“I’m Becoming My Mom >:-O!”

~ or your dad … or you’re “just like Aunt …’ or maybe you “act like uncle …”

"OMG! You're just like ...."

We all hear it sometime.  I worked in a mall while in college.  During my lunch break I would go out to eat at the Chic-Fil-A.  There were these three ladies that came out every week to eat there.  One was 20ish, one was 40ish and one 60ish.  They looked, dressed and acted like the same woman in three different decades.  The youngest was fast on her way to becoming her mother (and grandmother).

That is not a bad thing, to be like one’s mom or dad … grandmother, etc.  My girls like to tease me about becoming ‘grandmother’.    Many  would love to be 1/2 the person we might be ‘likened’ to by others.  On the flip side though is the negative.  When we’re young we see things in others and say, “I will never do that.”  Yet, the liar begets a liar, the thief a thief, the verbal abuser … the yeller … the drunk … the angry … the impatient … the stubborn ….

Why?  Because it is generational and someone has to break the chain.  As parents we want to set patterns and behaviors, lifestyles and habits that children need to become.  Unfortunately, kids zero in on the negative.  It’s the nature of them?  It’s satan’s* dirty little tricks in life?  It really doesn’t matter, it happens.  Look at toddlers that have picked up cuss words … why one bad word when so many good ones are spoken?  Or pinching, hitting, etc.  The negative sticks out more?  Whatever it is we have to focus on teaching them the positive.  If a child emulates you, if they become you, hopefully it is all the positive and none of the negative.  I know I had negative times I am not proud of that I hope my kids never become.  Frustration, anger, hard times … they come out and those moments stick out in memories and outweigh the good sometimes.

So it is two fold … you work on making positive memories and they work on remembering only the positive when they are older.  The scriptures says in Philippians 4:8 , “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.”

We guard their ears, eyes and minds from what the world throws at them through the various mediums, yet our own mouths sometimes does more damage.   Ephesians 4: 29 “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” (NCV)  You know yourself that in your memory the harsh words spoken stand out more.  ALWAYS, go and undo what you say in anger or frustration … when you’re too tired, etc.  Don’t let that apology and that ‘rebuilding’ go undone.

Passing on the bad from generation to generation will happen if someone does not make an effort to stop the chain.  If you have  alcoholics, liars … suicides, etc.  Don’t pass it on … stop the cycle.  It is not a heritage you want.  When children are old enough to know about what was in their family’s history is when they are grounded in why it is wrong.  I cannot tell you the number of young people I have counseled that say, “well what can I do, I’m just like … and you know I was always told they did ….”.  Your kids do not need to know the details of your past until they are young adults (if ever).   We had a youth pastor come through once that told of his wild and sinful days … laughingly … almost with … “yeah it was fun … but, then I had to settled down so I got saved.”  This teaches that you can have your fun and repent later.  No one has a ‘later’ promised to them.

You have no later … work on what needs changing today.  Teach your children the positive part of you they need to become and forget the negative part of your own past that your parents were … forget and forgive.  Decide today that you want to be the good part of that person and pass along only the good part of them and the good part of you.

Always go back to the Beatitudes … attitudes to be.  Then you are passing on a heritage of being Christ like.

“I’m becoming ….the good part of…”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Celebrate Life (*IMHO)

Life Is Precious - Treat with Awe

We are celebrating our victorious child’s 34th birthday this week. She truly was a victory.  After five very difficult pregnancies she was born.  We first found out we were expecting her because I was being treated for bronchial pneumonia.  Due to the meds I was on that ‘could’ leave her brain-damaged, the other bad pregnancies and health risk to me and the fact Phil had lost his job, the doctor advised abortion. 

I was not new to this advice.  I received it with my second pregnancy while in the hospital during a miscarriage.  I actually lost a twin, but still had one baby.  I had lost my first child at age 24. Now at 27 I was finally expecting again. The doctor cautioned and suggested I go ahead and abort the remaining twin. After all, she had about a 10% chance of living, probably was brain-damaged and was a high risk to my health in my current condition.  I did die on the operating table with our oldest, but God had other plans.  After 10 days in the hospital I went home with a 9 pound normal and healthy baby girl.

Both of my girls are gifts from God and He knew when the doctors did not.  God IS the master physician. Neither was brain damaged, in fact just the opposite.  Both are college grads, married and are mothers.

I named our oldest Rebekah Kristen, rebirth in Christ, as both of us were given a second chance at life.  I named our youngest Victoria Paige, victorious child, as she truly was a victory against all odds.  Naming your children is very important.  Naming is important to God. God gives so many examples of why people were named what they were in the Bible.  For example:

Gen 35:10 “God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.‘ So He called him Israel.
Gen 5:29 “And he named him Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us comfort from our work and from the hard labor of our hands caused by the ground which the Lord has cursed.‘”

Equally important is raising them knowing WHY they were given their name.  It builds character and purpose.

When Victoria was in high school, she had to write a persuasive essay for English.  Since abortion was controversial many students wrote on that subject.  The teacher had already read them so she knew Victoria had taken the narrow path and had her present her’s last.  Her’s was the only pro-life paper. Not only did she state the facts about how it is used as birth control and that the statistics of its need for mothers at risk, rape, and incest (which are extremely rare – less than 1%); she told them about my decisions with her sister and her births.  Most of them did not know the facts and most of them were just parroting the popular voice.  Some argued we would have felt differently if she HAD been born deformed or brain-damaged.   She was able to tell them that we refused the amniocentesis test that would have shown such conditions as our resolve in accepting God’s will no matter the outcome.

So how did the world get to this state about human life?  When did we lose the awe over creation?  In my opinion it has been subtle.  I believe we as Christians are as much to blame as anyone.  We have treated motherhood as common and become flippant in our approach.  Why should the world treat life sacred and with awe when we have joined their ranks in the treatment of motherhood? 

I truly believe that if we want the public to treat an unborn baby as a baby then we need to be the first to do so.  I firmly believe that if we as Christians do not change our treatment of motherhood and birth to align with God’s word and then raise our children with the same teachings, then we can see life treated with less and less respect.

Birth is about a living soul, created by God.  God knows us from before we were born.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

He does not label us as a ‘pea’, a ‘kidney bean’, a ‘peanut’ or a ‘bump’.  He would never treat us so trivial.  He would not focus on the mom and her physique and draw attention away from the awe of birth.

1 Peter 3:3 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

I believe the Bible means we are not to be worldly and take on the worlds displays of dressing and that includes motherhood.  We have become flippant and tolerant of the world’s views on life.  Women are drawing attention to themselves and referring to their ‘bumps’ instead of their child given by God.  I am sadden by some Christian women who believe God’s Word yet do not follow Proverbs 31:30 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Motherhood has become about them instead of their testimony to God’s love and graciousness. They place photos of exposed stomachs on their social media and show off in public.

Birth is NOT a celebration about a woman’s body, but a celebration of a new life.  How sad that we have misplaced the focus and missed all these opportunities to testify to God’s wonder and miracle of birth to the masses.

So the next time you defend Pro-life and anti-abortion views, make sure your actions are not treating the unborn lives flippantly and worldly.  The world watches actions. That child is not a bump, it is a baby, a miracle created by God.  Handle with care.

*In My Humble Opinion – I know this is not going to be a popular post but, I believe that we as Christians need to check our actions against our words and views and His word.  How do we as Christians expect the world to view life with reverence if we treat it worldly ourselves?

RBGreenDesigns.com 2020

It’s Me or Them!

From May to October there is a common sight along the shorelines here in FL.  Sea Turtles come ashore and deposit their eggs.  Humans walk the beach each morning looking for the tracks they leave and stake out their nests, cord them off and post signs to protect the nest and the future baby turtles.

Left in Others Care

Some people are sea turtles – drop the eggs on the beach and swim away letting them hatch or not, and make their way in the world if they can.  The parent turtle goes back on its course and lives their life.  As humans these parents tuck their heads in when they don’t like what they see.  They may not abandon their offspring physically but, they do mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  They tend to their own selfish needs and seek out their own path and pleasures.  They are all about ‘me’ and never ‘them’.

More and more I am saddened by the parenting I see in public.  They can’t put their book down or get up from tanning on the beach or what ever they are doing for THEMself at the time.  They have no time to be bothered with taking their young to the rest room; seeing they are not in danger or are not bothering others on the beach.  “Hey Joe, take little Johnny to the bathroom!” says the mom.  “No, it’s your turn”, says Joe.  Little Johnny sits there wondering if anyone cares about him.  When he’s in a dangerous area around the rocks the Lifeguard finally talks to him and then the parents.  These parents are in the malls and stores as well. Store clerks and security pick up their messes, stop them from hurting themselves and finally help them find their parents when they are lost.

Growing up there was a saying, “if they act like that in public, I wonder how they act at home?”  That phrase could be applied to everything from “they need a spanking” (children) to PDA (public display of affection).   Today I am using it to refer to parenting.  If they do not act like parents in public, how much worse are they at home?  So many parents are focused on one thing, “ME”.  The children get what is left.  As Christian parents we quickly say, “no, I do not put myself before the kids”.   We see to all our kids ‘needs’.  However, satan* is subtle and oh so stealthily he has swung us towards the ‘me’ from the ‘them’ in our attitudes.

Ever Watchful, Diligent.

As mom’s we should be lionesses and as dad’s we should be lions.  God has provided in nature the very attitudes we as parents should take in the protection and raising of our young.  God expects us to be always watching, taking turns, seeing to ALL the needs of our young.  Raising them in all aspects of life so they can become a complete adult.  We as parents are responsible for showing them God by the way we treat them.  We treat them as God treats us and so we should by our actions be teaching our children they are made by God (physically) loved by God (emotionally), taught by God’s word (mentally) and guided by God (spiritually).  As we teach them about God  we are preparing them as adults to seek God in all areas of life: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Do you think that you get on God’s ‘last nerve’? Exactly, remember that when dealing with your children.

God expects us daily to see they are RAISED in the Lord that they may live up to their potential in Him.  Are you a lion/lioness or a sea turtle?

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Growing Up Too Fast

Growing Up Too Fast

I was almost run over today at the mall by a 10-year-old followed by a 6-year-old on her heels and a frazzled grandmother dragging behind.  My daughter and I were at the mall looking for shoes for her two daughters.  I have not been to a mall in many, many months and was way behind in my people watching, so as they shopped … I watched.

The grandmother looked frazzled, the two girls bored.    Both little girls were dressed very cute … for teenagers!  Dressing up is fun and there is a time and place.  But, this was not dress-up.  This was ‘who they were’.  It was a statement.    They had the lace fish net gloves heels (I could almost hear the pediatricians groaning over damaged growth plates), bootie shorts (yes, their little cheeks hanging out)  and accessories.   The 10-year-old was on her cell phone talking to a friend and it went like this, “yeah, I can’t wait for you to see the new shoes I got.  Yeah and I got a new outfit …”.  I think you get the picture.  It certainly explains the grandmother’s face.  Everyone that knows me knows I would have sent them in to change before going to the mall.  I often wonder why people want their children to grow up so fast.   The only thing that I think is worse is when their mothers dress like teenagers.

Sometimes I feel this generation has lost so much simplicity and innocence.  Remember Jesus said,

Mark 10:14 “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”

and in

Matthew 18:3  “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I wonder if He is sadden that the children are not children any more?  I think as Christians we are expected to shield them from the world and to help them make the decisions of being …

a ‘peculiar people unto the Lord’

Deuteronomy 14:2 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”

“while walking worthy of their high calling.”

Ephesians 4:1-2 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love…”

Children can be raised IN the world and be successful, well liked, accepted and even popular without being OF the world.  I am not sure if the parents are so wrapped up in being successful themselves that they translate that into their children’s lives, or if they expose their children to much older environments and simply let them have their way when they want to act older.  You may recall a few months ago a heated controversy over moms and dads defending their little girls dance costumes and dance moves (click on the word ‘moves’ if you have not heard).  It is unbelievable how much denial is going on of parents over their parenting.  There is nothing wrong with trendy and cute but, giving up age appropriateness and rushing them into adulthood is not what God planned for our children.  Jesus wants us to become more like children as we turn to Him.  How can we explain our turning little children into mini adults? Why is everyone trying to copy Hollywood’s parents, lifestyles, etc. when they are all failing at everything but making money?  You will not be the most popular parent sometimes, but God did not put you here as a parent to be popular, or even well liked.  He put us here to be parents … good parents … examples for the worldly parents to follow, not for us to follow the worldly parents.

Ouch! That hurt!

No amount of good parenting takes away all the owies from your child’s life.  Whether by accident, or part of growing up or even self-inflicted,  they will have pain in life.  Teaching your child to sort through the pain and growing from it can be a monumental task at times.  The common sense ones we have no trouble with like, ‘I told you the stove was hot’ or “see, what did I tell you about running on concrete?”  These daily accidents, although sometimes self-inflicted, result in pain that brings many lessons in life.  The pain of touching the hot stove after you told them not to is an obvious lesson and quickly learned because of the quick consequences.

But, what about the ‘stuff’ we push back and do not deal with until it is too late.  As adults we do this in our life, waiting, procrastinating, deciding it will not matter.  What you have to remember is that you are passing on this pattern to your child.  They are always watching.  How you deal with situations in your life is a daily lesson to them.  I was thinking about this while working in my yard this weekend.  The scripture Romans 1:19-20 came to mind:

Romans 1:19-20

“19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Get rid of your life's weeds.

This is a great way to teach your child a Biblical truth.  Your child is watching and observing you with situations in your life every day.  What  are they learing?  Do you wait until it causes excruciating pain to deal with the issue?

Consider spring yard work, or storm clean up to illustrate my point.  This past winter we had months of bitter cold instead of a couple of weeks.  The unusual hard winter killed most of my yard, and what it did not kill, it severely crippled.  This past weekend I finally got around to the last area.  I had put it off because from the street it looked fine.  There was plenty of green and flowers covering the winter damage.  My procrastination became evident when I started pruning back the area that had been left to its own wild growing.  Underneath were long, leggy stalks with no support that would have soon withered and not passed along nutrients to the beautiful outer growth and blooms.  Near the ground was rotting debris from the storm that had not been dealt with.  Eventually, the plants would have withered and died and I would need to replace them completely if I had waited much longer.  Amazing how all around us in nature are lessons and truths from God.  We have to deal with circumstances as they arise so that we teach our children to do so as well.  Otherwise, we end up with root rot and wild unhealthy growth.

Of course there is the pain of growing up.  Sometimes through no one’s fault, life happens and it hurts.    The death of a pet, or worse a love one; financial hardship that takes away their piano lessons or football camp, these pains all hurt.  A friend moves away, a teacher over looks them on awards day, these hurt.  There are so many hurts as they grow that need to be handled.  They will ask why, just like we ask God why when we lose a job, a love one or get sick.  Life hurts.  The Bible tells us that the trials and tribulations are  testing:

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
I Peter 1:6-7

Pruning. What's it doing for you?

Trials build character, patience and faith.  That is hard to teach a child in concept if they are young.  However, the way you yourself react to similar pain is how they will learn first.  Are you patient?  Does the situation make you mad and you explode?  Mad is an emotion (my girls always hated this next phrase), “No one can make you mad.  You have to choose to be mad.”  It is true, you choose how you respond.  How are you teaching your child to react to the pain in their life?

Sometimes though, our pain is self-inflicted.  We have been away from Him in our walk for so long that the ‘pruning’ finally has to happen for us to survive and it is severe.  Only you know if your season of pruning is simply growth in the Lord, a testimony for those watching you or if it is because you have gone your own wild way.  What’s hurting you and why?  Your kids are watching.