Let's splash in the puddles

Let's splash in the puddles

Mercedes tends to run ahead. She stops at every corner or alley to wait for permission to walk. I'm pretty sure it's one of the few rules she doesn't try to argue with us about. Running ahead on the school grounds she came to a puddle. A big puddle. I was at least 50 feet away from her and my first reaction is one I almost always have when the kids start in on a messy adventure, especially one when we are away from home. 

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Three Word Wednesday: A Child's Understanding

Last week I was busy working on a new painting when the big boys came upstairs after their quiet reading time. Being the inquisitive children that they are they wanted to know what I was doing and what it was for. At the time they came up I had finished the background of the painting as well as the barren tree and was just starting on the wording of the verse. They couldn't read it yet because I was just starting the outline but Parker took a guess at what I was doing. 

"Oh, I get it. Those words are a bible verse and the tree is what we are like when we don't spend time with Jesus!" 

He gets it. Even though the verse and tree had nothing to do with not bearing fruit for the Lord he knew the symbolism that a barren tree often represents. 

Sometimes I think we assume our children don't absorb as much as we want them too. Or we dumb down our lessons because we figure they can't grasp the metaphorical concepts and stories. That moment showed me just how much he is really grasping from our devotionals at home and his lessons during children's church on Sundays. 

God's word is alive and working. @@The Holy Spirit can make the stories and lessons understandable for even the littlest of minds.@@ God doesn't need us to sugar coat it or bring in little kid words for our children to understand. Read them the truth and let Him work. He tends to know what He's doing ;)

I need to get out of my own way sometimes when trying to "train up my child" and let God's word and the Holy Spirit work in a way that I can't. I think if I continue reading the Bible to them and living in a way that lines up with God's word that the seeds we want planted will be sown in rich soil and will produce fruit, sometimes even earlier than expected. 

Have you ever been caught off guard by your child's understanding of scripture? How do you sow the Word of God into their hearts? 

 


Promises for the Hungry Heart - Week 23 {Update}

Promises for the Hungry Heart - Week 23 {Update}

Welcome back! If you are just joining us, we are using the YouVersion Bible App to follow a devotional together. Read THIS POST to get all the information you need to join in and then you can read THIS MORNING'S POST to see the promises we are focusing on this week.  

Did you get a chance to spend some time with this week's promises? Sometimes I am unsure of the promises when I read the devotional version of the verses. It is only when I turn to the actual word of God that the promises become clear to me. This week, the promise I chose is... 

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Three Word Wednesday: Accept Your Lot

I've been spending my mornings in Ecclesiastes and every day I'm reminded why I love this book so much. Solomon is filled with such wisdom and his words ring true, even thousands of years later. I am frequently coming across verses and passages that affirm my reason behind this blog - to find joy in the every day moments of life. Not in the big, fancy, extravagant, or well planned moments but the simple, lovely, normal moments. 

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life — this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
— Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, NLT

Have you accepted your life as a gift from God or do you find yourself dreaming of more? Of what he has or what she is doing? I'm not saying dreaming of the future is wrong, I don't believe planning and working towards goals is wrong at all. But are they achievable dreams or are they fantasies that are taking you away from the here and now? I certainly don't want to turn around one day and realize that I've wished away my life pining after something I will never have. 

I will admit that I struggle with this sometimes. I do often dream of big houses with double or triple our current square footage. I look at house plans and houses currently on the market to see what I like and don't like. I want to have a larger home because there is a good chance that our five children will each marry (then there are 10) and have children (I can't even begin to think how many grandkids we could have!) and our little house will never hold everyone for a meal or family gathering. We have trouble fitting all of us when one set of grandparents comes to visit! But focusing on these big houses with their wide open layouts and price tags that are astronomical is no way to spend my day. Instead I can be a good steward of the home God has blessed us with and be smart with our finances so that in the future we might afford a larger home (but probably not the ones I'm looking at). 

These early years of parenting are rough. I got pooped on three times yesterday by the potty training twin boys. The girl goes back and forth between smothering us with kisses and screaming that we are not to talk to her. It's easy to think about the years to come when they all know how to wipe their own butts or can verbalize their emotions a little better. But every age comes with a struggle. Almost as soon as you are out of the early years with incredibly dependent children they hit the hormonal stage and you are dealing with all those changes plus the interests and struggles that come with the adolescent years. I'm so not ready for that. I want to soak up these early years and enjoy it so I'm not "brood[ing] over the past" or wishing away the years to get to the future.

It's not always easy to stay present and accept that this is life. That life is all about dishes and cooking, dirty clothes and clean clothes, snotty noses and wet diapers. But to accept it and enjoy it is a gift from God. I want that gift! I want to love this messy, insane, wild, mundane, normal, every day life, each and every day. You in?

I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul for Three Word Wednesday.

How do you make sure you are enjoying your life and "accepting your lot"? Do you find yourself wishing away time or dreaming of impossible things instead of living the life you have? 

 


His word, hidden in their hearts

I'm linking this up over at Kate Motaung's for Five Minute Friday. Every week a one-word writing prompt is given and writers have five minutes to share.

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

 

As a parent we obviously we want our children to grow up making good and healthy choices. We pray for them to follow God and trust in His ways. When they are young we are there to guide them and stop them from harmful behavior but what about when they grow and we aren't around to help them set boundaries? 

Psalm 119:11 says that by hiding His word in your heart it will keep you from sinning. My goal as a mom is to help my children build up a storage of God's truths in their hearts that they can turn to His word when temptations arise. I want them to have access to all the love and grace that God offers when they do make a mistake. I want their heart so full of God's words that there is no room for the world's lies to take root. 

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My kids are still young so I don't know how I've done with this yet. I know they tell me that they pray in their heads as they walk to the lunch room. I've heard from their teachers that they play well with everyone and often try to include those that are sitting out alone. I pray as the years go on that I see more and more of the truth that we've helped hide in their hearts bear fruit and keep them from sinning. 

 

How do you help your children learn God's word and hide it in their hearts?

Three Word Wednesday: Encouraging their gifts

I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul.

From Kristin: #ThreeWordWednesday is simple, really. I know we're all busy with life and kids and jobs and parents and friends and church and whatever else it is that occupies our time. Some weeks I'm not sure what my post will be about, but knowing people will show up here on Wednesdays is good motivation to write something. #ThreeWordWednesday is a chance to pause and hear God. Sum up what you're hearing in three words. Those three words are enough. But stories are good too.

 

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Encouraging Their Gifts

One of my desires in raising our children is to help them discover the talents and gifts that God has given them and give them opportunities to grow those gifts. I want them to flourish in these areas and be able to use them to serve the Lord!

Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.
— Proverbs 22:6 (AMP)

The hardest part of this, at least to me, is not projecting my own preferences and biases on to their interests. Micah and I are not into sports. He has never had any interest and while I played various sports all through childhood and adolescence, I don't really care about sports now. And even back then I just like playing, I didn't really care about watching or following sports. But just because we have no interest in sports doesn't mean our children won't at some point. 

Micah and I love music (although we have no musical talent) and would really like the kids to learn an instrument but if that isn't what God has gifted them with or an interest they have then it would be a fruitless endeavor. 

We are starting to notice areas that our kids are drawn to already. One of our kids seems to gravitate towards all things creative. Coloring, painting, paper crafts, etc., all captivate this child's interest. Another has a way with words and stories. Another is fascinated by technology and can't seem to get enough of any type of electronic gadget. We are trying to let our kids explore these different areas by offering them opportunities to try these activities at home but also offer chances to take extra classes through the park and school districts. So far they haven't taken us up on the offer but we will do our best to make those things happen when or if they want. 

So what can you do to help discover and foster the natural gifts and talents God has given your children?

1. Expose them to as much as you can!

You will never be able to expose them to everything and I certainly don't encourage spending every last penny on classes and activities, but do what you can to offer new experiences. Many cities have free opportunities to try activities like gymnastics on open gym nights or family sports nights. Our city parks offer free art classes once a month in the summer. Plus we try and learn at home with videos on YouTube (I plan on trying some dance with Mercedes this way before paying for classes!) and simply playing together. 

2. Watch for areas they show interest

There are some things we think the kids will really enjoy and when we've tried it they have no desire to continue learning or trying and others that make a spark ignite. We are doing our best to watch for those moments so we can offer that child similar opportunities in the future. 

3. Encourage growth

Once those sparks begin do what you can to keep the growth happening and passion burning. If your budget allows get your child in a class or group to build more skills. Scour the internet (Pinterest makes browsing easy) for ideas in that skill area for you and your child to do at home. And praise their effort!

4. Keep your biases out of it!

I have a friend whose son has a huge passion for drumming. This kid picked up drum sticks at a young age and now in high school is simply fantastic. He plays in the worship band at our church on occasion and watching him use his gifts to serve the Lord makes my mama heart soar! But the idea of listening to the drumming during the learning stages makes me hesitant to "allow" that as a talent - as if I have a choice what my kids are good at! Yes, their will be some grating moments that come as our children explore their worlds - dripped paint, LEGO spilled all over the floor, paper scraps, loud (and possibly obnoxious) music - but if we stifle those gifts then how are we following God's word to train a child up as he should go? 

 

I can't wait to see how God continues to show us the natural abilities and giftings He has given our children. I pray that we would notice the sparks as they happen and do what we can to foster those sparks. I want those little sparks to turn into burning passions that they will use to serve Him and follow His path for their lives. 

 

Have you noticed your own children's natural gifts or abilities? When did you discover your own gifts that God has given you? How do you encourage growth of your own gifts or your children's gifts?