Don’t Fall Into the Trap!

This is an interesting looking trap isn’t it? It’s brightly colored, ginormous, and even though is clearly a trap, it looks almost like a huge toy on a playground. No matter how interesting it looks, it is still a trap. If something sets it off, it is going to get crushed.

The enemy is constantly trying to tempt us with fun and intriguing things. Lately, he’s been trying to lure me into his trap. He’s been trying to get me to give up and give in. There are days, when I’m so weary of doing what is good and right that I am almost willing to fall face first into that trap.

I am tired, exhausted, burned out, weary of being fighting for what is right…of being peculiar. It seems like the influence of the world is constantly pulling at my family and friends. The enemy is using the pull of popular culture and society to try to pull me and my loved ones down into the trap.

As a parent, I set rules and boundaries for my family to keep them grounded in God’s word and family values. However, there is the constant pull from television, radio, magazines, books, and other people who contradict those values. There is even the pull from within to be complacent or lazy by spending more time watching tv than reading the Bible. Electronic devices are addictive and have more temptations than we can possibly count.

Televisions and devices can be turned off, unplugged, or even taken away to prevent temptations. Relationships are another story. Well meaning friends and family just don’t understand why I don’t want my television on 24/7. They think we are being too conservative or sticks-in-the-mud for not allowing our children to watch popular television shows. They say everyone watches it. It’s just things they see every day on the street. What’s the difference? They don’t understand why we set time limits and curfews on devices.

First of all, just because things happen in our world every day does not mean we should inundate our children with those activities. We shouldn’t desensitize them to them, making them believe that the immoral and reprehensible are the norm. Think about it–murders happen out on the street every day, but we don’t sit our children down on the street corner in front of criminal activity with a bag of popcorn and a soda and call it family entertainment. That’s essentially what we are doing every single time we turn on the boob tube.

We are called to be a peculiar people. We are NOT called to be like everyone else, to fit in, to become the social norm. This is, however, what the world will tell you. If you are like me, you struggle for so long pulling toward God in this tug of war against the enemy. He pulls so hard and for so long and he even sends those closest to you to roll their eyes, argue, and entice you to give up the fight and fall into the trap.

I have to be honest with you. I am soooo tired of pulling on the rope trying to keep my loved ones on God’s side, and I am sure you are too. BUT as The Lord has reminded me lately a little hard work and dirt from digging in my heels is a small price to pay compared to falling into the trap, especially when I think about the fact that my loved ones will fall into the trap with me.

We have got to stay diligent and consistent. The cost of giving up is too great. I just want to encourage you today to remain godly “peculiar”. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you are alone in the fight. You aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who are freakishly conservative as the world may call us.

We are called by God to be a peculiar people–peculiar in how we are entertained, peculiar in how we treat and respect others, peculiar in our speech, thoughts, and actions, peculiar in how we wisely we spend our time. The enemy wants us to believe being peculiar is strange, weird, and complicated. Guess what? It is all of those things, but at stake is the eternal destination of ourselves and our loved ones. There should be no question as to where we stand. Hang in there. Do not fall into the fight. You are not alone. Keep moving closer to God.

Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”

Deuteronomy 12:6 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth”

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world”

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

You Are Valued

sparrow

Overwhelmed, underappreciated, worn out, and lonely–that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. My list of daily responsibilities has grown to an all-time high, and I’ve been feeling buried in the avalanche. Through prayer, The Lord has told me to let go of several responsibilities. The smaller ones have been easy to drop, but I have a few that are rather large obligations that can’t be let go of overnight. I need to find someone to step into the role, and I’ve been having a hard time finding the right person or remedy for the jobs.

I know God’s timing is everything, so I am trying to wait patiently. However, there are days when the responsibilities get the best of me and the tears flow like a fountain. The Father has been gently nudging me and reminding me that He is walking with me through this season.

Stop by Raising Homemakers to read more: here.

What I Have Learned from Gideon…

gideonEarlier this week, I awoke early to have my time with The Lord. I sleepily reached for my devotion guide and began looking for that day’s scripture reference. After I finished reading Judges 6, I felt energized, connected, and wise. Then realized I read the correct chapter from the WRONG book!

I was a little aggravated with myself, thinking I should have been more alert and focused. Then The Lord spoke to my heart asking me why I was so aggravated. He reminded me that I had given Him direction over my day, and this was what He wanted to share with me. Then, He led me to share this lesson with you:

What I Have Learned from Gideon
  • I need God. At times, Gideon neglected to seek and consult God. I’ve seen first hand even in my own life that I can’t live any part of my day without God. I am nothing without Him. Any strength or wisdom I have is from Him, not my education, not my mind, but HIM. When I try to live life on my own, I begin to slide down a slippery slope. Just as the scripture says, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of The Lord so will I fall into that trap. I have to turn to God in every aspect of my life. I can’t wait until I encounter a trial and hit rock bottom before turning Him. He isn’t a genie in a bottle just waiting for me to ask Him to rescue me from my predicaments whether they be self-inflicted or otherwise. I should call on Him in every situation, big or small. I should consult Him and include Him in my daily life.
  • I must take responsibility. Judges 6 begins by mentioning that the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They endured many hardships because of the choices they made; they brought their trouble upon themselves. I need to seek God and His Word, and look to see how I have contributed to my problems. I need to repent (which means to ask forgiveness and turn away from my sin). I need to learn from my mistake and change instead of wallowing in it and blaming God or others.
  • God will equip me. It’s so true. God will equip us for what He calls us to do. I have experienced that in so many areas of my life. When He calls me, I need to seek His wisdom not a way of escape. I don’t need to waste time making excuses for why I cannot do something. I need to get off of my lazy back side and live in faithful obedience and trust The Lord.
  • I will be criticized. People will criticize me for the decisions I make when I allow God to guide me, and when I use a Biblical perspective. I REALLY DON’T CARE! It’s like that saying: I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God. It’s a no brainer. If I want God’s love, blessings, grace, mercy and presence in my life, I need to stand with Him, not apart from Him. Think about it–it’s like marriage. How can you show you love your spouse if you never spend time with them, support them, or even come home each day and put effort into your marriage–you can’t, and you don’t…
  • Don’t make a habit of testing God. I know The Lord tells us in His Word at times to test Him, but I don’t think He means with every situation. He gave us His Word as our guide. When Gideon tested God with the dew on the fleece, he knew he might be pushing the limits because He even asked God not to be angry with him for questioning God. We gain God’s wisdom through studying His Word and through prayer, and He sends the Holy Spirit to speak to and guide us. If we have all of that at our fingertips, why do we need to then test God? If we really think about it, deep inside we know what we should do. Many times our testing is a way of hoping we can justify not living in obedience or buying time. God knows our hearts.
  • Leap into the arms of The Father. I am not a risk taker. I am not spontaneous, but am a planner, very logically thinking things through and evaluating everything. I think way too much–I’m a worrywart with too many “what if” scenarios. I need to take more risks, thinking with the spiritual mindset of Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I know The Lord. I have seen what He can do, and I know I can trust Him to keep His promises.

I’m glad I read the wrong passage this week, although I don’t really believe it was “wrong”. I believe The Lord had a lesson to teach me. Now if I could just continue to grow to be more flexible so that He can continue to work like this. I’m thankful He has charge over my day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Blessings to you, today and always!

The Heart of the Matter – Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go #encouragement #America #politics #biblicalworldview #heart #election2016Our country doesn’t need Hillary Clinton. Our country doesn’t need Donald Trump. Our country doesn’t need Barack Obama, or any other candidate. Our country doesn’t need revenge or justice in the world’s eyes. Hope and justice don’t lie with them or any ideology from any political party.

It’s just like we studied in church Sunday–we can change circumstances all day long, but it won’t help matters. You can throw money at hundreds of causes, but if the hearts of the recipients aren’t right then they will blow the money and the cause is lost.

We have to change the HEARTS of people. Our hope is in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Until people get that through their thick skulls, things are not going to change. In fact, they will only going to get worse. I know we are supposed to pray Jesus tarries so many more can be saved, but I think we are all growing weary and are ready for His return. Please be sure you are ready!

John 3:16-“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” REMEMBER, belief = action. It is not just an intellectual knowledge of Jesus for even satan believes Jesus is the Son of God. It is surrendering of your life to His Lordship every single day and having a personal relationship with Him.

Matthew 7:21-23-“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Acts 4:12-“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Titus 2:11-“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

And be sure you are doing your part to get others ready for Jesus. This is not a suggestion, or an invitation, this is a COMMANDMENT!

Matthew 28:19-20-“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let’s plant some seeds so The Lord Jesus can change some hearts! READY, SET, GO!

There Are No Words…

typewriter2

When you have a blog post to write, it’s not good to be at a loss for words. That is how I feel this week. It’s not a case of writer’s block. It’s not a lack of events of life from which to draw–as a wife and mommy, my life is busy and full. As a Christian, there should always be something God is teaching me that I could share with others. But, I am still struggling with the words today… To understand why I’m struggling, click  here to read the rest of my post at Raising Homemakers.

Peace in the Midst of Yet Another Tragedy

world peaceAs we were riding home yesterday afternoon, we were listening to a news report on yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Belgium. It’s so heartbreaking! Here I was trying to drive, but tearing up about yet another tragedy, more precious lives gone from this earth and sent into eternity.

Sometimes it’s more than we can bear. I know deep down in my heart that the good outweighs the bad, but it seems as time passes we only hear about the negative. It makes a soul grow weary and homesick for heaven. Then God reminds me there is still much work to do winning souls for His Kingdom. I know we have to keep persevering and serving in His name. This is a lot to ponder while you’re driving, but I was paying attention. Don’t worry!

After the report, more music came on the radio. Some time went by, and The Lord revealed something to me. “Listen, daughter. Listen to yourself and your children.” We were all singing at the top of our lungs, praising the one true God, lifting high the name of Jesus. God is so good to send simple, but wonderful reminders of His presence. Then my youngest daughter looked up to see the gentleman in the car ahead of us was singing the same worship song we were. Not only was His presence in our car, but it was all around us.

I am sorrowful, but grateful. I am disappointed in people who say they want peace and goodness, but they still perpetuate evil and sin. I am not happy about the tragic events in this world. However, I am joyful–I have the joy of The Lord which is my strength. No matter what happens, I know I have given my life to The Father. I know that I am no longer separated from Him by my sin, but I am now His child. No matter what the enemy and those who choose his ways may do, I know the end of the story. God wins. Jesus prevails. I know My Redeemer lives!

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling?

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling? Tips and advice for overwhelming the enemy instead of yourself. www.ruckusandrubies.com #homeschooling #faith

I wish I could say that after you homeschool for a while, you no longer feel overwhelmed. Many aspects of the journey do get easier, better, less stressful, but there are always going to be aspects of homeschooling that overwhelm us.

Whether it is Algebra, the science experiment gone awry, meltdowns over writing assignments, the phone ringing off the hook, non-supportive family members and friends, broken appliances, there will always be something that tries to ruin your homeschool journey.

We must remember: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

The enemy, satan, wants to steal, kill, and destroy our homeschools. He wants us to throw in the towel. Knowing this gives me a whole new perspective on my struggles. It makes me angry, but most of all motivated. It makes me want to “man up”, stop whining, and fight for my children and our homeschool.

When you feel overwhelmed, use these tips as ammunition against the enemy:

  1. Get into your prayer closet. Encourage your children to pray with you. I know it is an interruption to your homeschool schedule, but math problems can wait. Protecting your home from the enemy cannot!
  2. Reach out to your prayer warriors. Nothing bothers satan more than to hear the prayers of many saints fighting against him.
  3. Seek advice from your homeschool support group, accountability association, or fellow homeschoolers.
  4. Take a break from the overwhelming tasks, pray over them, and do something fun instead. You could take a field trip, go to the library, have a game day, volunteer, perform random acts of kindness in the community, or just take the day off and spend it cuddling and basking in His light.
  5. Speak to the enemy. Bind him in the name of Jesus. Grab your Bible and study scripture. Claim it against the enemy just as Jesus did. Include your children in this maneuver, because they need to know how to recognize who they are battling and how to defeat him.
  • And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Genesis 33:5
  • And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Hebrews 2:13
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The truth is that whether or not you homeschool, there are times of trial for everyone in this life. Hang in there! Remember God’s faithfulness. Seek Him first, and He has promised He will take care of the rest. God never breaks His promises!

For the Love of the Church

churchRecently, a friend of mine commented on the faithfulness of my oldest daughter. She is a full time college student studying youth ministry, works part time, and volunteers in the nursery, choir, children’s church, and youth departments of our church. This sweet friend wanted to encourage my daughter and let her know how much she appreciated the fact that she is at church every time the doors are open. If anyone has an excuse not to be there, it would be young people with busy schedules like my daughter.

My children want to be at church every opportunity they can get. They can’t stand missing church for illness or having church canceled for weather or holidays. I have to admit there are times when I am just too tired and too overwhelmed. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’d rather just crawl under the covers and hide. I say I’ll just worship, read my Bible, and pray at home, but I don’t. By skipping out on the message God has for me in His house, I’m telling God that what I want is more important. I don’t have time to accept his invitation.

In reality, I’m only kidding myself to believe staying home will do me any good. It is these times when I really need worship in His house the most. I should strive to be more like children who have a consuming fire and hunger for God.

I am so thankful The Lord has changed the course of the history of my family. My children are much closer to Him than I was as a child. My parents weren’t Christians and didn’t talk to me about God. My grandmother didn’t get saved until my early teens. God’s influence on my grandmother began a chain of events that changed eternity for generations. Thanks to The Lord, my grandmother was saved. I saw her faith and what God was doing for her. Through that wonderful influence, I got saved and so did my sweet husband.

Unfortunately, this change wasn’t immediate. I remember walking down a path contrary to God and His Word as a teenager and young adult many times. I had justifications, reasons, and excuses for all of my failures.  I don’t think I took much responsibility for my choices back then.

Even as new parents, we allowed the world to press us into its mold. We let the pressures of being working parents prohibit us from being faithfully committed to church attendance and service. We still had time for work, children, shopping, running a household, friends, family, sports, television, but we didn’t have time for God.

All of those other things seemed to take precedence over church. I’m not sure why. I guess because we were slaves to the world’s way of thinking. We thought we had to skip church to be able to take care of everything else we had to do.  We were overwhelmed physically and financially. It didn’t take long for The Lord to get ahold of our hearts. He reminded us that if we sought Him first and His righteousness, that He would take care of the rest.

He began giving us a hunger for the things of God. So we began stepping out in faith. We started tithing regularly.  He provided more financially for us than we ever had by holding back our tithe.

We began attending church every time the doors were open. The days still consisted of 24 hours, but amazingly we had more time to do the things we needed to do. It was difficult because we had to alter the routine of our children. They were used to eating, playing, sleeping on a schedule, but on church days and nights those schedules were interrupted. We were worried about our children being irritable and unruly because they were grumpy, hungry, and out of sorts, but those fears never really came true.

The Lord took care of everything just like He promised He would. God has blessed us even more along the way by taking a stand against anything taking precedence over worship: Jobs, sports, recitals, etc. We have said no to all of them and our children are blessed, well-rounded, and close to The Lord.

Even when we go camping and there isn’t a church around for miles, we simply have devotions and church as a family. I know the world is getting further and further away from corporate worship. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks The Lord’s.

There are Christians all over the world who want to worship, but they can’t. Sacrificing their very lives, they worship in secret. We take that honor and privilege for granted. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the world to press us into its mold.  We let any and every circumstance interfere with our worship. When you get down to it, we are just making selfish excuses.

We need to be in His house. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” God loves the church. We should love all of the things of God, because they are one. I’ve heard this analogy given many times. You can’t get married, occasionally go home to your spouse, and then expect your spouse to believe and know that you love them. It’s the same for God and His church. How can we say we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength if we give Him lip service?

Worship is the very reason we exist, and we think nothing of pushing it aside. Nothing is more important! The Word says we will worship every second in Heaven for all eternity.  If we don’t have the time or the hunger for worshipping The Lord now on earth, how do you think we’ll feel in Heaven (if our choices don’t keep us from getting there)?

10 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid

hands-634363_1920Parenting is the toughest, but most rewarding job in existence. No other job causes the most physical and emotional stress or reaps the most benefits. Parenting is also the most crucial and important job you will ever have, because the choices you make when rearing your children have a ripple effect for years to come.

I’ve made my share of parenting mistakes along the way. Some were early on and others are more recent. I am the type of person who tries very hard to consider the repercussions of my choices and actions. This can be a good thing until you let it cause you to worry.

Once a mistake is made, it’s already out there. You can’t take it back. However, you can take stock, evaluate, study God’s Word, pray for His guidance, and decide how to remedy the situation and what to do differently next time.

Here are 10 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid:

        1. Not following a schedule or routine.  Children crave routine. Early on they need predictability in their lives to give them security. As they get older they need to learn that the world revolves around a schedule. Routines teach children that someone or something bigger than them is in charge as well as guiding them.
        2. Not reading to or talking to children.  It is important even at infancy to talk to your child about things you are doing and to read to them daily. They crave communication even though they may not be able to understand what you are saying. We read to our children from the day we brought them home from the hospital. We talked to them about everyday things bath time, foods, colors, numbers, all sorts of things. You may feel silly, but they absorb like sponges. You would be surprised how quickly their communication and language skills develop simply by reading and talking to them.  Here are some of my children’s childhood favorites:                                                                                                       
        3. No chores or responsibilities. Children need to be given chores and responsibilities early on according to their age and ability. Even toddlers can handle the task of cleaning up their toys before pulling more out of the toy box. As they get older they can help you fold towels, feed the pets, wipe the kitchen table, entertain the baby or bring you diapers and wipes. Children love feeling needed and the crave the feeling of accomplishment. Here are some chore and discipline charts that would be beneficial to help you keep all of this organized:                                         This one is just for one child but I love it!                 This one is for up to three children.
        4. Paying for good grades, personal responsibilities, or other things required of them. I see no problem with paying children for chores above and beyond their own responsibilities, but children shouldn’t be paid to get good grades, make their own beds, brush their teeth, clean their rooms. They should be paid for going above and beyond what should be required of them. It shouldn’t be a child’s immediate response to ask “what’s in it for me” when they are told to take care of themselves and their belongings or to get good grades. Children should NOT be bribed to do what they should rightfully do on their own.  On the other side of the coin, don’t treat your children like slaves. Nothing bothers me more than to see parents say “go get this”, “go do this”, because they are too lazy to get up and do it themselves!
        5. Assuming children are just naturally boisterous. I call it the “boys will be boys” syndrome. Just because society has had a mental and spiritual lapse in good manners and social etiquette doesn’t mean it is acceptable. Too many children these days are not taught manners and decency. I cannot tell you how many children I run into on a daily basis whose main topic of discussion is toilet humor. They assume they are entitled to whatever everyone else has. They don’t even utter the words please and thank you. They help themselves to your pantry. We need to teach children to keep their hands to themselves instead of walking into a public place or someone’s home picking up and touching things that don’t belong to them. Table manners are important as well. It’s one thing to sit by a small child who smacks, but no one wants to sit at the table with an adult who shows everyone their “seafood”. Children shouldn’t invite themselves to join in on activities either. It puts people on the spot and makes them uncomfortable. Children should wait until they are invited. There is a difference between being boisterous and being disrespectful. Please give your children more credit than this. They can have good manners and be respectful of others. They can follow the Golden Rule. If your children are taught these things at home, then they will mimic them outside the home. Of course, if they are spending their days in public schools or daycare, they are learning their social skills from other children who may not have the same rules and values so those are things you will have to deprogram  the poor manners they pick up. Bottom line is it is NOT “cute” when our children are rude.
        6. Negotiating and begging. How many times have you seen a parent in the store trying to negotiate with their screaming child? “Now Sally, please stop screaming at the top of your lungs in the store. If you stop, I’ll buy you something.” There should be no negotiating. When your child is doing something wrong, you need to pull them aside and tell them why it’s not acceptable. Lay out the consequences of continuing the bad behavior and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t stand their begging your child to behave and don’t reward them for misbehaving in the first place. Be the adult. You are creating a vicious cycle you’ll never break.
        7. Not following through. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t threaten your children that they will lose a privilege if you are not willing to take it from them. Children are smart. It won’t take them long to figure out that you don’t really mean what you say.  If you tell your daughter she will lose her favorite toy if she hits her brother, then be sure that toy is taken if she chooses to hit her brother. If we don’t show children the consequences of their actions, then they will continue to disobey. We are in their face every day. If we don’t show them the consequences of disobeying our rules, how will they ever obey God’s rules when He is not in their face everyday and the consequences aren’t as tangible? A good practice is to use God’s Word for instructing our children on right and wrong. They can memorize and write Bible verses that pertain to their actions. We should also pray with our children asking for God’s guidance and forgiveness.
        8. Not choosing battles wisely. Choose your battles wisely. That doesn’t mean don’t ever discipline your children. It just means be sure the battle you’re waging is worth fighting for. Arguing with your child over mismatched clothes really isn’t worth fighting for. However, if your child is doing something that is detrimental to herself or others then it’s definitely worth the battle.
        9. Too much criticism, not enough praise. When you are running around trying to take care of all of your responsibilities, it’s can be hard to remember to praise your children. They deserve to be praised when they make good choices. Many times that is the only reward they will receive. Instead of coming home and complaining about everything they haven’t done, how about praise them for the things they have done. When we are too critical, our children will stop trying altogether. They’ll find that nothing they do is good enough so why bother.
        10. Not including God in your home.  I saved the most important for last. The biggest mistake is not including God in your home. Now I don’t just mean not going to church. I mean not including God in your home as part of your family. A few hours a week at church is not enough. You need to incorporate God in everything your family does. Your children need to see you saying more prayers than just the mealtime blessing. They need to see you praying for them and their struggles. They need to see you turning to God for your struggles.  God’s Word tells us to teach of Him morning, noon, and night. God isn’t an accessory to our life. He should be the center of our life. If you simply seek God first in everything, you will probably avoid mistakes 1-9, because obedience and surrender to God encompasses all of these things and more.  Here are some wonderful devotions to help you invite God into your home:

                                                                                                               

I hope and pray this list of top 10 parenting mistakes to avoid is beneficial to you. Praying you and your family have a 2016 that is abundantly blessed with growth and God’s favor. Hang in there! Don’t beat yourself up about your mistakes. Learn from them, change bad habits, and grow. Parenting is a difficult job, but it is soooo worth it!