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Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Raise an Insecure Daughter

This weekend our church hosted our first ever Mother Daughter Retreat.  My friends Shannon and Tina planned a wonderful time for us.  They asked me to teach a lesson for Moms only right at the beginning of the night.  I started this little talk with the huge disclaimer of "I don't know what I'm talking about."  Don't you love it when you invest your time to come and learn something only to have the teacher say she doesn't know what she's doing?  The truth is that God is constantly teaching me things about life and parenting through the miracle of His Words; but I'm insecure about parenting!  As I told the ladies Friday night; it matters too much. I can't bear the thought of messing up because the cost is so high; I adore these ones trusted to my care.  Let me just end this wordy disclaimer by saying that I listened to Him and reflected and came up with this list.  It's one of those opposite lists; see if you can follow. Here's what those dear mommas and I talked about over the weekend while Shannon taught our girlies.....

If you Want to Raise an Insecure Daughter.....
1.  Be afraid of everything.  
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:1
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You."  Psalm 56:3

As I work with teenagers and women, I see the danger of fear living.  We all get afraid, and there's no shame in that.  The danger comes when we let fear take root and become the center of our lives.  It might look like other things because women tend to put a very brave mask over fear.  We are great at teaching our girls to rationalize fear.  Our daughters will not learn to trust God if their Mommas are always afraid and worried.  Don't miss the reason we don't need to be afraid - we belong to a gracious and loving God.

2.  Be their Daddy
"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself,
and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Ephesians 5:33 instructs husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. When we are disappointed by men many of us tend to rise up to the occasion and take over, and usually we can manage it.  There may be seasons when that is simply what must be done; so hang in there alone momma.  However, here comes the warning for all of us....when I am disappointed in a man, I can begin to disrespect masculinity.  Teach your daughters that men and women were created to work together and to complement one another. Teach them that the whole of both of them should be stronger and more effective for God's Kingdom than either alone.  Our girls will recognize the reality that sometimes life stinks and relationships are fractured beyond repair.  We can stay nearby to walk with them through those days if that is where their journey takes them.  But how tragic for them to miss the beauty of God's plan; a partnership that defies expectation and soars above imagination - simply because their mommas were too proud to respect men.  So, receive the love of your husband, sons, and father and give them respect....and be sure your daughter sees it.

3.  Be critical of YOURself.
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."  Psalm 139:14

Most of us  know the danger of being overly critical of our girls.  I believe that being overly critical of yourself in front of your girls is something girls take very personally.  It's likely that people seek out ways that you and your daughter are alike and have told her.   When you say you are bad, she fears that she is bad too.  You are as much a treasure to God as she is to you, so don't talk ugly about God's treasure in front of her.  I taught this lesson on Friday night and then.....not an hour later.....criticized front of my daughter.  One of the wise mommas there called me on it.  This is something we do without even thinking, and we really need to cut it out.

4.  Be too busy
"And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD
or the work that he had done for Israel."  Judges 2:10

"We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD,
and his might,
and the wonders that he has done."  Psalm 78:4

I'm not especially talking about being too busy to hear and relate to your girl, of course that's a definite recipe for regret.  I'm talking about being too busy to teach her about the wonders God has done for you.....and for her.  Both of my girls' stories have many, MANY marvelous wonders for me to share with them just in the days from their conceptions to their births, and many more since then.  This is true for each of our families, don't miss the chance to tell them.  By the way, an assumption here is that you are taking the time to know God's Word and recognize His wonders.  No way we can teach our girls God's wonders if we aren't allowing God to show them to us.

As a good friend of ours reminds us, and I often hear the reminder from our youth minister; We aren't raising girls, we are raising WOMEN.  What a privilege to relate to them as Warrior Women of God in training who will soon be standing and serving on the front lines in these few days we have on this earth to build God's Kingdom. 

 Thanks to Rachel Schooler for the great pics!
"And He will be the stability of your times,
   abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
   the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure." 
Isaiah 33:6

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God's Not Fair

I found this little story this morning looking for something else, but wanted to share.  This story is 6 years old, which means it happened when my oldest daughter was almost the age my baby daughter is now.  Maybe I'm sentimental because she just had her 10th birthday, maybe I'm just proud of her......yes.

We rushed to McDonald’s late on Monday morning.  We’d seen a commercial announcing My Little Pony as the newest Happy Meal toys.  This is big news and we have to go immediately.  I never really know what it is that causes me to rush to a restaurant I don’t particularly enjoy to buy a meal with a toy I later have to pull from the toy box so it can join its many cousins in the garbage.  I would guess it has something to do with the state of my heart as I follow a curly ponytail bounding up to the plastic case of Happy Meal toys to see what’s available.  I love these trips because it’s so easy to make her happy.  The temporary thrill of the toy and the french fries makes for fun talks.   This day she had settled into her meal, having unwrapped and named her pony already. 

She looks out the window, holding a chicken nugget in her one freckle hand.  She asks me a question that is not new, “Why am I always bad?”  I’ve begun to recognize this question that comes up when she’s feeling remorseful.  In this case it was probably the plastic crocodile swung into Jacob Schooler’s eye the night before.  Always before my answer comes quickly to this delightful daughter, “You’re not bad, honey!  You sometimes make bad choices.”  This typically alleviates her guilt and we move on.  Today, I decided to see where this road might take us, so I smile and say nothing.  She shifts her gaze to me, with raised eyebrows and tilted head, her one freckle hand dropping at the wrist.  I see her recognition that I’ve missed my line.  I ask her what she means and she elaborates on her frustration that she often doesn’t do right.  We talk about how hard it is to be good all the time.  I understand her frustration and share it on a daily basis.  I encourage her by telling her how blessed we are to be loved by a God who is perfect, but loves us even when we aren’t.  She begins to wind down our conversation with this little mind-blower; “God’s perfect.....long pause.....and that’s not fair to us!”  I have found myself in this location in Parent-land on occasion.  Many pious parents recognize this place.  All of a sudden I’ve been knocked off my pedestal and find myself lying on my back gasping for theological air.  My emotions bounce from anger at her heresy to admiration of her honesty.  As I catch my breath and stuff a few fries in my mouth so I can’t talk with my mouth full, I hear His reassurance. “What a treasure!” He whispers to my heart, “she’s only 4 and she knows she can’t do it without Me.”  I spend a few minutes telling her about Jesus’ example and God’s great love for her.  She grins as her frustration evaporates in the warmth of knowing she’s loved by God and mom.  And so we move on to topics safer for my pedestal sitting, ponies.

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” 
Romans 7:18b-20, 21, 24-25

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crazy Week Well Spent

I have several weeks spread throughout the year that are crazy.  I'm an active person, but I don't like to be stressed from one thing to another all the time and have intentionally tried to avoid such insanity. There are simply some weeks where "one thing to another busyness" is reality.  Last week was one of mine.  Everything was great, it was all time very well spent ending with an early bedtime on Saturday night; for me at least.  I remember bathing the youngest, but nothing after that.  I think that the Daddy came home and got everyone to bed.  They were all in their respective beds Sunday morning.

I am thankful for friends, family and ministry on whom to spend myself.  This thought  makes me grin every time I read it.  Every day is spent.  Even the laziest day, though it might not be busy, is spent.  One of my greatest fears is that my life will be lived but wasted. I too often spend my time and energy on things that don't matter much.

I want to spend my days on what matters.

Like big birthday parties for a 10 year old daughter, and a church event where hundreds of women get to worship and hear Truth together, and stuffing goodie bags with close friends, and sitting up late talking with a precious hubby about the parallels of hunting and walking with God (obviously!), and a rare Mexican food lunch with a teenage son - just us, and studying 1 Samuel, and the relief of finally making it through the doors and into church on Sunday morning.

So today is the Monday after, and it's the kind of quiet and still chaos after a storm. Just as the "To-Do List" reaches up and tries to choke the joy right out of me, I decided to sit down and remember last week.  There will always be weeks where all I can see is the time I've wasted.  Today I am especially thankful for a rare and crazy week, and for the refreshment that a week well-spent brings. 

"A generous man will prosper; 
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed ." 
Proverbs 11:25 NIV

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cupcake Saturday

For 10 years I've subscribed to this wonderful magazine called Family Fun.  I love to read it and intend to do lots of what I read there.....and I have....done....some.  My Banana Bread recipe came from there a few years ago.  I make pilgrim pies from a recipe I found there.  I've made a bunch of birthday cakes from ideas there, including the pink pony (my favorite). it's just girls at my house.  Girl's Day is the supreme example of good intentions left undone.  I have a very creative daughter who always wants to do big amazing things, and I'm always one ingredient short.  So today we hit our old Family Fun magazines and picked some things to try.  We settled on popcorn cupcakes and mini caramel apples.  We had a fun creativity filled afternoon and our little snacks turned out pretty cute.
We made these little mini caramel apples by scooping tiny balls of apple with a melon baller, then dipping them in melted butterscotch chips and decorations.

They turned out so cute!

But not as cute as her.

Our popcorn cupcakes.  They are french vanilla cupcakes with marshmallows cut to look like popcorn.....complete with painted on "butter" and "salt" (yellow food coloring and sugar sprinkles).
A happy Saturday afternoon, with some good intentions actually fulfilled!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bible Study - A Look Back

I love my Wednesday morning Bible Study!  It is a major highlight of my week and the only thing I don't like about vacation.  We eat and catch up and make friends and then study together.....I really like them.  We just started back after summer break and have many new faces that I can't wait to learn to read.

A few weeks ago I went through a cabinet full of old women's ministry and Bible Study files.  I found the notes from our very first Wednesday morning Bible Study on February 1, 2006.  I remember being so excited and nervous to get started.  Other than an unfortunate t-shirt design based on our original name (Companions of the Word -yes, it had a cow on it) those are very special memories.  When I think back to some of the women who have come and gone and the things we've learned and studied I get all mushy.  I remember the victories we've celebrated and the tragedies and losses we've endured.  I think of women who have transformed for His glory before my eyes and cringe remembering the few who've walked away.  I grin at all the days I walk away from Bible Study a big ball of insecurity because I said something truly ridiculous.  I sigh with awe when I remember the days that He meets us so unmistakeably and we all break into simultaneous God-bumps.  Everyone should have a place like this, I am so thankful.

Four and a half years ago, this is what I hoped God would lead us to become.  We are well on our way, and I can't wait for more of the journey.  For my Bible Study friends, this is where we started.  From my notes on February 1, 2006:

My heart for this group is that we can:
1.  Reform the "church girl" and be truly connected and generous with each other.
2.  Grow in love and devotion to God so that we can accurately reflect His character to our families, church, and community.
3.  Learn to live disciplined and fruitful lives in submission to a God we are convinced loves and provides for us.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My very first try at blogging.  I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time for all my younger Bible Study Buddies who spend time on their computers and are influenced by what they read there. Honestly I'm scared of everyone else; hence the YIKES. 

So, I'm thinking that I will post some of my life lessons (both old and new) in my newfound little journal tab and some of my favorite food ideas and recipes under the food one.  I will most likely add a tab for pictures and stories about my kids - easily avoidable for those not as attached to them as their grandparents and me! My favorite tab and the real reason for this blog is the one labeled "Bible Study".  Although everyone is invited, I want to have all kinds of ideas and lessons and updates for my Wednesday morning Bible Study Compadres.  My hope is that this tab will turn into a place for you to leave comments about what you are learning too! 

Truly if I find the courage to hit "publish post" it will be a miracle and Julie B. will do the happy goes!