How to Talk to Your Kids About Childhood Sexual Abuse – part 1 (guest post)

It's often in the news these days, and Intentional Parenting means we get
real with our kids about it (even though it's often uncomfortable). I'm so
thankful for this month's guest! Lyneta not only grounds the issue of
childhood sexual abuse in scripture but also offers practical advice for 
helping our kids be strong. Read more about Lyneta and connect with her at 
the bottom of the post.

Early in the history of man, the beautiful way God created for husband and wife to connect in intimacy got twisted into something harmful. Ever since, the enemy has been able to use even a few minutes of inappropriate sexual contact to do significant, long-term damage to the innermost spirit of any person.

Apparently, he employs this tactic often. In the United States, 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys are molested or assaulted by an adult by the time they’re 18. Continue reading “How to Talk to Your Kids About Childhood Sexual Abuse – part 1 (guest post)”

What is Intentional Parenting? (Guest Post)

Oh, friends, you are in for a treat today as my wonderful friend and fellow Oswald
Chambers devotee, Mary Felkins, reflects on intentional parenting! I love her 
transparency and that little bit of sas...but you'll see. Let's just let her talk. 
Then you can read more about Mary at the end of the post.

“Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

He (Peter) said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said,  “Feed my sheep.” -John 21:17

parenting pine cone“But Mom, I meant to.”

Believe me, that’s not the worst I’ve heard from any of my four kids, it’s just that this one particularly sandpapers my soul. Maybe because it sounds like code for, “I really didn’t give a rip.”

If they were ever to come home from a long day at school and find no food in the house, it wouldn’t go over well for me to say, “I meant to go to the grocery store, but, well, other things mattered more, kid.”

When I’m intentional about a matter, it gets done. I place my energy and attention on it, part the waters, and make it happen. To be intentional about a matter as it relates to my children means…

  • I must shuffle my priorities in order to invest in them, always keeping His purpose for them in mind, not what I hope they’ll become.
  • I must partner with God and pray for teachable moments.
  • I must place them on my radar.
  • I must reject the notion that my job is done when they reach a particular age, somehow believing that it’s okay to let things happen however they will once their training wheels are off and they begin to ride around on their own.

Intentional parenting means I need to make the children God has entrusted me with matter more than all that may be good in the moment and, instead, offer them the best.

When my daughter lugs her backpack into the car after school and climbs inside, I choose to be intentional and ask – with a smile – some kind of leading, non-threatening question.

“Can you tell me something good?”

I may get a non-answer. More often a connection is made and I get something good. It creates a safe place for her to share, and it softens the soil of her heart should the need for correction arise.

God certainly knows intentional parenting. He divinely purposed to be my Father and that I be His child. There’s nothing haphazard or random here. Similarly, He purposed that I be my child’s parent so that I may, in turn, be intentional and teach them about Him.

God purposed that I be my child’s parent so that I may, in turn, be intentional and teach them about Him. (click to tweet)

As my children have entered adolescent years, I’ve had to do less for them (can I get an ‘amen’?), but it hasn’t meant to teach less, to model less, or to neglect teachable moments in exchange for letting them fumble through on their own in order to see how my years of investment plays out before they leave home. They are still students beneath my roof.

However, there is a point beyond which a parent can become, well, too intentional.

There is a dreadful word tossed around like a hot potato at support group meetings and parenting Sunday school classes. It’s… enabling.

In my intent to teach, to instruct, to become involved and connect, it’s necessary to ask, Am I elbowing into my children’s hard places to ease their suffering? If so, that’s enabling and it produces a self-centered child who will grow to become a miserable adult.

It’s likely that the circumstances they face were engineered by the Lord to teach them, create a dependency on Him for all things. Maybe the Lord begs that I become quiet in order for my children to hear His voice. So, shhhhhh.

There are also moments – even seasons – when the Lord has simply invited me to serve them. With intention.

When one of my two sons texted: “Will you please scramble some eggs with grated cheese, chopped ham and fresh torn spinach?” (a pretty particular kinda guy, bent on eating well), at first I cringed and thought, “Now why can’t he get down here and do that himself?” The answer? He could. But in that moment, the Lord said, “Feed my sheep. Serve your son. He’s upstairs studying as he should.”

I’d like to think that morning’s intentional parenting moment was successful because several weeks later I heard the clink and clatter of dishes and flatware in the kitchen. He’d chosen to empty the dishwasher. Without being asked.

Basically, he gave a rip.

You can be sure I plucked a piece of “intentional parenting” fruit from that tree. Because years of, “Kid, I meant to” won’t taste so good once they’ve left the nest.

“So you love Me, Peter? Be intentional. Feed My sheep.”

 

Mary FelkinsMary Albers Felkins writes contemporary Christian romance. She considers scripture the most alluring romance ever written. She is a feature writer for Sophie Woman’s Magazine (www.sophiewomansmagazine.com) and for Polished Conference LLC (http://www.polishedconference.com/magazine.html), a ministry to teen girls and moms. She is married to Bruce Felkins. They have four arrows in their quiver, Anthony, Alexandra, Jonathan, and Caroline, as well as Dottie, a smooth-haired Fox Terrier and most faithful friend.

Upcoming…

Call To Love (working title). A self-reliant ER nurse has to choose between leaving her hometown to pursue a dream job and staying to help support her widowed mother’s struggling ministry. Even if it means facing the risk of falling in love with the kind of man she said she’d never marry.

And when two crisis-driven careers collide, who will be the first to answer the call to love?

For stories that stir the soul, visit Mary’s website www.maryfelkins.com

Connect via FB, Twitter @MaryAFelkins, Pinterest

Email: maryfelkins@charter.net

 

Content and Context (part 10) – General Letters and Revelation

This is it! The end of the series. For me, it has been a labor of love. Just the other day, I realized that I was applying something from this series in a conversation with my husband. What is more, I read and/or skimmed the entire Bible in the last five months! That’s invaluable.

Sometimes I think about Athanasius, when he compiled that list of God-inspired books which eventually became our New Testament. It seems like he got through Paul’s letters, and he knew Revelation should be last, but he had some leftover letters that didn’t fit into any other category. So we have this ‘Miscellaneous’ group of books—all epistles (a.k.a. letters)—by various authors to various groups before we conclude with the Revelation of John, which is also a letter, by the way (Revelation 1:4).

GENERAL LETTERS

Hebrews

  • About: supremacy of Christ, encouraging Christians
  • Everything that God established before Jesus points to Jesus as the Final Answer.
  • Big stories: Jesus as High Priest, Hall of Fame of Faith, cloud of witnesses
  • Author: unknown (a man, not Paul and not anyone who knew Jesus directly)
  • Time: before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD
  • “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3

James

  • About: practical applications of faith in Christ
  • God designed our faith to be lived out in community and in the world.
  • Big stories: perseverance in trials, taming the tongue, faith v/s deeds
  • Author: James (probably the brother of Jesus)
  • Time: before 50AD or in the early 60s
  • “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” James 2:24

1 Peter

  • About: perseverance under persecution from outside the church
  • God calls us to continue in holy living regardless of our circumstances.
  • Big stories: royal priesthood, Jesus as cornerstone, women’s beauty, suffering for faith, devil is a lion
  • Author: Peter, the Apostle
  • Time: 60-64AD
  • “And the God of all grace, who called you to this eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

2 Peter

  • About: standing up to false teachers and other problems within the church
  • God purifies his church, making it ready for Jesus’ return.
  • Big stories: destruction of false teachers, God’s patience with humanity
  • Author: Peter, the Apostle
  • Time: 65-68AD, toward the end of Peter’s life
  • “Dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17-18a

1 John

  • About: identifying false teachers, assuring salvation, God’s love
  • God’s love is active and distinguishes believers from the world.
  • Big stories: light & dark, sinfulness in the believer’s life, God is love
  • Author: John, the Apostle
  • Time: 85-95AD
  • “If anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:5-6

2 John

  • About: loving others, rejecting false teachers
  • God shows us how to love and how to discern truth from deception.
  • Big stories: “walk in love,” don’t assist false teachers
  • Author: John, the Apostle
  • Time: 85-95AD
  • “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 6

3 John

  • About: hospitality for God’s messengers
  • God’s children must take care of each other.
  • Big stories: John’s condemnation of a harsh church leader and commendation of another leader
  • Author: John, the Apostle
  • Time: 85-95AD
  • “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” 3 John 11

Jude

  • About: counteracting false teachers
  • God always knows the true believers from the false.
  • Big stories: ungodly people punished (lots of nice imagery)
  • Author: Jude/Judas (probably the brother of Jesus)
  • Time: 65-80AD
  • “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude 20-21

Revelation

  • About: faithfulness through persecution, Christ’s ultimate victory
  • God’s victory is sure, and all believers will join Him in it.
  • Big stories: letters to 7 churches, visions of Heaven, fall of Babylon & rise of New Jerusalem, final judgment
  • Author: John, the Apostle
  • Time: 95AD
  • “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:5b-6