Every Proud Mom Cries

Ever sit near a mom during a wedding? What about a graduation ceremony…or even just a good Hollywood movie about a wedding or graduation? ūüôā

Tears fall. 

Sometimes it’s just a few silent, solitary drops of pure pride and tender joy. Other times it’s the wet flood of an emotional storm, released without restraint. Either way, Mom cries. ¬†View More: http://traciarneyphotography.pass.us/kelliejarrett

It’s as natural as the spring time, healthy, and in some way… ‘proper.¬†

I watched the birth of all three of my children. I clapped and whooped as each of them clutched their diploma’s and proudly smiled for the camera….walking by in their black graduation robes. It’s a heart warming, milestone moment… a truly joyful time. Pride pulses through every parents heart, excitement and satisfaction mixed with a bit of growing dread…

Thus the tears.

For mothers the transition of a graduation ceremony or a wedding day symbolizes the end of an era. The shifting of seasons, it represents a diminishment of their influence and ultimately… ‘control‘. That’s intense, anxiety inducing, panic-attack provoking kind of fear for a mother… a huge hill to climb. (Dad’s too, but not in the same way)

For the parent, a graduation or wedding¬†is like a ‘final exam’.¬†

Did we teach them all they needed to know?

How will they handle the pressure of independent life?

Will they abandon the faith we tried to model…?

Do they know how much we love them?

Will they choose to stay close to us… or have they gone for good?

Just asking yourself these questions can cause your heart to skip beats. There’s far more going on under the surface here…more than tears expressed in a moment of celebration, this is the tip of a proverbial iceberg. A glacier full of fear buried deep in the heart of every mother in every home. For some mom’s this is a devastating time. A deep and dark season where fears can overshadow all else… if that’s you, keep reading.

Couple of thoughts. 

1 – God is Faithful. Pray.

Never forget the covenant love of our God, He is long-suffering, patient and His love endures forever!

2- Take the LONG view.

Give them a chance to grow up and discover the truth’s you taught them were real.

3- Don’t burn the bridge back home.

Express your concerns without ultimatums. It’s their turn to choose how to live. If your right about their foolishness… they are going to need help later to sort things out. If the bridge back home is out… where will they have left to go for advice? Probably somewhere or to someone ‘not’ good.

Inmate Steven Clark gets a hug from his girl friend Tomi Doyle after Clark received his associate degree from the University of Maine in Augusta on Monday at the Maine State Prison.

God bless all you “mothers’ out there. Let the tears flow... but rest well tonight knowing your in good company. Be at¬†peace knowing God hasn’t, isn’t, can’t… abandoned you or your newly independent ‘babies’ ūüôā

The adventure is just really beginning…

Pastor Brad.

 

 

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drip drip drip… the power of persistence

Parents, are you tempted to throw in the towel with your tween?

I know… it’s overwhelmingly difficult sometimes to parent a hormone-soaked-storm like the typical teen or tween. They know how to push each exasperation button we have… and somehow avoid being responsible for “ANYTHING” from their school grades to the family shared, mobile, data-plan last month ūüôā

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They disdain our “ancient” wisdom of 40 something as outright stupidity and live comfortable in the smug knowledge they are in fact… the geniuses. Cerebral giants who can barely tolerate our presence in their ‘homes’. ¬†We call these crazies our kids and if you’re not careful… they can wear you down to the nub…

Or even worse, they might make you so exhausted… you give up!¬†

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM !

DO NOT STOP PARENTING

DO NOT STOP CAREFULLY KEEPING THE BOUNDARIES OF LIFE, LOVE, AND YOUR FAMILY INTACT !

Don’t stop praying, don’t stop sharing, don’t stop daring to believe in their hearts catching fire for Christ ! We underestimate our value, our power as parents ! Our kids get over 70 hours week of mainstream media ingested into their noggin and less than 3 hours of parent & pastor combined…

Poll after poll tells us that tweens (kids 7-13) and teens admit the opinions and ideas of their parents are THE SINGLE MOST INFLUENTIAL VOICE IN THEIR LIVES ! 

Be persistent !Untitled-111-980x613

It’s not up to us to convince… only God can change a heart or an attitude. But we as parents can be intentional about never – ever giving up on our kids. Of living out our faith values with honesty and persistence, day-in and day-out… like water on rock, over time… the water wins !

Pastor B.

Imagining the worst…

Ever watch a friendship or marriage dis-integrate right before your eyes ? Maybe you’re in the middle of a relational crisis, or maybe it’s your tween or teen whose pulling so far away ?

It’s brutal to see up close.

Disrespect and broken trust erode what once was inseparable. Like emotional acid, the burn never seems to stop. Perceptions shift as mountains of past hurts, regret, and shame, dissolve through what remained of our commitment.

Intimacy turns inside out and ugly in a moment. Lost and emotionally afraid, we can start to hate the silence.

Conversations change. Sour stirrings of bitterness creep into our words as our wounded hearts seek to hide the truth and carry on without ever resolving the pain.

In time…our emotional reserves run out. Cold, flat, facts replace the warmth once felt, as we drift and float further apart. Apathy is all it takes to lose our relationship. Love and respect replaced by our deep and wary suspicion of ill intent.

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN ?

Subtly we can lose our grip on reality, as the voices of ¬†twisted truths win the war of trust in our heart. We start to entertain the darkest possible scenarios in our mind, in short…we imagine the worst, believing internal ‘whispers of warning‘ about events that have never even occurred yet.

Over time we can become so ‘convinced’ that we’re in the right to doubt others, we forget to even ask ourselves if they actually did anything to hurt us. Sometimes we can imagine offense by projecting past offenses or hurts into our present. Internal ‘perceptions become reality and our cynical imagination builds an elaborate dungeon of distrust. Once we surrender to those thoughts and fears, we can lose sight of what once was compassion and optimistic hope for one another.

Over time we can even start to predict that all kinds of people will eventually hurt or betray us, and in a paranoid attempt to protect ourselves, we withdraw from relationships before any of that happens. anxiety

The community of faith that Christ calls us to live in can’t survive long with our imaginations working on overdrive. We have to push back our fears and anxiety as we learn to ‘trust’ the hearts of others are actually ‘good.¬†

The bible describes these internal fear thoughts and ‘imaginations’ as legitimate spiritual ‘warfare’ ! A real life reality for the believer to accept and anticipate if we are going to make our relationships work.

We need to consciously prepare to defend our friendships,marriages and sanity, by choosing to remember God’s truth in those moments when we ‘feel’ the darkness of doubt, fear, and suspicion begin creeping into our thoughts.

If we don’t regularly choose to believe the best in our relationships, we can easily be deceived into thinking our friends, family, and spouses are the ‘enemy’.

4 (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

The Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (AKJV)

Parents, believe for the best.

Spouses, trust that nothing is ever impossible with Christ.

Peace out, Pastor B ūüôā

NOAH… the movie

NOAH…¬†“the” Noah. Legend, myth… or actual historic¬†figure, whatever you choose to believe, his tale¬†is an¬†epic story, pulled from the ancient archives of the book of Genesis., the¬†first book of the bible. The most recent incarnation of Noah comes to life¬†in Russell Crowe,¬†part of¬†a big budget, super intense –¬†CGI fantasy show, complete with apocalyptic¬†immersion into¬†the ‘pre-history’¬†of mankind.

Noah’s¬†world is an ash-tray of a garbage dump, blackened and fouled by the industrial hordes of pre-historical technology and a violent,¬†lawless society. Noah serves to protect the last of the pristine earth and it’s animals from the relentless surge of a blood-thirsty civilization.

The cinematography is DARK and DIRE, sweeping and full of some strange stuff, and ideas. (i.e. Watchers)

Filmed largely in Iceland, this epic story becomes a very focused dramatic tale¬†about the¬†dysfunctional family dynamics that twist Noah’s life.

For parents, this movie is dark, scary and at times bloody. A violent, but not so far-fetched interpretation of the biblical text. A bit too violent and scary for youngsters in my opinion. Kids under 13-14 should steer clear, but for those with teens, this provide parents with an excellent opportunity to go deeper.

My encouragement is this… take your teens to see this with you. Prepare them by reading through the Genesis narrative as contained in the scriptures. (Gen 5-9)¬†Once you have¬†your popcorn and milk duds, kick back and enjoy the fictional¬†and gritty¬†drama of Noah’s family as they cope with the pressures of¬†global genocide and personal faith. The acting is solid and you’ll find yourself caught up in the tension that builds between Noah and his daughter/wife/sons along the way.

I did appreciate the powerful reality check the movie provides to us as believers. Namely that there is such a day as “judgment day” and that sin isn’t a minor detail on the way to the warm glow of an Easter story. I also appreciated the struggle Noah has with understanding what God is calling him to do, making his faith all to familiar, something¬†for us all to appreciate.

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hdwallpapersdose.com-

Note the odd emphasis on Noah’s intense – even rabid faith portrayal, the value placed on animals over mankind and the use of magic by Noah’s grandfather along the way. Entertaining and intense, this story is a bit of a ssstttrrreeeettttcccchhhhh , but it serves a very useful purpose. You will have your teens interested enough in the bible to read and talk about it for days to come.

For the record, it’s big budget and exciting, although¬†a “downer”, it is¬†full of great music and hi-tech imaging, effectively recreating what would seem to be the basic “vibe” of the old world decay that the bible describes.

I happen to believe the bible is accurate, truthful and trustworthy, making this story more than just a fable, but a piece of our historical journey with God. As such, it’s message is timeless and powerful… making it a¬†significant movie pick¬†for today’s family to consider.

That’s enough for me to recommend¬†taking your own voyage to the nearest theatre!

Peace out and past the popcorn already… ūüôā

Pastor B.

Moving forward

Ever watch a teen get really excited about¬†some brand-new life opportunity? Their eyes glow with anticipation and they are immediately lifted from the¬†depths of their¬†hormonal fueled struggles-insecurities and fears. They seem to live and breath with¬†only pure and positive energy, bouncing as they walk. Goofy¬†smiles on their faces as they dream¬†with¬†endless enthusiasm for their certain and sure¬†futures. They over-simplify and under-consider the risks and challenges required…but they sure do believe!

How many of us as parents or teachers or just “old” folks brush past that naivet√©’ and idealistic hope we see in our youth? Smashing and grabbing our way – forcing their glowing gazes back into the “practical” world we¬†know.¬†Often we act dispassionately¬†dissecting their dreams with a cold and certain cynical scalpel – forged¬†from our own failed histories and painful memories.

It is true…as adults we know that life can drag us backward, that dreams and ideals can fade in the harsh glare of practical experience….but it’s not the ONLY truth we know. Dreams are the fuel of our souls… the seeds of what “could be” become the harvest of our adulthood. When we give up on our dreams, we in essence let a piece of ourselves die. Our kids are ALIVE and full of the juice of possibility… we have a choice to nurture that or invalidate them into something less.

Parents, as our tweens become teens and our teens become adults… we have a¬†significant voice in their futures. If we speak only from the pragmatic prism of cold-hard-facts, we can greatly diminish our kids and ourselves. We need to be very wise¬†here… if we’re not¬†careful in our haste to correct and educate them, we can end up sucking the¬†optimism¬†of life out of their hearts.

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

Let’s not let our disappointments, mistakes and tragic choices sabotage the hopes and dreams of our children. Yes they may be na√Įve and idealistic to the point of absurdity… but it’s those crazy hopes and dreams that fuel our lives. Someone will be the next Zuckerberg, Oprah, Edison or Steve Jobs… someone will follow their hearts fully, daring to believe and create¬†from their dreams, safely¬†carried from their adolescence into adulthood.

Shame on us if we smash those precious seeds of tomorrow before they ever get a chance to grow.

Faith is more than pragmatic trust … Faith allows us to see hope and potential in the midst of improbability… and our kids need us to have Faith in them and Gods’ ability to make the impossible… real. Our kids were created for a purpose… they have the blue-prints for something remarkable, something life-giving – beautiful and so necessary for us all.

 

Blessings, Pastor B.

PS – Latest RoadTrip radio interview with Diane Markins and her Bold Living Talk Show airs Saturday (9-28-13)

Bold Living is a weekly talk show meant to approach life with grace and grit in order to challenge, encourage, equip and propel listeners towards bolder choices! Listeners may tune in to KPXQ 1360 AM Saturdays at 11:05 AM (MST) or visit DianeMarkins.com to hear podcasts any time.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made…

Today’s post is a bit different. I rarely “endorse” folks, but felt led to do so. I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine, a youth pastor and innovator in the world of Christian media and ministry… a really authentic, good guy by the name of Chris Spradlin.¬† A friend of iShine and my dear comrade Robert Beeson, Chris has been guest blogging on our website at ishinelive.com. His southwestern roots and salt of the earth style, allow him to reach deep into the heartland of America with a message of Hope and Promise and Faith that will stir your soul.

Chris has¬†a growing family¬†ministry known as EpicParent.TV which has a solid following of youth and children’s pastors, parents and an¬†emerging base of fans from across the globe.

Pastor Chris Spradlin

His posts, insights and practical understanding of today’s teens and media¬†are first rate. His new e-book is FREE to download and is a great resource for parents with teen boys as it’s content¬†delves into the world of pornography and sexuality in the digital age. He is a speaker, teacher, pastor and father, but what I recently discovered is how remarkable is his marriage.

His wife Jodie exemplifies courage and strength for all moms and wives to draw inspiration from. Her story is shared in a short 4 minute video on the Epic Parent site and it is a “must watch” for wives and tween – teen girls who are struggling with identity, appearance and acceptance issues. (which is EVERYONE)

Jodie Spradlin

I’ve set up the link and player here on my blog (simply click her picture on the left), but wanted to personally endorse and encourage you to support Chris and his beautiful wife Jodie in their ministry to teens and tweens. That means, prayerfully consider supporting them with¬†a financial gift, regular prayer and for sure links to¬†social media. Please¬†take a few minutes to¬†let your friends, family and local pastoral team¬†know about this remarkable and effective¬†husband-wife ministry.

We need more Hero’s in the world today, and our kids especially need them more than ever! So share this video, and download Chris’ book. Watch Jodie’s testimony ¬†with your daughters and sons, sit them down this week¬†and¬† take the time to talk about real life. Consider Jodie’s story and how¬†pain and tragedy often can come into our¬†world unexpectedly¬†and then¬†point to Jesus and then to Jodie as examples of how God can work in and through any circumstance, no matter how tragic…¬†to make it turn out¬†beautiful.

The Spradlin’s¬†represent the finest in sacrificial¬†love and servant hood. What better role models could we as parents ever ask for… Go Team Sprad!

Peace out RTP readers…

Brad.

Saying “NO” when it would be so much easier to just say “YES”

We’ve all had¬†a similar¬†experience with our kids. Struggling to decide how we’re going to react to the latest issue within our families. The little voice inside of us tells us quickly that we need to act, to change course and re-direct our child from where they are to where they need to be. That requires us to say “NO” to something….

BUT;

To act on that voice requires us to take extra time and attention¬†away from what we had planned to do and focus on our kid. To re-schedule our day so we can adequately address whatever issue has reared its ugly little head in our happy home. It would be so much easier to just say “YES” and let it go. Deal with it later, when we have more time and some extra energy to push through their resistance and whining and anger at us. It would be so much less headache and hassle to just let them have their way for the short-term¬†with an eye on the long-term goal.

RIGHT?

Have you ever had that conversation with yourself?¬†I bet you have it frequently…like everyday if you have teenagers. It’s an age-old process that every parent and family confronts. How much is too much? How often is too often? Do we fight every battle, every issue that comes our way, or do we pace ourselves and respond only to the bigger issues and bigger problems and trust for the smaller ones to resolve themselves?

Each of us will have to answer those questions on our own, but I do believe there are times and places where we feel that extra “nudge” from God to stick firm. To hold our line and not allow things to go any further. To push back and lovingly, but firmly correct or re-direct our kids.

It will take extra time and energy and effort to do. It will be a pain in the bottom to work with them for the next few hours or days or even weeks, but in the end… I believe it’s essential that we do.

Our kids, especially our tweens and teens are living in our homes as a way to “prepare” for real life.¬†The one they live now is sheltered, secure and largely insulated from the extreme pressures of adulthood. Our kids do not have the extra awareness of decades of life, of hard work and perspective on poverty and loss, success and accomplishment. They are in a cocoon of our own making, and it’s no surprise they develop a surreal view of their lives.

Our teens often become so self-absorbed and inwardly focused, it takes a commited¬†parent to take the time to help break them out of the psuedo-reality they live in and see the real world. To assist them in¬†moving beyond just looking out for their desires and wants, to see the “other’s” around them¬†who may have¬†real needs.

Take the time, make the investment when God prompts you to do so… it’s worth the aggravation, our kids are counting on us to help them become mature and well-rounded young men and women. Without us making the effort, we will essentially be surrendering their adolescent training time to someone or something else.

Take courage fellow parents, sometimes it’s all we can do to simply keep the path that God has directed us to follow and trust that HE will intercede on our behalf to win our childs hearts and minds,… it may just take some time.

Galatians 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.