Best Thing You Can Do for Your Kids in 2017

It matters not if your kids are 3, 9, 15, or 26. It matters not if you are the mother, father, grandparent, or foster parent. It isn’t starting a college fund, or reading more, or even spending more time with them – all of these things are good, but not the best.  The number one thing you can do for your kids in 2017 is draw near to God.

holding-hands

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

imitation-6When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – God enables you to make better decisions.

Parenting is a serious of questions. Should I give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home? What do I do when my toddler throws a fit in the store? What do I do when my child is bullied? Should we allow our child to date – ever? How will we ever fund college? How do I relate to my adult child? Those are the important questions – then there are the day to day ones you don’t want to admit you ask – Will eating boogers harm my child? How many days in a row can my child wear his superhero shirt before a well meaning philanthropist gives me a bag of hand-me-down clothes? Why do I feel more like a stalker than a parent while chaperoning a date?

Got questions? God has answers. He will lead you every step of the way as you parent your kiddos.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” and James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Couple that with Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Draw near to God and He will guide you and give you wisdom.

mother-daughter-1

When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – you will be a better parent. Another verse that says much the same thing as “draw near to God” is John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” When we draw near to God, abide in Him – we bear fruit. Galatians 5:22 -23 tells us what the fruit we bear looks like, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Notice: 1) The fruit is singular – they are not individual character traits. 2) The fruit is a result and not a goal. We should not try to be more loving, have more joy, learn patience – etc. Instead, we should abide in the vine and the result will be the Holy Spirit living in us – which appears as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to the outside world. 3) The fruit is not for us. Fruit which hangs on the tree too long rots. Fruit is meant so others can be nourished by it and enjoy its sweet taste. Draw near to God and the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in your life that your children will taste and see that God is good. (Psalm 34:8)


father-son-2When you draw near to God and He draws near to you – you will be worthy of imitation.
87% of youth raised in church walk away from the church and from their faith in college and most do not come back. The 13% who stayed strong in their faith all reported having at least one adult – usually a parent – who demonstrated a close relationship with the Lord and discipled them to do likewise.

In The Education of a Child, Rudolf Steiner states, “Most people would ask how a child should behave, but …adults should learn how to behave in front of children, even in words, attitudes, and thoughts. . We must have and live the thoughts that we feel could and should live in the child.”

The apostle Paul  believed in the importance of Imitation as well. He wrote in I Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

If we want our kids to draw near to God, we must do so first.

The best thing you can do this year for your kids is to put God first yourself. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you – in 2017.

 

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I lay my Idols, my Children, at Your Feet

“I’m a Homeschool Mom.” That’s my normal response when ask to tell about myself.

“My kids mean more to me than anything.” I’ve found myself saying this time and time again.

“Look at me. I’m a great Mom.” This is the one I’d never say out loud – but it’s always in the back of my mind.
Idol 9

About a year ago, God convicted me that my children had become my idols.  John Piper defines an idol as “the thing loved or the person loved more than God, wanted more than God, desired more than God, treasured more than God, enjoyed more than God.” I’m a Christian, so I would never outwardly admit that my kids came before God. In fact, I didn’t even realize it on an intellectual level. But the Holy Spirit convicted me that I had done just that.

My Identity

I’m Mom. That’s who I am.

NO! A hundred times NO!

Being a mom is what I do, my position in life – not my identity. God revealed to me that my identity lies in Christ, and in who God says I am – not in the fact that I am a mom.

I am God’s creation – His masterpiece:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Ps 139:14

I am the adopted daughter of the King of Kings:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption as daughters (to sonship). And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Rom. 8:1 

I am a disciple of Christ:

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Idols 4My identity lies in God and He graciously has given me children to minister to. But, how do I carry that out?

1) Repeat of the stinkin’ thinkin’.

2) Keeping the thought in the front of my mind. Whenever the thought pops into my head, “I am Mom”– I replace that thought with a Bible verse about who I really am. “I am a disciple of Christ.”  Hopefully soon, I will start thinking the truth instead of having to replace the lie.

2) I serve my kids for the purpose of fulfilling God’s desire for my life.

Let’s look at some of the same verses again – but highlight a different part:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10

God created me to be a mom. I know this because He gave me kids. This is the job He has for me to do.  And being a mom is a good job – it is good works. But it is still my work and not my identity.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

I must read and obey (abide) in God’s Word. God promises He will hold me in His arms and He will lead me as I lead my children. I believe He does that mainly through the words of scripture. So as I read the Bible, I am learning how to be the parents He created and planned for me to be.

3) I must choose my words more carefully when asked to tell about myself. Instead of saying, “I am a homeschool mom.” I could say. “I homeschool my kids.” I don’t know – what are your thoughts on this one?

My Self-Worth

I am now going to admit to you what I believe most mom’s feel, but no one wants to say out loud: my self-worth is wrapped up in how my children behave. If my kids are polite, intelligent, talented, and charming, then I am a good mom – I am a good person – I have done something right. On the other hand, when my toddler throws a fit in the grocery store, or my teen starts smoking– I am a bad mom – I am a bad person – I am a failure. And let’s be honest, as homeschoolers we have even more pressure because we can’t blame our kid’s bad behavior on their peers or the school system. I think we feel this shame even more because we are our children’s greatest influence.

Can we all admit, when we take a minute to think about it – my self-worth is an awfully big burden for a 3, 10 or 17 year old to carry? God has bigger shoulders – my worth is better resting on them. He says:

I am precious and worthy of being loved:

You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, Is. 43:4a

I am God’s holy possession – His treasure, His crown:

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession. Deut. 14:2

You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem (crown) in the hand of your God. Is 62:3 NASB

God takes delight in me (that means He likes me – even when my kids are acting up!):

For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.  Psalm 149:4

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.  Psalm 147:11

My worth does not depend on my children’s behavior. FREEDOM!

Idols 3So how then should I act?

1) Repent.

2) Replace the stinkin’ thinkin’ in my mind. Memorize at least one of these verses and tell myself it whenever the old dude in the cowboy hat says something like, “If that was my kid I’d take him out back and beat the tar out of ‘em.” Grow a tougher skin and ask God to allow me to display the fruit of the Spirit both to my child and to those who judge me because of my child.

3) Don’t act, react, or punish because of what others around me think I should do – or what I think they think I should do. Ask God for a double dose of wisdom whenever dealing with behavior challenges in public. Parent as God parents me.

I need to love my kids – even when they are acting unlovable:

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13: 4 – 5

  • I will be patient with my child
  • I will be kind to my child
  • I will not shame, humiliate, belittle or dishonor my child
  • I will not act because of how I want others to view me as a parent, but will do what is best for my child
  • I will not become easily angered – I will realize my child has childish behavior because she is a child
  • I won’t bring up the last time she acted up – it has already been dealt with and is in the past

idols 6I have a five year old who has melt-downs in public. Sometimes these meltdowns last for a long time. We have even been kicked out of a restaurant. People often excuse this behavior in 2 or 3 year old – but now she’s five, and tall at that. I feel the stares. I hear the ugly comments people make under their breath. I am embarrassed. People don’t realize she has special needs and sensory issues – they only see the surface behavior.

I am learning to – ignore those around me and focus on my daughter. I take a deep breath and stay calm, even when my stomach is in knots and I feel like throwing up.  I force myself to speak calmly and quietly – which is against my nature at such a time.  But it sometimes helps her to control her emotions. I’ve found that if I get upset, yell, or spank she becomes more uncontrollable. If the situation demands it, I remove her from the public’s eye and give her a safe place to melt down. I have left $300 worth of groceries in a cart to take her to the car – only to have to come back and re-shop at a later time. I believe this has helped Rose. It has also helped me by removing me from staring eyes.

4) I remind myself that God gave me this daughter, and He will give me everything I need to take care of her. He has also shown me His love in the midst of trauma, and I am no longer dependent on others to confirm my worth as a mother or as a person.

My Pride

This is the hardest for me to talk about, because this is my Achilles heel of parenting – and sin. I have an innate desire for recognition. I want others to see what a good parent I am.

My older kids are amazing. They love God. They love others. They do amazing things. I want others to recognize that they are that way because I was an awesome parent. I homeschooled them. I taught them about Jesus.

I adopted two hard to place children – one teenager and one medical/special needs infant. I love it when people tell me I’m a saint. I crave the attention I get when I tell people about all their trauma and people gush at me for being a good mom.

Holy Spirit revealed to me that I have the same sin as Satan! Yes, you heard me right.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!” You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  Isaiah 14:12-14

I wanted people to see me. I wanted to receive the glory that is due only to God and God alone. God gave me children – both by birth and adoption. He made them how they are. They are His, not mine. He simply entrusted me with the task of loving, nurturing, teaching, and training them up. He made them. He gave them their talents and abilities. By grace He called them. He died for them. He saved them. He is using them as they follow Him. To God be the glory – not me. I know many wonderful Christian parents – homeschool parents – whose grown kids are not following after God. It is only by God’s grace that mine are – not because of me.

So how am I living differently now?

1) I repented. I literally fell to the ground and wept over the depravity of my sin. The worst sin there is: the sin of wanting to make myself known and praised – rather than parenting to make God known and praised. God forgave me and gave me a new direction.

idols 1

2) I stopped playing the one-upmanship game. I’ve gotten caught up in the “my kid is smarter” “my kid is more talented” or my personal favorite “my kid loves God more because they’ve memorized more scripture and has been on more mission trips.” Sometimes the game even looks like this, “My kid is a worse nightmare than yours,” (which somehow translates into me thinking I’m a better parent because I have to deal with more crap.) This game swells my head and feeds my pride. When the game starts, I shut my mouth. I’ve failed and opened it – but it’s getting better with practice. I think about encouraging the other moms rather than competing with them.

3) I take my thoughts captive. When I start thinking,”I hope __________ sees what a great parent I am.” I repent again. I ask myself, “How can I use this situation to point ______________to God?”

4) I am more open to learning from others. Everyone has a story and something to teach me. I do not always have to be the teacher. I do not always have to have the last say. I am not the ultimate authority on how to raise godly kids.

5) I pray and thank God constantly for allowing me to parent my particular children. Giving thanks helps me stay focused on the fact that God is in control and deserves the praise and I do not.

6) I pray for humility. The sanguine side of me may always struggle with pride. But the Holy Spirit living in me can overcome my earthly nature.

I want desperately to be used of God – both as a godly parent, and as an example to others of a godly parent. I want to be able to say as Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  I want to point others to God through my parenting.

God is doing a mighty work in me. I have turned my idols – my children – over to God, and He graciously allows me to serve them. May He always be glorified in my doing so.


idols 22

Illustrations from Books by Gelett Burgess:

Goops and How to Be Them

More Goops and How Not to Be Them: A Manual of Manners for Impolite Infants

The Goop Directory of Juvenile Offenders Famous for their Misdeeds and serving as a Salutary Example for all Virtuous Children

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=goops&go=Go

Psalm 2

“Most Christians salute the sovereignty of God but believe in the sovereignty of man.”

― R.C. Sproul (and God laughs – Joyce Pinero)

Read Psalm 2

Pss 2.1What’s it say?
List everything you learn about God:

What’s it say about me?List everything it say about who we are as God’s followers. What we should do.

What’s it mean?

There are two verses in this Psalm  I’d like to look closer at: Psalm 2:4 and Psalm 2:12

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision. (2:4)

I love the concept that God sits in heaven and laughs. But what is He laughing at?

God is laughing at what happened in verses 1 – 3. God is laughing, mocking (thus the word derision) the fact that people think they are in charge. God is in control. We are nothing but His creation. He holds the world in His hands and sustains it. He gives each person the ability to breath and live each day. The concept of earthy man being in control and being able to break bonds which God has created is laughable, thus God laughs at man’s stupidity.

Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (2:12)

Since this was the verse that popped out at me first, I originally studied it first. I looked up ancient Hebrew cultural practices of kissing. Basically, there are two reasons for kisses – intimacy and to pay homage to one in authority.

Although a case can be made that we should have an intimate relationship with The Son, looking at the verse in context the meaning is to pay homage to.

The entire Psalm focuses on the Kingship and authority of God. He is in control; man is not.

In verse 2 God laughs at those who think they are in control, in verse 12 God goes even further to say that those who do not pay homage to, recognize, bow down and worship Him will perish from His anger and wrath.

What’s it got to do with me?

Do you believe God is in control?

Are you acting on the belief that God is in control, or are you trying to control things yourself?

Are you bowing down and “kissing the Son” in homage to His Lordship?

Is God the Lord of your life, and not just someone who created the world and then sits back and watches from afar?

What specific issues in your life do you need to turn over to God and give Him control?

Children’s Lesson

Print a picture of someone kissing (I used Cinderella and Prince Charming)

Read Psalm 2.

ps 2Who do you kiss? (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.)

Why do we kiss? (We love someone)

The Bible says to “kiss the son” – we do that because we love Him, but we do it for another reason too.

If you lived in olden times, when there were kings and queens, you would have bowed down and kissed the hand or ring of the king to show the king that you would do whatever he wanted. He in turn would protect you.

Let’s pretend to be Kings or Queens and subjects. You be the Queen first. Bow down and kiss your daughters hand. Now switch roles.

In this verse – we are told to kiss the Son because God is the King. He is in control. We kiss Him to tell Him we know He’s in control. And He will protect us.

Humpty Dumpty

Sometimes I feel like Humpty-Dumpty
Sitting upon the narrow wall, smiling –
as if I hadn’t a care in the world–
But don’t be fooled by my facade

 

Because inside, I’m scared I’m going to fall
and crumble into pieces that no one will be able to put together again.
Outside I look whole – but inside I’m coming undone. What can I do?
The the Word of the Lord came to me saying:
I know your hurts. I have collected all your tears in a bottle. (Ps 56:8)
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God! (Ps 43:5)

He sends forth His word and heals me. (Ps 107:20)
O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me. (Ps 30:2) 

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Is 53:4 – 5)
He picked up all the pieces and put me back together again.
He not only heals my wounds, but renews my joy.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).(John 10:10)

 

Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39)
Nail scared hand and feet, remained on Jesus’ perfected resurrected body – so people would see and believe. Likewise, I pray that as he heals my wounds, He leaves scares – so others can see God’s healing power and believe in the God who is my Counselor, my Abba Father, my Comforter, and my Healer.

 

The Hardest Commission

I was feeling guilty – something I have an amazing talent and experience doing. The pastor was speaking on Acts 1:8. “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

I have never been on a mission trip. I have never gone to the ends of the earth or even around the State or US to minister. I’ve sent 3 out of 4 of my children on mission trips, I have sent my husband on mission trips, but I have never gone. Furthermore, I haven’t worked in my church home for the last couple of years.I have simply been overwhelmed with daily life and unable to preach and teach and “go.” I was feeling guilty because I’ve never fulfilled the great commission.

Or am I? Wow I have – I have been called to the hardest commission of all. God has commissioned me to be a witness within my own home. He has called me first and foremost to be a witness to the biological children he has given me. Then he has asked me to open my home and invite non-christian kids to live with us, through foster care. And finally he has asked me to add to our home through adoption. Ministry at home is the most difficult of all.



Why?
1) Because I can’t hide behind a happy face.
How many times have I gotten in a huge fight with my husband on the way to church, only to put on a happy face and walk through the church doors and tell 1st Graders how Jesus loves them.
My kids saw my bad attitude in the car – I can’t hide behind my smile.


2) Because it is a 24/7 ministry.
I don’t get to go on furlough from the mission field. I can’t take a sabbatical. I can’t go on vacation and leave my ministry behind for a week or two. My mission field is watching me day and night.






3) Because I can’t fake a Christian life
My kids see me at my worst. Believe me, I often treat strangers with more patience and love than I do my kids. If my kids, both temporary and permanent ones, are to see Christ in me, that means I must live out my faith moment by moment. They see the Mt Sinai moments, when I am wrapped in God’s glory; they see the moments I grumble and complain over the manna He has provided; they see me when I weep over trivial things in life, like a worm eating my ivy, yet I am judgemental and don’t weep over the spiritual death of those around me.

4) Because Jesus himself says it is the hardest ministry
Jesus preached in his hometown. His friends and family pretty much said, “ Who is this dude, that he knows this stuff?” After all, they had seen Jesus grow up, seen him skin his knees, and hit his thumb with a hammer.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” (Matt 13:57)

The great commision, once again is
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Why do all the sermons focus on the going to Africa or the Amazon? The first place to witness is in my hometown – and even in my family. But
Jesus had a hard time getting through to his household, and he was perfect, how on earth can I do it?



Before I witness, I receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus himself states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)

Sometimes I wish God would send me to some remote location, where I can have a mountaintop experience and put on a happy face when I witness to others. Instead, He’s commissioned me to love sometimes unloveable children, and to live under a microscope where little eyes examining my life to see if it resembles Christ – day in and day out.

I can’t do it – Thank you Lord that I don’t have to, but the Holy Spirit can do so through me.

Unwanted Masterpieces

Unwanted. Sold for $45 at a garage sale. Stashed under a pool table. Unseen by society. Just an old box of photos.
The photos are meaningless, except for the photographer: Ansel Adams. Now their estimated worth is over $200 million.
Unwanted, undersold, thrown aside, forgotten, yet unfathomably valued and worthy of respect: Unwanted Masterpieces

I once taught a Bible study for a group of teens who lived in a group home. We were studying the value of life and why abortion was wrong, when a sweet 13 year old girl with creamy chocolate skin and a beautiful face of innocence said, “I wish I had been aborted.” In shock, I replied, “How can you say something like that?” Trying to stop her watery pupils from leaking, she replied,”No one has ever wanted me.” And, she was right.

50,000 children waiting to be adopted
400,000 more children in need of foster care
15,000 Children – per year- aging out of the system without a family
The population of children in substitute care is growing 33 times faster than the U.S. child population in general (1)

“Unadoptable children”
6 year old or older and white
2 years old or older and not white
Siblings
Children with physical, mental or emotional challenges (2)

“Caseworkers have been forced to keep children in the CPS offices overnight. Some offices have cots and play pens to provide the children coming into care a safe place to stay the night, in the hopes that a placement will be found for them the following day. The reality is that placement is not found the following day for a number of these children and will return to live in a CPS office for another night.” (3)

Unwanted. Stashed in group homes. Unseen by society. Just a gaggle of “unadoptable” children.
They are meaningless, except to their Creator: God. Their estimated worth is Jesus life. Yet they may never know this.
Unwanted, undersold, thrown aside, forgotten, yet unfathomably valued and worthy of respect. Unwanted Masterpieces
You say abortion is wrong? How will you let the unaborted yet unwanted children know?

(1) Craig,Conna, Director, Institute For Children, Hoover Institute Stanford University.
(2) Texas Adoption Resource Exchange
(3) http://foster-care.adoptionblogs.com/weblogs/texas-foster-care-scrambling-to-place-ch

Why isn’t the Church?

The wailing mother screams at God for taking her son all too early. Why isn’t the church offering the Eternal Comforter?

The twin brother throws himself on the casket. If faith, hope and love remain, why isn’t the church offering them?

One by one the sorrowful teens tell stories of despair and abandonment. They’re happy to receive temporary lodging, but why isn’t the church offering an eternal home?

The mourners drowned their sorrows in alcohol and drugs. Why isn’t the church offering living water?

We live in fear.

We fear we may get hurt if we step to close to the hurting.

We are sequestered in our pews, fearing the sick may contaminate us.

We clasp our hands in prayer, and raise our hands in praise, yet fear lending a helping hand because we may get our hands dirty.

We fear helping – or worse yet, we’ve moved so far away from the reality around us that we don’t get close enough to the need to know there is one.

My Chains are Gone

“My chains are gone

I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace”

Chris Tomlin

At the final CPS home study before adoption, the caseworker asked Mandy, “Why do you want to be adopted?”
Her response? “So I no longer have to see you.”

Mean? Not at all. She’s chained down. Chained to CPS. They’ve investigated her past, they get reports on her present, and control her future. They dictate where she lives, how many clothes she has to have hanging in her closet, the types of friends she can have, the amount of contact she has with her family, and whether or not she can even cut her hair. The chains tighten around her, strangling her joy, and inhibiting her from becoming the person God created her to be.


Friday is “The Presentation.” CPS discloses all information they have on Mandy, and we sign that we accept her and will love her, even after knowing all. Our signiture defeats the CPS monster that binds our daughter.

CPS chains Mandy, enslaving her to a legal system void of grace
Sin enslaves us to the law, we are bound by Satan, and encumbered by our own sinful nature

“you used to be slaves to sin” Romans 6: 17

“The Presentation” discloses Mandy’s past

Every sin we have committed or ever will commit is laid before Christ
“You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you.” Ps. 69:5

We can choose to sign or reject Mandy because of the tablet written against her, Mandy is powerless
Christ chose to accept us despite our offenses, we are powerless

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5: 6 – 8

Mandy’s chains are gone (Friday, April 30)
Our chains are gone

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” Gal 5:1

“My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace”

Unconditional Love

Getting rid of half your clothes so someone else can have half the closet space.
Sharing your mom and your dad with a stranger – and having them get more attention than yourself.
Sharing your room.
Not getting angry or crying when your new Wii, the only gift you got for Christmas and your birthday gets ruined – and never hearing an apology.
Having your beautiful pink suit jacket, which you saved up your own money to buy and which is dry clean only, shrunk and responding by saying thank you because you knew how much pride the person who thew it in the washer and dryer had.
Telling jokes to make your parents smile when all they want to do is cry.
Watching your dad break down a door to witness your sister trying to kill herself – and not telling all your friends about it because you don’t want to humiliate her.
Spending two days and a year’s worth of haircuts for yourself to give your daughter hair extensions so she will feel beautiful.
Taking a complaining, disappearing child to Sea World.
Buying your daughter contacts for a year, out of your own pocket money – not medicaid – when you know she’ll be leaving your home in a week – just so she leaves with convidence.
Sitting on gravel, in a skirt, holding a 220 pound child who is biting and head butting – so that she can’t hurt herself.
Making a birthday cake.
Tucking in a child.
Picking up a teen at a friends house at 2am after she has snuck out of the house – when she tells you to send her away – you hug her, tell her you love her, and you’ll get through it together.
Loosing your heart and having your integrity questioned.
Going out of your way and doing everything which is humanly possible to make a child happy – and never being thanked.
Setting boundaries and being told you’re hated.
Going out of your way to be kind to someone who resents and degrades you.
Loosing sleep because of fear for your daughter’s safety, and because of depression, and stress, and crying out to God for help.
Going to Disney World.
Wanting despertly to take all the pain of someone else upon yourself.
Falling in love and losing the person – physically and/or emotionally.
Not being understood, or liked, or respected.
Doing what is right even when it is being called into question.
Doing everything you can to make someone happy and have them run to someone else.
Having your heart split in two and still being willing to give it away again.
Unconditional love?
Being spit at, humiliated, beaten, and killed for someone else’s crime.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – I John 4:10
Unconditional love?
This is love: not that they love us, but that we love them and sacrifice our time and wants and desires so they can live a life that glorifies God.

Boundaries

If you had a puppy and you loved her – would you fense her in or allow her to run in the road and get hit by a car?
If you had a child and you loved her – would you set rules or allow her to make bad decisions and harm herself?
If you were God, and you loved your children – would you give commandments – or would you allow you children to do whatever they wanted and end up in eternal damnation?