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Realizing that Our Kids Can Become More Important to Us than God

Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:12

So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress…Nevertheless, they did not heed the voice of their father… 1 Samuel 2:23-5


Eli was a priest. How in the world did the sons of a priest become corrupt and unrighteous? It was their dad’s fault. When it came to raising his kids, Eli had areas of emotional immaturity.  Emotional immaturity and a weak will kept Eil from applying his knowledge of God’s ways to his parenting style. In verse 27, God speaks to Eli through a prophet and later through a young boy named Samuel (1 Sam 3:13). Both tell him the harsh reality about the way he raised his sons and the forthcoming consequences to his lineage.

For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

Eli preferred his children more than he revered God. How would this have looked? It may have meant that when his sons were mischievous boys, he did not discipline them. He let them get away with more than he should have. Maybe he catered to their whines and false apologies and never helped them see the sin in their hearts through gentle and honest conversation. As a priest, he did not teach them to honor the systems of offerings and sacrifice and he greedily took the best of what the people brought for their offerings. The fact that he preferred his children more than God was idolatry.  At the stage where we meet Eli, he was a priest who did not revere God enough, did not revere the system of repentance that God set up, hadn’t acknowledged his own issues, and was confronted with the scandal of his sons.  Propitiation of their sinful behavior was available through the Hebrew practice of blood sacrifice, which foreshadowed Jesus’ bodily sacrifice, but the sons scoffed at offerings and sacrifices.  Now grown men, they were promiscuous and defiant adults. When Eli tried to reason with them, it was too late. He missed the opportunity to guide and train them during their formative years.

Eli and Samuel.  And he said 'It is the Lord:

Now Eli wasn’t a total screw up. Despite being faced with his fatherly failures, God allowed him to mentor the young Samuel, who was called from an early age to be a prophet. Eli affirmed Samuel as he learned to hear and obey God even when the boy was tasked with telling Eli his forthcoming demise. Because of Samuel’s success story, Eli became one of the most important prophets in Jewish history. He was a man who eventually recognized his issues, addressed them and became a different man. This was the man that Samuel was trained by.

When we are confronted with our issues we must remind ourselves that we have the opportunity to change. We must be quick to close the door to self-condemnation and guilt. When we humbly acknowledge areas of immaturity, God steps in and begins the unseen and somewhat mysterious process of changing our hearts and minds.  

The truth is that we are fallible adults who still need guidance and help. We are not all bad and we are not all good. Better than those two subjective measuring sticks is this truth: we are treasured! In Christ, we are forgiven! We are desired by a perfect God! Worth cannot be based on how well we do, but on the fact that our very existence is significant. The Old Testament did not offer the option for redemption, but the New Testament does through the blood sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. This redemption is so amazing, that today’s parents who may have been “Eli’s” at one time and whose adult children are now prodigals, whose hearts and minds are far from God’s best, enjoy the possibility of these adult children can be wooed by the Spirit of God. The course of a lineage can be altered by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. 

I believe in a Creator who imagined each of us out of the goodness of his nature.  We have to keep our eyes on the process of change, not the goal. God is in charge of the finish line; we just need to yield to the journey.

…being confident of this very thing, He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ  Philippians 1:6


Weeding the Soul

May Guest Blog on Crossreads.com

My backyard provides God such a wonderful backdrop for my education. Gardening teaches me that many of nature’s processes mirror our struggles. Take weeds for instance. What a wonderful metaphor for life’s yucky stuff that embeds in our souls when we are not paying attention.

I hate weeding. Our backyard contains mulch beds for my herbs, lilies, azaleas, chrysanthemums and an array of other perennials. Not only is weeding physically tiring—hours of squats, tugging and pulling, but it’s also messy. The weed in this picture didn’t images (6)look like a weed at first glance. I figured that it was grass that had grown from the clippings that sprayed the mulch beds. So for a few weeks, I ignored the spot.

It grew.

images (7)No big deal. Yes, the grass was growing in my mulch bed, but grass killer would take care of it when I got around to it. How many times do we assume that a behavior or a habit isn’t a big deal? Or we know it could develop into a problem, but there is no urgency in our minds. We’ll get around to it before it gets too bad.

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Life’s a Breeze…or Is It A Gust of Wind?

Repost from Jan 24, 2017

My last post was June of last year. Seven months ago. I feel like I’ve been to the moon and back.

You ever felt like you were caught up in a Kitchen Aid mixer set to medium high? Once turned off, life is a new mix. Am I truly back to blogging? I’m not sure, honestly. Blogging, editing, marketing take up a lot of time and head space that I find that I need to devote to my six children, ages 25, 22, 20, 17, 7 and 5.

What will 2017 be like for you? I don’t think you have any idea.

Thanksgiving 2016

Can you guess how long it took all of us to get outside and how many shots my best friend had to take to get this one? My daughter Maria (fourth from left) announced after an Thanksgiving early dinner that we had a 20 minute window before the sun was in the wrong place. “Be outside in 15 minutes and look nice!” was her commandment. For outdoor photographers, it’s all about the lighting, I suppose.

You see that tall guy on the end? He’s our basketball player. Douglas is 6’6″. In fact, that’s one exciting reason why I haven’t blogged in over six months. He has an opportunity to be recruited to play in college. Basketball season is now year round for me and involves a lot of driving. We enrolled him in The Regents School of Charlottesville, where he had played basketball the previous season as a home schooled student. I began driving him down to “The Dell” at the University of Virginia to work out with Coach Geoff Reed, a former private school coach and other potential high school recruits. I packed up the two youngest boys and drove Douglas up to Pennsylvania to attend a HoopGroup Academic Elite Camp. It was an introduction to the new world of elite basketball.

Not only am I a chauffeur, but I’m now a videographer and video editor for basketball games! Check out this highlight film that I made of his December 2016 games. 😊

I never wonder if the time, money and sacrifice is worth helping someone pursue their dreams. As African-American poet Langston Hughes said, dreams are a “blue cloud cloth” that one must keep from the “too rough fingers of the world”. Do you have a kid with talent and the drive and desire to develop it? Help them. Do you have your own dreams on the shelf. Take them down. Sure, like me, you may have to put them back on the shelf sometimes, but if you live your life in the wind and trust that God has your best interests in his mind, then He’ll blow them off that shelf when it’s time.

I still home school my youngest boys and wow, do they have energy! For those of you raising kids under ten. Yeah, I know. It’s real. It’s realllllly tiring. It’s mental. It’s emotional. Some nights you sleep well; some you don’t. I’m feelin’ you.

But I’m not trading my days with those boys for anything else right now.

By the way, here’s a shout out to all of you young people learning about “adulting”, which is the choice phrase of my young millennials. I have a draft of a post called “What Is Adulthood?” Maybe I’ll get around to editing it, but I will say that watching the adult lives of my oldest three children is an education for me. When am I needed? When am I crowding their space? (#2 and #3 live with us right now) Should I share with them some suggestions without being asked? As a parent, am I still meeting their love language?

I’m grateful that my three oldest are still around so much. My oldest daughter, Christina, lives thirty minutes  away but spends many weekends here at home. God has given me spontaneous conversations with them that have shown me the the treasure-laden depths of their souls and the amazing dreams they dream. What can I do? Be their #1 cheerleader…well my husband and I share the #1 spot, Lol.

One last word before I begin my day as a home educator. Doug and I have been married for twenty-six years. We’ve had our highs and lows. My advice for all of you who are married and raising kids is: Be transparent. Be emotionally honest about your triumphs and your failures. Extend mercy and grace to your spouse, because one day you may need it yourself. Be an active listener. Take time to hang out and DON’T talk about the kids! Demand nothing and pray about everything.

Try to hold your future plans or agenda loosely. Life has so many shifts. If you grip too hard, you may fall when they fall through. That’s how I live my life these days cause’ I really don’t know where life’s wind is blowing me. It’s certainly not a breeze. But it’s a blessing.

Matthew 7:24-26  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

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