Not Fair

Not Fair

Children From the Authors

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Ever read the part in the Bible where it says that if you believe in Jesus your life will be easy peasy from here on out? No? Me neither. Pretty sure that’s not in the Bible. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved!*” Yes. That is in the Bible. But saved does not mean an easy life.

My eldest son has been doing a lot of questioning. And the sum total of all his questions is that one phrase all children use at some point in their lives: it’s not fair!**

This is my older son, demonstrating that he is the "King of the Mountain."
This is my older son, demonstrating that he is the “King of the Mountain.”

First of all, he sees things through his limited perspective. For example: It is not fair that he has to do the dishes by himself, but I help his younger sister when it is her turn to do the dishes.

I, as his parent, have a different perspective (just like God’s perspective is so much more farseeing than my own limited perspective). I have tried explaining that when he was four, I helped him with dishes. But reasoning only gets you so far when your child has documented so much ‘unfairness.’ He just brings up the next item on the list.

So, I remembered an analogy from my college days. We were discussing the purpose of special education in schools. And someone brought up the word ‘fair.’ (As in, “Is it fair to give a student notes, but make everyone else take their own notes?) And the professor quickly addressed the deeper issue. To most of us ‘fair’ translates as ‘equal’ (or everyone gets the exact same thing). But in this instance, we were talking about something a student needed to be able to succeed.

The professor shared an analogy with my class that has stuck with me. It goes something like:

If I were in a room with ten people, and suddenly Bob fell over from a heart attack, and I knew CPR, what should I do? Should I help Bob? Or should I say, “Bob, I’m sorry. But it would not be fair if I only gave CPR to you and no one else. So I will give CPR to everyone or no one.”

I really liked that analogy. It’s a very stark example of why we would choose not to make everything the same. And it boils down to someone’s need.

I’ve used it when talking about parenting with my husband. Does fair mean “equal” or does it mean something else? Having three children, we are always amazed at how different they are. They were raised in the same household, have had a lot of the same opportunities and experiences. And they are so so so very different. We have tried not to use the word fair or unfair, and tried to focus on what they need. And what is best for them.

But being children, they of course picked up on the whole fair/unfair idea. So what do we tell them?

Since I think my little analogy is over their heads for now, I’ve just responded to “That’s not fair!” With one simple sentence.

“Fair does not mean everything is the same. What’s fair is that you are loved.”

And being loved is a gift that some of us take for granted. And while my oldest son gives me a look whenever I pull out this sentence, at least he’s not arguing with me about it. Because what I am saying is that I love him. That I care for him, and I hear him, and I understand him. But also that I am doing my best, and he is just going to have to do the dishes. I hope he is thinking it over. And as he grows we can keep talking about fair, and unfair.

Life is not always easy, or even good. But God is always good. And He is for us, not against us.

Be blessed to love others with all your heart. And may God renew you with His everlasting, unending, never-failing love. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*For example, in Acts 16:31

**When my son says, “It’s not fair!” The immediate response I want to give is, “Life’s not fair. Get used to it!” But… that doesn’t go over well with a clever seven-year-old who is really good at debating.

Hear My Prayer Activity Pages

Hear My Prayer Activity Pages

Book 1 Children

   And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best ~Philippians 1:9-10a

We are working on some activity pages. And I have to say, they are pretty cool. But that’s just my opinion. You will have to check it out for yourself, and let us know!

activity image 2
Pete is saying “Well thats a prooty good list.”

The idea behind the activity pages was to give parents another tool for talking about prayer and the Bible with their children. Activities we have so far:

  • A page with verses you can look up and discuss with your child (always good to read the Bible!).
  • A page that asks the kids what they think Porkie and Pete are praying about.
  • And the last page asks the kids to make a prayer list for themselves. (Also a chance to color Porkie and Pete!)

My favorite part of the activities is asking kids to make their own prayer list, and then checking back with it after a few days/weeks/months (whatever works for you). My kids light up like Christmas trees when they find out that God has answered their prayers. It confirms to them that God does care about them, and that God really does hear our prayers!

My older son has been wanting to get his picture “on the internet.” So he did a few activities, and now he is “famous.” (His words) Kids are too funny! He is in love with the planet and animals. He has a lot of concern for “extinkt animals.” It is fun to see his cares and concerns as he prays. (And kid spelling is always entertaining!)

May God bless you with wisdom, and give you insight into the hearts of the children in your life. May you be filled with compassion as you teach and love these children God has blessed you with. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay
Hear My Prayer Activity Page4

Click Here: Hear My Prayer – Activity Pages

Pete Prayer Activity Sheet

The Gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

From the Authors Our Story

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.
~Proverbs 1:8-9

Mom and my daughter.
Mom and my daughter.

When I was growing up, my mom had a notepad with the quote, “Blessed is he who can laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be amused.” Not a direct quote from the sermon on the mount, but definitely something our family lives by.

From an early age, my parents taught me to never take myself too seriously. There are times to be serious, times for grief, times for tears- but we must never forget, that at all times, life is a gift. So, they taught me to laugh as often as possible, even when laughter didn’t seem the likely outcome of a situation.

Proof of this arrived again last night when my mother texted me,

“Dad and I just came in from a walk. Something was poking his foot in his shoe. By the time he mentioned it we were a mile and a half from home. He removed his shoe to reveal a bloody foot. He found a sharp object had broken through his sole. I ran home to get the car. Wheezing and coughing up the hill.”

Now I know some of you read the message of the text and think my mom was worried, or even annoyed. But I read it and could already hear the laughter in my mother’s voice. Of course the double smiley face she texted next was confirmation of this.

These texts were followed by a wheezy phone call in which Mom reassured me that Dad was indeed fine.

Dad and my oldest son.
Dad and my oldest son.

While we were talking, Dad, who couldn’t come to the phone because he was soaking his foot, hollered to tell me about his ruined hanky and that the ability to feel pain evidently diminishes with age.

Mom thought she better tell me the whole story to explain about the hanky. Upon removing the sharp object, Dad used his hanky to blot his heel and then put his hanky in his shoe to cover the hole. He walked on for a while but then stopped to take a look. The bleeding had slowed but had not stopped. Hence the ruined hanky. At this point, Dad handed mom the car keys and she started jogging for home.  Mom had to run up a hill to get to their house (it is one of those hills that I would never choose to run up). It was while she was jogging up that hill that she was passed by a man walking his dog. And this is where her giggles erupted in her retelling. “But in my defense,” she added, “it was a big dog, and I’m pretty sure he was helping to pull his master up the hill. I didn’t have any help like that!”

After my phone call, my husband asked what all the laughing was about. And when I said, “Dad cut his foot.” My husband gave me a very confused look. I’m sure he was thinking (and rightly so) how is that funny?

Enter the gift of laughter. Choosing not to be angry, or frustrated. Choosing not to think that the world is out to get you or that you should give up. Instead, the ability to not take yourself too seriously. *

We all have different gifts from our parents. Gifts we treasure, and even ones we’ve maybe never noticed. And maybe, if we are lucky, gifts we can pass on to our children.

May the Lord open your eyes to the gifts he has placed in your family. May you be blessed to give new gifts to your children, that your ceiling would be their floor to start on and reach higher from. And may you know that whatever challenges may come, you do not need to take yourself too seriously. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*It was at about this point that my youngest son came along and pounded on the keyboard. The end result being that the ‘d’ key no longer works. I think that peanut butter may somehow be involved. Any ideas how to get peanut butter out of your keyboard? ;)

 

All for Jesus

All for Jesus

Encouragement Inspiration

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. ~Luke 8:39

We recently moved. Moving is not always easy, but often surprising.

One thing we have found difficult, is finding a new church to call home. In this case, it is because of a wonderful problem. The city we landed in seems to be overflowing with great church families! We just need to find our place in the midst of so many options. Isn’t that a wonderful “problem”? So many good churches to choose from? I wish I had more problems like this*.

But the reason I bring this up, is because of one associate pastor. I don’t know him, and I’ve only heard him speak twice. But when he speaks, it’s like his whole life is saying all for Jesus.

Well, let me back up. Start at the beginning. The first time we visited this church, the associate pastor got up front and shared with the congregation that he had his colonoscopy, and the doctors had found cancer. I felt hearts in the congregation breaking around me. It was a very sad moment for that church body. As my husband and I talked after the service, we were amazed how the associate pastor had shared the news. He asked for prayer, especially for his family. He was honest and upfront about the situation. But he had hope. Not false hope, but genuine hope that comes from knowing Christ. He said, “Even in the worse case scenario, I still win. I still go home to be with Jesus.”

On Easter Sunday, we visited this church again. They had a small drama, where kids (teenagers) were asking this same pastor tough questions about faith and science. One of the kids mentioned that Easter probably wasn’t the best time to question faith. But this associate pastor lovingly said, that questions are good. They are ok, and you should feel free to ask them at any time. Then he used his heart and brain to argue his case for Christ. And he even brought his stage 4 cancer into the debate. And my heart hurt to know that diagnosis, even as it soared. Because I heard it again- all for Jesus.

Given some of the worst news ever, he still pointed to God’s trustworthiness and goodness. I loved that he was addressing the hard questions to teenagers. I loved that he was in front of everyone giving God glory in the midst of something so personal, painful, sad…

But he wasn’t any of those things. Instead he was secure in his knowledge that Jesus has already won. And he was using his testimony to glorify God.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
~Revelation 12:11

Grandma Mabel
Grandma Mabel

I’m not belittling the pain that anyone has ever faced. I know how awful cancer in the family can be. Trust me, I know. This story is not about pretending like everything is okay, when it most clearly is not. This story is about trusting God in all circumstances. And I don’t know this man, but I am sure he has had plenty of emotions to contend with. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer we went through the gauntlet of anger, fear, sadness, brief periods of hope, crushing moments of heartbreak….

But her last words, always give me hope: “Beautiful, beautiful…”

Hope is a beautiful thing.**

Lord, thank you for the testimonies of others that draw us nearer to you. Thank you that you are so holy, that you can use even the worst circumstances for good. Thank you that wherever we are and whatever is happening in our lives, there is always hope because of what your son did on the cross. Thank you that the tomb was empty, and that we now have hope in Christ. Lord, please increase our hope. Please help us to tell our own testimonies when needed. May we glorify You. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Other problems I would like to have: too much cheesecake in the house, too many coffee shops in town, and a roll of toilet paper that never ran out. (I suppose that last one is not really a problem at all… but as long as I am dreaming.)

**But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. ~Hebrews 3:6