One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to break up with my boyfriend of six years. When I was 20 years and met the Lord, it became apparent that we were going in two different directions. The years that followed were filled with an intense cleaning out, restoring and learning — the Holy Spirit was getting rid of baggage, really , [but that is a story all by itself!]. and my focus was not on dating, but growing, hearing God, valuing relationships.
That’s why, seven years later when I met Keith, (more…)
Sparks were flying! My twelve-year-old daughter and I were going toe-to-toe, face-to-face, and eye-to-eye. Her fiery retort to my instructions had awakened an anger in me that surprised me.
“You will NOT defy ME, young lady!” I snapped the words out, at the same time angry at her for her defiance and dismayed at myself for my rage.
She met my gaze with her own steadfast, unblinking stare. Anna was one determined, strong-willed child; I was one upset mother; and this was one “nobody’s going to win” situation.
And nobody did. (more…)
This past weekend we were in San Antonio, Texas, for William’s wedding to Maria Jose Fernandez. Two young lovers, two families, two cultures–too wonderful. As you would expect, everything was beautiful. Maria was stunning, Will was handsome, the parents were proud, the crowd was joyful, the weather was perfect, the Lord was smiling.
According to their custom, we gathered at the Fernandez house the next day after the wedding. This was a family gathering. The bride and groom were present in the (more…)
When our children were very young, Patricia kept a journal on each one. Here is an excerpt from Billy’s (Will’s) journal:
Praying with Billy the other night, I was thanking the Lord for him, telling God what a blessing he is and thanking God that he loves his brothers and sisters. After a minute, Billy interrupted my prayer: “Mom, I do naughty things.” He didn’t want me to continue. “Well, that’s why Jesus died for us, son,” I explained. In all of it, I see the Lord preparing his heart for salvation, and I am so grateful.
Shortly after that journal entry, his K4 teacher gently led him to Christ. A few weeks after that, he lay down in his bed but then came into our bedroom and said, “Jesus spoke to me and told me that he wanted me to be his disciple.”
This series of events: feeling bad about himself led to receiving Jesus at age four. He continues to follow Jesus at age twenty-four.
As a principal of a small Christian school, I have had parents come to me concerned because their children say they do not have friends. I have watched their children play on the playground and have loads of fun with different children. I have learned that the issue may be spiritual and not social.
This “left-out feeling” often is a signal from the Holy Spirit that He is working on a young heart and drawing her to Jesus. Her sense of guilt or loneliness or of being left out might be something much deeper than the playground, but might be the tug of the Holy Spirit wooing her. Something is missing; there is a God-sized hole in her heart that only God can fill. Other people can never satisfy that longing.
Perhaps sharing the simple gospel will solve the “friend problem” for your child. The Friend he is longing for is near, as near as his mouth and his heart.
The next time that your young child expresses one of these symptoms of low self-esteem, explore the possibility that the Holy Spirit is at work and point him to Christ. It might not be a self-esteem problem; it might be conviction that he needs the Lord. It is worth investigating; it could be the best day of his life. After all, most people receive Christ between the ages of four and fourteen.
You could say to her, “Did you know that Jesus died on the cross for us because we are all sinners—even little guys. If you ask him to forgive you, he will. He wants to live in your heart because he loves you. Would you like to ask him to forgive you for your sins right now?”
If the Holy spirit is working, she will respond with an open heart.
Throwing rocks at puppies is probably not a good idea. Throwing rocks at puppies when you are standing by a large window is definitely not a good idea. I looked up at the window and surveyed the damage. It didn’t shatter the glass, only made a rock-sized hole. Oh, yeah, and a noise. Oh, and one more thing: my mom was in that room.
So I did what any guilty, rock-throwing, panicking eight-year-old would do. I ran. That was mistake number one. I ran to the back corner of the house, took a hard right, to the front corner, and then headed straight for the front door.
By this time I had a plan: get inside the house so quickly that my mom would not suspect that I had anything to do with the broken window. That was mistake number two. If she had been eight years old like me, I probably could have fooled her. But she wasn’t eight, she was . . . older . . . and smarter. Somehow she knew that I was coming in the front door and there she was, drying a plate, and looking me over.
She asked, “What was that noise?”
Looking as innocent as any guilty, rock-throwing, panicking, panting eight year old could, I remembered George Washington and the cherry tree. George told his dad the truth and things worked out. But I was no George Washington, and this was not my dad. So I decided to try a different strategy–I wiggled around the question. “What noise?” I asked. Mistake number three.
She didn’t take the bait. She simply said, “Go sit on the couch and wait for your daddy to come home.” No pirate walking the plank could have felt more dread than I did. I walked to the couch and sat down, knowing it would be the last time I might sit down for a while. I said nothing. I sat in silence. I aged ten years in that few minutes. In my own little mind, I was spanked a thousand times. I thought, I prayed.
Then I heard the car coming down the driveway, gravel crunching under the tires. I heard dad shut the car door. I heard his footfalls on the steps, and then he entered the house.
The spirit of George Washington came upon me, and I threw myself on the mercy of the court, crying and confessing in a torrent of words and tears all mixed in with snuffles and sobs, “Puppies . . . rock . . . window . . . scared . . . ran . . . mom . . . couch. I’m sorry; don’t spank me.”
Surprisingly, he didn’t . . . spank me, that is. He listened, he understood. He called it an accident.
He was just.
I loved him; I respected him.