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April 22, 2014

Up Your Cool Factor with Your Kids Today

 

 

 

 

Cool is not a word that accurately describes me, especially as a parent. I’m not into pop culture or the last lingo. The kids help me manage my technology. I’m still pretty sure cookies are a sweet treat, but apparently they’re part of my computer as well. The thing is—I don’t care if I’m not cool or technological and I will always like my cookies with chocolate chips.

But this kind of cool is not the kind of cool parent I’m talking about today. I’m talking about being the parent who knows how to stay relevant in their kids’ lives. Parents tend to make the same mistakes that sabotage relationship with their kids. Let’s talk practical application—things you can do (or not do) today that will up your cool factor with your kids.

Do no under any circumstances—

~Take the Bait. Our kids know how to push our buttons like none other. Be honest—we do the same to them. But today, don’t. Overlook the little things that aggravate you and easily turn into an argument.

~Say, “I told you so.” No one likes to hear these words—ever—and especially our kids. They are trying to figure out their lives with their limited reasoning resources and wisdom. The last thing they need from us is to be reminded that once more they were wrong and we were right.

 

As often as possible—

~Be involved and interested in your kid’s life. Ask about their friends and expression sincere concern. Ask the question your child wants to answer. Ask about their passion, what sparks the light in their eyes, their plans for the future. Then listen, giving them your undivided attention. Offer to help—not overreaching, but actual help. Send or give notes of encouragement. Our girls love getting Starbucks gift cards in a note of encouragement.

~Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. Encourage your child’s good choices. Tell them you believe in them. Your support and encouragement means the world to your child. Think of how much your parents’ support would/does mean to you.

~Be the authentic. Your life should match your words. Your kids see your inconsistency and nothing turns off kids faster than hypocrisy. Let your kids know you don’t have your life altogether either. Talk about how you are in process and growing as well. Also be the real you—funny, musical, artistic, athletic, etc. Parents’ cool factor goes up when kids see their parents as people and not just parents.

I’m far from perfect, but by doing these few practical things my relationship with my kids has grown and flourished even through the rough spots.

What’s one thing you’ve done that has upped your cool factor with your kids?

 

*For more ideas on building relationship with your teen or young adult child check out Love No Matter What.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

April 16, 2014

Mom, Are You Believing the Lie “Nothing Will Ever Change”?

 

I found this picture in an ad in a magazine in the seat of an airplane. It perfectly illustrates the conversation I recently had with a couple of moms in my generation. One was an empty nester and the other a soon-to-be empty nester. We were nostalgic as we realized our mommy-ing days were over. Yes, we will always be the “Mom”, but our days of daily caring for and pouring into our kids was at their end. Our eyes moistened as we discussed the future—even though all of our kids are doing well.

Why are we that way? Why do we grieve life’s transitions? There are many reasons, but today let’s discuss one—Our busy daily lives numb us to the reality that life will change. We’re clueless to the changes happening every day so we unconsciously believe the lie that nothing will ever change. Then when life brings the inevitable change we are caught off-guard. The seemingly suddenness of the change makes us mourn the past and inevitable future.

The very thing that made us good moms—involvement in our kids’ lives—also distracts us from looking to the future and preparing for it. Life by definition is change—birth, growth, learning, training, release, and independence. As moms we often don’t look past the learning/training phase towards releasing our kids to be independent self-sufficient adults.

 Moms, here are a few ideas to help you be prepared for the day when today becomes tomorrow.

 ~Get Your Head Around the Truth—Every so often compare your kids’ earlier pictures with their current pictures. Soak in the reality that they are growing and maturing and that’s a good thing. Realize that the process will continue until one day they are on their own.

~Prepare Your Kids—Teach them life skills. Let them make mistakes. Let them make age-appropriate decisions.

~Prepare Yourself—Pray—Talk to God about where He’s taking you next. What steps is He showing you to take now?

~Do It—Even if it’s only one small step. Often in the season of intense parenting we don’t have time to add a major life change. But what is the next small step God is leaning you towards? Continuing education? Exploring small business opportunities? Adoption? I don’t know what it is for you, but God will tell you.

~Enjoy Today—Today won’t last forever so enjoy it. As the cliché states, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Yes, not everything in parenting is a big deal. Enjoy your kiddos in the midst of messy rooms, crazy outfits, and their even crazier ideas. This is precious time that will never happen again.

 I’d love to hear how you enjoy today while preparing for tomorrow.

 

*More on raising and releasing your kids in Queen Mom.

**More on becoming all created you to be in Princess Unaware.

**More on having lifelong influence in your kids’ lives even when they’re making decisions you don’t agree with in Love No Matter What.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

April 8, 2014

It’s Day Two–What Now?

 

 

It’s Day Two after the retreat I spoke at for the Family Church in Sutherlin, OR. I had a fabulous time, and from what the women shared with me, they did too. In the couple of days they were away from their regular lives they were able to hear more clearly from God. He spoke into their aching hearts truth, courage, wisdom, and what to do next. They were refreshed and looked forward to living the truths God showed them.

For me yesterday, Monday, was a day of catch up. Still kinda numb from fatigue, but doing what needed to be done. But today, Tuesday, the second day after the retreat, I got up and found the old ways trying to creep in and push out the new truths I intended to make my new reality. I wonder if some of the Family Church women experienced the same thing. The emotions have settled. We are back in the dailiness of life. Today is the day we will make the decision to keep living what we learned or we will let it slip away and be only a warm, fuzzy memory.

I’m choosing live the truths we learned. This morning in my journal I made a list of the truths we learned. I meditated on them and the corresponding Scripture. Here are a few truths we learned and a few God brought to mind this morning:

  • Life is always going to be crazy, frustrating, and hard. It’s just that way.*
  • God loves me. I can rely on that. 1 John 4:16
  • God’s love means He does His best for me, which is my best.
  • God is not holding out on me. Psalm 84:11
  • God’s timing is perfect.
  • “for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jesus’ reminder to me in John 15:5. It’s back to abiding. That’s where we really live and make a difference in our world and for the kingdom.
  • By abiding and living in Him I will have Christ’s joy to the full measure. John 15:11.
  • God and Jesus are always working in my life, even when I can’t see it and circumstances say otherwise. John 5:17

These truths are powerful for all of us—yes, even for those who were not at the retreat.

How will you live on Day Two? Will you settle back into the same routine? Or will you choose even one of these truths to meditate on and believe?

For those who were not at the retreat—what truth has God impacted you with lately or from a past conference and you haven’t made it part of your life yet? It’s Day Two what will you do with that truth today?

I’d love to hear what truth God spoke to you either last weekend or any other time that you will incorporate into your life today.

*Tim Thompson, Worship Director, Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, Bloomington, IN.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

March 3, 2014

Prepare Your Kids for Life

 

I spent last week with Katie. She’s a graduate student in Indiana. I took up residence in the living room of her tiny apartment, sleeping on an air mattress. Katie works lots of hours so I didn’t see her a lot. However, I did see more clearly into her life as a graduate student.

It’s hard. Like I said, she works a lot of hours. She deals with the expectations and demands of her teachers and the students she helps (she’s a graduate assistant). She lives alone so that means she is responsible for finding time to get groceries, run errands, etc. She has no one to share the load. Her life is harder than I imagined.

Your kids’ worlds are harder than you think, too. As parents we can’t and shouldn’t live it for them. But we can prepare them.

*Here are a few ideas you can implement whatever stage you’re in:

  • Teach your kids personal responsibility—putting away their own laundry, picking out their clothes for school, making their beds, filling in their assignment sheets. Don’t blame others for their mistakes, sins, or lack of preparation.
  • Teach your kids life skills—cooking, cleaning, managing money, simple car maintenance, personal hygiene.
  • Teach your kids social skills—looking the other person in the eyes when shaking hands. Answer questions in complete sentences. Ask others about themselves. Making their own appointments.
  • Teach your kids character—follow through with what they say they will do, tell the truth, be kind, be gracious, respect others.

Then do your part—be the parent.

  • “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” I don’t know where I heard this quote, but it’s priceless. Follow through and make sure your kids not only are doing what they should do, but make sure they understand and know how to do it.
  • Don’t do for them what they should do for themselves.
  • Check to see if homework is done and if done right.
  • Hold them responsible for their actions.
  • Be there for them—home and available.
  • Make your home a place of refuge, acceptance, and understanding.

Do all of this with lots of love, encouragement, and grace.

Katie is doing well. She has excelled in roles she did not feel qualified to do. She does her job with excellence. She continues to grow as an artist—accepted at art shows and selling her work. She has grown and succeeded in part because she had the resources to do so. No, I’m not taking any credit here. But Katie is using all of what we were taught her and then some.

Our job as parents is to equip our kids and then stand back, pray, and watch them go!

What is one thing you need to teach your child to do for himself?

Or where is one area you need to lean in and help your child learn?

 

You can read more of Katie’s story in Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With. 

 

*The level of responsibility depends on the child’s age, but I find many parents either do too much for their child or too little (with not enough teaching and follow-up).

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

February 25, 2014

The Mistake I Made Most Often in My Parenting

 

If I had to identify the mistake I made more often than any in my parenting it would be that of making mountains out of molehills. Everything was an issue with me. Why? Partly because I believed everything really was an issue. Everything could lead to something terrible happening to our girls or be the cause of them to fall away from God. Everything was a big deal to me and, if it wasn’t, I made it one.

I remember making an issue out of Katie not tucking in her top. Yes, really. One day as Katie was getting off the bus a reporter for the local paper was there and, with my permission, took her picture. He was doing a story on the new “arms” on the front of the school buses that kept kids from crossing the street until the bus driver waved them across. Her picture appeared on the front page. Of course, I had a know-it-all comment, “You see we must always look our best because we never know when people are watching”—or some such crazy control-freak comment—I can’t remember exactly. I cringe when I recall it.

You may be laughing at me and with good cause, but what tempts you to get a little crazy?

  • Your kid’s messy room?
  • Your little girl insists on wearing pink—every day?
  • Your teen’s new hair style-the one that takes a handful of pomade to reach its full height?
  • Your kids’ passion for art and total indifference to math (my Katie*)?

Maybe you get a little crazy trying to keep up with the expectations of other parents. Their kids take tumbling at age two. If yours doesn’t she will miss out on the Olympics. Their children are on a traveling soccer team at age eight. Yours spends Saturday morning drawing in his room. He’s going to miss out on a college soccer scholarship.

Or maybe you have a fear something bad will happen to your child so you are overprotective.

Anything can cause us to fear the future, to fear God won’t be there for us and our kids, and something terrible is going to happen so we must take control of our family’s life.

Actually the opposite is true. Studies show that kids and adults alike are happier and do better in life when they have a certain amount of control. Who cares if your son wears the same Cubs t-shirt to school? Is it clean? Are there any holes in it? If yes and no, then what’s the problem? It’s a phase and he’ll outgrow it. In the meantime he’s learning it’s okay to be who he is. This will help him have the confidence he’ll need later to resist doing something he doesn’t want to do, but will be pressured to do.

Yes, we want our kids to make the right choices because they love God. But knowing God is a process. We can’t expect them to make all good choices based on their relationship with God right now. Do you? Do you make all good choices because you love God? I’m sure other factors play into your decisions—how it will affect your family, health, employment, etc.

We are all in process. We need to give our kids room to be who God made them to be so they can love Him fully, know Him better, and trust Him always. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is lived out in the trial-and-error experiences of their lives. Becoming who God made them to be is part of God’s plan for them to know Him and live for Him. It’s part of their spiritual DNA.

No, I’m not saying we should be hands-off parents. But many of us need to widen our boundaries and trust God more with our kids. What are we teaching our kids about God when we’re control-freak parents or parents who live in fear? Would our kids perhaps be more cooperative if they felt they had control in other areas of their lives?

Can we give our kids the space and permission to be who God has made them to be?

 

*Katie is now a graduate student working towards her Master in Fine Arts. I guess she did need art more than math.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

February 20, 2014

Eat cake. Take a Nap. It’s in the Bible.

Take a nap and eat cake. It’s biblical.

This is the advice of my dear friend, Claudia Mitchell. She is a fellow author, counselor, and amazing woman of God. A few years ago I sat in a session where she taught on 1 Kings 19. The prophet Elijah was exhausted after a several days of intense service for God and, a threat on his life from Queen Jezebel. Elijah high-tailed it to the desert to escape. While hiding in the desert, God sent an angel to refresh Elijah with a “cake of bread” and “a jar of water.” After a nap the angel told him to eat more (I love this angel!), before he sent him on his way to meet with God. In that meeting God gave him a lengthy to-do list. Elijah needed the refreshment in order to do what God had for him next and God knew it.

Claudia taught the importance of taking a break and refreshing ourselves. There is always a next thing waiting for us with—

  • Our families
  • Work
  • Ministry
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Finances

I think as women we don’t often allow ourselves to be refreshed when God sends the opportunity. Last week I was offered the opportunity to go with Claudia on an overnight retreat with a few women from her church. Then since I will be in the same city where Katie is in grad school, I’ll spend the week with Katie and we’ll come home together on Friday.

When the opportunity was presented to me by God, I was excited but a bit hesitant. It seemed too good, too funa retreat with Claudia and the remainder of the week with Katie. What about Gene? He would be at home working away. What about my responsibilities? God assured me I needed this trip and I can keep up with school and writing on my laptop. Gene assured me he is a big guy and can take care of himself. (What a man!)

I know. If you’re the mom of small children, you may be thinking “Must be nice.” I know you’re not in the place to have a week away. But when the opportunity comes for a short break do you take it? Do you do something that refreshes you or do you fold laundry?

Could you and a trusted friend trade babysitting for an afternoon or evening? This isn’t a new idea, but it’s a good one. My youngest daughter used to babysit one day a week after school for a young mom. This gave the mom an hour or two to herself—in her room—before the evening routine started. It cost only a few dollars and she was refreshed.

Our busy, stress-filled lives require the best of us. Our efforts to do life well drain our physical resources which in turn drain our mental strength and self-control.* We need times of refreshment so we will be ready for who-knows-what is coming into our lives next.

More times than not I haven’t the opportunities for refreshment God has offered me. I hate that. It was a gift from God and I refused it. God knew what I needed but I chose to be the martyr and plow through. I don’t have a clue what’s next for me, but I’m trusting God that now is the time for a break.

When you crash who will take care of you? Of your family? Be on the lookout for opportunities for refreshment from God and take them! Like Elijah we don’t know what’s ahead, but God does. He knows we need a break.

How do you take a break? What refreshes and refuels you?

 

*Myers, David G. Psychology Ninth Edition, New York City: Worth Publishers, 2010. Print. Page 579.

 

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

February 18, 2014

One Paragraph that will Change Your Parenting

 


The following is an excerpt from the textbook we are using in my psychology class. The story moved me and encouraged me in the importance being a mom. I pray it does the same for you.

 

“Writer Calvin Trillin recalls an example of parental genuineness and acceptance at a camp for children with severe disorders, where his wife, Alice worked. L., a ‘magical child,’ had genetic diseases that meant she had to be tube-fed and could only walk with difficulty. Alice recalled,

One day, when we were playing duck-duck-goose, I was sitting behind her and she asked me to hold her mail for her while she took her turn to be chased around the circle. It took her a while to make the circuit, and I had time to see that on top of the pile [of mail] was a note from her mom. Then I did something truly awful. . .I simply had to know what this child’s parents could have done to make her so spectacular, to make her the most optimistic, most enthusiastic, most hopeful human being I had ever encountered. I snuck a quick look at the note, and my eyes fell on this sentence: ‘If God had given us all of the children in the world to choose from, L., we would only have chosen you.’ Before L. got back to her place in the circle, I showed the note to Bud, who was sitting next to me. ‘Quick. Read this,’ I whispered. ‘It’s the secret of life.’” *

What if every child believed they were this special to their parents? 

What if every child believed that since their parents were this crazy about them, isn’t God too? 

 I want my girls to know this about them. And not only that Gene and I would have chosen only them, but that God has chosen and loves them like crazy as well. It’s easy for all of us to forget.

I want to spend the rest of my days showing my girls how loved and special they are to God and Gene and me.

*Trillin, C. (2006, March 27). Alice off the page. The New Yorker, 44, quoted in

Myers, David G. Psychology Ninth Edition, New York City: Worth Publishers, 2010. Print.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

February 12, 2014

8 Ways to Find (and Be) A Good Friend

This blog originally appeared on Jill and Jeremy Tracey’s blog, upsidedownfamily.com, February 7, 2014. 

 

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.” W.H. Auden

 

I love this quote on friendship. Who doesn’t want a really good friend (s) with whom they can laugh uncontrollably?

 

I love my friends and I cherish their friendship. However, I have not always had really good friends. I went through years of not having friends. Over the past fifteen years or so, God brought women into my life that have become my grow-old-together friends.  I have made mistakes and learned a lot about how to and how not to develop really good friends. Here are a few of my most valuable lessons:

 

  • Pray. Pray for God to guide you to good friends or bring them to you.
  • Ask God to show you how to be a good friend. This will include being open to learn from your past mistakes or the mistakes of others.
  • Accept each other as Christ accepted you (Romans 15:7). Understand that we are different from each other and accept those differences. We need to agree to disagree. There is only one person Who was always right and neither of you are Him.
  • If it’s not a mutual friendship then it’s not for you. Do each of you have a mutual desire for the friendship and are you there for each other? If you don’t feel the other person is invested in the relationship as you are, take stock to see if what she contributes is okay for you. If not, move on.
  • No-Drama Mama and no gossip. Drama kills friendship. Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse person stirs up conflict.” A strong word for us. Stirring up conflict is drama. I have been caught in the drama trap on a couple of occasions and the friendships were hurt or ended. I have since committed to no more drama, no more talking about others unless it’s positive.

Proverbs 16:28 goes on to say, “and a gossip separates close friends.” Like drama, gossip also hurts friendships.

My daughter Katie and her colleague devised a plan to deal with the drama and gossip that contaminated their department. When something unfair or upsetting happens to one of them, they go to the other and vent for a few minutes. The other person empathizes, but does not contribute any negative input. Then they both go back to their work. The offended person feels heard and validated, but the drama went no further. If the situation needs to be addressed, the offended person is responsible to address it with the parties involved. As a result Katie and her colleague enjoy a more stress-free and joyful atmosphere.

  • Like-minded women who are moving forward with the Lord. Our really good friends will be women who are moving ahead with the Lord. It doesn’t mean you can’t have other friends, but the ones who will go long and deep with you will be moving forward with God. For a biblical example look at Jesus with His twelve disciples. He was even closer and more intentional with His inner circle three—Peter, James, and John.
  • Confidentiality is a non-negotiable. Really good friends don’t tell their friends’ secrets (unless, of course, the friend is in harms’ way and then they get help).
  • Let go. It may be time to let go of or at least let distance grow with friends who are no longer on the same journey as you. It’s not unChrist-like to do so. Either of both of you may need time to heal or let God to do a work in you. This doesn’t mean you’re unforgiving. And sometimes life circumstances take us different directions. That’s life and it’s okay.

 

A handful of friends and I plan on growing old together. Our friendships are not always easy but they are worth it.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

February 3, 2014

Have Lifelong Influence in Your Child’s Life

 


This is my first vlog! I’d love to hear your response and for you to share it with your friends

Parents want more than anything to have influence in their kids’ lives. However, when our kids hit the teen years it’s easy for us to believe the lie that our kids don’t want us in their lives and our time of influence is over. This is not true! Surveys consistently show that parents have the most influence in their kids lives. Let’s talk about how we can be a lifelong influencer in our kids’ lives.

 

The Gift of Availability

A year and a half ago I returned to college. I thought I would be invisible to the other students and that would have been okay. But I was the popular kid! One girl in particular who sat next to me in class chattered through much of the class. I hated to not listen, but I had to listen to the teacher to keep up in class. I actively listened to her before class as she told me about her weekend of drinking and not doing her homework.

Later I asked Katie about my surprise popularity. She solved the mystery, “Mom, the kids like you because you listen to them. No one listens to them, but you do.” How sad. As parents have we believed the lie that our kids don’t need us or care if we’re involved in their lives any longer? Our teens not only need us more than ever, they want us in their lives. Our presence in their lives’ tells them they are a priority to us.

How can we be involved and relevant in our kids’ lives when they posted a Keep Out sign?

Being available for your kids is the most powerful thing you can do as a parent.

Being available puts you in the posture to be the parent your child so desperately needs. Our kids will fill the parent void with something or someone less if we aren’t there for them. Our kids’ lives, futures, and God’s plan for them is at stake.

You may be thinking “My life is already consumed with activities for my kids!” Let’s define what being available is not.

It’s not:

  • Heading up anything kid-related.
  • Chatting it up with their friends like you’re one of their friends.
  • Being a helicopter parent.
  • Doing for them what they can/should do for themselves.
  • Intervening with the school when they have consequences they’ve earned.
  • Dropping them at church or youth group and trusting that will cover your responsibility to train and teach them.
  • Present but occupied on phone/computer.

What it is:

  • Be home. When your kids are home, be there. The most promiscuous hours of the day for teens are between 3pm and 6pm—after school. Be the house where the kids gather.
  • Know where your kids are. If no parent is home, they can’t go there. Follow up. One parent shared with me that his kids must take a picture of himself and the hosting parents on his cell phone when he gets to their house. Then the teen must text the picture to his parents so they can see the other parents are home.
  • Put away your technology and turn off TV when they come in the room.
  • Listen much.
  • Talk little and when it counts.
  • Use technology appropriately. Text them encouragement, love, and fun stuff. Don’t overdo it. No posting on their picture on your Facebook page without their permission and no posting on their Facebook page (checking it is allowed and advised).
  • Talk to their friends. I know I said not to, but talk like a parent of a friend, not a peer.
  • Be present when their friends are there—bringing food into the room is a good cover.
  • Drive them anywhere.
  • Be at their events. Sure, they might give you only a slight glance, but your presence means the world to them. Katie has told me more than once how much it meant to her for Gene and I to be at her events even though she ignored us most of the time.
  • Speak their love language—small gifts, go to an event of their interest/choosing, listen, affirm, praise, etc.
  • Put your social life on hold. Be home so your kids can have their friends there. Okay—have your friends there too. We’ve often had friends over when the kids have their friends over.
  • Lots of grace, love, patience.

If your child is struggling at any age or in any way—lean in. Clear your schedule. Be there. They need you. Often it’s their way of asking/demanding attention. See life from your child’s perspective.

Being there puts us in the posture to be the parent your child so desperately needs. Our kids will fill the parent void with something/someone less if we aren’t there for them. Our kids’ lives/futures/God’s plan for them is at stake.

Our kids’ growing up years are few in number compared to the rest of our lives. We cannot go back. We must make the most of today and the time we have with them. Time spent with your child will never be a regret.

I’d love for you to share ways you are available to you child!

*For more ideas on building relationship with your child check out Love No Matter What.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

January 29, 2014

Living an Intentional Life Minus the Stress: Setbacks and Surprises, Part 1

Setbacks and Surprises are part of intentional living and are beneficial.

 

  • My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.
  • When pregnant with our second child, Gene’s job was unexpectedly terminated. He was without work for five months.
  • In the 2008 stock market crash we lost a considerable amount of the girls’ college money.
  • About three years ago, as Gene looked ahead to retirement, he was unexpectedly laid off.

These are only a few of the probably hundreds of setbacks and surprises that our family has experience in the past twenty-nine years. Some are too personal to mention here. Many involve other people and it would not be appropriate to discuss. Life can be a bummer, can’t it?

But as I look over the short list above and review the mental list in my mind, I am encouraged. In every surprising setback God showed up. God provided.

  • After my first miscarriage, which I later learned 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, I became pregnant with Katie.
  • While Gene was out of work during my pregnancy with Kelsey, God provided him with part-time work that supplemented unemployment. The finances were tight, but God kept our bills paid.
  • The girls’ college fund never returned to its full amount. Their loans are a little more than they expected. The story isn’t over. God is still providing and they are learning to trust God.
  • Gene’s last lay-off was short. He retired later that year, hated retirement, went back to work, and started his own business. He’s busier now than ever.

 Reviewing my own personal list of setbacks, I am surprised at the benefits and blessings God provided.

  • I went back to college—something I would not have done if my ministry had not slowed for a while, but something that will greatly benefit my ministry.
  • I now have my identity in who Christ made me to be and who I am because He gave His life for me, not in anyone else’s approval.
  • I trust God more, but still have a long way to go.
  • I am more disciplined in many areas of life.

As we live intentionally there will be setbacks and surprises. We will not know when or how they will come. When they do we can have a posture that is focused on God. One way to be better prepared is to make a list of our past setbacks. Yep, make a list of the hard stuff you’ve been through.

We are often challenged to keep a list of what we are thankful to God for. It’s a great idea and I do it. But I challenge you to make a list of as many setbacks as you can. Then next to each setback list the benefit or blessing from God, if it’s evident to you. Maybe the only benefit you see (and will see in this life) is that it deepened your roots in relationship with God.

Throughout the Old Testament God’s people are instructed to remember how He’s come through for them. In Exodus 13:3 Moses challenged the people to “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand.”

In Nehemiah 9:9 the Levites prayed before the gathered nation of Israel, “You [God] saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land.”

Each of these times and many more the people or God recalled the hard things they were up against and how God came through and provided for them.

Recalling the hard times and looking for God’s faithfulness is how we deal with the setbacks and surprises. God’s response might not look like what we expect or want, but He’s God and He loves us and we can trust Him. We lean in to God in these times, trusting and clinging to Him. We hang out with Him like we’ve been talking about (Matthew 11:28, John 15:5). He’s there waiting for us.

 

 

Next week: Step 2 in Dealing with Setbacks and Surprises

 

 

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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