Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Speak Without Accusing

Everyone has a subject that they are passionate about.

Dig down deep...do you know what that one thing is in your life that you just so happen know a lot about? 

It's been my observation in life that the older a person is, the more subject matters they have an opinion about. If you think about it, a person that is older than you has had more experiences in life. Fortunately or unfortunately, as people get older they seem to be more and more willing to share their opinions with others, whether they are asked for or not. 

What would happen if you met someone who knew more than you about a subject you were interested in. What if you met an expert? What if YOU were the expert?

My suggestion to look at ourselves is by no accident. How we respond to others is so important. 

When teaching our children to ride their bikes without training wheels, I remember being very frustrated. I can ride a bike very well, but this was a skill our kids had not grasped yet. Instead of yelling at them for not trying hard enough and belittling them, my husband and I chose to encourage them, run beside them, and hold onto them until they were comfortable to take off and ride on their own. 

Our words are so important. They can either breathe life into someone or scorn them in defeat. 

I love the messages in the book of James. While praying about this subject, I enjoyed reading James 1:19 in different translations of the bible. This is the translation I enjoyed the most from The Message:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: 
Lead with your ears, 
follow up with your tongue, 
and let anger straggle along in the rear. James 1:19 

Do you think it is an accident that James found it necessary to tell his friends to "Post this message at all the intersections"?  He wanted the word to get out. James wanted the principal he was conveying to reach all people, in every corner of the land. 

Today I challenge you to consider how you interact with others. Do you listen to people and let them talk before you offer a response? When is the last time you really heard someone talk about a subject they were passionate about? 

Personally, I've been on the accused side of the conversation way too often. It's not pleasant. At. All. Some people choose to live in suspicion of everyone around them, afraid that someone will be superior to them. Some people feel so threatened by others knowing more or doing more than they do. 

My prayer is for clarity. May the Lord show each of us how He can best use us for His glory. May our hearts and minds be OPEN to think about the ways we interact with other people. Is there anything we've said to anyone that maybe we should be asking for forgiveness?

Thank you Lord for teaching us how to love and be a light that shines brightly for you. May our words be seasoned with life giving nourishment to all those we come in contact with. 





Monday, October 6, 2014

Listen Without Interrupting

How many times in life do we jump to conclusions before hearing the complete details?

I am guilty of doing this so many times. One of the biggest peeves my husband has with me is that I don't give him room to fully explain his thoughts before I jump in and interrupt him with my response. Most of the time my response is not appreciated and cut off with a "let me finish!"

While I pray for patience and strength to change this pattern, I've been contemplating returning to my blog and writing about life lessons I am learning.

My one desire in life is to love well. What does that mean?

In the presence of our God and Father, 
we never forget that your faith is active, 
your love is working hard, 
and your confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ is enduring.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Well, the Lord has asked each of us (whom He has called) to love without ceasing. Not just in word and deed alone, but from the heart in a genuine way. This is not easy. Especially days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or am offended by a flippant comment made by someone I barely know.

One of the ways to show love is to listen to others without interrupting. I know many people who live lives full of quick quips and fast comebacks to family members and strangers alike. Some people think they know it all and feel they don't need a person to finish a thought before they interject an opinion or statement. Being cut off in a conversation is almost never pleasant, especially if you are the one being cut off.

How do you feel when you are cut off or interrupted? Are you guilty of cutting people off mid sentence?

As a mom, I'd like to think that because I have already lived out my youthful years, that I can wisely interpret my children's situations and advise them on the many issues that arise in their lives.

WRONG.

Letting a child express themselves -uninterrupted- is the best way to help them get in touch with the real issue at hand, and by listening, show them how much you love them and want to help them. My experience is that I always hear the real heart of the matter when I just listen.

The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of wisdom. In chapter 18 it says:

Answering before listening  is both stupid and rude. (v13)

Proverbs 18 also says that our response after listening is equally important:

Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (v21)

Learning to listen well to everyone you come in contact with is a great personal habit for each and everyone one of us to improve upon. Not only will you show Christ's love, but you will show people that you really care about them.





Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our First Homeschool Graduate

Our oldest child has officially graduated from high school after being home schooled, Praise the Lord! It seems like yesterday that we were teaching him how to read, write, ride a bike and swim! Now, because of God's amazing grace, he has successfully prepared for the next chapter of his life.



If there is anything my husband and I have learned from parenting, it is that once you think you have figured out your children, they go ahead and change! We have learned that parenting is a delicate balance of loving and adjusting to the needs and changes of each child that the Lord has designed to happen naturally over time. I wish someone had told me that when we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our first child, because we honestly didn't figure out this "change" concept until we had two children.

People often ask me why we decided to home school our children. My answer to them is rather shocking and not at all what they expected to hear. We didn't choose to home school our children; God chose us to home school. We are so very thankful that He chose us!!

Our children actually attended christian schools for many years. When we moved to New England we discovered that christian education looked much different in the northeast than where we had lived previously. We firmly believe that the christian school should be an extension of our home. This means they will teach, care for and nurture their spiritual and physical growth just as it is being done at home. While many institutions say their mission statement concurs with this belief, it is difficult for them to put it into action daily. 

After many unfathomable incidences in the christian school that we chose, and after many sleepless nights in tears and in prayer, it was clear that the Lord was directing our steps to remove our children from the school and teach them at home. He chose us to be the sole educators of our children, and in obedience to the One who designed and created them, we brought them home. 

What a blessing it has been to have our children at home! I had no idea where to start with curriculum, but dove in head first to the wonderful world of homeschooling. If you are considering homeschooling, the options are endless and fantastic! It is truly a joy to be able to choose a curriculum that suits each individual child's learning style and spend time teaching and modeling good study habits with each of them. For years we were chasing a school schedule, when we brought the kids home we were in control of our time and our priorities. Don't get me wrong - there have been times of struggle and frustration in our home. What we have learned is that the Lord can use times of difficulty to teach us things that we might not have learned had life been going comfortably. It is when we move out of our comfort zone that we learn and mature the most.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11