Watching Him Grow

My teenager will soon be entering high school, despite my best efforts to make time stand still. I must admit that I am nervous and a bit sad for this transition.

Parenting a teenager can be so difficult at times and so rewarding the next. Teenagers are faced with many challenges, school work becomes tougher, hormones are raging (seriously, can we talk about attitude?!), friendships begin to change, and they’re trying to fine their place in the world.

Through all of this life phase, the most important thing I want him to remember is who he is in Christ. He is made in His image and is loved unconditionally. He is a child of God. He has been given the armor of God and instructions to fight the daily battles and temptations. All of which are in scripture, the guide to life.

All scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

I know he will make mistakes, and it is crucial for me, as his parent, to be open minded, forgiving, nonjudgmental, extend grace, and direct him back in the right path with God’s guidance. I will make mistakes too and will need to accept God’s grace and forgiveness in those moments.

Although watching him grow is bittersweet, I am beyond thankful that God has chosen me to be his mom. I have been blessed beyond measure. I hope and pray that my son sees all his blessings and continues to follow Christ.

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all of his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be..

Deuteronomy 28:1-3

Living by grace,

Misty

Choosing Passion

O dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

2 Corinthians 6:11-13

Passion. I asked myself recently, What am I passionate about? I know I’m passionate about writing, being a mom/stepmom, helping others in their walk of faith, and bringing others to Christ. All good things, but rather useless if I never pursue them. Which brings me to the next question I have asked myself, What is keeping me from pursuing my passions?

I have narrowed down four “passion slayers” that are preventing me from pursuing my passions:

  1. Relational strife
  2. Fear
  3. Failure
  4. Opposition

Relationship strife. This is in my own home and those outside my home. What if they don’t like what I say, think I share too much, or in all honesty, think I’m being a hypocrite who doesn’t even do what she is preaching about?

Fear. I am scared that others will turn against me or question me based on my beliefs and my actions that haven’t been Christ like. I am afraid of not having all the answers when asked about scripture and God. What if I will stammer and not say the right thing?

Failure. I have the fear of failing as a mother, but more so as a step mother. It has been so difficult finding the right type of relationship to have with the children. Sometimes I think they like me and other times I feel like they think I am the worst person in the entire world.

Opposition. Am I equipped to handle those who have opposing beliefs? What about facing opposition from my children, biological and bonus?

How can I block these passion slayers from keeping me from moving forward? By opening my heart to receiving God’s love and teachings.

When love invades our hearts, we suddenly become unstoppable in pursuit of what we are so passionate about..Passion enables us to do what we would never do if we didn’t have it.

Christine Caine

What are five ways to keep passion alive?

  1. Pursue your passions with joy rather than obligation
  2. Tell God I love him daily
  3. Read God’s word daily
  4. Give thanks to the Lord and praise Him daily
  5. Bring healing to others

Remember that through this journey that nothing can ever separate you from the love of our Father. He will be with you to guide you, give you strength, and equip you in pursuing your passions. So during this time, behave like His children, love the Lord, and let nothing separate God from your love too.

Lastly, passion is a choice, not a feeling. Feelings can come and go, but decisions and actions fuel your passion. (Christine Caine)

May God bless you through this race that you are on, and may your passions leave the kingdom better than it was before.

Living By Grace,

Misty

Raising Children in These Tumultuous Times

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is probably one of the hardest jobs. You are responsible for a life. It is your job to instill values, morals, teach and instruct, protect, comfort, and discipline. I think most parents have uttered the old phrase, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” But there is also an old saying that we should “practice what we preach”.

Have we lost that as a country? Who have we become?

I can’t scroll through any social media platforms or watch a news channel without feeling completely overwhelmed. We have been bombarded with information and opinions; and quite frankly, none of it is positive. It seems the more negative, opinionated, and hate filled speech, the more air time and likes it gets. What are we teaching our children? What kind of world are we leaving for them and how can they possibly thrive in a society like this?

25 WPBF News
Atlanta Journal
LA Times

Covid and the return to school debate. I have been overloaded with statistics, stories, and conspiracy theories. People who took all precautions and still tested positive. People who refuse to wear a mask and are still negative. Others who tested positive and had a symptom and felt bad for 24 hours. Still some who spent time in the hospital and a few cases in my hometown where others have lost their lives. I am trusting that our teachers and staff are doing everything to help prevent and protect my children from this virus. I am concerned equally for their physical and mental health, and I’m not sure there truly is a wrong answer in what we as parents decide. So, we made the decision to send our sons back to school.

Tampa Bay Times via AP
Star Tribune via AP

John Minchillo AP

Racial and social injustices, inequality, black lives matter, all lives matter, blue lives matter….

We somehow have lost what the real issue is. Instead of listening to those in our black community and their real life experiences, we want to defend ourselves and not believe them. We want to make the excuse that it is all politics and/or the black community needs to stop living in the past. I believe they are living in the present and how even to this day, they still face racism, inequality, and injustices. It’s not the past, it is the present. Why are we not standing united? Americans pride themselves on coming together, why aren’t we now? It is not a matter of supporting the Black Lives Matter organization, it is the simple statement that black lives matter and they are treated on a daily basis that they do not and this is real.

My children have questions that I have a difficult time answering. How do you teach children to not hate others based on differences when all they hear and see is the opposite? I have taught my boys respect, empathy, tolerance, compassion. Yet, those you extend those characteristics are persecuted for it. They are labeled “snowflakes”, “liberals”, “anti-Trump”. I disagree with all of these labels. Why? We are called to stand out by our actions. America…we are not loving each other.

Steve Helber/ AP
LA Times

So, what does God’s word say about how we as Christians should live and act?

A devotional I read the other day asked these questions that we all should ask ourselves, not only during these tumultuous times, but every single day.

  1. Motives- Are they pure?
  2. Thoughts- Are they kind?
  3. Judgments- Are they right and just?
  4. Words- Are they gracious?
  5. Actions- Are they pleasing to God?

This is what we should be teaching our children and modeling for them.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

Let them know we are Christians by our love….

Living by grace,

Misty