Raising Christian Kids in an Ungodly World

I picked up my nephew from football practice the other day and while I waited, I watched the other high school kids interact outside my car window.

A pretty girl walked out of the gym from a cross-country workout session and a group of guys started yelling inappropriate things at her. She gave them “the finger” and a dirty look and then walked up to window and leaned in seductively to whisper something in the boy’s ear.

There was raunchy laughter and arm punching. Tires spinning. More cat calls and for a brief moment I got a snapshot of the teen scene.

It scared me.

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Because I’m not so naive to realize this is regular, normal everyday teenager stuff.

This isn’t the latest trashy Miley Cyrus video that’s gotten more than 72 million views. It’s not the readily available porn on a friend’s cell phone or one of the thousands of sext messages kids send each other. It’s not the cyber bullying that results in suicide, the injustice of racial profiling, or the politically correct agenda that tells us it’s our choice to kill babies and marry whoever we please.

As I crawled into bed that night, I couldn’t help but think about my naive 13 year old who will be readying for this same high school this time next summer or my kind, sensitive son who already feels out of place among his peers because he’s a “nice kid.”

It’s enough to make a momma want to board up her doors and keep her good kids out of this bad world.

We are just entering the teen years in our home and rather than live in fear, we are trying to prepare our kids for the world. We refuse to stick our heads in the sand and throw out polite Christian promises of things our kids will never do. We know there will be temptations to look at pornography and push boundaries we have defined. We know there will be mistakes and failures because we are raising humans. And as mature Christian adults, we still make plenty of our own.

I know my good kids can be bad and the bad world can be good. But we can’t assume our Christian kids can survive this ungodly world just because we take them to church on Sundays and have 11 Bibles in our home.

Did you know 70-80% of kids leave the church when they turn 18? And many millennials don’t return. It’s a startling fact.  We can lead our children to Jesus, but we can’t make them disciples. While I want my children to make good, Godly choices as they grow up, I hold fast to the promise that God can redeem anything, even bad choices. He often uses our mistakes and failures to lead us to back to Him.

I’m still intimidated by all I see going on in the world, but I refuse to cower and move to another country (although I have thought about it) because I’m afraid. We are in the in-between years, watching our children transform into teenagers before our eyes. We are making a lot of mistakes and learning along the way. But here are some truths we are holding onto:

  • We are expecting our kids to rise above the low expectations the world has of teenagers (Read Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations). They don’t have to be rebellious. They can overcome the world with the help of Jesus and that’s our goal.
  • We are resisting the urge to make everything black/white (good/bad) and directing our kids as they get older instead of constantly correcting them. Asking important questions like, “What do you think about that video/movie?” Etc
  • We are creating a safe environment of very open communication about lust, dating, pornography, what really goes on at school, church (oh, yes, even there). We want our home to be safe, a place where our kids can talk about anything.
  • We are trying to establish a community of peer believers to do life along side our kids. I’m learning this is critical. Christian kids need Christian community outside of school (even church). They need positive peer influence or they will find it in the bad that’s at every turn.
  • We are offering forgiveness in failure. Perhaps the biggest thing we can offer our children is forgiveness. I don’t want my kids making good decisions because they think there’s is a punishment at home for bad ones. I want them to make good choices because it’s a result of a right heart. But when they do mess up, there needs to be grace.

I was raised in a black and white era of Christianity with shame-based sex education and constantly questioning my salvation with every mess-up. I don’t want to raise my kids in that tension. When I look at the world around us, my first inclination is to shelter and remove my children from it. But we are called to be in the world, just not of it. And that’s the hard part.

But by the grace of God, it’s possible to raise Christian kids in an ungodly world.

 

WFMW: Our Favorite (Easy) Summer Meal

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Summer is hot in Texas. Snow cones help. Tonight at 6pm it was 100 degrees. The last thing I want to do is heat up the oven and kitchen for dinner. With a diabetic hubby and a very picky 6 year old, it’s hard to please everyone.

The one meal everyone loves (and keeps me from having a hot flash) is what we affectionately call Chicken Chop Chop. Unless we only have ground beef and then we change the name.

It’s a super flexible meal.

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Ingredients:

Grilled chicken (outdoors) or ground beef cooked on the stove.

Taco shells or chalupa shells or some sort of taco chips (we use what we have)

Brown rice (We microwave minute brown rice) if we have it

Beans-black or pinto beans

[And then we chop chop] lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese

and top with salsa

It’s easy, delicious and my big kids can *almost* prepare it by themselves.

It definitely works for us!

What Being a Mom is Really Like

I don’t recognize the kind of motherhood I see in the movies or on magazine covers. Neat. Clean. Perfect -white teeth smiling. I don’t live greeting card or fairy tale motherhood.

Mine is messy. It’s loud with crazy laughter and tearful drama. It’s full of forgetful tooth fairies and kids in need of haircuts.

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One day it kicks my butt and leaves me wondering what in the world I’m doing wrong. The next I’m reveling in all the right and good I see in my children. And in me.

I’ll let you guess which one today was.

Being a mom is a lot like this:

You take off your cute denim jacket in the middle of dinner and hand it to your child because the restaurant is too cold. You freeze the rest of the meal. You aren’t surprised one bit when she dips your sleeve in Ranch dressing.

When your children play hide and seek in the house, you hide in the bathroom or the closet. Sometimes both, just to throw them off.

You’ve crept into your child’s room to make sure they were still breathing.

You’ve prayed the creaking door on the way out wouldn’t wake them up.

You consider grocery shopping alone a date. With yourself.

You yell at your kids to stop yelling.

You’ve set the clocks forward an hour for an early bedtime.

You dread the end of summer while you simultaneously count down the days.

You’ve had your feelings hurt by a very small person who can’t even tie their shoes or whistle.

The youngest wants to “help” with lunch. You let her, even though you know it means you’ll be adding a mop to the cleanup routine.

You cry on the first day of school. And then you do jazz hands.

You would carry every hurt and pain your child experiences. It hurts even more that you can’t.

You regret not buying stock in Magic Erasers.

You put off replacing your laptop so your child can play a musical instrument.

You have to apologize to someone 3ft tall on a regular basis.

On more than one occasion, you have verbally thanked God for Netflix.

Being a mom is the ultimate collision of imperfection and beauty. And we wouldn’t change it for all the magazine covers in the world.

Moving Day {A Special Opportunity to Love Mercy}

24 beds. 24 mattresses. 24 sets of clothes. 240+ cloth diapers.

Box by box, Mercy House Kenya is moving today from the rented home the girls and babies have occupied for over two years to this paid-for beautiful home. It’s a special day.

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If you’ve ever moved, you know how much work it is. Multiply that times 24. We have 12 babies now –with the youngest just days old to the oldest, now two! It is costing Mercy House $1700 to move 20 minutes away to the next town, a suburb of Nairobi. The new home is much smaller (but it’s ours), so the carpenter who created these custom crib/beds has been busy rebuilding them to make them fit in our new smaller rooms. As with any move, there are unexpected expenses.

And today, we have a special opportunity to be a part of this milestone. I’m excited to share my friend Kimba and her business with you:

Thank you to Kristen for allowing me to share our business with you and tell you about something exciting we’re doing to benefit Mercy House! Mercy House is partnering with Everyday Icing today to help cover the moving expenses.

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If you think Facebook is just for sharing cute pictures of your kiddos or catching up with your college buddies, you’re in for a surprise! Everyday Icing brings you a totally new way of shopping!  Each week, Everyday Icing offers our Facebook fans trendy jewelry and accessories at incredible prices!
A few key points about Everyday Icing:
1. Our pop up sales are Monday nights at 9pm EST. Just “like” our page to participate.
2. Our prices are usually between $12-$30…easy on the wallet!
3. Shipping is always FREE!!!
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Jewelry pieces are presented in an auction-style format with a photo, price and quantity. Fans of our page are able to buy our pieces by commenting “sold” along with their email address (first purchase only). The first people to comment before the featured item sells-out “wins” the item at the stated price. It’s so easy! And it’s fun! We send invoices by email and shipping is FREE!
Everyday Icing features both trendy and classic necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and scarves as well as personalized items such as tote bags, clutches and jewelry. We offer between 20-30 different items during our weekly sales and our prices are typically between $12-$30. Your wallet will thank you!”
So what does this have to do with Mercy House?
Like most of you, we are passionate about the mission of Mercy House in Kenya. They are doing the Lord’s work in a powerful way.
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Today, we are offering one fabulous piece, our Mercy House Rose Cuff Bracelet, a fair trade bracelet from India and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this bracelet will go directly to Mercy House Kenya.
About the Mercy House Rose Cuff Bracelet:
It is an intricately etched brass cuff set with a accent stone in a beautiful shade of green. It was handcrafted in India by the Ana Art Group. Because all of the materials are sourced locally in New Delhi, India, there will be some variation in the green color of the center stone. It’s a part of the beauty and charm.
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Our hope is to raise enough money to cover their upcoming move with this one special item. We would love for you to stop by and pick up this fabulous bracelet and support their important work at the same time.
We have a limited quantity of this beautiful bracelet, so don’t wait! To make a purchase, just “like” our Facebook page and comment “sold” with your email address on the listing. It’s easy!
It’s a fun, beautiful way to love mercy.
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