Monday, February 23, 2009

When The Swan Returns

When The Swan Returns
Remember that story of the poor Ugly Duckling? An egg hatches in the wrong place and somehow becomes mistaken for a duck when it’s truly a swan. The teasing and ridicule mark the poor swan who begins to believe that he is nothing more than an ugly duck. Then the Mother Swan shows up and he sees others just like him and he realizes that he belongs to them.

Our culture has made this a lesson in beauty or self esteem with T.V. shows like The Swan. Really, the point of the story was that the “ugly duckling” was never really ugly in the first place and, for that matter, was never really a duck. He was trying to belong to something that he was never part of.

The Mother Swan went away. She was probably seeking out food or a better environment to raise her young. She didn’t abandon the egg, she was leaving it to supply something it needed. In the Mother Swan’s absence, all kinds of discouragement and lies crept into the “duck’s” thinking.

Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. He left us here, but not forever. He will return (Read John 14:2-3). In the meantime, many of us are getting discouraged. We are identifying ourselves as earthlings and we don’t seem to fit. We never will because we are truly citizens of Heaven.

Apply this to your parenting. Sometimes we Moms feel enormous guilt when we leave our babies home whether it’s to go to a job, purchase groceries, or enjoy a date with their Daddy. The Swan left her baby, God left His children, but not forever. When we leave we should have the intent to improve our children through our absence either through financial gain, food to prepare, or a more loving parent relationship. If we leave and bring nothing in return, then their identity crumbles and their value sinks. Return with reminders that build their security and meet their needs.

If you’ve ever thought about Christ’s return and gotten an uneasy anxious feeling then you know what it is to be a child left home. You know they love you, but you also worry. So reassure your children that when you leave, it’s to better them. Let them see that there is something to gain when you leave. Come back with refreshed love, and a burning need to hold your children. I believe Christ will return that way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who’s Your Grandma?

Who’s Your Grandma?
In my opinion, The Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most ridiculous stories ever. I just can’t imagine getting a wolf confused for my Grandma. I mean I know my Grandma and though she does where glasses and have big eyes, they aren’t exactly wolf size - you know?

I don’t think Little Red Riding Hood really knew her Grandma at all or she never would have fallen for such an obvious trick. Unfortunately, there are too many kids today who just don’t connect with the older generation. They are around them enough. They might know the way to their houses and maybe they even know what kind of goodies to place in a basket for them. Do they know what makes them tick though?

Since we moved to Oklahoma I have wondered how my children’s relationship to my Grandparents would change. They used to be able to sit on their laps and watch my Grandma twist the pearls of her neckless in her teeth to tease them. They knew my Grandpa smelled like old spice and his serious approach to children. They saw the way his stern looks could be softened with a hug and knew how he valued obedience. They made cookies with my Grandma and even though they don’t know why, they still insist that I place the cooked ones on newsprint to cool she does. They aren’t exposed to all of the quirks and qualities of my Grandparents anymore and it’s my job to remind them.

History is important and one of the most important histories you will ever share is the history of your own family. The bible tells of the importance of Grandparents with the life of Timothy.

Timothy’s Mother was a Jewish woman and his Father was Greek. His Dad probably didn’t have much to offer in the way of a spiritual foundation. It was his Mom and Grandmother that paved the way to his salvation. In 2Timothy 3:15 (NKJV) Paul instructs Timothy to carry on in the faith. He says “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Timothy knew about God in his childhood from hearing his Mom and Grandma talk. In 2 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV) Paul spells it out like this: “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”

Exposing our children to the heritage and influence of Godly Grandparents lays a foundation for their future with God.

If you aren’t blessed with Godly Grandparents, honor them anyway. The bible tells us to Honor our parents. It’s an instruction that doesn’t go away once we become parents ourselves. Tell stories and honor them with memories and a legacy passed to your children. Don’t let them be fooled by a wolf in Grandma’s clothing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cookie Cutter Kids

Run, Run as fast as you can . . .
The Gingerbread Man is a classic story. The baker makes the gingerbread man and, just before he can taste to see if it’s good, it jumps off the sheet and goes running.
When I think of a Gingerbread man I think of the very predictable shape and design of that type of cookie. They all look pretty much the same. You need a cookie cutter to make a gingerbread man. That’s what gives it’s shape.
Sometimes we approach parenting like the baker. We pull out that cookie cutter and we fit our child into the mold that we’ve created for them. We shape them and push them into what we think they are supposed to be.
Each of my children are very different from each other. They have their own interests and abilities that are very unique to each of them. They each have their own dreams. Then they have the vision that my husband and I have for them, and of course, the vision God has for their lives.
The problem is: our children are not cookies. They have a will of their own. They don’t always want to conform to the cookie cutter image. Really, they shouldn’t have to.
For years I have struggled with the need to please others. I have acted and been what others wanted, even at cost to my own identity. The roles I played hurt me deeply. This is not a struggle I want to see in my children. I want them to fight their mold and my mold for them. I want them to run from conformity to this world and stay true to who they really are in God.
Romans 12: 2 (NKJV) says “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and perfect will of God”.
Teach your children to obey you, but to conform to God and to God alone. It’s His image they need to copy, not yours.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Huff and Puff

I’ll Huff and I’ll puff . . . . 

Remember The Three Little Pigs? It’s a favorite story in my home. The three little pigs each build their own home. Each style and the materials they used are different. They all apply different levels of effort. We have all seen the lesson in that. Work hard. Don’t be lazy.
Instead, look from a different angle. None of the pigs just sat there. They all created something, and at the end they were all proud of their accomplishment whether it produced a house of straw or of bricks.

Then along comes the wolf and all he cares about is his desire to fill his appetite. With a huff and a puff he destroys all of their work and sends them running.

I have been the Big Bad Wolf to my children at times. I’ve caught Nevie coloring on walls and just huffed and puffed her right out of her security. I’ve complained at Sadie’s messes and the imperfect timing of them. I know that every time I loose it because my children aren’t filling my needs, I affect the shelter that my love can provide. They will run to each other or toward my strong-willed oldest child (the brick house). They will challenge me and I have a choice to make. We have power as parents to destroy our children’s esteem with a simple sigh. It is so much power and so much responsibility.
I’d rather be like Jesus than like this crazy, hungry, wolf.
Psalm 30:5A (NLT) says “His anger lasts for a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. . .” 
When Nevie was two she climbed up on my counter and opened a honey jar. She covered herself in honey, hair and all. Then she began to paint the wall with it and that's when I discovered her. At first all I saw was the mess and the work her trouble would cost me. I started huff and puff and ordered her to stop. Then she looked up with this completely clueless expression. She was simply having fun. Suddenly my anger was replaced with laughter and I attacked her cleanup with love and patience.
Moms, Let your anger last for a moment and your favor last forever. Leave the huffing to the wolves.