Saturday, October 10, 2009
Anyway, as fall has arrived and it is getting dark sooner, he did NOT like going to bed without the sunlight peering through the curtains. He would fuss and cry and we would go in to help him to sleep, hoping he'd get used to the darker room soon. Well, mom or dad helping him to sleep QUICKLY creates a habit for Caleb (and one that takes longer and longer to work); we were starting a new trend that was making Caleb lose precious sleeptime.
So, I started teaching him about nighttime. We talked about how God made both the light and the dark. He made beautiful things for us that only come out when it's nighttime like the moon and the stars. I taught him about how He gave us light so we could see during the day to work and play, and how he gave us darkness at night so our eyes could rest and we could sleep. We talked about how BOTH the day AND the night were so nice. I pointed out pictures in books and commented about how nice it was dark at night so that the baby in the picture to sleep, etc.
I told him when mommy turns off the light, it would get dark (he even started saying the word, "dark"), but again that it was so nice to be able to rest our eyes and sleep when it was dark. I told him how Jesus was always with him, that he could talk to Him anytime he wanted, even at night in bed. Then I layed out my expectations for him, "When I turn out the lights and it gets dark, I will pray with you and sing you a song. Then I want you to lay down in bed and go to sleep. You don't need to cry or play. It will be so nice to just lay down and go to sleep."
The first night I told him this, he suddenly had no problems at all. He did just what I asked of him, he layed down and went to sleep. I was a little shocked (especially after the week or so of his hating the dark). All he needed was a little explanation. For over a week now, he has done beautifully when I lay him down and leave the room. He trusted mommy enough to believe her when she said the dark room was nice and that he didn't have to cry. Mommy said it, so it must be true.
It made me think about how often I respond to God's words with a similar trust. No "why" or "what if" or "that can't be" or "wouldn't you rather I..." Just a "God said it, so it must be true" AND "I will change my actions because of what God said."
"Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything." (Philippians 4:6)
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing" (1 Peter 3:9)
"Wives should submit to your husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:24)
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)
There are countless things God has said that we each have trouble trusting AND changing our actions because of it. Instead we worry constantly, we encourage payback, we bicker with our husbands, we live in guilt, the list could go on and on. Why are we so slow to believe the God who made all and knows all? How great it would be if we truly trusted. We could lay down and sleep soundly because we know "God said it, so it must be true." It's as simple as that.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The Bible doesn't.
God says integrity is most definitely desirable, absolutely attainable, and a vital part of the life He purposed for us.
There are immeasurable rewards received here on earth and stored up in heaven for those who walk in integrity. A most cherished gift is the assurance that our children will be blessed because we lived uprightly. "A righteous man who walks in integrity - How blessed are his sons after him." ( Proverbs 20:7) There is great testimony when our life backs up our speech. When the two are joined, our children see the Biblical principles living and breathing through us. Love is not just a concept discussed in Corinthians, but an act witnessed in mom and dad. Honor, truth, and discipline are all made real by the daily example of mom and dad, that is if we pursue it with all we have.
I believe my endeavor to live a life of integrity is part of “training a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6) I am to teach him God’s word, yes. But I am also to show him God’s word in how I choose to honor the grocery clerk, in how I serve my neighbor, in how I resist laziness, and in how I offer forgiveness.
Recently two women in the Bible have peaked my interest, Lois and Eunice. In a letter to Timothy, Paul says “… I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5). It is a quick reference, and from my search, the only mention of either woman. They are a grandmother and a mother who lived such lives of integrity that their offspring was blessed because of it, just like the Proverb says.
Sincerity of faith is judged by the way we live. While God can see the heart, man’s assessment is dependent on what he sees. Timothy didn’t merely hear God’s word, he saw it in action as he grew up. Lois and Eunice’s faith was proven real because they lived it. This makes me want to look at my own life. Am I a Lois or a Eunice to my own son?
I recently heard the saying, “We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.” So true. It’s easy to speak the part, not as easy to live it. The lessons I teach Caleb are invalidated if I do not live them out myself. When I shy from an opportunity to share Christ or lose patience with my husband, Caleb is learning an unfortunate lesson. When I encourage a friend or seek God through prayer, Caleb is learning and prospering because of it.
I am not there yet. I see areas of my life where impulse takes precedence over wisdom, pride precedes humility, or self-control is abandoned. Praise God, He is still at work in me. He is patient beyond measure. His grace endures through the entire race. He is a fine teacher and I will learn well from Him.
What better gift could I give my son, than a mom whose words and actions point the way to Christ? What better gift could I give my Christ, than a life lived in sincere faith, in integrity?
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Afterwards, Pen told me, "I bet that's how God wants us to be with Him. He wants us to so admire and look up to Him that we want to follow in His footsteps. To do what He does." (Ok, that's not verbatim, but anyone who knows my memory, knows a general recap is all you're gonna get!)
Anyway, I like the thought. Caleb really does look up to his dad. Pen can easily get him to try new words, new food, accomplish a new skill, all by doing it first himself and encouraging Caleb to follow. Caleb so admires his dad, that he wants to do what he does. How many times in the Bible does it say we should be more like Him? How often do we actually try that? How often do we lose sight of Him completely?
When you think about it, the very fact that The King of kings, The Creator, The Beginning of all, and The End of all would even imply that we can be like Him is too awesome to put to words. He says it's possible. He has only good qualities to emulate. He is our Abba, Father (as a past worship leader called Him, "Daddy, God"), wanting us to look up to Him, watch His actions and His character, and follow behind in His footsteps. Just like Caleb tries to follow behind his daddy's steps, I have a someone to follow too.
The fact that Caleb looks up to Pen so much just makes him so proud. How much more proud of us is our Abba, Father, when we look up to Him as well.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
When I take the time to thank God for who He is, that He is in my life, and for how He has blessed me, I gain great perspective. Those things that were overwhelming a few minutes ago seem petty now. Afterall, He is on the throne. He is Lord over my life. I can let Him take care of those issues. I can enjoy this life and these blessings He has given. I can walk in Him.
We so often hear of key things to do to help us walk in Him, read the Word, serve others, pray. Paul says we should add gratitude to that list. "Thank you, Father, that I have 2 beautiful people in my life, my husband and my son." Saying those words makes me look past my earlier frustrations with them. The extra laundry, the added to-do list, the arguments aren't such a big deal anymore because I have taken a moment to remember they are a gift.
I have always loved the last few chapters of Job when God is speaking to him. Job has just gone through one horrific event after another and is questioning why these things have happened to him. Interestingly, God's response is a list of His abilities, His powers. He doesn't give an explanation of Job's circumstances; He doesn't give directions to get out of those circumstances. Instead, He reminds Job of who He is. He reminds Job of why he can still be grateful amidst his present circumstances.
Caleb enjoys watching Veggietales. We often sit down to watch a recorded episode while he drinks his milk after a nap. There is a song in one of them called "The Thankfulness Song." It really has great lyrics, exactly in line with Colossians 2:7.
The Thankfulness Song
"I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
Thats an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!
Thank you Dad for our day,
For our trip to the mall,
For the time just with me,
For my big red bouncy ball!
For the fun that we had,
I'm so happy you're my dad,
That's why I say thanks everyday!
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
That's an easy way to start!
For a God who really cares
And He listens to our prayers,
That's why I say thanks everyday!
That's why we say thanks everyday!"
Here's a cute Youtube of the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=takc97w9by4
Thursday, May 14, 2009
It got me thinking, this should be our reaction to those temptations we come up to. How would we respond differently if we gave ourselves a "no, no" right away!
Joseph ran from the seduction by Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39); that's a "No, no." Jesus immediately spoke against Peter's rebuke (Mark 8:31-33); that's a "No, no." David didn't turn away at the sight of Bathsheeba bathing on the roof (2 Samuel 11); that's ummm, no "No, no." :). Joseph ended up 2nd in command of all Egypt. Jesus, uh... King of Kings! :) David was King of Isreal and remained king after his failure with Bathsheeba, but he also endured the death of a son, the rape of a daughter, the insurrection of a son, and a lot of family bickering. He quickly learned that "no, no" is a much better response.
I think I'd get into a lot less trouble if I said a "no, no" each time I met up with something God has declared wrong. When I get frustrated with my husband and want to speak rudely, "No, no." When I see that dial push past the speed limit, "No, no." Hit a channel with unGodly content, "No, no." Hear the neighbors' gossip, "No, no." Hear the couch beckoning instead of the dishes, "No, no."
Hmmm...lesson learned from my 1 year old son!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I think of all the beauty I have in life because of Him and grateful seems too small of a word. I think of all the beauty Caleb can have in his life because of Him, and am simply overwhelmed. Parents want only the best for our kids. You can't get any better than a personal relationship with the Creator of everything. He made that possible for my son. WOW
Saturday, April 18, 2009
"Father God, We thank You for entrusting Caleb's life to us. We dedicate his life to You today. We submit our lives to You, let it be Your righteousness, Your wisdom, Your strength, Your instruction, Your provision, Your protection, and Your favor that he will see through us. In Your name, we crush any work of the enemy that will otherwise deter the plans You have set for him. Let him learn early in life that You alone are his salvation, his Lord, his Portion, and Everything he needs. Let him understand the depth of Your love, grace and mercy that You have reached out to each tribe and tongue. Let him be a seeker of truth, that Your word shall be his daily bread, the light to the path You have laid before him. Lead him and guide him for Your name's sake. Let prayer and praise be continually on his lips. Let him be a warrior for Christ, a winner of souls, a servant to others. As he grows in Christ, reveal more of Your character to him that he may find the purpose of his life more meaningful and complete. May his entire life be worship to You alone, daily living in obedience to Your Word...that Caleb may live his name, and You may find him ever faithful to You. All these things we ask and claim in Jesus Christ, Amen."
My personal favorite line... "that Caleb may live his name, and You may find him ever faithful to You."
I'll have to come back and explain the meaning of his name.
I'm blessed to have a husband that seeks Him as he parents and prays the Word of God over our son.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
this is from yesterday (I will add to it later)...
...that utterance may be given to [Caleb] in the opening of his mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel...that in proclaiming it [he] may speak boldly, as [he] ought to speak. Ephesians 6:24
This is from this morning...
And this I pray, that [Caleb's] love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that [he] may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
-- As our country gets closer and closer to the Babylonian mindset, making evil appear good and good appear evil and like Isaiah said, "who says in [their] heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me'" (Isaiah 47:8), I really believe Christians need to pray for "real knowledge and all discernment." It is going to be increasingly necessary as the days go on and we get closer to His coming. I do not want Caleb growing up believing that right/wrong is subjective, that he is the one that determines these things for himself. Afterall, that is another form of idolatry...putting your own beliefs above God's. Right and wrong is something God lays out for us in His Word. It is not something we can pick and choose which part to believe/live by.
Thankfully, we are found blameless by God only when we accept His Son into our lives. Blameslessness or excellence in God's sight cannot be achieved by our own work, no matter how hard our efforts or good our intentions. But I noticed that Paul does say our love for this depth of insight/real knowledge and discernment will result in sincere and blameless lives. Paul describes it as a "fruit of righteousness." Biblically, a fruit is something for God's glory but seen by man as a witness/testimony to them. Later, Paul even says he prays (while imprisoned because of his preaching the gospel) that "[he] will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in [his] body, whether by life or by death" (Phil 1:20). So these blameless lives we are to live are so that the world cannot find fault in us, so that we do not "shame" the gospel that we claim as ours. It shows them whether we are truly sincere.
I want this for Caleb. That he would grow to seek and love His knowledge and His discernment, that it would permeate his life so much so that he bears the fruit of righteousness to all who know him, and in that life God would be exalted.
Monday, March 16, 2009
He doesn't really understand what we're doing when we pray or why we do it, but he'll get there. I love that he's on his way to learning that God deserves praise and thanks first.
It took months of us practicing and using sign language before he used his first sign. I thought he'd never get it. But "praying" was no work at all and he picked it up in no time. So many of the things we learn come by example, and I think the lesson is better learned that way. I don't remember my parents teaching/telling me how rewarding it was to have an active and consistent relationship with God and that we get that relationship through communication and time with Him (though I'm sure it was probably told to me at some point). What I do remember is seeing both mom and dad consistently living out that kind of relationship with Him; that's really how I learned to live it myself. I learned that husbands put their wives first (aside from God) and vice versa by seeing them do it day in and day out. I learned that a person of character was an honest and diligent worker. I learned that good work wasn't done for pay or for praise but for God. I learned that honesty and openness led to better friendships. All of these things came from an example set before me, a mom, a dad, a grandparent, a friend.
He's not even one year yet, and it's already so evident how much Caleb learns by the example that he sees in us. Of course I hope he will only learn from the good we do and not the bad, but it's probably a better idea to cut out the bad instead!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Eli verbally reprimanded them, but nothing more. He offered no other form of punishment, and his sons continued in their roles as priests. They also continued in their disobedience and sin.
What struck me is God's response to Eli. Through the prophet, He asked "Why do you honor your sons more than me - for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people!" (1 Samuel 2:29). God made a direct correlation between Eli allowing his sons' disobedience with dishonoring Him. Eli was putting his own sons ahead of God because he wasn't doing what was necessary a High Priest and a father (and this is with adult children).
How many times have you seen parents verbally reprimand their child but do nothing more? How many times have we done this ourselves? "I told you not to run in the house." "I told you to do your homework," or "Stop hitting your brother." These things are repeated countless times because the disobedience is repeated countless times. They do not follow through with a consequence for fear that the child will feel unloved or abused, for fear that their child will count them an enemy rather than a friend, or perhaps because they are too distracted with something else to bother. By not following through with our child's disobedience we are putting something else above God. We were given the responsibility to train our children "in the way they should go".
We are first to obey Him, to follow His directives as He laid out in the Bible. Doing what He says is what is best for our children. This is part of the example I want to set for Caleb. There may be times in the future when he doesn't understand or is put off by my discipline or descisions as a parent. We should not parent based on our child's temporary feelings but with a goal to honor God first in all things.
Friday, February 6, 2009
And I'm so grateful that my husband is supportive of me staying home with Caleb, and willing to sacrifice so that I can.
Monday, February 2, 2009
There are times when I ask him to "come to mommy" and he doesn't (actually, most of the time he doesn't; he's still learning what those words mean), so I physically go get him and bring him where he needed to be. I explain to him "when mommy tells you to come to her, you need to crawl to where she is like this." There are times when I ask him to "come to mommy" and of course he doesn't, I honestly just want to forget that I told him to "come" and let him keep playing for a few more minutes instead. But I don't want him to learn that it's ok to ignore me, so I keep at it.
Bevere's description of honoring our children through training and discipline was such an encouragement for me. I honestly never thought of this simple training as a form of honor, but I guess it is. It shows a parents love and respect for their children, that they are willing to do what is necessary to help their child be fully equipped for the future. And it that honor brings forth a reward, for both parent and child.
Yesterday was the first time that I asked Caleb to "come to mommy" and he did, even when it was very visible that he didn't want to. He gave this little sigh, looked back at what he was previously aiming for (the stairs) and instead heading towards me. Of course he got lots of praise for his obedience and self control. I get the reward of a child who is learning to walk this life with Godly character and wisdom.
"The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Proverbs 29:15
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I'm his mom, an adult, that will do what is necessary and provide all he needs whether he "tells" me these things or not. I do not place a condition on my provision. Maybe that makes it even more special when he holds out his arms for me or snuggles up to me at bedtime, I'm not forcing it yet he chooses to communicate those things out of a genuine desire and need of me.
If I feel this way, how much more my heavenly Father. I've always loved the prayer Jesus prays the night before His crucifixion. I think it gives such insight of the love and desire of Christ. He talks about wanting us...His creation to be unified with Him. Wow. The Bible is full of examples of how far God is willing to go to gain that unity, that communication and fellowship with us. There's no doubt how much He wants us. As I was looking forward to Caleb being able and willing to communicate with me...God is doing the same.
We're formed with His specific plan, created with the necessary gifts to achieve it. I imagine as we're placed in the arms of our parents, God begins His wait for that little one to open his arms wide to Him, to begin showing their genuine desire and need of Him, to begin allowing Him to continue molding us and preparing us for our individual service. No wonder "the heavens rejoice" when we first open our arms to Him. Whether we're 5 or 45, He rejoices.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
He is so joyful about experiencing things in his world, how they feel and sound, what they look, smell and taste like. Whether it be a facial expression he finds funny and wants to imitate, kicking a ball around the kitchen, listening to dad play the guitar, or tasting the petroleum jelly he grabbed out of the jar (oops), his contentment is written all over his face. He is most certainly enjoying the gifts God gave him. It got me thinking how rare it is to see an adult similarly joyful about his world and the gifts God gave him. We are even more experienced, have more abilities, more traveled, more aware of our world than a 9 month old, yet instead of creating more contentment we seem to let it make us more cynical or even depressed. Sure there are things in this world that we notice as adults that less than admirable. We're at fault for that and we have to live with what we've done. Last I checked, we still have those many things God made for us and gave to us. These are the same things that "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. " (Gen. 1:31)
He can see the good here. Caleb can see the good. Why do we let ourselves miss out?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
In beginning his nomadic trek through the states working wherever he found a job, the main character, Will, gave a beautiful description of the type of work ethics I would love to instill in Caleb as he grows.
"Work was work and a roof was a roof, even if it was just a harness room with cots. There was nothing he could not, or would not, do. He had never been taught to divide work into categories of good work or bad, easy or hard, dignified or undignified; he had only been raised to recognize work done well, work done poorly, and work not done at all. If manure needed shoveling, in Will's mind the only true indignity was leaving it unshoveled." (p. 45)
This attitude is so far removed from our culture today. I'm not quite sure how one would go about teaching this...other than modeling it yourself.
"With good will render service, as to the Lord, an not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free."
Friday, January 9, 2009
I'll preface this by saying, I acknowledge that when he doesn't look at me at my request or listen to my "no", he's not disobeying me. At his age, he doesn't understand what it means to disobey and is simply learning what certain words mean...but I learned a lesson through it all the same.
Throughout my life as a Christian there have been things that I just get wrong a lot. I don't listen to the Holy Spirit's direction and simply do what I want instead. When I've consistently done something wrong, it's easy to just give up and think "I've done this too many times, God's so disappointed, why even try anymore." (or something along those lines). One thing I learned with Caleb is that even though he ackowledges and "obeys" me about half the time, I'm still so excited and proud of him when he does obey. When he doesn't look at me when I ask or when he touches the blinds even after telling him "no", I am of course disappointed. But that disappointment doesn't make me give up on him, nor does it make me any less pleased with him when he choses to listen and obey.
I think that's the way God is with us. Our mistakes and disobedience certainly disappoint Him, but it doesn't lessen His pleasure in our obedience later on.
My persistence will pay off with Caleb. God's persistence will pay off with me too.