As a Mom to eight children, six adopted and two birthed, I can tell you story after story of countless moments in the past 14 years of Motherhood of how I looked at the circumstances in front of me, the hard experiences of raising and loving children that we adopted at 9, 13, and 15 years old, raising and loving children who had immense needs that seemed impossible to meet and thought, “I must have heard God wrong.”
I have always been a passionate person as far back as I can remember; however, my passions before giving my whole life to Christ were directed to worldly pleasures and full of self-focused desires. The day I gave my whole life to Him, my passions turned towards His Kingdom, towards the ways of my Lord. It’s beautiful what God does. Once we give our life over to Him on this side of heaven, God takes what the devil meant to further his dark, hate-filled agenda and turns it into a powerful tool to further God’s Kingdom, to bring hope to a truly dying world. My passion before salvation was a tool for the enemy. My passion after salvation is a weapon towards the enemy!
One of the greatest pieces of this world are the eight children God has given to my husband and me. These are the gifts that are the most valuable to us. These are the gifts that are most valuable to Him….. His children! The enemy would love nothing more than for Moms and Dads to bow down to depression, to bow down to giving up, to bow down to indifference and spinelessness. The times of “hard” during the parenting years are the exact times to dig your feet deep and let determination rise in you. These are the very times to grab hold of staying power and be determined to endure through the tough and the hard days of parenting.
As I look back and remember the moments of thinking I don’t see how any of this is going to change. I don’t see how my daughter is going stop hating me for adopting her. I don’t see how my son is going to heal from years of abuse in an orphanage. I don’t see how to balance the joys of motherhood with the hurt and frustration I feel during motherhood. As I think about these moments, I see how one decision early on to war in prayer for our children, for our family, has no doubt changed the future of our children; changed the atmosphere in our home.
The bible is filled with His great and precious promises for His children; for us, for our children, we just only need to pick it up and speak it forth. God’s word says in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” For the remainder of the year, I am going to write on the promises God has for our children. I hope you will join me in praying these promises over your children as well!
One of the greatest treasures you can give children is the gift of God’s word being spoken over them! 2 Peter 1:4, “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
So I invite you to come back as I post about praying His great and precious promises from His word over our children!
Be blessed today!
In Christ, Aimee'
We have all been there… the battle of the wills in parenting a child; whether it’s coming face to face with a child who decides to be completely disobedient or encountering a highly demanding or stubborn child. Like most Moms, you too may be at your wits end, stuck in this parenting role with no more solutions to get your child to change their behavior or their bad choices.
I want to be a Mom who parents with a gentle, tender, and calm spirit but I find when my child exhibits the same negative traits such as laziness, stubbornness, manipulation, and dishonesty for the 100th time (and the list could surely go on), I parent out of frustration and complete astonishment that we are revisiting the same behavior I have been correcting this child on for some time. And before I know it, my voice is raised and we both end up with defensive attitudes and the dialogue that happens becomes more about arguing and who will get the last word rather than resolving the situation.
During these moments, I can feel a wall rise up and take a strong position between us resulting with my child and I divided against each other instead of the two of us coming together and communicating with love, grace and mercy. This is not the Mom I want to be so I have to ask myself who really needs to change…. my child or me? The answer to that question is we both need to change but the truth is I, as the parent, need to change first before I expect my child to make changes. Instead of drawing from the principles and practices demonstrated in the bible on how to parent, we immediately unleash our feelings of anger and frustration which results in raising our voices, putting our foot down, demanding our children stop the behavior or else, and silencing their voices from being part of the conversation.
I truly believe our children do not personally seek to insult, disobey and disrespect us just as we don’t personally seek to parent out of anger and frustration. They, just like us, are battling their sinful nature even though they may not realize what is happening. This is why God’s perfect will is for children to have parents. We have the amazing role to love and nurture them and gently take hold of their hands to guide and teach them in the ways they should go so when they are older they will not depart from it. “God’s plan is for us to parent as He, our Father in heaven, parents us.” Without applying biblical truth to our parenting and letting Him guide us, our emotions will always take precedence creating a tug of war between what we want to do rather than what we know we should do.
I am still learning but I do know no amount of lecturing, raised voices, demanding attitudes towards our children or harsh punishments for them will result in long term changes to our children’s behavior if we don’t learn how to do the following three things:
First, model the behavior we want our children to have. Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” I cannot expect my child to exhibit Godly traits if I am not demonstrating the very traits I want my child to have.
Second, reach the heart of our children. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Sometimes I can get so preoccupied with the negative behavior that I miss reaching the heart of my child and the reason for the negative behavior. I must make a connection between the behavior and their heart. I can do this by involving them in the conversation, helping them see the sin in the bad behavior, and see God’s truth in the right behavior.
Last, Pray. I need to pray that God will give me wisdom and continue to guide me in my parenting, teaching me to model Godly traits to my child and softening their hearts to receive biblical instruction and Godly truths. Deuteronomy 6: 1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
Keep going, my parenting friend! It’s never too late to start modeling the behavior you want your children to have, to reach their hearts by connecting biblical truths to behavior and to pray for God’s wisdom to lead and guide you! Don’t get disheartened. I have a feeling you are doing better than you think. You are not alone in this parenting journey! Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Balance. What does it mean to get balance? The definition of balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady, keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
When we get balance we remain upright when a storm approaches, when instability comes our way. We stay in a steady position and we do not fall; but how do we get “balance” in a busy life with the many hats we wear as a wife, as a mother? Can we really and truly get balance?
For the woman who is a single Mom, can she get balance when her children are raised with two parents who have total opposite ways they parent? Can she get balance while in custody battles? Can she get balance when her bills are behind and the next month bills are in the mail?
For the woman married, can she get balance as she tries to meet the needs of her husband, children, and the home responsibilities?
What about the woman who is fostering or has adopted, can she get balance in raising children who need lots of love and discipline to undo what was taught or not taught to them?
Getting balance goes beyond having our meals prepared, our home tidied up, and our routines in place. We can have a meal prepared and ready for our family, home spotless, the laundry caught up, and routines written on the wall but these will provide temporary balance; balance for the moment. Storms still come and sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed with being unbalanced even though our world looks balanced. Right? But God wants you to experience balance when your world shakes, when instability steps in.
When we look at The Parable of the Sower of the Seed in Matthew 13:3-9, Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13: 18-23, “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Jesus mentions four kinds of grounds a seed can get planted in. The Hard path: it’s a worn out path, a packed down hard, tough, firm path. It’s a path with unfenced fields. There are no signs of growth on this path, no plants, no flowers, nothing too pretty on this hard dirt path. If seeds fall they can get eaten by birds.
The Rocky ground: you don’t see much dirt here. There are some plants that can grow on rocks but they don’t live too long. Plants must have roots down in the soil to grow and flourish but the rocks block the roots. If seeds root it’s shallow and quickly get scorched by the sun and die.
The Thorny ground: Now the thorny ground has soil but as the seeds grow into plants along with the thorns the thorns eventually take over and choke the plants. This is true for weeds as well. Because there is soil, the weeds are also able to root in the soil and grow along as the seeds grow into plants but eventually the weeds take over and smother the plants. So this is a place seeds can grow but they grow with stuff that can eventually choke and smother them.
The GOOD ground: this is the fertile ground, the rich, abundant soil. It’s a place a seed can grow, flourish, mature.
In this parable, the good ground/soil represents the condition of our heart and how we receive the word of God which is represented by the seed. For this teaching, we are going to see the seed as our children and the ground/soil as the heart of our homes. The principle is the same. The answer to getting balance in our busy lives lies is the last of the four soils….. GOOD GROUND. We develop and create this beautiful raised garden bed in our home if we want to get real balance in our busy lives. Not the hard dirt path, the one where there are no fences, the one we trample about our home but don’t really pay any attention to what we are doing. We just do life and we do it hard. We go about our day on auto pilot. We know what we have to get done and we do that and move on. The home with the hard dirt path is really not a “home” atmosphere. It’s just a place where we eat, drink, sleep, pass each other up in the hall with not much communication. Not many memories being made. Just people getting through the day.
We will not get balance with rocky or thorny ground in our home. A small amount of soil exists. A small amount of bible knowledge exists. Just enough knowledge of a small portion of what God has said because church is not a priority, God’s word is not a priority, we may go to church but only a few times a year like Easter or Christmas or maybe we heard about Jesus but don’t know He is the Savior of the world, that He died for our sins, rose and conquered death so that sin cannot take dominion over us. We have possibly heard of Jesus but old habits continue, bad behaviors persist, rebellious attitudes direct their steps, anger and frustration lives on the rocky, thorny ground. Bitterness dominates us. Pain follows us wherever we go. You will not get balance with this type of ground in your home.
What do you notice about the picture of the raised garden bed above? It’s beautiful with no hard dirt, rocks, thorns, or weeds. Its plants have room to grow and flower. It has a frame around it; it has boundaries.
If GOOD ground is how to get balance in our busy life, then how do we create good ground in our home?
First, we have to PREPARE. We have to prepare our hearts by going before the Lord in prayer. We can bow our knee to Him and say “Search me, O God, and know my heart; know my ways; test my thoughts. Show me where I am not creating good ground. Lead me along the path you have for me.” We prepare our home. We need to take the bible off the shelf and not just place it on the table to see it every day, but to open it and read it.
Second, we START BUILDING. We establish boundaries; dividing lines that protect and keep our children and us safe. We cannot do that unless we know God’s boundaries and where He tells us to draw the line. This is where we make the tough parenting decisions to limit tv shows and certain songs, establish limits in relationships with others for our families.
Third, we PLOW. We start digging deep, turning over the dirt with each dig. This has to be done before sowing. This is where we prepare the soil for planting. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that once the frame is up you can now plant the seeds in your raise garden bed. Not yet. Take the time to plow that soil right. Take scriptures and speak it over your home. God’s word goes forth to accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish. It does not return void. How can His word do this if we are not speaking forth His word? How can we speak forth His word if we are not opening up the bible to see what His word says? Part of getting that rich soil is mixing in God’s word. And for most of us, as we plow we will uproot some old thorns and weeds, old mindsets and behaviors, and maybe uncover some rocks, some hard stubborn attitudes . Just go ahead and pull them up and get rid of them. They have no place in your raised garden bed.
Fourth, we PLANT those seeds. But some of you might be saying, “my children are a little older. They are already planted in rocky, thorny ground.” That’s ok you’ll just need to transplant them into the GOOD ground you are creating. You know how transplanted plants are at first? They are taken from where they were and placed in rich fertile soil and at first they droop a little almost like they don’t like this new rich fertile soil but over a little while they start to perk up because their little roots have started to go down into this rich soil. Their little leaves start to stretch out. The top of their little head starts to rise up. They realize the sun and the soil and the water is life to them. This is our God and His word for us! This is where balance is starting to happen, the plant is steady and upright. His/her roots are slowly going deeper so when a storm or instability comes this little plant will not fall because he/she is planted in GOOD ground. It’s where your children have strong roots going deep. It’s where they do not fall when storms come, when instability comes their way.
Fifth, we TEND TO IT. Sometimes we are excited to start a new project. We have lots of energy and enthusiasm. But when the project looks more like work many give up. Can I encourage you not to give up with this part of the process, with the “the tend to it” because your rewards will be great! This IS where relationships are strengthened. This is where we renew our mind with the word continually. We learn to rest and stop spinning all the unnecessary plates in our life. The enemy would love nothing more than for you to have lots of plates to keep spinning instead of tending to what’s the most important: your family. Take time to pause, take moments to observe your raised garden bed. Use these times to also give attention to your husband and children.
Those moments on the couch, those moments before bedtime, these are times to pour into our children making sure no rocks or thorns have come in, and if we see they have we ask God how to remove them and then remove them immediately before they take root in our raised garden bed.
After we have prepared, built, plowed, planted and tended to our raised bed garden, tended to the ground in our home, we then witness true balance when we see our children making the right decisions when the parents are not around. We witness true balance when a storm does come and try to shake us but our family doesn’t fall apart because we are upright and in a steady position. Because we are balanced the way God intended for us to be balanced.
What if the ground in your home is one of the other grounds and not the GOOD GROUND? Be encouraged, it is never too late to change the ground in your home. God is a loving Father. His voice is gentle. He will not yell at you to get you to change or condemn you for starting now. His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, meets you where you are and gently takes your hand and guides you and leads you. With Him, the ground in your home can change. You can experience true balance in your busy life!
In the meantime, g0t a good crockpot recipe? I need a meal for tomorrow ;)
Hello and Welcome!
Wife, Mother, Adoption Advocate, Writer
Who am I? Galatians 2:20 does a great job of summing up who I am. My life is His, the One who loves me and gave Himself for me . In return, I want to be all He wants me to be and do all He wants me to do on this side of Heaven.
Recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award 2016. A program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.