Proverbs 22: Life

Proverbs 22: Life

Did you go through premarital counseling before your wedding? With a pastor or a priest? Whether or not you did, your whole life has been a journey of premarital counseling. From the day you took your first breath (and honestly, even before!), you were learning about what a man/husband/father is and does and what a woman/wife/mother is and does. It's true.

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Father's Day Prayer Blitz: Abandoned Chidren

Children get their first glimpse of God and form their first ideas about God from what they see in their fathers. In this crazy world where so many children grow up without fathers in their lives, we're raising a generation of children who don't know what to think about God. abandoned

Each day this week, we will post specific scripture references pertaining to fathers/fatherhood/heavenly Father for us to intentionally focus on in prayer. Let’s HONOR the fathers (biological, step, adoptive, spiritual)  in our lives by standing in the gap for each of them.  If you missed the preblitz prayerhusband prayerparenting prayerheart prayer, or the legacy prayer be sure to go back and read/pray them!

Today we focus on the children who are or feel abandoned by their fathers- maybe that is you? Or your husband?

Day Four Scripture Focus: Abandoned Children

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families... ~Psalm 68:5, 6a

Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. ~Psalm 27:10 

I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father." ~Psalm 2:7 

Day Four Prayer Focus: Abandoned Children

  • Pray for fatherless children to receive and be comforted by their Heavenly Father.
  • Pray for the fatherless to understand and accept their God given identity as children of God.
  • Pray for abandoned children to be placed in stable, intact homes.
  • Pray for fathers and children who have felt abandoned by their earthly fathers, to realize the love of their Heavenly Father, and the security that He has not nor will He ever abandon or forsake them.

Repentance/Forgiveness

Repent for any unforgiveness or resentment you have held toward your own father, if you were or ever felt abandoned in any form.

Repent if you are a father that has abandoned your own children or behaved in any manner that caused them to feel abandoned. Ask God to restore, heal and bless your relationship with your children and even future grandchildren.

Forgive your father if you have ever felt abandoned, alone, unprotected, unloved or unworthy of your father's love and affection.

Wives/mothers: Pray for your husband, if he was fatherless or felt abandoned, that he would be surrounded by Godly father figures and that he would seek God's will and instruction on how to be a loving and involved father to his own children. Pray that he will release any bitterness or unforgiveness and embrace the freedom that God-inspired forgiveness can bring.

Pray for your children to have a heart of forgiveness toward their own father if they have ever felt abandoned or rejected by him. Pray they would truly know their identity in Christ as a child of God, loved and accepted by their Heavenly Father.

Husbands/fathers: Pray and ask God to surround you with Godly, fatherly figures and mentors. Pray to release any unforgiveness or resentment and embrace the freedom that God-inspired forgiveness brings. Pray for healing of any father-inflicted wounds upon your heart, rooted in rejection and abandonment. Pray to know God's love and acceptance for you, deeply, as the perfect Father He is.

Prayer Declarations

Thank you God that my father chose to give me life. I praise you Heavenly Father that I am your child and you call me your son/daughter. I praise you for choosing to be my Father and always being there for me. I pray blessings upon my own father and that he may know your perfect Fatherly love. I pray my own children will feel loved, protected and cared for. I pray restoration of all the father-child relationships I am associated with. Thank you God for the family I have and am a part of. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

MOMS' NIGHT OUT

Women need friends, those kind of friends who will celebrate with you, cry with you, pray with you, love you on your worst days, steal your husband's truck with you (but that's another story), and accompany you to the police station when needed. Women long for friends who will see them fully and love them anyway. We also need women in our lives to go out and laugh with- and these are all reasons I love the movie Moms' Night Out. Moms' Night Out Movie Poster

Moms' Night Out with My Husband

Scott and I were blessed to see Moms' Night Out prerelease on FamilyLife's Love Like You Mean It Cruise in February 2014 (another great reason to go on the cruise with us, seeing movies prerelease!). I wanted to see the movie, and he came along with me because he's a great guy who endures chick flicks with me for a couple of reasons: he loves me and he knows I think it's sexy when he takes me to chick flicks, which is good for him after the chick flick, if you know what I mean. *wink*

We loved Fireproof and Courageous, and after hearing Stephen Kendrick speak about his role in this film, we went in expecting Moms' Night Out to be faith based, encouraging and fun. We also remember that although we really enjoyed Fireproof and Courageous, there were times in those movies when the acting was a little clunky. Not so with Moms' Night Out!

To Scott's pleasant surprise, he enjoyed Moms' Night Out almost as much as I did! We spent most of the time laughing, because really, we saw a lot of ourselves in the characters. The pain of the pastor's wife in the movie reminded me I need to reach out to my fellow pastors' wives more often, because it can be a lonely place.

Moms' Night Out with the Girls!

It's a fun movie- I'd encourage you to grab some girlfriends and make a GIRLS' NIGHT OUT of it. Your single girlfriends will enjoy it, too, it speaks to the hearts of women. Beverly Weeks and I are rounding up all the women in our sphere of influence for the 2:10PM showing tomorrow in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Join us, or rally your girlfriends! Let me know what you think once you see the movie!

 

Read the review on Plugged In, that's where I go before seeing any movie!

 

IT'S ART OF MARRIAGE TIME!! We've got two events in May, will you join us in Pikeville, North Carolina or Poquoson, Virginia to work on the masterpiece of your marriage? 

AOM

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

weekend to remember

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

Enjoy Al Mohler, Crawford & Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Chris August, Andrew Peterson, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal, David Nasar, Jimmy McNeal, Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee...and Intentionally Yours' Scott & Sherry Jennings at I Still Do, a one day marriage event that will strengthen your marriage and rekindle the romance!

ISD-I-Still-Do-Fall-2014

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Mother's Day: Thanks, Mom...I Am Grateful

Mother's Day. It's been rolling around every year since 1908. Well before I entered this world. But in my 40+ years of being a Son, 20+ years of being a Husband, and now 15 years of being a Dad, I'm not sure I've ever gotten it right. On May 6th, 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant did a great job of honoring his Mom on an international platform.

I'd have to say, if anyone ever did, he got it right! I just posted a short clip, but the full speech brought me to tears. In addition to taking some humorous "pot shots" at some of the people/organizations who said he'd never amount to much, Durant just poured his heart out in thanks for the selfless sacrifice that his Mom made through the years. SO powerful!

But Mother's Day is always a mixed bag for me.

mother

It's not Wife's Day, it's Mother's Day

I want to honor my wife. She IS a great Mother to our kids, but of course she's not *my* Mom, so I've never felt a great need to make a big deal about her on Mother's Day. I believe I've even told her in the past, "It's not Wife's Day, it's Mother's Day." Yeah...not good. So, as you can imagine, I've really botched it up for my wife on more than one occasion. Thank God for forgiveness and second chances, right? Of course, I do see the need to model honoring her well to my kids. This is something I endeavor to do every day. And I will keep trying to get it right on Mother's Day. But I'll be the first to say that I've probably got a long way to go.

I do have my reasons. Or maybe I should just say, there are reasons for why I am so conflicted.

 

Losing My Mother

My birth Mother died when I was 9 months old, largely because she chose not to abort me. There's a longer story but that's the nut shell. This brings both gratitude and regret. I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifice my Mother gave so that I could live. As John 15:13 states so clearly, there really is no greater love. And it's not as though she knew how I would turn out. I was a total unknown quantity, and yet she gave her life for me. She is, and will always be, my hero. But I'm not so sure her choice was even about me, really. On her tombstone is Philippians 1:21 "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." She gave her life to Christ just a few years earlier, and when she did, everything changed - including my life. To give up her chance at continuing to live was just being obedient, just following Christ's example. In truth, all of us have someone who has given up his life so that we may live. She recognized that, and followed in His footsteps. I am grateful.

Another Mother

But there's more reason for my source of conflict around Mother's Day. From the time I was 6, I was raised by a wonderful woman I call "Mom", really my step-Mom, and I appreciate greatly and love her much. I wasn't an easy kid to raise. I was full of energy, extremely curious, very naive, and not just a little head strong. Just picture a real-life Dennis the Menace. That was me. Only, my "Mr. Wilson" would be my Mom. So, needless to say, we didn't always get along very well. There were humorous moments, but a lot of tension as well. It was a really good thing when I finally reached adulthood and began to grow up a little. My Mom and I get along really well now - I'd say we even enjoy one another. But again, I've not always done a very good job of honoring this woman whom God has given me as Mom.

The tension for me, even now, is that I have this fierce sense of loyalty to my bio Mom - my first Mom. It's like I don't want to give too much honor to my second Mom as it might diminish my love for my first Mom. But I keep working on it. Because I am grateful.

Uniquely Prepared for the Foster Parent Journey

You may be reading this and feeling just a bit sorry for me. Please don't. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good, for those who love and are called of God. And I'm seeing how that has happened (is happening) in my life. You see, I'm a foster parent. This is a new journey for our family, sort of. My wife and I were foster parents before we had kids of our own, and just recently we've taken up that mantle once again. We've been hosting a young man in our home as part of a respite (temporary) situation, and I see in his life a tension that I recognize very clearly. In fact, it's a tension that I am uniquely equipped to not only recognize but to empathize - because of my life's journey. I see how he holds his birth family (as messed up as they may be) in high esteem, and how that has brought conflict between him and his adoptive family. I see how that shapes many of the decisions he makes, sometimes almost incapacitating him. And I get it. I've experienced some of the same feelings, the automatic protective mechanisms, the first-nature responses to life.

And I know, God can use me - and all of my life experiences - for the good of this young man, as well as others who will come through our home. Not in spite of who I am or my life experiences, but because of them. And I am grateful.

 

 

IT'S ART OF MARRIAGE TIME!! We've got two events in May, will you join us in Pikeville, North Carolina or Poquoson, Virginia to work on the masterpiece of your marriage? 

AOM

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

weekend to remember

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

Enjoy Al Mohler, Crawford & Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Chris August, Andrew Peterson, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal, David Nasar, Jimmy McNeal, Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee...and Intentionally Yours' Scott & Sherry Jennings at I Still Do, a one day marriage event that will strengthen your marriage and rekindle the romance!

ISD-I-Still-Do-Fall-2014

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2E7-A0d-cM?rel=0]

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

SHAKE IT OFF! Parenting Through Separation

First, I apologize for calling the time spent with a 'non-custodial parent' a 'visitation'. It really devalues what should be known as 'parenting.' Period. However, for the sake of what is commonly known as the time when your children are with their other parent, I will stick to the commonly used word. parenting

Parenting When Separated

When my husband and I first separated and my kids spent time with us separately, I noticed an attitude shift every time they returned. I can't blame anyone. It was what it was. All of us were reeling and even if the kids couldn't fully articulate what was happening in their spirit, they could feel something was not right.

Almost immediately, as they walked in the door, the atmosphere changed into agitation. They would begin bickering or one would smart off to the other--or to me, unprovoked. If I let it go, pretty soon all sense of order would be replaced by unexplained emotional chaos.

They would literally walk up the porch steps smiling and happy, give dad hugs and kisses goodbye, step over the threshold into our home and BAM! Baditude time!

I'm not going to get into all the psychological drama that may have been occurring in their hearts and minds. I only want to share what has worked for us in handling the immediate transition of the children being transferred from one parent to the other.

Shake It Off

I started a ritual we call: 'Shake It Off'. After they say their goodbyes to dad and he has driven away, we all walk back out onto the porch. They are instructed to 'shake it off.' We all physically shake our bodies vigorously. The way we used to do as kids at the end of the Hokey Pokey song. Remember that? "You put your whole body in. You put your whole body out. You put your whole body in and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn it all around, that's what it's all about!"

While they are physically shaking; hands, arms, ankles, legs, etc., I say a prayer or positive statement aloud, that anything that has occurred or been experienced prior to this moment, will be shaken off and left outside. I continue with something positive indicating that once we step  into the home, we will have a good evening of peace and love. This works well as a prayer, rebuking anything that is not of God, to leave and not be allowed to enter your home. We end the shake off with a deep breath as we reenter our home together.

This also gave my children key words we recognize and use to indicate they  desire an attitude shift even if they can't explain it or have no desire to talk about it. I will ask, "Do you need to shake if off?" And they know they can step outside, shake it and come back in and start over. They are free to ask me this too--and they do! It's not offensive, non-threatening and a great way to redirect and do a self-check.

It gives us a safe way to talk about issues with out having to feel embarrassed or awkward. By altering just a couple words, "Do you need to shake anything off?" they know they can talk, if anything is bothering them. It lets them know the door is open, figuratively, if they are ready to talk, with out it having to feel awkward by me asking directly, "Do you want to talk?"

This is one empowering exercise that can be used to help your children navigate these confusing and sometimes heart wrenching seasons. Emotions can be out of control and often children aren't even aware of what or why they are feeling the way they are.

Children don't have control over their parent's marital relationship. They rarely have control over where they will live or whose home they will be sleeping in that night. However, they can be taught skills to give back some self-control when they are subjected to situations out of their control. As parents, we are not only responsible for teaching our children how to control their emotions but to teach them tools to manage them as well.

 

How do stepfamilies handle stress? How do you choose between spouse and child? Learn powerful, practical tools to build YOUR successful stepfamily from world renown expert Ron Deal!

Stepfamily 2013 fb

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

weekend to remember

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Book Review: Why You do The Things You Do

Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships

Why You Do The Things You Do

By Dr. Time Clinton & Dr. Gary Sibcy

I've had this book for a few years now...isn't that always the case? About a week or so ago, it was just sitting there on my bedside table, where it's been for months and I couldn't ignore it any longer. I read most of it right then and there. I even needed to grab a pencil and start underlining so much of the wise goodness it contained!

It's about relationships in general, not just marriage but how we operate in our friendships and our parenting. The authors break relationship styles into four basic categories (and corresponding chapters for each), starting with what the healthy one looks like:

The Secure Relationship Style The Avoidant Relationship Style The Ambivalent Relationship Style The Disorganized Relationship Style

The book is filled with great examples and testimonials of individuals operating from each style. It explains them well and gives a very clear picture of each. I found the information easy to understand and painfully relatable.

The authors also do a very good job of breaking the styles down in how we parent our children. The book gives practical advice on how to raise emotionally healthy children that can actually manage both their positive and negative emotions.

I have read many relationship books that felt like they simply reiterated the same tired basic communication skills. Not this one! It is Biblically centered and challenges the reader to explore, acknowledge and analyze their individual woundedness, in order to move forward along the path of healing and healthy relationships. The last chapter was one that left me feeling equipped and filled with hope.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I finished this book a few days ago and I have already noticed changes in how I respond to others. I am excited to start implementing what I have learned, in my role as a parent.

Whether you are married or single, someone's child or a parent, or even a friend, this book will have a positive impact on every relationship you have. I can not recommend it enough.

New year, new you, new marriage!

Now it a great time to tune up your marriage at The Art of Marriage! We've got events at Sandy Plain OFWB in Pink Hill January 10-11 and 902 Church in Kinston January 17-18. Register for one of them today!

AOM

 

wtr bogo

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

God Knew I Needed to be His Mom

Mom, do you know God gave you the children you have for a reason? mom

I’ve said many times that I think God gave them to me to make me a better mom. Isn’t it true that the way you act and behave in your worst moments in reaction to their behaviors put a spotlight on your weaknesses and vulnerabilities?

It’s certainly true for me, and gives me clear direction for what I need to work on! My behavior in response to my children seems to be a beacon from every direction, and I am so quick to be critical and beat myself up over not being the perfect mom, how I do everything wrong, and how much my kids must be disappointed in me.

A little girl, when asked where her home was, replied, “Where mother is.” ~Keith L Brooks

About 3 years ago, I rededicated my life to Christ and have been redeveloping my relationship with Him. I hadn’t been going to church for more than 10 years, had married, become a mom, divorced, remarried and became a stepmom, lived in Europe, travelled many places, became a mom again, but just couldn’t figure out my life! I found myself looking at my marriage from a very low place, when I decided to let God take back control and truly committed to growing in Him, becoming the prayer warrior for our home. Lots of good things happened, however, my critical nature didn’t improve, and my relationship with my middle son (aka my stepson…in real life, we don’t call anyone step-anything) sparked lots of confrontation and emotional reactions from everyone. I felt alone about my struggles, and started reading a book that changed my perspective on my abilities and purpose as a mom to my son.

Am I Messing Up My Kids?

When I started reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Am I Messing Up My Kids?....and Other Questions Every Mom Asks,” I felt many “AHA!” moments! The biggest moment I remember was taking a few moments to consider the fact that I am the mom that God knew my children needed! Yes, even stepchildren! I think many stepmoms feel happy about having an instant family, but there is still that underlying tension of that child really being someone else’s. I often felt he just put up with me, biding his time until I left and he could have his dad all to himself. I took it personally (and still do) when he disagrees with me, or doesn’t hold my opinion in the highest regard. I'm a work in progress!

God Created Me to be His Mom

I had never considered that God planned for me to be in HIS life! I had never taken the time to look at it from the perspective that this small boy needed ME! I had no idea what to do at first, and still struggle with feeling completely connected with him, but keeping this thought in mind that God KNEW I needed to be his mom, and he needed me makes me feel special, have a purpose and opened the door even wider to accept grace and forgiveness for my crazy mom moments!

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. ~Psalm 55:22

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. ~James 1:5-6

 

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

New year, new you, new marriage! Now it a great time to tune up your marriage at The Art of Marriage! We've got events at Sandy Plain OFWB in Pink Hill January 10-11 and 902 Church in Kinston January 17-18. Register for one of them today!

AOM

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Not Becoming the Father I Hated...

I never realized that my relationship with my dad would have such a HUGE impact on my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my wife, and my children. It affects the way I love my wife, children and church family. So the scripture in Proverbs is very influential in children’s lives from birth. Little did I know, five kids and a wife later, at age 38 that would I be fighting one of the greatest battles of my life, all based on the way I was trained.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) 

Right or wrong, we train our children. How they are trained will determine how they respond to life’s challenges.

father

I recently realized the deep wounds I carry from childhood have never been properly medicated so they could heal.

So infection sets in, causing me to respond to life’s challenges in an unhealthy way, damaging my wife and children. I did not know how my unhealthy responses were related to my 'training' as a child. Only through much prayer and studying has God revealed to me how my sins affect my family.

My Biggest Fear: That my children, when they set sail in life, won't have an adult relationship with me.

My Goal: To change the legacy of the Willard family

As a father, my desire is to see my family reach their destination. With that in mind the destination is heaven. I must plan carefully in order for them to reach that destination. It starts with ME…not my dad, nor anyone else.

I can’t change people. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could. I want a relationship with my dad. I want to hear the words “I’M PROUD OF YOU,” but I have to come to a place of understanding that I may never here those words. I can change ME through God's Word...I just have to MAN UP and STEP UP.

As a child

Raised in the Willard home, I used to hear things like this: SHUT UP! SIT DOWN! WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO OUTSIDE! But what I really heard was: I don’t have time for you, you are not important to me, you are getting on my nerves, I don’t want to even acknowledge that you exist. Talk about setting a course for your kids... WOW! I truly never knew the affect those words would have on me at 38 years old... but they do!!!

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. ~Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) 

Little did my father (or I!!) know that he was speaking death into me, his son. As I approached my teenage years, quickly learning to get my dad to acknowledge me by getting into trouble, being disrespectful to my mother, saying things that I knew he didn’t want me to say. When I did these things my dad would give me attention! It was not the attention I really wanted, but at least he took the time to acknowledge that I was alive.

Radical Transformation...yet so much work yet to be done...

Fast forward to October 24, 2001, the day I gave my life to the Lord, as He delivered from drug and alcohol abuse. I experienced a radical transformation that day, and filled with the excitement, I shared with my parents, not long after they gave their lives to the Lord.

A few months later, when God called me to be a preacher, I was eager to share with my parents (always seeking approval from them, especially my dad). When I shared, I had no idea the response would echo through my mind to this day: "A PREACHER? YOU? THAT’S FUNNY, GOD WOULD NEVER CALL YOU!" Little did I know the way I would view God would be the way I seen my earthy dad.

Recently in a personal bible study, I began to feel guilty about not having that relationship with my dad, still longing to hear the words: I'M PROUD OF YOU, SON. I began to wrestle with the idea of calling him and just telling him: you have got to tell me you’re proud of me, dad.

We can’t expect a father to give what he doesn't have.

One of the goals I set for myself was to have a man of God in my life on a weekly basis; I need that to get the proper healing for my wounds. I sought out a godly man and we met last week.  I have counseled people but had never been in the other seat. I recommend it to every man: seek out a godly man to help you STEP UP. This man, my friend, through the Word, inspired me to the next steps of my journey! Next week, I'll share about the prodigal...

Men, you were not created to live life in isolation. You were not created to be walking wounded. Seek out a godly man (or men!) and STEP UP! Want more information on HOW? Email scott@intentionallyyours.org.

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

WEekend to Remember

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Watching for Fireflies

My wife and I were together with a group of like-minded individuals, and we were having a rich time of sharing our current life experiences with one another. I shared how our kids just started back to school, and the various dynamics that brings upon them, individually, and upon our home. I was sharing my desire for them to do well this year, but even more to fall more deeply in love with Jesus, and to allow His light and love to radiate to their peers and classmates. An analogy came to me that seemed to resonate well with everyone in the group. fireflies

Being a parent of these two teens is a continual exercise in modeling a life that is connected to Christ and led by the Holy Spirit. My heart yearns for them to come to know and love Jesus Christ with the same passion I do - and even more! And I think they are progressing down that path.

But it's a lot like watching for fireflies.

I imagine myself standing in a grassy field, on a dark summer night, just waiting.

OH! There it is!

*crickets*

There it is again!

*chirp*

And again!

....get the picture?

I know my kids love the Lord, and I see those momentary 'flashes" when I witness them exhibit a GREAT love for Jesus - through the way they interact with others, with my wife and me, or even with God Himself. I just hope above all hope that those moments will become seasons, and those seasons turn into a lifetime.

And then, a friend in our group asked,

"Do you think God wants any less from us?"

 

*chirp*

  Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4

 

 

 

Sherry and Beverly have spoken at events throughout the southeast, including our own annual Intentionally & Wonderfully Made women’s event, and we’d love to come speak at YOUR women’s event! We share on topics such as insecurity, sexual intimacy, lies women believe, comparison, discontentment, people pleasing10 questions to ask your husband, and more. Don’t miss Beverly's next speaking engagement- September 13 at Goldsboro Worship Center!Cafe Chocolate

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

 

BOGO

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Speak Life For Your Children

Listen up moms and dads, this is serious.  I KNOW this is hard on our kids. BUT do NOT allow yourself to even THINK of curses over them because of your marital situation. REBUKE all those statistics about how children of divorce (or separation) end up as drug addicts, in jail, teen moms--whatever! Speak LIFE for your children!

speak life

You have power here. Being a single parent is hard, no doubt. In America, that job primarily STILL falls on moms. Either way...TAKE CARE OF YOU because your children will be watching you to know how to navigate through this.

Are you honoring your spouse no matter what? Are you speaking words of life to and ABOUT your spouse? Are you admitting your own faults and asking for forgiveness? Are you PRAISING God through thick and thin?

Speak Life, Not Death

Or are you whining, blaming, complaining, giving in to bouts of self-pity and depression? Are you speaking about how horrible your life will be for you and your kids when daddy or mommy are gone? Or are you speaking about how GOD will provide no matter what? How GOD loves unconditionally? OR how ALL things work together for GOOD for those who LOVE God and are called according to HIS purpose? Are you declaring how what satan intends for harm, God WILL use for GOOD!?! Are you teaching your children HOW to forgive? HOW to love the unlovable? Are you teaching your children how to PRAY? And how to HEAR God?

I have four children. Oldest is 20 years old, youngest is four years old and my middles are 11 and 13. My oldest is a leader in his church's youth group. All my kids have been born and raised in the church, however, I have never depended or relied on 'the church' for their spiritual development. My husband and I have always considered it our personal responsibility.

I also want you to know, that even though oldest is 20, so you may think he understands more spiritually but this has NOT been any easier on him since this is also HIS THIRD time going through parental separation. He feels his own pain of abandonment and rejection, deeply.

He has experienced his own personal struggle to LOVE and FORGIVE his dad, my husband. He was so filled with anger, hurt and rage toward him. What helped him was hearing God speak personally to him: "and you have abandoned me. You have rejected me at times..."

He had given up on his dad...but he sought God and God answered him directly and personally. He doesn't have his 'momma's religion'--he has his own personal relationship with Christ. He's realized and accepted that Christ died for his dad! Christ LOVES his dad...and HE wants to be like Christ! He's realized, that the person you HATE, that has hurt you, that irritates and annoys you--THAT PERSON was on Christ's mind when He was dying on that cross! NOTHING is wasted--it is ALL for the GLORY of GOD--even the suffering!

We've had many, many, MANY conversations through this. This is what was  in his heart...train your children in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it! We are not, none of us, perfect. I am not the perfect mom (or wife) and my kids are painfully aware of this. But we love God, as a family. I point them to CHRIST in my failures and weaknesses. I challenge and encourage them toward Christ.

We fight, cry, lose it and still pray together! We take it ALL to the cross, daily. We don't just talk about deliverance, we LIVE it, as a family.

It starts with YOU, mommy and daddy.

Are YOU disciplined in Christ? Failures will come, perfection may not be achieved BUT ENDURANCE...parenting (like marriage) is a marathon NOT a sprint! Develop a spiritually disciplined life for yourself and with them:

  • Pray for wisdom and discernment in parenting during this challenging season.
  • Talk and pray with your children.
  • Teach them to look and find the answers to the hard questions in God's Word.
  • Show them HOW to go to God and listen for HIS voice.
  • Instruct them to pray for wisdom.
  • Encourage them to hold on to the promises of God.

Teach Them

Teach them to pray AND praise, through the pain. Teach them to not be self-focused but servant-hearted. Teach them to find those that need help and HELP. Teach them to be grateful and to give praise in and for ALL. Point them toward the value of eternal rewards. Teach them to GIVE generously not hoard defensively. Always, always, ALWAYS remind them of WHO they were born to be---> IN CHRIST! When they forget---> REMIND THEM! Do NOT ever stop reminding them. And LIVE that out for yourself so that they will WANT to be like you--a man or woman of God, after God's own heart!

Be strong and of good courage mommy and daddy. Do NOT grow weary in well doing, so that you will receive what has been promised. Keep praying!

You can read more from Katy at The KtKronicles. Sherry and Beverly have spoken at events throughout the southeast, including our own annual Intentionally & Wonderfully Made women’s event, and we’d love to come speak at YOUR women’s event! We share on topics such as insecurity, sexual intimacy, lies women believe, comparison, discontentment, people pleasing10 questions to ask your husband, and more. Don’t miss my next speaking engagement!

Cafe Chocolate

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

How to Raise a Son...Singlehandedly

“I will NEVER be like her!”  I was judging the thirty-something single mom with a half-grown child.  Because of my own actions, I was a single mother at twenty-three, cocky and naïve, thinking my story would be different.  Well, here I am on the edge of thirty-two with an eight year old little guy and Prince Charming has yet to swoop in and save the day, so I'm learning how to raise a son...singlehandedly.

how to raise a son

How to Raise a Son

Worried about raising a boy on my own, I spent many years of my son’s life treating dating as if it were an interview for his future father.  I wasn’t thinking about finding someone that shared my interests.  I was focused on finding someone I wouldn’t mind my son growing up to be like.  And the sooner I found this man, the better.  My son was getting older and noticing the absence of a dad in his life.  Every way that I tried to be both mom and dad, that I tried to fill the void of the missing father figure in his life, was an epic fail.

When I got my life straight with God and finally started living for Him I thought this would fix my predicament.  Surely God was going to send a matrimonial blessing my way and all my worries about raising a boy alone would go away.  My desperation to find this man didn’t stop, it just became the center of my prayer life.

My son’s desire for a dad grew stronger and he began to pray every night for God to send him “a nice dad that would play with him and keep us safe.”  Every night I would listen to his earnest prayer, then I would go in my room and cry.  I didn’t know how to tell him that God might not have a dad out there for him.  How do you explain to a child the reasons why God says “no” when you don’t even understand yourself?

 

Equip me

I kept hearing pastors quoting Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families,” and would pray this verse continuously.  But then I started paying more attention to the hearts of the women around me. Many were not that different from me.  They were raising children on their own because their husbands worked long hours or out of town, were deployed overseas, or were just emotionally absent in their homes.  These women had men in their lives, their family was the definition of “traditional,” yet they were still struggling.  It hit me then that God had already placed me in a family, a family of just two, this amazing little boy and me!

I finally stopped praying for God to send a man into our lives to teach my son how to be a man, and instead to equip and help me to raise a Godly man on my own.  It’s amazing the changes I began to see when I finally started praying the right prayer.  My son’s nightly prayers for a dad stopped and one day he turned to me and said “Mom, when you hear me talk about my daddy, I’m talking about Jesus; He is the one I talk to every day, He’s my dad!”

He started talking to me about how he wanted to pray like the men in church and how much he loved Jesus and wanted to see others saved.  Every time that I would bow my head and clasp my hands in prayer, his little eyes were watching and his little hands were copying mine.  Every time I cried out to the Lord in pain or in joy, praised and worshipped him, and stood firm in my faith, my son was watching and he was learning what it meant to set his heart and his eyes on God.

Jesus fought for your heart...and won

Single or married, many women carry the burden of raising a Godly child on their own.  I see married women every day that not only fight for the hearts of their children but carry their husbands spiritually as well.  You may be carrying this burden today, wondering if anything you are doing is making a difference.  Just because you don’t have a strong male leadership in your home doesn’t mean that the fate of your child is doomed.

Let go of your own ideas and desires about what your “family” should look like.  Evaluate your prayers, are you asking God to change a circumstance or hearts?  A changed circumstance will pass on by, but a changed heart will give life for as long as it beats.  When your situation seems bleak and you don’t know how to change the hearts closest to you, just remember the promises of the Lord when we trust and follow him.

God’s love...is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.”  ~Psalm 103:17 MSG

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Supporting the Other Parent

When you have experienced a broken relationship, it is still important to support your spouse or ex-spouse as a parent. Children feel the pain of broken marriages and even try to take the burden upon their own shoulders. As the parent, it is your job to step up to the plate, give your children a soft place to fall during the emotional journey, keep them out of the middle, help them to heal, and to advocate for a strong relationship with the other parent. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As I begin to write, It is Father's Day. It has been over 4 years since my now ex-husband left our family. At first, he was very inconsistent in our boys' lives. Over a two-year period, they stayed with him only a hand full of times. He only occasionally visited them at our home and phone calls were sporadic as well.

At first, I was an emotional wreck and unable to help myself, much less my boys. I was blessed to have family and special friends around that supported us and helped to fill in the gap until I got myself together. My daddy was always a rock of consistency in their lives, and he really stepped up to be there for them during this time.

As time passed, I grew stronger and spent time seeking God. I wanted to help my children to heal. We prayed together for their father regularly. You see, regardless of our marital problems he was still their dad. I knew it was important for him to be a part of their lives and that there was no one else that could take his place.

A righteous man who walks in his integrity; How blessed are his sons after him. -Proverbs 20:7

Finally in April of 2011, there were many changes in our lives. My daddy had been very sick and hospitalized. While he was in the hospital, my divorce was finalized. One week later, I was supposed to go pick him up from the therapy rehabilitation center. Instead, he took a turn for the worse and was placed back in the hospital ICU. My boys were both home sick with a nasty stomach virus, and I didn't have anyone to watch them. So, I called their dad at work. At first he said he couldn't leave. Then he called back, stepping up to the challenge.

Soon after arriving at the hospital, I found out my dad wasn't going to make it. I called my boys and asked their dad to bring them to say their good-byes. After some time alone with my daddy and my boys, I took them back to their dad. I saw a rare sight.

Their dad was an emotional wreck. I approached to ask him if he'd like to say good-bye to my daddy. I walked him back, and I witnessed something I will never forget. I watched him walk in and wrap his arms around my daddy as he fought back the tears. I can still hear the words that he spoke to him. He said, "I am so sorry for the hell I put your family through. I love you, and thank you for being the most amazing man in my boys' lives."

From that moment forward, he was different as a father. He supported our boys through the loss of their poppy. They regularly go to stay with him. He attends their special activities and games. He truly supports me as their mother, and makes sure that the boys are well cared for. He is truly an active part of their lives again. If anything good could come from my father's death, he would be pleased to see that the boys have an active relationship with their dad again.

So today, I sent him the following message as a thank you for his role as a father. I'm truly grateful for his role in our children's lives.

I just wanted to wish you a very Happy Father's Day! It's hard to believe how quickly our boys are growing up. As their dad, you are the most important role model in their lives. At the beginning of our split up, your input in their lives was inconsistent. I understand that was a confusing and rocky time in your life. I'm very thankful that you are now active and a vital part of their lives. I'm very proud of you for how you have stepped up to the plate despite the obstacles. They are blessed to have you and be loved by you! I am very proud of the father you've become, and I will ALWAYS support you having an active, strong relationship with them. Thank you for all you do for them and for supporting me as their mother. Enjoy your special day and know that you are appreciated!

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

My Two Dads: A Double Portion

As I pray for restoration of one area in my life, I am reminded of how much God desires restoration in all areas of our lives.  Before my husband and I separated, over a year ago, I had not set foot in my dad’s house for three years. After my mother (the love of his life) died, he remarried. It was not a good situation and my brothers and I became estranged from my dad. We rarely saw him, which was a complete change of how close we used to be as a family. Restoration When I started this restoration journey for my own marriage and family, I began to see God work in all the other fractured parts of my life. Soon after my husband and I separated, my dad re-entered our lives.  I hadn't even realized what a profound affect this was having in my heart and marriage. As my heart was filled with love from a father to a daughter, I felt myself begin to ‘grow up’.  As I began to experience healing in this area, I was able to begin to relate to my husband less as the ‘wounded little girl’ and more as a ‘grown woman and wife’.  As my relationship with my earthly father improved, so did my understanding of my Heavenly Father.

There was going to be more to God’s amazing redemptive power and desire for wholeness in my life than just this though. You see, the story of the relationship with my father goes beyond three years of estrangement. It starts with my birth. For the first half of my childhood, I thought I was brown. My dad is of Latino descent, my mother is white. One evening, my mother shared with me that my dad was not my biological father. They began dating when my mom was pregnant with me, at 17 years old.

It would take me decades to realize how much the technicality of my biological origins impacted my soul and every other aspect of my life. I was in denial for years that there was a deep ache in my heart and unanswered questions about my identity. Again, during this marital separation, God would show me, how much He desires restoration and wholeness for every part—even the parts we swear never affected us, the parts that seem impossible to reconcile.

I turned 40 this past April. Maybe a week later, I received a message on Face Book…from my biological father, Alan. He offered condolences on the passing of my mother and indicated a desire to be in my life. God had been working on my heart, all this time, in such a way, that I was ready and willing to accept this man into my life, ‘As Is’.  A man, a father, I never knew, suddenly here, like the missing piece of a puzzle that I didn’t even have the picture to compare—that I would never have known how to put together. But God knew. He knew the timing. He knew what I needed, even before I did.

I never would have, nor could have, imagined I would ever meet this man. My dad (who raised me) was enough in my life. He is an awesome dad and did his best. Suddenly, there was this healing. No longer was my identity of one who was ‘rejected’ but one who was ‘chosen’. My dad chose to raise and love me as his own, regardless of biology. Now, no longer was I ‘forgotten’ but ‘remembered’. My biological father never forgot me or my existence and he sought me out. God has given me an opportunity that I know many never have.

double portionHow could I reject it? There was no feeling of resentment or bitterness or anger. Only healing, forgiveness and openness to what God wanted to do with this. I still can’t believe it when I look at it myself. A life time of inner struggle and striving to figure out and be who I am meant to be, and here I am.

How blessed am I to have not one, but now TWO dads in my life. TWO men that both claim to love and care about me. Prayers for restoration are never only about a situation or just a marriage or one relationship. Restoration goes beyond that. God desires to restore our very souls. The deep hidden places we sometimes can’t even admit exist. But He knows.  He keeps His promises and He is always working...above and beyond what we could ever possibly imagine. I know it won’t stop there either. I can’t help but be excited and look forward to the day my marriage is made whole too. Keep praying.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Dad Matters

As a nurse who's worked with growing families in Labor and Delivery and now, as a maternity nurse in public health, I've seen families of all types. I've briefly done other types of nursing, but have always felt the most fulfilled working with pregnant women and introducing new babies into the world! It's always such a fun and exciting thing to share in the addition of a new family member. And the funny thing is, even if the circumstances are less than ideal, people usually adapt so well because...well, who doesn't love a baby? dad matters

Sadly, an all-too-common occurrence in today's family is that of the absentee father. There is no shortage of speculation, statistics, or opinions on the subject of men who "love 'em and leave 'em." In fact, this is so normal and commonplace now, that young women just view their situation with apparent ambivalence--it's "just the way it is." These women have had to learn more toughness and self-reliance than they were ever supposed to.

As a product of a divorced home myself (also with an extravagant family history of divorce), I grew up hearing that I needed to know how to be independent and how to take care of myself "just in case" I ended up divorced, or likewise without a man in my life. With all the "know how to take care of yourself" talk going on, I, like many of the clients I see on a daily basis, never got the "here's how to be a tender, loving mother" or "let me tell you how to be a godly, respectful wife" speech.

Because of this drive to teach ourselves and our daughters independence "just in case," and also as a result of living in a society that deems men and women absolute "equals" in all things, men have been sometimes rendered irrelevant or unnecessary by women. We have become afraid of being left vulnerable in their absence, so as a defense mechanism we've overcompensated by saying "I don't need you at all." We feel like we need to know how to be the provider, the mom, the dad, the nurturer--all of it, wrapped into one person.

In truth however, God's design for families includes a mother AND a father. Fathers don't get nearly the attention and accolades as mothers but they are by no means any less important. In fact, men are given a mandate to be the spiritual head of their household (1Cor 11:3), leaders (1Thess 2:11-12), providers (1Tim 5:8), disciplinarians (Eph 6:4)--and those are some pretty significant responsibilities!

And in case we need evidence of a dad's influence on our kids, there was a Swiss study completed a few years ago stating that 44% of children whose father's attend church regularly (mom does not attend church at all) will also attend church regularly compared to 2% of children whose mothers attend church regularly without the father. Another study has shown that if the father is the first to become a Christian in a household, there is a 93% probability that everyone in the household will follow. We can't overlook the importance of the strong presence of a man who is sold out for Christ and the impact that will have on his family.

I conducted an impromptu interview with our kids who are 7 and 5 and asked them what's so special about their dad. I got answers like "He cooks my food," "He does stuff with my school," "He works to make money for us" and "He builds stuff with me." As a man whose primary love language is acts of service, my husband shows his kids love by consistently doing things with and for them. They've never known any different, so they don't even realize just how blessed they are to have him. But, they do seem to instinctually know how important he is to them because when I asked them "if your dad didn't do any of those nice things for you, would you still love him?" of course, they both answered yes.

Dads, don't underestimate your influence on your kids.  They need you! Your boys need you to teach them how to be men and your girls need you to teach them how to be treated by men.

Ladies, I know that sometimes the lack of a father in your kids' lives is not your choice, but let's not overlook and minimize the positive effect that a present, loving, and attentive father will have on his children.

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Becoming the Father I Hated

"SON! DO AS I SAY AND NOT AS I DO!" I thought: here we go again, as the bitterness toward my dad began to rage inside me, overflowing through my mouth with words that would kill. For years, I saw my dad say one thing and do another. My father demanded respect from me, but I was bitter, angry, and disappointed in him and swore that I would never become this man. Little did I know that I would head down the same road and become the man I hated. Twenty plus years later, I still battle with the unwanted training I received. becoming the father I hated

Twelve years ago I received Jesus as my Savior, yet I still found myself in the same rut as my father. I found myself raising my children under the same controlling power my dad had raised me. I had become what I hated most in my life. I often examine my childhood to learn what not to do now. My dad tried to lead his family with power. He always had something in mind that he wanted to accomplish; unfortunately, he was a very selfish man. He always used his power to accomplish his will and I saw it destroy my relationship with him and many others.

Controlling power is the ability to force someone to do your will, even if they would not choose to, because of your position or your might. DO IT OR I WILL BEAT YOUR TAIL! DO IT OR I WILL FIRE YOU! This kind of power does work and it will get the job done for a season but there are deep consequences: controlling power erodes relationships. My dad always used his power over me to get his will done. If I can be totally honest with you today, I have forgiven my father, and I love him, but the relationship is far from being what I desire. Why? Because controlling power erodes relationships and it takes time to heal and build those relationships. This is why many teenagers are in rebellion because parents have taken a power trip on their children.

I found two different scriptures that altered the way I live my life, forever changing my view of life as a husband, father, and pastor.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 

Notice it says that when he is old he won’t depart from it... this is why many adults are lost. Because the way they were trained as a child, many adults are not rooted in Christ. Note that doesn’t say sending children to church on the local bus route will lead them to follow Christ. What children see and how they are being trained at home will determine where they end up in life. This is the reason I had become the man I hated: I had been trained by my dad to be just like him, because I lived under his controlling power everyday.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. -Matthew 20:26

Husbands and fathers we must become a servant to all, not a slave but a servant. We must lead like Jesus, he never led with power but authority. Authority is the skill of getting people to do your will because of your personal influence. Jesus said if you are going to lead, then you must become a servant not a slave. A slave does what others want. A servant does what others need.

A dad will try to take care of his children, but a Father will win his children by influence and leave a legacy of love, grace, righteousness, authority and service.  The key to becoming a great father is accomplishing the task of caring for your family while building and maintaining relationships.

A husband/father is a man who identifies and meets the legitimate needs of his family, removing all barriers so they can serve one another. To lead, you must serve. Today is the day to become the dad the Father created you to be, let's step up!

 

A strong, solid marriage is an important foundation for good parenting. Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

Recently I found myself rummaging through special memorabilia and pictures of my daddy's life. After he passed away a couple of years ago, my mom gave me all the special gifts my boys and I had given him over the years. There is one gift that is very special to me because it truly describes him perfectly. It is a quote book entitled "Why a Daughter Needs a Dad." It describes all the special things between fathers and daughters. I gave this to my daddy for Father's Day in 2003 and wrote little notes and memories throughout it in the margins. Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

The quote that stands out to me in the book now is this ... "A daughter needs a dad who will influence her life even when he isn't around." I didn't realize while he was alive, but now I know his influence on my life is the absolute greatest gift my daddy gave me! Anyone that knows me can tell you that there has never been a bigger "Daddy's girl" in the world than me. Although I miss him more than words can describe, a piece of him lives on through me each day because of the influence he continues to have on my life.

Proverbs 10:9 ~ "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out."

For some people, I think it is difficult to understand the love of our Heavenly Father. If they have not received unconditional love within their family, especially from their father, I can see where it would be hard to comprehend that kind of love. The father's role is to be the head of the family and lead by example. For me, I had an amazing father here on Earth. Showing unconditional love to his family was his strongest attribute. His example made it so easy to understand and embrace the love of my Heavenly Father.

A father plays a major role in his daughter's life. He begins to write on the slate of who she will become from the moment she is born. Fathers shape their daughter's self esteem, self-image, confidence, opinions of men, and their future relationships. The father's role is important throughout the daughter's life. Some dads start to shy away during the teen years because their daughters are standoffish and moody. The teen years are filled with life lessons and complicated issues. This is a time to build trust, show and give affection, and to offer support to daughters as they learn more about what kind of person they want to become. As daughters grow and mature the role of the father naturally changes, but she will always continue to need her father's love, support, and positive influence. That doesn't change with age.

Ephesians 6:4 ~ "Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Me & PoppyMy daddy was a wise christian man of great character and integrity. He was a kind-hearted, loving, giving, gentle-spirited, forgiving gentleman. He was humble, willing to admit his faults, and took responsibility for his mistakes. He made me a priority in his life by spending quality time with me, listening to me, celebrating my accomplishments, lifting my spirits when I failed, and teaching me self-worth and value as a woman. My daddy taught me how to be a strong, confident, woman who did not define herself by the situations around her. Regardless of what situation I faced, he was there for me and taught me to get up, dust myself off, and keep going. My daddy taught me by example to love deeply and value my family.

I am a better person because of the influence of my daddy. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without him. Having him here with me for only 36 years seemed far too short, but his influence and memory remains strong and well-defined in my life. We may have had a short number of years, but that time was quality time. My family and I consider ourselves blessed to have been loved and appreciated by such a special man. Because of him, we each truly understand and appreciate the love of our Heavenly Father.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Keep Calm

As a military wife, so much of the day to day weight of our family fell on my mom's shoulders. Dad was out to sea, it seemed, every time something broke or the basement flooded. Did my mom flip out during these crisis? If she did, she did it behind closed doors after the water was cleaned up or the appliance was repaired. She always knew what to do or who to call. Keep Calm My mom wrote the book on KEEP CALM. Maybe it's the filter of 20+ years of life or the experience of parenthood, but I can't remember a single instance where she responded to a situation in fear or anger. Her response to every crazy thing I'd ever brought to her for guidance was thoughtful silence, then some form of productive guidance.

Two particular instances stand out in my mind...

Early in fifth grade, I was having a TERRIBLE time with fractions. So I decided that since I was in the top of the class and had the privilege of checking my answers with the teacher's key, I would skip the hard work of learning these skills and take advantage of the answer key. It was a great plan until I was faced with the end of lesson TEST. The night before the test, my stomach in knots (wasn't sure if I was more afraid of telling my mom I had been cheating, or of getting a failing grade on the test!), my mom sat on my bed with me and crying, I confessed everything to her. Her response (as I remember it, anyway) was a thoughtful silence, a hug, and a question.

What should we do about this?

The answer was obvious, even to a scared fifth grader. But she encouraged me to think it out, to share my plan with her, and then she offered to walk it out with me. She loved me and empowered me through it, not making my decisions for me. And the lesson I learned? Well, I ended up learning several, including fractions.

The second time that stands out in my mind this morning is when I was preparing to fly to Key West to spend winter break with with them. It was planned as a family vacation. I called her a couple days before to let her know that only our son and I would be vacationing with them because I'd learned my husband was having an adulterous relationship. I explained to her that Scott would be moving out while I was in Key West. Her response was a thoughtful silence and a question.

What would you like us to do?

In a time that I knew her heart was breaking for me, she was so strong. My answer to her was simple, although I know she knew what I would say...love me through it and listen when I can talk about it. They were prepared to do so much more if I'd needed it. I'm so grateful she didn't pass judgement on our situation or give advice. Like in the fifth grade, she loved me and empowered me through it, not making my decisions for me.

Her example carried me through the first part of my marriage and parenting, leaving the door wide open for the Word of God to cement the understanding of God's peace, or Shalom, that surpasses all understanding.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7

Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. (from Strong's Concordance)

I love that His peace is powerful and protective, and how God positions it to "stand guard at the entrance of your heart and mind, as it dominates your mind and controls your life," as Rick Renner describes it in his Sparkling Gems. There is such power in letting that peace dominate your heart and rule your life, knowing beyond knowing that God is sovereign in every situation in your life, using opposition and pain to refine and strengthen you.

Mom, I love you, and I hope you have an amazing Mother's Day. You are a remarkably strong woman, I'm so grateful for the way you have always loved and empowered me...thank you for that gift you gave me, I pray I'm loving and empowering my son well!

How did your mom love and empower you?

 

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What Are You Giving Your Kids?

What legacy do you want to leave your children? I remember hearing this question in a sermon. It really resonated deep within me. So, I began to think about the things I prioritized in their lives, how we spent our time, the rules of our home, and much more. I tried to put myself in their shoes to see what they would likely remember when I was gone. Well, I quickly realized there were some things I needed to change.

legacy

Let me share my journey to motherhood. As a young girl at the age of 15, I started to have lots of female problems and complications. I had four surgeries by the age of 22, and the doctors found cervical cancer by the age of 23. For years I was told it was highly unlikely I would ever have children ....... BUT GOD!!!!

I had an intense desire to be a mom more than words can describe. So, I began to quote Mark 11:24 daily and stand on God's word. I had a wonderful christian woman who prayed with me regularly. One day when I was still in high school, she shared a vision that God gave her. She told me to stop worrying and trust God with all my heart because He had a beautiful son He would send. Soon after that she also said that the little boy would have a little brother, and they would be like John and James in the bible. It was like God immediately spoke peace to the storm raging within my hear

 

t. So even when the devil tried to throw a monkey wrench into my life, I trusted that He had it all under control.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. ~ Mark 11:24

Well, fast forward to the depths of motherhood, and you would find two great boys that God blessed me with just as He promised many years before. The reality is that I have been far from perfect as a mother. I have made lots of mistakes on this journey. The biggest mistake was running from God for many years and not having a Godly home and marriage.

Admitting that is so embarrassing, after seeing how mightily God moved in my life time and time again. However, part of me was confused, upset, and even angry because my youngest son had numerous medical and special needs. I had a hard time taking him to church. I didn't feel like I could leave him with others because they didn't understand him. You could have described me as a "helicopter" mom.

My husband and I dealt with parenting very differently. He pretended the problems didn't exist, and I was fighting to find answers and get our son the help he needed. Unfortunately, neither of us turned to God. So our boys also witnessed an unhealthy marriage and divided parents.

Thankfully in 2008 I ran back to Jesus, and He welcomed me with open arms. Soon after, I began to think about the legacy I would leave my children. At one point, my boys probably would have said I kept a clean house or I worked really hard at my job. Well, I realized that those things were not what I wanted them to remember. Most of all I wanted them to remember they were raised in a Godly home with a mother that loved them and Jesus with her whole heart. So, I quickly began to re-prioritize things.

You see, at this point in my life I don't care if the house is perfect or about my "to-do list". I want to spend as much time as I can loving my boys, sharing the love of Jesus with them, making wonderful family memories, and teaching them to become mighty men of God. That is the legacy that I aspire to leave my boys. It is also important to note that although my boys are growing up in a single parent home right now, they are not from a "broken home" because God has mended our home with His love. It is built on His SOLID rock.

What legacy will you leave your children?

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Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM-at-Sea-Rotating-Slide-011

 

We're linking up with Becoming His EveMarriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife, The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

Seeing Others Through Christ's Eyes

Parenting is sometimes a difficult job. Do you ever remember your parents saying "This hurts me more than it hurts you"? I used to think that was nonsense... until I became a parent. Well, I believe Jesus feels that way A LOT as He molds us into the mighty men and women of God that He has called us to be! Seeing Others Through Christ's Eyes

 

As I continue to grow in the Lord, He helps me to see areas of my christian walk that need to improve. Lately He has been dealing with me about how I view others... especially those that have caused chaos and heartache in my life. The truth is that when we view things in this world through our own sight, it is like walking blindly. When we turn our focus to Him, He removes the blinders and gives us true sight.

Well lately, I have stumbled in this area.  So, I have been seeking the Lord and started to be very intentional in my prayers. When I know that I am going to have an encounter with someone that has caused pain in my life, I seek the Lord in prayer. I specifically ask for these three things.

#1: Lord, help me to see others through Your eyes... especially those people that have caused me heartache. #2: Lord, shine Your light brightly in my life so that others see Him through me. #3: Lord, open doors of opportunity for me to share the message of Your love and plant a seed in their life.

God's Word has spoken clearly to me on this topic. The verses below have shown me that God views His children for the potential they have ...... not the choices they have made. He accepts us where we are and then cleans us up. He then molds us into the mighty man or woman of God that He created us to be. We were all created in His image ........ which means we all have good within us. So, as Christians, we are called to see the potential in others... not their mistakes and their faults. We are to love them right where they are!

Genesis 1:27 (NIV) ~ "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) ~ "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Ephesians 1:18 (NIV) ~ "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people."

Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV) ~ “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye', when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Col 3:12 (NIV) ~ "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."

I pray that God moves mightily in your life and helps you to see other's through His eyes. I encourage you to go out and allow His light to shine brightly through you.

How has seeing things through Christ's eyes changed your perspective?

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