they fight.  It’s a sickness, because all week I’ve been grieving that I have to wait until the fall when they come back. Luckily, to ease the pain a bit, the Mindy Project is back.  Not exactly the same and I get cheated out of half hour of TV time.  Either way, Mindy makes me laugh, laugh, laugh out loud.

parenthood

See, this is why I can’t watch TV.  I get way too emotionally involved with the characters. More so, it’s the story.  As a writer, I love a good story.  For television, if you can surprise me with amazing, witty and lifelike dialogue, I’m a fan forever–even through the reruns (Friends, cough cough).

And don’t even get me started on books.  If I dive into a book that really hooks me, I read it in three or four hours.  One sitting, can’t put it down. I’m lost, and the characters are real to me and I’ve been known to weep when one dies. (My Sister’s Keeper, cough cough.)

my-sisters-keeper-2

Who doesn’t love a good story?  Who doesn’t want someone to connect with them in a way that feels as if, “wow, you really get me.” ?

That’s what so many people are missing out on–having someone really understand where you are coming from, what your struggle is.  Or opening your eyes to a struggle you never even considered.  And it’s so easy to find, that story.  That story that says,

I don’t know why I keep doing the things I hate to do, and I know better, but I keep doing them.

or

I’m lost and alone and have no friends and avoid people when possible.

or

I’ve been waiting my whole life to feel better and be healthy.

or

__________________ (fill in the blank).

 

A book has been written that truly understands you. You just have to read it…

bible

Try and See.  

What’s your all time  favorite book or TV show? Share with me, I’d love to know.

When a Church’s Shoes are Too Small #churchplanting

One of the things that always surprises me is how fast my boys grow.  From July to November, my nine year old’s foot grew from a men’s size 7 1/2 to 10 1/2.  It was only when I bought him new running shoes that I realized that he was playing basketball in shoes two sizes too small for him.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me his shoes were too small, to which he expectantly replied, “I dunno.”

My other son, who is 14, is now just at 6 foot tall and wears the same size pants as his dad.  I have no idea when that happened.  And no idea how my budget will be able to keep up with this kind of growth.

When I visit new churches, I notice lots of things–but this growth issue is one of the most prevalent.  Too many churches are completely unaware of their size.  Church plants often follow models set forth by other churches and don’t do well at properly assessing how their model fits into their area and their numbers.  Or, a church grows at such a quick rate, that a larger church still operates as a small church, having an elite core group of people, and poor communication.  Or a church is a satellite campus, and attempts to have BIG worship, BIG media BIG BIG BIG, just like the main campus and it just doesn’t translate well with the amount of people in the worship service.

One of the most detrimental and painful mistakes a growing church can make is not truly understanding it’s size.  The new year is a good time to assess what size shoes your church is wearing and whether or not it’s time to buy a new pair.  You should assess your church size if:

1.  You haven’t reviewed your numbers and your systems in six months or longer. 

2. You have three or more new families visiting every week. 

3. Visitors attend but do not return.

4. You are losing families. 

5. You have new goals for the new year. 

I don’t want my kids playing ball in shoes that are too small, and you don’t want your church operating at a size it is not.  Just like my nine year old, your church isn’t going to tell you.  We can love people better, and honor God more if we are acutely aware of the growing pains of our church.  And loving God and People are what the new year is all about!

How’s your church doing?

LG|LP- Tiffany

 

This Will Probably Tick You Off

As most of you know, I have dedicated my life to showing the love of Jesus to kids of all ages. I love Jesus and, wow, do I love kids. Every child in my life or who crosses my path gets my benefit of the doubt. I have this crazy ability to see the hurt and suffering and vulnerability of every child. And with that grows my love for them.

But my love, and my willingness to show Jesus’ love to these kids is just not enough. And here is why.

We are raising a generation who idolize people with mediocre talent or who have gotten famous for doing absolutely nothing. This laziness to stardom is morphing into the New American Dream. The Real, honest and true American dream is slowly flushing down the toilet. The one that prides itself on hard work and reaching goals.

Unfortunately, my small blog post won’t do anything to change how apathetic our kids are. In fact, I could sky write it and have it published in every respectable newspaper in America, and everyone will simply shake their heads in agreement and go about their business.

I know I’m right, and it saddens me. Because I know that a change of heart in today’s kids, and to challenge them to reach their full potential, will require something from you, and honestly, you aren’t willing to give it.

Changing and shaping our future would require you to lay your judgement down of that foul mouthed teenager and actually talk to him with the same respect you demand. It would beg you to maybe give a kid a hug. And the thing is, it would require you to do all of these things more than once, in fact more than twice. It would require an invested commitment on your part to pour into the next generation instead of expecting them to fend for themselves.

All of these years you have thought that putting your blinders on and forcing the outside world to disappear is what is best for YOUR family. But you see, the entire world affects your child, so why wouldn’t you want to take some ownership for your neighbor’s child, your friend’s child, or even the unknown child? All of those kids will have tremendous influence on your own kid, the future of our world and all upcoming generations.

But instead we judge the child, criticize the parent, homeschool our own kids so they don’t have to interact with society and then ask, “what is this world coming to?”.

And the answer is You . You are what this world is coming to. Stop living so selfishly. It’s not about you. It never was, and it never will be. This life is about giving generously of your life because Jesus gave generously to you of His.