Beautiful Struggles

Photo credit to my amazing sixteen year old
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. 
Romans 8:28
There are just moments in life when, in the middle of what feels like chaos, you can see God’s hand at work.  That’s where I am right now.  This family has been under attack from every which direction over the past year and it has made life crazy.  The moment we get a glimpse of sunlight, another storm hits and we’re running for cover once again. 

I’ve often overwhelmed by God’s goodness, in a good way, when we’re dealing with storms.  Especially when it comes to my kids.  My oldest son and daughter have been dealing with a lot lately.  Going through some really tough stuff and as a mom watching, it makes me want to fight someone 😉  However, I’ve been through enough of my own hard stuff to know that this is an amazing opportunity to walk through it with them.  To speak truth and attempt to live it out with them. 

Several years ago, I walked through my own personal storm and my kids were forced to walk with me.  They were placed in the middle of a battle which could have destroyed them, however, God has used that time to prepare them for such a time as this.  I’m not saying they are having an easy time dealing with the hurt right now, but it makes the hurt a little more bearable when you know God is there and He is working through the situation.

Lately, I have had the incredible privilege of sitting with my eighteen year old and having some truly amazing conversations. Throughout his storms, he has turned to me, confided in me, listened to me and trusted me.  He knows that no matter what he is dealing with, I am here, I will listen and will walk with him.  

One of the greatest moments through these storms has been sharing scripture with my kiddos.  Especially two of my favorites, Romans 12:17 (Do not repay evil with evil but live in a way which honors God) and Exodus 14:14 (Be still and allow God to fight for you).  The ability to speak scripture into their life is amazing!  But to be able to speak some of my favorite passages while sharing the way in which those passages got me through my own tough stuff….too good for words.

They are having to learn to “turn the other cheek” and stay silent when they just want to scream the truth of a situation.  They are having to learn that God isn’t doing these things but instead, broken people. They are having to learn that there are consequences to the bad choices we make and often times, the enemy will use those choices to try and destroy us through other people.  BUT they are learning that God’s grace and love is so much greater than anything they have said or done and because of His love and grace, they are children of a King and are forgiven and redeemed!!

As hard as my own stuff was I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for the world.  It has given me ability to parent my kids the way they need in times of heartache and trouble.  I love being able to look back on my past and see the way God used it to prepare and shape me.  He used a lot of what I went through to help me walk the hard road of parenting teens.  I’m not saying I have all the answers but I have the most important, God’s word.  And with those words, it has made navigating this road a bit easier.  Even through the storms….

The Struggle: Teach a Child to Follow the Right Way

Teach a child how to follow the right way;even when he is old, he will stay on course

Proverbs 22:6

Parenting can be a gut wrenching, painful process leaving us to feel as if we are headed to an early grave.  However, for me, it is by far my most favorite parenting season.
Currently, I am the mom of three teenagers.  Three teenagers at three very different stages of the teenage years, but teenagers nevertheless.

Parenting teenagers is quite the undertaking.  It is the stage of life in which our kids begin to truly explore the boundaries of their own independence and begin to figure out their place within the world around them.  It becomes the stage where they begin to identify the many aspects which lie within the realm of relationships helping them to understand how they will relate to the world and the people around them.  It is a grueling time because it becomes a time when they really begin to develop the essence of what healthy and loving relationships look like and this time sets them up for the way in which they will function in future relationships.

There are so many aspects of parenting and each play an important role in who your child will become as they mature into adulthood.  The way we interact with our children through our own words and actions will play a part in the way they view the world. 

As parents, we watch our children, our teens, experience the joys and heartache of love, the pain of betrayal, the sorrow which comes with loss, and on and on it goes. Some of the moments we experience with them bring happiness and others extreme pain, but in the end, they look to us for direction and to see the way in which we will handle those moments.

I’ve come to realize over the course of my teenage parenting days that Proverbs 22:6 is a quite interesting passage. It can be looked at from several different perspectives and throughout my teenage parenting journey, I’ve realized that there is quite a bit of really good stuff in the ever so small verse.

As an adult, I have made mistakes and bad choices.  I have messed up more often that gotten it right or so it feels sometimes. As a teenager, I screwed up even more.  The messes I made as a teen set me up for the issues I have had to face as an adult. I have required a lot of grace throughout my forty-one years and this realization has helped me to face the challenges of raising my teens in a different way.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “teach your child how to follow the right way” which I think is an interesting choice of words.  The word teach means to show or explain how to do something.  Knowing the meaning of the word allows me to see that verse in a different light.  If I want my children “to follow the right way,” then I must “show” them exactly what that looks like which means, I must live it out myself.  I can’t just spew out rules and make a list of the way they should live but instead, my life should be a living breathing example of the way in which God has called us to live. 

If I want my children to do good, to live well, to be people full of integrity, then they should see that lived out in me.  Through by words and actions, they should see a parent who extends love, grace, forgiveness and patience to not just them but to those who God places within our lives.  If I want them to walk in obedience and to have a personal relationship with Jesus that is authentic, then they need to see me live out that obedience and demonstrate a relationship with Jesus that is real in every aspect of  my life. 

Writing it all out makes it look so simple.  But living it out can be so frustrating. 

Matthew 22:37-38 says we are to first love God and to second love our neighbors. Those two verses are the starting point for the foundation which becomes the example we live out and “teach” our kids, our teens. Now what exactly does that look like?  Flip on over to 1 Corinthians and the definition for love is broken down beautifully for us.

Love is patient; love is kind.  Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about.  There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude or indecent-it’s not self-absorbed.  Love isn’t easily upset.  Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth-yes, truth-is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

What a list! A list which feels impossible to live up to!  Nonetheless, we are called to love.  So the question becomes; are we living in such a way that we are showing, teaching our kids, our teens how “to follow the right way?”

It’s a lot to think about and ultimately calls for an evaluation of our own hearts and lives. But if we are able to admit our own inconsistencies and struggles, we will become healthier parents and in the end, our kids will be better for it. 
*This is a condensed version of a paper I wrote for a psychology class on exactly this day last year.  Thought is was worth sharing!

The Church, A Mission and A Meaningful Call

I believe that the church should be at the front lines protecting women and their children and ministering by helping them find safety and shelter. I believe that the church has failed in a mighty way when it comes to this epidemic and now is the time to make a change.

Pastors need to be educated. Staff needs to learn to recognize the characteristics of an abusive spouse. Especially a narcissistic or psychologically abusive spouse.

Initiative needs to be taken to make women aware that churches are a safe haven for their families.

Enveloped by grace

courage3For all those who have dealt with abuse and are dealing with the heartache of shared custody, this is for you.  Because here’s the thing…the system is broken and children are suffering.  Truly.  The road of dealing with custody issues is painful for all but specifically, the children.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve spent time researching our court system and the way it handles domestic violence and child custody.  Additionally, time was spent studying psychology and the negative effects of “joint custody” on children.  The frustration that comes from the realization that we rely on a system that is lacking the proper resources to actually protect kids while looking out for their best interest leaves a strong desire for change.

Furthermore, the recent research findings on the idea of joint custody addressed the negative effects on children which affirms what many a parent already believed.  The research…

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Our Advocate

There are many names we can list when we think of the name of Jesus, but have you ever considered that He was an advocate of women?  One who respected and cherished women and their place in this world. Be encouraged ❤

Visit Enveloped by grace for more insight.