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Category Archives: Parenting Young Children

(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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Meeting in the Middle

When children are born, marital conflict often escalates. Every marriage has conflict but when responsibility is added, such as a new baby, conflict often increases. In the excitement of a new baby we can forget that this stage of life is quite a transition. Apart from talking about the baby, we must continue to take care of our marriage and have open communication regarding role changes, the division of tasks, and financial concerns.

There are a few keys we need to remember when conflicts arise. Remember that tolerance, willingness to try new things, and not always winning or being right is highly important in resolving issues. Try to be considerate of the other and meet in the middle.  Be willing to be wrong even if you believe that you are right. Accept or give that touch of affection even when you don’t want to. Allow the other equal time to speak.

Conflict is inevitable. Though, how the conflict is handled is generally more impacting than the actual resolution. Be willing to take the time to handle it properly. Remember, the fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). When we let the Spirit grow these fruits in our lives, we can utilize them to diffuse conflict and keep communication open.

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New friendships are great! It is so much fun to find people we connect with almost instantly! A real friendship, however, is tested when there is a disagreement or an occurrence that results in one of us getting hurt. That moment is when we have to decide if we are going to hold onto offence or practice forgiveness.

Forgiveness is realizing that the relationship is more important than whatever the disagreement point was. We would need to lean into the relationship even if we don’t want to and determine to let go of any hurt we may be feeling. It is not always easy to let go of an offense, but with the Holy Spirit working in us every day, we get there.

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One of the best things in life is a great chat. We connect with people we love, share our days, our hopes and our dreams and enjoy life together. This gift of connection is from God and is cultivated from childhood. Parents who talk with their kids set them up for success. It can be easy in these times to reduce a chat to a quick text message or phone call, but as parents, we can go a step further! We can develop a healthy habit of communication in our family by simply talking. We can talk to our children about God, about life, school, friends, whatever we want. These simple and easy chats can build a strong foundation of not only communication skills but also of love and trust so that, when life gets tricky, our kids will feel comfortable coming to talk to us.

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