Hitting the Wall…

Sometimes we just run out of gas.

Sometimes we’re doing so much for everyone else we forget to stop, and take care of ourselves.

As parents, Sometimes is always. 

livewellmagazine.org

livewellmagazine.org

Let me encourage you and myself to get off of the merry-go-round for 24 hours every now and again. We’re not meant to run at full speed all the time, we’re supposed to rest every seventh day.

We need to trust the world will survive our absence, to allow ourselves to slow down, and to refresh ourselves  as we disconnect for a few essential and irreplaceable hours each week.

If we don’t we’ll hit the wall. 

People become quite ugly when we ignore the wall.

Speaking openly here, when we refuse to slow down and rest, when we keep going on and on…. we’re risking our sanity.

Exhausted parents can create more problems than we solve when we valiantly soldier on without time to ourselves.

When was the last time you slept in ? If you just snorted, its past time to change things. 🙂

Inventory your life and it’s pace, find new places to say “NO” to today, and I encourage you to begin to say “YES” to yourself. I know it feels weird to put your own needs above others, but you’re not being selfish in this, your being wise.

Love you,

Pastor B.

Matthew 11:29 (ESV) – Biblegateway ;Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

for to you have I committed my cause.

Reading scripture is like finding a light on the darkest night. 

Many of us are feeling the battering of life and circumstance, the weary that gathers like lead in our bones. Deep, dark, and tired our thoughts. We scrape a smidgen of hope from our hearts scarred surface and lean forward… one more step. One more lift of the foot, one more push forward… until we collapse. Face down, fallen.

thejesuschick.com

thejesuschick.com

After laying on the ground, we start to feel around in the dark… lifting fingers first, then our head and slowly on our knees until we stand. Exhausted, it’s a victory to simply lean on something stronger, walking or running seems impossible to ever hope for…so we sway in the harsh of life, clinging to hope by a thread. 

I’ve felt that way, so have you. Maybe you’re in that dark place right now?

Take comfort, be encouraged, you’re not alone. Don’t give up. Help is on its way. 

Jeremiah was an ancient prophet / pastor to the nation of Israel in one of its darkest moments. Attacked from without, decayed from within…. Jeremiah couldn’t win.

Hated by God’s enemies, hated by God’s people he was a man lost in-between.

Faithfulness for him was a road of total isolation and pain, rejection and loss were his companions – until he was jailed by the leaders of God’s people. His darkness was more than a metaphor. In his pain he wrote these raw words…

But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
    Before him my persecutors will stumble.
    They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
    Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
    and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
    for I have committed my cause to you.

Jeremiah 20:11-12 (NLT) 

There are times in our lives when we run out of words.Times when we need to avoid talk, and must be with the one who created and purposed us. Slow down to a stop, push away the excuses and distractions… you know what to do. It’s time to open the good book. 

futureofeducation.com

futureofeducation.com

Read the word of God, REST in His presence.

Take your time, slowly…honestly… lay out your hearts pain… give it to the only one who can truly understand.

Wait quietly.

Repeat, until the darkness lifts and the light returns.

Live again. 

 

Love to you all….parenting is hard. God is strong.

Pastor B.

 

Finding meaning in motherhood…

I have talked with many  mothers over the years who struggle to find meaning in their role being a mom, feeling trapped by their culture to be “perfect” or the stigma of having to survive and raise kids as a single parent or trying to overcome the resentment of an over-scheduled husband. If you’re a mom and this sounds familiar… please take a minute to read on.

Mothers are the first to get up and the last to go to bed in most homes. From piles of dirty laundry to the daily inventory management of the fridge, mom’s are the hardest working of God’s creations. Driven by an innate sense of the need to nurture and love, moms live their lives for others.  Sacrificing their deepest dreams and hopes for others, they often need to retreat from the aspirations of their youth to simply survive the present demands of their families.

But is that enough ?

Ah, I said it. Please don’t mis-understand. I’m not being disrespectful in that question… but seriously, is that enough purpose and identity for a mom to live off of for an entire lifetime, the simple satisfaction of being a “mother”, of knowing they have served their homes faithfully and selflessly for two decades or more…? Only a mother can say for sure.

What I’m referring to is the struggle of a mom living out her dirty diaper years in a state of frustrated meaningless yuck. Some toddler parents wonder aloud how they could have ever wanted to do this ? They question their faith, their sanity and their purpose after a few long months of sleepless nights, soiled clothes and toilet bowls with 3 month dirt rings screaming at them to be removed. When a mom can’t remember what she looked like before kids, and the last time she enjoyed a long bath and a book was measured in months not days… it’s time to remember what this is all about.

Family.

Weary mothers of the world, hang in there. Your value is greater than rubies, your worth beyond measure. God describes you as the “apple of His eye”. Faithful and true you are. Regardless of your doubts and your fears and your over-reacting well-meaning compulsions to keep your kids clean or their rooms neat… your amazing. Your gifted to give the greatest and most potent gift of any life…

Love.

As you choose one more time to deny yourself, to lay down your hopes and dreams for your kids little league practice or your daughters payment plan for her braces, your husbands late work crisis that delayed or cancelled your dinner date… remember this. God is well pleased. His heart laughs and dances at the power of your life weaving eternal tendrils of hope and peace and comfort in the lives of those little ones entrusted to your care. He whispers to you of His love and His concern and His deep and abiding commitment to you. Not as a mother, but as a woman of great beauty and power and passion.

He has created you to represent a great part of Him to your family, to your husband and to your community. Your role is irreplaceable in every way. For those of you who serve your blended families as a ‘step-mother” this is every bit as relevent as to those who serve as ‘biological” mothers.

Be refreshed in your calling, your assignment as a mother. God has placed you in a strategic role for the formation of life values, faith and family before all else. Don’t abandon the dreams of your youth as “lost” or forgotten. I believe God will draw you into those dreams and passions for service in His kingdom in dramatic and beautiful ways over the course of your lifetime. Look for ways to explore those God breathed desires to His glory, knowing that in time your children will have children and your role for their lives will change.

God has so much for us all to seek out and discover about Him, about our lives and about our families. Never limit His creativity or His desire to see you become all that He created you to be. Motherhood is the first step of many in your life, and loosing track of that reality can become a dark and defeated present burden that none of us can bear for long.

Remember and be revived. God is using you in ways you cannot imagine… He wants to use you in the future in ways that you never dreamed of and all the while He has you currently enrolled in the school of motherhood to prepare you and your families for the next season on your journey.

Blessings to you “MOM”.

brad.

Parenting blues

I’m going to be honest….sometimes I get really weary with the whole being a parent thing. Kids, especially tweens and teens can be some of the most erratic and irritating personalities a person endures in their entire day. Between hormones, history tests and their hair …  they can be beasts. Angry, starving and completely irrational beasts, disguised as children. Our children. Which means we’re to blame since they are in fact our children. Right ?

The answer…. not entirely. Our children are in such a physiological upheaval of maturation they are literally loosing their minds from day-to-day, hour to hour. If you are raising a 13 yoa you know exactly what I’m saying. For those days, I have all kinds of grace and all kinds of patience… if they are once a month or every few weeks. But if they start to become a day-to-day walking on “egg shells” existence. Its time to shift gears.

No matter how frustrating their lives are, no matter what just happened to their BFF and how lame or unfair their teachers are. They need us to be their parents. That means carving out their boundaries (rules) at home and holding the line on those no matter what. We don’t need to respond to their adolescent outbursts in kind either, I mean who can respect us if we “blow up” as angry, dis-respectful and self-absorbed, over the edge parents.

With a significant amount of perspective and faith, we must decide for our kids when their behavior has crossed over from a genuinely bad day to a tantrum. When we sense they are using their life circumstances to “explode” and without any restraint they let out all of their childlike emotions on anyone and everyone in their vicinity, its our job as parents to “stop” them.

Maturity in many ways is learning to control ones emotions and move through life as an “influencers” rather than always being influenced by our circumstances. As Christian parents, we have the added understanding of our need to instruct our kids in the ways of life and truth and hope. Sometimes, that means we have to say “no” and mean it. In the end, our children need and want us to re-direct them from being out of control.

So when your teen or tween is spiraling into another out of control emotional hurricane of life… nip the temper – tantrum before it goes to far. Stop them! Do it with love and patience and hope, but do it. They are counting on us.  This is definitely one of the less exciting and unpopular aspects of being a parent, but it may well be the most critical resolve we make as fathers and mothers.

For those who feel like things are “never going to change“. Be encouraged, it will and it must. When you feel like your blowing it as a parent (which at times can be a daily experience for me) it’s a perfect time to admit that to God and your kids and then resolve to start new. Ask Him for the wisdom and ask Him for the strength. He is not going to leave you hanging, His heart is for our kids more than we are… His grace and strength are sufficient and His mercies are new every morning.

When we respond to those shortcoming’s as parents; openly with our kids and with genuine humility, I guarantee it will blow their minds.  It’s so cool… watch as your tween suddenly realizes they are actually “more” to blame then you and step up and ask for your “forgiveness” too. POWERFUL stuff. For those of us who gave our kids WWJD bracelets a few years back….Congratulations, you just did ! 

Single parent or traditional family, were essentially all in the same boat. Our kids need us to be their parents. No matter what they say, they NEED us to be there to say “NO”. Many of us have success stories of how God was changing your teens heart on the inside, while all the time you would have sworn they were completely sealed off on the outside. In the end, our consistency is the proof of our love. Deep deep down, they know that and are comforted by that. (As a case in point, this post blog edit – from Feb 17th, 2011 is powerful proof of this principle) Miley Cyrus article ran on MSN’s Mom and Pop Culture blog. http://tv.msn.com/mom-pop-culture/miley-cyrus-saw-it-coming/story/feature/?GT1=28103&ptid=6edb00f7-08db-46dd-a2a1-90f7f9279e52&mpc=1 )

Be sure and keep close relationships with your local community of faith knowing as parents we must have help, encouragement and support in this critical role of raising our kids… as we all seek to keep our families “in-between the lines and on the road of life”.  For more helpful information on parenting tweens and teens, prayer or simply a chance to vent… check out www.ishineministries.com

Peace out.

brad.