Moms

Mother’s hands are used by God to nurture us until we reach His heavenly embrace… and a mother’s prayers are her most effective weapon.

I’m am thinking of a couple of moms that I want to remember today for different reasons. One is a young Mom who I came to know last Spring through an event at our church. Her prayer request during an alone time together was to have another baby; she already had a young son but had lost other babies by miscarriage. This Mother’s Day, a year later, she has another beautiful boy to love, nurture, and enjoy. This young woman’s heart cry and faith are inspiring, I enjoy seeing how she delights in her gifts from God. (Be inspired by reading Hannah’s story I Samuel 1 and 2:1-26.)

The second Mom that I want to commend, is someone whose son I’ve interacted with regularly. He’s a considerate and caring young man, generous and giving, and his employer seems to notice this as well. He is being recognized for these character qualities; the compass within, causes him to work with and manage people well. I observe here a young man with a mother who took the opportunity* to make motherhood her priority in order to fully invest in her children, rather than building her career during his early years. He, in turn, was able to take what she gave and made some good choices for his future. (*I realize many Moms today must work to provide for their family — no shame, no blame, we all have different scenarios to pray through and work with.)

Both of these adult children have mothers who’ve nurtured and invested in them, prayed for them, and now they, in turn, will invest in their children. So, how have they been prepared and equipped to do this well?

When I meet a young person like this, I consider their background and upbringing. I like to look behind the curtain of someone’s life, finding out who it was that nurtured, prayed for, and invested in their life. The values and views, and the good example this child grew up under doesn’t happen by default; diligent effort went into this child. They receive a compass–a guiding tool that is calibrated during these early formative years and it’s what they’ll use later to set their own course in life. I like to call it their compass; the inner sensor that points them in a certain direction.

Nubs & Mary 10-11-38
Norbert & Mary Niehaus Oct 11, 1938

As a child, I had a mother who nurtured me in many ways, while busily running the farm with my Dad. I’m thankful for their prayers and the God-compass they guided me toward. When I consider where I could have ended up compared to where my relationship with my Heavenly Father has taken me, I am grateful.

I’m thanking God for my Mom (and Dad) on this remembrance weekend. Parents are not perfect, and without the help of God none of us would do rightly. God can take all of the wrong and make it right and use it for good; it’s a promise He makes to those who love Him (Romans 8:29). Be thankful, grateful, seek God and see how He will write your story for His glory.

Photo Credit: Google Images, private

A Mother’s Gift

Mother and infantO God, in love you’ve given to me,
So much in this wonderful gift, I see.
The potential that lies before us now,
A precious young life to be molded, but how?

Children are given us as a sacred trust,
by the Father above who’s loving and just.
He shows the way to care for them,
By giving us a biblical regimen.

Lots of love and joy, to fill the home,
So our little ones won’t want to roam.
Next goodness, peace, and gentleness too,
So that they’ll see Jesus Christ in you.

Moving along down the road we’ll find,
To meekness and temperance, they’ll not be blind.
These little ones can sense and see,
Where patience is lacking inside of me.

But mother, don’t condemn yourself here,
Rather call upon Jesus to remove your fear.
The Holy Spirit is given to impart,
the fruit of His life within your heart.

If we allow, He’ll work deep within,
To make and to mold us and free us from sin.
Trying of patience by children we love,
In this, He’s fitting us for heaven above.

So, don’t shy away from God’s training for you,
While raising your gift, He’ll be changing you too.

By Nancy Demary–written for a friend upon the adoption of their son, January 2006.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Stay in Your Own Lane

…a continuation of Aspire to Inspire.Road lanes
Do you know how many grandparents are raising their grandchildren today because they never relinquished control? It is happening for many reasons, but one is because some parents hang onto the control stage way too long. Rather than allowing their children to step out and find their own way, these parents hold on and become surrogates, allowing their adult children to remain immature.

Grandparent, please let go. By crossing the line over into your adult children’s responsibilities, you are actually undermining God’s plan. Our task as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, is to support the parent in their position to govern their home. God has given clear instruction in His Word about proper authority; whether in the home, church or civil government.

Here’s a common example: A child is fussing about a food item the parent has given them. Nothing is wrong with the food, but it’s not the child’s preference at the moment when viewing what someone else is eating and the child makes a scene (in public) about it. I have observed the parent addressing the child about their poor response when a “well-meaning” relative steps in to “help“. Perhaps you have done this yourself.

How is that controlling, you may ask — by the response you direct toward the child. Instead of allowing the parent’s words or actions to stand, you override them with something like, “Oh Honey, would you like ____ instead?” As a “well-meaning” extended-family member who feels uncomfortable with the child’s poor response, you’re inclined to rescue them! STOP! Rather, think about what you’re doing. Instead of respecting the parent’s position and instruction, you go directly to the child, running interference.

Let’s look at what this undermining response does.baby-1606572__480

1) Disrespects the parent’s position in the child’s life.

2) Inserts confusion into an existing problem. The child has a simple choice before them. By your input, you are increasing rebellious desires and encouraging further confusion in the child’s heart. Rather than training toward obedience to parents, you are reinforcing rebellion.

3) You are building distrust in the child concerning their parent’s authority.

4) You are developing a manipulator and potential addict. Through your actions, you are teaching the child to evade authority (ultimately God’s authority) and to learn to function outside “the law”. You are developing a liar. All children, teens, and adults habituated toward getting their own way end up lying to achieve their desires, whether they recognize it or not.

5) You are supplying your own “need” to be a solver, a giver, a “Grand” parent, as this is more important to you than the child’s true welfare. You may be oblivious to what you’re doing, so please open your heart to what I’m saying. You are essentially feeding an issue in your own heart that needs addressing, and you are undermining your grown son or daughter’s relationship with their child.

The Support Role
Recognize your place and role in the relationship. You can inspire those you influence in a proper way that works toward a pattern of healthy relationship. It is never your place to undermine, even though this can be a temptation. You want to be viewed as a wonderful, nice, kind person, in the eyes of your grandchild, niece, nephew, and the viewing public, but you are actually building walls of offense by indulging in your self-centered desires.

When we undermine those in authority, we are acting out of disobedience to God’s established pattern and His proscribed method. We are inviting failure into the multi-generational relationship. This can be changed once we recognize this in ourselves and humbly receive correction. It doesn’t feel good but it does pay large rewards for everyone.

A note to parents: If this situation with an extended-family member exists, deal with it. Allowing someone else’s authority over your children is vitiating your duty as parents.

Oftentimes as parents you will not work on a solution because you are unwilling to discuss and deal with the situation, but you must. If either one of you is ignoring the problem and bringing confusion into your child-raising, humble yourself and confront one another in love. You are the parents, work this out between yourselves; do not bring further harm to your children or USE the children to display your differences. Develop a united front in your mission; get good counsel so that you do not put your burden upon your children.

Hold your lane so that well-meaning relatives are not tempted to cross over into it and drive your family’s car.

Photo Credit: Canva, Pixabay

Previous article (Part 1: Aspire to Inspire–Grand Parenting Tips)

Aspire to Inspire: Grand-Parenting Tips

Gr N and PatrickGrandchildren are the crown of the aged and the glory of children is their fathers. Prov. 17:6 (ESV). Life is Beautiful is one of my favorite movies. The setting is WWII Europe, this story is based upon a true account of a father’s protection of his son while incarcerated in one of Hitler’s death camps. It demonstrates a parent’s creative wisdom used to protect his child from harm. I admire the fortitude and inspiration of this father.

Parenting is one of the most important tasks in life, asking for God’s guidance and wisdom daily is crucial. Additionally, for extended family members — aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings, there is much for us to consider as we interact within a family structure. In the next message–Stay in Your Lane (part 2) I’ll explain why.

We do well to understand the “of age” stages children go through. As I see it now,family-1784371__480 parenting contains three stages generally: Control, Motivation, and Inspiration. If the goal throughout each stage is to glorify God by obeying His teachings, we will succeed even with our failures along the way. Parenting is used by God to gain humility in our lives and a bountiful path for our children’s feet.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105 (ESV)

In the beginning…

father-1808749__480CONTROL is the beginning stage. When we look at NASA sending John Glenn to the moon, we realize that without a Control Center, success would not have been achieved. They needed calculated thinking from the brightest math, technology, and engineering minds to reach their goal; parenting involves Control Center principles as well. So let’s view it in this sense for the purpose of this writing. During these early years, parents are the critical thinkers, responsible for godly algorithms that produce success rather than sending their child into a trajectory of poor choices, confusion, and the resulting consequences. Children need controlled guidance in gaining contentment and security in their family. A loving family where the parents give vision, provide stability and take responsibility for decisions is a good foundation to build upon.

Next…

learn-3069053__480The MOTIVATION stage involves encouragement in the right direction, choices and decision making, requiring good management skills by the parents. This still involves some pulling upward toward a goal and some pushing into the correct lane. Rewarding good behavior is involved, as well as consequences for disobedience. Positive motivation is best. When we assume this position we focus upon the good things we see that can be further developed, rather than what is lacking.

The final stage is the most rewarding; both for us as parents and for God as our Heavenly Father. At this next stage, God is able to pour His creative passion into us as His children.

INSPIRATION is when you take your hands off, knowing you’ve done your job and the rest lay with your child’s individual choices. Our job is to pray, live an inspiring life ourselves, and entrust them to our good Heavenly Father. The level of investment parents give in the formative years, will influence the level of inspiration our children will be able to receive from us and live out for themselves.

Thankfully, it’s not all on us. Our Heavenly Father who created them, designed their personality, and gave them to us for a season – He has them! Like a tender plant, we were given guardianship for a season of watering and even if you have not always watered well, He can still cause growth and life. Why? Because His purpose and desire for each of our children are beyond our capacity to understand. He will work with them, and in the end, they alone will decide to pursue Him, or not. Ultimately, the decisions they make will determine their outcome. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live... Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)

MOTIVATION differs from INSPIRATION.
Enjoy your life with God and BE an inspiration to others. The INSPIRATION stage comes when your children have come of age and you can now rejoice in the fact that you’ve done your part; let God their Father have full CONTROL.

In the movie, Life is Beautiful, the son lost his father in the death-camp but he gained a legacy. He would always remember a father who inspired him to dream that they were building a tank and that they could win the prize.

Think about how you can inspire those around you toward godly living. We are not doomed to a death-camp, yet there is danger to navigate. Our world of addictive social media alone requires major guidance and skill. Use godly inspiration to teach the next generation how to live, love and reach the goal of serving others. Teach them how to be content with thankfulness, yet creative with what they’ve recieved. Your example of this will go a long way.

Also, we need to self-examine and recognize any manipulating behavior in our lives, and repent of anything thing God reveals so that we can be effective in using teaching moments to build godly character. Aspire to inspire!

Coming next: Stay in Your Own Lane... a note to family members.

Photo Credit: Demary File, Pixabay