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    Engage

    Mothering Little Men From Mars

    This 2011 post still stands up over time. While it’s important to acknowledge that gender differences are painted in broad strokes, with exceptions across the board, for the most part God has created significant biologically- and brain-based differences between male and female that we should acknowledge and respect. Because they DO make a difference! One of the greatest privileges of my life—right after saying “yes” to Jesus and “I do” to my husband—has been mothering my two sons, now 29 and 31. Several years ago, my husband Ray and I started researching gender differences and discovered the truths in John Gray’s mega-bestseller, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.…

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    Heartprints

    The Blame and Shame Game

    We live in a day and age when counseling is a norm. Many churches have a Christian counselor on staff. Folks flock to bookstores where self-care and wellness books line the shelves. I woke this morning thinking that counseling is often a safe place to confess. The idea that we need to confess our sins against others as well as their sins against us verbally is a huge part of the healing process. Personally, I have not found that another human telling me that I am not at fault or am forgiven hasn’t been  truly freeing. It is more like a bandage than a cure. It stops my bleeding heart…

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    Why Introverts Make Great Parents

    In my ninth-grade P.E. class, we wrote down positive attributes for each of our classmates. My teacher assigned two of us—me and one other student—to compile the responses. Combing through the answers, I was surprised to find some people described as “shy.” I chose to leave it off. I am an introvert, but I hate the word shy. Honestly, I am not even sure I like the way “quiet” is often used. Both tend to have pejorative meanings in American society. Our culture tends to worship the extroverted ideal, doesn’t it? In Susan Cain’s bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she emphasizes how…

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    Heartprints

    Will My Kids Follow Jesus or Walk Away?

    A simple Google search for raising godly children brings up a myriad of ideas and a substantial amount of resources. I lose my parental confidence in the plethora of choices. Which kid Bible is best? Discipline strategy? Verses to memorize? Family devotional? The questions—and options—never end. Do you wonder if you are doing enough to raise Christians of the future? If so, here are 3 pieces of wisdom gifted to me by others that may serve as gauges for spiritual parenting.   Raise them in Christ, not just in the church. Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian in Kentucky, shares about a father who told him that his adult…

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    Pursing Fruitfulness in our Children’s Discipline

    For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. — Hebrews 12:11 Every time God disciplines one of his children, he has a clear goal in mind. He wants us to bear fruit—to become more and more like our holy God so that we exhibit the characteristics that he so perfectly embodies.   As Christian parents, we seek the same goal. Although we are broken, imperfect people, we seek to see God’s fruitfulness take root in our children’s lives. But how do we get there? How do we pursue fruitfulness, especially as we…

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    How Mothers Reveal the Image of God

    Motherhood reveals the image of God in a profound way. I witnessed my friend, Melissa, mother her kids. She peacefully prepared three plates of food for her young boys. Yogurt. Chicken. Ketchup. Noodles. They sat around and ate while trying to teach the baby to say “Bible” and instead he shouts, “Jack, Jack.” The room laughs. Later that night she held her toddler on her lap for sweet face-to-face time before bed. He curled into Melissa like her lap belongs to him. It does. Her arms, her face, her knees that bend low to listen. Her hands that hold the book at bedtime. In some ways her body belongs to her…

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    Is Your Church Reaching Single Moms?

    Every year we set aside a day to celebrate our mothers and the wonderful, women who’ve provided nurturing care and support. While we take the time to celebrate motherhood, I want to also take a moment to call us to support our single mothers. Not just once a year, but all year round. The Life of the Single Mom—a ministry for singles moms—shares on their site some revealing stats about single moms in America: 2/3 of single moms do not attend church Only 1% of the country’s 300,000 evangelical churches has a sustainable single-parent program 1/3 of single moms live in poverty 75% of all government assistance is received by…

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    Heartprints

    WHY IS IT SO HARD TO RAISE UP A GODLY GENERATION?

    If as teachers and parents our faith is in Jesus, our text book is the Bible, we’re indwelled by the Holy Spirit and want God’s will for our children, why are so many of our grown up children leaving the church? Why is it so hard to pass on our faith to the next generation? Dr. Paul David Tripp encourages us to look for the answer in the Gospel message, “Parenting is a sinner seeking to give guidance and wisdom and grow a sinner. No wonder it is hard. No wonder we need God!” The more I hear what Dr. Tripp has to say, the more I am convinced that…

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    WHO DOES GOD WANT TO TRAIN OUR CHILDREN?

    I was encouraged, by a dear friend, to read the article, “Five Reasons Why the Children’s Minister Is the Staff Position in Greatest Demand.” Here is the link to the article: http://thomrainer.com/2018/02/five-reasons-childrens-minister-staff-position-greatest-demand/ Most of the comments were from people concerned about who they thought should be teaching our children about God. I was left with the question in my own heart: Just who is God holding responsible to teach our children and what does it mean to meet that responsibility? There are very few easy answers when it comes to raising children. Take schooling for instance… Children are schooled in public, private, and boarding schools; while still others homeschool.  We…

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    Authority! How is That Working for You?

    God blesses His people with authority. But how well are we wielding it? One of my high school teachers was disciplining her children over a broken vase, not sure which one had broken it, she told them that God had been watching and knew which one of them had done it. The daughter told her mom that God hadn’t talked for a long time and she was counting on that to continue. What we think about authority makes a difference in our relationships. 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched.Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. Look at the human…