Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

“You had to go through what you went through.”

That’s the last part of the story from my previous post. I chose to withhold that part because while The Vinedresser and His Shears dealt with the big picture, this post deals with a much smaller, more specific, more microcosm-y view…

Me.

This post deals with MY pruning process. And why it’s been so long since you heard from me last.

Sooo I had a baby. And she’s wonderful and chubby and drooly and happy. Her big brother and sister adore her. She’s brought a bit of Heaven to our lives in the most unexpected way. While I know you must be happy for my new addition, part of your brain probably short-circuited and recalled all that good Bible stuff I wrote in years past about living holy. Right?

Well I’m nothing if I’m not real, so I unashamedly confess that I messed up. I disobeyed and fell into THAT sin again. I sowed according to the flesh and reaped a harvest of disappointment, shame, and emotional pain. I went through the ringer on this one guys, but this post isn’t about my sorrow nearly as much as it’s about God’s redemptive plan and how He uses the shears to secure our destiny. I just chalked my situation up to my own stupidity and disobedience not really understanding that through all this God would mature me and set things right in my heart.

The truth is this. Had the Lord not pruned me, I would have continued to struggle with lust… and lust has incredible power to destroy one’s destiny. If you don’t believe me, look at Samson. My vine would have continued to produce bad fruit or no fruit at all which would have had me cut OFF instead of cut ON. I would never have the pure hope of enjoying a Godly marriage which I still have an incredibly confident expectation for. (Haha, devil! You don’t win!) What Satan meant for evil, God turned for my good. I am testifying to you today that I am COMPLETELY free from the bondage of lust, I bear no bitterness, and I’m enjoying my wonderful babies.

Here’s what I want and need YOU to understand. Pruning is painful and often humiliating. We often confuse pruning with persecution and spiritual warfare– these are tools for pruning by the way. But if you remain in position long enough God will show you what He’s doing in your heart. You will have to bear some shame. You might even have to hide yourself for a season, and that’s alright. But what you absolutely CANNOT do is remove yourself from the pruning process. It’s better to endure the shame for a short time than to continually live with an area of your life closed off from the Father.

Not to belabor the point, but I hear someone asking “How do I know if I’m being pruned?”

  • Has something bad happened in your life that you feel you didn’t deserve?
  • Did God tell you to do something that made NO sense and when you did, the situation ended up being uncomfortable for you?
  • Do you feel like you’ve been made a spectacle of?

Mmhmm. Stay. In. Position. Don’t make any sudden movements. Endure juuust a little longer. Two scriptures that helped me endure a full pregnancy and childbirth and taking said child to church with all the whisperers, etc., etc…

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:9)

And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me. (Isaiah 49:23b)

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Long before any of us have became involved in sexual sin, we battled unawares with incubus (male) and succubus (female) spirits. They come in the night to seduce us into impure dreams that we may eventually act upon on our own accord. What’s even more shocking is those who have remained sexually pure battle with terrors in the night as well. Even young children… YES… are tormented by these evil spirits because of generational curses or open doors in the home (i.e. pornography, fornication, adultery, sexual abuse, even strife, etc.). Wouldn’t you know that one of today’s most popular rap artists has on his album covered a forked-tongue succubus at the feet of his sacrilegious self-portrayal as Jesus? Heaven, HELP!

The devil’s tactics, age old as they may be, are simple. He wants you to forget that you are loved by God and one way he does this is by making us feel guilty, dirty, and ashamed. Sin and sickness often disconnects us from our faith, but what if we haven’t overtly sinned. How, then, can the enemy gain power over us? Preachers won’t talk about this. Alas, I have been commissioned.

Still not quite sure what I’m talking about? Let me share a dream-vision I had about a friend.

*inserts wavy vision and harp sounds*

He and I were discussing the possibility of a more serious relationship over video chat when I stepped clean through my laptop screen and into his bedroom. I was in two places at once… chatting with him and observing HIS surroundings. I felt the need to move forward and as I stepped into his bedroom my hair stood on end as I discerned an evil presence. In his bed was a gorgeous woman with smooth brown skin and long, silky hair. I was ticked. Why would he bother me about a relationship if our friendship was perfectly fine AND he had a boo? As I turned to leave the room, she opened her mouth and spoke the vilest, cruelest words to me through her razored teeth and over the forked tongue. This negro had a succubus in his bed.

Not long thereafter, in real life now, he began to publicly express that his pillow was talking dirty to him. Lord. Have. Mercy.

I battled with the incubus spirit regularly in childhood, teen years, and young adulthood. My last serious bout was maybe three years ago when I was seeing a fella that I just knew would be my hubby. He and I weren’t active in the sense that we went all the way, but we did enough foolishness to create a soul tie. After our break up I had a very strong sexual dream in which my body was experiencing the act all the way through orgasm. I felt horrible and ashamed the next morning, and so sick that I came out of the shame to ask someone to pray for me. Deliverance came quickly.

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine tweeted that she felt horrible about a dream she had. I knew the Lord was leading me to pray with her, but my spirit man needed to be filled with His presence first. As I slept the Lord showed me exactly how and what to pray. I called her on the phone and said and did exactly what the Lord showed me, and as we prayed I felt fire cover me. Immediately the power of shame and rejection broke, and we both experienced the joy and peace of the Lord. This thing is real, folks.

I’m going to keep this as light as possible, but there ARE evil spirits who sexually violate us in the night. Here’s how they get in.

  • Through the power of suggestion – They seduce you with thoughts and images in your mind first. It can go on from there to pornography, masturbation, fornication, etc. If you’re battling in your mind, it’s IMPERATIVE to read and meditate on the Word DAILY!  The enemy is never satisfied with your first step into sin. His goal is to keep you going further into it until he has your soul completely gripped in darkness. Resist the devil at the entry point. He has to flee! 
  • Transference from another person – If you’ve been around some McNasties at work, some of that crap might have rubbed off. When I taught high school students, some days I’d go home with their crap burdening my soul. I’d have to pray it out and recognize it was  a trick from the enemy to make me feel as if I’d sinned.  I believe this can only happen if we are not wearing our  Ephesians 6 armor. So yeah… the Word again.
  • Through rejection – Often times when relationships end we feel rejected and dejected PARTICULARLY if soul ties were formed. The incubus/succubus spirits will come almost immediately to feed off that rejection and impregnate you with seeds of lust. My big brother and mentor in Christ explained to me that these three spirits (rejection, incubus/succubus/lust) work together to defile a believer. How to avoid this… Guard your heart diligently in relationships and forgive quickly. Bind and cast out the spirit of rejection (the strongman), and then the subsequent spirits.

If you’re having sexual dreams and you feel as if the act has actually taken place, then something is wrong!!! It’s not natural. It’s not okay. It’s rape. We understand that the body will go through hormonal changes, but be mindful that the devil deals in  hormones and thoughts. Sanctify your mind and your senses so you can properly discern a bodily function from a spirit’s abuse.

But IF this is happening to you a door has been opened and it needs to be closed immediately. You may have sinned, or you may be involved with someone who lives sinfully. Or you may be involved with someone who’s being unfaithful, and the spirit is manifesting itself in your home. You may have a spouse or a family member who moans and rocks in their sleep as if they were in the act because of previous abuse or generational curses. THIS IS NOT FROM GOD! We must war against this darkness, not in fear, but in faith and in Jesus Christ’s name. God wants us to be free from all guilt, shame, and abuse that comes from these spirits.

I won’t go into all the implications of ignoring or allowing these violations to continue as though they’re acceptable, but I will say this… Evil spirits are VERY possessive and will not easily let go if you allow them to stay. They also like to bring their buddies along. Remember the man in the Bible who had 12,000 demons (Legion) living inside of him. His problem started with one.

Just so you don’t miss my point, to maintain your freedom from these dark seducing spirits, we MUST:

  • Seek deliverance and healing from past sexual experiences including any fornication, masturbation, molestation, incest, sodomy, etc.
  • Put away pornography, fantasies, and masturbation.
  • Remove any sources of temptation including data plans on your cell phone if you must.
  • STOP abusing others for your own physical desire.
  • Turn off any form of entertainment that glorifies sexual sin and perversion. We are inundated with images and sounds that invite the enemy into our beds and bodies. Shut it off and keep your soul!
  • Cease communication with those who welcome these spirits into their lives through continuing sexual sin, especially those who call themselves Christians. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
  • Repent from all sexual sin and renounce all generational sins. This thing will attack your children if you allow it. Close the door NOW!

I’ve included a few resources below that can help you find freedom from incubus/succubus spirits or what some churches around the world call spirit wives/husbands. Ain’t that something right there?

 

A Youtube video of a teaching on incubus/succubus spirits: http://youtu.be/GHl4LXAYPww

A prayer of repentance and renunciation: Deliverance from Spirit Husbands and Wives

Audio teaching: Understanding Seducing Spirits

 

As always, your comments and questions are welcomed. Because of the particularly personal nature of this topic, emails are welcomed as well. You can contact me at consideringthelily@gmail.com. If the Lord leads, I will pray with you.

One final request, at least 3 people you know are struggling with this matter. Please pass this post on to help them find deliverance.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Family, Uncategorized

Let me begin by saying Happy Mothers’ Day to all the women who love and nurture their own children, the women who love and nurture others’ children, and to the men who do it all alone. (If you fall into that final category, shoot me an email with a photo of your family, a copy of your divorce papers, the status of your children’s mother’s mental stability, and a 500-word essay describing your walk with the Lord. Thanks.)

You know by now that I have two not-so-little beauties. Brandon has just turned 9. He’s got big brown eyes, loooooooooong legs, and a strong disdain for homework. His pituitary is kicking off. Y’all pray for me. Briana is 7. She has all the confidence in the world, dances and solves math problems with the best of them, cute as a button… She still cuddles with me in the mornings, but demands breakfast after two minutes of giggling.

IMAG1337

When I watch them I can see what I didn’t learn as a kid, but God being as gracious as He is, restores what was broken and replaces what was missing. Here’s how B&B’s love has transformed me.

They keep me laughing. Sometimes I just laugh at their laughing and other times they put on a show. Most of the time it’s in simple conversation. Phrases like “eggs are cracking inside mommy’s tummy so she needs lady diapers” will do it every time. Laughter does good like a medicine…

 

They make sure I look good when we leave the house. If I don’t hear “Oooh, mommy, you look pretty” then I know I need to tighten up somewhere. Brandon is a bit of a matchmaker, and he WILL let me know if I’m slacking. He’s like a son and  father and step-daddy seeker rolled into one.

IMAG0677

 

 

Their ever-increasing bellies have made my budgeting and meal-prepping skills superb. If I couldn’t make a meal stretch before, I surely can do it now. I’ve learned that if all they care to eat for lunch is PB&J or salads, then so it shall be. You want a third snack after eating 3 lamb chops, veggies, cous cous, AND naan bread?! No problem… let me whip out this gargantuan bag of popcorn and a few berries. Eat, my growing child. Eat.

 

IMAG1364

They won’t go to bed until they’ve kissed me goodnight. Even if I’ve just set the fire of God upon their hindparts, my kids will NOT go to bed until they’ve kissed me goodnight. Briana has a pattern… right cheek, left cheek, forehead, chin, nose, lips, hug. If any of those things go out of order or if the hug isn’t tight enough, we start again! What they don’t know is that I go into their rooms while they’re sleeping and sneak kisses. The other night I found Brandon sleeping with a sucker in his mouth…. Boys!

 

I suppose I’m looking forward to this day. B&B aren’t quite big enough to cook unsupervised, so alas, duty calls. Plus it’s next to impossible to concentrate with the sounds of Good Luck Charlie, noodle slurping, and Storm Trooper helmet noises in my ears.

Enjoy your special day, ladies!

 

With love, sincerity, and blessings for you and your children,

 

Alana

 

P.S. I think I speak for many of us when I say miss me with the mass text messages and MMS’s. Thanks.

Family

A Word to Young Single Parents

I’m now 31 years old. I’m divorced, and I’m the main provider and caretaker for my two children affectionately known as B&B. Big B will be 9 (Jesus, take me now!) in just a few weeks, and little B is 7. They are my children. Let me rephrase that…

They are MY children.

(And one more time…)

These children are MINE!

I don’t rely on anyone else to meet their basic needs. I don’t expect anyone else to pour into them or speak into their lives. I don’t allow anyone else to have more influence than me. Because again… they are MINE! (Ok, technically they’re God’s, but He put them on loan to me for their lifetime, and one thing I don’t want to have to answer to Him about on Judgement Day is raising horrible children. But I’ve digressed…)

Many of us have birthed our children out of wedlock, while a handful were married and suffered loss via divorce or passing of a partner. Some of us are married now but have husbands who are away for work, or at home every day but absent mentally. I’ve been through all of this minus the death part, and to be honest… wait… shouldn’t write that. (B&B’s dad is involved by the way, so there’s that disclaimer.)

Whatever your situation, I want you to know that you CAN do it!!! You are NOT as disadvantaged as you think. And your children might be the ones to save your soul.

I’m going to say some seemingly ugly things in just a few moments, but they are TRUTH, and we know truth ain’t always pretty. Digest them one by one. Single dads, these apply to you as well. I want you to walk in your freedom as a parent KNOWING that our Heavenly Father has your needs in mind.

  1. God wanted your child in this earth. Regardless of the circumstances, that child was brought here because you needed someone to love and for God wanted them here for His purpose. It’s up to you to discern what that purpose is. Nobody knows better than mom or dad the gifts that God has placed inside their little ones. Spend your years of parenting discovering and nurturing that child’s gifts instead of forcing him or her to become who you think they should be.
  2. A two-parent family is ideal, but no where in the Bible does God judge parents for being single. Why? Because God knows people are mortal, fickle, and funny. In fact, you’ll find that God judges nations based on how well they care for the widows and the fatherless. So remember, He is ON your side. He WILL provide. He’s NOT mad at you. Don’t believe me? Go read 1 Kings 17.
  3. Speak life into your children, and shut anyone up who does otherwise. “Oh, she’s so mean.” “He’s destructive.” “Look at them– they so grown.” SHUT. THAT. NOISE. UP. These words affect our children so much so that they become the very things they hear. Issue a gentle rebuke to those who say these foolish things and then tell your children ‘You is smaht. You is kind. You is impohtant” or the like…
  4. Put the loneliness away. Contrary to popular belief, you DON’T have to succumb to negative emotions. Sometimes we get so caught up in the pathos of it all, but nah… it’s POISON! The only way to deal with soul-rocking loneliness is to become closer to Jesus. He will FILL you, woman and man at the well. Loneliness drives us to make bad decisions which may lead to babies 2, 3, and 4, which equates to more sex partners, more heartbreak, more disappointment, more loneliness, more child support paid, etc.
  5. Keep your children close. I mean, physically close. The younger they are, the closer they should be. I know you can’t breathe, shower, pee, or eat without their interrupting everything, but both of you will be the better off for it. They will learn to trust you, and you’ll stay out of trouble. Lol. I strongly advise visiting Raising Godly Tomatoes. This site revolutionized my parenting skills, and all three of us are better for it.
  6. Don’t beg the other parent to be involved. Yes, it’s good to have parent #2 around, but truthfully, if they don’t want to be present, you shouldn’t want them there either. Allow them to be as involved as they choose because then you’re maintaining your authority and influence over your child… as you should be. Having said that, GET THAT CHECK and feel no guilt or shame about it.

If any person on this earth deserves the best of you, it is your child. In everything you do for them, love them unconditionally and be willing to serve them while teaching them to serve others. If your kids are ornery and difficult, well… I have other posts for that, but parents are well within their rights to mold their children into becoming more pleasant and loving little beings. I had to with mine… *shrugs*

To read more about parenting, just follow this link here: http://www.consideringthelily.com/tag/parenting-advice/

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your happy family’s future,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

How a Seed Meets Your Need: What to Do When You’re Broke

I’m TIRED of not having any money. I work hard. I manage (i.e. work magic with) my finances. I mess up some things unfortunately. But by the 12th of the month when all the requisite bills have been paid, the grocery shopping has been completed, and the gas tank filled, my hair is nappy from the box relaxers I have to buy and the soles of my shoes are wearing thin. There is entirely too much month left and too little money for me to do anything about either of those situations.

Let me paint a picture for you.  I’m a single mom of two growing children with massive appetites. I make too much to receive income assistance from the government, and too little to cover my rent without whispering a prayer every time I make the payment. I’m paid once a month for ten months out of the year, so I’m staring down the business end of a summer with no paychecks. In an effort to not depress you, I trust HIM COMPLETELY! Why? Because there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to fix this problem. That means it’s all on Him!

I can hear all you finance snobs thinking “Well why don’t you just…” Whatever you can imagine, I’ve done or it’s impossible for me to do. Thanks for thinking for me.

I have much to say, so I’m thinking a mini-book may be in order, BUT for now, I’d like to share what God most recently revealed to be concerning the following Scriptures.

[quote]For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10)[/quote]

And second…

[quote]And God Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your resources for sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity. (2 Corinthians 9:10)[/quote]

Let me ask you a few questions.

Are you a sower?

Do you regularly and freely give of your finances and time to assist others, or are all your givings tied up in the first tenth? Notice 2 Corinthians 9:10 says GOD WILL MULTIPLY YOUR RESOURCES FOR SOWING, but that only applies if you’re already one who freely and joyfully gives. Let me qualify this by saying that in this season of my life I’m not able to give nearly as much as I would like, but the amount is hardly what’s on God’s mind. He looks at the condition of heart. Many times I will ask the Lord to provide a giving opportunity, and He does!

Are you an eater?

ALL of us are eaters. We all need provision for food, clothing, housing, etc. Sometimes we eat our seed thinking it’ll satisfy us, but that is the best way to stay financially strapped. Would you eat a few grains of wheat to satisfy your hunger? Absolutely not! Not only would you still be hungry, but you’d lose your chance to plant the wheat which would yield many more seeds and stalks of wheat and ultimately bread!

Life application here… When you find a few straggling dollars in your wallet, move them away from the spending area to a safe place for storing until a sowing opportunity arises.

What’s seed? What’s bread?

The Scripture says that God provides the seed. Should you have a certain amount of money and the offering plate is coming, consider the following to determine if you should give or keep your money. How much do you need to cover that nagging bill? Is what you have in your wallet enough? If the answer is “no”, then you have  a seed. If the answer is “yes”, you have the bread (provision). Keep the bread to pay the bill. The Lord often provides a little seed to accompany the bread. Be faithful to sow it.

In short, seed won’t meet the need, but bread will. Paul CLEARLY states in this same chapter that every man should give as HE PURPOSES IN HIS HEART! Not as the church or social expectations dictate! Giving according to what someone demands, requires, or expects will NOT reap a blessed harvest in and of itself. You must still give it willingly and cheerfully. If you find yourself not wanting to give, it’s best to hold on to that money until God gives you a heart change or a release to do so. There have been many times I was in service and the Lord laid out plainly for me to give NOTHING, or I’d left my wallet at home so that I couldn’t. Not every church is good ground. There have been other times when I needed to give sacrificially and He changed my heart to do so.

Another life application… God wants us to use common sense. Don’t get suckered into giving all of anything to any preacher. The workman is worthy of his wages, but not ALL of yours!

How can I get some bread?

Sometimes the seed isn’t money at all. Perhaps it’s your time or clothes you’ve held on to for years. But when God requests that you give, it will open the doors and windows for provision. Consider that a seed must first be planted to grow. Once it grows it becomes a full stalk of wheat, then the wheat must be harvested, beaten, and milled to produce flour. Once the flour is made, you can mix it with yeast and other ingredients to make the bread. All of these processes take time. So it’s best to sow as often as the Spirit leads so that provision comes in regularly. Having said that, God can and will turn that thing around quickly! He’s done it for me, so I know He’ll do it for you. Just remember we must sow the seed to eat the bread!

 

In the past few months, the Lord has taken care of us. I can’t explain how it’s happened, but He’ll send people to help me here and there or money will show up at just the right time. And all of this happens in tandem with crazy attacks from the enemy. Every time I think I’m sinking, God comes through! I don’t want to stay in this place by any means, but financial hardship is one of the ways God develops character. Notice in that saaame Scripture Paul says that God will provide and multiply your resources for sowing AND increase your fruits of righteousness.

When it gets down to it, this money thing is all about your relationship with Christ. Just like singleness, marriage, education, raising a family, etc. It all begins and ends in Him.

As a final encouragement, I’d like to share with you a message from Bishop Nate Holcomb that has GREATLY impacted my understanding of how to use my faith to trust God in these circumstances. If you’re still hungry for truth and understanding, THIS video is for you!

Thanks for reading my post! Here’s what want you to do next …

  • If this article has blessed you in any way, please Re-tweet and Share on Facebook. 
  • Share your comments below.
  • Check out my book Late Nights on the Straight & Narrow via the link.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Image courtesy of  rogiro via Compfight

 

Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

Are You KIDDING Me? I HATE Third Grade Homework

What do you mean you need help rounding to thousands? We spent an hour rounding to hundreds yesterday. You forgot what? Try it for ten minutes. Eight minutes to go. Four minutes more. Ok… I’m cooking dinner. WHY ARE YOU CRYING OVER A WORKSHEET?! Remember what we did yesterday? Look at the number to the right… if it’s five or higher, you round up? Oh?! You got it now. Ok. Do it.

Five minutes later I glance over his shoulder confident that he’s completed the worksheet correctly. I mean he DID tell me he knew how to do it. He cut me off in the process of reminding him. Surely… But what do I find but various numbers rounded to whichever place value he so chose? Some folk would call this creativity. I call it annoying.

I understand a child’s need to be a free thinker. I get that little boys want to take the easy way out instead of doing things right the first time. My kid is sharp as a tack and perfectly capable, but this worksheet took us an hour. *inserts expletive*

Brandon knew he was wrong because any time I made a sudden movement he would jump. He knew he wasn’t doing his best. He knew those crocodile tears weren’t going to work on me, but felt the need to try his hand at manipulation anyway. So I sent him to find a Bible while I gathered paper and pencil. I picked a chapter, and he started copying.

Here’s why.

  • I needed to find the root of the problem. At lower grade levels kids aren’t doing anything so hard it’s impossible to understand, so work ethic is probably the issue. Does your child tend to his chores half-assedly? You’ll have to tackle this problem on all sides. Give them a task and make them finish it to completion. No side-steps, cheats, or help. Excellence is the goal!
  • He needed to be spiritually settled. After a long day, kids are tired and out of sorts. I had Brandon copy a few verses out of the Bible to settle him. IT WORKED! He came back to the task focused and ready to do his best. Their spirits need to be fed just like ours.
  • I needed to change my schedule. Up until this year homework time has been a breeze. Fortunately, I get off work at 2:30ish and I can pick up the kids, bring them home, and spend my time working with them. Before I’d let them go to after-care and play until they were content. We don’t have that luxury until a certain someone starts rounding and subtracting properly, so until he gets it right, mommy’s time is his time.
  • I needed to stick it out with him. Yes, it’s HIS education, but he is a child and doesn’t know what’s good for him all the time. I don’t sit beside him the entire time or make myself completely available, but I’m close by. I may be in another room folding clothes or stirring a pot, but every so often I happen to walk past him to make sure he’s on task with a good attitude. If he asks for help,he will wait a minute or two before he gets it. I’m teaching him to stick to the task, but not abandoning him in the process. (As a teacher, I straight up abandon older kids. By 16, you really don’t need me every minute.)
So we’ve implemented a new daily plan. I’ll let the kids play at after-care until 4:30ish and bring them home. They know to get their snack and to grab a Bible and pick up where they left off. The younger child is simply copying one verse 5 times. The older child is copying 5-6 verses a day from a chapter until the chapter is complete. They’re spirits are being fed, and can I just testify that last night, the rounding worksheet took him 15 minutes and only THAT long because he was a little messy. But he got everything right the first time around!!
Attitude change made all the difference.
So I kinda misspoke earlier… what really happened was that I told Brandon to copy Philippians 4:13 ten times, but in his usual way, he “misheard” me and just started at verse one. I let him continue. So yesterday when he finally got to verse 13, he looked up at me. I KNOW WHY YOU MADE ME DO THIS! Yes, Brandon. Now you know. Keep copying.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your kid’s educational future and your sanity,

Alana

Photo comment: For those concerned about B&B’s vision per the featured photo, they were trying on glasses for fun. No worries… yet.

 

 

Being Smart, Family

How to Raise a Jerk

I know that sounds horrible, but I really don’t believe any parent sets out to raise a self-indulged, arrogant person who rubs folks the wrong way at work, church, and home . But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, things happen– or don’t happen– and children leave the nest with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a nasty attitude.

This jerk epidemic, ladies & gentlemen, is universal. Jerks are not limited to one race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class. They are as common as flu virus we’ll all be avoiding in a month or two, and twice as infectious. And, I hate to admit it, but I see jerk tendencies in one of my children. While I realize that selfish behavior is common at age 8, I find that as he grows he becomes harder to handle. I won’t blame anyone for it, but I can say that this little nastiness won’t be tolerated in my home. Y’all pray for me. Pray for his rear end too.

And so this morning on my drive to work, I thought of men and women who are self-confessed jerks and connected the dots. Sometime back in the 80’s lived a child with a strong sense of self, wasn’t disciplined, didn’t learn to care for others, only sought his or her own purposes, and now walks around with 8-year old sensibilities though he or she may be 28 or 38. Ugh. If this is you, I’m sorry. But let’s grow together. Lol.

Just in case you ever DID want to raise a jerk, here’s how to do it:

  1. Tell the child “no”, but give in. I’m bad with this, and this might be why my kiddo pushes me to the limit some days.
  2. Teach them that their qualities and gifts make them better than others.  Bring balance to the conversation and help them find ways in which to grow as caring human beings.
  3. Teach them that everyone needs their help. As opposed to offering it kindly as a service, some feel they can fix others. God is not nearly as impressed with the act as He is with the manner in which we offer it.
  4. Allow them to think their rights and wants are more important than the needs of others. No parent directly teaches this (I hope), but if your child is a squeaky wheel he or she may get more oil than they really need. Teach them to hush up and submit to you and to their siblings. Then again, I have heard parents say things like “Get yours, boo boo. Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.” Bad business…
  5. Allow them to think that they’re blessed because of their own goodness. Nawl. It’s because you work hard and love their little stinking butts. Grace is a gift! Kids are capable of understanding this. When mine need a spanking, they request grace and mercy, and too often they get it.
  6. Permit them to speak their mind without reservation. I believe in open forums with respectful tone for the most part, but I don’t want my children thinking that they can speak all of their mind to the world. My daddy made me study frowardness as a child, and it taught me early on that it’s best to just keep quiet about most things and until I’ve acquired wisdom in that area.
  7. Give your child everything he or she wants. Say no at least 2 out of 5 times or as often as you need.
  8. Allow them to display their emotions any way they choose. Even when they’re tired or there’s tension in the family, a child should still be expected to behave. Give them space to vent, then reel them back in. Being tired or sad is not an excuse for being rude and disrespectful. Deal with whichever issue is more pressing first. Sometimes sadness or anger supersedes the need for discipline, other times they’re just being manipulative.
  9. Tear them down with harsh words and unkindness. Kids who are constantly belittled seek ways to build themselves back up. You ever met a State Trooper who was bitingly sarcastic and almost cruel? I suspect this is why.
  10. Withhold love and affection. Some days they can be so needy and I can be so empty, but I take a few minutes to gather myself, then give them the hugs and kisses they need. Without it children will surely act out and become hardened to affection as they approach adulthood. Unless you want your child’s future spouse crying on your shoulder, give your kids what they need while you still can.

 

I think we’d all agree we want our kids to be confident in who they are, but still compassionate towards others. I know that I have work to do with my little ones, but I’m determined to press forward until my kiddo is the kingly young man that God has destined him to be. I know you’ll do the same for yours.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: By imagerymajestic freedigitalimages.net

Family, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Parenting Advice from B&B

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap]’d be remissed to not give Brandon & Briana an opportunity to speak on parenthood. I will warn you. I was hoping for profound, thoughtful revelations, but I ended up capturing something that looks more like that popular TV show where kids tell all of what they think they know. Ah, well!

You get the point!

 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for lots of giggles in your near and distant future,

 

Alana

Family, For the Brothers, Guest Posts, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

3 Things I Learned as a Father

When I say Chip Dizard is a God-send, I mean that before I even began to pray about building a new blog, Chip was already sending me information on why and how to do so. He was even willing to share with me tutorials and to answer the silly questions I had on a daily basis. If you haven’t seen on of Chip’s videos, you’re TRULY missing out. This fella is multi-faceted, but today we celebrate his fatherhood of three very precious, very lively little girls. 

It’s amazing what fathers can do! 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/chip.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Teacher. Mentor. Husband. Father. Video Director/Editor. Co-Founder, Web Video Chefs and Praizevision.com. Also check out http://www.ChipDizardWeddings.com.[/author_info] [/author]

 

Connect with Chip!

Twitter: @ChipDizard

ChipDizardWeddings.com

WebVideoChefs.com

ChipDizard.com

 

Featured photo credit: Lyle Daniel

Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

All the Bad Things I’ve Done As a Mother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]E[/dropcap]veryone has an opinion about how children should be raised. Outside of two resources that I can recall, a blog titled Raising Godly Tomatoes and a book about raising strong-willed children (scroll all the way down to my footer to see the book info), I can’t really think of a resource that’s given me such great advice that I’d swear by it. And there’s the Bible of course. Not all of us are nurturers by nature, but I want to share all the bad things I’ve done as a mother to my children just to prove to you that what’s bad for one may be great for another. And all the research may be chalked up to someone’s dissertation hours instead of actual parenting…

  • I nursed one longer than the other.
  • For the past eight years, they’ve slept in the bed with me more often than not. They’re just now starting to venture out on their own.
  • We skip school sometimes to stay home to rest or worship.
  • I let one go to school knowing he had not brushed his teeth or put on deodorant. He needed to learn his lesson.
  • I let the other wear pink nearly every day.
  • I believed Brandon when he told me it was dress-up day at school and let him wear his Batman costume. It was actually “Sunday’s Best” dress up day hence the featured photo.
  • I tell them about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
  • I totally forgot the kids lost teeth. At one point they were falling like dominos.
  • I took the tooth and forgot to leave the money.
  • I left the money and forgot to take the teeth.
  • I got a divorce.
  • I spank them when they tell each other’s business.
  • I don’t always spank them when they lie.
  • I can’t say no to school fundraisers… not because I want to buy the crap… but because they want that stupid prize at the end.
  • I let them do the current dances provided they aren’t impure. I don’t know the dances myself, but I like to see exactly what they know.
  • I talk trash when we play games, especially any Wii game that involves dancing.
  • I’ve removed some family from their lives, but I let strangers show them affection. Sometimes all the little lady in the mall needs a hug.
  • I allow them to make observations about people and tell me what they see, and we privately address it.
  • I follow their lead.
  • I say “no” to things and “yes” to experiences.
  • I put them out of my room.
  • I let them question my dates.
  • When they’re being punished, I never ever ever send them to their room alone. I keep them closer to me and give them things to do.
  • I make them scrub the carpet with Resolve, wash the windows with Windex, and dust with Pledge. They just wash their hands afterwards.

I”m sure you can find something research-driven and maybe even experiential that says my list of 21 things makes me certifiably crazy and therefore a bad mother. But my children are bright, happy, healthy, well-balanced… outside of being messy and moody sometimes, I cannot complain. Everything doesn’t work for everyone.

By the way, I feel guilty for NONE of the above!

Which unconventional methods do you practice with your children that contribute to their well-being?
Tell me about them in the comments section. 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana