It’s been so sad to not post like I hoped to.  I am still working on the Love Dare with my kids, and I wish I would have done regular updates however it’s been so crazy around here.  I am also doing a study at church on parenting teens (oldest is a pre-teen).  But this study is really for all parents.  Terrific!!!!

One of the thoughts that has struck me while doing both of these things is that, as Christian Parents, we are not to be ‘A’shamed or ‘D’issapointed with our childrens behavior. 

Now here me out if this sounds wrong to you.  God is not disappointed with us.  He disciplines us to get us where he wants us to be but He is never shocked, dissapointed, ashamed, etc!  So if we take on His traits as a Christian, shouldn’t we be the same way?

I always thought that a certain amount of shame, like a Moms look, you know “The Look”, was ok.; we joke about it don’t we?  Really it’s not part of building a child up with unconditional love (agape love).  That doesn’t mean that we won’t discipline a child or let them experience natural consequences, but that there is no shame in screwing up.  And if we all think about it, haven’t we screwed up a time or two ourselves?  So why would we be surprised they do?  Disappointed and shame is just a way of saying I am shocked that you did that cause I never have or would.

Have a “Shockless” Day!

Patriots, Giants or the Commercials.  Who are you voting for?  Since I live in Arizona I have to have a Super Bowl Football Post, don’t ya think?

With some help at church, I got to thinking about the strong comparisons, outside the beer-unless you are a Lutheran, between Football and Christians.

  • Excited
  • We both have a playbook (Bible)
  • You have to work together as a team!
  • Strong
  • Dedicated
  • Makes Mistakes (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”)
  • People are Watching
  • It’s consuming and is part of your entire life.  You have to make decisions with your goal in mind.
  • We both have End Zones (Heaven)
  • Focused
  • Each person has their own position (ie. Quarterback/Spiritual Gifts)
  • We have a Coach who directs us to be our best (Mentors, God, Christ)
  • There is a trophy (Treasure in Heaven)
  • Must learn delay gratification
  • Sometimes we go to another team (denomination) but we are still players (Christians).
  • We both a facility to practice/play but we also have to play away.  It’s nice to be at HOME (our church) as everyone cheers and is supporting us but we can’t get anywhere unless we get on the road and play AWAY (the world).
  • We have OPPOSITION
  • We fumbled but there was a player who recovered the ball, went to the RED ZONE (cross), and made the touchdown for us!

Here’s a word from the Coach:  (Right out of the playbook) Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us (Everyone is watching), let us also lay aside (delayed gratification) every encumbrance and the sin (opposition) which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance (strong) the race (game) that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (focused), the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (dropped pass), despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 P.S. – How many people will remember this game 100 years from now?  Or rather where will you be 100 years from now?

Happy Eating!

National Adoption Day is Nov 10th. 

I have to admit that, so far, I have not read too many blogs regarding adoption yet.  We adopted a special needs child (emotional not physical) so this subject is near and dear to me; so I have done a little exploring lately.  The little that I have read when it comes to Christians and adoption is that the Church wants to encourage adoption as a ministry.  I believe this is a ministry no doubt about it!  There are so many kids in need that it is truly sad!  At the same time I have a concern that people will take this as anyone who is a Christian should feel compelled to adopt.  This is where I have a problem.  We felt called to do this and it has been the biggest challenge and blessing of our lives.  There are times we feel totally alone as many people (esp. non-adoptive families) fail to understand our challenges. 

As with anything God calls each person differently.  I would like the church to educate on children in need but not for adoption to be the only way people they can help the “widows and orphans”.  God doesn’t make us all the same and we should make sure that we listen to our specific calling. 

If you are a church I would like to recommend opening all points of discussion and information including those that have been called so they can give a realistic point of view.  Don’t become a salesman but a vehicle for those who have been called. 

If you have been exposed to the thought of adoption (in or out of church) pray, pray, and pray!  Make sure this is what you are called to do.  Don’t do it out of guilt or obligation.  Do it because God has stamped it on your heart! 

Here are some ADDITIONAL ideas to help Widows and Orphans:

  • Invite a widow over for dinner
  • Sponsor a child (Compassion International and such)
  • Volunteer in a crisis center or adoption agency
  • Babysit, cook, and/or clean for an adoptive family
  • Get to know an adoptive family
  • Make a meal for a foster family
  • Visit shut-ins
  • Adopt an adoptive or foster family.  Make sure they have a place to go for the holidays, help with Christmas if needed, etc.
  • Become a Foster Parent
  • Pray for them!
  • Start a support group for adoptive families or seniors at your church
  • Be a financial support to those who are adopting as it can be very costly
  • Consider being a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)

This is just a small list so feel free to add your ideas and thoughts.  Of course adoption is a wonderful process and can be a tremendous blessing but it needs to be one that God has brought you to not anyone else.  So that’s what I think.  What about you?

                                                                                  

Have you ever noticed that if you go to the Doctor who is on the heavy side he/she will probably not talk to you about your weight?  I believe this is also true in the church.  We, as a church BODY, do not really discuss this topic too much, other than an occasional diet group, as we might be called to change our own habits. 

Now I have to advise that I am not some health nut or a stick figure.  I am a person who has struggled with my weight since I was about 11 and have been able to maintain a stable and healthy weight that with the Lord’s help have been able to manage for many years.   I could use to loose more but want to be careful about yo-yo dieting and doing major damage.  I don’t think I will ever be a size 2.  Even my Dad said that, and I had the notion that I would prove him wrong, but I never have.  But the church has never been apart of a lifestyle or eating change for me.  Now there is no perfect weight or body but I believe the church can be apart of making a difference in children’s, and all members, lives by being healthier.  

 I read an article from Parenting Magazine and it stated “A 2003 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that obese children “enjoy” a quality of life slightly less cheerful than that of kids on chemotherapy.” WOW!  I don’t think I should be shocked though as this was my experience.  I can also see it in the kids at my children’s school.  Don’t we want to minister to these children?

It seems like everyone is concerned, as Doctor’s are about our weight, but we don’t want to change ourselves.  Give up the donut hour at church?  Offer kids less treats in a church and I think you would be breaking the 11th commandment “Thou shalt have tons of junk food while a kid and don’t withhold any yest ye shall be a bad parent (IWDWIWV -I want to do what I want version)” or something like that.  At every church we attend there is a massive involvement of food.  Kids eat dinner at the Wednesday night program with a dessert and one hour later, in their class, it’s junk foodpaloza with a bag of candy.  Kids can regulate their own food most protest.  Yes, we can see this at the local school playground.

Now I am not talking massive changes here.  I would love to challenge the BODY OF CHRIST to  commit to sharing the theology of our body as the Lord’s temple.  We love to talk about abortion because we may have never been in that situation but don’t talk to me about my pastries!  I think it would be great to make commitments not only financially but the giving of our bodies to the Lord as his.

So what kind of changes could a church do:                                               

  • 100% juices, milk or water.  No soda machines on church grounds.  I find it interesting that parents will complain that schools shouldn’t take the revenues from soda machines but what about churches?
  • Make a commitment to no trans fats and use lean meats.
  • Make better food choices when your church serves food such as low-fat or no-fat dressings and whole wheat bread instead of white
  • Exercise for children during their extended classes.  When my son attended Awana’s they played very active games.
  • Bible studies around nutrition and exercise.
  • Ask the congregation to make an effort to encourage healthy choices for potlucks.
  • Fitness or nutritional pledges like we do financial ones
  • Support groups for accountability
  • Limit candy.  Can I get a witness?  This is the hard one for all the Grandma’s out there.  People really don’t understand just how much junk children are exposed to in this day and age.  For example a child’s week Monday -cafeteria lunch -chicken nuggets carrots thrown away, Tuesday – Went to the bank and they have to give the kids a treat, Wednesday– Junkpaloza at church after the cake they had for dessert, Thursday– It’s somebodies birthday at your son’s school and they brought goodies, Friday – Mom’s tired of cooking let’s get a pizza, Saturday – Jimmy’s birthday party and ice cream after the baseball game, Sunday – Donuts at church-yum!  This is what I think a light week is.  We didn’t even cover the soda’s, frosted flakes for breakfast, and the trips to McDonald’s.
  • Encourage activities at church that are active like a hiking group instead of a pizza group.
  • Don’t hand out food as a reward!  Give out stickers, toys, certificates, bring the kids up in front of the congregation.
  • Make sure fruits and veggies are served at meals held at the church. 
  • Hold a jump rope event contest
  • Bring in speakers that will discuss these Godly principals
  • Host health events that will bring in professionals to test blood pressure and other health issues
  • Encourage families to have treats for treats.  Everything is a special occasion.  Kids have a special occasion 10 times a week instead of previous generations.  Another generation it might have been special if Mom had cake for dessert.  I think kids are too familiar with junk that it is part of their normal eating habits and are no longer special.  Have bulletin inserts about these tips and other nutritional ideas.  Keep it in front of the church members.

Why make these changes?  “Obese children are nearly twice as likely to grow up to be obese adults. And a child who keeps the weight on through adolescence and into adulthood has a good chance of developing serious medical problems, according to Gerald Berenson, M.D., professor of medicine and pediatrics at Tulane University Medical School and a lead researcher of one of the longest-running studies on childhood obesity and heart disease. “By the time they’re teens, many have the beginnings of heart disease or diabetes,” he says. Early puberty — common among both overweight boys and girls — has been linked to breast cancer in women later in life. And cancer of the ovaries, uterus, colon, rectum, and prostate are also more common in obese adults.  Studies also show that overweight kids ages 6 and older tend to have fewer friends, are less involved with extracurricular activities, are more depressed, and have lower self-esteem than their thinner peers.” -taken from Parenting Magazine, Preventing Childhood Obesity by Laura Muha. 

This is a different world in which we have to make necessary changes to our habits.  It seems when you make these types of changes there is much opposition because helping the children means changing ourselves.  Other opposition might come as “People won’t come to church because we don’t offer this kind of food”.  Well then let’s make sure we don’t tell them Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life either then.  This is God’s vessel and we are in charge of taking care of it. 

Blessings,

Debbie aka The Real World Martha