household harmony....

healthy family relationships

My parents divorced when I was five so the majority of my childhood was lived in a single parent home. My baby brother grew up with my dad, who lived several hours away, and I grew up with my mom. I was blessed with amazing grandparents but it was still a very unstable and lonely childhood. The testimony of my life is Romans 8:28; God truly does work all things together for His good for those who love Him. The amazing thing about God is that He has the power and the love to use the pain and heartache of our life for His good. It was never God's plan for me to grow up the way that I did and no one in this world will ever understand the hidden struggles and pain that I endured. We all have our own story, our own pain. However, I am thankful for my painful past because God used it to bring far greater good to my life than I could have ever imagined. I would never have moved to the town where my husband was from, met or married Tim. We wouldn't have our three precious children nor would we have the ministry to which God has called us. I would not have had the immeasurable blessing of growing up daily witnessing my great-grandmothers love for Jesus. My precious sister, my dearest friend, would not be in my life. The grace of God is far greater than the pain of this life. Never have I blamed God for the hurt others have caused me. He has been the faithful constant. Not only did He use the pain of my past to bring about abundant good for my life, but He also used my childhood to teach me the truth of His Word. His way is perfect and when I became a wife, I was determined not to go down the same path as my parents. I knew without a single doubt that my husband was God's greatest gift to me. I had such a determination to do things God's way because I knew first hand that any other way but His would lead to heartache. Being the wife and mother that God has called me to be is the priority of my life and it is only because of my childhood that I have the resolve to stand on the truth God's Word. No matter what your story might be, there is nothing more important than striving for healthy relationships with your family. Who we are as women will determine the health of our family relationships. Simply stated, if we aren't wholly healthy, neither will our family be. We determine the mood of our home, we create the method for communication, we carry the ability to either tear down or build up our family. Women, we have such a high calling and the grace of our Mighty Father is more than enough to help us live out that calling. I pray that these discussions and tips bring Christ-centered "household harmony" to your family.
  • Relationship Realities
  • Parenting with Purpose
  • Memory Makers 

MEMORY MAKERS: Harvesting Happy Holidays-Thanksgiving Traditions
I actually came up with something before and without Pinterest! There are so many times that I think, "How did I not think of that all ready?" when pinning. The other day, I was looking at our family's favorite Thanksgiving tradition and thought, "Wait! I thought of this-4 years ago! I had an idea without Pinterest...." Yes, the happy dance proceeded then I gained control of myself. Anyway, it's nothing earth shattering, but when I say that my family loves this tradition, I mean they love it! We began this tradition in 2009; it's simply a Thanksgiving Tablecloth. I am a tradition junkie, just ask my family. Traditions are what bring delight and memories to childhood. They bond our hearts as a family. For our Thanksgiving Tradition, we had been simply making a Thankful List, but as it is typical with me, I knew I could come up with something a little better. I suppose I could have made a binder to keep up with our annual list. That just didn't seem as fun, though. I honestly cannot remember the moment this idea popped into my brain, but I knew it would work perfectly for what I was wanting to accomplish: something that would be multi-functional as decoration, displaying my kids' handwriting and hearts as they grow, would constantly have the reminder of "Thanks" throughout the month, and finally would create a not so ordinary, yet simple tradition for us to enjoy together. The Thanksgiving Tablecloth has worked wonderfully and this weekend we will add 2012 to our Tablecloth. In the words of Veggie Tales, "A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart" and our hearts are truly, deeply happy as we sit and recall God's bountiful blessings. I hope this sparks an idea for a simple tradition that your family can enjoy during this holiday that is often passed by.

Here's a picture of our tablecloth (please overlook my pitiful writing-my sister took all of that skill and left me with none!)

I bought a cheap solid cream tablecloth for around $10 at Walmart (in 2009) and I already had paint pens in my craft supplies.

First, I (meagerly) added our family name and a verse to the center of the tablecloth. Each year we begin by reading the previous years' lists (I think this is our favorite part!). Then we go to work! Each year, we pick a spot, I write the year then we begin writing our lists under the year, using paint pens. It is very simple, but we share so much joy hearing each others list of Thanks.

Intentionally teaching our children to live out their faith is a passion of my heart. Far too often, parents communicate to their children that being a Christian is a category of their life, not the center of their life. If we want children who will grow to be Christ-centered adults, adults who live with whole-hearted dedication to Him, we must begin to teach them now. We aren't parents so that we can have control over our kids, we are blessed with children to train and teach them to love and honor God. How we parent along with the example of our own life is key. I am far from having things figured out as a parent. For a time, I was stuck in a generational pattern and unhealthy developed habit of yelling at my kids. Only by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit has this become a rare occurrence. There are so many things that I've done wrong as a parent and many times that I've had to ask God for His grace to cover my failures as a mom. What I've learned over my brief time as a mom is that going to church doesn't pass on our faith or create Godly children. Tim and I saw so many parenting styles and the results of those parenting styles during our almost 8 years in student ministry. I literally began a journal of parenting do's and don't do's that I did not want to forget as we raised our children. As God began to work in my own heart as a mother and teach me from His word about being a mother, this idea of parenting with purpose began to flood my heart. The way I communicate with my kids teaches them their worth and value; it teaches them how to treat others. The way I discipline my kids teaches them character or breaks their spirit. The way I interact with my kids develops their perception of God and themselves. What an overwhelming job. One of my counseling classes for children taught about parenting styles. Thankfully, this was a Christian education thus from a Biblical perspective. One of the most beneficial truths I learned was the concept of coach style parenting. It moves our mindset from just getting my kids to do what I say to teaching them as I discipline. It is parenting with purpose. It is learning to think, as a parent, 'what does my child need to learn in this situation?' Just yesterday (which is probably why I felt led to do this post), we had one of these "disciplinary teaching moments." We've all been gone for two weeks and the kids were just wiped out. The result was not blissful joy of being back together! Our day began with an unreasonable amount of whining, arguing and pouting. Major bad attitudes had invaded our home and I knew they needed more than just a consequence, they needed some teaching. After handing out consequences to fit the crime (for example, in our house if you whine over a chore, you loose a privilege), we gathered in our office for a brief, relaxed discussion of what God's word says about attitudes. We came up with a game plan of how to apply what we found and thankfully they received what we discussed. The day didn't go perfectly from there, but they displayed a greater effort to get along, to watch how they were treating one another and the attitude towards me stopped. Principles of honesty, integrity, work ethic, kindness, generosity, dependability, commitment are all developed by the way we parent. One of the things that I see most prevalent in our current culture of parenting is this mindset that life revolves around the child. As a Christian, life revolves around Christ. Kids will not just automatically grow into adult Christians who live by this truth. It is something that we must begin teaching our kids because it goes against that very nature of our sinful selves. This is one of those topics that has so many aspects that it will require a series. We must look at discipline, communication and interaction to see how these areas of parenting help or hinder the Christ-like development of our children. Let me leave you today with a few of the BEST parenting books I've ever read (they are all, of course, Christian authors):

  • Boundaries with Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
  • Loving Your Child Too Much (Staying Close to Your Kids without Overprotecting, Overindulging or Overcontrolling) by Dr. Tim Clinton & Dr. Gary Sibcy
  • Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin

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