Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

On My Mind #62: Why We Foster Parent and How You Can Pray for Us

Our family has enjoyed a great season since Jocelyn’s adoption.  We believe the time is drawing near for us to open our home again for another potential foster child.

I’d like to offer this post as a challenge and an opportunity to pray. Here are three reasons we foster and three ways you can pray.

WHY WE FOSTER PARENT

1. It’s spiritual.

God calls us to care for the orphaned.  This is a micro level way we can do this.  Some children are temporarily orphaned, some permanently.  It is a local, practical way to live out our Christianity with the resources God has given us.

2. It’s challenging.

Yes, we are looking for challenge.  There is nothing in the Bible that says life is supposed to get easier.  Nothing.  We believe that sharing the love of Jesus is gritty, challenging, and not for our comfort. Foster parenting gives us an opportunity to influence children and their families with the love of Christ. As a result, we do it because we’re able to – it makes sense for our family and it stretches us.  We challenge you to do what your family can do to live for Christ in bold, practical ways.

3. It’s part of a legacy.

We want our children (and those we influence otherwise) to know that we are willing to love others at personal cost to ourselves.  Life could be easier.  There could be more time, energy, entertainment, relaxation, etc. if there were not diapers to change, discipline to dole out, and schedules to juggle.  We want our kids to experience sacrificial love in a real and practical way, and to do the same one day if they’re able.

HOW YOU CAN PRAY

1. Pray for the process.

We don’t know what the process will be, so we will be inviting a season of unknown into our lives.  We may not look to adopt.  We may foster in several situations.  God may surprise us and challenge us. We have no clue and we covet your prayers for the process.

2. Pray for wisdom.

We may need wisdom in the coming weeks to make the right decision. Refer to #1!

3. Pray for orphans.

Pray for orphans, and not just the ones in our care.  Do something, anything, to show lost and abandoned children that you love them.  It’s a sign of God’s love for them and can communicate the reality of the love of Christ.

On My Mind #61: Why is it wrong to do these two things?

I’m going to argue from a weird angle on this, so be sure to read all the way through.

Here are two things that have been in the news recently:

1. A Cleveland Indians blogger wrote that fans crossed the line trashing their team’s closer for blowing a lead (the Indians later won the game).  The profanity they used against him caused him to shut down his Twitter account.

2. You may have heard that in April a news anchor began a newscast with some cuss words and was subsequently fired.  I’ll refrain from posting the video. It’s not the point, anyway.

My question: why is it wrong to do these two things?

Seriously, I’d like to ask some questions.  See if these sound familiar…

  • Couldn’t the news anchor accuse his employer of hating him?
  • Aren’t the fans in Cleveland free to use whatever speech they want to address their closer on a publicly accessible  social media platform?
  • Who is the blogger to tell the fans they crossed the line? Is he intolerant for not recognizing their right to their behavior?

Do you have real answers to those questions? If so, what are they based on? What the questions I’m posing are designed to do is to make you think about your grid for right and wrong.  Everyone has to have a grid for right and wrong.

The news station had a grid for right and wrong.  The anchor cussed on air and that was wrong, according to the professional/moral standards of the station.  He was terminated.

The blogger’s grid for right and wrong is that a player who blows a lead and fails at his job is not subject to anonymous, profane words of slander and name-calling.

I happen to agree with both lines of thinking.  The problem is, who is to say what is right and wrong? We live in a culture that defines right and wrong according to what is convenient for them.

I don’t agree with our culture’s definition.  I believe what the Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The authority of Scripture is God’s.  God’s servants live by God’s (breathed) Word; and falling outside that word should bring correcting and rebuking. Standards? Yes.  And they’re NOT subject to whatever I feel like is right and wrong today.

On My Mind #61: Three Thoughts for Adult Parent/Child Relationships

Disclaimer: If any of my family are reading this, this is not about you!

With that out of the way, I’m going to write three quick thoughts on a topic I hear a lot about and it’s something that been on my mind.  Many adults genuinely wonder how to honor their parents when they have families of their own.  So, let me flesh out three of the most important things that I think go along with this.

1. Adult children: have clear boundaries.

Adult children seeking to respect their parents should have clear boundaries.  I heard a preacher once tell a story of how he came to realize that he was his wife’s primary caretaker. There was, needless to say, a difficult adjustment period, but this had NOT been made clear in the engagement/wedding process.  His wife’s parents needed to take a back seat to him spiritually and authoritatively as the caretaker of their daughter, and he told them they would not be able to make progress in their relationships until they were willing to respect his role.  Things eventually worked out, but it should be a good illustration about why clear boundaries are necessary.  This issue can raise its head with parenting styles, financial decisions, spiritual values, etc.  Having clear boundaries and lovingly communicating those to family helps build a framework that can produce life-long, healthy relationships.

2. It’s okay to let your parents help – to a point.

I think many parents of adult children are genuinely looking for ways to support their adult children.  As long as it’s not manipulative, grown children shouldn’t be afraid to simply say a gracious “thanks” and accept small help.  This could take the form of small gifts, offers to help with the kids, etc.  It’s been my experience that most parents are really not (emphasis on most) trying to manipulate or control. Even if you don’t need the help, it can make a relationship better by accepting small amounts of help from time to time.

3. Both sides should recognize the vastly different culture from childhood till now.  

Most adults whose parents are still living have experienced immense changes in their lives.  The culture in which your parents brought you up is VASTLY DIFFERENT than the culture in which you are raising your kids.  The same thought goes for parents with grown children: this current culture is VASTLY DIFFERENT than the culture in which you raised your own kids.  These differences cannot be underestimated, and an attempt at understanding the different pressures and climate of today’s culture can avoid a lot of difficulties.

I could say lots more, but these three should get you thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

On My Mind #60: A day of spiritual focus – FAIL!

I have really felt led to have Wednesdays be a time to focus. I decided I’d start today. Get up early, no sports articles or highlights, no news, no social media, no lunch. Extra prayer, extra focus, extra study, extra close to God.

FAIL.

Let me briefly describe the distractions that Satan sent my way today:

1. One of our children got up early – 45 MINUTES EARLY, cutting into the time I set aside.
2. I played phone tag all day and never did make a connection I needed to make.
3. I missed an important phone call.
4. I got upset with a woman driving a van who tried to take a short cut out of a slow traffic area.
5. Due to several circumstances, we had lower than the normally low attendance at our prayer gathering at church tonight.
6. I was distracted at several points this afternoon.
7. Dogs were barking uncontrollably during a prayer time.

Add some general frustrations and distractions and the day felt like a total fail.

But, I want to encourage you – it WASN’T. I STILL managed to be intentional, I still got some extra study time, prayer time, and managed to get challenged in a couple different articles and a sermon.

Isn’t that how it is? You make a spiritual commitment, then Satan distracts.

James 4:7 seems appropriate: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Distraction? Guaranteed. God’s power over the distraction and speaking to you through it? An even stronger guarantee. Spiritual focus day – see ya next Wednesday!

On My Mind #59: A challenging article about a parenting mistake.

This article isn’t necessarily a Christian article, but it’s challenging and it contains Scriptural principles. Read the article:

Don’t over-negotiate with your children.

A few thoughts:

1. Every parent faces this. It’s important to stay consistent.

Raise your hand if you’ve never had this problem. Okay, I don’t see any hands. The bottom line is we all face it and when both parents are present, consistency is important. Julie and I have talked several times about differing ways we noticed each other handling situations. The kids should get the same messages as much as possible. If the kids perceive gaps, they will definitely exploit them until consistency is achieved.

2. Try not to ask when telling should be enough.

“Do you want to pick up the toys and go home?” No child is going to say “Sure!”, unless of course they really don’t like their friends. But most kids are going to answer in the negative. They’re doing something they enjoy and don’t want to stop. What the parent wants to accomplish is going home. “We’re leaving in 10 minutes” (then five) gives the child ample warning you’re leaving. The second scenario has the parent in charge, not the child. But, it gives the child a healthy way to prepare to leave that honors the parent’s authority.

This is one example. Others can include activities, food, clothing, etc. Providing a couple choices is way better than an endless negotiation with a little lawyer, as the article called them.

3. Biblically, parents are in authority and children aren’t wise. Don’t give your child the impression they are wise.

If children were wise, Proverbs wouldn’t be filled with evidence otherwise. I love my children but they are not wise. Our son rode his bike around the block with his friend without telling us. We did not congratulate him for exercising his wisdom and independence. He needed to think through why we weren’t comfortable with that. There was no negotiation.

That’s kind of a big thing. It’s the same for schedule and bed time, though. When we need to leave to get somewhere, time is not a negotiation – we need the kids to do their part to be ready.

It’s okay to teach kids life isn’t fair or sometimes the answer is no. It’s hard to be mean, but at the same time I know I’m not called to be my kids’ friends.

In sum, I hope I’m providing a glimpse into things we wrestle with. Further, consider this your invitation to join! Be challenged by the article and take whatever is helpful. God is glorified when family structures seek to mirror those found in His Word! It can be hard work, but rewarding as well.