Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Stop Fixing Me!

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you." Psalm 143:8

I finally own a pretty, woman's tool box. You know, the dainty one where all the essential tools are wrapped in pink? It sits atop my refrigerator where I can easily find every tool needed for those quick-fix household repairs.

But, it's not always those loose floor boards or broken door handles that surfaces my urge to fix things. Rather, my uncontrollable urge to make things right erupts when those most precious to me are hurting. And before you think I'm a softhearted, altruistic wife, mother and grandmother, let me set the record straight. I don't like broken things because they bring discomfort, disharmony and disorder. I like life simple, orderly and happy.

But life is full of discomfort, disharmony, and disorder, so I've learned that although I want to fix everything - offer the right tool - when life breaks my loved ones' hearts, fixing just makes things worse. Why? Because, (1) I can't fix everything. If I could fix everything then I'd be God. I'm certainly not. (2) They don't want fixing. Mostly, they want a good listener and encouragement; someone who will shoulder their pain and encourage their hearts with unconditional love.

God's worked on my irregular passion for order and happiness over the years and I've learned it's through our brokenness we can either help or hinder God's power (his Holy Spirit) in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

In Jesus Lives, by Sarah Young she puts it this way:

"Stop feeling responsible to fix people since that is {God's} role...You can be part of the process, but remember {God} is the Author and Director of the drama...Do not usurp {God's} role in people's lives."

Young offers these tips to those of us who love to fix things:
  • Prayerfully release your loved ones to God's Care
  • Restrain your urges to fix them or their problems
  • Listen to them
  • Pray with and for them
  • Trust God's infinite wisdom
Do you suffer from the urge to fix things with your loved ones? How does God help you restrain that urge?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Happy National Family Literacy Month

Reading to my children and now, grandchildren, has always been one of my favorite activities. Not only does it allow for extra cuddle time with my precious little ones, but it reinforces family ties and promotes literacy. 

November is National Family Literacy Month. While most of us in the northern hemisphere experience shorter and stormier days this month, what better time is there to snuggle up by a fire or under a cozy blanket together and read a pile of books?

While books can carry us off to far away places and help us experience new and wonderful adventures from the past or future or fantasy worlds, reading promotes critical thinking and confidence. It opens a world of hope and imagination like nothing else can. Literally, with books, the world is at your fingertips.

There's many other ways to promote family reading other than story books. Why not crack open your favorite cookbook and help your children follow the recipe? Or, for those handy people, purchase an easy craft project that includes written instructions and do that together? 

If you put your mind to it, there are countless ways to promote reading as a family, but here's my list: 

  • Start reading while babies are in utero. This helps your baby recognize family voices.
  • Develop nightly bedtime story routines. Once the child can read, they will want to read to you.
  • Rainy-day family read-a-thon. Cuddle up as a family and enjoy your adventures. Children will see that you enjoy reading, too.
  • Attend story hours at your local library or church
  • Cook with a recipe promotes reading, listening, and following instructions.
  • Crafts and building projects with written instructions works the same as cooking.
  • Play board games that promote reading. One of our favorites is Apples to Apples Junior and with pictures. This promotes reading, grammar, vocabulary and critical thinking. 
  • Reading using puppets. Children of all ages love puppets. If they are a shy reader, using puppets may help them become braver readers, especially aloud.
  • Family devotions. Familiarize your children with reading from the Bible. (See Janice Green's article here). What better way to teach our children God's ways. 

Happy Reading,