5 Questions For When You Need A Parenting Heart Check

I could feel the frustration and exasperation welling up inside of me. My hands clenched tight and my jaw set firm. This was a recurring problem and, frankly, this morning I did. not. have. time. for. it.

My frustration boiled over and spilled out in the form of angry words spoken in haste.

What are you doing?! Nothing. You are doing nothing. Why can’t you listen? Are you even paying attention!? We need to leave NOW. 

No. Don’t talk to me. Do what you are supposed to be doing. You are going to make us all late. Let’s go! 

The anger that quickly overtook faded just as fast and all I was left with was a blindsided little boy. I managed an apology and helped him finish his task and we went on with our day.

In a way I was right, this is a recurring problem. However, in this instance I didn’t need a page from a parenting manual or 3 quick tips to get my kid to listen to me.

I needed a heart check.

Oftentimes when it comes to parenting through difficult situations we find ourselves overly focused on what we can do to change our child. To help them become more helpful, patience, obedient, or mature. However, I have found that during these times, what I usually need to do is direct my attention back onto myself. As the parent (and the supposedly more mature one), what I am doing to make sure my heart is in the right place?

If you ever found yourself in a similar situation, here are five soul searching questions I’ve found that work wonders in shifting the focus to where it truly needs to be:

#1 Am I having a positive attitude?

When confronted with a particular parenting situation, what kind of attitude am I displaying? Am I being patient? Am I being creative? Or am I throwing as big of a tantrum as the toddler (even if I’m not the one thrashing around on the floor)?

It’s crazy how easy it is to let your emotions take over and dictate how you handle a situation. In these moments, it’s important to remember to take a step back, breathe deep, and restart.

In addition, it is easy to think that our attitudes only get the best of us in these “heat of the moment” type situations. However, I’ve found that these types of situations aren’t when we are the most in danger of having a bad attitude.

You see, when our negative emotions come flooding through the front door, we usually recognize it and eventually shut it down. But when they come sneaking in through the back, they can often go unnoticed for much longer.

Take, for example, my toddler. One and a half, full of life, and slightly crazy. He is abundantly curious, afraid of nothing, and stubborn as a bull.

He is goofy and adorable and I love this kid with all my heart. However, a few months ago I realized something was happening. Slowly our thoughts and language started to reflect something that wasn’t pretty. J was frequently called the “troublemaker”, the “difficult one”, and the like.

It was usually said with no ill-intent, but what you say becomes what you think and I realized I was constantly thinking of my sweet boy in a negative light. He was the “hard” kid, the one who took all my energy, the one who left me frustrated. I was giving him a negative label that he was going to wear for the rest of his life if I didn’t change something.

It took a major attitude shift and a lot of prayer, but now my attitude towards him couldn’t be more positive.

#2 Am I treating my child like I would want to be treated?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
-Matthew 7:12

Ah, the classic Golden Rule. This is a big one in our house and I am often breaking up multiple fights a day asking children if they are treating the other as they would like to be treated.

However, it is easy to forget that the golden rule applies to me too.

Would I want to be treated the way I am treating my child? Would I want my husband or boss to treat me in this way? If I was being treated like this, how would it make me feel? Am I treating my child with respect as a person and image bearer, or are our interactions marked by exasperation and frustration on my part?

As a parent, you can still hold firm boundaries while also treating your child with respect, kindness, and empathy.

#3 Am I connecting with my child throughout the day?

Have you noticed that in your marriage when you aren’t spending a lot of time connecting with your spouse, it is way easier to have arguments and get irritated with each other? It took me a while to connect the way this works to my parenting.

It’s easy to get through the day and look back and wonder if we actually took any time to just be with our kids. We make their meals, help them with their chores, shuffle them back and forth to activities, and tuck them in bed, but how much did we connect?

When behavior problems come up with my son, they can oftentimes be solved just by spending some quality time together, giving him my undivided attention. When we are regularly feeling connected and positive with each other, it also makes those bumpy times a little easier to navigate.

#4 Am I having age-appropriate expectations?

It is so easy to get frustrated with your kids for being kids. We can forget that while we may have decades of life experience, they’ve only got a couple years of practice under their belts. So, when I hit a parenting road block, I often ask myself, “Is this a reasonable expectation?”

A four year old might not have the patience or skill set to clean his room on his own, a three year old can’t be expected to perfectly explain that their hunger is making them crabby, and it’s not unexpected for a 1 1/2 year old to dump half a box of baking soda in the bowl of biscuits you are making together (not that I’m speaking from experience here or anything!).

When we recognize these misplaced expectations, we can usually find alternate ways to solve the problem that work for both parent and child.

We can choose to meet our children at their level.

When giving directions, use touch, kneel down and make eye contact. Remove distractions for the easily distracted. Make a safe area for the baby and toddler to play and explore without hearing “no, don’t touch” 50 times a day.

A great way to manage these expectations is to look at the situation from the perspective of your child. Many things that seem simple and easy to an adult are a big deal for a child. Build a strong connection with your child through the use of empathy and understanding as you help them learn and grow.

#5 Am I being proactive in my parenting or merely reactive?

I think this is one of the biggest questions we can ask ourselves as parents. Are we merely putting out the fires as they pop up? Or are we being intentional in our parenting goals?

Are we making and following a plan for teaching our children character and life skills? I’m not saying you have to have a perfect plan or have a strategy for every moment, but if we aim for nothing we miss every time.

Here are a few ideas for being proactive in your parenting strategy:

  • Pray for your children and your ability to parent wisely.
  • Regularly discuss your family values in a positive way.
  • Intentionally train your children in character (try my Hero Training series!).
  • Find ways to connect with and encourage your children on a regular basis.
  • Role play difficult situations with your kids.
  • Invite your children to problem solve with you when difficulties arise.
  • Teach your children God’s Word and pray together.

Keep Asking The Hard Questions

Every day seems to provide abundant opportunities to ask myself these hard questions. Although I wish I would remember these questions before the frustration overflows, it is never too late to get to the heart of my parenting struggles.

Do you want to join me in asking these heart questions?

Enter your e-mail below and I’ll send you my free Heart Questions for Parents printable. Hang it on your mirror, fridge, or (if you’re like me) some days on your forehead. Every time you see it you will help yourself remember these important questions when faced with difficult parenting moments.

Ready to hang up your printable? Enter your e-mail below!

Want more information? You can read more about subscribing to the Family Minute Newsletter here.
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A Heart for Service Begins in the Home: 3 Areas of Service I Want to Instill in My Children

heart for serving 1

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. -Philippians 2:5-7

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul describes Christ as taking the very nature of a servant.

The King and Creator of the entire universe came to us as a lowly, humble servant.

Repeatedly through the Bible we are called to think of others before ourselves and to act in service to one another.

It can be tempting (at least for me) to think of serving as being these big, grand acts, like being a missionary overseas, pastoring a church, feeding the homeless, making BIG sacrifices to serve in BIG ways.

While these are most definitely amazing things, the small, daily acts of service mean just as much – routinely putting others before yourself, the ability to find joy in bringing another joy, being humble and lifting others up.

Although there are many ways to serve, there are three main areas of service I want to instill in my children as they grow up in our family.

Continue reading my contributor post over at Intentional By Grace

A Heart For Serving Begins in the Home

 

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

Memorizing Scripture is a common Bible activity for children. Whether it’s through programs like Awana, by using Bible verses set to music, or even one of the lesson plans here on Steadfast Family – there are lots of recommendations and resources for Scripture memorization.

Once you’re a grown up, however, you don’t hear it talked about quite as much.

So, today I want to share four reasons I think we should jump in there and memorize right along with our kiddos!

1. To Be a Good Example

Kids are natural imitators. Monkey see, monkey do. Unfortunately you often realize this after they’ve imitated something you’d really rather them not. AmIright?  🙂

What better way to harness that imitator nature than by leading them to the power of God’s Word? 

I hope my boys have strong memories of their mama saying, singing, chanting, shouting, and whispering their memory verses right alongside them. And not only that, but also being able to recall scripture during the moments we need it. Which brings me to my next point…

2. To Be Able to Recall During Daily Moments

One of my favorite benefits of knowing and memorizing Scripture is the way the Holy Spirit will bring to mind these verses that you have hidden in your heart.

This is not only helpful when fielding spiritual questions from my very inquisitive four year old, but is a constant source of encouragement for me personally as well.

Just today I was pondering how badly I need more contentment in my life and I was thinking to myself “I sure do wish I could ask Paul how in the world he found contentment when he was stuck in prison!” Immediately the answer popped into my head:

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

3. To Exercise Our Brains

I’m not gonna lie, more days than not you will find me in the fog known as “mom brain.” With everything I have to do and keep track of, plus the constant demands of caring for small children by the end of the day my brain is mush.

Doing brain work such as memorization is like exercise for the brain. It keeps things sharp and working smoothly. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely benefit from my brain being in tip top shape.

Want to read more about the brain benefits of memorization? Check out this article on Ten Proven Brain Benefits.

4. To Meditate on God’s Word

I love studying the Bible. I love learning about historical context, original languages, and the layers of meaning. I enjoy taking notes, reading commentaries, and listening to teaching.

However, I’m also learning that sometimes I need to put away the study Bible, and just meditate on God’s Word.

Read it just to know it. Just to let the truth sink in. To get lost in the wonder and grace of it all.

Memorizing scripture provides plenty of opportunity for just that.

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids-2

These are just a few reasons why memorizing scripture alongside your children is a beneficial practice. I’m sure there are many more!

What benefits can you add to this list?

 

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Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids Even When Life Gets Busy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

Life has been crazy busy for our family lately. Some of the commitments are choices we’ve made and some are out of our control – but one thing is for sure, the days are short and the to-do lists are long!

A while back I noticed that I was slipping in my intentionality when it came to discipling my son. We used to have plenty of time for fun Bible and character building crafts and activities (like Play Through The Bible and Hero Training), but lately I had been rushing through the day without giving much thought to activities like these.

I knew that this needed to change, but I also knew that life wasn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. I needed to find simple ways to be intentional about discipling my son that would fit into our current lifestyle.

I did some brainstorming, tweaked a few things, and I’m pretty happy with how things have been going lately. We haven’t been perfect, and I look forward to when life slows down a bit so we can do even more, but it has been working well.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

1. Discipling In Moments of Discipline

Moments of discipline are some of the best times for pointing your child to the gospel. Little hearts are often tender and in tune with their own shortcomings and need for a Savior.

I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus.

2. Simplifying Bible Study Time

It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that kid’s Bible time must always be fun, exciting, and special. Now, believe me, I have no problem with it being those things. In fact, I love making learning about God’s Word a fun and meaningful time for my son. However, it is okay to just keep it simple too.

Here are some ways we’ve done this:

  • Read straight from the Word – taking just a verse or two and reading it at breakfast, talking about it for a moment.
  • Use a simple devotional – I got my son this book for Easter and we have really been enjoying reading a page or two at a time.
  • Read through a children’s Bible – snuggle up on the couch and read a story or two. This is our favorite kid’s Bible

3. Listening to Christ-Centered Music

We love listening to music around here and we tend to listen to all different kinds. However, I do try to listen to Christian music often because of how my son picks up on the message. We will be listening and he will say “they are talking about Jesus!” or “that said the cross!” and he always gets so excited when he hears these familiar concepts.

The great thing too is that Christian music has come a long way since when I was a kid. There are a lot of quality options in different styles and genres. We enjoy listening to a “Toby Mac” station on Pandora that often plays Lecrae, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Capital Kings, and of course Toby Mac.

We actually don’t listen to a ton of kid specific music, but some of our favorites that we do listen to are Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship.

Another awesome way to listen to music that I am discovering is through your Amazon Prime account. Did you know that you can stream tons of music through Prime Music? I had no idea until recently! A lot of the above listed artists can be streamed through Prime Music for free!

Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial

4. “On The Go” Chats

My son and I talk about pretty much everything. Even when he was a baby and toddler I would talk with him about things that were probably above his comprehension. I figured that when he was able to understand he would, so we might as well start now.

Now, as a very inquisitive four year old, the conversations continue. Because we started early making talking about God a normal part of life, I am constantly fielding questions like:

“Is God really everywhere?”

“How come I can’t see God?”

“Is Jesus going to die on the cross again?”

“Can God hear me?”

These conversations are usually short and sweet, but I love that his wheels are always turning and he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and questions. I think these conversations are a great example of my favorite Biblical parenting advice:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

It is my goal for the Word of God to be so on my heart that we can’t help but talk about it as we go through daily life.

5. Simplify Life

I’m preaching to myself here.

Like I said, life is busy for us right now. And while some of that is just a season, I do know I need to keep looking for ways to simplify life. I don’t want to be rushing through my days, to-do list in hand, not having enough time to be intentional with the things that are priorities to our family.

If you are looking for a resource to help you live your life more intentionally, I highly recommend the eCourse IntentionalByGrace Unplugged: 10 days to live more intentionally from my friend Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace.

IBG Unplugged

How do you find simple ways to intentionally disciple your children? I’d love to get some more ideas!

 

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Why I’m a “Lazy” Parent

Why I'm a %22Lazy%22 Parent

I am a lazy parent.

There, I said it. It’s out in the open. I’ve confessed.

Now, when I say lazy I don’t mean…

Lazy in teaching my children God’s truth.

Lazy in building my children’s character.

Lazy in spending quality time together.

And definitely not lazy in leading them to the gospel.

Okay, okay, you got me – when I said I was lazy, it was a bit tongue in cheek. So, what do I mean?

I am way too “lazy” to do things for my kids that they are capable of doing for themselves.

I recently read this great article from Kristen of We Are THAT Family titled, “Maybe We Should Stop Coddling Our Kids So Much” and I completely agree. In our house the mantra is, “we are all part of the family, so we all help out.” I’m not going to run around doing every bit of the work when there are more than capable little helpers at my side!

Note: does this mean I never do something nice, like get my son a glass of water, even when he can do it himself? No! Of course not. Part of being a family means doing nice things for each other too!

So, today I want to share with you four things that my four year old regularly takes care of on his own (or with minimal help). Especially recently I have noticed that what used to be the “help” of a toddler has started to transform into genuine help from my little man.

The purpose of this list isn’t to say that your four year old should be doing the exact same things. Instead, it is to encourage you to take stock of your own situation and see where you might need to be a little “lazy.”

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Learning to make grilled cheese

#1 Getting ready for day and ready for bed

Every morning, sometimes before he even comes downstairs for breakfast, K takes off his pajamas, puts his pull-up in his trash can, and gets dressed for the day. Sometimes the outfits are a little wonky and he might be wearing two pairs of socks, but it works for me!

Recently, it occurred to me that there was no reason he couldn’t do this same routine in reverse for bed time. Hooray! Half of the dreaded bed time routine outsourced to the one going to bed! So, every night he knows he needs to do three things: go to the bathroom, put on a pull-up, and get his pajamas on. All that leaves for me is to brush teeth and tuck him in bed.

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Very excited to vacuum his room

#2 Putting away his laundry

This is a new responsibility that we have been working on and it is going very well!

In K’s closet he has a dresser with four drawers. One for PJ’s, one for shirts, one for shorts, and one for long sleeves, undies, and socks. On top of his dresser is pants and sweatshirts (they might swap out with the shorts drawer if it ever gets cold enough here!). The only things that are folded are what is on top of the dresser. Nice clothes are hanged, the rest (and majority) are just tossed in the drawers.

Keeping a four year old’s clothes folded is not a battle I’m willing to spend time on.

So, lately, when I have a pile of clothes for him, he carries them to his room, sorts them, and puts them away. Amazing. One less part of the laundry pile I have to worry about. Occasionally he needs help with a large basket of clothes, or putting things up high, but overall he is doing great!

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Sometimes we are a little too helpful – like the time I came into the room to find him *attempting* to change his wiggly baby brother’s diaper. 

#3 Emptying his bathroom trash

Seeing that I don’t spend a lot of time in his bathroom, his small trash can would quickly begin to overflow with his nightly pull-ups and start to get… stinky.

One day, we were working on the character trait of helpful, and he decided to empty his own trash. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that sooner? A quick lesson and now he is capable of emptying his own trash can and putting in a new liner.

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Helping starts early – baby J loves to “help” with the laundry! 🙂

#4 Picking up his toys

I must admit, this has always been an area of struggle with us. He is so good at dragging his feet when it comes to cleaning up his toys, that eventually I would just step in and finish up for him. However, I am trying to crack down on this a bit!

Just yesterday he showed me that he is very capable of picking up after himself, I just have to be firm about him not getting out of it!

A strategy I have occasionally used is this – I set the timer for one hour. As soon as he is done picking up his toys, he can watch TV until the timer goes off. The first day he got a whopping 8 minutes of TV time (although it only took his about 5 minutes of active work to get everything cleaned up). I am looking forward to seeing some improvement in this area!

Why I'm a %22Lazy%22 Parent

What do you think of these four responsibilities? This is not an exhaustive list, there are many other things he can do, but these are the things I wanted to share with you today. 

What things are your kids responsible for? Do you agree that we coddle our kids too much?

The Treadmill of Mothering Small Children

The Treadmill of Mothering Small

The afternoon felt like I was stuck in that movie Groundhog’s Day.

At this point my 8 week old was starting to fall into some semblance of predictable routines. He woke for the day around the same time, stayed up for a while, cat napped the rest of the morning, and then usually took a longer nap around 1 or 2.

At about 1:30 it seemed pretty obvious that he was getting tired and needed to take that longer nap. I finished up lunch and started looking forward to spending the afternoon catching up on house work (bad move – never count those chickens!).

Then began the seemingly endless cycle. Nurse, rock, lay down baby. Try to start working on something. Baby wakes up 10 minutes later. Play with smiley baby, rock cranky baby, nurse again, lay down. Baby wakes up 3 minutes later. Rock baby. Baby falls asleep in arms. Moments before attempting the lay down baby’s eyes open wide and he smiles as if to say “gotcha.”

IMG_6907

Oh, you thought I was sleeping, mom? 

I tried retreating to the bedroom, where he does such a good job sleeping at night. I rocked. I nursed. I set him in his bed. Happy, sleepy, and sucking on a paci.

I ran downstairs and cleaned the dining room for 15 minutes like a mad woman while listening to my baby cry over the monitor. Mom guilt crept in (I never let big brother cry like that this young!).

I climbed the stairs to the bedroom and peeked over the side of the crib. My good natured little boy smiled at the sight of his mommy. He wanted to be happy and play, but what he really needed was sleep. I tried one more time.

Rock.

Nurse.

Rock.

He drifted off to sleep.

Eyes pop open. “Just kidding mom!

It was 4 pm. I finally gave up.

I carried him downstairs and big brother entertained him in the swing while I managed to finish washing the dishes.

DSC_4391

But who could be mad at this face?

I had begun the work of cleaning the kitchen that morning when I started unloading the dishwasher at breakfast…

…and had finished just in time to start cooking dinner.

Sometimes life with little ones feels like a treadmill. Walking and walking, but going nowhere.

Like life is on repeat. Feed, clothe, soothe. Discipline, teach, correct. Walk, walk, walk – still in the same place.

IMG_7081

Didn’t I just feed you?

So often it feels like there is so much I want to do in life, but instead I spend the day just getting the bare minimum done. If that.

But is that really the case?

Let’s rewind this day back to the beginning again.

The day began with a late start due to extra morning snuggles with my two little boys. (Pouring into K’s love language – physical touch)

I fed my son breakfast, read him his Bible, and helped him with some preschool activities (Enriching his body, spirit, and mind)

I spent the afternoon caring for a baby who needed a little extra TLC. (Meeting his need for attachment and teaching him that mommy loves him, hears him, and can be trusted)

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Sleepy snuggles while doing computer work? Could life get any better?

All that and I managed to do the dishes? I’ll call that a win.

It’s all in your perspective.

That.. and a lot of grace.

 

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IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

The Most Important Phrase to Help with the Adjustment to a New Sibling

The Most Important Phrase to Help with

He came downstairs from his quiet time and wanted the cookie I had promised him. The only problem was that I was trapped.

Trapped under a peacefully sleeping baby.

I told him that I couldn’t get up and get his cookie right then. He would have to be patient and wait.

I could see the frustration building on his face and I felt for him. He was transitioning well into the role of big brother, but that didn’t mean it was always easy. Newborns are pretty demanding, so big brother was getting a lot of practice with coming second.

DSC_4259

Anyways.. back to the cookie situation. I really didn’t want to disturb said sleeping baby – either by getting up to get the cookie or from the screams of a three year old’s meltdown. So, I broke out the miracle phrase.

“You used to do that when you were a baby too.”

“When you were a baby you liked mommy to hold you when you were sleeping too. You always wanted to be held!”

His scowl immediately melted into a smile. He loves hearing about when he was a baby.

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Before Baby J was born we spent a lot of time looking through old pictures and talking about what K was like when he was a baby. He ate up every minute of it.

Not only does he like hearing about himself as a baby, the phrase helps him remember that he is the big kid. Baby J can’t wait patiently, but a big boy can. Baby J doesn’t help clean up, but a big kid can. Baby J needs mommy to help him with everything, but a big boy can do it himself.

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K had his time to be a baby, but now he is a big boy and before long baby J will be a big boy just like him!

But for now, when that frustration starts to well up, it helps to remember – “You used to do that when you were a baby too.”

What tips do you have for easing that transition when a newborn comes along?

Reach Their Hearts Early: Discipling Your Preschooler

reachtheirhearts

I tucked my three year old son into bed and asked him if he’d like to pray. He nodded his head yes and began in his small voice, “God, please give me a new heart every day…”

My own heart melted. I want nothing more than to see my child’s heart renewed through Christ.

It is my goal to be very intentional in discipling my children, even from a very young age. The hearts and minds of the littlest ones are capable of grasping more than we often give them credit for.

Are you looking for ways to disciple your young child? Join me over at Rooted Families where I’m sharing three ways that I’ve found to disciple my preschooler.

Reach Their Hearts Early

 

 

Summer Search for God – Week Two – Make a Special Treat

*UPDATE*

As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can see week one here.


mission 2

Mission Description

For this mission you need to cook a special treat to eat. Think for a minute about what your most favorite thing to eat is. What makes your mouth water just thinking about it? Maybe that is what you should make! Once you have an idea or two of what you want to make, first you need to make sure you have all the ingredients. Once you have all the ingredients gathered together, you can get to cooking!

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103 NIV

What We Did

I told K that we were going to be doing another mission and asked him if he remembered our last mission. After briefly reviewing mission one, I read him mission two.

I asked him what what his favorite sweet treat was and he listed off a couple before deciding on drawing a cupcake.

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When we moved on to discuss what supplies we needed, I told K that we didn’t have the ingredients for cupcakes, but we did have the ingredients for peanut butter cookies. He was more than okay with that!

Before we got started making the cookies I read the verse and we talked about how God’s Word is sweet like cookies. With K being only three, we also had to back track a little and review how the Bible is God’s words to us.

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Then we got to baking!

IMG_6245Since K is gluten free, we decided to try out these super simple peanut butter cookies.

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For a young child like K, I am able to adjust the devotionals to discuss the topic as we do the activity. However, for an older child you can let them loose to do the mission on their own and then sit down afterwards to discuss the devotional. It’s very easy to adjust for age differences! IMG_6249 Once the cookies were done we had to try one of course! This was another good opportunity to talk about the verse.

After he took a few bits of his cookie, we did the extension activity. This activity takes the discussion a slightly different direction. We compared the taste of the sweet cookie to the sour taste of vinegar.

vinegar

 

He had no idea what he was about to taste. As soon as he took a sip, he said “That’s gross! I need water!” 🙂

We talked about how we can have sweet words and say the good things God wants us to say or we can say mean things that are like something sour. It was definitely a memorable experience!


 

Do you have your copy yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

 

 

Summer Search for God – Week One – Build a Fort

*UPDATE*
As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!


 

 

fort

Mission Description

For this mission you need to build a fort. Make sure to build it big enough for you and anyone who is joining you to be able to fit inside. You will also want to make sure it is sturdy and doesn’t fall down. What building material you use is up to you. Use whatever you have available. Once your fort is constructed you may want to bring some necessities inside, such as blankets, pillows, books, and a snack.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2 NIV

What We Did

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First, I explained to K what was going on and I read the mission to him. Then I read the verse (shortening it a little for him) and talked a little about how God is like a fortress/fort.

Then I asked him what kind of fort he wanted to build (“we’re going to do it today, Mom?!”). He said he wanted to build a tree house. I told him that probably wasn’t going to happen, but he could still draw his idea.

After he drew his tree house, we talked about building a blanket fort and I helped him think through how he’d do that. Then, he drew a blanket fort. After he was done drawing, I did the writing for him in the last two sections.

Then, we built a fort!

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Once the fort was up, I surprised him with a nerf gun attack! (Easily his favorite part!)

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Afterwards, we settled in the fort with a snack and revisited the verse we read. I asked K if I was able to shoot him with the nerf gun when he was inside the fort. He said no and we talked about how God is like a fort because he protects us and keeps us safe – just like his fort kept him safe from the nerf gun.

At three, K is at the young end of age to do Summer Search for God, so I do have to simplify some things for him. However, thats one of the benefits of the devotional – it can easily be adapted for every age in your family!

Do you have your copy?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files.

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover