A Letter to my Daughter

Today my daughter turned 9.How different it is to raise a girl than boys. They think, feel, and learn differently. So to my 9 year old going on 20, there are a few things I want you to know.

  1.  Your beauty is not found in your dress or jean size. Your significance is not found in the length of your hair or the amount of jewelry you wear.You beauty is found according to the Scriptures, in a gentle and quiet spirit. It is found in what is in the inside, not in what is found on the outside..“your adornment must not be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (I Peter 3:3-4)”

    2. You are your beloved’s and He is yours.He is enthralled with your beauty and longs for you to come away with Him.

    The One who loves you the most, loves you just as you are. He made you that way. He loves the freckles on your nose, the color of your hair, the shape of your face. And He desires for you to care more about what He thinks of you than what anyone else says. He invites you to come away with Him and find your joy in Him.

    “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,”( Song of Solomon 6:3)

    “his banner over me is love.” (Song of Solomon 2;4)

    3. You should clothe yourself with the things that matter.

    All too often we pick out our clothes, we dress a certain way to draw attention to ourselves. We want to be noticed. We want to fit in, look the part.Yet, the label on our clothes and the length of our skirt, is not the issue. All over the world, women dress certain ways to fit their culture. But, God says, what we wear on the outside is not what matters. It’s the things we clothe ourselves with on the inside.

    ” clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Col. 3:12-14).”

    4. You are never alone, you have a friend who is closer than a brother…

    When others hurt you and you feel alone. Don’t believe that lie. You are never alone. The One who loves you most, the One who cares for you the most, He is always with you. Though others will let you down, He never will.

    “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).”

    5. You are holy, righteous, justified, forgiven, chosen of God.

    Though the enemy will lie to you and try to tell you that you have no worth. Your worth is great in the eyes of God. Because of what Jesus has done, you are perfect. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy, instead fill your mind with the truth of God’s Word.

    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (Phil. 4:8).”

    You my darling daughter are a daughter of the King of Kings. He loves you just as you are. He delights in you, and made you just as you are for His glory and for His purposes. When He looks at you, He see’s His creation and He says it is very good!

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To My Teenage Son

As of today, we have two teenage sons! I shake my head as I write this, because it doesn’t seem possible. In my mind, they are still little boys, yet as I look at them, watching them grow and change into young men, my heart melts with love.

So to my kind-hearted, generous son on the brink of his teenage years, there are some things I want you to know.

  1. You are loved. Loved first and foremost by the Lord, and loved by us. And what matters more than anything else in this life is that you seek to love the Lord with everything you got!
  2. You are important. Not because of how many friends you have, how cool you are, but because you were made in the image of God, and there is no one else like you!
  3. You are a child of God. So, no matter what the crowd says, you should always do what is right. I know from experience how easy it is to follow the crowd. But the Bible teaches us that we are to swim against the stream. It is easy to follow, but hard to walk the narrow road. Yet, it is on the narrow road that you will find abundant, everlasting life.
  4. You can’t love God and this world. Friendship with the world is hatred towards God. It seems harsh, it seems extreme but it is true. We can not love this world or the things of it and love God. We must love Him and the things of God more. Fixing our eyes on what is unseen rather than what is seen.
  5. Jesus is to be your best friend. I know having good friends is important, yet never forget that Jesus is to be your best friend. Though others will fail you, others will let you down, He never will.
  6. You are different because you belong to Christ. So you should always stand up for what is right. It won’t always be easy, and it may mean you get laughed at. Yet, this is what pleases the Lord.
  7. You are a gentleman. When girls begin to notice you, (and they will) remember that it matters more what a girl’s heart looks like, than what she looks like. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised (Pr. 31:30).”
  8. You are to be a man of God’s Word. And though this world may tell you one thing, it is what God’s Word says that matters. Always stand firm upon and hold fast to God’s Word. For only here will you find the truth, truth that will set you free, to be the man of God, the Lord longs for you to be.
  9. You are not home yet. In your mere 13 years, you have had 5 different homes, lived in 3 different countries and have done amazing at it all. Yet, no matter what remember this world is not our home. We are merely passing through. Seek to live for the Lord as you travel through.
  10. You are amazing and nothing God leads you to do is impossible. So reach for the stars, pray big, do whatever God ask. And one day you will stand back amazed at all the Lord can and will accomplish through your life!

Discipling Our Children


It’s hard to believe but my oldest will turn 15 in the fall, my middle child will turn 13 this month, and my youngest 9, also this month. As I watch them grow and change, and as I’m reminded by Facebook of my previous memories. I’m amazed at where the time has gone.

And as I contemplate this, I’m left with one thought. That though, I wish them the best in their lives, the best in their studies, the best in what the Lord calls them to. What matters most is that they love and serve the Lord.

My greatest ministry is that to my children. If I disciple hundreds, yet fail to teach my own, I have failed.

As I have been reading in Judges, I’ve noticed this is exactly what happened to the Israelites. Though the people who had seen the Lord’s deliverance continued to serve the Lord, they failed to teach their children. They failed to pass down the stories of God’s deliverance, as they had been instructed.

For in Judges 2, we are told that a new generation rose up who neither knew of the Lord nor of what He had done. And this generation did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

It is easy to look at society and complain of the new generation, to blame media and technology, all of which certainly do impact lives. Yet, as parents it is our duty to teach our children the things of the Lord. Our responsibility to share with them what God has done in our lives. It is not the job of the pastor, the Sunday school teacher or the youth director, it is our job.

Here in Nepal, we attend a church made up of mostly first generation Christians. People who have seen and experienced the hand of God, and watched as their whole families have been saved. But, it is also a church of a growing second generation. Children and youth who attend simply because their parents make them, or because it is the thing to do. (Much like kids and youth in the USA).

Yet, it is not enough they attend, not enough that they grow up in a “Christian” home rather than a Hindu home. They must be taught God’s Word. They must hear the testimonies of what God had done, they must experience the Lord personally in their own lives.

My kids have all professed Christ as their Savior, a fact for which I give thanks. Yet, we have told them we will inspect their lives. And that if we see that they are not producing the fruit of a Christian, we will point it out in their lives. Something I wish others had done for me. For even Scripture teaches us to be sure of our salvation!

I do not want my kids to believe, to go to church, to do “Christian” things because it is expected. I want my kids to yearn and desire after Christ. To hunger and thirst after His Word. I long to see them experience the Lord personally in their lives, not just in our families lives. For them to recognize the Lord’s hand in each aspect of their lives.

Yet, these things don’t just happen. They require me to pray, to teach, and to help them see what God has done, is doing, and will do.

We live in a day similar to that of the Judges, where people do as they see fit. Among a people who neither know the Lord, nor know of what He has done. And this is not the fault of society, the school, or the church.

May we be faithful to train up our children in the ways of the Lord. May we be faithful to disciple them to be the women and men of God that He desires them to be. May we recognize their importance, and may we pour ourselves into them.

They are ours to care for only a little while. Then they are gone. The Lord has blessed our lives with them, entrusted them into our care. Let us then be faithful to the responsibility given to us!

Grace and Mercy for today….

grace-and-mercyLast week in our ladies Bible study group I was reminded of an important truth. The truth that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for today and His mercies are new every morning.

At this time of year it is easy to get stressed with all that has to be done. The days seem to be missing hours and time passes so quickly. If we are not careful we dream of waking up when the holidays have passed and we miss out on the true joy of the season.

I have a bad habit of borrowing trouble, focusing on the supposed problems of tomorrow, that I often miss today. Living in Nepal has helped me a lot in this area.  Because here I’ve learned truly what Jesus said is true. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34). 

Here life can change in an instant and what you intend to do today may or not happen as you planned.

It is certainly easy to borrow trouble, but the reality of these great truths is the fact that God’s grace and His mercy are sufficient for only today, not for tomorrow, not for next week, not for next year. Only for today!

If our focus is on tomorrow, next week or next year we will grow anxious, we will worry and we will do what I am so guilty of doing and that is trying to figure it all out.

However, if our focus is on today, the day God has given us… then His grace and His mercy are enough for whatever may come our way.

This is certainly my most favorite time of the year. I love the excitement of the holidays, the joy of Christmas, the anticipation in the eyes of my children. But if my focus is on tomorrow and what all needs to be done.. then I miss this. I miss the joy, I miss the love, I miss the point.

Truly, today has enough trouble of its own, let us then focus on today and leave tomorrow to the Lord.

Let’s look to the Lord for the grace and mercy we need for this day, knowing and believing in faith that His grace and mercy will be sufficient for tomorrow as well.

His grace, His mercy… they are enough, they are sufficient, they are there in their fullness for today!

And as we think on this, we will then be able to be still in today, knowing that He is God!

 

Swimming against the stream….

vbs 2016 9“But mom, everyone is doing it. I will feel so left out if I’m the only one not doing it.” This is what I heard this morning as I was getting my 8-year-old daughter ready for school.

And thus it begins…. temptations, wanting to fit in, having to teach my kids that sometimes as Christians we have to be set apart.

This all began about a month ago when the locals began wearing their green and yellow bangles and attired their hands with beautiful henna designs. Lauren’s friend brought her a whole bag full of bangles and multiple people offered to draw on her hand.

It has been a battle ever since. Not because there is anything wrong with bangles (I have many of my own) and not because having a henna design is wrong. But Hindu devotees here celebrate this month as the month of Lord Shiva and observe the tradition of wearing green bangles, henna tattoos and necklaces. So for this month, for this time, we are avoiding such things.

And we’ve had this discussion multiple times over the past few weeks of why she doesn’t need to wear her bangles or do these things right now… because she is Christian not Hindu.

But to an 8-year-old who just doesn’t understand it is hard. To an 8-year-old who doesn’t want to be left out it is difficult.

I keep telling her that this will not be the last time that she will feel left out due to being a Christian. The easy thing is to go with the crowd. The easy thing is to let others dictate who you are.

The hard thing is to swim against the stream, the be set apart, to take a stand for what you believe.

Difficult lessons for all ages, all stages of life. But especially a little girl.

So as I wiped away her tears, I hugged her and explained one more time that being a Christian isn’t always easy, but that as a Christian we are to be different and try to live our lives in a way that points others to Jesus.

She still wasn’t happy about it, and my heart hurts for her as she goes to school today and feels left out. Sometimes even being a parent is hard. It sure would be easy for me to just give in…. but that isn’t what I’m called to do either.

Standing for truth can be hard. Doing what is right harder still. Going against the flow, well yea it’s just plain difficult.

But this is what God has called each of us to. It comes in different forms every day…  but we each have to decide who we will love more… ourselves or our God!

(By the way, I’m planning to take my daughter later to do something special so we can continue this discussion – because this her first experience with this will certainly not be her last)

Parenting in this broken world…..

kidsEveryday I check the news from my home away from home. Living on the other side of the world from where I grew up,leads me to try to keep up with life on the other side.Yet, each day as I check the news and read report after report of attacks on the police, terrorism around the world, and politics, I walk away feeling defeated.

My heart quakes and breaks over my children 8, 12, and 13 growing up in this world. I want to hide them away and keep them protected from it all. Yet, the reality is this is the world they will grow up in. I can’t hide them away, so instead I have to prepare them to stand for truth, hold tight to the Lord and pray that God will use them for His glory.

I’ve told my husband before that in one sense I’m thankful they are presently growing up here. For though this nation is anything but Christian, it isn’t trying to pretend it is either. My kids are respected for their beliefs far more here than they probably would be there.

Yet, one day we will leave this place and they will be faced with the realities of a nation once under God, yet now so far from Him. And should they travel to another place to serve God, they will be met with hostility for believing in the One True God.

The reality is, things on this earth will most likely not get better, they will most likely get worse. It seems it does each and every day.

But God….

God is our rock. He is our strength and He guides our way.

Today the kids and I read about the Israelites following God in the wilderness. Following the cloud by day and the fire by night. Staying camped as long as the cloud remained and journeying on if the cloud/fire moved. My kids know all about waiting on God, as our family has had to do this numerous times. They know that following God is not always easy or fun. They understand the challenges that come with allowing God to direct your steps.

They know this because they have been through this as a family.

Yet, it is my desire that the lessons they have learned will become personal as they begin having to make choices on their own.

My prayer that they will hold fast the Lord and rely upon His strength, so they can be like the house built upon the rock that did not fall down. And not rely upon themselves, thus becoming like the house built upon the sand.

Friend, you and I are raising our children in a dark time in history. Everyday the news broadcast one tragedy after another. The Truths nations use to stand upon, have slipped away, and have been replaced with tolerance for any and all things.

And as much as we’d like to hide our children from this, the reality is this will not help them. Because one day all too soon, they will go out into this world and have to make decisions on their own. It is our job to prepare them now for then. Our duty to instill in them God’s Word and believe that it will not return void.

There is no promise that they will remain in God’s Word or remain faithful to Him. Yet, it is our responsibility to train them up in God’s Ways and trust the rest to the One who loves them more than we do.

So let us commit together to pray diligently for them, to teach them diligently and to realize the great ministry we have been given as parents.

 

Parenting and the holiness of God…..

kidsWe have all heard it said, “God is more interested in our holiness than our happiness.” And personally I have indeed found this to be true. So often God allows difficult times, trials and problems to arise in our lives. Not because He doesn’t love us, not because He wants to be mean and just cause us problems. But because He is more interested in us becoming more like Christ, than in us being happy right now.

As I thought about this concept and applied it to parenting, the Lord showed me some similar guidelines and truths.

  1. I love my kids and want what is best for them, just as God loves me and wants what is best for me. However, my best for them  may not be their idea of “best.” Just as God’s idea of “best” is often different from my idea. And though they may get angry when their idea is not mine, in the long run they will understand. Just as we eventually we can look back and see what God was doing in our lives.
  2. I want my kids to understand that anything worth having in life takes work and is often not easy. But that God desires that in everything we do whether in word or deed, we do it as unto Him. God has given us every spiritual gift in Christ, and we have access to His throne of grace daily. Yet, God isn’t a genie who just gives us what we want, we have to work and do our part in seeking Him, in walking with Him and in being filled with the Spirit.
  3. I want my kids to be happy, but even more I want them to right with God. Nowadays there is a common phenomenon of giving our kids our very best, making sure they are keeping up with their friends so they aren’t left out, and being concerned that they are happy. Yet, I’m convinced that a child who grows up this way will be confronted with the real world one day too soon and will not know how to handle the obstacles thrown their way. Sure, I can make it easy for my kids, and make sure they are happy. But will they be holy?
  4. I want my kids to look to God. I’m like any typical mom and don’t want to see my kids hurt. In fact if I’m not careful I want to fight their battles for them, I want to fix their problems. Yet, if I do these things, they learn nothing of dependence upon God. Sometimes God will lead me to step in and do this, but first and foremost I want my kids to look to Him.
  5. I want my kids to desire Christ and love Him most. There is a real battle going on in our kids lives. A battle between what they have been taught is right and what the world says is best. If we are not careful the world will be their desire and they will love this world more than God. So I must find the balance by limiting what they can and cant’ do, what they can and can’t watch. Why? Because the enemy is just waiting to steer them away from God.

The list could go on, and yet I’m learning that this is what is most important that my kids know and learn. This doesn’t mean it is easy or that my kids are always happy with me. In fact, many times they aren’t happy. Like today, my kids envisioned a day of rest and relaxation, but this was interrupted when they found out that before playing, before relaxation, homework and studying was to take place. My husband and I’s idea of best collided with their idea of best… but even now that the work is done and free time is being enjoyed, they can see what we saw.

I have a looong way to go from being parent of the year, and by the world’s standards, I’m positive I would never receive such award. Yet, it is my desire that my kids grow up loving God with all their hearts, soul, mind and strength and loving others as they love themselves.