Tag Archives: Family

Experience Joy During the Holidays

The holiday season can be hectic, stressful and difficult for many people. When we compound that with issues of unforgiveness in our lives we are not able to fully rejoice and enjoy the season of gratitude and thankfulness.

Wounds that are not completely healed often cause unmet expectations, sadness and regrets. The litmus test to see whether a wound is completely healed is to ask yourself if you are uncomfortable when you see that person or you hear their name. If you feel discomfort, your wound is not healed. If your unhealed wound is a result of someone’s offense against you, there is a way to find healing.

Author and speaker Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged – at the Cross with Jesus.

With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.

“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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If I Had a Parenting Do Over Q&A with Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee understands the joy and the challenges of parenting and offers practical help to parents who would rather learn from someone else’s firsthand experiences in hopes of circumventing their own parenting mess-ups.

  • The title of this book is so perfect! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a DO-OVER, especially in an area as important as raising our kids. Tell us the back story on why you decided to write about this 20/20 look-back at parenting and the changes you’d make?

It was an amalgamation of several elements. First, my own kids, now 19, 21 and 23 were now out of the house, in college and making decisions on their own. As my wife and I watched this we couldn’t help but look back at our own parenting and ask, “Did we equip them for this?” Or “Could we have done this better?” At the same time, the nature of my job put me intermingling with parents almost weekly at my parent workshops or interaction on our website helping parents. In these interactions I began hearing the same regrets over and over again. A lot of, “I wish I had done this…” So I began a little experiment of sorts. At times I created a venue where parents were given the opportunity to share past regrets. It’s not something that happens often. But when it does, when a parent shares, “As I look back on all my years of parenting, the one thing I’d change is…” That always captivated parents. Parents want 20/20 hindsight! So, I decided to embark on a journey to not only share my own thoughts, but look for the common denominators that most parents seemed to wish they could “DO OVER.”

  • In your book If I Had a Parenting Do-Over, you mention a parenting poll you conducted and the eye-opening results. Please tell us about this?

It was intriguing. I asked parents one simple question:

If you could go back in time and change one

parenting practice, what would you DO OVER?

It was fascinating, because out of all the hundreds of responses I received, I began noticing one overwhelming response. It was, “I wish I had spent more time with my kids.” I had answers all over the board, but well over a third of the answers were regrets that they didn’t spend enough time simply hanging out with their kids and bonding. The answer came in many forms.

“More time in conversation, and less time in front of the TV.”

“With a do-over, I’d jump in the ocean with them more instead of sitting on the sand watching them play.”

Few of the parents expressed regrets about “boundaries.” I didn’t hear a lot of people saying, “I wish we would have been more strict.” “I wish I would have had more rules.” And maybe that’s because of the crowd I surveyed. Because honestly, I was asking parents who were coming to our website for help, attending our workshops… so these were mostly Christian parents in the church who had been at the parenting thing for a while, if not empty nesters already. But less than 2% polled wish they had applied more boundaries. They just wished they’d gotten to know their kids better and built a relationship that opened the door to continual conversations.

  • I think of all the chapter titles in your book If I Had a Parenting Do-Over many of us are going to be drawn to “Let it Go”. Many parents seem to struggle with this and if we don’t then somehow we might feel like we aren’t good parents. Why is that and what prompted you to include this as a chapter focus?

Because teenagers are a pain! You can always spot a parent of a teenager. They look tired and beaten down. Ask a parent of a teenager which is more difficult, parenting toddlers or teens! They’ll tell you. Parenting toddlers might be physically exhausting, but parenting teenagers is emotionally exhausting. They know everything! And they’ll disagree with you at every interaction. “I like your pants.” “Actually, they’re not pants, they’re jeggings!” And if you try to tell them what to do, they’ll resist at every opportunity. “I need you to pick up that stack of dirty laundry in your room.” “Why do you care. It’s my room!”

This is where all parents struggle. We all have responses we’d like to give to this little punk who just told us “it’s my room” …even though they’ve never even considered pitching in on a single house payment.” So I spend an entire chapter helping parents not get entangled in “the drama.”

“Put on your coat!” “I don’t need a coat. It’s not even cold outside. Just saying!”

We need to learn how to let it go. After all, in most of these situations natural consequences teach far more than any of our lectures. Let the kid freeze for a day. They’ll remember their coat tomorrow without you even reminding them.

  • What happens when we don’t notice things our kids are getting into (even though we might notice other kids’ behavior and think that those parents totally missed it)? How can parents keep up and not let their kids fly “under the radar”?

I’ll be honest. Most parents, myself included, have very little idea what’s going on in the world of our kids. Parents often react to that statement. But the older our kids get, the more we realize it. Most of our kids have a device in their pocket that can access every type of media imaginable. And most parents have no clue what their kids our accessing. Most parents have no idea what music their kids listen to, the Netflix show they’re streaming, and the interactions they are having on social media. In my parent workshops I often give a quick tour of the top 10 songs at any given time, and parents are always shocked. Think about this for a second. I’m not even exposing deep dark secrets. I’m just showing parents what any parent with access to Google can find out at any moment. I’m just letting them listen to the lyrics of the newest Drake song they just heard while shopping with their kids at Wal-Mart. I’m just showing them a clip of the newest Ariana Grande video, the girl their kids grew up watching on Nickelodeon. I’m just showing them what their kids can click on from the SnapChat app, which is by far THE most popular communication tool kids use today. If their kids don’t have it, for sure their kids friends have it.

Parents need to simply put their own phones down, turn their own screens off, slide their bills aside… and take notice of their kid. I spend an entire chapter talking about what this looks like. Not putting a nannycam in their kids’ bedrooms or installing the newest spy software. Notice them.

Believe it or not, your kids want you in their lives. Shaunti Feldhahn surveyed about 3,000 teens asking them about their parents’ involvement in their lives. Almost all of them (94%) said that if they could wave a magic wand, the perfect situation would be one in which their kids worked to be involved with them. Not spying on them or acting like a parole officer checking to see if they finished their chores… but in their life. That “bonding” thing again.

For more information please visit www.TheSource4Parents.com

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More on Fatherhood with Tim Bayly

Daddy_Tried-baseball.jpgQ: You readily acknowledge the fact that we’ve all had imperfect fathers. What would you say to those who are still blaming their fathers for their own failures?

A: Meditate on the judgement seat of God and try to imagine yourself standing there and complaining to God about the father He gave you. Since Adam, every man’s father has been a real sinner. Think of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each was a sinner and their sins are recorded in Scripture. Think of King David. Think of the Apostle Peter.

Recognize that your life will soon be over and you will give an account to God for your stewardship of your fatherhood. On that day, you will not be able to excuse your own failures by pointing your finger at anyone else. Not your father. Not your mother. Not your son. Not your daughter. And certainly not your wife. God will not tolerate your complaining, but also, it’s not manly. Do you really want to spend your life whining?

Q: You make a connection between manhood, sonship and fatherhood. Explain to us why that connection is so important to being a successful father.

A: If I can change the question a little, I didn’t make the connection between manhood, sonship, and fatherhood. God did. He is the One who chose to write His own Fatherhood and Sonship on one half of the race of man and to write motherhood on the other half. Fatherhood and sonship flow from manhood just as motherhood and daughterhood flow from womanhood. Our sex is our destiny given us by God, and He will hold us accountable for our stewardship of that destiny in our sonship and fatherhood.

Q: What can wives do to help their husbands better fulfill their role as fathers? What about sons and daughters, how can they help?

A: Well, this is the million-dollar question, but here are some thoughts.

WIVES: Don’t nag, but pray. Don’t become bitter, but sweeten up. Don’t try to fill in the gaps in you and your children’s emotional lives by doubling down on your own intimacy with your children. Teach your children to honor their father, and honor and submit to him yourself without complaining or giving subtle looks that tell your children your resentment. Explain to your husband that you wonder if he loves you because real love between a man and his wife is as emotionally intimate as it is physically intimate. Ask your husband to go with you to meet with the pastor; tell him that there are some things you’d like the pastor’s help explaining to him. Don’t baby him. Ask questions that are open-ended. Study him. Learn his fears.

Pray for your husband. Neither parade nor hide his failures. Don’t use your emotional intelligence to show him up in front of your children. Let him make mistakes. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to find out he was right. Many men learn fatherhood by watching their wife’s motherhood and doing what helps and strengthens and protects her.

SONS AND DAUGHTERS: Pray for your father. Each day, make sure you tell him you love him and give him a sincere smile. Both sons and daughters should do these things. Obey your father. Speak to him respectfully and don’t ever play your mother off against him. When he says no, don’t go to your mother and get a yes. Fatherhood is very hard work. God is the Pattern for that work so fathers never stop seeing their failures. Encourage them in their work.

For more information visit https://DaddyTriedbook.com

Helping Fathers Part 2

Part 2 of Q&A with Tim Bayly, author of Daddy Tried

timbaylyQ: Your father was a notable author and pastor and you freely draw from your family experiences throughout the book. What are a couple of things that you learned about fatherhood through his example?

A: I was the second of five brothers. Three of them died – one from leukemia, one cystic fibrosis, and my older brother from a Christmas sledding accident. Watching both of my parents deal with their pain while maintaining an unwavering faith though it all was instrumental in shaping my idea of fatherhood. My remaining brother and I grew up hearing them say they were never as certain of God’s love as when they walked away from the fresh grave of one of their children.

Secondly, recognizing Dad’s love for me when he kicked me out of his house. I was nineteen and one Saturday morning he quietly said to me, “Tim, you are not honoring God and you may not live in my home any longer.” I tell the longer version in the book, but Dad never loved me more faithfully than that day, and I came to learn what it meant to fear the Lord above yielding to the fears of men.

Q: Obviously, your family had a personal experience with grief. What would you say to fathers who have been crippled by personal loss of a loved one?

A: Grief is hard work that must not be avoided. If it is avoided, you and your loved ones will pay a steep price. Mourn. Shed tears. Be weak and be quiet. Take your grief to God in prayer. Get good at noticing how God uses your suffering to help others. Suffering is a gift from the hand of our loving Heavenly Father. Thank God for His care for you and your loved ones because giving thanks will inoculate you against bitterness.

Q: What is the most important advice that you would give to a young father today?

A; Don’t be afraid. Our Heavenly Father specializes in making the stupid wise, the weak strong, and the fearful bold as lions. You are the perfect man to be the husband of your wife and the father of your children. Throw out your video games, drop out of fantasy football, stop looking at Facebook, close your laptop, confess your sin to your elders, ask them to pray for you, then enjoy your kids.

Q: Apart from a man’s personal responsibility to his own children, what would you say to any man about his role in society and how he can help shape the next generation of fathers?

A: Be willing to take responsibility outside your home. Serve as an elder or deacon of your church and take responsibility for guarding God’s truth as well as the souls in your congregation.

Outside your home and church, if there’s an accident and someone needs help, step in and do what is needed. Give to the poor. Help the widows and orphans. Protect the weak and defenseless from the attack of the wicked. Always speak up in defense of God and His truth, and do it cheerfully. Remember that everywhere you go you are being copied and followed by other men who are learning to be fathers themselves.

Whether or not God has blessed him with children, father is what every man is and his fatherhood is needed as much outside the home as it is inside the home.

For more information please visit https://DaddyTriedbook.com

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Overcoming the Failures of Fatherhood

Daddy_Tried-baseball.jpgFor millions more, the father may be there in body but is checked out emotionally. Arguably, the institution of the family, and specifically fatherhood, has never been in such a mess. Absentee fathers, angry fathers, abusive fathers, apathetic fathers, addicted fathers are just a few of the categorical labels applied to a role intended by God to be a position of honor, a source of provision, a place of protection, and a voice of guidance and justice within both the family unit and society at large.

The outlook for fatherhood appears bleak, but is there yet hope for this vital societal role? Is there a road to recovery, a path to victory? Tim Bayly thinks so. In his new book, Daddy Tried: Overcoming the Failures of Fatherhood [Warhorn Media, June, 2016] he offers a frank, yet hope-filled path to overcoming the inherent failures of imperfect men and to reclaiming manhood, sonship, fatherhood and the men called Daddy.

From the Fall to the Cross, Bayly leads his reader through God’s redemptive plan for fathers often drawing from decades of his own journey as an imperfect son, father and pastor. As is the case with all of our societal ills and human failures, Pastor Bayly makes it clear that there are no quick fixes and that this road to recovery is not without a generous portion of blood, sweat and tears. But that was the same path of the Savior wasn’t it?

“It is worth pointing out that God, with unparalleled authority, unlimited power and unequaled resources has chosen, in His providence, to transform and use broken and impotent humanity to accomplish His purposes,” offers Bayly. “Fathers play a pivotal role in God’s plan for the family and virtually every part of society. We can’t afford to ignore them and simply hope that things will get better. I’m convinced the effort and sacrifice required to fulfill our divinely mandated role as fathers is worth it, even when we fail, and we will fail.”

Daddy Tried is unapologetically a book for men and the male-only club of fatherhood. With the only Perfect Father as a guide, it stares the imperfections of every father squarely in the face, offering a clear path to overcoming the failures of fathers past, present and future.

For more information visit https://DaddyTriedbook.com

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness month, as well as National Child Abuse Prevention month, survivor Shannon Deitz speaks out on the pervasiveness of sexual assault nationwide.

Sexual violence, including child sexual abuse, spans across all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. According to a Child Maltreatment report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, 60,956 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the United States in 2013. On top of the guilt and shame that abuse can bring, most victims know their attackers, which can lead them to be silent about their traumatic experience. Staying silent, however, does not lead to healing, according to Shannon Deitz, abuse survivor and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry. Below is a Q&A with Deitz on this important topic.

about shannon2

Q: What do people need to understand about sexual assault and child abuse? How have these tragic crimes continued to take place and have they grown over the past 5 years?

A: Both sexual assault and child abuse are issues that render discomfort and disbelief when discussed. In both instances it takes an extensive amount of courage to speak up and tell someone what has happened or is going on in the home. The stigma of shame and displace guilt often keep the victim quiet and in fear.

However, the more we can bring awareness to both issues, especially during Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention month, the louder survivors can be with their stories, and the more prevalent the issue can become in the public eye. The statistics (from what is reported) rarely change. 1 out of 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 15% of them will be under the age of 12 the first time they are assaulted. Often when one is assaulted the shame and guilt are embedded so deep that their defenses become lower and they find themselves in the same situation repeatedly throughout their lifetime.

Child abuse is more difficult to determine the true statistics because those reporting the abuse are often outside of the home, however still, 3.6 million referrals are made a year.

These crimes continue to remain stagnant in numbers because it is inherently a difficult, uncomfortable subject which forces us to pay attention and react and respond instead of turning a blind eye when we notice something out of the ordinary, or when a friend admits to an assault.

One young man confided when he was a freshman in college and rushing a fraternity he walked out of the bathroom at his frat house’s party to find a line of his ‘brothers’ waiting to ‘rape’ a young woman in the bedroom. While he didn’t participate, he also didn’t do anything to help the young woman. To do something would have meant to take a stand, to cause waves, and people instinctively shy away from confrontation. Yet that moment missed to help her still haunts the young man today.

These crimes are not fading, however, and the more we continue to bring awareness the better chance those listening to other survivors’ stories will be apt to recognize the abuse they are suffering and want to speak out, and or make safer decisions. In bringing awareness we offer the opportunity for survivors to speak out and help others to know that they are not alone and to inform generations to come, encouraging them to get beyond the discomfort of confrontation. *statistics taken from RAINN and Child Help

Q: What do people need to understand about survivors of abuse?

A: Survivors of abuse, both male and female, are not fragile individuals. They are strong, worthy individuals who have overcome a great amount of suffering whether it was physical, sexual, or verbal. Every single form of abuse affects the person emotionally, lowering their self-esteem and sense of worth. Often survivors hide or bury the facts and the deep effects of the abuse out of fear, shame, and lack of support. The best way for a survivor to heal from the affects of the abuse is to give a voice to what has been done or said to them; to be heard and to know they are supported and loved.

Q: What has inspired you to reach out to others?

A: I am a survivor of rape and incest. The years I kept the facts of these traumas within me led me down some dark paths that were filled with bad decisions based on my lack of worth and self-esteem. I want to educate and reach out to other survivors before they get entangled in that dark path and make decisions that can affect them for the rest of their life, adding to the trauma of what has been done or said to them in the past.

Q: Why do you feel it is important for you to share your story?

A: When I began to live my life in the freedom of being a survivor, no longer tethered to chains of negativity, pessimism, and insecurity, I realized how much I longed to see others free from these same chains. I knew the only way to reach others was to tell my story in its truth and entirety. What affected me in my healing process was to hear other stories similar to mine and to witness their successful triumph and victory overcoming their past. I began to realize if they could do it, I could too. I want to share both the stumbling and the victories so that others can relate and recognize that they can also be victorious over their past.

Q: How has sharing your story with others helped you in your journey to healing?

A: The more you share the truth about your experience the easier it is to accept it and move passed it in order to embrace your present and future. By sharing my story through speaking to groups and leading retreats, I find that it gives me strength and fortifies the healing process. What has been ‘done’ to me is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define who I am. In fact, I’ve come to the place where I can thank God for every aspect of my life, the dark and ugly moments, along with the joyous times, because He has brought good from it all and allowed me to recognize that I am stronger because of it.

Q: Low self-esteem, especially among teens, has become a national epidemic. What do you want someone struggling with feelings of low self-worth to understand?

A: My instinct is to respond, “You are worthy! You are unique and there is no one else in this world just like you and this world needs you and the skills and talents YOU have because each one of us has been given a specific purpose to use these talents and gifts and no one can replace you.”

But I also have been in a place that I have felt extreme unworthiness and insecurity. I know that if I heard someone say that I’d doubt what those talents or gifts were, because I wasn’t like everyone else. To that I say, “Would being like everyone else make you happy? Would going against who you are, what sparks interest and joy inside of you just to get others attention bring you joy? Most likely not.”

In this day and age of social media, self-worth is defined by the number of followers we have on Instagram or how many ‘likes’ they give to your posts. It is important to realize that those are numbers and most of those people have so many numbers because they ‘follow’ and ‘like’ everyone just to get more numbers. When it comes down to knowing you, who knows you best?

You, my friend, are worthy of life and others would be so lucky to know you, who you really are and share in the gifts and talents you’ve been given.

Q: What is your goal with Hopeful Hearts Ministry and what motivated you to start it?

A: Hopeful Hearts Ministry strives to help those who have suffered abuse not just survive, but to thrive.

When I was called into speaking on a national and international level on various topics regarding faith, the most popular message I gave, the one that resonated best with audiences at least, was when I spoke of my own personal journey, the abuse I incurred and how I overcame the stigma of shame attached.

As the years progressed and my voice became stronger, God led me to more and more opportunities to work with survivors of all ages, especially those in my generation and generations ahead of me who were taught to keep skeletons in the closet. It became very clear that there was a desperate need to empower all survivors to have a voice, to educate the world on what abuse is, to teach others how to listen to those who have suffered abuse, and to learn how to stop the generational cycle of abuse. In 2012 a dear friend of mine said to me, “Why don’t you start a non-profit? Think what more you could do.” Hence, Hopeful Hearts Ministry was formed.

Hopeful Hearts Ministry is a 501 c3 National Non-Profit.

www.HopefulHeartsMinistry.com

Redemption Starts Now

Finding Your Place in God’s Movement to Radically Transform a Broken World

jesusagendaA single Texas mother must choose between paying the rent or buying groceries for her family. Children in an African village go barefoot because their families cannot afford shoes. A young Guatemalan girl is sold into slavery in the sex trade. How does God respond to this brokenness? And what does all of this have to do with the average American Christian?

Dr. Albert Reyes serves as the CEO of Buckner International, a global Christian ministry focused on serving vulnerable children, orphans, seniors, and their families. In his new book, The Jesus Agenda, Reyes explores the blueprint for ministry laid out in Jesus’ first sermon recorded in the Gospel of Luke. The directions are clear. To be like Jesus, we must become, first and foremost, agents of redemption. Jesus came to redeem the lost—not just secure their eternity in Heaven but deliver them from darkness on earth.

“I used to think serving vulnerable children, orphans and seniors was not my job or within my scope of ministry. I guess I had not read my Bible very well,” Reyes recalls. “In my mindset, social ministry and evangelism were mutually exclusive. As I have grown as a follower of Jesus, I’ve come to realize that the practical impact of the gospel and the gospel message of salvation cannot be separated. It is two sides of the same coin. Personal faith in Jesus as your redeemer goes far beyond solving the spiritual problem we have with sin. This is the Jesus agenda – preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, recovering sight for the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. It is the ministry to which every Christian is called.”

The Jesus Agenda confronts western Christians living in relative prosperity and comfort with detailed accounts of the desperate circumstances plaguing “the least of these” around the world. What is God’s heart for the fatherless in the global village? What should our response be to the 60,000 unaccompanied and undocumented minors that came to our border in 2014 seeking a better life? How does an agent of redemption reconcile the reality of life in the West with life in the developing world when it comes to matters of faith and action?

“I want readers to prayerfully consider this question: How would your profession or vocational skills benefit the poor, those in prison, the physically challenged, and those who are oppressed in your community? “Reyes says. “You have been placed where you are for a reason. You have a role to play in someone’s redemption story.”
Reyes believes the advent of the internet, the ease of international travel, and the abundance of financial resources place heavier responsibility on those of us in the West to serve “the least of these” in our global village—both at home and abroad.
“Redemption may mean reuniting a baby and his mother,” Reyes says. “It may mean giving a cup of cold water, a meal, a shower, or a pair of shoes to a family crossing our border without documents. Wherever we have an opportunity to shine hope into the lives of the least of these, we apply our hands and feet in redemptive ways to catch up to what God is doing on the planet.”

The Jesus Agenda weaves together the redemptive stories of biblical figures including Moses, Joseph, Ruth, and Zacchaeus, drawing faith principles from each then applying those principles through present day stories from Buckner’s worldwide ministry—the American single mother and her children who escaped a violent relationship and found a fresh start, the village in Peru that was relieved of sickness thanks to water filtration programs, the kidnapped Guatemalan infant who was rescued and returned to his mother, and many more. Each chapter concludes with thought-provoking discussion questions, making The Jesus Agenda an ideal vehicle for church small groups or individual study.

The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption is written by Dr. Albert Reyes
For more information visit
www.JesusAgenda.com

About Buckner:
For more than 136 years, Buckner International has been transforming lives through hands-on ministry, serving the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life. Buckner is one of the oldest and most unique faith-based social service organizations of its kind, serving people each year in the United States and worldwide.