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Friday, January 27, 2012



“Dear Lord I’m sorry for my sins, please save me. In Jesus’ name amen.”

When I first met my husband he had a license plate frame that said ‘Repent Believe Obey’.  I thought to myself “Well duh, what else would you do.” But those three words are so profound the Church today doesn’t even talk about two of them. Most churches preach ‘believism’ only. They don’t preach repentance and they rarely preach obey. But scripture teaches us in James 2:19 that even the demons believe; but it doesn’t save them. And if statistics are correct we’re losing over half of our children to the world.  My own experience told me it wasn’t enough just to believe. We have, therefore, been intentionally cautious (read reluctant) about letting our son say the “sinner’s prayer” without assurance he fully comprehended what he was doing AND that it was a true calling of God and not some well-meaning adult (even if that adult was Mommy and Daddy) leading him.

For weeks our son has been making inquiries about what repentance is and how you do it.  We’ve been doing our best to explain to him that to repent means to change your mind.  His response ranged from “I don’t want to repent” to silence.  I suspected he believed that to repent meant you could never make another mistake. That you, in essence, had to be perfect.  And since he knew he could not be perfect he did not want to repent.  I told my husband of my suspicion and we waited for the topic to come up again.

The ride to church on Sunday was typical until we were about a mile from church.  Again my son asked “What does repent mean?” Again my husband answered “To change your mind.” Silence. I turned to look at my son only to find him staring out the window.  Not another word was said.  That night I repeated my suspicions to my husband who agreed to correct that error in understanding the next time the question came up.

Monday evening (1/23/2012) my husband was doing his nightly Bible study with our son. They were studying Matthew 12 (the section on where Jesus was accused of casting out devils by the power of Beelzebub and He talks about good trees and good fruit) when my son said “But I haven’t done that I thought I did but I don’t feel any different.”  My husband responded “Well, it can be kind of a process, we’ll have to see how you grow and respond to God. God is working in you and in your life.” “But I don’t know how to do that.” “There are no magical words, you just need to talk to God.” That is when he did it. That sweet meaningful, though brief, prayer.  My husband was kind of taken aback. Neither one of expected that from him quite yet.  We knew God was working on him, we just figured he had a ways to go.  

A short while later he came downstairs and told me “I repented” with a big smile on his face. Of course my husband filled me in before this but that did not change the happiness flowing from my heart when my dear, sweet, little boy repented and asked God to save him.

This week has been hard on him.  He still thinks he should feel different, which for him means he shouldn’t do anything wrong anymore. My husband asked if he meant what he said and was told yes. And so we assure him that he will grow and God will be faithful to complete what He started. Let the growth begin!

Repent (repent)
[L. repens, -entis, creeping, p. pr. of repere to creep.]
1.  Prostrate and rooting; -- said of stems.
2.  Same as Reptant.
3.  To feel pain, sorrow, or regret, for what one has done or omitted to do.
4.  To change the mind, or the course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction.
5.  To be sorry for sin as morally evil, and to seek forgiveness; to cease to love and practice sin.
6.  To feel pain on account of; to remember with sorrow.
7.  To feel regret or sorrow; -- used reflexively.
8.  To cause to have sorrow or regret; -- used impersonally.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

Monday, January 23, 2012

Diligence - Part 2

January 18, 2012

In an effort to help my children learn the concept of working together as a family to get things done so that we can spend more ‘fun’ time together I took a page from the Maxwell’s Managers of Their Chores.  The idea is easy enough; each child has a list of things they are responsible for each day. Those things are placed in name badge holders that you can pick up at any office supply store.  When the child wakes up each morning they look at the first thing in their packet; once that is done they move the card to the back of the pack and move on to the second responsibility.  When they reach the last thing in their packet, their done.

Since we want our children to manage all areas of their life in an orderly fashion I have modified the Maxwell system to fit our needs.  It mirrors the Accountable Kids model with the exception that our daily activities are in a 3-ring binder.  Each child’s binder is broken up into three sections: morning, afternoon, and evening.  The morning pages are waking up, devotions, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, making beds, cleaning room, morning chores.  The afternoon pages are eat lunch and lessons (the girls are taking naps during lesson time).  And the evening pages are set/clear table, put away clothes, devotions, bed time.

Since starting the binders our days have been running smoothly.  There are no arguments, no complaining, and no dilly-dallying.  The children know that as soon as they are done with each section its playtime, reading time, etc.  The system has eliminated almost all the stress and frustration from our daily routine.  Small victory.

Today, after completing his morning section, my son came to me and reported in.  I inspected his work and sent him off to play with praises for doing a great job.  It was a repeat of yesterday.  I could see the satisfaction of a job well done in his eyes.  The comment that followed is what justified the whole binder system for me.  Before he went off to play my son turned to me and said “It doesn’t take long when you just do it.”  I smiled and said “I’m proud of you.”  He has spent the last 90 minutes playing with his sisters.  BIG Victory.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Railing Against The Father

January 15, 2012

So I’ve started a new training session with my children this week.  It is my hope that someday my children will sit still and quiet during family devotions with the ultimate goal of being able to sit through church services.  My five year old has no problem doing this.  He spends hours a day in Bible study with either me (as part of his daily lessons) or with his Daddy (as part of nightly man time).  He attends Sunday School and worship services with us.  Our two and one year old are another matter.  So each day we practice ‘sitting like a black belt’ (our son is taking Tae Kwon Do and his sisters like to emulate him).  Each day we try to better the time from the day before.  We are not in competition with each other; we are in competition with ourselves.  Each day they better their time they get a treat.  The exercise serves several purposes.  It teaches the children self-control, discipline and focus.

The problem comes from our one year old.  She does not like to sit.  I will gently pick her up, bring her back, sit her down, and remind her we’re sitting like black belts.  She’ll sit for another 30 seconds then she’s off and running.  This happens 2-3 times before the tantrum starts.  I try to sit her on my lap and hold her but that is when the full-body fit, accompanied by screaming started.  I had a flash back to a couple of weeks before when she was throwing the same fit while in her father’s arms.  The thought occurred to me both times how we were not punishing her; we were not trying to do her harm; we simply wanted to console her in the first instance and have her rest quietly in the second instance.  I was shocked and amazed at how violently she reacted to the loving embrace of her Mommy and Daddy.  Then I thought how like her we are toward our Father.

How often do we throw tantrums, have full-body fits, and scream when all our Father wants us to do is rest quietly in His arms so He can give us comfort?
In due course she would have been released from our embrace to once again go about her business.  Had she sat quietly when asked the exercise would have been over in five minutes.  Instead it lasted oh so much longer for her.

In due course we would be released from our Father’s embrace to once again go about our business.  How much longer does He hold us because we will not rest?

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” –Psalm 37:7

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Broken Trust

January 8, 2012

I’m a horrible mom! I lied to one of my children this past week.  For years we have been telling our children how important it is to always tell the truth.  We would say things like “You can never get in trouble for telling the truth” and “If you lie how can Mommy and Daddy trust you”.  We would tell them the fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf and give them the example of an acquaintance from our church who harbors anger toward his parents because they raised him to believe Santa Claus was real.  We told them that Mommy and Daddy will always tell them truth.  But I LIED.

Our daughter received a talking doll as a gift for Christmas.  She turns it on and listens to it talk to her.  She loves that doll.  Mommy, NOT SO MUCH.  One day at nap time she asked for the doll.  I did not want her to have it but instead of saying no, I told her I would look for it.  I tucked her in and came downstairs.  You may think that was the lie but no, it gets worse.  When I got downstairs there were two dolls laying beside each other on the floor.  One was the talking doll Mommy dislikes and the other a non-talking doll she received for her birthday.  I picked up the non-talking doll and proceeds back upstairs.  I handed the doll to my daughter and told her “Here, it is the only one I could find.”  THERE IT IS.  I just lied to my precious little girl.  She believed me, said “Oh, sank you mommy” and rolled over to go to sleep.  It may have ended there with only God to convict me of my sin.  But my son was standing behind me.  He heard and saw everything. (I think I would have preferred to deal with God on this one).  He promptly spoke up, said “Uh-uh, I know where it is.” He ran downstairs, picked up the talking doll, ran back upstairs and gave it to his sister.  I have to say I was a little perturbed.  I shushed  him out of the room and demanded to know why he did that.  His answer? “Why did you lie to her?”

I broke my son’s trust right at that very moment.  Our relationship will never be the same again.  Mommy is now someone he cannot rely on for the truth.

After naps he informed his sister that Mommy lied to her about the doll.  I apologized to my daughter (and to my son).  Admitted that what I had done was wrong and asked for their forgiveness.  My daughter, being the gracious child she is, immediately forgave me.  We hugged and she ran off to play.  Or maybe she simply did not understand the gravity of the sin Mommy just confessed to. But my son sure did and he was not so ready to forgive me.  That night a dinner he ratted me out to Daddy. 

My sin haunted me for days.  There was tension between me and my son.  He still needed me, he still wanted his Mommy, but now he was reticent.  He had decided I could not be trusted and he would not submit to someone he did not trust.  Last night we talked it out through tears and prayers.  I confessed that I sometimes make mistakes and do the wrong thing.  I get frustrated, I yell, I get angry and lash out.  But I was working on NOT doing those things.  I asked him to forgive me and explained that we could not move on until he did.  He was not ready.  I silently sat on his bed praying to God to mend our broken relationship and waited for him to be ready.

It seemed like forever but when he spoke it was with tender love in his voice.  “Mommy, I forgive you.”  No sweeter words can ever be spoken, either by a loved one or by our Father.

Is our relationship ever going to be the same?  I doubt it and for that I will shed my own tears.  But we will build on this moment and one day I hope to prove myself to my son and earn his trust.

1. Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.
He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Prov.29.
2. He or that which is the ground of confidence.
O Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth. Ps.71.
3-8. [omitted]
9. Confidence; special reliance on supposed honesty.
10-12. [omitted]
TRUST, v.t. To place confidence in; to rely on.
We cannot trust those who have deceived us.
He that trusts every one without reserve, will at last be deceived.
1. To believe; to credit.
Trust me, you look well.
2. To commit to the care of, in confidence. Trust your Maker with yourself and all your concerns.
3-4. [omitted]
TRUST, v.i. To be confident of something present or future.

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight.” – Proverbs 12:22