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Archive for January, 2009

‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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Keep me low, keep me low…. I woke up this morning with these words going through my brain, over and over again. They became part of my prayer, as I realized that my new subject with the Lord is humility. I remembered an episode of The Dog Whisperer I saw recently ( I know, it sounds strange, where is this going?) There were two aggressive wolf hybrids which Caesar Milan was called in to help with. When he was introducing the regal, white wolf cross to his pack through the chain link fence, he was looking for one thing before he would let the huge canine join on the other side : his head to go low. It is a sign of submission, and acceptance that you are not the one “large and in charge”. I lay there in bed thinking, praying…this is not working!
prostrate

I got up and went out where it was quiet in the living room, (yeah, snoring was distracting my prayers and thinking) After a time of praying on my face and asking God to keep me humble, I started getting bombarded with all the thoughts of what I had just given up. All the wrongs that had been done to me flooded in to my brain, and those words, “keep me low” started to make sense. I prayed more, and God started speaking to my heart about how in Genesis 21, there is a very small passage where Hagar and her son were in the wilderness, cast out from Abraham and Sarah’s family, God SAW her ( I AM ) the God who sees your need, your sorrow, the injustices, ( I AM ) your deliverer , comfort, strength, whatever you need.  I AM YOUR deliverer .  I have given you all that you need that pertains to life and godliness,  (2 Peter 1:3 ) , so walk in my strength and power.  I have overcome these things on your behalf, (John 16 :33) so put them to rest! This will be a process  for me that is for sure!

I love the story of Pilgrims Progress, Christian loses his burden at the foot of the cross.  That is at the beginning of his brave journey to the ‘Celestial City’.  Along his way, he falls into slumber, fights Appolyon, gets trapped in Doubting Castle, and locked up in Vanity Fair.  What is wonderful though, is that he had companions along the journey, some tested him, and some lifted him, yet all the while, The King was always there, His servants were there to guide and cheer him along the way.  Let us not grow weary in serving one another along our path to the Celestial City.  We are servants of The King!  To see a weary pilgrim along the path, and wonder what their problem is, and go along your merry way is just not pleasing to the king. (Ephesians 4 :2) If you see someone who you have a tendency to avoid, you may want to just find out what is going on in their life.  Chances are, you may be the only person who comes along side them as a traveling companion along their wearisome road.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Micah 6:8 He has not shown you oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you :
to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

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I have had this piece of old luggage  that I have carried with me my entire life.  At times I didn’t notice it too much, because I turned it into a backpack, but it grew larger and heavier as time went on.  As long as I had distractions, I would forget it was there, but like an elephant in the room, everyone noticed how it was destroying me, causing me to be more burdened, and thrown off balance from it’s weight. Eventually, I had completely lost my way.

That old backpack carried years of unforgiveness, bitterness, and pain from my past.  I thought I could just talk through things with those who wronged me, ( parents)  and we could get all the closure and forgiveness, and all would be well with my soul, but when they  didn’t respond to my gesture, but accused me of just wanting to hurt them by talking to them, shunned me for half a year, then called one day as if all is well,  thoughts of closure were left unfulfilled.

I started sensing some ‘strangeness’ when my adult children would be with me, they had become so concerned about this  “pack” on my back how was sucking the life out of me, they got together with dad and called for an intervention. He never said anything to me, he had a’ hands off wait and see what happens as I pray approach.’  As I explained to him, it is like the scripture which says, two are better than one, when one falls in a ditch, the other is there to lift him out. I had felt my husband knew I was in the ditch, but was sitting under a tree to see if I could find a way out on my own. Two of my children are more vocal and will call me out on things, and the breakthrough began.

After conversations with one of my sons, I started to realize how much I needed more accountability and started bravely getting back involved in the women’s ministry.  I jokingly say all the time, “there are two types of women in the world… toxic, and non toxic”.  I grew up with the second type, and I think I have had a fear of women ever since.  The new subject of study?  Humility. Have I been blessed so far?  Well, I have met all the non-toxic, full of loving Balm of Gilead types!

After a long talk with my only daughter, who is ready to have her first child, I got view into some things God wanted to expose, deal with, and so it began.  I had a long talk with hubby that night, and as I prayed both as I fell to sleep and  when I woke up, God showed me a few MAJOR things.

I asked the Lord to please help me get over these things,  I don’t want to be crippled by them!  He gave me a scripture Matt 18:22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  In forgiveness, did it matter if we had talked it through? No. Just forgive… ALL of it!  Once and for all!  O.K.  I will with your help,  The Bitterness- lay it aside!   Eph 4:1  Yes, Lord, I will. This burden has been my constant companion for so many years, you will have to be my strength, but I am ready, your love has lifted this burden, and I am so new in you today.

I went straight to my computer to check Morning and Evening on line, C.H. Spurgeon. I was so blessed by it, I felt sure God changed the message to fit my need!

“I will help thee, saith the Lord.”—Isaiah 41:14.

HIS morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.'”
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

Just as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress was not even close to completing his journey when his burden fell from his back, I too have a long way to go.250px-pilgrims_progress_22I will be writing so much more as He is doing His work in me!

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She is sorely missed

She is sorely missed

Learning lessons in life is no fun.  They take trial and effort, pain and loss, tears and courage to move on.  I am not at the point where I am ready to share the wisdom I have learned from this last round of lessons, but I read a blog from a friend this morning, that encouraged me to write just to say that along the way God is Good.

We recently lost our dog, she was a faithful companion to me, always there through good days and bad, sick or in pain, she cheered me.  Though a month has passed, I still cry as I am writing this… But God is still so good.

We have a grandson about to arrive any day now, and we are as excited as new grandparents could be!
It is my second grandchild, but my first is 13,  it is like starting all over again.

When I start feeling like I have come closer to the center of knowing God’s message through the long process I have been going through  I will share the words He gives with the hope it will save many needless steps for someone else along the way.

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