Thursday, June 19, 2014

Protecting Your Teen - Online, Social Media


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This is not another post on what parental control options are out there to help you. This post is something a little different. Since just two weeks ago I was thrust into parenting a teenager, suddenly I have found myself scrambling for parental control options to protect her from social media demons/pitfalls. Over these few weeks, I began feeling tremendous pressure rise in my heart from the thoughts of, "How can I even come close to protecting her from it all or teaching her all she needs to know??" So...HERE'S A FACT: I can't. No matter how much advice other parents spew at me, I can't buy/download/upload enough "guards" to protect her from everything onlin


I needed this amazing article below to remind me of that. All I can do is put some parental controls in place, monitor as best I can, teach her wisdom lessons about being online, and most of all pray for God to help her because He can help her in ways I can't. I've shared the sentiment expressed in this article below for years to other parents as I mentored their teen...now I needed the reminder!!! We can only do what we can do. Ultimately, our teens choose for themselves.

Here's the article from "the Better Mom" by Elisa. Enjoy! Please click on the links to go to the website.
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I’ve been a mentor of teen girls for more than sixteen years, and in that time, I’ve walked through some rather difficult situations with girls and their families. What has always surprised me over the years is how often the girls are able to keep their trouble, and rebellion, off their parent’s radar screen.

Before I had my own teen children, it was pretty easy to pass judgment about what every mom or dad ought to do in order to keep their children from walking in prodigal shoes. But the fact is, I could be that mom. All my children have the potential of going the prodigal way, just as much as I do. God’s gift of free will enables us to embrace loving him as much as it allows us to take one degree steps in the wrong direction.
Even though I feel a sense of confidence about what my tween and teen daughters are up to when they are out of my sight, the reality is that I may not know as much as I think I do. We’ve spent hours talking (and training) about how to live with integrity and long term vision, yet our children will have to choose for themselves whether they will yield to God or the ways of this world. Their flesh will be as tempted as mine to dominate their discernment and self-discipline!
 
As a mom, I’ve had to fight against the fear of my own children rebelling, especially when I’ve seen how unexpectedly it happens in other families.
 
In one particular year, I was mentoring three girls, two of whom came from loving and devoted Christian families. Can you imagine the shock and disappointment when these girls made choices that landed them in a big heap of trouble, not once but twice in less than three months! I felt like a total failure as a mentor, shared sobs with not only the girls but with their moms! These were Christian moms raising daughters using the same Bible study materials I was pouring through with my own girls. 

Desperate and defeated, I begged God, “If this happened to these girls, what can keep it from happening with mine?”

He answered me. And He changed my parenting forever.


You can’t protect them from making bad decisions. Their choices are their choices. But you can continue to pour into their lives and establish a relationship with them that is bathed in My love. You won’t be able to control their future but you can be the one they return to in their mess. Receive them as I receive you. In love. Even if there are consequences.
 
By the grace of God, I realized I needed to spend more time listening and engaging with my growing children, and less time worrying about their future. I put my schedule and priorities under careful scrutiny, and made the necessary changes so that I could be available to hear their hearts, instead of being out at a meeting or staring at a screen or pursuing some dream that could wait until tomorrow.
 
I realized that we need to cultivate relationships with our kids that would be able to withstand the stress of a prodigal challenge rather than crumble under the impact of one. 
 
Yes, I could be that mom who has no idea what her teen is up, too. But why borrow trouble worrying about tomorrow? Instead, I’m focusing on on building a relationship that will outlast the mistakes and lay a foundation for God to make beauty from ashes. Will you join me in doing the same?"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beginning Family Devotionals

We had our first family devo tonight. Over the next few weeks my daughter and I will be discussing the different things written on our "Family Values" board. I am letting her pick the order of what we discuss and she picked Psalm 121 first. Tonight we had a great time of getting in God's word, along with high-fives, laughter, and extreme hoop shots of our own while "casting our cares."  :] My girl beat me by 1 shot...but I did have a classic trick shot which bounced off of the Sunny cat's head and into the basket.  ha! 
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PSALM 121  – God leads our home and we can turn to the bible for wisdom, encouragement, strength...

*NLT 2 Timothy 3:16 - All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

*Psalm 121 – one of the scriptures I pray over you.
According to this scripture, who helps us? What part of this is most encouraging?

*1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.”

*Activity! -Take 5 large pieces of paper and on each one write down something you feel anxious [worried, concerned] about lately (examples, school, work…)

  • Next watch extreme trick shots video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8yZsa6wFEw
  • Our turn! Now we are going to practice ‘casting our cares’ by wading up our worries and shooting them like a basketball into the trash basket.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Near God's Altar



recent doodle

Life with my new daughter has been going so well. It's not all smooth sailing but that's to be expected when you toss two women together in a household. Especially, when one woman is kind of set in her ways and the other young lady happens to be a teen! ha. We had a week full of appointments and fun, movies and rest, crafts and small adventures. This week we are beginning to really get into more of a normal routine since she is attending a teen leadership camp and I've gone back to work.

One thing I knew I would need is something to help me stay focused during my times with God. Honestly, it's been a challenge for me to keep my mind on anything else besides my daughter. I had been reading through some of the Psalms and in Matthew plus zen-doodling to help my mind relax but for this week ahead, I knew I'd need more. So of course, I bought a new devotional book!! *smile*


The author relates her personal story (she's a single mom thru divorce), she shares scriptures & quotes, some thoughts to reflect on and some thoughts on how to keep your children "near the altar of God" too. She writes that Psalm 84:3 first encouraged her to search for ways to bring her children near God's altar. "Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God!"

After I read today's chapter, I went 'hunting' on the internet for more thoughts about the altars of God. I found this additional lesson online that I really like so I wanted to share it. Below this brief lesson is a picture of a devotional book I'm reading...just in case you are a single mom who wants encouragement or if you know a single mom who might like it. :) 
Enjoy!!

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Build an Altar by Sharon Elliott - found at http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/Devotions/elliottsharon_altar.aspx         
       
During King David’s reign, the tabernacle (the movable tent) that Moses had made was erected at the high place in Gibeon. This tabernacle represented the presence of God among the people.

At one particular time when David sinned, he needed a more immediate and convenient altar, so God sent him to a guy named Ornan and told David to build on Ornan’s threshing floor. 1 Chronicles 21:26 says,

“And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering.”

Thanks to Jesus, the sacrificial system is out, the need to go through Levitical priests to get to God is out, and the need to stand before a particular altar whenever I pray is out. However, even though all those things are out, the spirit of each part of David’s worship is still necessary today.

You see, my body is now the temple. I Corinthians 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit...?"

It is my responsibility to build an altar to the Lord in my heart, maintain it, and visit it frequently. I take my sin, sorrow, faults, and failings to God at this altar and offer them as I would a burnt offering, letting God’s fire consume them and reprove me. I take my confidences, joys, and praise as peace offerings, willingly sharing them with my Master and continually submitting them to Him. I call on the Lord at my altar, discussing my requests and desires with Him, and seeking His face concerning them.

Finally, it is at the altar where God answers from Heaven by fire. Since my body is the temple, I can never leave my altar. As I maintain altar-consciousness and listen for God’s voice, I will hear Him speak through His Word, through other Christian brothers and sisters, and even through observations of nature, which after all is the work of His hands.

Consider these two verses:

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."  2 Corinthians 6:16(NIV)

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)

I encourage you today to become altar-conscious. If you’re just starting out, build your heart’s altar to the Lord by making a determination to spend daily time with Him. You may have to repair your neglected altar. That’s all right; just do it and take up where you left off. If you already spend regular times with God, keep it up. Whatever the case, it’s a joy to know that God eagerly desires to spend time with us.
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Here's the book I'm reading!