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!
Lots of you are wondering, okay some of you, okay two of you are wondering, what is going on in my life. A few post ago, I mentioned that God was doing something to rock my world and no doubt He has.
Last Sunday was my last week serving on a church plant. The 3 1/2 year journey has never ceased to surprise me and even shock me. God has humbled me by using me, and taught me about building His church. After all this time, I've grown but not sure I know much more.
But I'm stepping out trying to use my slightly increased knowledge and a tremendous amount of faith growing a ministry out of my house. A year ago I began ministering to the misfit teenagers in my neighborhood and community. And now, well, they just keep coming. I just keep feeding them (both spaghetti and spiritual). For some reason God wants me to keep doing it, and on top of that, all these other things.
So now, I'm without a paying job, without a church, and without a clue as what to do next. But I'm certain, pretty certain, that I'm exactly where I need to be. I just have to figure out exactly how to do it.
I have to find some rhythm in my days, and accomplish something, anything, before the sun goes down bringing in the night, which brings another day. My greatest fear in all of this is wasting time accomplishing nothing. I'm pretty good at nothing. I can do days and days of nothing. I'm hoping that this will make the somethings, the anythings, mean so much more.
So for the two of you that asked, thank you. Pray for me. And since I have so much time on my hands, how can I pray for you? Comment and let me know.
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.
So I am toying with this idea–like always. The question over and over in my head for the last week or so is this: how do I create an environment in my home centered on Christ?
I know, you’re shocked. My home is not centered on Christ? Of all people? A children’s and student minister? What has this world come to? It’s people like me who ruin the sanctity of all things Christian family.
Oh Please! I know of way too many pastors whose own kids don’t even read the Bible at home, and barely pray with their family. Why do you think Pastor’s Kids have such a horrible reputation?
In reality, I live in a Christ centered home. We pray together, I have random Scripture posted all over my house–even behind the bathroom door. We talk of things Jesus, I encourage my kids to show his love, be his light. But there are a few things missing, and I’m ready to change that:
- Bible reading time
- Intentional, Holy Spirit led prayer time
- Focus on doing God’s will in our everyday life–especially at school.
So starting this week, I am going to initiate a mandatory time with the Lord. Lots of people oppose this, saying we should not force our kids to read the Bible. We shouldn’t force our kids to be Christians. We shouldn’t make our kids do anything they don’t want to do.
But I make them brush their teeth, and take showers. I make them go to school–horrible ones at that. I make them hug each other when they are mad. I make them do all sorts of things because I feel it teaches them to be societal-accepting adults.
My kids do homework, and work hard to get good grades, so they can get a “good education” and prove to the world how smart they are. The other night, my daughter spent 30 minutes completing homework on evolution, a theory that opposes the very creation of people by a loving God. A theory that is opposed to what we believe as a Christian family.
This world is falling apart, my kids need to be saturated with the Spirit if they are truly going to make a difference in their sphere of influence. My kids need to know what the Bible says about all things controversial. My kids need to be the light in the darkness, and that starts by striking a match.
I expect whining and opposition. I expect several reasons why they CANNOT read the Bible on a daily basis. I expect apathy, and frustration. I expect, “Do I have to?” To which I will simply reply, “Yes, you HAVE to.”
What do you think? How do you view “mandatory” Bible time with kids and in families? What do you do to keep your family submerged in Jesus?
I have all these kids that come to my house on Wednesdays. We call it Uth. I feed them, we play games, and sit around my living room (usually piled on top of each other) and talk about life, and what the Bible says and why it’s true.
So many of them don’t think it’s true. So many of them think anything can be true. They think whatever works for you is ok. They don’t think. I’m certain that’s the problem.
There is this constant state of confusion. So many of them don’t see anything wrong with their lives, their choices. They don’t see their need for Jesus. So last week when half of them raised their hands that they didn’t really believe that Jesus was the only way I became nauseous. I told my testimony of why Jesus is MY only way and how I KNOW that no other self-proclaimed god would rescue me, transform me, love me.
I went to bed that night convinced that what I am doing is not enough. My heart was in a frenzy, my head spinning, I had to do more, be more convincing, persuade them. For a week I contemplated, pondered, even considered everything I’m doing as completely meaningless.
This morning I said, “Jesus, what should I do. How can I convince them?”
He said, “That is not your job. Your job is to give them truth. My job is to show them that it is true.”
I want every child who walks out of my door on Wednesday to understand the tremendous love and grace and justice of Jesus. But if they don’t, it’s not my problem. In fact, I’m certain Jesus doesn’t see it as a problem he sees it as just another seed planted that he will water and nurture and grow to His perfection.
So tonight, I will pull up my overalls, throw on my rain boots and trek into the garden of precious kids, some sprouting, some blooming. But I will nourish them with the truth, give them a few hugs and wait for Jesus’ love to overwhelm them so they can no longer be contained in their seed.
Pray for us, would you?