How to REALLY Fight For Your Kids

I caught her expression out of the corner of my eye. I was rushing to pile stuff on tables, and convince every person that my stuff was worth the $5 bucks I was selling it for. We were moving to Texas–suddenly. My three kids were in shock, but with some happiness. Except my daughter.

She would be leaving behind her friends.

She wouldn't be a varsity cheerleader anymore.

She sat there, in the chair, huddled with her friends, on her 16th birthday, watching me sell our stuff.

I will never, ever forget the look on her face. I tried my hardest to be positive. I had conversations with God and told him that I trusted him. But inside, as a mom, I was dying. I felt like a failure. I felt the worse sense of shame that somehow I was causing harm to my kids. I hated myself.

From that moment forward I hated everything about life and everything about how utterly helpless I was to change our circumstances. We moved to Texas and did our best to settle, temporarily at my brother's and then soon after into our own place. No matter what I have done, being in San Antonio just hasn't felt like home. I hated this place. And I convinced myself that if I chose to like it, then I chose my daughter's pain, and I couldn't own up to that.

Her depression was ruining her. Daily tears, hating her school, feeling utterly alone, feeling like she just didn't fit in. Our pain was unified, she hurt, and I hurt…I hated and she hated. I couldn't take it anymore. What happened to my independent,sassy, life-loving, joy-filled, fisher of men? She was slowly fading, with every tweet: I hate school, I hate my life, I hate people.

I told her counseling was inevitable, she was stuck without perspective and I could only encourage her so much. She refused, with all the stubbornness inside her. It only made sense to fast for her. I had to.

As a mom, I have certain control over my children's spiritual life. She is flesh of my flesh, and I have every right to approach the throne on her behalf. I have every authority over the principalities of darkness to fight on her behalf. And I did!

With every bite I denied myself, every Coke I passed up, my prayer was this: My daughter needs freedom more than I need this piece of bread. The pangs in my stomach are my spirit crying to you Lord to free my daughter and give her vision for her life.

And He did.

Her depression is lifted.

She can be sad about missing her friends without it controlling her life.

God has given her a clear vision for her immediate future. And she has been favored already as she starts her own business and blog. She no longer cries everyday. She no longer hates people. (However, she still very much hates her school).

She is seeking God's word, and has once again embraced her desire to conquer the world.

Although nothing has changed, everything has changed.

As parents we must go head to head with the enemy, refusing to allow anything to overcome our children. God entrusted them to us and it is our job to protect them, not just physically, but emotionally and especially spiritually.

A group of us are fasting

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

Join us if you have a child who:

  • Is overcome with depression
  • Needs a relationship with Christ
  • Is lost or alone
  • Is being bullied
  • Struggles with Addiction
  • Has a broken relationship with you
  • Just needs some breakthrough.

FAST WITH US!

FIGHT FOR THEM!

A leader of the local synagogue, who name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” Mark 5:22-23

Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet. She begged him to release her child from the demon's control. Mark 7:25-26

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him…” Mark 9:17

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them….He said to them, “Let the children come to me.” Mark 10:13&14

Parents! Bring your children to Jesus…they will be blessed and healed, And you will have a grateful heart, an overwhelming spirit of thankfulness whenever you look at our child. You will have evidence of God's present day miracles in the eyes of your very own child!

Comment your YES! and stay tuned as we prepare our hearts!

Share this with 3 people who can fast with you!

And for those of you who are already committed, I am praying for you!!

LIVE RECKLESS

 

 

School Awards Can Suck It!

Two more days people. Two. More. Days. I am overwhelmed with excitement that summer break will be here before the week is over. Mom taxi is going in the garage, and the kids will have to take the city bus anywhere they want to go from today forward, I’m not even kidding.

Ok, maybe I’m kidding.

This last week or so of school has brought relief.  No more homework, easier pick up schedules because of testing. No forgotten backpacks, because they don’t need one.  And last week was official end of the year awards for my third grader. And all I can say about that is that:  Awards from school can suck it.

See this kid…the tall one in the back.

zac awards one

Look at that face.

 

zac awrds 2

Does he look happy? Does he look proud?

Oh yes, he did receive an award…for learning his math facts.  And every other six weeks, he’s received an award for A-B honor roll. He was so determined, and proud that he’s worked so hard, and just knew he was going to get A-B honor roll this time, too–and that meant for the entire year. But no…he made a 79 in math. To him, his hard work pretty much meant nothing.

Other kids got medals and trophies for attendance and reading. Not my kid. He couldn’t get those awards even if he tried. He’s took sickly to ever make it to school every single day for six weeks, so you can forget an entire school year. Then there is reading, let’s talk about reading.

My child is not a natural reader, and his first and second grade year in the Florida Public School system was disastrous.  He was barely on level when he left first grade, even though the teacher insisted he would be fine and just needed a little extra help.  By half way through second grade, his teacher labeled him and he was entire year behind in school.  He was belittled and ridiculed for being who he was.  We changed teachers, who punished him through her behavior system for missing spelling words.  We worked with him at home, even though he threw books at our faces. We yanked him from public school and enrolled him in private. His teacher was patient and loving, but taught differently than public school.  He improved and built some confidence. Then we moved to Texas.

We thought he might have a learning disorder. He was tested, and put in special groups and had one-on-one attention in order to teach him all that he had not been taught in the last two years. After a long school year of wondering and working and praying, last week I got a call from his teacher

“Mrs. Crawford, I want to let you know that Zac WILL be going to the fourth grade. I know that he has struggled, but we believe he truly is on track. He will be placed not promoted, so he will need Reading group starting the first week of fourth grade. “

She continued, “Looking back I realize that when Zac came to third grade he really, truly did not know how to read. And now, even though he’s barely on level, he’s made it there.  He’s improved so much!”

By the end of our conversation, I was in tears. He had overcome.  Zac had pushed through the difficulty, he had dedicated himself to doing his best. He overcame his fear, and all the voices in his head telling him he was stupid and couldn’t do it. He conquered something huge, and worked hard. And was not recognized for it by the school, not even for a minute.

So this face     zac awrds 2    this face is defeat and disappointment. 

Now I get it, there will always be those kids who are super smart because they are born that way. Sure, they should get a high five for being themselves. But I sat and looked at all those kids on the floor waiting for their name to be called and wonder how many of them accomplished some major feat this year at school and no one gave a crap because they weren’t there everyday, and they couldn’t collect the most reading points, in that race for “who is the smartest.” I wondered how many kids wished they could get a trophy like that or get a medal, but their mom was an alcoholic and couldn’t always get them to school, or they just absolutely hated reading.

LBR (Let’s be real) not every kid likes to read. So what about Art and Music awards? What about awards for kids that recognize the things that are going to actually matter when they get out of school like

Perseverance

Dedication  

Integrity

Helping Others

….and even Overcoming.

The American education system is whack and the older I become I wonder if it does more harm than good.  Zac left school, in fact, he’s leaving third grade feeling not enough. He’s received the message that no matter how hard you work, you coming to school every single day is more important than never giving up when things get hard. He’s learned that reading the most books is more important than learning to read at all.

So this weekend–I am giving my own awards to my kids.  I’m going to present them with the awards that matter to our family, that align with our values. We are going to cheer, and have trophies and eat cake.  We are going to celebrate hard work and commitment and not giving up even when the cards are stacked against you. And we might even scream really loud “School Awards Can Suck It!” 

 What do you think? You think the award systems are fair?  Has your kid ever deserved an award for something he/she never even got a wink for? 

Comment and SHARE! (and encouragements to Zac are certainly welcome!)

LG|LP Tiff  <3

 

 

 

Yes, You HAVE to Wash The Dog | Unforgettable Adults

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family a 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)

I’m not the neatest person. I mean I’m pretty neat to be around, but really, I’m a mess. I like my house clean, especially free of the pug hair that is left EVERY. WHERE. IN. MY. HOUSE. Did I mention it’s EVERY. WHERE. ?! But I’m not always the quickest at picking up the kitchen, or putting away my clothes. And let’s not even talk about the mail. I’m far from OCD nor is my home the picturesque-ness that would be considered Pinterest-worthy. My kids are currently using upside down laundry baskets as night tables and tv stands.

But just because we don’t have all the money to decorate our home with the finest things, or I’m not the most tidy mom that exists, we teach our kids to take care of our things. We encourage ownership and we make our kids do chores, without pay.

Each of our children are required to keep their rooms clean. This includes dusting, vacuuming and cleaning their sheets. Our kids also do their own laundry. In addition, everyone puts away their dishes after they eat and cleans their space. The dishes they use must be rinsed before putting them in the sink.

Weekly, Cody has to wash the dog, Alyssa gets the upstairs bathroom and Zac the downstairs. If necessary, I will ask them to do chores on demand. If we can have TV on demand, they can have chores the same. They may be asked to teamwork through the dishes, or vacuum the hall.

It may sound like a lot, but it’s not really. If they keep up during the week, there is not a whole lot of mess to tackle at one and they are free to do as they please with their time. Do I have to remind them? Usually about their Friday chores. But everything else just falls into place.

We don’t pay them an allowance because taking care of what God has given us is an expectation not a paid position. God calls us to be good stewards, and by having them pitch in and help out, we are teaching them to respect the One who gives us all things.

John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. (John 3:27 NLT)

Get this: We don’t even say “Thank you!” And we definitely don’t make a big deal out of it when they actually do what they are suppose to do. Those Huggies Pull Up Commercials KILL me…the one where they talk about “celebrating” your child going to the bathroom. And they have balloons and Mickey Mouse and P Diddy concerts because a child peed on the toilet–a child did what he’s expected to do in our society.

Encouraging our kids to Honor God and family through chores is one of the easiest ways to lay the foundation for who my kids will most definitely be one day–Unforgettable Adults. Chores teach ownership and responsibility. I definitiely want my kids to be responsible when they leave the nest.

Do your kids have chores? And do you pay them for what they do?

Share with me, I’d love to know.

LG|LP Tiff <3

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

 

Hey Churches: Stop With All The Logos

Blame it on my background in advertising.  Or maybe it’s the million churches I’ve been to in my life.  Or maybe it’s the clutter that already lives in my mind.  But I’m not sure why churches like logos so much.

It seems every ministry has it’s own logo.  And not only each ministry, but sometimes even every ministry under every ministry has it’s own logo.  When a person…a visitor….ME…when I dig through the website of a new church or open the bulletin/program on a Sunday it looks something like the logo quiz game.

logo quic

Stop.  Please stop.  it’s overwhelming.  Too many logos, that mostly don’t look anything alike, have no purpose but clutter, clutter, clutter. I know in your mind, in your heart, they are meaningful, but to the person trying your church for the first time, they are just confusing.

Everything we do should lead to the simplicity of the message: It’s all about what Christ did for us.  Our logos and “business” of church should remain simple as well.   Additionally, our ministries need to convey a sense of unity, as we are trying to unify people in their relationship with God.  Too many logos shows division in the church, particularly if there is no common thread within all of the logos.

I say it in love, stop with all the logos. What do you think?  When you visit a church do logos help you or confuse you? Comment…and remember….

You are loved.