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Because We Never Stop Being Moms -Book Club- Chapters Seven and Eight-

 26.3.14

Last week I was busy enjoying my adult children and their friends in a beautiful beach in Mexico; maybe that explains why I didn't post here.

Chapter seven has three main principles that we don't want to overlook.

1. We are responsible for raising our children in the Lord, they are responsible for their own choices, but God alone can save our children.

Sovereign saving grace, God's desire to save the lost, and His covenantal faithfulness should be our hope and comfort.

What a wonderful reminder to our heavy souls that God is the one who does the changing in our children's lives. Not us. We don't have the power to change their heart.

What a convicting exhortation to parent our sons and daughters not motivated by guilt and fear but by genuine love that has learned to rest on God alone.

"Our dollars won't buy their love or repentance, and we can't fund their admission into God's Kingdom. Only the Holy Spirit can change their hearts."


2. We need help. We need help. We need help. Yes: WE NEED HELP!

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

The author says it in such a clear way that we cannot miss the exhortation:

"[T]he Bible is the only sufficient source of wisdom for our lives. In faith we need to trust in His Word, rather than merely following our own thoughts and feelings." 

And then, an encouragement to seek the advice of godly people:

"We need objective (and sometimes tough) godly advice from friends who are not afraid of wounding us by their counsel when necessary (Prov.27:6)"

3. Saying "no" is many times the louder way to say, "I love you."

"Only with the Lord's help will we be able to be as strong and as patient as needed."
I appreciated very much that under this principle, the authors advice parents to involve their pastors and elders (when the children are members of the church) in specific situations, even to the point of church discipline.

Understanding the role of the church as we raise our children is an important part of understanding the covenant bond among us.


It is important, however, to remember that saying "no," or making drastic changes, doesn't mean that we should totally shun them out of our lives. Maybe, you have the huge blessing of not having  wayward children, but remember that we must apply these love principles with our friends' children to. Let us be always hospitable, waiting in hope.




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Chapter Eight is, in my opinion, kind of repetitive. Do you agree with me?

It is a chapter about money management and how we should not finance our children's irresponsibility or sinful lifestyle. However, many of the important, wise, and timely advices the author mentions here, he has already pinpointed somewhere else in the book. So I want to avoid doing the same thing...


Next week we'll be talking about chapter nine: Marriage: Our Dreams, Their Dreams. I hope you can join us.


Praying for grace as we keep pressing on, 


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Because We Never Stop Being Moms -Book Club- Chapter Six

 13.3.14

First of all sorry for the late post, and thanks for grace and understanding!

This chapter is the perfect one in which differentiating between a principle and a method is important.  The examples the authors give at the beginning of it are more of methods based on the principles that further in the chapter the author will tackle. Understanding the difference is essential in order to embrace what one must do -Biblically speaking- in our relationship with our adult children and what we may do in specific circumstances.  

For example: one may or may not have a curfew for his 19 yo daughter living at home (method), but one must protect her. That is a biblical principle.

Chapter six is about us not about our children, and as I read it I was challenged by the biblical principles that the author points here.

First of all, we, like our children, are sinners. Not because we are older and -hopefully-more wiser are free from sin. No. We often struggle with the same kind of sins that our children struggle: self-righteousness, pride, selfishness, bitterness. We need a Saviour too and we need to be washed with the Word every day. We need to ask forgiveness and be forgiven. And pride, I think you might agree, might be the most prevalent as we parent our children. The author says,

"Pride blinds us not only to our sin but also to the true struggles of others."

And what is the opposite of pride? Humility. Thankfully humility is not something we produce in ourselves by trying hard. Humility is, the author reminds us, "the fruit of the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts as he convicts us of sin and overwhelms us with reminders of our unmerited blessings."


"Humility is that quality is Jesus' life that enabled him to deal gently with sinners... Humility caused him to empty himself and become like us -to share in our weakness- to bear with our frailty."
So, the principle is clear: we need humility to deal with our children.That is the starting point no matter which method we end up using.

"Humility is the eyewash we need to use every day."

The authors say that we specifically need humility in these areas:

1. Humbly convey clear expectations. And I would add, humbly ask forgiveness if your expectations have not been clear or if your expectations have not been real (by this I mean that you are expecting from them to allow you to micro-manage their life under the cover of "submission").

2. Always offer humble respect. 

"Nagging will always damage a relationship because it is not the fruit of humble respect. It is the fruit of pride and impatience."

3. Humility speaks little and listens much. When we have a humble attitude we will find that it is more easier to listen fully and attentively -not thinking at the same time of a response with which to strike harder- (Read James 1:19, Prov. 20:5). Listening, Newheiser reminds us, is a skill that not only requires humility but love. It takes effort to be a good listener.

"Because we are sinful and proud, the majority of us are poor listeners. We're accustomed to doing most of the talking while our kids listen to us. Listening is an easy way to demonstrate that we are sincerely interested in them as human beings. Careful listening demonstrates humble respect for their opinion and perspectives."

 When we listen humbly we are persevering in communicating with them. And as one mom pointed out, this only happens when "we refrain from interrupting or correcting our adult children." Humble listening, of course demands that we recognize that we don't know the correct answer at all times and that other times we have erred.

A good question to ask ourselves to see if we are humble listeners would be, "When I listen to my son/daughter's perspective, am I  open and willing to reconsider my position?"

4. Humility makes an effort to communicate. Communicate clearly all your expectations, don't assume that they will read your mind on all sorts of manners. I firmly believe that a clear communication clears the way to build stronger relationships.

5. Humility respects their individuality. 

"Humble respect for our kids' individuality flows out of the truth that each one, though different, is created in the image of God."

6. Humility admits sin and wrong. I love, love, love this principle which I think summarizes all the rest:

"Relationships can only survive where there is grace. Not only do our children need grace from us, but we also need grace from them."

We need humility to ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation.  Ann Voskamp said it well somewhere else: "First to listen is wiser. First to forgive is freest. First to begin afresh again is happiest."


"We need to incorporate grace in our parenting. Nothing must ever stop us from loving our children. "

7. God's grace helps us assume the best of our children because "Love... hopes all things" (I Cor. 13:7).  But at the same time God's grace will help us see the sin in our children and be blind to it. 
I was reminded here of the book by Puritan Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed; if you have not read it and the kind of faith you see in your child 's life is only a weak flame, I recommend  it to you. It will sure help you see with hope those sparks of faith.






8. Humility overlooks and forgives. Our own children can hurt us, but we sin against them when we don't forgive them quickly, but instead let bitterness be rooted in our hearts.  Humility, I would add, recognizes that God is in control of our children's lives. Humility draws us to God in prayer for them and gives us hope when we seem there is none. 

9. A humble heart will say, "I want to spend time with you because I enjoy being with you."

10. A humble attitude will always be willing to give. Always give your children grace in a thousand tangible ways.

The questions at the end of the chapter are very good. Don't overlook them. I was convicted of some things as I answered them.

Note: Next week I will be traveling and might not have an easy access to Internet. So, I ask you to bear with me if you don't see me posting timely next Wednesday.

God is good and Him our hope is secure.



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Because We Never Stop Being Moms -Book Club- Chapter Five

 5.3.14

How was your week? Mine has been a mixture of everything: wonderful moments (visiting our dear friends in Las Vegas for a long weekend) and busy moments (having to catch up with all my papers to grade). But each day I have seen that I have been given more grace than what I'd have ever expected. God is good.

We are now in chapter five (half way through our book!), a chapter that mainly deals with three issues: being productive, financial responsibility, and living in community.

In this chapter the authors stir us up to consider how are we to live in community in our homes with our adult children when they are staying home for a season and for the good reasons. Newheiser warns us that "we might be tempted to micromanage their day or fly off the handle..." I agree. And even through distance, even if our children are off in college, we may face this same temptation because we are only a "text away" from them.

The authors recognize that not all the children of parents reading this book are Christians, so they remind their readers that "through common grace even a non-Christian can learn how to work hard and live productively in a community." However, he also reminds us that we should never "lower our household standards to a level that would displease the Lord."

If we could summarize the suggestions the author gives us in the next part of the book we would have these main points:

1. Develop an open friendship with your children, so that they will be open to hearing our wise counsel when they ask for it (p.71). Maybe you can review your notes on chapter one as this was an important principle Newheiser laid clearly at the beginning of the book.

2. Parents must set expectations and make them known (p.72). And I particularly love that the author reminds us that "laying out these expectations is both wise and loving."

3. Expect them to be productive (p.72). Being lazy is a form of stealing, and not making the best use of our time is a sin. This sentence, in my opinion, summarizes the principle in a clear way: 

"Rather that seeing a schedule as enslaving or as thwarting their creativity, our kids need to embrace it as the good means God has given, so that they might know the joy of accomplishing much for him (Prov.21:25)."

4. Young adults living at home should do an adult share of the housework (p.74). We have seen -and heard- this many times: children demanding to be respected and treated as adults but at the same time don't want the full package of what it means being an adult. They want the privileges only but not the responsibilities.

"One twenty-one-year-old told us that he had learned that "nothing kills work ethic and discipline more effectively than the welfare state of parental indulgence."

5. Establish reasonable moral standards (p.75). The reason, the motivation for this should be that we want to honor the Lord in our home. (Remember Eli and the way he neglected honoring God in his household?)

"We want to help our young people understand the difference between our negotiable house rules and timeless, biblical standards."

6. Nothing is more important for living in community with others than trust (p.77).

7. Failure to meet expectations must result in consequences (p.78). I have found through many conversations with friends that trying to avoid the consequences we, parents, find ourselves tempted to overlook the lack of meeting of the expectations we have established beforehand. We are may times so much like Eli. We forget that God cannot be mocked, sooner or later the consequences of all our sins will come.

6. Follow through (p.80).
"Discipline is hard work and often unpleasant. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet those who have been trained by it afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" /Heb.12:11). But we continue to discipline our children in the hope that God will work in their hearts to make them wise."

7. Get good, godly counsel from your pastor or trusted friend and cry out to God for the courage to do the best, most loving thing for your young adult (p.81).


I purposely left out the point in which the author says that, forcing or not an adult child living at home to go to church is a matter of personal conscience on the part of the parents. And I did so because I think that in this particular issue, the godly counsel of the pastor would always be necessary.

What about you? Thoughts?

May God give us grace to parent well each one of our children through all the different seasons of their lives.

God is faithful and good, and in Him we can fully trust,



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If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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