Monday, September 26, 2016

Who is Your Elizabeth?


My friend Kathy has greatly impacted me over the years. We met in high school. She got married a few years before I did and had her first child about five years before I had mine. When I had parenting questions, her bigger perspective was so helpful. Yet she wasn’t so far ahead of me that she lacked empathy for my parenting concerns.
She would say to me, “Oh, just think of it. Three is still pretty little,” when I would lament over my child’s lack of potty-progress.
I have always been able to count on Kathy for sound advice.
She is generous with her wisdom. (I eat it up.)
She is a good listener. (I feel heard.)
She embraces confidentiality. (I feel safe.)
She speaks with honesty and love. (I trust her.)
And I know she prays for me. (I am grateful.)
Gone are the days of neighborhood coffee parties and regular extended-family gatherings (at least for many of us). But women are still wired to need each other.
Mary, after learning she was pregnant with Jesus, went to see her older cousin, Elizabeth. Mary needed support and wisdom. Elizabeth provided both.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1:39-45
We desire to learn from and to lean on one another.
Recently I spoke to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. In my talk, I encouraged the women to be the mom God designed them to be.
One of the ways this can be done is to find a mentor; maybe a peer with perspective like my friend Kathy or possibly a more seasoned mentor like Mary’s relative, Elizabeth. It’s a biblical concept to have or to be a Titus woman (Titus 2:3-4). I guess that is why mentoring never goes out of style!
As a final thought, to avoid having the mentoring time look more like a gripe session, use a tool to steer your conversation. Of course my co-authored books, Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love are not the only resources out there. But I do believe they are good ones because each book has a companion study guide.
If you are a mom, I encourage you to find a Titus woman or to be one for someone else. It is a blessing for both.
I still count on my friend, Kathy for her sage advice. She’s now a grandmom. I’m not there yet, but when I am, I know who I’m “gonna call.”

So… women, who can you support and encourage? Who is your Elizabeth?

Lori Wildenberg
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, co-author of 3 parenting books. Click here to schedule Lori  for your next event. She is available for special engagements, retreats, and workshops. Stop by the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting store for gift items, books, and faith wear. 








Monday, September 19, 2016

The Risky Rewards of Reaching Out


Friends, I have a treat for you today. My friend and colleague (from The Mom Initiative) , Melinda Means, is sharing her heart with you today. You will be blessed by her words.  And...after reading this you will feel loved, love her, and love her heart for people and the Lord. 
At the end of this post you can find out more about her recently released book, Invisible Wounds. You can find Invisible Wounds over at Amazon
With faith, hope, and love,
Lori



The Risky Rewards of Reaching Out by Melinda Means

 Often, we walk around in pain and despair, safely covered by our cloaks of invisibility.

We feel sorry for ourselves. We think no one understands.

Pain is a cruel master that tends to demand self-focus. 
But how can others understand if we don’t tell them? How can they support us, pray for us, and love on us if we don’t give them the opportunity? 

God made us for community. 
We weren’t meant to go through difficulties alone. In Galatians 6:2, it says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." (NLT) Notice it doesn’t say, "Find someone to bear your burdens." It says, "share each other’s burdens" (emphasis mine).

God works through others to encourage and heal us, but He also wants to work through us, even in our brokenness (maybe especially in our brokenness!) to heal others.
           
The second part of that verse says, "in this way obey the law of Christ." 
The law it refers to is in John 13:34-35 (NLT): "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."*

One of the most loving acts someone can do for me in my pain is to pray for me. 
It’s the most powerful, loving act we can do for someone else.

It requires vulnerability, particularly when we're in a place of dark discouragement. 
We have to be honest and real about our doubts and difficulties. We can’t sugarcoat it. When people have asked what they could do for me, sometimes I’ve simply said, "Pray for me. Because I’m struggling to pray for myself right now." Or, "I’m having a really rough week. I’m in pain and I'm discouraged. Please pray."
There’s an urgency in those kinds of requests that helps people understand the depth of your need.

God wants us to speak truth and perspective into each other’s lives. 
Recently, I had a terribly discouraging week. I had challenging things going on in nearly every area of my life. My health was stinky. Overall, I felt I was ineffective, a disappointment to God and a big, fat failure. I don’t go there as often as I used to, but when I do, it isn’t pretty.

And then I went to church. The place where we all think we’re supposed to act happy. 
A couple of younger women I happen to adore came up to me and asked, "How are you?" I’m supposed to be the older, wiser woman who shows them how it’s done, right? Maybe so. But I told them anyway. I mean I really told them. Not all the details, but I conveyed the depth of my discouragement.

One of them immediately said, "You know that’s not true, right? You are not ineffective. You are not a disappointment. God is enabling you to do some awesome things."
She wasn’t just being nice. My friend is kind, but she’s also a bold truth teller. She was speaking truth into my weary soul. She was giving me some much-needed perspective.

At my chronic illness group, there is a rare level of authenticity and sharing. 
We pray for each other. I mean really pray for each other. Deep, desperate, Spirit-filled prayers. These are the kind of women we have to seek out. These are the women God wants us to be to others. Bold truth tellers. Real, godly, drop-to-our-knees prayer warriors. Women who will go to God in prayer regularly and specifically.

Find Your Inner Circle
Vulnerability is risky. Not everyone will understand our pain. 
If they haven't gone through it, they can't relate. They might say we need stronger faith. They may not understand that healing from grief, pain, or loss is not a linear process.

Most people know what to do to help in crisis, but long-term wounds make people uncomfortable. 
They can't fix it. We have to let go of unrealistic expectations, ladies. We have to let people off the hook. For the most part, people don't mean to say the wrong things. The benefit of reaching out—for you and for others—is worth the risk.
           
Don’t hesitate to share your story as God leads you. 
However, seek out a trusted few with whom to share your deepest emotions.

I think of Jesus. He shared the testimony God had given Him with the masses, but He shared much more deeply and intimately with the twelve disciples. Even among them, His closest confidantes were reduced to just three, His inner circle: Peter, James and John.

Ask God to bring kind, wise, supportive people into your life. Pray for discernment.

Then take the risk to reach out to them. Let's share each other’s burdens.

* Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, John F. Walvood and Roy B. Zuck (editors)

© Melinda Means. This post includes excerpts from Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting. Used with permission.


Author Bio: Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has found the joy of seeking the Healer more than the healing. She is a professional speaker and writing coach, as well as co-author of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). Her website is melindameans.com.

So many of us walk around looking fine. Hidden beneath the surface, however, are deep, painful physical, spiritual and emotional wounds. We feel isolated in our pain. We feel guilty about the private doubts we have about God and His goodness. We live alone with our invisible wounds. 

In this book, Melinda draws from her long history with chronic illness—hers and her son’s—and also shares the stories of seven brave, beautiful women who reveal their hidden hurts. Throughout its pages, she tackles the tough spiritual questions and dark, raw emotions that accompany suffering and illuminates the path that leads to hope that heals.

Monday, September 12, 2016

12 Vital Things for Parents to Say to Their Gay Child




"My young adult just  told me he's (or she's) gay. Now what?"

This inquiry used to be a rare one. This past month I have spoken to three different moms seeking answers to this very question.

Broken-hearted, lonely, and confused they are looking for camaraderie, comfort and clarity.

Empathy and compassion I have in full supply. I can relate. My daughter is same-sex attracted. 

Answers--  well God has those.

Each family, each child, each parent is different. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how this is played out in the family.

God is the one to trust with the answers.

Along with my listening ear, I can provide some guidelines when it comes to living with this new reality. The most important thing I tell parents is to love their child. Once the young person has uncovered his secret, he is relived his secret is out but fears his parents will not love him. Show him that is not true. Let him (or her) know you love him.

 So what does love sound like? Say these 12 vital statements to your child in order to build and maintain a relational bridge.

1. We are always here for you. Alleviate the young person's fear of rejection.
2. You are an important part of our family. Reinforce his place in the family.
3. You are precious to God and to us. Remind him of your love and God's love.
4. We will still ______ (go out to lunch, go to games, enjoy each other's company). Continue to pursue your relationship.
5. Your same-sex attraction doesn't define you or impede our relationship. Our identity is in Christ.
6. We respect your right to your opinions and beliefs. Respect can happen even if you cannot support the way your child is living out his orientation or preference.
7. We expect you to respect our right to our opinions and beliefs. Respect must occur for all.
8. Your friends (partner) are always welcome in our home. Be a part of your child's life and get to know those who are important to him.
9. We have the option to say no if a request (like having a partner spend the night in the same room)  makes us uncomfortable, violates our conscience, or butts up against our convictions. 
10. When we dialogue, we will talk and listen respectfully. We may need to agree to disagree.
11. We will not lecture or debate. This will get us nowhere fast. We will show grace while speaking truth.
12. We will not always talk about the same sex-attraction every time we get together. We all know where each individual stands on this issue. Let's begin by talking about where we can agree or have common ground.

If you are in conflict with your child's sexuality, don't feel as if you have to compromise or sacrifice your beliefs to maintain a relationship with your kid. It isn't loving to force someone to see things a particular way. Relational blackmail can go both ways: "I disown you if you are gay" or "I will walk away if you can't accept me for who I am."

Love one another unconditionally. Acceptance and agreement are not the same thing. We can accept a person without being in full agreement with everything each party thinks and believes or how each person acts or feels.  Families are made up of individuals who do not agree on many things. But they can agree to love and respect each other even when they disagree. There is no reason why this issue has to divide families.

When we speak truth with gentleness and respect and show grace we give love. When you feel concerned, bring it to God. Trust Him with the details. He loves our kids more than we do.

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9



Lori Wildenberg
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, co-author of 3 parenting books. Click here to schedule Lori  for your next event. She is available for special engagements, retreats, and workshops. Stop by the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting store for gift items, books, and faith wear. 


































Monday, August 29, 2016

My Kid Likes to Pick Fights--With Me!




"My kid likes to pick fights with me. She loves to poke me and get under my skin."

Rebels and prodigals love to argue and accuse. They know just what buttons to push to get an emotional rise out of mom and dad.

Jesus can relate. He had the same issues. Argument baiting, mocking, and insulting comments happened to him too.

So what did Jesus do during these exchanges?

Silence. 

When he was mocked and insulted Jesus gave no answer (Luke 23). He didn't react. He didn't defend himself.

Honest Respectful Response.

In Mark 15 Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

Jesus answered honest questions, honestly. He agreed where he agreed.

Answered Affirmatively without Argument.

Jesus agreed, "Yes it is as you say."

He found the common ground with Pilate. But to the chief priests accusations he gave no response. He didn't get dragged into a debate. He didn't acknowledge the accusations.

Offer no Defense. 

One daughter told her mom the angst and guilt she felt over her own personal behavior was her mother's fault.

I encouraged the mom not to receive that comment or respond to it. God is her defender. The comment is intended to be emotional manipulation. Just say, "Hmmm..."

Ask a Question.

Another option this mom has is to respond with a question, "Have you considered the feelings you have may be the Holy Spirit?"

Asking a question is a good way to get clarification.

Jesus asked Pilate, "Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?" (John 18:34).

A parent may say, "Tell me how you think I will answer your question."

This question is nonthreatening and provides insight into the rebel's perspective. Then, if there is confusion or misunderstanding, it can be addressed.

Rebels and prodigals are unsettled in their situations. This is why they love to debate and argue. They need to continually justify their belief or behavior and in the process shame others for opposing or differing views.

 It is up to moms and dads to be full of grace and truth, stay in control, and demonstrate kindness during the challenging moments.

Just like Jesus. Choose to respond with silence, respect, openness, or a question depending on how God leads you in that particular circumstance.




If you would like more information on parental and child anger and what to do about it--check out these books: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. If you head over to the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Store to buy them the proceeds from the sales go into the 1C13P ministry. Or if you prefer the books are also available over a Amazon and Barnes and Noble.




                                                by,
                                                 Lori Wildenberg
Lori is now scheduling for the 2016-17 school year. Click here to contact her for a speaking event, parenting seminar or workshop, or for parent consulting and coaching.