Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Exodus 16:1-8

Scripture is filled with stories galore
To help us be people of faith.
Testimonies of those gone before
The ways God has kept His sheep safe.

But stories are told by those holding the pens
And it’s not hard to see what that means
When given the story of what happens
We should wonder about behind the scenes

One of the greatest examples of this
We find as Gods people wandered
They hungered and thirsted for water and bread
And in hardening hearts they pondered:

“Would it have been better to die as a slave?
At least we knew we could eat!
Our value was only in making the bricks,
But at least they gave us some meat!”

They shook fists at God, angered and mad
Afraid on this path they would die
In scripture we’re told to have faith like a child
And here we discover just why

While all of the people were shaking their fists
Saying “with God in charge we’ll be dead!”
There was a girl praying, so hungry inside,
Saying, “God, what if you made it rain bread?”

Numbers 21:4-9

How could they not trust, it’s easy to ask
We are quick to point and to blame
But if we allow ourselves to be humbly honest,
Remove our comfort, and we do the same.

It almost seems cruel, the Lords’ response
To the honest cries of His sheep
To send deadly serpents to hear their complaints
The price they paid seems too steep

But we see His heart, the heart of a Father
Accused of not loving His child
It’s easy to see how their accusations
His righteous anger had riled

He loves His children, provides for their needs
And knows that to trust Him means living
It’s not just about opening our hands
To receive all the gifts that He’s giving.

To look toward God in accusing distrust
Means living already in death
Denying the One in whose image we’re made
The one who within us gave breath.

It wasn’t that God sent serpents to kill
And that is the end of the story
The serpents revealed they were dying already
And to live meant returning to give Glory.

Genesis 12:1-4a

I bought some eggs from the store
SO THAT we could bake a cake
We filled the piñata with candy
SO THAT at the party, it’d break

I put some soap in the water
SO THAT the garments would clean
We purchased some clothes for our children
SO THAT they wouldn’t be obscene

She wore a swimming suit to the poolside
SO THAT she could jump in the pool
He was given a glass of ice water
SO THAT in the heat, he’d stay cool.

We wash our hands in warm water
SO THAT we get rid of the germs
When we buy a car, we read the fine print
SO THAT we’re aware of the terms

We hold the hands of our loved ones
SO THAT they know we are near
We wrap our arms around children
SO THAT they know Love over fear

Abram received the Lords’ blessing
And through it sometimes so are we
But tragically we receive it
And are often content just to BE.

Next time you notice a blessing
(Slow down, you’ll see where it’s at.)
Be sure to look back to the source of it all
And ask what may be His “SO THAT”.

Exodus 34:1-9, 27-28

It sounds like so much danger
An ominous invitation
To come into His presence
After testing Gods’ own patience

A threat? Or just a promise?
Onto our children’s kin
That parents aren’t the only ones
Impacted by their sin

We will all inherit
Choices made by those before
And from us to our grandchildren
A path we cannot ignore

Moses understood
The patient Love of God
And in the midst of all the heavy words
He includes an encouraging nod

The truth that we inherit something
God has committed onto stone
So Moses helped us remember
Who sits upon the throne.

He who proclaims such heavy words
About what children will receive
Calls us His own children,
If we will only believe…

Isaiah 58:1-12

I told them I’d love a pair of shoes.

She brought me buttered toast.

She said “I even spread it thick,

Because I love you most.”

I asked them for an umbrella

To protect me when it drips.

They gave me a new LEGO set

With little pirate ships.

I asked to see them work together

To show love can abound

They pushed and shoved each other back

To show the love they’d found.

We see the silliness herein

And smile at silly words.

We think of how such children would

Be really quite absurd.

Yet God has asked to “end injustice,

Give the hungry food to eat.”

And every year we smile and say

“We hear you – we give up sweets!”

May we be truly humbled 

By the way we miss the mark

But not into inaction –

May humility be the spark…

a moment.

thinking fast – i open another window

not to the fresh air, but a fresh page – words yet unwritten

kids chasing the kitten down the hall, himself chasing a ball

and through it all i have this moment

coffee cooling, cider still, donuts and the chill

of the crisp autumn air enters through the windows already opened

the early moments of a new day, unshaped clay

before even the kids say “what will be?”

we have yet to see, not anxiously awaiting

but allowing this moment to stretch

etching words of His on mind and heart

the best way to start each day

with a moment.

With All Your Mind…

Long ago, I discovered the spiritual connections and benefits of staying connected to neurological research.  Many of the same things have continued to provide helpful connections in personal devotionyouth ministry, and as we’ve grown in areas of parenting, and especially parenting a child who had experienced trauma before arriving in our home.   It doesn’t make us experts, and these are not magic, but they certainly help give us a better understanding as we seek to be faithful with all God has given us.

So it is no surprise that I loved discovering the “Healthy Mind Platter” developed by David Rock & Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.  It was discussed in Sissy Goff’s newest book “Raising Worry-Free Girls“.  It makes sense, especially as we increase our understanding of how connected our neurological health is to every other aspect of our body & being.  Many of us were raised knowing we needed to pay attention to a healthy diet: a specific amount of grains, meats, fruits/veggies, dairy, etc.  But with a better understanding of our brains, comes an understanding of “diet” we are feeding our minds as well.  The creators don’t suggest a specific amount of time for each category, but the understanding is that each individual may have particular needs for their own health.   Each category comes with its own benefits, and our brains (& neuro-chemistry) respond accordingly in ways that help bring long-term health conditions that impact our entire being.  They’ve broken the categories into (in no particular order):

  • Physical Time (exercise):  Aerobic activity helps increase the oxygen levels in the blood, which contributes to brain health in important ways.  “Exercise releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters produced in the brain that reduce pain.  Exercise also increases the serotonin…which is often known as the “happy Chemical” (Goff, 2019)
  • Time In (introspection/silent prayer/mindfulness): Reflect on what has happened, what is happening. This is time without screens on, where there is space to be aware. Time here could also be spent reading and/or writing.
  • Focused Time (learning/purposeful): This is time to grow or nurture a skill or study a subject.   This helps build focus and makes or strengthens new connections in the brain.
  • Connecting Time (in-person/ eye-to-eye contact): Especially in a “virtually connected” world, this can be important for social development, as well as neurological health.  At every age, our “mirror neurons” help contribute to our understanding of others, our ability to be compassionate, and even our self-understanding through the eyes of others.
  • Sleep Time: Healthy and consistent sleep patterns are more valuable than our production/profit-driven world often gives credit for.  This gives our hippocampus time to process memories into long-term storage, restore and organize thoughts/feelings, and reminds us spiritually that we’ve been “set free” from the brick-making patterns of Egypt.
  • Down Time: When’s the last time you let your mind wander in a healthy way?   To gaze into the falling leaves, watch water flow downstream, enjoy watching the kids play nearby, or simply lay back on the couch breathing slow?  When your mind (or the kids) say “I’m bored” – let it be cause for celebration, in our overstimulated world.  It allows time for recharging the brain’s batteries, inspires creativity, and allows contemplation.
  • Play Time: Not practicing an athletic ability, but truly “playing”.  Here we have the opportunity to exist with lowered stress levels, build problem-solving, and remember to exist child-like.  Go mini-golfing, play Chutes & Ladders, bust out the old Atari, forget who wins, and enjoy the game itself.

You can follow the links or read the books to dive deeper into any of this, but I wanted to share it simply here.  We are called by Jesus to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27)  I hope and pray that growing in these areas will help me to be faithful with what God has given me, help me to improve as a father, as a pastor, and as a friend.  May these things be a blessing to you as well…

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