Friday, November 18, 2011

Tiger Mom and Mama Bear ~ Part Two

On the other side of the spectrum, we all have a little Tiger Mom in us. Oh you know we do! We want our kids to be the best, to work hard and to achieve the highest grades, sports and music accolades possible.

Sometimes I can feel a little Tiger Mom rising up. For sure, the Tiger Mom gene is in all us once we conceive too. We want the best for our kids. We want them to succeed and prosper. How many of us looked at our little babies in their basinets and wondered if they might grow up to be a doctor or a professional athlete or a world class musician?

It’s natural and good to want the best for our kids. God wants the same for all of his children.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7-12

But what is best for our kids? Is it worldly fame, fortune and success? Not according to God. When we seek to honor God in our lives our perspective changes. Success is not the end goal! 2 Peter 3:17-18 says,

Therefore, 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. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

For sure, I want my kids to do well in school. I want them to get good jobs. I want them to improve their athletic skills. But it’s not the most important thing. I don’t need to be a Tiger Mom and relentlessly push them to pursue success. It’s not Godly to be pushy, demeaning, unfair, mean or only offer conditional love. Help them. Yes. Support them. Absolutely. Encourage them. Yep.

Guiding them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Christ is the utmost calling. We need to rely on Him for help and not let our natural instincts go Bear or Tiger unleashed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tiger Mom and Mama Bear ~ Part One

I think something changes in a woman’s DNA the minute she conceives.  All of a sudden you feel desperate when you hear stories of missing, sick or neglected children.  It’s impossible to watch the news or a hallmark commercial without crying.  You can’t shake the feeling that this world is a horrible place.  But mostly, you’re totally cool with dying in defense of your offspring.  You want to mess with my kid?  Bring it on!

That’s what someone referred to as “Mama Bear Syndrome” on Facebook the other day.  It’s so true.  When someone treats our kids unfairly, rudely or is just plain mean it just rises up in all mothers.  Or when you have one of those moments where you don’t know where you kid is and instantly fear the worst?

I remember losing a child at Target a few years back.  They had a plan and were able to locate her quickly, but me?  I instantly went into a state of distress.  On the inside.  I was logical enough to play it cool on the outside.  There’s that feeling that this person you love so much is walking around outside of your care and protection.  It’s so wrong it makes us crazy!

Mama Bear popped in for a visit to me the other day.  In an instant after the debriefing, I was in Mama Bear mode.  I felt energy flowing through my veins. Protection to the death!

We instantly imagine the worst.  It’s love and care mixed with constant worry and guilt over being the sole provider of this child’s well-being.

I think God gives us that Mama Bear nature.  It is, after all, our job to protect our kids.  And that’s good.  However, Mama Bear syndrome can go a little too wild if we’re not careful.

Sometimes when there is a safety issue or an immediate need, it serves it’s purpose well.  But other time it may cause us to act or make a call or send an email that we’ll regret. Or worse yet, a Facebook post for all the world to see.  Emotions run high where our kids are concerned.  As they should.   As good as Mama Bear is at protecting her cubs, finesse and grace are not in her arsenal.

Sometimes Mama Bear is trying to play God.  Try as we might, we cannot protect our kids from everything this world has.  We cant’ protect them from accidents, sickness, death of loved ones or natural disasters.  We can and should be safety minded.  Car seats, helmets, seat belts are all great tools.  But ultimately we have to put our hands up and realize we can’t protect them from everything. 

The only one that can protect our kids truly is God.  He is our eternal protector.  The Mama Bear is us needs to be able to turn things over to Him.  He loves our kids even more than we do.  Which, quite frankly, is impossible to fathom isn’t it?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”  John 10:27-30

So I want to use my Mama Bear card carefully.  For sure, I want to protect my kids with everything I have.  But I also don’t want to be so bearish that we have to live in a den away from the world.  However, I wouldn’t mind hibernating all winter! 

God gives us those instincts, but we need to trust Him and ask Him to help us use them in a gracious and Godly way.  And search our hearts if we are willing to put them securely in God’s hands not our own.

Jesus prays for all believers in the book of John.  He prays for our protection.  If you aren’t a believer and want to talk about what that means, please email me or call me. 

For now, soak in the prayer of Christ for you and me. And our kids.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

John 17:11-19


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

God Is Real

The following is a guest post by a mystery blogger.

Some people say they don’t believe in God.  To me that was crazy.  Now it is ultra crazy!  I am going to tell you a story about an eleven year old girl who was at a turning point in her life.

Let’s give this girl a name shall we?  Let’s call her Maggie.  Maggie was an eleven year old girl who had just gone to a Bright Lights conference with some friends.  She was super excited.  She decided to pray and read her Bible more.  So when she got home that Tuesday night, she prayed.  She prayed for a baby animal of any sort.  Well, she kind of thought it wouldn’t happen because they already had two dogs and two bunnies.  But she prayed anyway.  Maggie prayed every night for six days.

On the seventh day Maggie and her mom were coming back from volleyball.  When they got out of the car they heard a faint siren sound.  They weren’t sure what it was but then a kitten came running out from under the porch.  her mom was wary about it but Maggie wasn’t.  She ran inside and told her dad about the kitten.  Her sister Abby came out and wanted to help.


Maggie put blankets inside and Abby put dog food in a dish.  Maggie got hot milk and put it in a bowl.  They shut the gate and went inside to try to fall asleep.

In the morning all the girls (there were four of them) ran out to take care of the cat.  They all wanted to help.  Their mom and dad announced that they were going to try and find the owner.


The brother, Grant, wanted to know if they were going to keep it.  He didn’t want to.  The days flew by.  Everyone had fun with the cat.  On Saturday, Maggie went around to all the houses near them to see if the cat belonged to anyone.  No one knew who it belonged to.  So Maggie biked to the local gas station and put up a found sign and bought some cat food.

The next day Maggie’s mom got facebooked that Maggie’s bus driver was missing two calico kittens.  The kids had started to call the cat Cassie.  The bus driver’s daughter came and looked at the kitten.  It was hers.  The cat’s real name was Dolly.  Maggie was disappointed for a few days but got over it. 

In the process of looking for the owner of the cat, Maggie met a neighbor with kittens.  She offered to give one to Maggie.  Maggie’s super awesome Mom and Dad let them get a kitten to keep to replace the one they had to give back.  She is an orange tabby cat.  She is four months old and they named her Juliette.  Here is a picture.



Oh by the way, Maggie’s real name is Jenna.  Jenna Keller.  Yep, you guessed it.  I was that little girl.  Juliette still lives to the day.  So that just proves God is real and he answers prayers.  Whenever in doubt think about me and the cats, then pray.  God listens.  I can promise you that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Everyone is busy.  Especially at this time of the year.  Even though we don’t want to be too busy, we love busy. 

“How are you?”


Being busy can be good.  Grant and Jenna had a great fall sports season.  Those are great learning and growing experiences.  We are starting basketball season, always a highlight of our winter.

Busy can get you out of stuff too.  When asked to do something we don’t really want to do anyway, we can plead busy.  And everyone is like, yeah ok you are busy.  Busy is a free pass.

My friend and I were debriefing after a conference about busyness with our kids and the many things we are involved in.  She was wondering if it wouldn’t be just as beneficial to stay home and play a board game as it is running to yet another event or club.

I agree.  We run in so many directions trying to please the kids. Or ourselves as Moms.  There are lots of good things out there to be involved in.  If you have a few kids, before you know it the busy train is out of control.

Whether we get involved in too much due to trying to keep the kids happy or trying to fill in the empty the result can be the same:  total drain of quality family time. 

It’s hard to find a balance.  It’s hard to say no.  When I say no or back out of things I worry about hurting people’s feeling or letting them down. 

As I’m getting further along the parenting road, it’s easier to see the big picture.  My aim isn’t to be involved in as much as I can.  I’ll never be able to give my kids every opportunity no matter how hard I try.

My job is to point my kids to Christ.  My job is to be there for them.  That should be an honor and a privilege from God, not a burden I try to run away from.

So I put my money where my mouth is.  I don’t know how much worth that statement has because my mouth is way bigger than any  amount of money I’ll ever have.  Maybe I bit the bullet and quit.

We backed out of a club.  We backed out of a lesson.  I don’t feel bad about it at all.  I feel free.  I’m less of a wreck about getting to all our stuff.  The kids don’t really seem to care.  In fact, they are happy about it.

Last night I decided not to run out on my family to get to Bible study social night.  I don’t like skipping things but we were having a great dinner.  There was much laughter.  Then we got out Scrabble and played that with the older kids. I realized I didn’t have to bug out.  And I didn’t want to.

Our family has a favorite TV show.  All of us love it.  We named our cat after one of the characters.  We don’t have cable so we have to buy a season pass on iTunes and download it each week.  So we have to watch it on the computer.   The first night the kids moved the couches and chairs and set them up movie theater style.  I wasn’t too thrilled with that at first.  But as I was in the kitchen making popcorn, I thought big picture.

In ten years will I mind that we moved the furniture one night a week and ate popcorn in the living room?  Or will I remember these glory days of the family all together? 

TV nights and game nights solidify this fact in my mind:  THIS IS THE STUFF!  This is the stuff that matters.  Not if they were in gymnastics or hockey or dance or art club or girl scouts or boy scouts or 4H.  Doing stuff together is my priority.  Everything else better be ready to get out of the way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Joy Sucker~ Part 2

There are a lot of people that can be joy suckers.  I’m sure I have been one, maybe without even realizing it.  Which is a good reminder to give grace to joy suckers instead of just being mad or hurt.

The other big joy sucker in life though are circumstances.  When life is good, we are healthy, there is money in the bank, people like us I tend to feel joyful.

But is that really joy?  Joy is not just happiness.  If I let my circumstances dictate my joy level, I’m pretty much doomed to defeat.  This world we live in is a tough place.  People are mean.  Families are fractured.  Jobs are demanding.  Money is tight.  Health is fragile.  Futures are uncertain.  It doesn’t take long living here to realize it’s not all unicorns and bubble gum.

I’ve been experiencing growing frustrations in several areas.  And it seems that it has sucked my joy.  I am indifferent about a lot of things because I’m weary of the battle.  When I hit this point I find myself going through the motions or just trying to get through the next thing.

But again, if my joy is based on Jesus Christ and his glorious salvation, it doesn’t matter what is going on around me.  I’ll be filled with unmatchable, unexplainable joy.  Joy in the hope that is to come.  Joy in the amazing grace of the Savior.  Joy in being forgiven.

Our church meets in a school.  It’s a lot of work to get things hauled in, set up and taken down every week.  Now that we’ve been at this for 13 years, it’s getting tiresome for all of us.  As a church we are exhausted.  There aren’t that many of us. 

It happens from time to time, that after cleaning up all the kids stuff and scraping play dough off the floor and hauling it all out to the van, I find that the coffee and information tables still need to be broken down.  I do it but it usually involves some grumbling.

Last week, I came around the corner on my way to finish cleaning up the kid mess, to find my daughter and her friend taking down the tables.  They were putting away the brochures and folding up tablecloths.  But they weren’t grumbling.  They were chatting and laughing.  It was a beautiful scene.

Those girls were filled with joy and serving from the heart.  They have gone to our church long enough that they really don’t know any different.  We set up, we take down. 

I hope I never forget that beautiful picture of them working together.  Our circumstances don’t dictate our joy.  Our joy is Jesus and He never changes.  So no matter what is going on around me.  No matter what makes me sad or mad or frustrated.  It can’t suck my joy. 

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes me feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go to the heights. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Look up not around.