"Get your book bag and get in the truck," I said to my son for the second time.
"Ok," he said.
I went to ensure the lights were off and house set. Upon returning to the kitchen, I find my son talking to his brother and sister about a Flat Stanley book. No book bag on his back. Ugh!
I got down on his eye level, put my hand on the book about a flat boy and said firmly with eye contact, "Get your book bag and get in the truck."
"Yes, sir," he replied with a touch of frustration.
My frustration was building and wondering if there was going to be a true life "Flat Stanley" in our home! I turned to get my gear for the day and walking to the door to leave, I find my beautiful, wonderful, amazing (not yet flat) son playing with an eraser!
No book bag on his back...
Adoption bring challenges that are unique. There is much to work through for both the children and the parents. There is much conflict and counseling is a must for families that adopt. We have found that the best kind of counseling for our family is, well, family counseling. One-on-one has been very ineffective with our twins.
Our counselor was creative, and most importantly, shared a very similar worldview and faith to our own. She was great with the kids and us. I am having to write "was" because due to a situation in her life, our counselor had to change jobs and could no longer see us. But, she left us with some great directions...
Christmas has become the big holiday among Christians. Reflective of the culture at large, we build up to it with advent wreaths, special "hanging of the greens" services, cantatas, etc. Unfortunately, Easter in many evangelical churches is ignored until Palm Sunday and sometimes until Easter Sunday arrives.
Easter is the "Superbowl" of the Christian calendar yet we treat it as footnote. So, here are a few ideas of ways to make Easter a bigger deal in your home. As I say at the end, there are many ways to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. The biggest problem among evangelical Christians is that we are not celebrating at all. We are missing the party! Here are some ideas...
Our children are little angels... fallen angels! All kidding aside it is interesting that we don't have to teach our children how to lie. They figure that out on their own. Disobedience comes pretty natural too.
One recent pattern in one of our sons has been to respond to our commands or assignments with, "But Dad..." It's not just an occasional response, but has grown to be the typical response. It's a form of disobedience.
This pattern has taught me a thing or two about my own disobedience in light of the coming celebration of Resurrection Day.
The lies. The manipulation. The cheating. The defiance that says, "I don't care what the consequences are, I'm gonna do it anyway!"
It is easy to become very fearful as a parent when you see these attitudes and choices in your child. It floods your mind with future criminal trials, drugs, teen pregnancy, violence, etc. As a former law enforcement officer, it probably stirs fears deeper for me than it may for others. These attitudes and choices were present in every criminal I ever arrested. Even in counseling others, these same attitudes and choices lie behind much of the struggles people face. Fear is an easy emotion as a parent.
I have a dream for my kids. I hope they grow up to be cheaters. Or maybe they can achieve new heights in manipulation and selfishness. Or maybe they will truly fulfill my dream and have explosive anger or life-controlling addictions! Obviously, these are NOT the dreams I have for my kids, nor is it the dream of any sane parent. Yet, why do so many of us live as if these are the dreams we have for ourselves?
I am preparing to lead a group at church through Chip Ingram's R12 material. Chip begins by connecting the idea that parents have dreams for their kids. Likewise, our Father in heaven has a dream for us. God's dream is not that we be cheaters, adulterers, gossips, manipulative, and self-focused. His dream is completely different...
Grief is a thief. It comes when you least expect it. It takes you off guard. Why did it slink in today? Why during car line at the school when I'm about to pick up the kids? There was no thought or memory that triggered it. It wasn't a song on the radio or something I saw. Suddenly, I was grieving over Macayla. I miss her so much.
Why then? God had a reason today. One of our twins was struggling. I could tell there was a lot of anger just waiting to boil over. I decided to press and see what was driving it. In the process, we had a God-sighting...
I have spoken with several couples or hear of couples whose marriages are falling apart. It is common in our culture and even more so among families with special-needs children. They separate or get divorced and often point to the stresses of the special-needs as the source of their failing marriage.
I disagree. We cannot blame special-needs, finances, or "falling out of love" with our spouse for divorce. Here is why I say this...
Raising children is about transformation. Children transform physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We can list these areas out separately as a way to talk about them, but they all are intertwined. The child as a whole person transforms.
"Regular" kids, special-needs kids, and adopted kids all go through this and along the way it transforms the parents as well. Having a special-needs daughter made us prioritize life differently than we would have otherwise. We believe this impacted Jacob, our "regular" kid, for the positive. Likewise, our adopted twins highlight the same need to prioritize life but in different ways. God is using this to shape our family as well.
I was in a coffee shop and met a woman who I will call Kate. She is an addict and alcoholic. She has lived in abusive relationships. She has also made a lot of bad choices that fuel her problems. She claimed to be a Christian. I was able to share with her that if Christ truly lived in her, God will not let her be tempted beyond what she can bear, BUT with the temptation, in His faithfulness, He provides an escape. The moment the temptation becomes apparent, so does the escape. He does not leave us alone to fight these things (1 Cor. 10:13). This was hard for her to trust. She was about to go smoke a cigarette she claimed she didn't want to smoke because she wanted to quit. I promised her that if Christ was her Lord, there was an escape waiting for her.
Let me qualify that what is written below is written for believers in Christ. Those who label themselves as Christ-followers. It really makes no sense to nonbelievers.