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Book Reviews recommendations Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Parenting is Your Highest Calling & Eight Other Myths

Have you every had a passionate belief that you couldn’t put into words? You knew it had a Biblical foundation, but for the life of you, you couldn’t nail it down or explain it well enough without making you sound like you were making excuses or justifying yourself? This book, Parenting is Your Hightest Calling & Eight Other Myths by Leslie Leyland Fields does a great job at explaining the ins and outs of parental responsibility and dispels the myths that are so prevalant in Christian society – myths that I ran into in my parenting experience. 

 She outlines 9 myths that many parents buy into that can cause grief and disappointment when their parenting experience doesn’t the bring the results they’d expected. As a mother of 15 children, 13 of whom are special needs adopted, I saw how the blame game is easily entered into by those who have a tendency to judge others, especially Christian leaders who take credit for their own children’s successes. It is my desire to see that parents are encouraged and loved, not expected to be perfect or to take on the responsibility that was only God’s to begin with.

Here are the 9 myths Leslie outlines in her book:

1. Having Children Makes You Happy and Fulfilled.
2. Nurturing Your Children Is Natural
3. Parenting Is your Highest Calling
4. Good Parenting Leads to Happy Children
5. If You Find Parenting Difficult, You Must Not Be Following the Right Plan
6. You Represent Jesus to Your Children
7. You Will Always Feel Unconditional love for Your Children
8. Successful Parents Produce Godly Children
9. God Approves of Only One Family Design

Her basic premise is that we as parents are required by God to be faithful, to follow His basic guidelines for holy living and endeavor to teach the same precepts to our children. That’s it. We are to leave the results up to Him. He is the one who will woo their hearts, call them to repentance and a life of service to Him. We can’t do that. Only God is able to take our children and make them into something He can use.

I have seen and experienced the extreme pressure from others to measure up as the perfect Christian parent – too often reminded that “if we do our job, our kids will turn out right”  and “if they stumble and fall it is ultimately our fault.”  This advice is given without the slightest bit of acknowledgement that God is the One who shapes the believer and determines their path in life.  In her book, Leslie reminds us of parents in the Bible who lived a faithful, godly life only to experience disappointment in their parenting experience. The business of parenting is hard enough. We certainly don’t need to be bogged down by misplaced condemnation. This is a very encouraging book and I recommend it to every parent.

Thank you Leslie, for sending it to me. I wish I’d read it years ago.

You can get this book at Amazon.com for $11.19 and Christianbook.com  for $10.99.

Categories
Missions Spiritual Truths

Are You in Bootcamp?

I’ve been receiving edevotions from Christian Womanhood and ran across one that made me think. You can sign up here if you’re interested in receiving them. Today’s devotion compared the Christian life with bootcamp. Here’s an excerpt:

“He loves us enough to stretch us farther than we think we can grow in wisdom and knowledge, grace and truth. He tests us each and every day, revealing our weaknesses, challenging our decision to live for Christ, testing our sincerity.

 He does all of this out of love, knowing that “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).  He wants us to graduate from boot camp as mature, confident soldiers, able to stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23b).
 
My neighbor knew for a long time that he wanted to be in the Army. He knew when he signed up that boot camp was not going to be fun. He anticipated the fact that the officers were going to be very tough and that life was going to be difficult for a while. He knew all of this, yet he looked forward to joining the Army. He wanted to be a soldier.  If you are serious about serving God, you will pay a price to serve Him. Just like boot camp separates the men from the boys, Jesus Christ will bring trials into your life to make sure you really, really, want to be used by Him.”
 
She went on to say that by choice we are in God’s army and that our trials here on Earth are a sort of bootcamp that prepare us for our service to our Lord in Heaven. Not many make the choice, but the ones that do, stand out as true servants of God. As I look back on the past 20+ years, I see many hard times that some have said we “brought on ourselves.” I guess I have to agree with them. We did bring it on ourselves – by enlisting in God’s army and following our High Commander’s orders. If my son, who’s going to Afghanistan, experiences battle and is injured, would you say to him, “He brought it on himself?” Of course not! You will honor him as someone who put himself in harm’s way for the good of his country. He will have counted the cost. Our personal cost was great in our service for our King, but they were worth it – He was worth it. We didn’t know how much pain and heartache we’d encounter in His service when we signed up, but that doesn’t negate our offering to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. What are you doing that shows you enlisted in His army?  James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
Categories
Musings

Known By Our Compassion

Love – putting others ahead of ourselves

Faithfulness – consistently being available to those we love

Compassion – faithfully loving others especially through a trial

Godliness requires us to faithfully love others by displaying compassion even to our own hurt.

Christ faithfully loved others by displaying compassion – He went to the cross for us.

Some people think love is a warm fuzzy feeling – a feeling that can be hidden. Some think faithfulness is a state of mind and compassion is empathy or a kind thought toward others. I say love, faithfulness and compassion are all actions. Christ faithfully loved us by having enough compassion for us to suffer and die on the cross and shed His blood so we might be free from sin’s penalty. He could have sat up in heaven and had a warm fuzzy feeling for us day in and day out throughout eternity. He could have even felt bad that we all would die and go to hell. But what good would it have done us? His love, faithfulness and compassion were proven by His actions. I am very glad He did. And I feel that I must do for others what He has done for me. In my actions I need to love faithfully using compassion toward others – to support them as they walk through this life. Sometimes it will hurt me. Sometimes it will be inconvenient, tiresome or annoying. Sometimes I will have to stop what I want to do, what I need to do, to help someone else who needs a helping hand.

Life is hard. Life is really hard. We’ve found it to be really hard lately. But it’s so much harder when you have no one that you can reach out to, no one who cares enough to take the time to be compassionate. When I look over my past 25 years, I can recall many who have made a difference in my life. Each person’s face that I recall made that difference by their faithful love and compassion. It was inconvenient. It took effort. It may have been painful for them. But they did it anyway – because that’s what Christ would have done. The trials that we’ve experienced lately have been made more tolerable by those who have chosen a compassionate path in life. I’m really glad they chose to walk by me and take me along with them on the journey.