Effective Prayer

imageIf you go to The Lord in prayer and you come out feeling the exact same way, burdened by the same problems, heavy with a load too big for your shoulders, then all you have done is effectively complained.

Effectively praying puts a few simple principles in place. Confess your sin, pray specifically, believe there is an answer on the way. Most of all leave your burden with the only One who can help you.

The Benefits Of A Manual

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Let me preface this by saying my car will be five years old this June. Let me also say that I read the manual of a new car for the basics. What all the lights mean on the dash, how to configure the stereo and lights on the interior and exterior, the basic everyday stuff.

Last week I somehow pressed a button which linked my climate control throughout the car. I didn’t want this as when my husband is driving he likes it a lot cooler than I do and I didn’t want to freeze. So I spent some time in the car pressing buttons trying to figure this thing out. I mean how hard could it be? I had pressed something to link it, surely I could press the same something to unlink it. Not being a very patient person and trying all that I knew how to get it work my way, I pulled out the owner’s manual and flipped immediately to the index under C for climate.

There was a whole section dedicated to climate. I began to read that pressing the configure button and scrolling down to climate I could program my car to detect air quality. I immediately changed it over to extra-sensitive as I have asthma. I could also program the seats and steering wheel to heat up on the auto start for my key and program it differently for my husband’s key and in the summer change it to cool. I was really liking the features this car had! It allowed me by pressing one button to have the car keep a constant temperature so that I didn’t have to adjust the heat or air and it did it automatically.

Five years into having this car and I have been breathing normal quality air and adjusting temperatures as I go when it could have been doing the work for me. Imagine that!

It’s the same with us. When we read the bible and discover through prayer all of the features we’ve been given we have to wonder why we’ve been trying to adjust the climate of our lives manually when we could have set everything to automatic. I wonder how much time we’ve wasted trying to figure things out when the instructions were there to be read? I wonder how many times we have looked at the book for the basics but never dug deep for the comfort features?

What if while you’re driving your life forward, you don’t have to take your hands off of the wheel and adjust anything because everything you’ve needed is right there and ready to work? All you had to do is be aware of the features and benefits of the vehicle. Today I challenge you to read your owner’s manual and discover the benefits of everything that life holds for you.

 

Two Ends of The Spectrum

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Two weeks ago I finished Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book was contrasted by articles I’d been reading about the narcissistic engulfing mom in Danu Morrigan’s book, and the raising of her children.

While the tiger mom is obsessed with raising brilliant children who can rule the world, the narcissistic mom is obsessed with making sure her children will forever need her. The tiger mom insists on perfection in every aspect of her children, the narcissistic mom tells her children they can’t do anything right without her.

The tiger mom and narcissistic mom both think they have their children’s best interest at heart, but both want to control on opposite ends of the spectrum. While the tiger mom is teaching her children that fear can actually motivate you to move forward, the narcissistic mom is telling her children that danger lies around every corner and what lucky children they are to have her as their mother who will forever protect them. There is no childhood in a tiger mom’s mindset and there is infantalization in a narcissistic mom’s mindset.

I have to be honest and tell you I cringed with both mothers. With the tiger mom because I could relate to much of it. I was focused on making my children prepared to take on the world and make something of themselves. I wasn’t as compassionate as I should have been as I was busy raising leaders.

With the narcissistic mom I cringed because she is raising children to be afraid to leave her. She makes sure to tell them that they aren’t smart enough to leave and the world is a super scary dangerous place without your mom. If they do happen to escape, she has a need to know everything about their life and she takes it in as if it is happening to her. This plays on my fear of my children marrying someone like this and being trapped by a mother-in-law who is hell bent on control. I have seen mothers who know every last detail of her adult children’s marriage and who interject their opinion and speak for their adult children. The person married to their child lives a hellish reality of being married to someone’s mother. ICK.

With Amy Chua’s book, she has a revelation and acknowledges her errors, although the media crucified her, I had deep sympathy and love for her (I know what you’re thinking, it’s okay). With the narcissistic mom, she believes she is  right and you won’t convince her otherwise.

Makes me grateful for my mom! Thanks mom, for always trying to mind your own business, well for the most part, and for letting me grow up to be who I wanted to be.

Walking It Out TLC4Women’s New Season

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TLC4Women is getting ready to start its new year. It’s a special year for us since it’s our Seventh! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be with this group of women and the new ones they will bring to the class.

When TLC first started we started because we wanted a different kind of bible study. One that would bless us as women, teach us the word, and give practical tips to applying principles to our lives to make it better. I wanted a group with a promise. One that said, if you’ll come and study, your life will change. The banner over our ministry was “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2 so Transforming Life Center was birthed.

On Monday we will all gather to worship, to pray, to set the pace for how walking this life out will look like in the 2013-2014 season. We plan on tackling three big areas this year.

1. What are the weapons of our warfare as women and daughters of the Most High King? Prayer, praise, tenacity, and a strong love of God and his Word.

2. What does it mean to be a disciple and even better what does it mean to make a disciple?

3. Who is the Holy Spirit and how do we keep him at the forefront guarding our steps and making sure we don’t break our ankles?

Prayer, Disciples, Praise, all led by the Holy Spirit and that would be a great year but we have to more to learn. Then we’re going to study the Prophet Malachi. Word for word, verse by verse. Who was he and what can he teach us?

It’s going to be a great year and I can’t wait! See you all on Monday at 7.

The Two Dogs

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A MAN had two dogs: a Hound, trained to assist him in his sports, and a Housedog, taught to watch the house. When he returned home after a good day’s sport, he always gave the Housedog a large share of his spoil. The Hound, feeling much aggrieved at this, reproached his companion, saying, “It is very hard to have all this labor, while you, who do not assist in the chase, luxuriate on the fruits of my exertions.” The Housedog replied, “Do not blame me, my friend, but find fault with the master, who has not taught me to labor, but to depend for subsistence on the labor of others.”

Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parents.

Translated by George Fyler Townsend. Aesop’s Fables (p. 36). Amazon Digital Services, Inc..

It’s a Matter of Priorities

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An Aesop Fable:

THE ANTS were spending a fine winter’s day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, “Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?” He replied, “I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing.” They then said in derision: “If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter.”

Translated by George Fyler Townsend. Aesop’s Fables (p. 17). Amazon Digital Services, Inc..

So often we put things off that need to be done. Then we scramble to see who has worked for provision so we can mooch. Bail outs often only hinder progression and foster slavery.

Even Birds Do It

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Think of the now ubiquitous “failure to launch” syndrome of those twenty- or thirty-somethings still living with their parents. They cannot end childhood and fully enter adulthood. But the bigger issue is often the parents’ inability to end the pattern and stop the toxic dependency by pushing the grown “kid” out of the nest. They refuse to end their “helping” role, which is not in fact helping.

Cloud, Henry (2011-01-18). Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward (p. 11). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The book Necessary Endings will clarify things for you. I read it at a moment of desperation and eliminated and limited detrimental things in my life, even clutter both physical and mental because the wisdom penetrated that deeply. However, this thought made me stop reading for over 24 hours as I processed the concept and tried to figure out the why.

There is an idolatry of ourselves going on these days and it manifests in the control of our children. We have determined that our child is the smartest, brightest, most likely to succeed (even if I have to do it for you), brilliant, talented, moral, beautiful, and end all to all humanity. Cancer has not been remedied, nor wars ended simply because our child has not reached that age of maturity YET. But fear not world! Our child will git-ur-dun. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t like my child? Well, you’re just a hater who wishes your child was as good as mine.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only woman on the planet who thinks her children are smart and they are one of many smart children, but my measure is are they good kids? I think my kids are good looking but so are so many other people but are their hearts right with God?  I love my kids but life is life, consequences are consequences and  I knew one day I would push them out of the nest so that they can either fly, or fall to the ground. So far my stats are decent. Two have launched willingly, two have been launched, all have flown. Only, the verdict isn’t in yet because I hear sometimes they boomerang.

We could just chalk this failure to launch thing to the economy, to immaturity, to a variety of factors but the statistics are that suicides and homicides are climbing, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, drug usage, and STD’s are at an all time high among our kids. Something is wrong. What is it?

Could it be that in this consumer driven, all about me culture that we live in we fear that our children’s failure reflects on us?

Therefore, propping them up in whatever capacity we can alleviates the self-inflicted embarrassment that is thrust on us. We have to have the best kid  and provide the best privilege because we are the best parents.

If you think I’m wrong watch how it plays out. I’ve seen parents of adult children throw their grandchildren on the altar of their ego manifested in their child. We all watched it play out with the Casey Anthony case. We aren’t doing it for the child’s sake. We’re doing it for ourselves. We have created an image of ourselves and the statues that we worship resemble the faces of our children because they look like ours. None of us have to watch TV to see how this plays out. We need only to look in our own homes and those of our community to see the reality.