Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From Protected to Projected- Part 3- The Learning Curve


Hi there. Thanks for coming back. I apologize in advance for the length of this post…. it's kind of a long one. Put the babies to bed, grab a hot cup of cinnamon-vanilla tea (with honey and cream, of course) and your laptop cord. I hope you enjoy more of From Protected to Projected….

The Learning Curve
A professor in one of my early seminary courses spent a days’ lecture on the fact that all biblical concepts can be simplified enough to teach a child. Christian bookstores offer countless Sunday school curriculum options because life-changing truths are easy enough for children to learn. Still, many parents feel inadequate at “training their child up in the way they should go” as we are directed in Proverbs 22:6. Since we are commanded to be living, breathing examples of followers of God, then we need to bring the lessons home with us and teach our children during daily life rather than just for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning. It isn’t as a hard as you might think to insert simple teachings of Christ, you just have to be intentional about your reasons and verbalize, in an age- appropriate way of course, what and why you are choosing to do things a certain way. I’ll give an example. 

“Mine, mine, mine, mine”
My daughters learned the word “mine” quite early. They learned it so well in fact, that each time meals were served, a toy was found, or sweet treats were shared, I felt like I was in the scene of Finding Nemo when the pelicans saw Marlin and Dorey on the dock and began all calling “mine, mine, mine, mine”. This attempt at putting oneself first isn’t new to the world and I am sure you, as a parent, have experienced the same feelings of being raided by the kids when your hands are full of lollipops from the bank teller. To curb this early, we began teaching the basic biblical concept of serving others first. When sippy cups were filled, one child had to hand out all the others before serving herself. This is a great way to teach servant hood to a small child. For a preteen, this concept could be displayed by allowing your child to observe how to pay monthly bills and how you prioritize giving through tithes and offerings as a family, then expect him to do the same with his own funds. For older kids, serving others first can be taught through training your highschooler to offer the family computer to others before parking in the desk chair for an evening of chatting with friends or polishing up their online profile webpage. Are you getting the point? While still young, our children can learn the concepts of basic biblical living, we just have to teach each point of discipleship at age-appropriate levels with everyday language and applications- just like Jesus did for his first followers! 

In his book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, George Barna writes, “if you connect with children today, effectively teaching them biblical principles and foundations from the start, then you will see the fruit of the effort blossom for decades to come. The more diligent we are in these efforts, the more prodigious a harvest we will reap.”

The great thing about implementing this parenting skill of teaching biblical concepts to our kids when they are young is that it requires us to learn it first. As parents, we are the greatest models our kids will see day in and day out. We need to accept that we are the real teachers for our kids and prepare our personal lives as such. Parents that are living lives of integrity- or not- will be identified very quickly by an intuitive youngster or teenager. We must be living our lives according to the principles we are expecting and hoping our kids to apply to their lives. Don’t be discouraged if you’re just now learning what these biblical concepts are for your own life. Sadly, there isn’t a hormone that is released the moment you become a parent that changes all manners of living and creates perfect, God-honoring followers instantly. This takes time in our own lives, just as it will take time in our kids’ lives. But if your Jesus learning curve is huge right now because you’re a new believer, (or because you've entered a new stage of life and everything normal has just shifted and you've lost your brain and now you feel like YOU are the child because you keep getting things wrong) it will also be the same for your child- no matter the age. Those with older kids will have to work harder to implement Jesus’ teachings into daily, family life. But, it can definitely be done!  

What is God’s plan and purpose for us in terms of raising our kids? Proverbs tells us and gives us the tools to do it. Proverbs 1:4 says, “These proverbs will make the simple minded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to the young people.”

Parenting with the final goal of releasing our kids into adulthood requires that we parent in a way that gives “knowledge and purpose” by applying divine wisdom and moral instruction to daily life. Divine wisdom could be defined as thoughts, ideas, ways, and knowledge found only through God. As instructed in Proverbs, this wisdom is intended for daily life. As parents, daily life sometimes consists of diaper changes, driving lessons, dating, and discipline issues. Other days, parenting includes long talks, family movie nights, shopping for school clothes and victories on the athletic field or in the classroom. The ideas taught in Proverbs are intended to apply to all of these areas of parenting and more. We need not limit the use of scripture to prayer over the golden turkey at the Thanksgiving or when our daughter goes out on her first date. Neither should God’s word be “dumbed down” to trite bedtime prayers for our preschoolers or used as mere terminology thrown around during moments of parental conflict. God purposed his word to be used daily (Proverbs 3:6) and in all situations (2 Timothy 3:6) because it is “full of living power.”

As the leaders of our homes, whether we feel ready for the job or not, our task is to bathe our children in the word of God and teach them how to apply it to our ever changing world around us. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8) and his word will be applicable to the parenting puzzles of yesterday, today and tomorrow. We need not fear! 


Whether our kids are in diapers or in the driver’s seat, we need to remember that God has given them to us to nurture for a season of both physical infancy and spiritual infancy. As Christian parents, I don’t think our parenting worries or weaknesses are only found in the growing and nurturing parts of parenting- but in the releasing and sending part. 

So, if you're still with me, sometimes parenting makes me feel "simple minded" because I feel so inadequate. But, I can trust that I can find the strength and wisdom necessary for this parenting gig in scripture and wisdom from mentors. What part of your task-at-hand seems the most daunting at this point? 

Love, 
Lindsay


Barna, George. Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. Regal Books. 2003. Page 42.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Move Over Monday- Dust Bunnies


Thanks for stopping by the blog. Today's Move Over Monday is a story from my old house. I miss that house on Hill Street, for sure.

Dust Bunnies
1/29/10

If you sweep my floor more than once with any attention to detail, you will notice that my larger than life dust bunnies accumulate in the same spaces continually. I know the secret spots they use to hide from my broom waiting to introduce themselves to any visitors that stop in for a minute. A quick sweep will get the most noticeable fur and the random clumps of play dough under the table. But a much deeper cleaning reveals these dust bunnies…no, more like dust monsters. Four years of sweeping the same house has offered me the chance to notice how they seem to tuck away under end tables and behind doorways repeatedly.

Once, a few weeks ago, I shared my observations about these dust monsters with my husband. He looked up from his iphone and said, “Thanks for telling me. Now I know where to look when I sweep next”. Back to the iphone he went.

His remarks got me thinking. Now, each time I defend my home against the attack of the dust demons, I think about how we tend to have things tucked away in our hearts and minds that require frequent removal too. In Hebrews, the writer says we should have a “sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed pure as snow”. (10:22) Similar to the corner behind my couch, sometimes we have sins that are easily hidden unless deep cleaning comes our way. During prayer, a quick rundown of our struggles gets rid of the careless remarks we made to the husband or the moments of irritation we had with the kids.

Ideally, frequent maintenance of our dust bunny collection, both in our homes and our hearts, is the best. However, sometimes we need more. Sometimes, we need to drag out the 12-vortex-power-with-no-loss-of-suction vacuum cleaner to find the bigger, meaner, dust monsters that a simple sweep won’t collect. For me, that overwhelming feeling I get is the signal for me to hang up the broom and take advantage of the afternoon nap hours in a more “eternal way”. When the dust bunnies in my heart grow to monstrous size, all has to stop in order for my defense to be accurate and complete. Usually, it requires some alone time with God and confession to a trusted friend.

My husband now knows where to look to find the toughest dust monsters in our house. To me, that’s powerful knowledge. It’s also powerful knowledge to know where the dust collects in our hearts and minds. Right now, my dust monsters hide behind the large couch called “pride” and inside the closet door called “too busy.” A rotten attitude and impatience with everyone are signs that my corners need a thorough cleaning. Sometimes our dust monsters get so big and serious, we need to allow time for deep cleaning

Where do the dust bunnies collect in your home? Where do they try to linger in your heart? What signs that reveal it’s time for a deep cleaning in your heart?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From Protected to Projected- Part 2- A Rusty Plan of Evangelism


Hi blog visitor! Thanks for stopping by. This is a second part of a series. Read part one first if you'd like. 

Part 2- A Rusty Plan of Evangelism

      A year or so into our marriage, my husband Gil, and I found ourselves bored on a Wednesday night and decided to do something out of the norm- we went to the Wednesday night Bible study at our church. So adventurous, right? When we arrived, we sat down and waited for the Bible study to begin and an older gentleman, someone very well known and respected in our church approached us and asked us why we were there. We were a bit taken back and didn’t quite know how to answer Mr. Rusty because, well, we thought it was ok to attend church on a Wednesday night. So, we looked at each other and somewhat stumbled to say that we just thought it would be nice to come. Without even a second to think about it, Mr. Rusty leaned down and whispered loud enough for both of us to hear, 
“You need to go back home and make babies”. I almost choked on my peppermint! Excuse me, did the oldest guy in my church, the man who is so good and humble, just tell me and my husband to go home and make babies? Gil was the first to respond. He looked at me with hopeful eyes and said, 
“Did he just say what I think he said?” I gave Gil the “not tonight, buddy” look and hesitated to glance back at Mr. Rusty. Then, without delay, Mr. Rusty continued to explain his statement. He said that if every young Christian couple decided to have 5 or 6 children and raise them up to be Godly adults, then our nation would be a Christian nation in few generations. Then he walked away. 

A few awkward moments passed while Gil and I waited for Mr. Rusty to walk far enough away so that he couldn’t hear us and then we released our embarrassment with laughter, hoping nobody else heard our short and unforgettable conversation with the legendary, Mr. Rusty.  We sat through the Bible study unable to pay attention to our pastor and thought through what we had just been told. He’s right. The Rusty Plan of Evangelism, as my husband and I have dearly labeled it, would work. This silly idea of raising our kids to be real, living, breathing, giving Christians with the idea of changing our world might just work. Did you read that? We can change the way the world looks for everyone we, and our children, encounter- if we are willing to work a bit harder and think a bit deeper before we set out with our parenting strategy. 

In his book entitled, Raising Worldly-Wise, but Innocent Kids, David Wyrtzen says, “effective parenting is more than teaching facts about life or the Bible. Our kids might be champion Bible trivia players, but that does not guarantee they will have moral character.” Knowing the words typed in our Bible is not the key to figuring out this thing called “life”. In fact, knowledge of those words is just the beginning to understanding the greatness God has for us. Just as a child becomes familiar with hearing his native tongue before he has the skills to speak it himself, so we can simply familiarize ourselves with the words of scripture before we are able to apply it to our situations. A safe time of learning the words of the Bible is wonderful and should be prioritized, but this will not provide the deep roots needed to help sustain life. We need more than memorizing Bible verses and fun songs. We need life altering directions and council from God and others in our lives that have walked the years before us.  

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Come back for the next installment of From Protected to Projected next week! Also, I would be deeply grateful if you'd share this with friends and family that might enjoy it. 

Love,
Lindsay

Monday, February 16, 2015

Move Over Monday: My Voice


In honor of my youngest daughter and her recent birthday, this week's Move Over Monday is a little story about her. My kids teach me the most amazing things about God. 

My Voice: 9/13/2008


I observed a great little moment recently. I went to pick up my baby daughter from the childcare room at our gym. Above the chaotic hum of a room full of other kids playing, my little 7 month old heard me calling her name. Her back was to me, but she quickly turned her petite little body to face me, and with a smile bigger than her pacifier, she started her mad-dash to crawl to me as fast as she could. All of this happened in just a few short seconds, but this moment will be permanently secured in the file cabinet of my brain. 
As a mom, this makes my heart soar. As a Christian, it reminds me of the importance of our ability to hear God’s voice.
Adi was busy playing in the midst of a full room of kids running around. She had so much to keep her attention. But the minute she heard me calling her name, she dropped what she was doing and came running…well crawling actually…to me. She recognized my voice. She heard me call her name. And she responded.
Jesus said that the sheep know his voice and come when he calls. (John 10:26)
How did my little girl become familiar to my voice? She hears me all the time. Ever since her little ears could hear, my voice was there. I bet you can see where I am going with this…
We have the wonderful opportunity to know and hear God’s voice so well we can distinguish it from a crowded, chaotic world. We have the chance to be so familiar to his voice, that our attention can be grabbed despite the distractions that surround us. So, how do we become familiar to God’s voice, just as my little one knows my voice? 

We spend time listening to him. 
We spend time learning about him. 
And we spend time loving him.
Once we can recognize God’s voice above the chaotic hum of our world, let’s take off running...or crawling…to him with a great big, double-dimple smile. Let’s get so used to God calling our names that the fancy games, fun people, and loud noises don’t drown out his voice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

From Protected to Projected- Part 1


As parents, we are given our children with the intention that we would parent them according to the plan and purpose of God. Our biggest task in parenting is not to raise our kids needing us to get through life- but needing God. Bottom line, our purpose in parenting is to raise our children to be God’s greatest asset to His Kingdom when they are adults. When they are little, our job is to take care of their physical needs first- feeding, dressing, washing, and loving. As they grow, our job shifts to guiding and directing on a daily basis, then as lessons are learned, it becomes more on an occasional basis that our input is required...if we’ve done our job correctly. Finally, upon adulthood (which is where most of us question the occurrence) our kids should be functioning, additions to our society that draw others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

So,
  • How do we parent in a way that result in assets rather than liabilities to God’s Kingdom? 
  • How do shift our mindset from that of our current culture of parenting to the challenges laid out before us in the Bible? 
  • How do we project our kids into a lifestyle of ministry after we’ve protected them from all that the world has to offer? 

This series is not a manual explaining discipline issues or reward charts, but rather a reminder that our kids have not been given to us to squander, but to prepare to take over the wonderful challenge of reaching the world with the gospel for the next generation. Our kids are not our entertainment or our reason for a packed weekly schedule in our attempt at keeping up with the status quo. Surprisingly enough, raising our children with the final goal in mind is our greatest task as parents. When our daily routines and habits are built in a way that ensures we reach our final goal, our calendars will look much different than others found in our society. Our reasons for setting the standards in our home, participating in community groups, setting our family budget and requiring our children to grow up with God and others on the forefront of their mind is cause for living a radically different life than other families around.    


Some of you might have found this series while your small one’s sticky fingers are pulling at your pants leg while others of you are turning to whatever source you can find to calm your fears about sending your teenager in to the wild world of college- either way, it isn’t too late to rethink and strategize your next parenting moves with the help of our God!

Come back -and sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox- to keep reading! From Protected to Projected will run for awhile and we will see where it goes. I would be honored if you shared (and pinned) this post with your friends and family.

Love,
Lindsay


Monday, February 9, 2015

Move Over Monday: Help is on the way...


(January, 2012)

I asked her to go upstairs and pick up the Angelina Ballerina toy set she was playing with earlier. I would be right behind her to start the bath water. She’s about to turn 4 and I knew she could do the task. A few minutes later, she was back in the kitchen and I asked her if the toys were picked up. 
“It’s too many for me.” 
A little file folder in the back of my mental “mothering” drawer began jumping around and reminded me of time when my first was a toddler. She had scattered all of the offering envelopes and welcome cards found in the pew rack in church. From the other end of the row, I told her to pick them up before giving anyone hugs. Gigantic tears flowed. Someone near and dear simply asked her older daughter to help mine and said, “sometimes the task just looks too big to start.” 
This flashback caused me to rephrase what I was asking, so I instructed my brown-eyed beauty to head back upstairs and just pick up Angelina’s table and chairs. I told her I would help with the rest. 
“Just her table and chairs? I can do that!” and up she went. 
I have a huge task ahead and I’ve been avoiding it because it just feels too big for me. Not only do I feel this way about my big assignment looming, but I feel similarly about my inability to live righteously. 
“It’s just too big for me.” 
But I have to start somewhere. I can take it a piece at a time and work my way through until it’s done. However, it isn’t so easy with living like Jesus. With his help, I can take it a little at the time and work on areas that need adjusting. I don’t always have a good attitude or put others first. I’m not always respectful of the people who need it most in my life and I get hung up on superficial things. But I trust that he who began a good work in me will faithfully complete it. I can rest knowing that I can’t and won’t get it all perfect overnight and that my Help is on the way. 
My rock and redeemer. My help and high tower. My strength and security. My healer and hope. 
I finished up the dishes that night and went upstairs a few minutes later to find that almost everything was already picked up. I helped with two pieces. Literally, two pieces out of dozens. She had completed the job by breaking it up into smaller tasks and with the encouraging knowledge that help was on the way. 


So, now it's your turn. What kind of tasks seem too big to deal with for you? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Move Over Monday: 26 Followers


Today launches a new edition to Oaks Replanted. Each Monday, I'll move a post over from my old blog. I selected this particular post in honor of my friend Mia. This story happened to me on my way home from a visit with her.

Ready?

Wait, before I share it…could you take a second and become a follower of this blog. It's easy, just sign up in the little box --------> to the right. Thanks!

Here it is:

26 Followers 

I was on the platform first. No signs. No train employees. Just a few benches and a smelly trashcan. 
I made my track choice based on the track I arrived on a week prior. Before, I went south and stepped off the train on the far side. So this time, in my limited knowledge of train timetables and track schedules, I assumed I needed to be on this side to return north. I had a 50/50 chance. Now it was time to wait. 
My backup plan: Worse case scenario, I grab my bags and make a mad dash down the ramp, under the tracks, back up the ramp on the other side and climb aboard. After all, I do have my “mom sneakers” on...you know the ones. They are drenched in super powers. 
Then a second passenger arrived on the platform and asked if I was going north. I nodded and she sat on a nearby bench. A quick glimmer of worry flashed in my mind. 
Four or five minutes after that, a small family asked passenger #2 is she was heading towards Washington, DC. She nodded, scooted over to the side of her bench and the family sat to wait. 

Then an older lady and her walker made it to the platform. She’s proudly visiting her new grand baby. That quick glimmer of worry flashed again. I assumed passenger #2 could made the dash to the other track with me. And perhaps since the small family was  there, the conductor would wait a few more minutes for them to go down the ramp, through the tunnel, back up the stairs and board the train on other side....you know...in the 50/50 chance I could be wrong? I hope that mom has on her super-power soaked mom sneakers, too. 
I remembered the TED video about influence
Then I reviewed the facts on which I based my original track choice. Going south, I stepped on over there; so, going north, I would step on from this side. I assured myself I had made the right choice.
I hope. 
Over the next 10 minutes, 26 more people arrived on the platform. Each asking the first person they see if they were heading north. A quick nod. Drop your bags on the platform and a glance at the watch. For each of those 26 passengers, my glimmer of worry began to grow into a large spotlight of concern. 
Isn’t there a Seinfeld episode about standing in a line for nothing?
5 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive, a whistle blows and we all look to the right...the far side. It was chugging full-steam ahead and had no plans of stopping at the tiny platform I was leading. 
I prepped for my mad dash to the other side of the tracks. The train went by so fast I thought I might get sucked into Narnia. Passenger #2 looked at me with wide eyes. I gave her the little half-smile to assure her of my vast knowledge of train timetables and track schedules. Fake it ‘till you make it. 
Our train was supposed to be here already. Maybe we were supposed to grab the cargo train door and swing ourselves aboard like the old westerns. That would be quite the workout. But, I do have my mom sneakers on and the super powers might be strong enough to grab the older lady on my way into the cargo doors. As long as she grabbed my arm tight enough. I had a plan. The other 25 passengers would have to fend for themselves. 
I decided I needed to find some support to back-up my decision. So, I grabbed my phone and tried to go online to find a schedule. I mentally pleaded with the website to tell me the train was late and that I was on the correct side of the track. Zilch information about this station. Did Amtrak even know this little half platform existed? 
Suddenly, the hours I had spent with my husband watching survival shows came to use. I clicked open my compass app and waited for it to calibrate. More mental pleading to tell me I had picked the track. It wouldn’t calibrate. The app told me to turn my phone in a figure eight position to calibrate. I tried and tried. Maybe I did really get sucked into Narnia? Does AT&T reach there? 
Finally it surrendered it’s right to not calibrate, pointed north and confirmed my unexperienced choice. 
I was slightly more confident I made the right choice. I prayed I was leading this platform of people boldly. 
The tracks right in front of me began to squeal in a high pitched tone. Whistle coming from the left (which I now know is south because there’s an app for that) and passenger numbers 2 through 26 are now scrambling to grab their bags and toddler hands. 
My prayers turned towards the train staff; “God, please have that guy step down from the train and yell what we need him to yell!” 
“All aboard! Going north to Washington, DC! All aboard!”



This stressful narrative was brought to you today by the super powers in my mom sneakers, my dearly beloved iphone and it’s compass app, and the hours of survival television I have suffered through.