Child training · Parenting

How To Build Confidence In Your Child

There are lots of things that I forget – like why I’ve gone downstairs, the name of a visitor at church, or sometimes my own age, but there are particular memories that stick in my mind like concreted stepping stones in a garden.

One such memory is when I got my first job at the age of 16. I was to be the person up front at Hardee’s restaurant. Understand that this was back in the days before computerized cash registers. I was to write down the order correctly, bag it up, take the money owed and return the correct amount of change.

I was a bit fearful about the last in that list of tasks, and my wise mom knew just how to help me. She gathered up some currency and a fist full of change, and we practiced. She was the customer, and I the restaurant employee. She didn’t make it easy, either. She would give me $15.02 when her bill was $12.57. She taught me to count backwards, first deducting the two cents from the fifty-seven. Now their total as $12.55 – it was from that total that I would make change. She would make me count it out loud, starting with the .55. “Fifty-five, sixty, seventy, seventy five, thirteen dollars, (and handing over two ones) fourteen, fifteen.” Total change was 2 dollars and forty-five cents. That kind of practice with her made me confident to go to work. On my first day at my job, my cash register was ten cents off at the end of a busy day. I was proud of that, but sought to perfect that during my time there.

I took that practicing idea with me into my own parenting days, understanding that practice at home gives a child confidence when they go into the world to accomplish a task that seems daunting. Here are some of the things we practiced:

  • I would have my girls use our play phones and practice making calls to 911, reporting that their mommy had fallen and needed help!
  • We practiced speaking to people at church or visitors that were coming to our home. “How will you greet Mrs. So-and-So? Look her in the eye, and speak up so she can hear you say your name. “Let’s try that again.”
  • We practiced walking in a lady-like manner
  • We practiced asking questions to an employer from whom they would seek a job.
  • We practiced sharing a testimony at church.
  • We practiced how to care for a child they were babysitting.

Practice does indeed bring progress, but it also gives confidence and the know-how to do the right thing when called upon.

What is your child/teen facing in the near future? Are you teaching them adequately so that they will feel prepared? Of course, we need to remind them to depend on the Lord’s help, but it is our job to give them the tools they need so they will be qualified and able to do all things heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

How do you practice situations with your children ahead of time?

Family life · Marriage · Parenting

Four Lies You May Be Believing About Your Family

Four lies

One lovely evening we invited friends to come over after church.  We sat around our fire pit watching the flames spit embers upwards and the smoke billow into the night sky.  Then to get the group talking, my husband suggested we play a game called,  Two Truths and a Lie.  Each person has to come up with two truths about themselves that others might not know, and then throw a lie in there somewhere.  We were to guess which one was the lie.  Do you know what the hardest part of that game is?

It’s not hard to come up with a lie – it’s difficult to come up with two truths to share!!!!

Not only is that true in a game – it’s also true in real life!  It’s just easier for us to listen to a lie than for us to listen to (and believe) the truth!

After our game was over, the fire put out, and my week got started, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered someone believing a lie in their life! Could you identify one you might be believing about your family?  There are many, but here are four lies I think are running rampant in our homes:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. 
  2. Things will never change.
  3. My child will go through the typical phases (like terrible two’s and teen rebellion).
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!

Let’s counteract those lies with Truth:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. Once you said, “I do,” you marriage became a covenant between you and your spouse and God.  No matter the situation and happenings before you got married, God doesn’t want you to ditch this marriage – this covenant after you pledged your life and love!  He wants you to stay married and display the Gospel – Forgiveness, mercy,  and grace. When we promise to love ’til death, God desires we allow Him to work in our marriage because it IS His will.
    So today –Commit yourself to this marriage and stop thinking about what it would be like to be with someone else, or in another circumstance.  Pour yourself into this marriage like it was the first day you were married.  Make a difference in your husband’s life today!Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).
  2. Things will never change. The previous truth about marriage isn’t meant to make you feel hopeless.  To say, “Things will never change” is to doubt an omnipotent God!  He is able to do MORE than we can ask or think.  As long as you are living – there is hope, because God is also alive and on the Throne!
    So today – Trust Him to answer and intervene in your life! Keep praying, believing and watching for what an all-powerful God can do!
    Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
  3. My child will go through all the typical phases. Your child was uniquely designed and created.  They were born with an old sin nature that will need to be dealt with.  A strong-willed child needs a different kind of approach than a child who is withdrawn.  But with biblical guidance and prayer, they could completely bypass those “expected” kinds of behavior.  Every child has a will and when that will is bent towards Christ and obedience at an early age, they won’t be little angels, but could avoid much heartache they could cause for themselves.
    So today –  Train your child in God’s Word and ways.  Surround them with godly people, biblical discipline and teaching, places and activities that will be the Truth their young heart needs.
    II Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!  I know that when you’re changing diapers,  chasing toddlers all day, caring for an elderly parent, or dealing with a hard season in your marriage, you think it’s never going to end, but I’m here to tell you there will could be day when you will look back and realize how quickly the time passed!

    Think back to something you did two years ago.  Perhaps it was a significant birthday, a special vacation or a wedding.  Doesn’t that seem like FOREVER ago?  Life is fleeting.  Children grow up. Changes smooth out eventually.  So  what do we need to do?  Learn to enjoy today.  Look for the blessing in the opportunity before you.

    When my mother-in-law had lung cancer, I cared for her in Hospice care in our home.  During those long days, I was exhausted and felt very overwhelmed and wondered how I could keep going. But in six very short weeks, she was in heaven and I was thankful for each day we got to care for her and spend time with her.  I look back on that time and it seems so short!  I don’t remember the hard things nearly like I remember the blessings!  I remember reading Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven to my mother-in-law.  I remember the night my husband and I got to go to a Bed and breakfast for a night away to rest in the middle of this time, and I remember the blessing of friends who helped by bringing meals, and came and sat with her so I could attend church.  Nothing on this earth lasts forever.
    So today – In the midst of long work hours that your husband is pulling, leaving you alone, or while you’re waiting for God to bring you a spouse, or while you’re cleaning up chocolate milk from the walls and floors, look up and find something for which you can be thankful! Look for the blessings and keep a mind on the truth that the clock is ticking!  Remember, too, that Christ could come at any moment and it will ALL  be over, and forever more we’ll be rejoicing!
    James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Thinking the Truth takes intentional effort.  Keep your heart focused on that which is right.  As Jesus said, The truth will set you free!

Refresh yourself with truth about your family,


Being the Best Mom of a Young Adult Child

Nearly every day my daughter sends me pictures from one or two years ago when her twin sons were babies or just little one year-olds. We both lament about how quickly these three years have gone. In my heart I think,

In just a snap, you’re going to be sending them off to college, just you wait and see.

It seems like it happened that quickly in my girl’s lives. It was as if one day we were pushing them on their swing set in the backyard, and the next day we were unloading totes and suitcases from the back of our mini van into their college dormitory. I had dreaded their move from home because I remembered from my own personal experience that when they come back home for a weekend visit, nothing will ever be the same again.

Now don’t cry! If you’ve just sent your child off for the first time, I’m sure the emotions are still raw and fresh, but be sure I’m not writing to discourage you, but to congratulate you! You have entered a new season of parenting. You’re in a new phase in your relationship as their mom, but it’s still no one but you can fill. I messed up plenty of times during these years and I learned many lessons along the way. Let me take what I learned and share with you how to be the best mom of a young adult child.

  1. You still need to be the one who prays specific prayers for your child.
    You know them so well, which means you know how to pray for their weaknesses and their needs.
    Pray for godly influences to pour into the heart of your young adult child.
    Pray they will have a godly mentor who can speak truth into their hearts.
  2. You still need to be the one who prays with your child. When they’re struggling, disappointed or hurting, take them to the Lord. Keep their dependence on Him – not on you as their mom. This can be hard for us moms because we’re used to fixing every problem in our children’s lives, but we won’t always be there! God will though! Teach them to depend on Him!
  3. You still need to be the one who cheers them on when they are tired and want to quit school or their job or serving the Lord.
    I’ll never forget calling home one day when I was in college. My accounting class was taking me down for the count, and I was so ready to pack up and go home. My mom gave me the pep talk I needed, telling me that if God had called me there in the first place (and I knew He had!), then His will had not changed. She encouraged me to do my best as I trusted in Him for His help. I passed the accounting class! I sure was thankful I didn’t give up!
  4. You still need to be the loving woman in their life. Do the little gestures the Proverbs 31 woman does – send a package of cookies, a Scriptural text, or a Chick-Fil-A gift card when you feel the Lord prompting your heart to do so. Invite them to come to vacations or holidays and bring a friend, but don’t expect it or demand it.
  5. You still need to be their dad’s wife. The greatest blessing you can give your young adult child is to have a strong marriage for them to see when they call or come home. It’s important to remember that you child is NOT your spouse, so they should get less attention than your husband does. Of course you miss them and love them, but you do still have a marriage that must be your priority. When your child does visit home, they’ll be coming into a loving, happy environment!

Now let me talk about a few things that you should NOT to be doing during this time in a young adult’s life…

  1. Don’t be making decisions for them. This is the time for your training during their early years to take over. If you see them moving in a way that concerns you, pray about it and then also pray about the opportunity to speak to them, then do so with a respectful, loving attitude. My husband put it in this wise way – “Now is the time to be asking them questions, rather than telling them what to do. If you see your young adult child making a poor decision, ask them questions like, ‘Can you tell me why you feel this is a wise choice?‘”
  2. Don’t post things on social media that keep reminding them and others that they are your baby. Their “adorable” baby or toddler pictures” will only serve to embarrass them and reveal your denial of the truth. Give them the kind consideration you would have wanted at that age.
  3. Don’t make them feel guilty for not joining in your family events. Give them the opportunity to choose for themselves how they will spend holidays or special days. Be honest – if you “guilt them” into coming, no one is really going to have the best time!

I promise you, I have had to apologize to both of my girls for breaking these rules from time to time! I think it’s because motherhood runs so deep in our hearts, it’s just hard to suddenly stop being what we’ve been for eighteen years! But I firmly believe that we will help to build a strong adult relationship when we let them be the young adult that we’ve trained them to be. This is God’s plan and His purpose for their lives. We can either aid in that or damage our part in encouraging them.

What questions do you have regarding this time in your child’s life? Where do you struggle?

Refresh your relationship with your young adult child by being a blessing to them at this time in their life, rather than a hindrance.

Dinner · Family life · Parenting

Making Dinnertime Family Time

It’s easy to get so caught up in the necessities of life that we forget to really live each day.  We may feed hungry people but forget to enjoy the process.  We don’t take the time to make mealtime Family Time where we look eye to eye, talk, listen and laugh.

Maybe you wonder how in the world you can do that with the schedules and time constraints of your family.  I’d like to offer a few suggestions, if I may!

Continue reading “Making Dinnertime Family Time”


The Greatest Responsibility of a Parent

Parents have a huge role to play.  From provider, protector, and nourisher, we know that we are the ones who will help our children grow up to be healthy, responsible, wise adults.  But if we stop there, we are missing the most important role we play in their lives.  There’s something even more valuable than teaching them to share and be kind.  Continue reading “The Greatest Responsibility of a Parent”