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.

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

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

 

 

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Seven Songs Every Little Saint Must Know

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]S[/dropcap]o as I shared last week, THIS week we’re celebrating the art of PARENTING!!!

Being a mother has to be the most challenging, yet the most rewarding experience of my life. There is something about my little people that just makes them a thousand times better than everyone else’s… Teehee! You should feel the same about yours, but if you don’t, perhaps you might instill some qualities into them to help them become more enjoyable. We know that children can be terribly unpleasant if they are fearful, disrespectful, and disobedient. So the songs I’ve selected below will guard your children’s hearts against issues that have create problems in our homes. To be perfectly clear, B&B haven’t always been as delightful as they are now, and still aren’t always beams of sunshine, but over the years, along with the help of family and the Almighty, I’ve been able to train them… and what better way to teach a child something than through a song!!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Few songs are more powerful than this simple tune. Every child raised in a Christian home knows this song, and it’s so deeply embedded in us that as adults it pops into our spirits when we need it most. I remember a friend (I use the term loosely for blogging’s sake) telling me about a nightmare he had. And just when it seemed he was going to die, he began to sing this song and his attackers fled. Just a few weeks ago, I could not feel God’s presence as I usually do. So I sat down and began to search for Him and this song bubbled up from my spirit. Immediately I felt His presence wash over me to the point where I could barely sit up. All that to say, there is NO weapon more powerful against the enemy that knowing of Christ’s GREAT love for you. People who feel unloved soon begin to do anything to seek validation and inevitably hurt others. Arm your children with this song. Remind them daily that there’s nothing they can do to make Jesus stop loving them.

O, How I Love Jesus!

As a toddler Brandon used to croon this tune as he rocked side to side in his giant Pull-Up. He’d sing it for anybody that came around. His worship would stop an adult in their tracks and provoke them to jealousy. Children love deeeeeeply. And who better to love than God? And why love God? Well the song says it… BECAUUUUUSE HE FIRST LOVED MEEE!! And children get that. They totally understand that mommy and daddy love them and take care of them, so the appropriate response would be to love mommy and daddy in return. For children, loving is simply not an option. And loving falls right in line with obeying…

Children OBEY your parents in the Lord, for this is right!

Ok, so this isn’t a song, but who says you can’t make it into one? From the time B&B began speaking I had them repeating this little phrase as we marched and clapped our hands. Did I provide them with a Biblical definition of what obey means in the Greek and Hebrew contexts? Of course not! But they learned quickly, that if they obeyed, good things would happen, and if they didn’t, other consequences would be in store. Obey simply means “Do what mommy says right away.” Another scripture we learned involving this concept was “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Two reasons your kids should know this— one, because it’s so darn cute to hear them try to say sacrifice, and two, because at some point children will start to weigh their options. I don’t want my kids to think about whether they’re going to obey or not. I want them to immediately choose obedience. All this crap about counting to three… nah. That’s called a power struggle. They don’t get to choose whether they’re hit by a car if they run into the street. So, yes, OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE! Little ones can learn this easily if parents are faithful to reinforce it.

I Command You Satan in the Name of The Lord….

To pick up your weapons and fleeee! For the Lord has given me authority to STOMP all overrrr THEEE! Who says our babies can’t fight for themselves? Children are exceptionally sharp when it comes to spiritual matters which is why so many have bad dreams. So how do we handle this? Well arm your little soliders for the Lord by teaching them to rebuke the enemy IN JESUS’ NAME! I remember my mother teaching my siblings at 2 and 3 when they became afraid of the dark or storm to say “Go in Jesus’ name!” And they did it. And their little butts learned not to be afraid. Children must be trained to fight against the enemy, and often because of their unadulterated faith, their prayers and commands accomplish more than our own. You wanna see some prayers answered? Tell your baby to pray about it!

The B-I-B-L-E!

I was absolutely mortified when four-year old Briana put her pink Bible on the floor, stood on top of it, and sang this song to the top of her lungs. Her father stopped me from tapping her legs and suggested that she might be learning this sort of thing at school. Duhhhh… I STAND ALONE ON THE WORD OF GOD! Lol. I gave myself a facepalm. Yes, we STAND on the Word, so we want our children learn to love the Word so that they are able to stand in the day of testing. This brings me to my next song…

Father Abraham

This song isn’t one of my personal favorites, alas kinesthetic learners in Sabbath/Sunday schools everywhere are enthralled with the corresponding movements. So what’s the point of the song outside of the flailing of arms and legs everywhere? BIBLICAL HISTORY!!! Kids loooove Bible stories, and I must admit this is my weakest point as a Christ-following mommy. I’d rather teach my children about prayer and hearing God’s voice, but knowing the Word is even more important particularly at an age when their minds are so open. So yeah, we’ll do a Father Abraham or two, but more importantly, we’ll talk about who Abraham was. And Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jonah… the list goes on. These stories serve as a point of reference for their lives later down the road.

Grace

So I know there’s a song floating out there that kids sing to bless their food. I don’t know the song though. I do know the sing-songy “God is great. God is good. And we thank Him for our food…” You know the rest. I’m not a fan of anything particularly sing-songy, but the message is clear. WE THANK HIM!!! Thankfulness is one of the most beautiful qualities a child can have. Should you teach your child what true thankfulness is, he or she will learn to eat up all the yummy food you’ve taken the time to prepare for them.

Ok… last story about my kids. When Brandon was two I put him in a daycare, and he wasn’t there for two weeks before he came home and confidently blessed our dinner with the following prayer:

Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for our food. We bless it and SANCTIFY it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

My baby boy said ALL of that. His father and I were stunned and I laugh and giggle uncontrollably through the entire dinner. Not long thereafter Briana began to pray this very prayer with him. They’d fight over who got to bless the food first. To this day, we still use that prayer, and they have noooo problem demonstrating their thankfulness by cleaning their plates.

What songs from your childhood experience have helped you through adulthood?
Share in the comments below!

With love, sincerity, and hope for your children’s bright and shining future,

Alana 

 

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

Married to a Madman

Driving down Laburnum, I watched my baby girl sit in a beautiful white dress as she gazed out the backseat window. My son was several miles away ready to be picked up. I was in the passenger seat wearing a just-above knee length sundress. He was driving my car leaning against me with his right arm down my leg. This woman’s husband was touching me and was in full and total control of me and mine. How did I get into this situation?

A nasty storm cloud booms over us, and in the distance I see a tornado descend from the clouds. I start to pray and rebuke the cloud commanding it to go back up in to the sky. It yields to my prayer, and we continue driving. I asked him to prepare to pull over in case we ran into a tornado. I asked him to drive faster so we could rescue my son. All he did was leisurely drive the long route, never acknowledging my requests or concerns. He just kept rubbing my leg.

His actions made it abundantly clear that he could not care less for the emotional pain that I was suffering. He seemed to be enjoying it. He didn’t care when a smaller tornado hopped a building to our left, went directly over the car, and landed on a building to our right. He didn’t care that our son was miles away and terribly afraid of tornadoes. I tried to make conversation with the little one to ease my mind, but she was even too afraid of him to speak openly.

And then I woke up thanks to a text from Twitter. (I am not that scandalous!) And in this dream I was this man’s wife, and my children were also his children. His wife is my friend. I love her dearly, but I couldn’t understand why I’d dream such a thing, so I inquired of the Lord.

Quiet and still, He always speaks. “This is what she feels like.”

And so it follows, this is how many women feel when they are subject to a man who is insensitive and controlling. Some of these men have scars from childhood, some from other types of trauma, and others still are just big ol’ jerks. I’ve been single since December 2009, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in that place. But when I was married I knew it very well.

This is what I’ve learned about these challenging and often terrifying situations.

  • He can’t stop your prayer from working. Despite how godlike he thinks he is, YHWH will hear and answer your prayer. Continue to speak the Word and pray in authority over the enemies attacks.
  • Take your concerns to God first. Too often we go to our men complaining and expecting a change immediately. This is especially dangerous with the abuser or controller. Go to God first! And sometimes go to God only! Don’t give him an open door to manipulate you.
  • Keep moving through the storm, even if you have to go it alone. Storms are symbolic of emotional torment. Oh the tornadoes and tsunamis I’ve dreamed about over the years! Don’t sit in a storm and allow it to overtake you. Yes, we become tired, so MAKE time to rest in the Lord, and get right back to fighting. And by fighting, I mean praying… We wrestle against spiritual forces, not people. I remember one dream I had when Jesus himself showed up on a horse with his sword drawn. If He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.
  • Trust that God will protect your family. In the dream I was severely concerned about the safety of my children, and rightfully so. But God is powerful and loving enough to protect them in ways that I cannot. Abusers will use your fear against you. They gain power from seeing you hurt. Be strong, and allow your faith to override your emotion.
  • Free yourself from sexual and emotional manipulation. This is a tough one, but I suffered both of these for YEARS! Sex tends to be more emotional for women, and though I know your preacher never told you this… If your husband is abusing you sexually or emotionally (cheating, lying, neglecting, physical/verbal abuse), you really should pull back (not saying stop altogether) on the sex. Here’s why. There is a deeper spiritual reason he’s doing these things, and you need to keep your head free to think and hear from God. Anytime two people have sex, spirits are transferred and you’ll start to experience some of the nasties he’s dealing with. For maybe a year, my ex-husband was struggling with suicidal thoughts. I didn’t know this until I started having them myself. Once I pulled back, the truth came to light and I was able to deal with it more effectively, and we were able to reconcile. The worst thing you can do is continue having sex with him thus allowing yourself to be tormented by him and a host of demonic forces. Be spirit led.
  • Understand that your husband is not THE bad guy. Undoubtedly your husband may be allowing the enemy to use him, but remember who the war is against. If there is history of mental illness, trauma, rejection, abandonment, etc., etc., etc., then KNOW that there is healing available. God will show you whether you should choose to stay to see your honey delivered, or to leave. Whatever God reveals, DO IT! When I sought the Lord as to whether I should remain married, He said to me “You haven’t had enough yet?” Eeep!
  • If you find yourself taking on his abusive traits, then you’ve stayed far too long. If you’ve learned to lie, cheat, steal, cuss, abuse like him, then you missed your exit time and you need to seek another ASAP. I know the church teaches us that God hates divorce, but your soul is FAR more valuable than a relationship. I believe that many people go to hell for an eternity because they were unable to forgive wrongs they suffered within marriage. If you are being poisoned, then get out and save your soul and the souls of your children.

It is not my intention to break up families, but to save souls. If you’ve ever been subject to someone who is reckless and uncaring, then you know the feeling of being insecure. And as women, we want to love them out of that place, but sometimes, we can’t. And so, it is my prayer that God’s will be done in your homes and in your hearts.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net