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Memories, thoughts, and weapons

Nammy's Camp 2018

   Recently I was thrilled to entertain 8 of my 10 grandchildren at what our family has termed, Nammy Camp. It’s a kid-driven camp. The grans provide the fun ideas. I plan the menus, and provide the venue. There is only one restriction–no electronics!! 

   Instead, my grandchildren spend time outside: swimming in my above ground pool, taking walks on trails in the woods, exploring, trying their hand at cooking, taking rides on a 4-wheeler, eating most of our meals outside on the picnic table, interacting with extended family members at a cookout, using their imaginations to build a brick fort, getting wet in a high spirited game of water balloons, learning a new game called ‘ladder ball toss’; playing chess, organizing a spa day for facials, manicures, and hair do’s; enjoying movie night with popcorn, rising early to watch a sunrise, and chasing fireflies at twilight! 

kathy & kids leaving 2018

   The time they were running around, laughing, and playing proved all too short. Fortunately, I didn’t have to say goodbye all at once. They left in 3 stages. Inevitably though, the final send off arrived. After waving goodbye from the front porch, as our last grandchildren drove off, I could sense the beginnings of a struggle. 

What struggle?

   The struggle to reject the fiery dart thoughts of overwhelming sadness!  For now my house was silent and empty.  I walked around the yard picking up pool toys and trash left behind by my campers. Storing lawn chairs and pool inflatables in the shed kept my mind from dwelling on the obvious. 

   As each moment passed, the temptation to give in to the sadness grew stronger. But before I could be overwhelmed, God offered me a two-fold weapon. One aspect of this weapon was to reject the sad thoughts so that they would not rule my thinking. Thoughts of this nature would influence negative attitudes and actions (p. 93, FD’s 3rd ed). The second aspect was to choose thoughts that would lift my spirits.

   Indeed, I had a hefty supply of memories from the previous days to draw upon. Truth thoughts from Scripture provided a rich source of strength and resolve. 

   As the hours passed, the force of the enemy’s attacks lessened. By filling my mind    with hopeful words from Scripture and happy memories, there was little room for the sad thoughts to plant themselves. By wielding God’s weapons, we can overcome the enemy when he attacks. 

  Remember, the enemy cannot defeat us, if we use the weapons of God’s design. 

 

The Secret of Survival

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   My summer has been jam packed with mountain top experiences. As much as I could, I lived in the celebration of every moment. Yet, I knew that come the end of August, it would all come to a screeching halt. Then would come the valley.

   I think one of the most troubling aspects of my valleys is that I am tempted to forget what I know to be true about God.  The reason being is that Satan never lets up with those fiery darts. With all those fiery darts swirling around in my thoughts, it’s hard to sort through all that mess and find those Truth Thoughts.

   And I know that if my low times become severe enough, depression can set in. Depression is a wicked thing! One of the most deadly tactics used by Satan in depression is to drain our thoughts of hope. He will shoot one lie after another, clothe them with common sense truths, and if we fall for it… Yep, depression!

Because of that common sense truth, we will entertain the thought, and the poison of the lie will permeate our thinking. It is the lie that will motivate our actions, which is contrary to God’s will. p. 38, 3rd Edition FD

  In a previous blog, I wrote about my summer of extreme highs and lows. I had a future to face that looked bleak to me. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to face it or handle it. Then one night as I was reading my bible, I came upon the following verse: Proverbs 23:18

   The key words for me in this verse were ‘future’ and ‘hope’. As I meditated upon this Truth thought, the darkness began to recede. I’m still in the valley, but I’m not in despair. It’s still hard, but it’s not hopeless. 

   Then just yesterday, a friend shared another verse with me: Jeremiah 31:25

   I have been languishing, for sure. And I certainly am weary. Yet, I know that it is vital for me to ‘receive’ those Truth’s. That’s the secret of my survival.

  Therefore, I take one day at a time (that’s scriptural) and proceed forward. Perhaps with caution, but nevertheless forward. 

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Why the big deal about negative teasing?

No matter how hard you may laugh, at some level negative teasing inflicts pain!

You may think, “Oh, that’s not enough pain to pay any attention to!”  Oh really!  So you are saying that it’s okay to inflict pain if it’s minuscule?  But is that the focus you should have?  May I remind you of the verse about coarse jesting?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Our homes should be the safest place on earth when it comes to the development of our personhood.  We should never have to fear being attacked by those who are suppose to love us the most.  So, with all the emphasis on feeling good about yourself, and maintaining a positive self-image why do we put up with negative teasing, I ask you?  I go back to the influence of media such as tv and/or movies.  If you allow yourself or your children to be overly exposed to the negative humor that saturates most of the shows, then you and your children will be spouting out negative phrases before you realize it!  To avoid this:

WE MUST FILL OUR MINDS AND THE MINDS OF OUR CHILDREN WITH WORDS THAT WILL BE HELPFUL WHEN THEY EXIT OUR MOUTHS! ! !

How is that done?  Consider the following:

1.  All you have to do is make wiser choices about what you watch and what you allow your children to watch.  Thankfully, there are options even on tv and the movies that have a more positive influence on the way we and our children can be influenced to interact with others.  

2.  Fill your minds with words from Scripture.  Like Ephesians 4:29 (to begin with)!  Make it a habit to memorize Scripture and model this habit for your children.  

3.  Post verses that you have written on cards and display them around the house.

4.  Make Scripture an integral part of your family’s daily experience.  Insert Scripture whenever you can to apply to a situation.  For instance, every child’s name means something and particular verses can be ascribed to enhance that meaning.  This might give a child an extra motivation to exhibit actions that live up to their name’s meaning.  

Consider calling upon Scripture to meet the need of the moment such as when your child is afraid, like the following: Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

5.  Instill in your children the importance of personal devotions.  And remember, the most effective method of teaching our children to have a time of personal devotion is to model this behavior for them!

6.  Be wise in choosing the music you listen to and what you allow your children to listen to. Never underestimate the influence of music. And listen to the lyrics.  (Google the lyrics to the songs, if you can’t understand them!)  If you find something troubling, then Parent’s do something about it.  BTW, if your child is making good choices about the music they are listening to, then by all means, praise them for it!

7.  Encourage your children to hide God’s Word in their hearts.  Get them involved in Bible study and Bible drills.  Do you want your child to be wise and strong of mind?  The absolute best source for that is The Bible, parent!

I think this is a good enough start.  So take it from here and run with it.  I’m confident I have not exhausted all the possibilities of ways to fill your minds and your children’s minds with positive thinking so that the overflow will  also be positive.

And a final word here.  

Always remember, as life happens in your family, memories are being made. Verbal interaction should always be laced with grace.  So be deliberate about making positive memories and minimizing the negative.  The reward for your diligence will provide your family with sweet reminiscing during those family get togethers in the days to come.