Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Submitting, not negotiating

Yesterday I read a very convicting parenting quote. The author is talking about how God has given us, as parents, the responsibility of representing Him to our children—first as "a God of unlimited love" but "also the possessor of majestic authority." He goes on to say,

To show our little ones love without authority is as serious a distortion of God's nature as to reveal an iron-fisted authority without love.

From this perspective, then, a child who has only "negotiated" with his parents and teachers during times of conflict has probably not learned to submit to the authority of the Almighty. ... To repeat, a child learns to yield to the authority of God by first learning to submit to (rather than bargain with) the leadership of his parents. [The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson, p 56]

It just made me stop and think, When I give my son a directive, am I allowing him to negotiate for his terms rather than requiring him to simply obey what I've asked him to do? Kind of serious stuff when you think of the ramifications of getting into a habit of not submitting to one's authorities (especially to the Lord). But one thing it has done is empower me to lovingly enforce my directives, and it is [surprisingly?] improving his attitude about obeying me! God is good!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God's unending love

God showed me something cool about Himself during my QT this morning. Maybe you'll go, "Uh, yeah... I already get that..." but for me it was profound.

I'm reading the One Year Bible, and the book of Deuteronomy begins today. Already, in just the first chapter, the Israelites have rebelled against God's commands at least twice, they've murmured and complained, and they haven't trusted God to lead them. While there are consequences for their sinful actions and attitudes, something else occurred to me...

God never stops loving them.

I've always had trouble with Zephaniah 3:17, which says, "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." I have a hard time applying it to myself because I figure, 1) it wasn't written for me, but for the Israelites, and 2) I don't deserve that kind of treatment from God. But just look at those rebellious, complaining Israelites! Over and over again, they sin against God—but they are His people and He loves them, delights in them, rejoices over them! And there are many, many other examples in the Bible of God's grace and love toward His people, in spite of their unfaithfulness to Him. (Hosea 11 is another one that pops into my head.)

So what God showed me was this: whether or not Zephaniah 3:17 was written to me, it reveals the truth about God's character and how He responds toward those He loves! In spite of our many failings, His love for us is great—huge—unending! He doesn't give up on us! AND—get this—in Galatians 3:29 it says, "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you." So, us "Gentiles" are part of God's family (not just the Jews/Israelites) and His promises are for us too!

So, all of that to say, it's starting to sink in that God loves me in spite of my many failings as a mom, wife, and Christ-follower! (I mean, I know it in my head, but it's starting to permeate my heart more and more...)

I'm so thankful for God's Word!

I just made homemade granola!!

I just made homemade granola -- and it's delicious! Want the recipe? It's simple to make. My 4-year-old son even helped me. Here's how it's made...

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
*Even if you don't like coconut, still use it -- after baking, you can't even tell it's in there.
1/4 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried fruit (such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, or currants)

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. On a large, rimmed cookie sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds with the maple syrup, oil, and salt.
3. Bake, tossing once half-way through, until golden and crisp, 25-30 minutes.
4. Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.
5. Store granola in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks.

Found in the April 2010 issue of Real Simple. Recipe by Sara Quessenberry.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kid questions = character growth

I share this light-heartedly... worthy of a grin, at least! Here is a sampling of questions from my 4-year-old son, which I am certain God uses to bring about much character growth in me (as I vigilantly subdue my flesh's desire to groan, roll my eyes, grit my teeth, or snap "Because I said so!")... can anyone relate? :)

Me: "Honey, please go potty before you go outside."
Son: "Because why?"

Me: "Please be careful with your hammer so you don't hit the car with it."
Son: "Because what might happen?"

Me: "Sweetheart, please share with your brother."
Son: [whining] "But why?"

Ahhhhh... all in a day's work. But oh, how I do love my boys! :)

Right where I'm supposed to be

Ever had that certain peaceful feeling that you're right where you're supposed to be? It isn't necessarily at a time when everything is going "perfect"—I'm talking about when you have an "ah-hah" moment where God is giving you peace about your situation.

That's where I'm at this afternoon. Mincing a few cloves of garlic for my homemade spaghetti sauce (and enjoying my domestic role!) and thinking about our decision to home-educate this fall...I am so excited! If you had told me, 20 years ago, that I'd be in this place right now, I might have laughed and thought it a bit silly. But I'm so peaceful and joyful right now!! Thank you, God, for molding and shaping me and not just leaving me as I was!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You know you're a Minnesotan when... (part II)

...on a 40-degree day in March you see many teens walking around outside with no jackets, or even short-sleeved shirts. Oy! Er, I mean, Uff-dah!