Little Will: A Brave Mindset

My grandson, Will, fell down and hurt his head again. He has a knot the size of a lemon on the back of his head.  A large lemon. I went over to Will’s home to see how he was doing.  Each time Will falls and hurts his head, I grow anxious. I know the concern about concussions and Will has had his share.  At age 5 this little guy’s head has endured more bumps and bruises than I dare count. This time, while playing basketball with his dad, his feet flew out from under him as he raced backwards to catch a ball and he whacked his head on the pavement. Hard. The decision was made to watch him and not panic.  His parents had been through this before. But around 11 PM, they were on their way to the ER.  Will was in serious pain.  Throwing up.  His eyes were not tracking. Will does nothing halfway.  He is one of those kids who has no fear. But I saw the fear in his dad’s eyes as he carried Will out to the car. I heard the fear in his mom’s voice as she called to say they were hurriedly doing a cat scan to rule out bleeding, a life-threatening emergency. I lay awake in bed fighting fear in my own heart. The updates were frightening.  They suspected bleeding or a fracture. It turned out to be swelling of the occipital lobe due to a concussion.  (A fracture has not entirely been ruled out yet however.  It’s too hard to tell with the swelling.) Will is not cautious. He...

A Personal Letter (Continued)

Dear Readers, Thank you for your encouraging responses to last week’s post.  It helped to open up about the struggles related to caring for my mom.  Your uplifting words not only lighted my spirit, but also helped to alter my perspective. The cry of my heart is to see things from God’s perspective – to have the eyes of my heart enlightened, so that I may daily know His hope and the immeasurable greatness of His power.  (Ephesians 1:18) God reminded me of another season in my life when a different set of circumstances felt difficult to bear… and how He graciously intervened to alter my perspective.  Back in 2005, I had been hired to be the administrator of a brand new, uniquely-styled school – Veritas Academy.  Doors opened that fall to a larger-than-expected first year enrollment of over 130 students. I was excited to see what could be accomplished, although I only planned to stay on for the two years I had committed to. Not a day more. Little did I know then that God had far deeper – and longer –  plans that eventually would include the rest of my family in some form or fashion. God also used (and is still using) my tenure at Veritas to grow and purge me of perspectives that had gotten in the way of my relationship with Him – namely being too much of a people-pleaser and a propensity to manage things in my own wisdom and strength. I will never forget that first year back in 2005-06: The exceedingly long hours. The daily problems that required immediate attention. Striving to meet the expectations of...

Teaching Kids the Fear of the Lord—Wisely.

It didn’t go as I had envisioned. Haddie was in tears. Kate clearly did not understand. I had botched what I had intended to teach them about God’s transcendent nature and the “fear of the Lord.” As many of you know, as part of a University-Model School, I teach my grandkids their school lessons at home one day each week. This year I decided to begin each Tuesday with lessons on the attributes of God. For the most part, it has been delightful. We’ve discussed how God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It’s been fun to break down the words into their Latin roots. We have pondered His sovereignty and His immutable nature. We’ve had great discussions, which I believe have reached their hearts. Last week, by teaching about God’s transcendent nature, I wanted them to view God through a lens of awe and respect. I told them how Moses responded when he saw God in the burning bush and how Daniel responded when he saw God in a vision. I explained to them how both had grown profoundly afraid when they encountered God and then, out of deep reverence, they chose to obey Him. As a follow up, I asked them to respond in their journals to this question: “How does a healthy fear of the Lord make you want to obey?” Joey was close. “If you have a fear of God you will really want to trust Him and believe in Him.” Haddie sat there, with tears in her eyes and fearfully cried out, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”  She was clearly stressed...

What Kids Really Need to Comprehend About Easter

NOTE:  (Glen and I are working on a new book that we are super excited about. As a result we need to build our Facebook audience — so we would really appreciate it if you liked our familywings facebook page. Thanks!) When I ponder “how I am living for God,” I tend to grow anxious and uncertain. I then wonder in which ways I fail Him. How do I need to change? In which ways should I be doing more? But it’s the wrong question to consider. And it’s not the message of  the cross of Christ. The right question to keep constantly before me is “am I living from God?” (Thank you, Quinton Dodson, for this insight!) Immediately my spirit begins to settle and I find myself at rest.  I grow thankful for the living-giving death that Jesus went through on my behalf and realize that all things are possible through Him. Kids growing up in Christian homes can easily miss the deeper message of Easter. They know the facts about the story but do they get the life-giving-life-changing truth that Jesus died in order to give us life and to give us life abundantly? Like Jesus, they must learn to sincerely pray, “not as I will but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) They too must die to self so that the life of Christ will take over. And they must also learn to die to self-reliance, the most common blindspot I see in Christian homes and schools. Out of a sincere desire to help our kids grow responsible, we easily fall prey to teaching them lessons that promote self-reliance...

What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

We make them and break them. Apparently only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them. No wonder we laugh about the idea. Have you made any this year or are you choosing not to because you are still working on the ones you made in 2015? This year I am making ones that I am actually excited to keep. Not ones about weight loss or budgeting or getting into shape. For one, I want to go back to my fall plan and actually post mini blogs. Mini. Not Maxi. NO more long winded expositions that I tend to fall prey to posting. Instead, I want to produce bite size, digestible encouragement each week – stuff that is easy to read but still thought provoking and inspiring. So starting next week, I am committing to actually keeping my mini-blogs mini sized. I promise. What about you? What are your 2016 resolutions?   Here’s one I would love to prescribe for all of the sweet mamas that I am privileged to walk with and talk with:  “Leave the broken, irreversible past in the Lord’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” Oswald Chambers. You have different personalities and uniquely-wired children. Your challenges are different as are your circumstances. Yet you all share one thing in common. You are more apt to hold onto guilt and beat yourselves up rather than receive God’s grace for yourselves. You remember your mistakes all too well and too readily shrug off your triumphs. You allow your not-so-glorious moments to reduce your joy and gratitude as well as overshadow the victorious...

Mini Blog #9: Thankful for Redemption

Practically speaking, there is much to fear in this uncertain world. I find it difficult to turn on the news around my young grandkids wondering if they are mature enough to handle the breaking news of each day. I wonder what the world will be like for them as adults. As I pondered last week’s blog, “Helping Kids Find Their Identity in Christ,” I felt grateful for who we can become in Christ and that God has sent redemption to HIs people and will command His covenant with us forever. (Psalm 111:9) We are redeemed. His love sets us free. The world may be broken and falling into despair, but we need not grow anxious because our hope is in Him. A recent study indicated that today’s adolescents consider their highest value to be that of fame. Yes, fame! They want to matter, to make a difference, to be noticed, to be known.  If their idea of fame is framed by the broken world they live in however, it will never satisfy the deepest longing in their souls. Only a secure identity in Christ will meet their deepest needs, as well as their desire to be known and to matter. Such an identity will not falter when facing evil, nor stumble when tempted,  nor fear in times of uncertainty, nor give up when things don’t go as planned. But this is a difficult concept to grasp…. ….to let go of trying to seek worldly satisfaction to instead find their purpose in Christ.  That’s deep stuff. When the world comes at them constantly, we must be ever more vigilant to teach...