Archives For family

 Lisa and parents IMG_2746

On any given week I live in multiple worlds:

My nine year old's world of NERF guns

My 14 year old's world of go-carts

My 18 year old's world of college decisions

My grandkids' world of Fisher Price little people....

And my parents' world of assisted living!

Honestly, I would not trade any of those worlds. It is an honor to grow with the people you love through the seasons of life.

But here is my question today:

How many of you are also juggling multiple worlds?


How many of you are providing elder care to a loved one?


Click here to take my 2 minute poll.







Janet Pisors’ family does not exchange Christmas gifts....and my family does. So is one of us right and the other wrong in the way we are leading our families?

Every family that is putting Jesus and His Kingdom first place in their lives is to be celebrated and respected. Every sacrificial expression of giving for the sake of our Lord and King is to be honored. Avoiding, at all costs, the traps of materialism, hedonism, selfishness and greed is critical in our Christian walk. That is why I was deeply moved by Janet's article, even if I was not ready to imitate her exact suggestion.

My heartfelt desire is to support the Pisors family's decision. They obviously have given the issue sincere consideration and prayer. My goal is to lift up another side to this issue that is worthy of consideration. And, in the end, we may conclude that Janet and I are both right!

For perhaps the issue of whether to exchange Christmas gifts among family and friends is one of those discretionary areas where we give our brothers and sisters in Christ room to hear God's vision for their own lives. (Romans 14:5-6

In our very busy household, the planning and strategizing for our annual family gift exchange has been in high gear for several weeks. And, quite frankly, I am glad. For this is the time of the year when every one of my children is intensely focused on giving a special gift to each of their siblings and family members.

A few years ago, I considered urging my large family to start "drawing names" to cut down on the work and hassle—until I overheard one of my children talking to another, saying, "I hope no one tries to make us draw names for our gift exchange. That would be horrible! Giving my brothers and sisters their gifts is much better than getting gifts myself. And besides, I want it to be more...personal."

With ten children, two of whom are married and have children themselves, can you see why I would have made the suggestion? Just do the math and consider the mess.

But here are the top 11 reasons why I refrained from making my gift-limiting suggestion and embraced our tradition of family gift giving:

  1. It encourages generosity: I have been touched to watch my children work extra in order to give to one another.
  1. It builds relationships: Investing in others opens doors for kindness, mercy, and grace to flow in personal relationships. Our goal is to help our kids form lifelong friendships that transcend the seasons of life.
  1. It creates memories: In our family, we remember the big pile of gift treasures. We have our favorite memories that draw our hearts together with the re-telling. Like the year of the flu, when we moved all the recliners and couches in a circle to make sure no one was left out of the party.
  1. It shows appropriate value to family relationships: Companies give bonuses and friends exchange why would I not give gifts to those who are truly my cherished relationships?
  1. It builds joy: A wise Christian counselor once explained to me what he had discovered was the highest predictor of family value transmission. He called it the "joy factor." The more joy and laughter in the home, the more children wanted to imitate their parents' values.
  1. It shows love to those who are natural gift givers: Gift giving is one of the five love languages. (Click Here to view The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.)  Some may find gift giving annoying or expendable...simply because it is not their personal style. People tend to express and receive love the same way. So, for some, gift-giving events are extremely important!  
  1. It creates social maturity: Every person needs the experience of receiving the ugly sweater they would never wear. Learning manners and social skills creates mature leaders.
  1. It honors God: God by very nature is a giver. When we step into giving we reflect His nature.
  1. It prioritizes values: We ooh and ahh over every gift given in our family, whether it was a Dollar Tree special or a handmade trinket or an off-season clearance item. We value the love behind the gift and honor the expression of that love no matter how it comes. And (most importantly) we only have our own Christmas celebration AFTER we have spent much of the month of December working on our church's annual Christmas Operation 350, an outreach of food and gifts to 350 families in our community. Doug and I are honored to watch Op 350 Hannah 2 IMG_2002our kids mature in their personal relationships with the Lord. And we believe it when they say each year as we finish distributing the last of our 350 boxes, "That was the best part of the Christmas! Now let's get ready for ours."
  1. It connects the generations: We still have the privilege of helping our grandparents host their annual gift exchange events. It does not matter to us that we now do "all the work." We love the opportunity to connect our hearts to theirs and serve them with the opportunity to still be the fun place to come.
  1. It builds our team: A family that plays together - as well as prays together - works together.

So what do you think? Is there value in the gift exchange tradition that is important to families?



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I really need to help my children think more about themselves and their own needs…

…said no parent. Not even one!

Selfishness seems hardwired into the flesh at birth. From the moment of our first breath, we struggle to get someone to recognize-and-meet-our-needs.

Sharing, generosity and selflessness are character traits that must be developed. As parents, we need our children to come to Christ if we are to see true progress in conquering the self-absorption. He alone can give them a true heart of love.

But we, as parents, can co-labor with the Lord to help prepare our children for lives of effective service for Him both in their future families and in their future lives of work and ministry.

Cultivating selflessness takes focus. Especially in a world obsessed with selfies and personal autonomy. :)

I wrote this list today as much for myself as for you! What else have you found that has helped stamp out the selfishness in your home? Comment below, or message me on Facebook with your thoughts!

1. Set the example
Folks, we reproduce after our own kind. If our kids see our own self-centered needs dominating the home....well, what do we expect?  (Ouch!)

2. Cut the electronics & encourage group encounters
Does anyone else remember the concept of a family room? You know, that place where we all sat together to rest, refresh and recreate?? Surely our own personal electronics have wrecked this concept and turned us even more inward. What about pulling everyone out of their own worlds and back to some face to face interactions?

3. Praise selfless acts of service
It is so easy to criticize and correct. But words of affirmation and praise are far more effective in adjusting human perspectives and behaviors. Acknowledging someone’s loving kindness in front of others scores the biggest effectiveness of all. "Matthew, I was so blown away by your helpfulness when Josiah lost his shoes. Thanks for getting us out of a jam, son!"

4. Get involved in volunteer service
Nothing pulls us out of ourselves quicker than seeing the bigger needs of others. Perspectives are adjusted at a soup kitchen and on the mission field. But even less dramatic places can help cultivate the attitudes we all need. Lawn care and stuffing envelopes without pay may actually pay more than money can buy.

5. Create a culture of giving
At our home we celebrate birthdays and special events by encouraging gift giving . Now with a family as large as ours, the gifts may not be lavish or extravagant. But that is not the point. A candy bar gift from a teen who chose to skip his own friend's event and come to his sibling's birthday or graduation or post sports victory party says "you are more important than me."

6. Take care of the aged as well as children

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 1 Timothy 5:4

In our modern era where the elderly are often abandoned or ignored, we missing are a central key to our own personal development. Serving the needs of the aged as well as the cute, cuddly children is just what the Lord prescribes!

7. Provide role models
Somehow the pictures and headlines of the rich and famous on the front of People are not exuding an attitude of selflessness to our kids (or us!) We must get creative to aim our family for something different than a Dancing with the Stars version of "success." How about focusing on some true heroes like Corrie Ten Boom, Hudson Taylor, Florence Nightingale, and William Wilberforce? Our families need books and movies that cast our sight to God's version of success.

8. Travel in the same car
This might not apply to all of us. But for some of us with multiple vehicles please note how independent and self-seeking we all get when we set our own personal arrival and departure schedules on our o-w-n w-h-i-m-s and desires. (Hey, why should I help my brother find his shoe if I can just head out without the fuss!)

9. Family meals
This one is obvious. Are we all making our own personal pan pizzas or sitting around the table passing the dishes and then cleaning up afterward together with a smile?

10.  Chores
We do a lot of chores at our house. (We have to or we could not survive!) But even if mom and/or dad can do it all, it does not mean they should. Living in a family means serving each other. Even if you are not the one who tracked in the mud.

11. Point out the selfishness
When I need to, I pull one of my kids aside and point out repetitive problems of self-centered yuck. I try to be sensitive to my timing to this. Obviously, certain stages of development are more prone to self-absorption. However, it does no one any favor to leave them stuck on themselves and locked into their own personal world of torture. Because actually, selfishness is rather miserable.

12. Family prayer time
"God, we lift up each one of our family members to You today. We pray Your richest blessing on their lives. Help us to serve one another in love today. Help us to be patient with each others' weaknesses and kind when things don't go our way. We love You, Lord, and choose to die to ourselves, take up our cross and follow you today. Amen."

I believe number 12 is our best hope. How about you!?

Image: Lynn Friedman “Teens Together Staring At Their Cell Phones” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic



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Overload. As a mom with over 30 years of training, I know the problem well.

But after the last couple months I think I know it even better!

Surely you know what I mean by a mom overload.

Picture a cute little mule with a pretty pink hat loaded down with so many heavy bundles that her back is bowed and her knees are buckling.

Usually well equipped to tote her load, she is now straining to keep moving.

Maybe you never thought of a mule as cute. Or maybe you don't like my comparison of a mom to a mule.

But nevertheless, that is what I sometimes picture myself as! …A work horse for my family who needs to be equipped to carry loads selflessly, tirelessly and steadfastly no matter what my family's hiking terrain may be.

Since the end of February I have weathered some crazy days:

Unexpectedly moving my parents out of a 2600 square foot house to a 700 square foot apartment

Preparing their house for sale

Supporting my mom through an extremely painful illness and emergency surgery

Helping Nathan and Tara welcome their 4th child Andrew

Taking my mom back to the hospital for a second stay due to surgery complications

Dealing with a mystery appendicitis threat with my 12 year old, and

Weathering some nasty viruses in the house....

All during my most demanding season of speaking engagements of the year and my usual challenges of homeschooling, dishes and laundry.

Sometimes the demands of life can seem overwhelming.

And now that I am sandwiched in between 4 generations of people who need me, I am very glad the Lord has been working to increase my capacity to stand up under the unpredictable

Today, I want to encourage you with 7 things I realized I needed to appropriate in my life in order to keep smiling and trucking on through my tough season. (Which I am very happy to report seems to be easing up in its intensity!)

1. Trust God's timing over yours
When I got the call saying my parents' name had unexpectedly come up on a senior apartment waiting list, I was shocked. They had told me last year it could take a l-o-n-g time for a 2 bedroom that would meet their needs. It seemed like the worst possible timing to rush a moving decision and pack them up all during my busiest season of travel ever.

But God knew what He was doing! From His perfect vision He knew of the crisis in my mother's health that would put her and my dad in need of more support and services. Sometimes we can only understand His timing when we look back. But I guarantee His timing and plans are always better than mine.

2. Re-prioritize your many demands
Perhaps some of my subscribers have noticed a lag on my blog posting lately. It was necessary during this last season for me to do some re-prioritizing and let some things go. Frontline Moms was one of those things....and that is okay.

We cannot do it "all" in all seasons. Pray and trust God to help you lay the non-essential aside. And then walk away from those items on your list with a heart of peace that He will make up what you cannot do.

3. Let others step up...even when they do not do it as well
I was so grateful to my children and husband who stepped in to "cover" some of my jobs while I spent days at the hospital and at my parents' home packing. Looking back I can see how God built us into a team to survive the storm.

Some days I was tempted to feel guilty when I just could not cover all my bases. The children had to have a dad solution to their problems even when the mom solution might have been what they wanted. :) But that was ok! We all pulled together and love prevailed.

4. Give your body some room to tribulate
Fatigue and stress are tough on our bodies. I had to give myself some room when my nutrition slipped off track, my exercise routine went out the window, and my wrinkles were looking a little more pronounced. I learned to say to myself, "Lisa, you are going to get back on track again. Just do the best you can for right now and don't add guilt and condemnation on top of the burdens you are already carrying!"

5. Expect your weaknesses to rise up...again!
It doesn’t always seem fair that stress can cause our own personal performance to go down...just when we really need it to go up! I used to be afraid of my own weaknesses surfacing for others to see. But now I think of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: I boast of my weakness...for where I am weak, He is strong.

6. Know the season will end
As surely as spring follows winter, smooth seasons in our personal lives follow the hard. When we set our hearts on the Lord we can weather the difficult seasons with peace and strength. (See Psalm 29:11)

7. Feel the emotions...but cast them on God
Women are designed by God to feel emotions deeply. I think that is one beautiful thing about being a woman! But sometimes my emotions are just too much for me to bear (and definitely too much for others to understand.) Stuffing my emotions is not healthy.

But sharing my emotions with the Lord is healthy. Grief, anger, fear, sadness, pain, remorse, guilt...He can handle them and He wants to carry us through the storm. Learn to cry out to Him. Learn to let the tears flow as you cast the weights on Him. (See Psalm 55:22)

Image: Rowan “party Hat” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic


Gratefully linked to Mom’s Library


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My kids brought me this article explaining how George Perdikis, one of the founders of the Newsboys Christian Band, recently announced that he is now an atheist. How tragic. And how confusing.

How can it be that the same year we watched the Newsboys on the movie release God's Not Dead we also hear of their original band member's departure from the faith? Is that not ironic?

Atheism does appear to be on the rise.

But I am not one who thinks the trend must continue! As a parent I am committed to learn what I can about the reasons someone leaves their faith....and then do everything in my power to counter these hindering forces before they attack my family and friends!

Here are 9 top reasons I have noted. Can you think of others?

1. They never were really a Christian: Lack of authentic faith in the heart even when appearances are being kept up to fake a Christian identity will eventually show up on the outside.

2. Losing their "First Love": Jesus warned of being tricked into forsaking your first love in Revelation 2:4. All through the Old Testament we read of those who started with God and then fell in love with something else that led them away from Him.

3. Cares, worries, and riches: The seed (which is the Word of God) was choked to death in the parable of the sower by cares, worries, and riches. Matthew 13:1-22. When the Word is snuffed out in a person's heart, faith leaves.

4. Shallow Bible knowledge: Eve was talked out of her obedient faith in God by the snake who simply questioned her belief. "Did God really say?" is being asked in our modern world by an unbelieving and perverse generation. If we do not know how to answer the tough questions of our day using biblical reasoning, we can easily be talked out of faith. (I’ve written about this in our book Not Open).

5. Persecution: Matthew 13: 21 says concerning the seed that fell on the rocky soil, "But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." We are on the increasing edge of real persecution in this country, so people falling away according to this scripture could be a predicted result.

6. Bitter roots: When bad things happen to good people, everyone wants to know "why." And if we suffer painful loss the enemy of our souls will tempt us to do what Job’s wife told him to do: Curse God and die. (Job 2:9)

Hebrews 12:15 says it this way: See to it that… no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

7. Heretical doctrines: False doctrines are sometimes called false gospels in the Bible. Today we see many false teachings circulating that open the door for an abandonment of true Biblical orthodox Christian faith.

8. Sin: Sin has the power to blind us. If we are not willing to repent quickly of our sin, we are tempted to rewrite what we believe to escape sin's inevitable consequences.

9. Broken family images: When the image of Daddy is painful in this life, some walk away from the One who can heal their broken souls!

 So ....what are you doing in your home to counter these enemies of your Christian faith?


Image: MTSOfan “diverge” via Flickr Creative Commons
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Related External Link: 4 Truths to Combat Atheism's Lie