Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The ever present world around us

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The greatest gift you can give your kids is not the newest and best the world has to offer. It is the love of God through Jesus Christ. That is the gift that enables them to resist the creation's lures and live in the love of the Creator. Your kids are going to be bombarded with messages from the world, and those promises are extraordinarily difficult to resist. In fact, they are impossible to resist without the indwelling Spirit. Introduce your kids to the gift that keeps on giving — grace.

Do you pursue God with the same fervor with which you pursue the things of the world?

Such a practical message but the follow through is harder than the message itself. Sometimes I think we understand what we need to do and yet we lack the willpower to be as disciplined as we would like. I think this is something that we have to die to daily in order to really accomplish (at least I do). It's my prayer that I become this...I want to be an example to Madison and lead her in the right direction!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Romans 5:3-5
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
DISCIPLINE, CHARACTER, and HOPE: When our children suffer, whether from their own bad choices or those of someone else, we want so badly to rescue them from the pain or to tell them how to avoid finding themselves in that predicament again. But, God has another plan — to perfect them through their trials. Character-building lessons are rarely learned from the triumphs of life. Rather, it is the trials in our lives that teach us how to persevere despite the pain. Taking trials away from our kids deprives them of the chance to grow, build character, and learn to hope in God.

The best character-building lessons are learned from trials. Don't inhibit your child's growth by rescuing them from or taking over difficult situations.

Wow, this is such powerful information and I am thankful for the reminder this morning! Although we are not at the stage where we let Madison make "bad" choices, I do see the relevance in our own life. We have been a living testament to this scripture since Madison was born (and even before). We started fighting for her life well over a year before she was even conceived, through conception, birth, and throughout the duration of her life. Sometimes (and please know that I adore Madison and this needs to be read with the utmost sensitivity) I feel like it is always a struggle with her. I let my emotions get the better of me and pout and wish that some days it was easier. I look around and see the babies born after her and I look at the parents and they seem to be filled with utter joy since day 1. We have that as well, but we have had to fight some pretty tough battles which has shaped us into the parents that we are (and I don't think we are half bad). You see Madison delivery was perfect, and for the first 2 weeks of her life she was the perfect child, but then around week 3-4 she developed colic. Want to talk about a stressful situation...Not only did Madison scream EVERY night from 9-12 she was also allergic to milk which we did not find out until month 4. She cried every day and all day. In addition to the crying, she napped for only 40 minutes at a time and it was way beyond more than I ever thought I could handle. She was not happy in the least bit and honestly neither were we.

I look back upon that season of such despair for our sweet girl and I think to myself, "how in the world did we ever get through this." "How do we have the happiest kid in the world who does nothing but smile from ear to ear?" I look back and see just how God used those months of trials to shape the mother that I am now. I am more patient than I have ever been in my life and I am more aware of her overall needs. I am still shocked that I even survived, because it was anything short of easy. Glory be to God for hope that we now have and the joy that illuminates through both of us for Madison.

*And thank you all who helped us get through the dismal season. Your love, support, time, and overall caring spirit helped us be the parents that we are today! You know who you are and we love you :)

Friday, August 12, 2011


Proverbs 3:12
 because the lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

Here is YouVersion's additional commentary:

As hard as it is to deliver a consequence to a child for a bad choice, the alternative can often be even worse. When I am tempted to forego discipline, I have to ask myself, "What is the most loving thing I can do for my child?" In almost every case, the answer is to give the child the consequence he has earned, so he can learn the lesson God has designed for him.

A good consequence, delivered with empathy, demonstrates love and respect for your child's freedom to choose and his ability to learn from the consequence of a bad decision. The author of Hebrews says it well: "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb 12:11).

 Here is Samantha's additional commentary:
 It's unbelievable to fathom that we are even talking about how we want to discipline Madison. It seems only a short time ago she was cradled in our arms and we were looking at each scared to death that any mistake would break her. She ate, slept, and cried! Wow, how time has flown by and it has brought so many joys to our home. I had a friend tell me about month 2 that having a child would become my norm but to give it time. Struggling through the identity crisis that I believe every parent encounters, I know now just what she meant. Last weekend our friends Luther and Ronda kept Madison over night, but it was not joy that overwhelmed me during that alone time, it was sadness. It felt like something crucial was missing from out life (and it was). It's moments like that where I know that nothing else in this world matters but raising her to love and fear the living God that we serve. It was in that moment that I realized the calling that God had placed before me (and the importance too).

That being said, we are at the age/stage where we are beginning to dialogue about how we want to handle her behavior when it becomes an issue. Do we spank? How does the other feel about spanking? What about timeouts? Are they effective? How are we going to handle behavioral issues out in public? Whose going to do the discipline? These are the questions that we are bombarded with only a daily basis. While I will not share the intimate details of those conversations and the conclusions that we have come up with (which may change over time), I will say that it is extremely terrifying. We have been giving a that this manualess, cranky, and very impressionable. These years and the many to come are very sacred to us and we don't take that responsibility lightly. Although I realize that we do not understand, yet, the extent of the challenges that lie ahead, I am confident that through prayer and much advice from our mentors we will find a way to handle whatever comes.

So stayed tuned as we read through YouVersion's parental reading plan.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some food for thought

As I was browsing through Youversion's reading plans I noticed one that was titled "attitude" and thought why not. I know there is always room for improvement when it comes to my attitude.

Since I met my husband, he has always been the type to be a bit more positive. Some factors that play into this: his homelife was very structured and stable. His parents are amazing examples of what it means to become fully devoted Christ follwers, and I think that even as a young child his introverted nature helped him become aware of attitude. I, however, was not raised in this particular environment. Nothing was stable during the time that I lived with my mother. Everything was unknown and no situation could be labeled as permenant. And, during the time that I lived with my dad the same was true. Eventually, I ended up with my grandparents who were just the opposite. I knew that they would be there to take care of me and provide those basic necessities needed for survival. The only downfall- they were not too encouraging nor were they overly positive.

So I, faced with this overly negative attitude, have to find a way to combat my instinctual response especially now that I am a mother. Easier said that done.

So with that thought here is what YouVersion said I should meditate on today: Romans 12:3
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you