I have the honor Thursday of speaking to a peer group of homeschool parents. As part of the presentation, I’m posting the following fun resources.
Below is a cool Focus on the Family article about your childs spiritual gifts and left brain/right brain dynamics…. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/teens/how_your_teen_is_wired/your_teens_spiritual_gifts.aspx
- The below link is a cool spiritual gifts test for your homeschooled child
We are faced each day with the opportunity to be superheros in our own way. By choosing grace, forgiveness, and love, we choose to rise above!
When someone hurts you, forgiveness is not about them. When a friend makes poor decisions, and you still love them, it’s not about them. When someone talks negatively or tries to bring you down, and you choose to not take it personally, it’s not about them! All of the opportunities you have to make positive out of negative are not about others, it’s all about YOU!
You have the choice to see the best in others, to choose to see them through lenses of love. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all gave grace in the same way we expect it? What if your friends loved you through the poor choices you’ve made, through the growing and changing you’ve experienced, through the rough patches of miscommunication? Whether they’ve done it for you or not, this is not about them, it’s about YOU!
I’d like to encourage you to begin looking past the things people say and do and straight at what God is doing in their lives. Is He trying to grow them in some way? Are they on the path to learning new lessons? Can you stand by them meanwhile and not judge? Can you choose to see people as Jesus sees them? Stay humbled by the reminder that God has never asked you to do more than He’s already done for you.
A couple of weeks ago one of my children was deep in despair over pain a child had caused her through bad choices and harsh words. My daughter was struggling with the knowledge that she should forgive versus the anger of which she couldn’t let go.
I talked to her about all that God has done for us. To illustrate, I stood up and put my hand to the sky, “This is where God is,” I explained. Then I sat down and put my hand at table level, “This is where we are,” I proceeded. Finally, I put a hand just below the table top, “This is where the other child is right now.” She quickly realized that the gap between her and the other child wasn’t that far and that God wasn’t requiring her to give much of herself compared to how much He has to give of himself to commune with us. “He’s perfect,” I explained, “imagine how much he has to accept, forgive, and love us through to have a relationship with us. We are so far from His perfection, but He chooses to forgive and love us regardless.” The light went off, “Oh, wow! I get it! He really isn’t asking me to do very much really,” she said.
The lesson continued, as did God’s mighty work in her young heart. I’m challenged every day to see people as He sees them, feeling charged with the call to love others as He loves us. How arrogant would I be if I thought I were so special that God would favor me over others, or forgive me, but I couldn’t do the same for others? I remind myself that even when I get hurt, I can love others right where they are, just as He does for me!
Our initial reaction may be to cut people off and guard our hearts. But to truly grow, and allow others to do the same, we have to trust our hearts to the Lord. It’s never our place to take revenge, but our call to let God deal with people as He sees fit. It’s His choice to discipline or show grace, forgive or give a second chance. Only He knows the best course of action. Our only job is to love.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” Romans 12:19
I’ve mentioned before, I love the word Restoration! It summarizes all that my life means and has become through Christ! However, it doesn’t just happen once you accept Him as your Savior. You must go through a process…
1)Acknowledge you need an update: just like the restoration or remodeling of a home, you must first recognize that it’s time to work on the project. You have to be able to recognize that updates, repairs, and replacement parts are needed, not just desired, but needed. Recognizing the need, you’ll be more willing to sacrifice what’s necessary to accomplish the goal.
2)Put up with the mess: make sure you’re willing to put up with the mess that’s going to surround you during the process! It’s dirty… old stuff is torn out before the new can come in, are you prepared to live in the filth to get to the finish?
3)Appreciate the results: finally, once it’s all said and done. The work is complete, old is out, new is in… You must appreciate and care for your newly restored home. Whether this be physical or spiritual, a restored home requires care. Wouldn’t it be a shame to install a brand new stainless cook top and then clean it with an abrasive!? Or, dedicate yourself to Christ only to turn around and fill your heart with junk of this world?
The process to restoration isn’t simple, nor is it quick, but it is possible and certainly worth it!
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Satan’s Secret Weapon
Satan has a secret weapon that he uses on just about everyone at some point. This weapon is so effective because it is secret! This weapon keeps people from open fellowship with God and often times alienates it’s victims from friends and family. The weapon is Shame!
According to Wikipedia: The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning to cover; as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame.
Shame is the enemy’s tool, used to isolate, discourage, and falsely accuse. Often times shame stems from actions or decisions we’ve made, or that have been made by other and affected us. Because shame is nontangible and based on something typically held secret, it’s all the more vulnerable to the enemy.
You can cover up your feelings and put on a smile and no one will know. But over time, shame eats at you. It causes you to push others away, to not pray as deeply, and feel alone.
Think back to the Garden of Eden. Once they disobeyed and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, shame was the weapon used against Adam and Eve. Shame caused the two to hide from God and it caused them to hide from each other. Shame was Satan’s secret weapon. He would, from then on, attack us in our private thought life, creating isolation and separation from God and others.
The best plan of protection for us is to realize God’s forgiveness. Truth and fellowship with God is the most powerful antidote for shame. Shame is based on the lie that whatever you’ve done, or has been done to you, is unforgivable. This couldn’t be more false. Jesus paid for all our sins, and those done to us, and provides us forgiveness and a fresh start liberally!
Identify the source, or lie, of your shame and call out the enemy. Give the cause to God and break the stronghold of shame. Once you’ve brought it to light, the enemy can no longer hold you in secret.
The greatest tragedy of today’s Christian is being non-effective and held back. God has placed each of us here on earth for His purpose and glory. If you’re held back by shame, unable to contribute and fully live out your purpose, the kingdom will suffer. You are an important part of the plan of God. Don’t let Satan’s weapon of shame keep you in the dark.
Thinking back on my own journey with God, I see how much I’ve changed. I can look back and remember various lessons I had to learn, how I approached them, the mistakes I made, and the ones I didn’t. I’m certain there were many times that others around me thought, “What’s she doing now? Why is she doing xyz differently this year? Why isn’t she doing xyz like the rest of us?”, etc.
As I look around at friends that are traveling their own road with the Lord, I realize that He convicts each of us differently, at different times, even about different things. One person may have a personal conviction to not watch movies above PG, another may not even watch tv. Still others don’t allow their children to play with guns, eat sugar, or hear of stories with magic. I could go on and on with examples such as what people eat, drink, clothing, words they use, etc. But in the end we have to realize that we are all on our own journey.
I encourage you to show grace and understanding for those that are exercising new or different aspects of their journey. Additionally, lovingly stand-by those that are struggling in their walk with the Lord. It would be so easy to sit back and critique and judge others, but focusing on our own journey is the only way we’ll successfully shine the light of Christ. After all, that IS what we are most concerned with isn’t it? Shining HIS light – HIS ways? I pray that we are not trying to judge others based on OUR ways!?
The best example to those you love and care about is through the life you live. To each her own journey!
Prov 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”