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!
Connect with Chip!
Featured photo credit: Lyle DanielRead More
Everyone 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”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,
So 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!!
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.
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…
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your children’s bright and shining future,
I’ve written about this *ahem* man before, but this time, the story isn’t really about him. Just to indulge your curiosity, he’s the same fella who didn’t show up– ever. And when I say he doesn’t show up, I mean I recently got a call requesting a meeting to which I hesitantly agreed. You already know what happened. Bless that wonderful Name!
A month or so after the split, I was still in recovery. God knew this person wasn’t for me, and so I’m sure His mighty hand ran some interference for my good. But silly as I am, my heart continued to grieve the loss of one who was incapable of loving me.
Instead of pouring my heart out to my friends, I only told God how much the situation really disappointed me. My friends got the quick and dirty of it, but the Lord heard my heartfelt cry. Sometimes people can’t understand your pain, but I truly believe we can take everything to the Throne no matter how insignificant or foolish it seems. This joker was undoubtedly an insecure jerk, but my emotions had gotten involved, and I had hoped for the best. And hope deferred makes the heart sick. And on this day, I was siiiiick.
It happened on a Sunday. The children and I were getting ready for church, and I prepared a larger breakfast than normal. Because of the multi-tasking that I usually do… my hair, Brie’s hair, ironing, cooking, making Brandon shower… I burned the bacon. When I say burned, I mean it sizzled down to black, crispy nothingness. So in the trash it went, and I started again. The small cloud of smoke quickly dissipated, and I continued handling my motherly duties. An hour or so later, the children and I were ready to leave.
Just a few minutes before heading out, I ran back to my bedroom for something that I can’t recall. And in my bathroom doorway was a cloud, dense and white. I stared for a minute and thought, “Hmmm… no way that bacon smoke made it back here. I’ve never seen it do that before.” I looked back to the living room…. no smoke. The kitchen… no smoke. So why was there a thick cloud of it with no traces of bacon fragrance in my bedroom standing still at the bathroom threshhold? Chin-scratcher, right?
I shrugged off this unusual occurrence, and we left for church.
Still saddened, I belly-ached to the Lord all the way down I-295.
Lord, I don’t know why I bothered in the first place. Why’d he have to be such a jerk? If he was going to treat me that way, he should’ve just left me alone. No, I don’t want him back. I want to go back in time and un-meet him.
On and on I went… Ticks me off to think I wasted so much time whining over foolishness. But I did, and the only reason I’m telling on myself is because you’ve done it too.
We pulled up to the church, and headed inside. As I walked down the hallway I heard the Lord say “Are you so grieved over this man that you don’t even recognize Me when I visit you?”
Am I so grieved that I missed… WHAT? But where were you, Lord?
And it dawned on me…
The cloud! The strategically placed cloud that I could not miss in my bedroom. In Old Testament scripture, the Lord often showed up in a cloud. I’ve seen the cloud of His glory before… once as a child, and a few times since in worship services.
I repented. Repeatedly. And I worshiped and thanked Him for forgiving my ignorance. I laughed at my foolishness, and He must have laughed too because the heaviness broke off of me immediately.
Many times God’s blessing is in the breaking. He breaks off associations, things, relationships, finances (shando!)… you name it, and He will use it to break you. And I’m not talking about bad things necessarily. I’m also referring to friendships, homes, cars, family members… you name it. He’ll allow us to suffer ANY loss to bring us closer to Him. Doesn’t sound fair, I know, but truly He is God so who are we to question His ways?
Though He breaks us, His desire is not to leave us broken… which is why He visited me that morning. What might have happened had I turned aside as Moses did with the burning bush? I believe there would’ve been instant healing of my emotions and a return of joy, but alas…. I misjudged Him for an obstinate, stale cloud of smoky salty burnt bacon. Smh.
Beloved reader, we grieve our losses, and rightfully so, but after a time our grief is misplaced. Even if you lost everything and everyone, there is a blessing in the breaking, and you must remember that you have NOT been abandoned by God. Even David allowed himself time to grieve when his firstborn child was on the verge of dying, but when the results came, he got up washed his face, and ate.
I didn’t have a scripture for this, and I heard the Lord say “Put away the grief from you.” (He talks kinda funny, doesn’t He? Teehee!) So I Googled it, and in the Amplified version found this…
Dating Precaution #4: When we are young, we make stupid choices that land us in a pit of sorrow! But as we grow we must put away those foolish situations and the grief that comes alongside it, or else we miss the blessing that God may bring in the breaking. And never forget that you are NOT forsaken!
And God says to us, “NO MORE GRIEVING! You’ve thought about it long enough. There was nothing more you could have done. It was simply time. Be at peace in your souls. Settle yourselves. Rest in Me!! Are you so grieved over a person or thing that you cannot receive MY everlasting love? It was my love that delivered you. My love that separated the ties. Yes, they might have loved you. They might have been good to you, but they are mine just as you are mine. And, I am a jealous God. You will suffer loss for my sake and the kingdom’s, but you will NEVER lose Me.”
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
But He’s making me do it because truly– no one would tell a story like this to people who don’t believe in spiritual things.
This is not a story of tormenting secrets or even of travail and disappointment. This is a story of blissful rest and comfort with a moderate amount of (good) spiritual spookiness.
If you’re a nonbeliever, skeptic, or critic, this story is (not) for you!
Two years ago in October I traveled to Cardiff, Wales for business. I’m an educator, but I had been selected as the US representative for a very prestigious educational organization. At the time, I was reading a book about a very famous minister, Rees Howells, who was actually from Wales. I’d also been praying for an encounter with the Lord, and by encounter, I mean that I wanted to SEE HIM! I’d heard so many stories about people seeing Jesus and how His eyes are like oceans. I was literally provoked to jealousy and began to plead for my own opportunity.
So to Cardiff I went praying all the while.
And home I returned praying all the while.
No Jesus. Not even a glimmer that He heard my prayer.
Glad to finally make it home after 17 hours of travel, I snuggled up in my pillow top king-sized bed. I must have passed out because I wasn’t even IN the bed. I remember lying sideways with my head close to the side pleasantly bundled up in my beige foamy blanket. I. Was. Tired.
And in my sleep I heard voices. Now I’m one heck of a lucid dreamer, but this was no dream. I couldn’t have made this up if I wanted to. These voices were unfamiliar, but friendly. I could feel the speakers perched at the head of my bed. There were three. Two of the three inquired about my whereabouts while the third answered. I remember thinking “He sure does know a lot about me. He must be my guardian angel. But who are the other two?” I didn’t feel any danger, so I made a mental note to ask someone who knows more about these sorts of things.
The voices chatted it up to the point where I wished they’d be quiet so I could rest. Then I felt another Presence at my bedroom door. And what do charismatic Christ-followers do when they feel something unusual going on? They get to binding and rebuking! But this Presence didn’t go. It kept moving toward me. I struggled in my sleep to wake up, but was caught in that place between. I knew it couldn’t have been my mother. The Presence was far too tall… and quiet. The footsteps were heavy to the point where I could “see” footprints left in my carpet. And as this Presence came closer to my bed, I heard the voices halt into a holy hush and my spirit began to stir. I wanted to jump out of my skin and clutch my eyes closed all at once.
He stood at the side of my bed over my head, and my being felt as if it were about to explode. It was as if light beams were shooting from my belly. The angels must have felt the same because I could feel light emanating from them as well, and I heard a “whoosh” as their wings extended from their bodies. I was terrified and in awe at the same time.
Then I felt my bed lean on that one side, and thus my head with it. As His nail-pierced hands pressed down against my mattress, He leaned into my face close enough to kiss me. Those few seconds of closeness were far more than my soul could bear, and I was enraptured by a force of love that weakened me to the point of… I don’t have a word for it. Then the pressure lifted, and I felt Him walk out.
I wanted Him to stay, but I knew the intensity was greater than what my sinful soul could bear. I wanted to open my eyes to SEE Him, but I was far too afraid the holiness in Him and the lack thereof in me would send me to an early grave.
I’m not sure how long I slept after that, but when I awoke, I was eager to seek out what had happened. So to my Bible I went. Undoubtedly He who entered my room was the Lord. Who else would elevate my being to such a high and intense place of worship? And who else would silence those voices commanding them also to worship Him? Angels don’t worship devils.
But I began to question things. Nothing wrong with questions as far as the Lord is concerned. He gives us mysteries to uncover!
Two days later, walking through the house, I saw a printed copy of an ebook about hearing in the spirit. And there it was… Several stories from believers who had heard angels speaking in their sleep. And confirmation, that angels, powerful as they might be, have information on a need-to-know basis. Two of the angels stood watch at the window over my bed. I was doing a lot of warfare at the time so I was grateful to know that they protected me and my children as we rested. The third angel, in fact, was my guardian angel. In his voice I could hear that he was proud to be released and that I was moving into my destiny. Our angels WANT to work for us, but often they cannot because of our lack of faith in God’s Word.
So while I didn’t SEE Jesus, I know beyond a doubt that He came to see about me.
Can you imagine, my friend, being in a place of such intense fellowship with Him? I could not then, and even now, the thought of looking into His eyes brings a reasonable amount of fear. But He loves me. Enough to answer my prayer. Enough to just gaze at me lovingly. Enough to make everything that had ever happened before that day seem totally and completely insignificant.
I don’t have a moral for this happening, nor do I have a thought-provoking rhetorical question. I won’t dare exaggerate or romanticize or even try to add anything to it by making points. Take this for what it is…
Should the Lord visit me again, I pray that my spirit will be ready to gaze upon Him just as He did me. Maybe next time I’ll remember to give him the kiss He came for.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your own encounter with Christ whether you believe in Him or NOT,