Friday, June 19, 2009

Change Can Be Good

The Final Question that was asked during this week of Q & A was from Jeneil at Autism in a Word.

"I recently had this question on a small group leadership application and I'm curious how you would answer: What is one area in your life in which you would like to see change/growth?"

My non-Spiritual hair. I just got it cut and already can't wait for it to grow another few inches. Somehow throughout this year I have gradually been going shorter and shorter and now I long for my longer locks.

My deeper answer is two-fold.

1) I desire to be a better listener to what God is speaking/revealing to me. My life and household are busy. I've trimmed some things out in the past couple of months in order to make this more of a priority in my life. God has been stirring up some deeper things within my heart (in regard to the curriculum for girls that I am writing) and I need to take the time to listen. I have no desire for it simply to be my ideas or words; it will only be effective in the hearts, minds and lives of others if it is His Words.

For awhile I complained that I just don't have the time; but God has gradually revealed to me that I am not making the time. My priorities are shifting and I am committing to growth and change in the area of being still and listening. (NOT my forte.)

2) Secondly, (but along the same lines) I want to be a better listener to my children. God has been speaking to my heart about this repeatedly throughout this year. The main message: If we (as parents) are not listening to our children; we are setting ourselves up for their pattern of not listening to us. We are their main source to teach them how to communicate with others and with God. Even if what they are trying to tell me is completely irrational or selfish; I need to listen. To let them express it. Then, instead of stating how irrational or selfish it may be; I need to gently be leading them to the conclusion that is NOT a good choice. It is my natural tendency to just "dismiss" them if what they are saying doesn't make sense rather than let them work through it with me. I need growth and change in this area.

Kinda heavy, I know. Rather than ending on a bit of a serious note; I thought I'd add on a few more purposeful ideas as requested by Wendy at Sun-Kissed Savages.

My children also do daily devotionals when they wake up in the morning. I ask that they read one "lesson" from their devotionals before breakfast and we discuss what they have read over breakfast. (My son is doing, "Gotta Have God 2" by Legacy Press & My daughter is currently doing, "God's Little Devotional Book For Girls" by Honor Books.)

One of my daughters close friends was assigned as her "reading partner" at the end of this school year - they had finished all of the "required reading;" so their teacher partnered them up and gave them classic books like, "The Swiss Family Robinson" to read. They were required to read a certain number of chapters each night and then they were to come up with one or two questions to ask of their partner. (Of course, they tried to make them as tricky as possible!) This got me thinking when her friend's birthday party invitation arrived and I decided to buy both my daughter and her reading partner friend the same daily devotional for girls.

Every morning before school, all of the kids met in the gymnasium of the school and then they go to their classes. The kids can play, etc. until it is time to go; so I challenged the girls to read their devotional each morning before school and then discuss it in the morning. It really added that additional drive to my daughter to read well and it got her discussing things of the Lord with her friends - other girls already had the same devotional and it sounded as if a couple of them joined in too.

When my kids were younger; (between the ages of 3-5) one of their favorite devotional books that we read together was: "Five Minute Devotionals for Children by Pamela & Douglas Kennedy." They were great, quick devotionals based on animals. Both educational and Spiritual!

For another wonderful and purposeful thing that you can do for your children, Jeneil posted today about "A Blessing on the Door." She had written a post earlier on about how she had prayed and God had given her a verse for each of her girls. She wrote them out and posted them on her girl's bedroom doors so that they saw the verses every day as they came in and went out...this post is an extension of her previous post and a tribute to her husband for Father's Day.

Thank you for your questions this week! Have a wonderful Father's Day Weekend!!



Sweet Blessings said...

Had to laugh about changing your hair-very truthful! It's active listening I'm working on and instilling the thoughts in my own children-I don't just want eye contact or give it to them, but to listen to their hearts, excitements, perspectives etc. I share a little about conversations with children in my posts titled first five. Blessings! Amanda

Daveda said...

So true about listening to your children. The Lord has been changing me in this area as well. As I fellowship and live life with my children I at times sense that I may be dealing with them "outside" of the Grace God deals with me in.I then feel the Spirit reminding me that I am righteous, that I am as Jesus is and He guides and leads me to a more beautiful relationship with them.

Just continue to let the Spirit lead you in your curriculum. I am making even more changes to my book, again. As, you know I submitted it to three publishers and did get one offer, however, I did not feel it was "my" offer. Then I set it aside for a some time and waited on the Lord. I am now picking it up again and am glad I did not have it published yet. It would have been incomplete.

You are a wonderful blessing through your writing God has great things in store for you, and He will bring them to pass!

Love ya girl!

Farmgirl Paints said...

What a great idea. My daughter had a reading buddy at school too. I should try something like that. It makes reading so much more fun when you are sharing it with someone.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Hi Shanda,
I just did roll call beneath you at SITS. I hope you have a great Father's day weekend. We have nothing planned at all. Hope the hubby won't be too disappointed. I get to see my dad next weekend. Can't wait to give him a big hug:)

Gretchen said...

You's getting to be kind of a pain in the neck, being convicted and all when I come over here. ;) And boy, I can totally relate to the hair thang.

What you said about listening is God speaking directly to my heart. I thank Him for speaking through you, and pray one day to have mad listening skillz, too. Pause time and working through rather than avoiding are big things on my "to be refined" list.

You're a great mom, Shanda. We all need to improve somewhere, but you're doing so many things incredibly well, and are an encouragement to so many.

Kristen said...

I really enjoy reading your ideas, and words of wisdom. I can't wait until your curriculum is published! I know god is doing a mighty work through you!

Kristen said...

I really did mean to capitalize GOD, so sorry!

Dawn Jenkins said...

good ideas...thank you for the devotional idea for 3-5 year olds.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

1. It is refreshing to hear that someone else struggles with the "be still" part. ;)
2. I love that you do devotionals with your kids! I am planning to start a "chore/motivational" chart with Natalie on Monday--maybe adding a devotional together could be fun :)
3. If I can actually get my sister to send me the iPod running thing, I'll be sure to pass it your way :)

missy said...

stopping by from SITS!!!!!
hope you had a great weekend.

Future Mama said...

What a great post! I can't relate to the hair thing though cause I've never cut mine... ;)

I think it's amazing that you are raising 3 beautiful children with such religious devotion! I am hoping and praying I can do the same. I'm not yet a mom but hoping the Lord will bless us with one next year! :)

I also think it's amazing how open and honest you are about raising kids... and how you listen to them! It's inspiring!

I'm following you now, I can't wait to read more of your great mommy advice!

Anonymous said...

The idea of having your children do daily devotionals is AWESOME. So when I'm tempted to slack on my own, I'm going to think Shanda's kids are doing theirs', so get with it! Such a wonderful idea. This makes me excited for the day when my children can read and do this as well. Oh, I pray Rhema will be able to read one day and love the Word.