Parenting 101: Raising Little Sinners

watching-the-sun-set-croppedIs there an approach to parenting that is 100% guaranteed to help me raise the type of children I desire? Is there a magic method of getting my children to respect my words and comply with my instructions as a parent?

Grandparenting must be one of the most wonderful roles a person could ever have in life. I LOVE spending time with my grandchildren, every one of them is delightful in a unique way, and they are teaching me so much!

After having my five and three year old grandchildren come for ‘four sleepovers with Granny and Grandpa’, without their parents, I have arrived at a clearer understanding of the word sin and the primary struggle of parenting. Of course I experienced these issues many times in raising my five children, but this fresh immersion into parenting brought some vivid reminders.

Sin is an uncomfortable word for most of us. We don’t easily see ourselves as sinners. The word ‘sinner’ sounds like an extremely heinous description of ‘bad’ people. Sin is actually a lot simpler and a lot subtler; the essence of sin is simply wanting our own way. We are born with a desire to get what we want and to pursue our own desires, with little thought for the needs of others. As we grow older, most of us get trained to some degree or another that we need to also respect other people in our lives, but that does not come naturally.

What does God say about sin? Sin is the thing that separates us from God. Sin prevents us from the loving connection He wants most to have with us. Sin is ignoring God’s sovereignty over us, as our Designer and Creator, and saying, “I have a better plan.” Sin is thinking God’s desires for me will limit me, but I will find happiness through pursuing the things I think will bring satisfaction.

Why is parenting so difficult? Because we are raising little sinners. Little independent people who have their own ideas about what will bring them satisfaction. Some of these little people seem to have a personality that wants to buck every single event or decision throughout the course of a day. Others may be mostly agreeable, but every once in awhile their independence will exert itself. Why can’t children just be agreeable? Why don’t they understand that we only want what is best for them, that we have years of experience that has given us insight, understanding, and wisdom for every decision we make? Why don’t they just eat the healthy food we provide? Why don’t they immediately respond when we have given them warnings and prepared them for the fact that a fun activity must now end? Why do they sometimes randomly physically attack their sibling?

Why do we feel like we are in a constant battle to see who is in charge in this relationship? Why can’t they just accept our authority?

Have I done something wrong? Am I a bad parent? Did I miss a window of “training” at a certain age?

Should I have spanked my children? Should I have spanked my children more? Should I have not spanked my children? Is there a formula for raising compliant “yes, ma’am” children that I missed? Did I read the wrong books? Did I follow the wrong advisors?

What is the answer? Is there actually an answer?

How did God ‘parent’ His people?

God’s kindness towards us leads us to repentance. Repentance is the goal. Repentance means getting off the train heading for “my way” and boarding the train heading to “God’s destination.” Every sermon given by the early followers of Jesus, which we read in the book of Acts, explains the necessity of repentance. As parents, or grandparents, our goal should be to gently help our children or grandchildren to understand what repentance looks like, and why it is desirable.

Having a “see I told you so” attitude, while very tempting, generally doesn’t lead a child toward repentance. Repentance involves a bending of our will towards God’s will. God never forces us. As parents we are often tempted to force our children to our will. This may seem to work for some children, yet this adage is true for adults and children, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Our goal in training children is not a compliant child. Our goal is a child with a heart that delights in God and obeying Him.

Some parenting techniques may result in a very well behaved young child. However, our goal should not focus entirely on the moment, but should also consider the long term. When I think in terms of raising a well adjusted thirty something adult, my interactions with my child may be significantly impacted. The methods of achieving my goal require a longer commitment. Sometimes having a long-term view can result in momentary embarrassment, especially in a public setting where there are people who may judge my child or me unsatisfactorily. My goal is not to please the public audience around me. My goal is not personal pride in a ‘well-behaved’ little child. My goal is raising a human being with a deep knowledge of His Creator, an understanding of their own propensity towards their own direction, and a humble submission to seeking God and His way.

Parenting with these goals is not an easy task. The other problem I face is that I am also a sinner. I naturally desire my own way. I easily fall prey to pride and judgment. It’s hard for me to see my sin or my pride. I am a sinner, raising little sinners. In my parenting journey I also need to repent. I need to get off my train toward my own perceived destination for my children, and myself and get on the train that takes me towards God’s outcome. How do I do this? Parenting requires a daily surrender and a daily seeking of wisdom from God, through His Word, and laying down my own ways. Parenting is trusting God in the way we desire our children would trust and respond to us. Parenting is modeling for our children what trusting God looks like.

Acknowledging that I will never be a perfect parent and my children will never be perfectly obedient takes a huge weight off of my shoulders. Trying to force perfection on our children or ourselves is a source of extreme stress.

Jesus wants so much more for us. He wants to refresh us with His presence. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

Boldly

Baby Dad silhouetteThrough our faith in Christ
We can come boldly
And confidently
Into the presence
Of God.

Think about that.

One would think
That God’s presence
Would evoke fear, or
Guilt;
Feelings of inadequacy;
Thoughts of judgment;
and punishment deserved.
Not measuring up, comparison,
Lack of blessing, shame,
A remembrance of rules, laws, punishment.

Yes, God gave the law
As a guide,
Fully knowing how impossible
It would be
For us to keep it.
The purpose of the law
Was to show our inability to keep it,
No matter how hard we try.

Yet Christ’s death
Abolished the law,
Allowing us to enter
Boldly,
Confidently,
Into the very presence
Of God.

Awesome.

_DSC7099Becky Hastings, a forgiven, cleansed sinner who rejoices while boldly approaching God! Also, a wife, mom, grandmother, health promoter, breastfeeding counsellor (helping moms for 22+ years), and someone who seeks to research, understand and share truth so people can make wise choices in our crazy mixed up, deceived world!

Last Days?

DespairIn the last days there will be very difficult times
For people will love only themselves and their money.
They will consider nothing sacred (e.g. the lives of babies and children).
They will be cruel and hate what is good.
They will be puffed up with pride and
Love pleasure rather than God.
They oppose the truth.
They take advantage of people’s fears and weakness.
Evil people and imposters will flourish.
They will deceive others and
Will themselves be deceived.

How do we live in such times?
Seek Jesus Christ through His word, the Scriptures.
You will find comfort and protection from evil. (2 Timothy 3)
God is at work in the midst of this evil generation.
He is raising an army of truth warriors.
“Why are you frightened?”
“Why are your hearts filled with doubt?”
Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
They were filled with GREAT JOY. (Luke 24: 45 & 52)

Becky on stageAuthor: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus Christ and truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the true route to health, freedom and joyful family living!

My reality

bible-heart-1178881-640x480When you read the Bible over and over, the themes and dominant concepts become clearer and more cemented in your heart and mind.

Then sometimes, you pause at one small section and it’s like light floods your heart in a new way as you gaze at a collection of a few small words, words that you have read many times, but this time, you receive them as a lightening bolt from heaven.

This is my weak attempt to demonstrate what God showed me in this passage from John 17:25-26 which is found in the left column, with my thoughts in the right column.

John 17 v 25

DSC_0043 - Version 3Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus Christ and truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the true route to health, freedom and joyful family living!

 

Prayer for Justice

Faith surrenderI have adapted this prayer from Psalm 35 for all families who have experienced unjust treatment and are suffering. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I urge you to dig deep into your faith and find the hope He has for you. If you are not a follower of Jesus, I pray you will seek the strength and comfort He desires to give you during your time of suffering.

 

O Lord, You know all about this family’s situation.

We implore You,

Do not stay silent.

Do not abandon this family now, O Lord.

Wake up! Rise to their defense!

Take up their case, my God and my Lord.

Declare them NOT guilty of all false accusations,

O Lord my God, for You give justice.

Don’t let their enemies laugh about them in their day of trouble.

Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!

Now we will eat them alive!”

 

May those who rejoice at their troubles

Be humiliated and disgraced.

May those who triumph over them

Be covered with shame and dishonor.

But give great jot to those who came to their defense.

Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,

Who delights in blessing His servant with peace!”

Then we will all proclaim Your justice,

And we will praise You all day long.

 

Based on Psalm 35

 

 

Creative Designer

EarthLiving in Harmony with our Creative Designer

Some people openly balk at the idea of a Creator. That’s understandable. Many, from their earliest cognitive days, have been taught that there is no God, man (and all the rest of what we see around us) evolved through a series of steps over millions of years in a random manner to become what it is today.

Cognitive DissonanceTo me, that approach takes a lot more faith than believing in a designer, but I can certainly understand that there is a lot of cognitive dissonance involved in considering an entirely different point of view.

But, perhaps there could be a Creative Designer.

I love to walk in nature. I prefer mountains, or at the very least, hills, but trails will do in a pinch. As I’ve experienced many different trails in many parts of the world, I always notice fallen trees and sometimes I like to test my balance by walking along the tree. It’s also a great core building activity.

Logs in forestWhenever I see a pile of logs, or brush, it is apparent that it was placed there with a human plan. Sometimes a whole section of forest is being cleared and the trees have been cut and piled together. It is easy for even the smallest child to recognize that the trees didn’t jump into place, but were put there with human intervention.

In the same way, observing the complexity of the human body and all its intricate systems, points to a specific intervention. We don’t have a complex immune system that works in conjunction with various microbes that aren’t even part of our body, yet live in our gut, by a random process. The complexity of each cell in our body is absolutely astounding, containing molecular parts that are machines and have been copied by modern engineers because they perform their work so brilliantly.

Understanding the details of our biology is one way that convinces me of the absolute certainty of a Creative Designer. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and our God knows us thoroughly – even our inward thoughts.

Maybe that is why there are so many who resist accepting the fact of a Creative Designer. If one exists, it might mean there are other facts that should be considered.

But we don’t need to fear. God’s magnitude of love for us is equal to His matchless design of us!

I invite you to explore the idea of a Creative Designer that LOVES YOU!

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.
    So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Colossians 1:15-22

Day 27 of Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days

If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive or just have a question, please leave a comment below.

Where are the WARNINGS?

needleEvery person in the USA is completely acclimatized to hearing and seeing marketing of all sorts of drugs on TV directly targeting consumers – AND very frequently! It has become so commonplace that most teens and twenty somethings think it is just the way life is. It probably doesn’t occur to most of those exposed to this continuous outpouring of pharmaceutical marketing (known as DTC – direct to consumer), that there is ONLY ONE OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHERE THIS IS LEGAL.

That being said, what about all those dire warnings? How can people hear them and still want the drugs? Don’t they take the warnings seriously?

Maybe hearing the warnings over and over again desensitizes people to the seriousness of the warnings?

Imagine if there were advertisements for vaccines which included ALL the warnings at the end? It might read something like this, (with information based on the vaccine inserts supplied by manufacturer of the DtaP vaccine), this is the disclaimer:

This product is not suitable for anyone who:

  • has had a prior adverse reaction to the DTaP vaccine, or other similar vaccines;
  • has had an encephalopathy within 7 days of a previously administered similar vaccine;
  • has a progressive neurologic disorder.

Additionally, the aluminum adjuvant in the vaccine, used to stimulate the immune system, may

  • leave a hard lump at the injection site, which may be hot to the touch – this will typically dissipate in a few days, but
  • has been known to affect muscle pain and chronic fatigue, and, though rare,
  • may trigger development of autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis (Multiple Sclerosis i.e. MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease);

Consult with your doctor at the first sign of any such reaction.

  • The vaccine recipient may also experience an involuntary, extended, bone-chilling cry for several hours sometime within the twenty-four hours following injection, often repeated over the following few days, which indicates brain inflammation, and may be followed by a lengthy period of regression – consult with your doctor.
  • The DTaP may cause a bulging fontanelle in infants – this typically subsides after a few days, but may indicate brain damage; be alert for unusual behaviors, and call your doctor should you detect any.
  • In infants, there are reports of associated SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) with the vaccine; do not place your infant face down until sixty days following the last of the three scheduled DTaP shots.
  • And, you may experience any combination of the following reported reactions, some of which may require hospitalization:
  • Hey!abdominal pain;
  • anaphylactic shock;
  • apnea;
  • autism;
  • bacterial/viral infections;
  • convulsions;
  • disintegrative disorder;
  • coma;
  • abnormal EEG;
  • blood disorders;
  • diabetes;
  • eye movement disorder;
  • fever > 105 degree F;
  • hearing loss;
  • trouble walking;
  • narcolepsy;
  • pain, swelling and redness at injection site;
  • paralysis;
  • pneumonia;
  • impairment of psychomotor skills;
  • screaming; and
  • speech disorders.

This vaccine has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility, and there are currently 8150 reported associated deaths. It has not been tested or approved for use in pregnant women.

Additionally, each 0.5-mL does of this vaccine is known to contain

  • aluminum hydroxide as adjuvant (not more than 0.625 mg
  • aluminum by assay) and 4.5 mg of sodium chloride.
  • Each dose also contains ≤100 mcg of residual formaldehyde and
  • ≤100 mcg of polysorbate 80 (Tween 80).

The above disclaimer is based on the information provided in the manufacturers’ own inserts.

It really is important to be FULLY AWARE of EVERYTHING in a vaccine given to your child and of EVERY contraindication (i.e. reasons for which the vaccine manufacturers recommend NOT giving the vaccine). We all expect our doctors or nurses to know this information, but it is simply TOO much information and the responsibility for any possible vaccine injury will be completely ours.

You can find all the vaccine inserts for every single shot you are thinking about giving to your baby, your child or yourself. Please inform yourself of what are the possible outcomes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very comfortable absorbing eating or injecting aluminum hydroxide, sodium chloride, formaldehyde and polysorbate 80 – even in minute quantities. It just can’t be good.

Our #1 role is to protect our children. In order to do that, we need to be fully informed.

We need to know the warnings.

30 ways in 30 Days, Exploring Vaccines: Day 21

Faith in the midst of Adversity

Hope StreetWe faithfully preach the truth.

God’s power is working in us.

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy.

We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others.

We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

There are many stories of challenges and difficulties experienced by those who followed Jesus in the Bible. As a follower of Jesus Christ we are not promised great riches and a perfect life. We all want good things in life. We want health, happiness and security. Many believe that following God should bring all the good things we desire in life. It doesn’t always work that way. But, following God always brings His blessings in His way in His time. It also enables you to respond to the challenges you face with confidence, peace, and joy, despite the circumstances.

Paul and Silas were beaten, bruised and bleeding and locked in chains in a prison in Philippi. They couldn’t move, they hurt and they might have been getting some infections! Yet they choose to sing praises to God and pray in the midst of that suffering.

Our response to our suffering can speak volumes to those around us. In the case of Paul and Silas, the other prisoners, the jailer and the jailer’s entire family ended up listening and hearing about the gift God wanted to give them – all as a result of the suffering they had cheerfully endured.

I don’t know what your suffering is. I know many have suffered beyond my understanding. I do know that God never wastes a hurt and He can use your suffering to bless you and bless many others.

Will you surrender your suffering to the power of God to bring transformation?

A person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not people. Romans 2:29b

 

An indication of whether God has changed our hearts is our willingness to seek His praise rather than the good opinion of the people around us.

It is very easy to allow the opinions of those around us to influence the choices we make. I seek to surrender my heart and make choices to seek His praise and commendation rather than the commendation of men.

I pray you will be granted wisdom to know the next step God wants to lead you to in your current situation. God is generous with giving wisdom to those who ask.

Day 9 Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days

 

Intentional Authentic Leadership

Leadership

Leadership begins with leading yourself.

You might think that if you are a mom at home you aren’t a leader. Actually, you are one of the most powerful leaders around. Everyday the decisions you make, the words you say and how you grow as a person powerfully impact the next generation. You may only have one child, yet you could be influencing thousands. Don’t take that position lightly.

So, how are you creating an environment in your home that encourages everyone to be the best they can be? Do you feel like what you are doing at home is not important, but the work you do outside of the home – whether it is paid or volunteer, is the really important part of your life?

You might be considered a huge success in other areas of your life, but if you are not creating an irresistible environment at home, where your children and your husband (if you have one) want to be, then you are failing at the most significant role that you have.

Tips for creating an Irresistible Environment at Home (by someone who struggles a lot with this concept)

  1. Make healthy foods a priority. Everyone feels and acts better when their nutritional needs are met and they are not experiencing ravaging cravings for sugar, chemicals and carbs.
  2. Be aware of your own stress levels and seek healthy methods for stress reduction such as exercise, EFT, journalling, talking, etc.
  3. Prioritize intentional fun. Figure out the different things each personality in your family finds fun and join in – even if it is not your fun thing. Celebrate your differences.
  4. Seek to grow your family towards an emotionally and spiritually healthy foundation.
  5. Affirmation. Everyone needs affirmation. Give it liberally. It might not come back to you, so find ways of giving it to yourself.

Parenting is a very long-term commitment. It is similar to one of those very conservative stocks you invest in and leave it for a long time. The dividends in parenting can be much better than the stock investment, but you might only reap the richest rewards at 10, 15 or 20 years in.