Father’s Day: My Kids Have Two Dads (and so do yours)

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

My kids are very excited. Mostly because they’ve come to assume any celebration will involve some type of cake or treats. But we can use this time to teach our kids an important truth: Our children have two daddies (and so do we).

This morning, our breakfast chat went something like this….

Me: Did you know you have TWO daddies?

Kids: Puzzled looks and big, interested eyes

Me: That’s right. You do.

  • You have your dad here on earth, but you also have a Father up in Heaven. Father God. And he loves you.
  • Father God is our good daddy in Heaven who loves us and takes care of us. He loves you even more than your daddy here on earth does.
  • So tomorrow we’ll celebrate your dad here on earth, but we can also celebrate that we have a good Father in Heaven.

If your kids have a loving earthly father that’s present in their lives, you can focus on the fact that “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above (James 1:17).” This includes the dad they have on earth. He’s a gift from God and we can thank God for him.

If your kids have a father that is no longer loving or present (either by choice or circumstance), use this as a chance to show them they are not alone and fatherless. They have a Father God in heaven who loves them.

It can be tempting to define Father God by the shortcomings of our earthly fathers, but the truth is our earthly fathers are just flawed versions of our perfect, heavenly Father.

I pray for blessings on your families as you celebrate Father’s day tomorrow. Regardless of circumstance, we can rejoice because every one of us has a perfect Heavenly Father to celebrate tomorrow.

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

How Making Cookies Can Teach Your Kids About God’s Goodness

We all want our kids to be “good.” Even strangers want our kids to be good (I know this because of all their helpful tips). But what really makes something good? And how can we teach our kids about this? By making cookies, of course! Here’s an experiment I came up with based on an article I wrote for Focus on the Family.

  1. Get your ingredients: Cookie dough, sugar, salt. We used the packaged store cookies because some days I don’t have it in me to get my  Martha Stewart on.
  2. Put salt on top of some and sugar on the rest. (You can also mix it into the dough if you’re making cookies from scratch).  The kids love to help with this part.
  3. Bake the cookies. Put some of each kind on a plate (it shouldn’t be obvious which is which).
  4. Ask the kids if they look good.  Can they figure out which have salt vs. sugar just by looking at them?  How about by tasting them? Make sure they get a chance to taste both kinds.

Teaching Points

  • Not everything that looks good really is. Explain how the salty ones look good on the outside but don’t taste good because of what’s on the inside. God cares about our hearts more than appearances (1 Samuel 16:7).
  • Sometimes we act like salty cookies. We do things that look good on the outside, but maybe we don’t really mean it or we’re doing it for selfish or other reasons.
  • Since only God is truly good (Mark 10:17-18), He is the “ingredient” that creates true goodness in our hearts. We can ask him to give us His goodness so we can be more like Him. He wants to help us!

Other Ideas

  • Depending on how many cookies you make, you can carry this on for a while. They love the suspense of wondering which kind of cookie they will get when they “pick”.  Use it as a chance to continue the conversation since kids learn through repetition.
  • Ask them to think of situations where they may act more like a salty cookie — appearing good on the outside, but not pleasing God with their hearts.

Do you like to make cookies with your kids? What other ways can we teach our kids about God’s kind of goodness? I’d love to hear what you think!

How to Use Bath Time to Teach Kids about God

Whether your kid’s bath time is a comforting part of your bedtime ritual or a dreaded chore carried out against a backdrop of screaming and freaking out, every young child ends up in the bath at some point. The wet wipes can only go so far.

So why not take advantage of this time to chat with your kids about God and how powerful He is? Here’s how.

1) Tell or Re-tell the Story of Moses Parting the Red Sea

If they haven’t heard it yet, you could read it to them while they’re in the tub. If they already know it, ask them to tell you the story themselves. Or you could summarize it by saying something like this:

In the book of Exodus in the Bible, we learn how God used a man named Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. God set them free and they set out on a journey toward a place called the Promised Land. This was a special place God had given them to be their new home.

But after they left, the Egyptian ruler decided he wouldn’t let them go after all! He sent his army of soldiers to chase after them.

Soon Moses and God’s people were trapped between a large sea of water in front of them and a bunch of angry soldiers coming at them from behind. They were really scared and they asked God to help them.

Do you know what happened next?

Moses followed God’s instructions to hold his shepherd staff over the water. When he did, a strong wind came and parted the sea making it move into two huge walls of water with a path of dry land in between.

God’s people walked across safely, and when the Egyptians tried to follow them, the water crashed back down on them and swallowed them up. God made a way to save them when there seemed to be no way out of trouble!

2) Ask Your Kids to Pretend Their Bath Water is the Red Sea. Can They Part the Waters?

Can they part the bath water and make a dry path? Have them try with their hands and then ask them to blow on it like the wind.

They soon figure out they can’t do it. Show them that you can’t do it either.

3) Follow up with Teaching Points

  • Explain that we’re not like God. Moses was a human like us. The only reason he could part the sea was because he obeyed God’s instructions. God was working through him giving him the power to do it.
  • Moses did a good job obeying, but God is the real hero.
  • God can use us to do important jobs for Him, too!
  • God is powerful. More powerful than you. More powerful than mom and dad. More powerful than anything! And like Moses and the Israelites, we can call on him to help us whenever we are in trouble.

4) Lather, Rinse, Repeat

If you’ve ever been tortured by watching the same cartoon/movie or reading the same book over and over (and over) again, then you know how kids like repetition. Here are a couple of ideas of how we can use this to our advantage:

  • Have your kids try it again in few days or weeks to see if anything’s changed. Can they part the waters yet? Remind them that they could if God gave them the power to do it. Like Moses, we can do anything with God’s help.
  • If you have more than one child and they bathe together, have one pretend they are Moses and God’s people and have the other pretend to be the army chasing after them. Have them reenact the story themselves as they learn it better. This can get messy, but they love it!

What do you do during bath time at your house? Can you think of other ways we can use bath time to teach our kids about God? I’d love to hear from you!

A Secret for Moms Who Need a Break

Before I had kids, there were lots of things I swore I wouldn’t do when it was my turn. Like roll out of the house unshowered in sweats that may or may not have come out of the laundry basket. I’d walk by these ladies (in my high heels) and silently wonder how it could be so difficult to just put in a bit more effort.

But if you’ve ever stayed home with young kids, you know how hard it can be to get a break. At least when I worked at Microsoft, nobody came and stuck their fingers under the bathroom stall when they needed something. 

I love being a mom and I’m sure you do too, but if you’re having one of those days where being home with your kids has you feeling like you’re about to lose your last marble, head over to your local Fred Meyer.

The larger Fred Meyer grocery stores offer moms a little piece of paradise called Playland. One hour of free childcare for kids aged 2 up to First Grade!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Check your pride at Playland along with your kids
  2. Round up your groceries as fast as possible
  3. Head to the magazine section, grab a few that look good, and then go directly to the furniture department
  4. Find a chair or sofa on display that looks comfortable, park your cart nearby, and then park yourself there. For a break. By yourself.

Other Tips:

  1. Not quite ready for the full Fred Meyer spa? Many of these stores have an onsite coffee shop.
  2. Use the time for a date with your significant other.
  3. Meet one of those childless friends that you hardly get to see anymore.
  4. Bring one of your haggard mom friends for some adult discussion! 

As a side note, I was a bit embarrassed at first and started out just sitting in the side chairs. Now I’ve moved on to the recliners.

Sometimes those former versions of me walk by in their high heels and look at me in horror, but I could care less.

I’ve traded my dignity for a small dose of freedom. And it’s worth it.  

What do you do when you need a break? Do tell!

How to Use Your Dirty Floors to Teach Kids About God

It’s not tough to figure out where my kids eat most meals. This is an embarrassing picture of the floor under our kitchen stools. I found our daughter Emma down there scavenging for snacks.

Disgusting? Yes. But I also found some teaching benefits in this dehydrated ensemble of blueberries and pasta.  

I called the kids over for a more careful inspection. The conversation went something like this…..

They reported the stuff was “all crusty and dried up.”

That’s right, I told them. It’s dehydrated. That’s a big word for what happens when things that have water in them lose their water. They get all crusty and don’t work the same way anymore.

Our Bodies Need Water So They Don’t Dry Up.

That’s why we get thirsty. Thirst is how God made our bodies to tell us when they need more water.

But did you know …..?

God Says There’s Another Kind of Water We Need

It’s called Living Water. Jesus tells us He is this Living Water.  

The Bible tells us about a time Jesus met a woman who was getting some water. He asked her for a drink. Then he told her something important.

Jesus told her he is a gift from God; that he is Living Water. If she asked him to, he would give her this special, Living Water that would be with her forever (John 4:10-15).

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water…”

You Can Have the Special Water, Too

It’s Jesus. God sent Jesus because He loves us and knows we need Him. Just like pasta and blueberries dry up without water, we get thirsty and dry up without God.

He made us to be with Him and we miss him and get thirsty for him when he’s not there.  Jesus makes a way for us to be with God all the time, forever.  All you have to do is ask.

Am I the only one whose floor looks like this sometimes?? Do you ever feel dried up and thirsty for God’s water?  I’d love to hear from you!

Off to get the broom now…..

 

You’re Not Less Talented. You’re More Afraid.

It took me a while to actually start writing. I’d usually just daydream about it during boring moments. But this all changed when Amy died.

Amy had never shied from confronting me with my own ridiculousness. In response to my whining, she’d often ask me how things would look in my “perfect world.” What if things could be the way I really wanted them to be?

Her death was a startling reminder of my own mortality and it prompted me to pray. I asked God if I was wasting my life. Why didn’t my real life look more like the life I dreamed about in my perfect world?

Not long after, He answered me through an old blog post written by Emily Henderson. It was an entry she wrote describing what finally moved her to audition for HGTV’s show Design Star. She said:

“i woke up January 1st, and was all, ‘ok, life, fine, you asked for it, Emily Henderson is about to care less about what people think and take a few risks. Cause, you want to know the real truth? I was sick of people that are less smart and less talented being more successful because they have less fear. You heard me, and you know what i’m talking about. Big words from a little blonde, i know. I hope that doesn’t come across boastful, cause i’m not saying i’m the smartest or most talented, but I kept seeing the same thing over and over, and was a tired of wondering why it wasn’t happening to me.”

After reading it, I could feel God tell me: “That’s you. You’re not less talented. You’re more afraid.” It was true. And I didn’t want to be anymore. I didn’t want to waste my life because I was afraid.  And I certainly didn’t want my kids to grow up living in fear like I was. So I stepped out in faith, started this blog and started submitting my writing for publication. Small, but a start.

Like Emily, I don’t think I’m the best, smartest, or most talented. And I don’t have to be all those things. I just don’t want to be the most afraid. So I’m going to keep writing. Because my “perfect world” has writing in it.

What does your perfect world look like? Take a step in faith toward it. Just one!

%d bloggers like this: