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Category Archives: Parenting Young Children

I am not sure if I know of anyone who wakes up and decides they want to be a single parent, I know I did not.  At a very young age I became one but I was determined to not allow my son to feel as though he was inadequate because only one of his parents made the choice to be a parent.  I aimed to be the perfect parent but quickly learned they do not exist.

Every day throughout the day I prayed God would protect my child and be the father that was not present and provide love as though it was from both mom and dad.  Even when I was not sure how God felt about me, I knew how God felt about my son.  I made sure every Sunday was devoted to being in church.

Very early on in single parenting I learned very quickly that it is not all about me.  I did not make time to have a “pity party” because I felt I had to fight any labels society would throw at me or my child. When I became tired of fighting I looked into those brown eyes and gained my second wind to keep pushing through.  I was determined to do my best in making sure to give my son the best childhood I could possibly give.

The verse we stood on together was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  It did not matter if it was for a test, entering a new grade level, or trying out for band, this is what we believed together.   Together through the Lord, our unique parent and child relationship became a family.

As you are parenting, remember we all go through seasons and yes, you are equipped.  Dream for your children, but do not forget to dream for yourself.  It is never too late to dust off your dormant dreams or start with a new one. Trust me, seeing your children cheering you on at the finish line is one of the most rewarding feelings.

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Developing Talent

My sons were near opposites growing up. Barnabas could sit in front of a computer for hours while Jacob could not sit still for more than five minutes. Dean and I often found tension between monitoring Barn’s time on the computer and finding new ways to keep Jake quiet (we even began paying him!). What we saw as annoyances in the moment became our sons’ causes for success; Barn is a web designer and Jake is a pastor.

Their talents in those areas came early, but we did not recognize them. This made me wonder: how are we, as parents, developing and helping to enhance our children’s talents if these talents are hard to spot? Our children may have talents that we never had and thus could be easily misunderstood when they emerge. We can help develop these talents by embracing our children’s differences and celebrating them. This will develop a positive foundation should these differences develop into talents that fuel life-long passions.

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As parents, we can sometimes find ourselves worrying over whether or not we have invested in our children. Days can pass with us running about for work, errands, events, or even time spent with one child over the other. We want to care for our families, but so many other things begin to take over. At the end of the day, we are left wondering and sometimes worrying!

Philippians 4:6 instructs us not to worry but to pray and let God know what we need. Dean and I took this to heart in the early years of our boys’ lives. Each night from the time the boys were two till the final days of their elementary life, we would pray with the boys at bed time. It was our personal, one-on-one with our boys—a time they would not let us miss!

These small moments before bedtime were where we would pray (sometimes a basic prayer thanking God for the day) and talk about the day. These talks developed into conversations about the struggles the boys may be facing and/or the good things that were happening. This time benefited both them and us; the boys were developing a practical relationship with God and strengthening their relationship with us and Dean and I knew that we had invested in our boys and thus would have one less worry that night.

Bedtime was the best time for us, but there may be another time that benefits other parents. When we find what works for us, we can develop those special times in the lives of our children.

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(Expert from Ps Jill’s upcoming parenting book)

God did not design us to wander the earth alone. This truth runs through all aspects of our lives. We long for relationships and perhaps a family. A family, like an individual, is not meant to do life alone, either. Both individuals and families can find the strength to do life by being connected to a local church!

Christ established the church after his ascension. The church is meant to be a gathering place for all people seeking God. It is where we receive teaching about God, strengthening in our relationship with Him and others, and revelation of His plans for us. We come together as a body of believers to worship, pray, serve, and help each other. It is also a place where we can bring others who may not know Christ. Knowing all of this, the local church should be a pivotal point in our lives. Sadly, so many families jump from church to church without allowing themselves to be planted.

Another way we can think of this is the fact that a tree lives longer than a potted plant. Trees are planted in the ground; they grow deep roots that anchor them through storms and bad weather. A potted plant is moved about from condition to condition, is dependent on the water it is given, and tends to have shallow roots confined within a pot. If we move from church to church, we become like a potted plant. We may have moments of health, but our roots do not grow deep and we only receive water from time to time. When we allow ourselves to become part of one church, we become like trees (Psalm 1:3). We grow strong roots that help us face the storms in life, and we find nutrients in the rich soils of God’s people.

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“God Said”

While I was dating Dean, there were moments where I felt that God had told me that he was the man I was going to marry; however, even after having such thoughts, our early years of marriage were difficult. When God tells us something, we sometimes expect that area of our life to become easy, but that is not the case.  God literally spoke a wife into existence for Adam, but still, his relationship with Eve was difficult.

As the years have passed, I’ve realized that there is wisdom in hesitating before using the words “God said” regarding various situations in life. I’ve realized that that statement tends to shut down other valuable voices of insight regarding my life. I have also found that sometimes what I think is God’s voice is just wishful thinking or even desperation to get something I want.

Yes – God does speak to us. Sometimes He speaks in an audible voice; sometimes He speaks through others; and sometimes He wants us to trust Him when He does not speak at all. We must remember that God never abandons us and is always communicating with us; we just have to figure out through which avenue He is speaking. The strength to trust in what He has said to us—through His Word, the words of others, and sometimes His own voice—is often of more benefit then shutting everyone out with the phrase “God said”.

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