The Valley Christian

Are you a valley Christian or a mountain Christian? Is God only God when it’s all good? That’s too bad; you’ll never know the fullness of God.

Psalm 23:4-5 says: “v4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. v5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

I do believe that some of us spend more time in the valley than others because our ‘free will’ is conditioning us to continue to fail rather than learn and get the victory. God wants us to learn from our valley experiences. God does not hate us, He wants us to be victorious…but we keep getting in our own way and blame Him for our own rebellion.

“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts.” Isaiah 65:2

The mountain Christian definitely believes in God only when life is going their way, which isn’t very often. Sin has a way of sitting us down a spell. The mountain Christian HATES God in the valley; they truly think that being a Christian gives them a pass. The truth is Christians are tested more after salvation than before. Is that from God? Maybe. Remember, God EITHER causes or allows bad things to happen for His Glory, not ours. He gives us every minute of every day to repent and come back to Him, but most won’t. Being so high-minded is going to get ya a nose bleed, not victory.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

God goes before us, He is there waiting for us, He will protect us.

 “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut 31:8

The valley isn’t so bad, it’s where God is. Trust God to bring you out of the valley, His promises are sure. Pray for His guidance, not your own.

“v22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. v23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 30

As I wrap up this 30 Days of Parenting Prayer, I am inundated with so many emotions…most of which I brought up during these 30 days. If there is one thing that I can’t say enough [well, maybe two] is that we are parents to our kids forever. They were our children since the beginning of time [Jeremiah 1:5] and will be even into Eternity. The second is that prayer should be the FIRST thing we do, not as a last ditch effort to save the day.

Being a parent is has been the one thing that people take for granted as if it’s a right rather than the privilege that it is. I am PRIVILEGED to be their mother, whether they give a darn or not. It is I that has to answer to God for being their mother, it is I that will ultimately bear the day when I have to answer to God for my parenting.

We take advantage of the system by allowing our own dreams supersede those of our kids; once we do that, we fail. When you hear “You’re pregnant!”, your private, comfortable life is over and a new life is about to embark. We are but vessels, not God.

Secular/worldly feminism has no room in motherhood, but a God-intended feminist does. It’s true: there is such a thing as a God-intended Feminist. She was profiled in the Bible, Proverbs 31. She wasn’t perfect, in fact Bathsheba FAILED…but she was used mightily by God and was blessed to be the intended mother to Solomon.

Bad women do not have to be bad mothers. In other words, I have failed, you have failed…but through the Grace of God we are given chance after chance after chance to do it right. God knows our kids depend on us so He is quite willing to help us to be better. And, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE A BETTER PARENT.

v17 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; v18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 1Peter 3:17-18

Pray for BALANCE. It’s been a great 30 days of reflection but I certainly see how I can do better, even after all these years. God Bless you all.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 29

With our adult kids also comes their significant other, and there are times we know that we know that we KNOW something is not quite right. And just because we think we raised our kids right doesn’t mean the significant other’s parents stepped up to the plate. In this instance, they didn’t bother showing up to the game.

Nothing angers me more than a person who pretends to be a Christian to the point of being quite the actress at it. I will never understand how anyone can deal with the bondage of being so deceitful. It’s quite the heavy bag to carry. I am so glad God gave me the gift of discernment. I saw right through her at the onset but hoped for the best that maybe I was wrong…this is one such time I wished I was.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

So much happened that I will not go into, but suffice it to say that it was TWICE I let my guard down to be burned again. When someone hurts one of our kids, his or mine, I nearly come unglued…momma grizzly here. I will never understand how people can be so evil to each other, especially other Christians. It makes me question their salvation, although I cannot judge it, that is for God to do.

So then I pray. And pray. AND PRAY that God will convict her for how she is trying to destroy our son. He’s got this, He is in control. God wants our son to be victorious and He will get His Glory. So for all her effort to hurt our son, God will gather his sheep, especially the ‘one’. She has no idea that God is working extra hard to help him, not her:

“v12 If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? v13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. v14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 8:12-14

Pray today that the one will come back to the fold and be victorious. Be a parent, not a friend…I assure you, they want their moms and dads when all seems so hopeless.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 28

Divorce is an awful thing. I can’t see how divorce really solves anything except put everyone involved into a tailspin. The events that come from divorce aren’t good, usually bad, and sometimes detrimental. A divorce can change the lives of our children forever. I am one such offender.

Children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves; it is one of those generational sins that get passed down to the next generation. And I believe that children of divorce lost respect and confidence in their parents which puts them in the firing line of divorce one day. We can’t be so selfish to believe divorce only affects the divorced.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

Divorce is creating a subculture of people, adult kids, that has no respect for anyone much less their parents or a spouse. They’ve been let down, their home divided and subdivided, and are placed with a parent that now has a myriad of brand new problems. They are now programmed to believe that relationships end rather than creating long lasting marriages and relationships with the children they will have one day.

Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.” 1Corinthians 7:10

Remember, I am one such offender. But you can heal from divorce. I am one such person who healed because I realized that because of sin I was doomed to fail without God….and I was without God. And one day a man who was chosen by God for me finally found ME.

Then, the answer is to wait for your God chosen mate rather than usurping God’s authority to be God. I cannot say that often enough or loud enough for our kids. Life is hard enough…but having your God chosen mate makes it so much better.

v4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. v5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:4-5

Pray that adult kids learn from our stupid mistakes rather than emulate them. Our mistakes creates their ‘out’ to sin.

 

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 27

Is life really that hard or are these adult kids just not getting their way? Has society really slipped so far that they are quite comfortable that everyone sees their pajamas at the mall? Do they hate society so much that they won’t [not can’t] shower and wash their hair once in a while? How has life and parents become so inconsequential until they need something from us? Isn’t it always everyone else’s fault?

It should be apparent that I’m picking on ALL adult kids, not just ours. When I was in secular work, I processed credit applications for vehicle loans. It is shocking how much bad credit these adult kids have, tens of thousands in arrears. Most of them do not pay their cellular phone bills much less other incurred debt. They looked at us in amazement that they could not be approved for a 30K automobile loan. To be fair, I do understand that life can happen and mess up a credit score, but that is not as likely as it should have been. Instead we have heard them say that since they were fired they didn’t have to pay the debt they owed.

We are in the land of ENTITLEMENT. And like it or not, a lot of it started in their own childhood, my kids included. Having never been entitled to anything as a kid or teenager, I thought I was doing a great thing by doing more for my kids. You see, my dad thought that if I wasn’t cleaning the house somewhere all the time that I was being lazy; ‘outside’ was a luxury. So, by doing more for my kids, I mean being a stay-at-home-mom, cleaned after them, cooked and baked all the time so that their time would be free to have friends and participate in sports or activities…all the the things I couldn’t do as a kid.

Balance. While I thought I was more balanced, I was really enabling them to have more free time to do bad things rather than being engaged with school and it’s activities to keep their free time not so free. I sure wish I knew where the ‘middle’ was then. I see now that not being a Christian when my kids were little set them up to be ‘free thinkers’ who depends on everyone else rather than themselves. The economy of God tells us so much, mostly from the book of Proverbs, of how to live, not be in debt, to be better wives/husbands, live within the community, to be a hard worker, and to love God.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

v2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
v3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
v4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
v5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
v6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
v7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:1-7

Pray for this generation, all of these adult kids need our constant prayer and love. They need to learn how to be adults rather than grown up kids. I pray so much for them to come to Jesus…we are nothing without Him!

 

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 26

Many years ago I was forced to leave the area in which I was born to begin a new life. I had to leave my family because of my now ex-husband to do it. My ex, who was raised by hard working never-in-debt church-going family-oriented people, was an adult kid that had a drug, alcohol and gambling problem [that led to domestic violence] which eventually became my problem. I remember so vividly my EX-mother-in-law saying, “You knew him when you married him“. NOT true, I did not know these things…but that really isn’t the point. The point is that SHE knew he had addictions and did not warn me; it was as if she was passing him off to me so she didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

Some of us, who never exhibited addiction, have children who may eventually have an addiction. But should a parent just pass them off? When did they stop being a parent? I have a myriad of cousins that are grandparents already, and they are still battling alcohol, meth, crack, etc. At least half of them are still living with their parents. I know their mothers, not one of them is an addict of any kind.

Dear Mom & Dad: Your children’s poor choices are not your fault. But enabling them to continue their ‘choices’, is. Don’t clean up their messes, pray over them – they need restoration.

There are some parents that have children and practically gift them the generational sin they have. How often have we seen a generational problem with alcohol and claim it’s in the DNA to justify it? Generational sin is passed on through mimicking what we see while we grow up. God has never created one single person that is an alcoholic or addict BUT they are born into sin with the propensity to sin [the sin nature] BECAUSE of the Fall of Adam:

“v1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. v2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

And then:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

The answer is that we NEVER stop being a parent. EVER. Ignoring or passing off a problem and acting unaware is just plain evil. However, I do realize we can’t make these kids do anything. But one thing we can do is PRAY and NEVER FLINCH.

Pray to be an open book to your children, not an open checkbook. They need to hear about Jesus incessantly, they are our ministry!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 25

We live in a fast food drive-by world. If you blink you missed it. As I mentioned in a previous post, we also have adult kid in-laws and step adult kids. Like tons of families, we are a blended family. And it can become a tangled web, for sure. But never at any time did we dare to replace the other parent or grandparent. We are who we are, we are who we identify with, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold“, [Prov 22:1]

Society has changed so drastically and with it the family dynamic….or rather, a cluster of people that have set aside the true gift of family for me me ME.

God is not pleased. He put us together for reasons only He can provide, but a plan He has! He has knit us together for a purpose.

I know my family is a mess but I can’t imagine changing the lineup would have had a better result:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Pray that these kids not lament where they came from. God knows where they ARE and will BE. He is in control!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 24

When dealing with our adult kids, we also deal with their adult spouses….or ex-spouses. Everyone takes a corner in the ring, waits for the bell and it’s been 12 rounds ever since….with every one of them. I lamented in an earlier Prayer Challenge that our grandkids hardly ever see us…but how can they when everyone wants to go to court, sue, take custody, get money, etc. ALL THE TIME. These so-called adult kids are teaching our grandkids how to work the court system rather than play sports or go to camp.

Then, rather than just being a kid, they are taught hate and how to lie. They hear one side bad mouth the other side…on both sides. No child should have to know such information about their parents and family. I distinctly remember my grandmother saying bad things about my dad and I told him what she said. He flipped out, and rightly so. Now, let me explain one thing: She may have been right. But it was not her place to talk over me, at nine years old, to other adults about my ‘lousy’ dad.

We put way too much on our kids when we speak of things that have nothing to do with them. We put the responsibility of knowing such things on tiny shoulders that grow up too fast. They try to understand, they ask questions, and before you know it they are acting out. They consider themselves adults rather than kids.

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

Even in Christian households we are training up our kids to be lousy adults by keeping them in the loop about things that are none of their business. Christians expect Sunday School to teach their kids about God rather than themselves. Christians aren’t teaching how to be Godly but how to circumvent the system God created.

We have to be the stewards that God made us so that the next generation will have a better chance at making better choices at life.

Pray for the children and their parents; the anger is so great that they don’t see who is in the line of fire. Pray for God’s guidance rather than hoping for the best.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 23

Has the earth somehow flipped on its axis? Society has turned a 180 with the way we deal with our family. My husband and I were talking about our grandmothers and how we revered them…respected them because we should. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Isn’t that NORMAL? I certainly thought so. Our adult kids believed their grandmas walked on water! But here we are, our adult kids think we are of no real use and don’t bother teaching their children to respect their grandparents: US.

These kids make us feel like we have to do some real recon to see our grandkids or at least see a photo now and then. And since the advent of social media and smart phones, this should NOT be a problem or an inconvenience….but it is.

This ain’t rocket science, this is minute-to-minute real life that we are missing out on because some of our adult kids think their kids don’t need us. We know what the problem is, and what the one common denominator is: GOD.

THIS is what, or really WHO, offends some of our kids…GOD. I can’t emphasize enough how much Jesus has brought us through EVERYTHING! We give him Glory and Honor and Praise no matter what. This is the same God that gave them life and breath, the same God that loves them beyond measure, THE VERY SAME GOD that saved my life…and God is the problem? How can anyone reconcile that God is the problem when it is God that SAVES and HEALS?

v6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
v
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
v8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
v
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
v
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. [Colossians 2:6-10]

Being a Child of God in the world today is tough enough but when our own families and kids come against us, it’s HARD. But we cannot give up the Faith or we have NOTHING. What our kids don’t understand yet is that WITH God we are better parents and grandparents.

Pray that God will send a mentor, a spiritual ‘speedbump’ to our adult kids. Through prayer and fasting we can combat this and be better Christians for it. Remember, this is a TEST. And with every test comes a testimony.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 21

I have a friend that has absolutely NO idea where her adult son is. Because she is a Christian, he walked out on their mother/son relationship both figuratively and literally. I understand where she’s at, mine have done the same. They say it’s because they don’t believe in Jesus but the truth is that they are convicted deep in their spirit for what they do and consequently blame us for being ‘holy rollers’ that pushed them out. That’s a real nice explanation, too bad it’s an outright lie. If ANYONE is a Christ follower, they purport the love of Christ, not shake their fist in His name.

Whether or not that actually happens is not the point; I know that is not the case here. When I came to the Lord, I wished EVERYONE Jesus! I STILL grieve thinking of the souls, especially my children, that may not make it because they live for the world. My heart and soul is sick, however my faith is unwavering.

As parents and Christians, we need to remember that the enemy places our own children against us and Jesus so that we would be forced to make a decision: Jesus or them. Just keep in mind that your children cannot get you into Heaven.

The prodigal son? That parable should have been called the prodigal father…but in my case, the prodigal mother. While the adult child goes and lives like he wants despite how he was raised with his fist raised to God, we wait. And sometimes a VERY LONG TIME.

v11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. v12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. v13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:11-13

So many young adults run the system thinking they have everything in control. The truth is that the system has them; they spend what they don’t have in hopes to have it one day. And a lot of times they use their parent’s money to float their disobedience. As a parent with a bank account, I had to finally say no. I cannot fund a rotten lifestyle that does not glorify God.

v17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! v18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you’.” Luke 15:17-18

I don’t know that I need an apology, what I need is to forgive and look forward rather than looking at a past that we cannot change. All that I do ask is they be obedient to God and do what He says. I cannot imagine how they would react when they understand the economy of God and that He loves them. Sometimes provision comes in obedience.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

I think we forget to have compassion for our adult kids rather than staying mad at a situation we couldn’t change. Short of duct tape and zip ties, I cannot force our adult kids to do anything. When they are on ‘self destruct’ all we can do is show our compassion and love.

v23And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; v24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:23-24

And it should be a celebration! Standing in the doorway looking like judge and jury is not the love of God. Don’t get me wrong – I am human – but as I get older I see how short time really is. Life is happening right now and death will eventually come. I just want them prepared to leave this earth and go to a place prepared for us, “v2 I go to prepare a place for you. v3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”, [John 14:2-3].

My prayer today is all adult children understand that being parents did not end when they left. Nothing can shake the love of a parent or the love of God. Our children are always ours, and we are His.

I don’t know about you but I’m still waiting…and it’s okay. I do what Christ would do: Wait with a loving and forgiving heart.