Tag Archives: relationships

So, you want to raise amazing, stable and successful kids?

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”Lisa Wingate, Author” type=”center”]Your children are the greatest gift God will give you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands.  Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God.  Be a person in whom they can have faith.  When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.  [/blockquote]

Over the course of my life, specifically the past 16 years as a counselor, I’ve met some really terrific parents. And, sadly, I’ve worked with parents who shouldn’t be parents. One forced her daughter, as discipline, to eat next to the dog and his bowl on her hands and knees with no utensils. Another thought good training was to lock her child in the cold basement in the dark so she could think about what she had done wrong. The parent was sure to remind the young girl to watch out for spiders. When I asked, no one in the room could remember the offense. No surprise there. And not that it even mattered what the child had done. No child deserves that. Obviously some people don’t understand the privilege and responsibility it is to raise kids. We need a license and training for many things… to drive a jet ski, to cut someones hair or polish toenails professionally. But to raise kids nothing is required. I look at the effort and money that parents put into their children’s sports or dance lessons. Or how much is put into making them dress cute or creating their elaborate birthday celebration. My point being that the real important things are often let go. Many of the things below….things that make up a responsible and stable adult….are often never addressed. It’s disheartening.

[pullquote cite=”Charles Portis, Author” type=”right”]If I had received good instruction as a child I would be with my family today and at peace with my neighbors.  I hope and pray that all you parents in the sound of my voice will train up your child in the way they should go.  [/pullquote]After meeting with a struggling, rebellious teen boy and his parents recently, I compiled the following list. I sat alone and wondered if this teen would have turned out differently had these things been poured into him. I do, however, understand the concept of free will and wrong choices that have nothing or little to do with parents. Teens sometimes just choose to do wrong things even with good parenting. I remind those parents that they did their best and that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. That even God’s children, in the garden of Eden, chose to do wrong. I also remind them to continue to pray for their child because their story isn’t over yet. It is not my intent to cast blame on hurting parents. I would never do that. It is my intent to encourage parents to deliberately and intentionally pour good and excellent training into their children.

It takes an awful lot of intention and dedication to be a great parent.  The following list is for the many parents who desire to do a great job training their kids. I commend and pray for you as you diligently work at such an important task… raising amazing, stable and successful adults.

Teach kids how to problem solve.

Teaching your kids to problem solve starts early. When they don’t know what to do because their toys are being taken or how to get along with their siblings….these are teachable moments to help your kids problem solve. Parents can grow impatient and just say things like “stop fighting” instead of actually helping children to solve problems. Parents may say “go to your room” because they don’t want to be bothered. Kids need help problem solving. They need to learn how to resolve conflict in their life and if they don’t get help they will grow continually frustrated and angry.

Teach kids to manage emotions.

It is proven that people who have high emotional intelligence are the most successful people on the planet. Someone can have an extremely high IQ but not know how to deal appropriately with emotions, the emotions of others or their own.  That person will struggle through life. It is also true that before most sins were committed in the Bible, there was an out of control emotion that preceded the sin. One of the first examples of this is Cain, who was angry and jealous. He then murdered his brother. Teaching your kids to handle emotions is one of the most important things a parent can do. I see many parents who yell and scream out of anger and then are baffled when they see the same behavior in their children.

Teach kids what to do when they are tempted to do wrong.

Many parents want to avoid this one altogether. They think, maybe if their kids are protected from the temptation it won’t be a temptation at all? Or maybe if issues aren’t talked about, then it won’t ever be an issue? Truth is, kids of all ages need to learn what to do when, not if, temptation comes into their lives. A wise parent discusses hard topics. How I wish I could relive this one with my grown sons when they were young. Unintentionally I think I left them on their own to fight some temptation that came their way. Now as a counselor and in hindsight, I see the huge importance of this training.

Teach kids to show respect.

Respect is essential to being a stable, successful and respected adult. The most amazing people I know have respect for God, others, authority, themselves, and life.

Teach kids how to give.

Kids are natural takers. It takes training to show them the blessing of being givers.

Teach kids to love others.

This is one of the greatest commands in the Bible. I believe that too many kids are modeling the behavior of critical parents and listening in on conversations that are unloving to each other and about others. Loving others is key to understanding God the Fathers heart.

Teach kids what being a real Christian is.

A real Christian is one who loves and abides in Jesus and His good news, the gospel. A real christian loves God and loves others in practical ways. Without this training they won’t understand their purpose on this earth. All throughout scripture we are told to “Love the Lord with all of our hearts”.  The truth is that once God has our hearts, their hearts, then all of the other things fall into place.

Teach kids how to manage technology.

Otherwise, just like emotions, technology will manage them.

Teach kids how to communicate effectively.

The skill of communication is so vitally important to having success in relationships and in this life. Much of my counseling with adults is helping them to communicate appropriately. It amazes me when I ask the question “What is negative communication?” and people struggle with the answer. It’s as if they have never been taught what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. Actually, maybe they haven’t? Effective communication is a great gift and teaching your kids to master this art will do them well.

Teach kids to stand up for what is right.

There was an elderly bus monitor being horribly abused on a Greece NY school bus by a group of Junior high boys. Someone video taped the incident, it went viral and then made national news. I spoke with several kids who attended school with those boys. When asked what they would have done if they were on the bus they all answered “nothing”. Digging deeper, I found that they all knew that an elderly person being abused was wrong, but they didn’t know what to do about it. So they decided that they would do nothing had they been in the presence of the abuse. What if one of those kids on the bus had simply texted a parent for help? Kids need to be taught how to stand up for what it right. Or they won’t.

Teach kids how to set goals and how to work hard at reaching them.

Successful people are goal setters and hard workers. It’s not a natural thing for most people to accomplish this important life skill. Ask any hard working person and they will tell you of someone who modeled that for them.

Teach your child what to do when they have messed up.

Teach them how to be restored to others and to God. Many kids that I work with have guilty and shame-based consciences. This always produces anger and acting out. They are relieved when they are given a plan of restoration. Kids have a hard time separating who they are from their wrong doing. I’m so thankful for the gospel of Jesus that separates me, and who I am in Christ, from my sin.

There is more that could be added to the list above….how to handle money, to be disciplined, to eat healthy. But I encourage parents to at least think on this list and ask for Gods wisdom as you intentionally train your kids. You will never regret that you taught these things.

God the Father, as always, is our greatest example of a good and loving parent. He came to the earth incarnate to walk out a living example for us to follow. He doesn’t over correct, over control, or over discipline his children. Nor is He slack in His instruction. He is a balanced and good father who trains us continually.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

[blockquote cite=”Colette Fabry” type=”center”]The goal in parenting is not to create perfect kids or to be perfect parents. There is no such thing. The goal is for flawed parents to consistently model the beautiful message of the gospel. In real life.  In real time. Every moment of every day. And thats only possible through abiding in Christ and He in us.  [/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Give me Jesus, Colette[/custom_headline]

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PrintableLowResSubscribe to our email newsletter (click HERE), follow us on Instagram (click HERE), like us on Facebook (click HERE), or share our post on any media…and you’ll receive a FREE printable from Yellow Sparrow Studio!!! This custom piece was created just for our September 1st post by Becky Bennett, and we are so excited to be able to give it to YOU!!!

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Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by Stefano Montagner – The life around me http://flickr.com/photos/stemonx/14131455489 shared under a Creative Commons (BY)

“In The Presence of My Enemies”: thoughts about Gracia Burnham’s book

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.comI’m always in the middle of reading a book, and every so often I come across a really great one. This past week I read Gracia Burnham’s book “In The Presence Of My Enemies”, the true story of her kidnapping by a terrorist group in the Philippines. She and her husband Martin, along with several others, were taken hostage in the middle of the night and kept in torturous conditions. Sadly, after 1 year and 11 days, Martin lost his life during a rescue attempt by the Philippine army. They had survived 16 gun-battle rescue attempts, and on the 17th the Burnham’s were shot, she in the leg and he in the chest. The book kept my interest with every single word and I had a hard time putting it down.

Gracia and Martin experienced a living nightmare. While most Americans were trying to make sense of 911 and the craziness and sadness of that, these two missionaries were in the middle of the jungle wondering if they would ever get home to their three children. Reading this book, I saw such real Christianity lived out. Not many people can say that they experienced anything near this kind of horror. But people do live out difficult trials and can learn from Gracia’s insight – I know I sure did.

Her words taught me that…

The toughest of times have the ability to strengthen relationships.

I noticed something pretty amazing about Martin and Gracia.  During the most difficult times they learned to rely on each other. Instead of turning on each other in frustration and fear, they helped and comforted each other. They shared a toothbrush, learned to sleep leaning against one another and continually watched out for the other. They didn’t let this awful trial come between them, but instead, they learned to work together and allowed it to strengthen their marriage.

My heart sunk to the bottom of my toes. Everything we owned in this life was back there in that backpack. The sheet we pulled over us at night, my long sleeved shirt, our toothbrush…A horrible wave of guilt swept over me. How stupid of me. I just lost it all. ‘ Oh Martin, I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry!’ I cried between sobs. My husband did not reproach me. He just quietly answered, ‘You know honey, we’ve got to save our energy for walking. I forgive  you. And you need to forgive yourself. Its going to be ok.'” ~Gracia Burnham

During difficult times it’s wise to know when to speak and when not to.

When either Martin or Gracia wrestled with discouragement and despair, the other gently listened. They just let the other feel whatever it was they were feeling and didn’t jump right in to fix each other with words; I’m sure they barely had the energy or even the ability, but nonetheless, they just loved each other through their feelings. When Gracia spent several days crying, Martin let her. He held her and he wiped her tears or let her sit by herself. He knew that she had to work through things on her own. He realized that he couldn’t heal her heart, but that he could support it.

[pullquote type=”right”]The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…Proverbs 37:23[/pullquote]” ‘Oh, I’m not giving up my faith’, I’d tell Martin.  ‘I still believe that God made the world, He sent his Son, Jesus, and Jesus died for me… I’m just choosing not to believe the part about God loving me. Because Gods not coming through.’ …I was really mad at God. After about three days of living with this torment, I was totally miserable. When I wasn’t at the river crying, I was in the house crying. Martin learned not to say anything, because he knew this was something I had to work through myself… I knew that I had a choice. I could give into my resentment and allow it to dig me into a deeper and deeper hole both psychologically and emotionally or I could choose to believe what Gods word says to be true whether I believed it or not.  This was a turning point for me…I simply gave in and handed all my pain and anger over to the Lord right then and there….From that day on, the Lord somehow let me know in my spirit that he was still faithful.” ~Gracia Burnham

 Trials are meant to strengthen our faith.

I felt Gracia’s struggle and if I were her I would wonder: “Why would God allow this? Where is He? Does He even care about me or even know where I am?” She had to wrap her brain around her faith and what it looked like before her abduction, versus what it looked like in captivity. Trials do this to everyone, especially if you are being held against your will, hungry, tired and thirsty. She chose to believe Gods promises such as,  “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Not because she felt the truth of those words right then, but because God can’t lie.  She learned that God walks through hard and difficulty with us and doesn’t rescue us immediately from trials. He supplied so many needs and Gracia began to be thankful for each one. She told one story about a care package miraculously finding it’s way to them. Gracia watched as their captors rummaged through the box before giving it to them, helping themselves to a package of candy bars. She was angry. She was happy to receive the soap and peanuts and all the wonderful supplies in the box, including a new pair of Martin’s prescription glasses…but she was so mad about the stolen candy bars. God worked in her heart and she changed her attitude to one of thanksgiving. So many of us do the same thing…focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do. Reading her raw struggle was awesome and such a valuable lesson.

[pullquote type=”right”]Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5[/pullquote]”We began making little piles of all the wonderful things.  But at the same time, we couldn’t stop thinking about those Snickers bars. The bounty we had wasn’t quite enough somehow. And then we looked at each other and said, ‘You know, this box has arrived from our mission out of nowhere–and we’re complaining about what the Abu Sayyaf took? We should be rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness.’  We decided we needed to share. Martin began going from group to group giving…We had asked the Lord earlier in the month to send us something nice for Thanksgiving and realized something incredible: It was Thursday, November 22– Thanksgiving Day!”  ~Gracia Burnham

 The picture is always bigger than what we can see.

Although Gracia would never have chosen to go through what she did – to enter into such suffering and the heartache of losing her husband – through her very words I was able to see part of a bigger plan. Deep in the jungle, amongst 50+ terrorists, men who may have never heard the name of Jesus, Gracia and Martin shared the gospel.  They lived it and spoke it in the midst of the most horrendous trial.  Gracia taught the other hostages the words to “How Great Thou Art” and they sang them while the terrorists listened. Martin had several conversations with others about God and in his kind and gentle way he was able to share Jesus. I know that when this couple gave their lives to be missionaries they never imagined that this was how they were going to be used.

“…I was able to harmonize while we sang the song (How Great Thou Art) every day and sometimes several times a day. The Abu Sayyaf never hissed at us for singing it….More than once Martin said to me ‘Maybe God has us here just to praise him in this very dark place.'”  ~Gracia Burnham

We are stronger than we think.

Gracia never thought in a million years that she could endure what she did…walking miles with no food and sleeping night after night in mud…being bitten by bugs, filthy for weeks at a time, separated from her children…the fear and terror of being shot at, running for her very life, living with out the basic essentials,  the humiliation of having to go to the bathroom in front of strangers and the heartache and shock of watching her husband as he was shot and as he took his last breath on this earth. But she did it. And she did it well!  What an amazing example of strength and resilience.

I looked back at where Martin still lay. The red spot on his shirt was larger now. His complexion was pasty white. And then I knew–the man I loved more than  anyone in the world was gone. I wanted the world to stop in that moment, to reflect on my dreadful loss, to mourn the senseless death of my wonderful husband. Unfortunately, the circumstances demanded otherwise.  I had to think about getting myself off this mountain alive.” ~Gracia Burnham

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After reading her book, I want to hug Gracia Burnham and give her a life supply of candy bars!  I can’t wait to read her next book, called “To Fly Again”  I have no doubt that she did!  Through the pages of her book I feel as if I know her, that she is a kindred spirit.  Her story glorifies her God, and my prayer is that yours and mine will as well.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]This is my story, this is my song, Colette[/custom_headline]

 

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]ONE MORE DAY! Enter our July Giveaway NOW!!![/custom_headline]
With each post we have published in July, Colette has added ONE MORE of her FAVORITE THINGS to this month’s giveaway! 

As of this post, the giveaway includes:

Godiva Chocolates,
a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie,
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee,
Victoria’s Secret hair spray and leave-in conditioner,
a lilac scented Yankee Candle,
a beautiful salad tong set from anthropologie,and
“In the Presence of My Enemies” by Gracia Burnham!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!

1. Subscribe to our email newsletter – click HERE!
2. Follow us on Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend under any post on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!! The giveaway ends this week!!!
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Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by Horia Varlan http://flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4268896468 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

camping, complaining, and the condition of our hearts

My husband, our three kiddos, and I went camping in the Adirondacks a couple of weeks ago. It was a really good trip – the kids are at such great ages for it. We saw bugs and toads and deer and even a black bear! Our son had a whole day of man-time with his daddy in a canoe, and I shopped with my girls in the little town nearby and took them swimming in a lake with the mountains in view. But despite all of the good stuff, my middle daughter found something – no, everything – to complain about.

camping, complaining, and the condition of our heartsLet’s see…She complained that the car was too hot. The trip was too long. Having the windows down was too windy. There was a bug in the car. She was hungry. And thirsty. We were going too fast. The roads were too hilly. It was too hot when we arrived at our camp. And there were bugs in the woods. She was hungry and thirsty. She didn’t get the top bunk. She didn’t like the chairs we had. The fire was too smokey. There weren’t enough water bottles. Her water bottle was dirty. She didn’t want to eat chicken. Or hot dogs. Or sandwiches. She couldn’t use the iPad. She couldn’t go to the bathroom alone. The shower was weird. She wanted to stay up later. The slides at the water park we went to were too steep. The water was too cold. She was hungry and thirsty. She wanted a different towel. Our hike was too long, and it was hot outside. We brought the wrong snacks. She wanted to wear different shoes, but without socks. The ride to and from the hike was too long and hilly. The ride back home was too long, and we went too fast. And she was hungry and thirsty.

I almost. Went. Insane. But God really showed me a LOT from enduring all of that complaining.

Complaining can be expressed in a lot of different ways.

Of course when we think of complaining we think of finding faults or problems with things that aren’t really that big of a deal. But that’s not the only way that we tell others that we’re dissatisfied. My husband and I have movie nights sometimes, and when he picks a movie I don’t like I complain by doing something else while I “watch” the movie. I was at a friend’s house recently and when one of the kids didn’t get the swing they wanted, they complained by refusing to play. If someone feels that a co-worker isn’t pulling their weight, they might complain by gossiping about that person. Complaining takes a lot of different forms, and depending on the circumstance we choose which method will be most effective in communicating it and rallying others to our cause.

Complaining communicates a lot of things about who we are.

Complaining is thanklessness. Complaining is an attitude of entitlement and greed. Complaining is lazy. Complaining is arrogant. And complaining communicates a lack of contentment for what God has provided. It tells other people that we think we are the center of the universe – or at least that we think we should be.

There are things about our lives that are inconvenient, uncomfortable, and irritating – and till we get to heaven there’s nothing we can do about that. But WE are responsible for our responses. God has given us power and freedom to view our circumstances the way He wants us to, and at times even to change our circumstances – and it’s up to us to follow through.

Complaining affects the people who hear it.

There are some activities that many Christians hesitate over because they fear leading others into sin – and that’s a good thing. Drinking and entertainment are a couple of hot topics that come to mind when I think of things that might tempt another Christian to sin. Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 contain instruction regarding our freedom in Christ, and not allowing our freedoms to cause others to stumble into sin – that is the context that we most often think of causing others to stumble. Sadly, I never – NEVER – considered that complaining might make others more likely to sin. But it does. Mark 9:42 shows us how seriously God takes the matter: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Wow.

Over my week of camping with my glass-half-empty daughter, I responded to her complaining in a variety of ways – some good and some bad. The good mom and Jesus follower in me answered patiently, and disciplined in love. But at other times, I lost my temper, I was sarcastic, I complained about something myself, I gossiped, or I distanced myself in an unloving way. I take ownership for every one of those responses. But what I realized was that when I complain, others are tempted to respond poorly – just like I was. When we complain, we may be causing others to stumble into their own sin in more ways than one. And as for those who are not saved, complaining will keep them from seeing Christ in us. 

Complaining is a condition of the heart.

Complaining is more than just a statement about something we don’t like – it’s a condition of the heart. God is our provider, and the Bible tells us that He will always give us what we need (Luke 12:22-34). So we don’t need more than what He provides for us! Philippians 2:14-15 tells us that we should do all things without complaining so that we can be a light in a dark world…so that we can be set apart…and set apart is what it means to be HOLY! In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul says that he had learned to be content in any and every circumstance, and that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him – I can only imagine how difficult it was sometimes to be content in jail as he was, and persecuted as he was.  But the same power that rested on Paul rests on us…The same God that empowered Paul empowers us…The same Jesus that saved Paul saved us. And Jesus is enough. Always. If our hearts truly believe that He is enough, we will find nothing to complain about.

My family survived our camping trip, and I’m really glad we went. The same daughter who complained about so much is also the one who is fearless to try new things, who is crazy fun to be around, and who loves to sing songs about Jesus. I feel like God allowed me to catch just a glimpse of what He sees in our hearts when we complain. My prayer is that He will teach me, and all of us, to live a life overflowing with thankfulness toward Him for all that He has graciously given to us.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]With a grateful heart, Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Time is running out! Enter our July Giveaway NOW!!![/custom_headline]
With each post we have published in July, Colette has added ONE MORE of her FAVORITE THINGS to this month’s giveaway! As of this post, the giveaway includes: 

Godiva Chocolates,
a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie,
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee,
Victoria’s Secret hair spray and leave-in conditioner,
a lilac scented Yankee Candle,
and a beautiful salad tong set from anthropologie!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!

1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend under any post on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!! The giveaway ends this week!!!
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Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by stillwellmike http://flickr.com/photos/stillwellmike/9539948576 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

broken arms and broken people

Colette @ awriteheart.comI sat near a group of boys who were watching an internet video of a compilation of people whose bones were being broken. Cell phones had captured footage of athletes, skateboarders, goof-offs, and casual arm wrestlers, each one in excruciating pain. The boys watching were mesmerized by the awful sights. They replayed each incident over and over because the brokenness was shocking. I looked at the video and watched a couple of the nauseating accidents. The injured would see their broken limb, scream and turn away in terror. It actually brought tears to my eyes to watch. I noticed that just about two and a half million people had viewed that particular video. People have a hard time taking their eyes off of brokenness.

This is kind of how I felt reading the news this morning. Broken people giving solutions to broken politics, broken men and women changing their identity, broken people wounding and killing parishioners as they sit in church, broken souls enclosed in broken flesh literally arguing that wrong is right and right is wrong. The last one I read before I slammed the lid of my laptop was about people selling the body parts of aborted babies. Brokenness is defined as “something or someone that is fractured and damaged, no longer in one piece or in working order.” Yep, that about sums up our world.

As Jesus stood and looked over the city of Jerusalem, the Bible says that he wept (Luke 19:41). This word, wept, in its greek translation means more than just sadness. It means that he grieved with his entire being as He looked on the brokenness of those that he came to heal. I wonder what would happen if we grabbed the heart of Jesus for the brokenness of our world. Not anger or hatred…but true grief over brokenness.

In the middle of brokenness we must…

Remember why we are here.

Isaiah 61:6 reminds us that we are called the Priests of the Lord and Ministers of the most High God. We, who were broken and made whole, are given the privilege of tending to the needs of the lost and hurting. We are commanded to bind up broken hearts, to wrap tightly and bandage their wounds.  When we show kindness and love to those who are broken, when we genuinely point them to Jesus, when we cry with them and hold them while they weep…we are binding and wrapping tightly. So often we can only see the ugliness of peoples brokenness and are repelled by it. Instead we must remember that behind the brokenness is a heart and a soul that needs healing and freedom. Needs Jesus.

Remember to proclaim freedom to those who are bound.

We do that by demonstrating it in our lives…in our walk and sincere talk. Many people don’t even know that they need healing. And if they do know it they don’t understand the way to freedom.  But offering hope, not condemnation, will cause them to grab the key to freedom, which is Jesus. Recently a man came into my office and asked “what is it about you Christians? My chiropractor is a Christian, my doctor is a Christian and then you. You are all so happy. What is that all about??” Living out a demonstration of our joy in the Lord is proclaiming freedom in Christ. Isaiah 61:10 says it so amazingly “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he that clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”  Everyone notices when people walk around in their wedding garments and Isaiah reminds us that our JOY in the Lord should stand out like this.

Remember to  keep our eyes on Jesus.

If we dwell on brokenness..our past brokenness, others brokenness or this world and its brokenness…we will be overtaken with grief and hopelessness. Through Christ there is healing, hope, life, newness, freedom, joy and complete salvation. Looking at brokenness reminds us of what we are saved from and we must look at it with great joy that the Messiah has come to deliver mankind from the mess of sin. When you look at the sun setting each night and rising each morning, remember that he died and rose again so that we might be set free. And just as the sun brings light to this earth, may we remember to mimic our Savior.  Does the lost world look at how we live and do they see us treat people as Christ did when he walked the earth?  He fed them, talked with them, ate with them, healed them and ministered to them.  Lets keep our eyes on the Son…and be reminded to love others like He did.

Remember that He is the healer and the one to be glorified.

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8.  I love the way this verse reminds us that brokenness is the Creators problem and He is the answer, the help needed and who has a plan to fix it all.  I noticed that each hurting person in the video cried out for help.  “Call 911” or “Call my mom! ”  They called for whoever they knew could help.  Our help really is in God.  Brokenness is ugly and brings with it such terror. With wholeness there is beauty and peace. And yet, God allowed brokenness in order for us to understand wholeness. Which then proclaims His glory. Isaiah 66:5 says “let the Lord be glorified“.  in other words, let him be seen. Show him. Show his goodness and his righteousness. Its all about showing HIM. It amazes me… that a perfect God would take imperfect people in an imperfect world to show Himself. That is incomprehensible, pure grace. Isaiah 66:18 reminds us that one day “…it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory” Yes, its true that every knee will bow and confess him as Lord. Until then, as we face brokenness, lets commit to glorifying the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Remember the Word of God.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  II Chronicles 7:14 We are never told to yell and argue with people over sin.  Gods people are to turn from THEIR OWN wicked ways….. to humble themselves, pray, seek Gods face, turn from their wicked ways, and THEN God will heal the brokeness in our land.

Yes, people have a hard time taking their eyes off brokenness.  But there is good news.   In Isaiah 61:1 it says “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…men shall call you the Ministers of God.  It shocks us because what we are seeing, the brokenness in our world, is pretty unbelievable.  Christian, we can’t allow the despair to consume us.  We must respond to it, not in fear and anger, but in love and kindness, proclaiming the good news of Jesus.  We are commanded to do this!  There will be a day when all will be made right but until then, may God be glorified in our ministering to the brokenness of this world.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Let your light so shine, Colette[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Our July Giveaway Just Got EVEN BETTER!!![/custom_headline]
With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! As of this post, the giveaway includes: 

Godiva Chocolates,
a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie,
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee,
Victoria’s Secret hair spray and leave-in conditioner,
and a lilac scented Yankee Candle!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend under any post on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!
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the heart of friendship

Melissa @ awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”[/blockquote]

We NEED friends.

The Bible talks a LOT about relationships, and about the needs that we have that only a true friend can provide. God made us for relationship, and right from creation we read about people needing people. Adam and Eve, Moses and Aaron, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Christ and His disciples, Christ and God the Father…The Bible is full to the top with people who needed other people. Even God desired fellowship with man – a thought I can’t even wrap my mind around – but it just goes to show that we weren’t made to go it alone. I’m naturally introverted, so I gravitate to solitude. Instinctually I want to be alone, and I want to prove my worth by taking on challenges by myself. But God made me to need others, and despite my tendency to make an island of myself it’s important for me not to think that I should do life all on my own. We need each other for so many reasons…For accountability, for companionship, for joy, for sharing heartbreak, for corporate worship, for encouragement, to learn humility, to learn about what insights others have into the heart of God. God gave us friendship for our benefit!

Friendships change because other people change.

[pullquote cite=”C.S. Lewis” type=”right”]“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” [/pullquote]Friendships begin under all kinds of circumstances and conditions, and it’s unlikely (if not impossible) for those conditions to always remain the same. A friend who had a particular need at one time will more than likely grow out of that need; a friend who was strong at one time may stumble into a period of weakness; a friend who was always available may become busy and preoccupied with other things – and so on. We know in our HEADS that people change and that their circumstances change, but it’s difficult to swallow when a friendship we value changes. A dear friend of mine always says that there are “seasons” of friendship – even endings of friendships – because all of our lives are in a constant state of flux. Change may not be what WE always want, but so often it’s what a friend needs.

Friendships change because WE change.

Are you different than you were when you were seventeen years old? Of course you are. We all have seasons of life which will dictate our needs, and we tend to seek out friends that can fulfill those needs. It sounds pretty selfish, but we all seek community with those who understand us best. My daughter was in sixth grade this past year, and as far as friends are concerned she did a lot of growing up. She had a group of friends at school, and she ended up deciding that they weren’t people that she wanted or needed to be around – so she kindly started sitting with another group of people and integrated herself into a new group. That’s no small feat for someone her age! It showed me something important – that it CAN be done. Our needs can and will change, and we can kindly engage in new friendships that better fit us – all without animosity and drama.

Some friendships exist not because WE need them, but because someone else does…So we need to consider what God has for us in those relationships. There are friendships that are REALLY messy and inconvenient, but God can show us so much about ourselves and about Him through those friendships. Let’s be careful not to count out the people that are hard work to be friends with…Those might be the people who need us most.

BFFs are few and far between.

To find a friend who understands not only what you’re going through but who you really are is rare and precious. I’ve only had a handful of people over the course of my life who I’d say were “best” friends. They are the ones who I let see me at my worst, the ones who lovingly tell me when I’m wrong, the ones who encourage me to be the woman God wants me to be, and the ones who stand by me during my own seasons of weakness – times when I give nothing back. They are friends who can see how I feel without my having to say anything, and who know what I need before I realize it myself. If you have a true BFF, cherish them and be a great BFF in return!

It takes one to know one.

Good friendships come from two peoples’ involvement, not just one. Granted, there are times when one person or the other will bear more of a load, but overall a friendship needs to be a two way street. It’s easy for us to analyze the quality of friendship based on someone else’s performance, but we can’t forget to evaluate whether we are being good friends ourselves.

Friends will let us down because they’re people.

No matter how good our friends are, they WILL let us down – because they’re human. I’m not saying that we should overlook it when friends consistently treat us poorly, but we should expect some imperfection – and at times let it roll off. The trade off is that we, too, will let our friends down, as well-intentioned as we might be, and those friends will hopefully do the same for us.

Jesus is our ultimate example.

[pullquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”right”]”Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”[/pullquote]One thing that I cherish most about Christ is that He is predictable – always good, always loving, always just, always righteous. No matter how I change, He is the same. He’s reliable, eternal, invested, perfect…PERFECT. His expectations of His friends always remain the same, too – simply obey (John 15:14). That’s a tall order, but I can rest assured that His expectations will never vary.

During His ministry He called Himself a friend to those closest to Him, and He laid down His life for them. Even before He was crucified for the sins of man He laid His life down for those around Him – He was patient, kind, forgiving, generous, self-sacrificing, sympathetic, honest, gentle, loving, and endlessly seeking the souls of others.  He calls us to do the same – to lay our lives down for our friends. THIS is true friendship. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”[/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Leaning on Jesus, Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Our July Giveaway Just Got Better – AGAIN!!![/custom_headline]With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! As of this post, the giveaway includes Godiva Chocolates, a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!
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Feature image attribution: flickr photo by Dani_vr http://flickr.com/photos/dani_vazquez/8261614253 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

six things we must remember in an argument

Melissa @ awriteheart.comSince last week’s Supreme Court decision about gay marriage, I’ve read and heard a LOT of debate…Unfortunately the vast majority of those discussions ended poorly or without resolution. As I’ve continued to read and listen to these dialogues, a few thoughts have come to mind that I believe we must remember when arguing or debating with someone. Whether it’s an online discussion or an argument with our spouse, remembering these principles can help us keep the peace even when we can’t agree.

Your “opponent” actually believes what they’re saying.

The person who is so adamantly opposed to your viewpoint, whether that’s your husband or some online stranger who thinks your opinion is too extreme, really truly believes what they are expressing to you. They believe it with the same passion and vigor that you have for your own opinion. We tend to think that those with opposing views haven’t thought out their opinions, and are just argumentative people looking for a fight – and sometimes that IS the case. But most people hold their opinions for a reason, and can substantiate why they think and feel the way they do. They aren’t unintelligent, they aren’t necessarily uninformed, they aren’t crazy, and most of the time they aren’t intentionally trying to oppress anyone…They just happen to disagree.

There may be angles that you haven’t explored – and that’s ok.

In any argument, we all are hesitant to admit when we’re unprepared or can’t defend ourselves…but in truth, everyone is unprepared for what could be said. It isn’t always the worst thing to tell a person that you don’t know the answer to a question, or that they brought up a good point that you never considered. Conversations can be continued after you’ve done more research, or after you’ve thoughtfully considered new points of view. Being defensive about someone’s thoughtful conclusions won’t win anyone over – so in humility, be willing to concede that you haven’t thought of everything.

People can believe whatever they want – and that’s a good thing.

This is America, right? Unless you’re reading from a place that doesn’t allow citizens the freedom to speak and believe what they want, no one is obligated to believe as you do – and that is something to be thankful for. God gave us freedom to choose, right from the time that He created us, and we can’t take that freedom from others. As well-intentioned as we might be trying to “convert” people to what we believe is the right way of thinking, it isn’t our job to change anyone’s mind or heart.

Listening well goes a long way.

5 things to remember in an argumentThink about the last time you had a heated discussion with someone. While the other person was talking or writing, were you thinking about the next thing you were going to say? So many times, our lack of willingness to stop and listen prevents us from  hearing where another person is coming from, and all we do is reiterate our own opinions over and over instead of having a real dialogue. Understanding someone’s point of view is valuable even if you don’t agree with it, and the person on the other end of the debate will be more likely to feel as though you respect them if you conscientiously listen to and acknowledge their side.

Social media and texting are not ideal for having an actual conversation.

How many times can I say this…Social media and texting are not ideal for having an actual conversation! Humor, sarcasm, compassion, kindness, sadness – all of those are difficult to convey by written word, and it’s easy to misread someone’s tone or miscommunicate your own thoughts and feelings. Too short a response can be read as aggressive…No response can be read as passive-aggressive…Too long a response can be read as controlling…Too long between responses can be read as uncaring…Too many responses can be read as overbearing. We make some pretty sweeping assumptions based on how and when others respond. So be careful debating or arguing online or over text massages…And if possible, just take the person out for coffee and talk it out.

Love for God and for others is your obligation, even if the conflict remains unresolved.

My pastor mentioned something this past week that really stuck with me – we aren’t supposed to be a balance of grace and truth…We as Christians are supposed to be FULL of grace and FULL of truth. That’s how the Bible describes Jesus in John 1:14 – He was 100% grace, and 100% truth. So no matter what the argument is about, be like Christ when you write and talk to others about things you disagree on. Rarely did Jesus exhibit anger toward others – and when He did, it was because of hypocrisy or oppression of those in need. He also never chased anyone down to make sure they did what they were supposed to. He told them the truth in love, and then allowed them to make their own life choices. Following His lead takes the pressure off of us, and leaves it to the Holy Spirit to change someone’s heart…And that’s how it should be.

Arguments and debates are often unavoidable, but we can take steps to work toward a peaceful ending. It’s possible to disagree while maintaining a positive tone. Romans 12:9-12 calls us to do our best to live at peace, and with God’s help we can!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]In His perfect peace, Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Colette’s July Giveaway Will Just Keep Getting Better![/custom_headline]

With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! The first thing in Colette’s basket is…GODIVA CHOCOLATES! Read our next post to see what she’ll add next!
colettesbasketday1

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!

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Featured image attribution: flickr photo by pj_vanf http://flickr.com/photos/vanf/6124579928 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

is yelling at your kids really that bad? part 2

Colette @ awriteheart.comAs an anger management counselor, I have worked with parents who are different in many ways. But similar in the fact that they all love their children, want what is best for them and want them to succeed in life.  However, they could all say the same words as author Julie Ann Barnhill when she writes,  “In fits of uncontrolled anger I have acted and spoken harshly and irresponsibly toward my children and have thought even worse. In the midst of parental rage I have tried to justify what I called ‘discipline’ when in reality I had crossed a shameful unspoken boundary.

In my experience, parents who yell in anger focus only on fixing their children.   I hear them say things like, ” If my kids would do what they are told and what’s expected, if they would clean their rooms and stop fighting with siblings….then I wouldn’t get angry.”   Dealing appropriately with issues such as obedience IS important,  but I strongly believe that parents must fix themselves and manage their anger before they will succeed in changing their children’s behavior.  (Proverbs 25:28)  It’s interesting to me that most abusive and angry parents blame others for their anger and behavior.  But again, the answer lies in managing themselves first and then successfully correcting the normal or strong willed, disobedient, disorganized and/or challenging child.

Parents who yell in anger at their children identify with one or more of the 10 types of parents below:

The frustrated parent

The frustrated parentFrustration is a result of unresolved issues.  A frustrated parent often has more than one problem that needs solving and dealing with children is only one of them.  I suggest to clients that it’s helpful to list  frustrations and stresses and then work on resolving them one issue at a time. Getting someone to help with solutions may also be beneficial.  Not all problems can be erased, but all can be worked on. Suggested reading: Frustration – From Source to Solution: Beating Emotional Cancer by Adrian Brown.

The militant parent

This parent demands absolute and prompt obedience.  Often what they desire is right but their content gets lost in their delivery.  Many times they are more concerned with  behavior and obedience than with relationship. They tend to see immediate obedience as being separate from relationship.  That may be true in settings such as the military, but unfortunately, it isn’t separate when it comes to the parent-child relationship.  Rules without relationship equal rebellion.  Often militant parents are impatient and approach discipline as “my way or the highway”.  Unfortunately, they fail to see their child as an individual with feelings and emotions, but in relationship these two things matter a great deal.  I encourage a strong understanding of Emotional Intelligence with the militant parent.  Suggested Reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart to Heart Connection by Danny Silk.

The forgetful parent

This parent forgets two things:  they forget that they are dealing with children who are not mature in their thinking, who need help with problem solving, who are usually acting their age, and who need hours of consistent training to become successful, responsible adults. Secondly, they forget to praise the good behavior of their children.  Often, the forgetful parent overreacts to negative behavior and overlooks positive behavior. Suggested reading: Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.

The tired parent

The Tired ParentThe tired parent is just too tired to invest in the demands of proper training and discipline of their children. It takes a lot of energy to parent well.  I sit with many parents, problem-solving the underlying issue of being tired.  Sometimes the problem is easily solved…Get more sleep and cut back on nonessential busy-ness. Other times the problem isn’t as easily solved.  Single parents and those who work demanding jobs find it exceptionally hard to find down time.  These parents must find creative ways to rest and get rejuvenated.  Often, it’s a matter of being better organized in order to find the time to rest. Suggested reading: Hope For the Weary Mom by Brooke McGlothin.  Timeout for Tired Moms by Judy Crawford.

The undisciplined parent

This parent finds themselves undisciplined in many areas of their life.  Since they aren’t consistent in self-discipline, they are unable to manage and discipline their children. They resort to yelling in anger because it is the easiest way to react.  The undisciplined parent lacks structure. They may run late for appointments and then demand that everyone else hurry. The solution may be as easy as getting up earlier, making lunches the night before, and planning ahead.  Time management would solve a lot of frustration for the undisciplined parent.  I suggest planning personal schedules with a daytimer. Suggested reading:  Developing Discipline and Self Control by Joyce Meyers.

The powerless parent

This parent may be a passive person who lost control of their children early in childrearing. They give up because they see no way to improve their situation, and they allow the kids to make the rules.  It is important for every parent to lead by example and by consistent training – when children have no one to lead them they make up their own rules based on survival skills. They need parents who are strong in convictions, morals and beliefs.   Suggested reading:  You Can’t Make Me by Cynthia Tobias,  Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.

The re-creating parent

This parent tends to subconsciously re-create the dysfunctions from their own childhood.  For instance, their parent was a yeller and even though they didn’t like being yelled at, they now yell at their child.  It’s what was instilled in them and then it’s  just easier to do what comes naturally.  I encourage these parents to work hard at breaking the cycle of generational dysfunction – it is possible! Suggested reading: Making Peace With Your Past by Tim sledge,  Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands,  The Sacred Romance by John Eldridge.

The unhealthy parent

The Unhealthy ParentThe unhealthy parent can’t effectively meet the demands of positive and productive child rearing. I suggest that all of my clients get a complete physical to rule out any health reasons that may be contributing to their anger. Many test results have come back with problems of thyroid, hormones, blood sugar or blood pressure.  Once  health problems are corrected, people are then able to properly respond to situations in their demanding lives.  It’s also important to eat right and exercise in order to be a strong and healthy person. There may be other areas in which a parent is unhealthy: addictions, substance abuse, emotional disorders or mental health issues. Whatever it is that is causing a parent to be unhealthy must be dealt with and managed. Suggested reading: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do: Bad Habits and Addictions by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend,  TouchPoints for Recovery by Ronald Beers and Amy Mason.

The angry parent

This parent has internal anger that is not being addressed and resolved. Internal anger is due to something from the past or present and has turned into bitternness. Bitterness, the Bible says, defileth a man.  This type of anger can stay dormant for a long time, but it always surfaces. It either turns inward and shows itself as depression…or it turns outward and it shows as explosive, mean and or short-fused reactions towards things, animals or people. Suggested reading: Anger Controlled Parenting by Vivian Lamphear and Sherry Marlar,  When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide by Matthew McKay Phd and Kim Paleg, Phd. Suggested action: Find a safe place to talk where anger can be exposed and dealt with, preferably with a Christian counselor or psychologist.

The spiritually weak parent

The spiritually weak parent will struggle in all aspects of life and especially in childrearing.  It’s best to look at the opposite approach in order to understand what a spiritually weak parent is not.  The spiritually strong parent, one who knows Jesus as Savior and continually grows in Christ, makes a happier and more stable parent.  They follow the handbook of life, the Bible, and are given grace to accomplish what they are called to do as leaders.  Their greatest example of parenting is pictured through God the Father. Following His example of unconditional love, patience, and correct discipline is by far the most excellent path to follow. Suggested reading: Done by Cary Schmidt, The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot.

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Melissa @ awriteheart.comRight now I have three kids at home, and on any given day I can fit into any one of the categories listed above. Yesterday morning I was militant, today I’m tired, and because of an event later in the week I know I’ll tend to be frustrated and stressed. I used to fit into MORE of these categories MORE of the time, and my kids behaved no better. By seeking God about my relationships with my kids and by truly seeking to act more like Jesus myself, I can see changes in how I behave AND in how my kids behave. YES they need discipline, and a lot of it! But discipline motivated by love for a child and by obedience to the Lord will be more successful than discipline motivated by anger.

Happy Kid!None of us will ever be perfect parents, but be encouraged! Your kids are resilient, your kids LOVE YOU, and they WILL forgive you! Mine forgive me all the time! If you messed up today, repent and ask for forgiveness – from God and from your kids. Ask the Lord for a better tomorrow, and believe that He can do a work in your heart.  The Lord CAN change the relationships you have with your kids!

 

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Yes, yelling at your kids in anger is really that bad.  But it ‘s a new day!  We encourage you to be the best parent you can possibly be.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Change our hearts O Lord, Colette & Melissa[/custom_headline]

Read Part 1 of “Is Yelling at Your Kids Really That Bad?” HERE

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If you’ve already subscribed, enter by tagging a friend under any post on our Facebook wall and encourage them to subscribe – the more the merrier!

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Sign up today!

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is yelling at your kids really that bad?

Colette @ awriteheart.comShe brought an audio recording. Although it was her husband who had secretly recorded her while he was away at work, it was she who freely pressed play for me to hear. In the recording she was screaming. Screaming at her three young children. Out-of- control screaming, name calling and cursing. As an anger management counselor I have heard many recordings. None of them shock me but they all affect me. Usually they are brought to me from a partner or an older child. They want me to understand what is happening in their home and hope that if someone can hear what they live through, then maybe they can help. Tears streamed down her face and I held back mine as we listened to the screaming that went on and on. I heard babies in the background, the little ones who somehow provoked her to such rage. They were crying and one was begging her to stop. When the recording ended she looked up at me. She was now the one doing the begging. For help.

I have heard so many excuses as to why a parent screams.
I know I shouldn’t scream but I had a bad day“,
“I wasn’t feeling good“,
I am just so stressed out”,
yelling is in my heritage and it’s in my blood”,
the women in our family are screamers”,
the men in our family have always yelled”,
they just got under my last nerve”,
he pressed my buttons”.
Although parents often feel bad for screaming, the excuses make them feel better… justified… and  lessens the guilt.

The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Training in this verse doesn’t just mean good behavior, it means bad behavior as well.

[custom_headline type=”center” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]Nine major consequences to children when parents scream in anger: [/custom_headline]

They will scream at others .

You are modeling and training your child how to treat others.

They will  live on a roller coaster of their emotions.

is yelling at your kids really that bad?You are showing them how to respond wrongly to emotions, such as frustration, anger, and annoyance, etc.  The most successful people in the world are people who have high emotional intelligence (ability to use emotions intelligently and to read other peoples emotions).  It is said to even rank higher on the scale than IQ.  People who can control their emotions are stable and wise.

They will become poor problem solvers.

You are training your child to scream and yell instead of problem solve whatever the issue at hand is.  One woman stated that she was screaming at her girls to stop screaming at each other.  She realized that her screaming was not going to fix the problem.

 They will feel insecure and shamed.

By screaming at your child in anger you are planting shame within them.  It takes hold and produces the fruit of insecurity.

 They will be confused about what real love is and learn to push others away.

When children are shown both love and hate by their parent it causes children to be confused and afraid to trust people.  They also learn quickly how to disconnect from others.  It will negatively affect their future marriages, relationships and general well being.

They will be internally, and often externally, angry and rebellious.

child yellingYelling causes defensive walls to go up and deposits seeds of resentment into a childs heart.  Many times children who grow up with a yelling parent will  have deep, underlying hatred for that parent; anger will be returned.  It will negatively affect the parent/child relationship 100% of the time.

 They will learn to sin towards others.

The Bible tells us to be angry and sin not. The anger itself is NOT the sin. Yet, many fail to see that yelling and screaming at another person in anger is sin.

They will be fearful and struggle with the proper view of God.

The parent-child relationship is suppose to be used as a positive picture to show the relationship between Abba Father and the child of God.  Children who are raised with stable, kind, loving, fair disciplinarians rarely struggle with God the Father and His characteristics.

They will feel unsafe.

Yelling parents are not safe and good relationship takes consistent safety.

I heard a man say recently “That boy deserves to be screamed at!” My blood boiled. Oh, is that right Mr. Foolish man? Yes, a child needs to be properly disciplined and trained. Yes, a child needs to be sternly corrected. But a child should never be screamed at in anger. Part of the definition of abuse is: language that condemns or vilifies (shouting, use of foul or abusive language towards another) usually unjustly, intemperately and angrily. So according to the dictionary, yelling in anger at your child is abuse.

A highschool guidance counselor, after hearing me speak on this subject, said that he is guilty of screaming at his own kids in anger. He said “ I don’t have any intention of stopping. My kids better just do what I say or else!”.   Why in the world would anyone ever think that this is good, productive parenting? It’s true that you may get your child to obey out of fear, but you will lose their heart. And when you lose their heart, you lose relationship.  You lose influence.  You lose them.  You lose, period.

Save your yelling for positive parenting – before your child runs into the road or falls into deep water. Use your yelling voice to get your child’s attention and for his safety instead of a way to explode your frustrations, thus giving way to their dysfunction.  I wonder….What if you were being secretly recorded while disciplining your child? Would you allow someone else to yell at your kids the way you do?  What if your authority yelled at you the way that you yell at your kids?

Is yelling at your kids really that bad?  YES.  I have worked closely with angry people and their families for 16 years and my answer again is “yes”.  I have seen many people change when they understand the seriousness of their behavior , when consequences are explained to them and when they realize that screaming is a choice.

Parents, do what it takes to positively train and effectively communicate with your children. The choice is yours!

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be” –Thomas A’Kempis

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Take my lips and let them be consecrated Lord to thee,  Colette[/custom_headline]

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what the prodigal’s father did right

Colette @ awriteheart.comI got on my knees in front of her.  I had never in my life seen such grief.  I prayed outloud what she could not.  She couldn’t form the words because her heart was broken.  I entered in to another woman’s sorrow that day and we prayed in unison of heart for her son.

The Bible says (3 John 1:4) that there is no greater joy than to hear that your children walk in truth.  Which means, there is no greater heartache when they do not.  I have cried, prayed and counseled with many Christian parents whose older children have become prodigals; who wastefully or extravagantly live in sin.  Heartbroken and confused parents who begged God for years to keep their precious children from sin; parents who dedicated their little ones to God and His service.  In Luke 15:11-32 we see where the father of the prodigal son did many things right and parents can learn so much from him.

He didn’t withhold anything from his son.

Luke 15:12 He didn’t say things like “if you live like this you are out of the will!” Instead, he treated him as his child whether or not his son was in sin or whether he was living right. When his son decided to leave, his father did not demand that he return the inherited money.  The father gave him his inheritance, he gave him his time, and he gave him his love.

He didn’t disown him.

He never said “if you choose to live like this you are not my son!” Instead, the door to his home and to relationship stayed open.

He welcomed him with open arms.

Luke 15:20 He never said “You are only welcome back when you clean yourself up”. Instead, he welcomed him before he knew that his son was out of sin and home to stay. He saw him from afar and he rejoiced that his son was coming home.  The Bible says that when he saw his son coming home, he ran to him!  This shows such love on this fathers part. He was just happy to be with his son and that his son was home.  The Bible says that the father rejoiced and killed the fatted calf and had a party for his sons return “because he hath received him safe and sound”.  I can almost feel his relief through the pages of the story.

He waited.

He didn’t plan and figure out how and when he was going to preach truth to his son. Instead, he waited for God to work in his sons’ life. Many parents want to instruct their wayward children at every turn and remind them of all that they are doing wrong. This wise man was still and waited for God to work in his sons’ life. It says in Scripture that the Prodigal Son came to himself, came to his senses, when he was eating with the pigs. Not when his father was preaching to him about his sin. This wise father let God do a work in his sons’ heart. And God did it in the pigpen among the dirt and the slop.

He didn’t let his emotions rule his actions.

He didn’t yell at his son when he chose to leave and live in sin.  He didn’t chase after him and remind him over and over of his sin. Instead, he controlled his emotions and his actions. I believe this is one of the hardest things to do.  Good parents strive to keep their young ones from sin.  It is heartbreaking to watch a child, the one that you love, go down a destructive path. But I see where this wise father did not allow his sons actions to rule his emotions. He didn’t go after his son with strong emotion.  In fact, he didn’t go after him at all.   It is evident that he felt strong emotion by the way that he rejoiced when his son came home. But, he used his emotions for rejoicing instead of negative, out of control, or manipulative behavior.

He rested in the fact that he had trained him in the ways of the Lord.

He didn’t keep instructing, instead he rested in the fact that he had already done that. When a child is wayward the only thing he may accept from a parent at this time is unconditional love. He won’t hear reprimands, warnings, Bible verses or instruction. Those things are all good but a backslidden son or daughter is not open to them when they have chosen sin. Love covers a multitude of sins and unconditional love must cover a child who is in sin.

I spoke with a young man who had been raised in church, who had accepted Christ as his Savior, he knew the Bible stories and was raised by Godly parents.  Even so, he became a prodigal.  After living for a long season in sin he came back to the Lord.  He told me that he was at a Lady Gaga concert, of all places, when the Holy Spirit began to work in his heart.  Lady Gaga said something about there not being a God.  That statement stuck in his heart.  He kept thinking “who is she to say that?  Am I going to take her word for whether there is a God or not???”  Eventually those thoughts turned to “There is a God and what in the world am I doing?”  Just like the prodigal son, he came to the end of himself.  He is now a changed man living his life for Jehovah God.  But in the pig trough is where God got ahold of this young man’s heart.

Many times God allows a prodigal to go down their destrictive path so that God becomes real to him.  So that God becomes their God and not just the God of thier parents.  God creates a testimony in all of his children.  In the story of the prodigal son, this son had so much blessing and didn’t realize what he had until he had nothing but God.

Don’t give up in despair, parents!  God loves your child even more than you do.  His children, Adam and Eve, had everything they ever needed.  God had given them perfection and they ended up choosing sin. God the Father loved them unconditionally!  He also loves your child unconditionally.  Keep praying and believing!  I know that as long as there is breath, there is hope. Prayer achieves the miraculous…I have seen it over and over again!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]You never let go, Colette[/custom_headline]
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Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of June and be entered to win a basket full of gifts from our guest blogger, Kate! On mobile scroll to the end of any post to subscribe…On a desktop, subscribe on the right sidebar or in the footer below. OR just use the “Contact Us” tab in the main menu and we’ll do the work for you!

If you’ve already subscribed, tag a friend under a post on our Facebook wall @ https://www.facebook.com/awriteheart and encourage them to subscribe – the more the merrier!

giftbasketkateKate’s gift basket includes Foster Happiness designed coffee mug, gift tags and a framed Bible verse. There is also 1 set of Jamberry nail wraps, manicure set, a Zambian wall hanging, and coffee and candle donated from Cafe Macchiato in Spencerport, NY!

Sign up today!

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how to win, EVERY TIME, when arguing with your spouse!

Colette @ awriteheart.comThe arguing was intense.  Back and forth, tit for tat, louder and louder.  I, the counselor, abruptly stood up and excused myself from the room. Thankful to be out of their boxing ring,  I stood at the bathroom sink, splashed water on my face and decided that I would go back into the room and say these words: ” This session is over.  It is evident that neither of you want what is best for each other or your marriage.  There is no hope for you as long as you keep fighting and demanding the other to change in order for you to be happy.   When you can clearly look at yourself and die to the ugliness that rises up in you…when you  allow that to die…then your marriage stands a chance.”  I took a deep breath, returned to my chair and spoke those exact words.  There was an awkward silence when I finished.  (See their response towards the end of this post)

As long as we are in relationship with anyone, disagreements will occur.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to win an argument; to have their points heard and validated…to be right.  And who doesn’t love to do the victory dance after the actual win, even if only in our heads. Yep, we just love it!

I want to share with you how to WIN when disagreeing with your spouse.  Every single time.  At every conflict.  Always.

Listen to your partner.

Listening doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what is being said.  It’s an important skill in productive and positive communication.  You may be surprised at what you hear. And if not surprised, you will at least hear the heart and opinions of your loved one.  And, that matters. Truth is, you will win when you listen.

Be kind always.

You can disagree and still disagree kindly.  Words have the power to bring life or death to people and situations. Words said in anger can poison relationships and do a lot of emotional damage.  If you lose someones heart, you have lost.   Kindness always wins the respect of others.

Say yes when you can.

If you can possibly say yes and concede to your partner, do it.  Weigh the importance of what you’re fighting over.  Saying yes to your spouse will be a win by gaining a deeper, more intimate relationship.

Control your emotions, actions and behavior.

The focus should never be on controlling your partners emotions, actions and behavior. Win control over your own flesh and you will win more than just an argument.

Treat a disagreement as a discussion.

A disagreement is not a debate where points are scored.  It is not a competition and it is not talking someone into your way of thinking.  It is positive, respectful communication where relationship should end strengthened.  Win every single time when you discuss issues.

Respect the person that you are disagreeing with.

Always. Respecting other people wins integrity and shows great leadership skills.

Be hard on the problem and soft on the person.

In fact, separate the person from the problem. Become a good problem solver. The goal is to work towards a peaceful resolution.  Good problem solvers always win

Die to the ugliness of self.

Everyone has it in them…ugliness.  Its the nastiness that rises up inside each one of us when we don’t like what we hear and when we demand our way.  Your way may even be right.  But what rises up in you may not be.  The ugliness of self is the opposite of the fruit of the spirit and the list looks like this: fighting, self centeredness, short tempers, pride,  sharp tongues, meanness, rude sarcasm, silence and rejection. When you see that in yourself, learn to die to it. Do not let it rule you.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to rule us, we win big!

Refuse to argue over opinions.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. When we allow others to have their own opinion, we win.  Only God can change a heart and give true perspective.  Understanding when to stop an argument takes wisdom.   Developing this takes the grace of God,  determination, maturity and practice but once we allow the Holy Spirit to masters this in us, we most definitely win.

Disagree until you agree.

Take time to make decisions together and again, if you can possibly give in, give in. If you can compromise, compromise. Remember, there is an answer to every problem. Maybe not one you’d prefer to choose, but a solution nonetheless.  There are times when I say to clients, ” you have no great options but you still have options”.  Winning happens when we choose patience and wisdom over rash decision making.

Choose peace more than your need to be right, more than your ego and more than your self esteem.

I use this statement a lot.  I wish I could give credit to the brilliant person who wrote this but I have no idea who they are.  Getting pride and self out of the way is difficult.  Most fights don’t start out as fights.  Fighting occurs when there is the crazy need to prove and be right, when ego is wounded or puffed up and when you feel as if self esteem is on the line.  The problem gets lost and craziness takes over.   I understand the importance of making decisions but choosing to handle them maturely and with peace is the biggest win!

In the end of life so many things that people argue about won’t be worth a hill of beans. My very first argument with my new, 21 year old husband, was 35 years ago and over furniture. Stupid, ugly furniture that no longer even exists.  I realize that there are times when disagreements are bigger than furniture. But so often they are not.  They are over things that just don’t matter.

The couple above had this to say when asked to write a paragraph for this post

We will never forget that day two years ago.  We were presented with truth.  The truth of our selfishness.  Our marriage motto became “die to self” until it was second nature.  Our marriage and communication became sweeter and sweeter and we honestly just stopped fighting. We learned to quickly diffuse any fight by this mindset and we stopped playing the blame game.  I cant imagine what our life would be like now if that session hadn’t ended in such honesty. We were faced with a shocking wake up call. It was what we needed to hear and we will be forever thankful. – N & C

I deal with many couples who have been in battle with one another over and over for years.  Spouses may win individual battles by yelling the loudest, making a better point in anger, by verbally slamming their spouse and giving it to them good.  Yes, they may have won the heated battle but in the end they don’t really win.  They end up losing.  They lose intimacy, relationship, trust, productive communication and many even lose marriages.  All because too many battles were unfairly fought when really, they never had to be fought at all.

So, if you really want to win in an argument with your spouse,  you can choose to win.  It will take losing battles to win.  It will definitely take learning to problem solve with maturity and wisdom.   But I can promise,  this type of problem solving is a win-win for everyone!

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour, preferring one another;

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]They will know we are Christians by our love, Colette[/custom_headline]

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