Archives For March 2011

Image courtesy of Dominic Morel

By Beth Groh

Poor dad. He just had that look…like he would rather be anywhere else but standing at the doorway of a gym filled with tweens.

He came early that night to pick up his middle-school-aged daughter from a community dance at our church. A rather impossible task from where he stood.

Call out her name? Good luck, considering he could feel as well as hear the music.

Look for her? Slim chance, since the only light was coming from exit door signs and disco-ball lights.

So he stood there, awkwardly, on the off chance his daughter looked his way. I tried to help, offering to write his daughter’s name on a slip of paper to give to the DJ for an announcement on the loudspeaker.

He looked horrified at the thought.

“Are you kidding?” he asked. “I came to pick her up, not embarrass her to death.”

Poor man…he failed to consider that, at his daughter’s age, he could just as easily embarrass her by breathing.

“I gave up on that a long time ago,” I told him. As the battle-weary mother of three, I am now largely immune from the sting of being considered an embarrassment. That was especially useful on that particular night when, serving as a chaperone, I was sporting several strands of obnoxious Mardi Gras beads and an over-sized feather mask. “My poor 6th grader son is here. And he, with all his friends, can see me dressed like this!”

I don’t think that helped. He now looked nearly as mortified to stand by me as he was watching in vain for his daughter.

Trying to help him pass the time—and discomfort—of standing there, I offered some of my brochures. I came to the dance armed with some Christian outreach booklets, many of which challenge evolution in light of God’s Word about creation. (Yes, we entertain youth--but we also try to share a biblical worldview.)

“Why don’t you consider coming to hear our speaker from Answers in Genesis next month?” I asked, as I explained how a PhD scientist will be presenting science in a biblical context.

I handed him the flyer…but he stepped back and shook his head.
“Well, that might be interesting, but I don’t think that will go over so well at home with her mother,” he said, as his daughter stepped forward and a look of relief washed over his face. “We’ll pass.”  And off they went.

Dad missed an opportunity. A chance to let his own beliefs get challenged. A chance to discuss issues of eternal consequences. A chance to expose his daughter to a different viewpoint about God, science and the world around her.

All for fear of conflict and, perhaps, a twinge of embarrassment.  As parents, we want to avoid conflict when possible. We want to shield our children from discomfort around their friends.

But we must be careful not to do so at the expense of our true calling as parents. It’s not about parenting for today, but parenting for eternity.

We must actively seek—and not shy away from—opportunities to instill a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of our children.

We must be as bold as the Apostle Paul as he proclaimed in the first chapter of Romans (verse 16): “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”

Have I missed those same opportunities as that dad in the gym? You bet. The sad truth is that, like him, I probably didn’t even know it.

So let us, as Christian parents, (1) pray for the discernment to recognize and seize those chances to share a biblical worldview with our children and (2) pray for Paul’s boldness to profess our faith without shame…even if that means wearing gaudy feather masks around our tweens!

Image courtesy of Michał Koralewski

By Lisa Cherry

I usually think of blessings (good things) coming as a reward for something good I do. But sometimes blessings come from the Lord for what I do NOT do.

Psalm 1:1 says: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

Not walking "in the counsel of the wicked" means not listening to or heeding the advice and ways of the unrighteous, lost and worldly all around me. It might mean not taking help from a TV talk show or women’s magazine.

Not "standing in the way of sinners" means not imitating the fleshly actions of those not yielded to the Holy Spirit. It might mean not following my friend’s way of talking about her husband or her mother-in-law.

The "not walking" and "not standing" parts of this verse seem clear. But what does "not sitting in the seat of mockers" mean?

At first glance, we might be tempted to think as believers that we would never be mockers. But the seat of the mocker (or scoffer, as some translations say) tempts me more than I realize.

“Yes, I know God can change people, but I don’t think he’ll ever change.”

“I know God’s word says to turn the other cheek, but that just doesn’t work in my family.”

“Yes, I know God can do miracles, but most of the stuff you hear about is probably fake.”

Cynicism. Doubt. Bitterness. Mocking. And before we know it, we can miss the blessing God has planned for us, and lead our children down the wrong road too.

Lord, right now I agree with Your word in Psalm 1 and I choose to use care in how I walk, stand, and sit. Help me, God, with these three “nots,” that my family and I may experience Your blessings.

Image courtesy of Wendy Pastorius

By Lisa Cherry

Performance enhancing drugs?  I now understand first hand the controversy surrounding these.

I posted earlier today about my losing my voice.  So Thursday morning my larynx still felt like a goose egg and I sounded like a bullfrog. Drastic action was needed.  The thought of a ten day road trip/spring break/speaking tour with eleven people in a 15 passenger van being directed by a mute mama was more than I could stomach. 

I was ready for the big guns.  I picked up the phone and made an appointment for a consultation with our family physician. 

"Oh, I can guarantee to get your voice back and protect your vocal cords at the same time," he responded.  "And that lethargy you’re complaining about, we’ll whip that at the same time.  Steroids will shrink those vocal cords in no time...and you will begin to feel great....with lots of energy to spare!"

Sounded good to me after ten days of fighting this bug.

After two of my four doses for the first day, I was a new woman!  Talking and laughing and running around packing like there was no problem at all.  I was thrilled!

At bedtime, I took my last dose for the day.

What was that doctor thinking?  At 1:50 a.m. this morning my energy was still surging and I couldn’t imagine sleeping.  We were scheduled to leave at 6:30 a.m. for Tulsa.   I was the mouse running furiously in her exercise wheel—a mouse on steroids.

So what does a Mama do when she’s been behind on housework all week and sleep evades her?  She gets things done! 

I prepped for breakfast, packed the coolers, straightened the refrigerator, and now I am blogging.  When I get done with this, I might hit the elliptical.  I could barely move all week, but now I think I could do three miles!

I had warned the doctor that since I rarely take much medicine, I was likely to experience some heavy side effects of the nervous system.

He looked at my chart and agreed.  "I was going to add Sudafed to your regimen.  But maybe we’d better hold on that one.  You might be too pepped up!"

Good call, doc.

By the way, my typing speed has increased by about 50%.  I wonder if I have time to clean out and reorganize the garage. Tennis, anyone?  Ha! Ha!

Whatever am I going to do at 5:30 am?  I’d better pack a pillow because this Mama is going to need some sleep......eventually!

By Lisa Cherry

Do you remember the old song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"? (You might have to go to your grandparents’ collection of LPs and look for that one.) Well, this mama has a new version to that song. "I Left My Voice in Greensboro, North Carolina"!

I was there at last weekend’s Acquire the Fire event, and I knew I was in trouble Friday night when I felt a funny little swollen place in my larynx. I had flown across the country to teach at the parents’ session on Saturday. I tried everything I could think of—hot tea, lozenges, and lemon—to hold onto my voice. We turned my microphone up and I hoped for the best. I made it all the way to the end of the session and then—poof—my voice was gone!

When I got home, my older kids had already told my youngest, four-year-old Josiah, that I had lost my voice. He was so concerned. "Where would I find it?" he questioned me.

I was determined to do what all the online sources suggested to maximize my healing.  Absolute rest of the vocal cords was prescribed.  Total silence. The situation was urgent.  In only five days I would be leaving with all the kids for a ten-day/two weekend event road trip. 

The question on everyone’s lips (except mine, of course) was how will their extremely verbal Mom manage? No voice during the trip by van would be rough, but no voice at the speaking events? Impossible!

Ever try to lead a large family with only a notepad and marker?? Comical and downright frustrating! Out of desperation, I developed a special system for Josiah. He was to run to me whenever he heard me clap. He dutifully obeyed, and when he got there I had to get another kid to read my note of instruction to him.

When I have been away for a weekend, I often find a little bit of "play” sneaks into our systems. So Monday is my "jerk the slack out of the household” day. This Monday I did some interesting jerking with my notepad!

They say adversity can increase our gratefulness. A good case of laryngitis will work for that! What a great opportunity this has been for me to put Psalm 46:10 into practice: “Be still, and know that I am God…” I was encouraged by Isaiah 30:15 which says “in quietness and trust is your strength…” And I said to the Lord in faith, “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you…” (Jonah 2:9)

Now you may have heard Revelation 8:1 jokingly referred to as proof that there will be no women in heaven. I now have incontrovertible evidence that this is not true: I’ve been silent for much longer than half an hour.

I awoke one morning with a little squeak back. So I took my little squeak and directed my team, supplemented with whiteboards and markers, interpreters and phone answerers.

My closing prayer......Hurry Lord, it's an emergency! This mama is desperate and my young ones are laughing! I could be about to lose my high reputation as a mom! “Hear my voice when I call (or rasp, whisper, or squeak) O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.” Psalm 27:7

Now read part 2!

No More Sideline Parenting

admin —  March 24, 2011

E. Tyler Rowan

By E. Tyler Rowan

A note from Lisa Cherry: I’m delighted to introduce my friend Tyler Rowan from Canada who is guest posting for us today. Wife, mother, blogger and conference speaker are a few of her roles. She has a good word for us, Frontline Moms, and I know you will identify with what she has to say.

I am a busy mom of five, an aspiring author and speaker, and an active volunteer in my community. (When I say that, I like to imagine a small chorus of angels applauding. Just kidding!) But you see, being busy sometimes gets me thinking “I’m too busy.”

Imagine me sitting at my computer, working on an article…

“Mom, will you sit and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos with me?”
I’ll be there in a minute. (Which often translates into ten minutes.)

“Mom, can you get me a drink?”
Just a minute, Sweetheart! (Which usually results in a reminder much, much later.)

“Mom! So-and-so isn’t letting me have a turn!”
You guys need to work it out; I’m busy! (Which typically results in an all-out sibling war.)

“Mooooooom!!!!” accompanied by sobbing and tears.
Why can’t you guys just get along?! Come on already! I’m trying to work here! (At this point, my words are delivered in a nasty tone and a loud, booming voice. Mommy is angry!)

When I buy into the hype that I’m too busy, I turn into a sideline parent. My work takes the frontline. My kids begin to feel like sideline kids whose needs and wants are an interruption to their sideline Mommy’s “real work.”

It’s a trap that many of us fall into, unfortunately. Busy is a lie from the enemy, and when we believe it he has us just where he wants us - on the sidelines. Because when we’re on the sidelines, he’s got easy access to our kids.

Proverbs 31:28 tells us that, in the life of the Godly wife and mother, Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Her children and husband do not arise and call her…busy.

So, how can we pull ourselves up off of the sidelines and be the frontline parents our kids need us to be? The frontline parents God has called us to be?

Change our Thinking

Since our actions are a reflection of our attitudes, becoming frontline parents starts in the mind. I need to continually remind myself of what my priorities are:

* My job is to be the best God-honoring wife and mother that I can be.
All other jobs (even the most good and Godly ones) are secondary to my #1 priority.
* My writing, my housework, my women’s ministry duties…these are all interruptions to my real work.
* My children are not the interruption. They are the priority.

Change our Actions

We’ve all heard it said that we ought to “act the way we’re supposed to feel.” If we behave in a joyful manner, for example, we will eventually begin to feel joyful. So even if my heart and attitude have not fully made the transition to frontline thinking, I must choose to take the actions that a frontline parent would.

When my children ask for a few minutes of my time and attention, I will set aside whatever it is I’m doing (be it laundry, dinner, or writing) and sit down with them. I will refuse my natural instinct to say, “Just a minute.”

When I’m tempted to holler rather than discipline, I will instead make the choice to stand up, go to the source of the problem, and deliver firm and immediate consequences for wrong behaviour.

I’m tired of being a sideline parent! I’m tired of treating my kids as though they’re sideline kids! We’re in a battle for our families, and the victory is won on the frontlines!

Who’s with me? Are you ready to get up off the sidelines and step into the battle? Will you join me in becoming a true frontline parent?!

Tyler loves blogging, and writes openly about her struggles with anger in parenting, as well as a variety of other real-life topics for Christian women. She truly enjoys her roles at home and in the community, with the exception of her role as “housekeeper.” She spends every day flat-out conquered by the laundry pile! Check her out at Titus 2:3-5 (her blog), on Facebook, or on Twitter!