We Don’t Have a Gun Problem- We Have a Parent Problem

Once again our nation is wrestling with devastating news, this time out of Texas. Another school shooting. And once again people immediately start demanding more gun control, more legislation, more security measures, more mental-health screenings. All these knee-jerk reactions are common in the wake of a tragedy such as this. But sadly, this type of horrible event is going to happen again. Why? Because we have a generation of parents who have relinquished the responsibility of raising their children to others.

We have a generation of parents who are convinced that their children need more things rather than more of their parents’ time in order to be content—and as a result, we have children who are ungrateful and believe they are entitled to whatever they want.

We have a generation of parents who have been told by a consumer-driven culture that in order to be successful, they need a bigger house, a newer car, and the most up-to-date phones. With that comes larger debt, strained schedules, and two parents working outside the home just to make ends meet.

We have a generation of mothers who are no longer content to stay home and raise their children. They have believed the lie that being a stay-at-home mom is not a noble and fulfilling occupation. As a result, children are farmed out to daycares and public schools, raised by strangers just so parents can pursue equality and self-worth through a career or position.

We have a generation of fathers who have decided it’s ok to leave their families in order to follow their own lusts and desires; all because sometimes family life is hard and the pressure is too much.

We have a generation of parents who are so tired and stressed out that they allow devices to babysit their kids.

We have a generation of parents who insist God be taken out of their everyday lives, but then want to blame Him during times of crisis.

We have a generation of parents who believe their teenagers want nothing to do with them, when the reality is they need them more than ever.

We have a generation of parents who are ignorant of the dangers of social media and the depth of their children’s involvement in it. “All the kids do it,” they say. “It’s no big deal.” Parents fail to see that oftentimes social media becomes an outlet for their kids because it’s somewhat anonymous, a place where our kids don’t have to face reality. Children find belonging and family among strangers rather than the people in their own homes.

We have a generation of parents who are content with the average of thirty-four minutes of meaningful conversation per week they have with their children. Yes, you read that right—thirty-four minutes per week!

 We have a generation of parents who sit in churches all over America being taught that it’s ok to fit in with the culture; that biblical parenting is now old fashioned, irrelevant and offensive.

We have a generation of parents who are overweight, tired, and unhealthy,  who simply do not have the energy to get out of their chairs and engage in activities with their children. Instead, they over-schedule their kids with activities so they don’t have to deal.

We have a generation of drive-through parents who don’t have time to cook meals, sit at the table, and connect with their children.

We have a generation of parents who have bought into the lie that they should be friends with their children instead of parents. Discipline has become abuse, and punishment is seen as an infringement on children’s rights. So children are being raised with no boundaries or limits, and as such, they are unable to handle disappointment or hardship. It’s nonsense!

We have a generation of parents who are so concerned with selfies, status updates, and sports scores that they don’t take the time to look up from their phones on the odd occasion that their children do try to engage them. I’m preaching to the choir here, folks!

Parents, we have to do better. We can no longer push the blame onto guns, schools, organizations, politicians.

Newsflash: our children are our responsibility. It is our responsibility to be intimately involved in their lives. We have to do whatever it takes to connect with them.

If it means downgrading our cars and our houses to lessen our debt, so be it.

If it means saying no to our children’s wants or activities so we can spend more time engaging in conversation as a family, then we need to say no.

If it means sacrificing material desires so Mom can stay home, we have to do it.

If it means pulling our kids out of school to teach them at home, we need to get over ourselves and do it!

If it means turning off our phones and placing them in a drawer so we can’t see them, then we need to turn them off!

If it means looking at your teenagers social media, email and texts, look at it! You pay the bills, don’t you?

We are losing a generation, and it isn’t anything’s or anybody’s fault but ours. Rise up, parents! We need to stop pointing the finger and do our jobs!

Lord, we need You so desperately as we raise our children in this day and age. Help us rise up and take responsibility. Help us put aside our own needs and wants, and live sacrificially for the children You have placed in our care. Forgive us for pointing the finger of blame at others, and help us do whatever it takes to engage with our children—love them, discipline them, and nurture them so they can grow to be the people You designed them to be. Amen.

Raising Kingdom Minded Kids

Parenting is hard. Being responsible for shaping future generations is a huge responsibility and oftentimes feels like an overwhelming task. So many things in our culture pull at our children, and as parents, we find ourselves simply trying to keep our heads above water and do our best.

Through the years I have had many conversations with other parents in regard to raising children, and it seems that we all struggle with the same basic questions: How do we get our children to be good kids when they are growing up in a godless society? How do we keep them in church? How do we get them to read their Bibles and pray? How do we get them to make right choices when they are faced with the pull of this world? How do we get them to walk with God?

The answer is, we don’t.

Now some of you may start preaching the biblical standards for training up a child and quoting the “spare the rod, spoil the child” scripture, but before you do, let me tell you where I’m coming from. I absolutely believe that the discipline and correction of our children is biblical and necessary. When they are young, it is imperative that they learn right from wrong, boundaries, and good manners and receive all the behavioral training that little ones need. I believe we should start teaching these principles early and be consistent with them. I’ve raised four little ones, so I know how it goes. However, once our children get to a certain age, and are able to make moral judgments for themselves, we need to start focusing less on their behavior and more on their hearts. If the hearts of our children are set toward the Lord, then their behavior will follow.

As a mom of teens, at times I find myself trying to control my kids’ decisions, actions, and responses rather than focusing on shaping their hearts. In doing this I encounter resistance and frustration from my children. This is not necessarily because they want to be rebellious, which is what we may naturally think, but because they are learning to walk out their lives independently with the Lord, and I am getting in the way! If our children are going to live in true and lasting relationships with Jesus, we have to step back and let the Holy Spirit convict and teach them—just as He convicts and teaches us. Our kids should not live to please us, their parents; instead they should live to please God. Out of love for Him should flow their obedience, respect, and honor for us.

Now I’m not suggesting that parenting will always be a bed of roses and we will somehow grow perfect children! Will our kids make mistakes? Yes. Will they cop an attitude now and again? Absolutely! Will they get discouraged? Yes. Will they make unwise choices that get them into trouble? Of course. Might they walk away from the Lord for a time? Maybe. But doesn’t this also describe us? There comes a point in time when our role is to disciple our children’s hearts and choices, not dictate their behavior. Our children’s relationship with the Lord is theirs, not ours, and it may look different than what we expected. Their lives may be led in a different way than we desired, and this is where we have to be reminded once again that we are raising arrows in order to release them. An arrow kept in the quiver has no use and will never be effective.

If our children are going to develop solid, real, and lasting relationships with Christ, we have to get out of the way. Our responsibility is to be quiet and allow God to speak so our kids can hear Him. If our children don’t learn to recognize the voice of God when they are young, then they will always be looking to others for direction and will likely be misled.

So instead of telling our children how to live, we need to show them by example. I recently read a quote by author and preacher Charles Spurgeon that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go—but be sure you go that way yourself.” How can we pass on something we don’t possess? Our children will look to us when they are young and become like us as they grow. We can’t expect them to become spiritual giants if we live lives contrary to the one we are telling them they should live.

We should pray with our kids! When they have a question, or when an issue arises in our homes, we shouldn’t preach at them; we should go with them to the Word. We need to let God’s truth speak to their hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to bring change. He is on His own timetable, not ours!

Lord, help us shape our children into that which You have called them to be by getting out of Your way and trusting that You will guide, direct, and speak to them. May we find joy in the relationships our children develop with You. Give us Your grace to walk alongside them day by day! Amen.

Choosing Culture Over Jesus

A couple of days ago, I was browsing Facebook and stumbled upon an interview of Pastor Carl Lentz on The View. The headline was this; Hillsong ‘Pastor’ Folds Under Abortion Question On The View. Of course I clicked on the play button to find out what the story was about. I should be able say that I was surprised by what I heard, but sadly, I wasn’t. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a so called pastor or church leader choose culture over Jesus. In fact it’s becoming the norm.

When asked very clearly if he thought abortion was a sin, ‘Pastor’ Lentz waffled and dodged. Honestly, it was embarrassing. “Well, I would have to know the situation first”, “God’s the judge, not me” and “I would choose to go higher and get to know the person first”. These were all comments he made as he trampled the Word of God in front of millions.

Mr. Lentz, your response should have been an easy one. How I wish you would have used the platform you had, and said to all those watching, “yes, abortion is a sin. Abortion is murder, and murder is a sin.” That’s an opportunity you are not likely to have again.

Obviously the response to this interview has been mixed. Some say he is relating, he’s loving people where they are. Others say he is a heretic, a false teacher. I happen to believe the latter. However, Carl Lentz is one of many prominent men in our nation that are leading churches down a dangerous and deceptive path. Choosing culture over Jesus.

We are called to love people where they are, we are called to bind up the wounds of the hurting and restore the broken, however we are also called to preach the uncompromising truth of the Word of God. We are called to offer life changing truth, not watered down, palatable niceties.

So, this begs the question, how can we, Jesus’ ambassadors here on earth, love and give compassion, all while calling out sin for what it really is? It amazes me how much time we spend looking at books and blogs, trying to find out how to respond to different situations and circumstances in life. The answers are often times right in front of us if we will take the time to dig in to God’s Word.

In John 4:1-26, we have one of many perfect examples of how to love and yet call out sin in an uncompromising way. In this passage of scripture, Jesus was traveling through Samaria when He came to a well. Upon arriving he noticed a woman there drawing water and asked her for a drink. The fact that she was there in the middle of the day, alone, shows us that she was somewhat of an outcast in her own community. Typically, the women would come in the early mornings and take the time to catch up with each other. So we see that even the culture of the day looked down on this woman. As we read through the story, we notice that Jesus ignored the culture to speak directly to her. He took the time to, engage her and ask about her life. He was kind, but did not hold back in pointing out her sin. In verses 14-16 he calls her out.   “He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true” (NIV) Jesus didn’t pull any punches, but His affect on this woman was life changing. She became an evangelist in her own town, bringing many to hear the message of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t offer the Samaritan woman a watered down gospel. He offered her the truth. He calls us to do the same, and shows us exactly how to do it. May we be obedient and follow.,

“Lord, help us as Christians, as the church, to unashamedly speak truth to a world that is so desperate to hear. People need answers, not comfortable ideas. Help us to engage the culture, without conforming to it. Help us to love people enough to not tickle their ears with what they think they want to hear, but to offer them true hope that only comes from you. Amen”

Cease Striving Precious Mom

strive

Motherhood is the greatest job on the planet. It is also the hardest. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining. Motherhood is filled with sadness, joy, triumphs, losses, anger, frustration, laughter and wonder. But even with all of the strong emotions motherhood brings, we, as mothers still find ourselves feeling unworthy. We oftentimes find ourselves feeling like failures; without purpose.  Motherhood is the most varied, exciting job, but it can also be the most boring, depending on the day! Motherhood is full of  crazy days dealing with  tantrums, attitudes, dirty diapers, fingerprinted walls and messy floors. Much of the time we feel  frumpy and ugly. 

What I have come to realize is that motherhood is a long journey. It takes you up mountains, through valleys, down the rapids, and sometimes, very occasionally let’s you relax on life’s beach. Regardless of where it takes us, it is one of the most rewarding and gratifying journeys you will ever take.

God has given mothers a deep, protective instinct that once awakened, never goes back to sleep. We are strong and brave and will do anything to shield our babies. Even so, we sometimes still feel like we are not enough. But I have great news for you! No-one as it all together all of the time. The truth is, we will never be enough. Doesn’t that kinda take the pressure off?

Unfortunately society has placed women under so much pressure to succeed in the career of motherhood, that we often set the bar too high and then have a hard time forgiving ourselves when we fail to reach it. If we work outside of the home, we try to justify why it’s necessary. If we stay home we have to prove that we can run our home perfectly and get everything so we can justify not financially contributing to the family. Here’s the real problem; We are allowing society to decide what a good mother looks like, when really we should be looking to Jesus. His list of requirements for us is pretty short. They are:

  • To love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
  • To teach our children His ways. Deuteronomy 6:5-11 
  • To commit our ways to Him. Proverbs 16:3

In return He promises that:

  • He will give us rest, peace and wisdom & satisfaction
  • We will succeed.

We need rest when times are crazy; we need peace when our nerves are shot; we need wisdom when our children are driving us crazy; and we need to feel satisfied that we are doing well.

I know many of you reading this may relate to the things written here. Outwardly you are successful in keeping up appearances; but inwardly you are crying out for someone to rescue you from the constant demands of your children. You fail to live up to the expectations you have set for yourself.  The Lord is saying to you precious mom, “cease striving! You are not alone.” God’s Word is full of wisdom and guidance, knowledge and instruction. If we could only learn to cling to and hold on to His promises we would see that His requirements are few, and His rewards are many.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you (precious moms) who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

“Lord help us as mothers, to come to You daily. Help us to look upon our children not as projects or pests, but as souls given to us in order that we might raise them in the knowledge of You. Help us to rest in the promise that you are there to carry our burdens and struggles. May we look to You for our value, and not allow society to steal the joy we should have in our children” – Amen