3 Opportune Times To Share The Gospel With Your Kids

#1 When they tell you all the good stuff they did that day.

The other day one of my littles came to me and said: “Today I did extra chores. I cleaned the downstairs without you asking and I gave my toy to my sister.” This child is one of those kiddos that really wants to please mommy and daddy. Which may sound like a good thing, and it is a good thing, but it can also lead to wanting to please peers later. I have heard some of the most rebellious children were the most compliant growing up.

Anyway, when this child shared this with me I asked: “Did you ask Jesus to help you do any of those things?” She looked at me with a peculiar face and said: “No.”

I explained that in life we will be called to do many good things and that without Jesus’ help we will become really weary. We need His help to do the many good works He has called us to. He died for us not only to be there for the next life but for this life as well. He wants to be the vine and us the branches right now!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

The key part to that verse is: IN CHRIST JESUS. We must be abiding in Him in order to do the good works He has called us to.

Explaining this to our little people is so important. Good works are good, but apart from Christ they mean nothing. Our good works are like filthy rags apart from the work of the Spirit in our lives. Our children need to understand that they are doing their good works as unto the Lord while also recognizing that those good works are not what makes them righteous. It is their position in Christ that makes them righteous.

#2 When they mess up.

This is probably our most opportune time to be sharing the gospel with our children. It’s also the most opportune time to remind ourselves of the gospel.
When our children mess up we need to be an encouragement to them (unless they are in a prideful/rebellious state of mind in which we need to remind them more of the wrath of God rather than the grace of God so they do not sin more, read Romans 6:1). But usually our children are broken over their mistakes. We need to remind them during these times that that is why Christ came. Remind them that if we were perfect and could earn our way to heaven then He certainly died in vain.

#3 When they talk badly about others.

When anyone talks badly about others it is always from a place of pride. Pride comes before a fall and blocks us from seeing the cross accurately. The cross says: “You are all sinners in need of a Savior. You all fall short.” Reminding our children when they talk bad about others that they are no better than them helps them to see the cross more clearly and understand their sinfulness in a truer light. Hopefully we are setting a good example for our children in this and speaking well of others or not speaking of them at all. At the foot of the cross we are all wretched sinners in need of a Savior.

*Feel free to share in the comments the most opportune times in your home that you share the gospel with your children!

Hope to see you Mother’s Day Weekend at the upcoming marriage conference my husband and I are putting on! Great way to spend mother’s day-a night away investing in your marriage.

 

 

Forget About Your Child’s Self-Esteem

There has never been a time in history where self-esteem has been more of a focus. You can’t walk through an elementary school hallway or enter a psychologist’s office without hearing about the importance of our children having self-esteem.

I say it’s not working. In fact, I think it is making things worse! Focusing on ourselves was never our Designer’s plan! Focusing on ourselves only leads us into a downward spiral! 

Suicide rates have been climbing amongst teens despite all the world’s efforts to raise self-esteem. In an article by NPR they said: “There is one age group that really stands out — girls between the ages of 10 and 14. Though they make up a very small portion of the total suicides, the rate in that group jumped the most — it experienced the largest percent increase, tripling over 15 years from 0.5 to 1.7 per 100,000 people.”

These poor girls. They aren’t being pointed toward a God who loves them and sent His Son to die for them, they are being pointed toward a mirror and told they are beautiful and that they need to love themselves. That doesn’t work because we were made for a much greater love. We were made to direct our love and worship toward the Creator of the universe, not toward ourselves. In other words, self-esteem is really turning into a form of idol worship giving the praise and focus to the wrong person. 

Our children don’t need more self-esteem, that is an endless, vain pursuit. We were never meant to esteem ourselves but to esteem Christ.

You won’t find in the bible a verse that exhorts us to love ourselves. You will find God exhorting us to love others as we love ourselves because we already have loving ourselves down. We think about ourselves plenty.
Children are being pointed in the wrong direction and more confused and depressed than ever before. Worrying about their self-esteem is only plummeting them into deeper depression and insecurity because their identity is to be in Christ.
They are being taught to fix their gaze on themselves rather than their Maker who is the only One that can satisfy their pursuit of being fulfilled anyway.

May we repent of encouraging our children to be confident in themselves and help them place their confidence in the One that will never let them down!

Am I saying you can never say an encouraging word to your child? No. But I feel like the emphasis is in the wrong place when it comes to raising our children. The focal point of our hearts and minds is to be on Christ. If you want to encourage your children while making sure that their confidence is in Christ alone then go for it!

Love, Katie

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
 

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:2

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10

Do You Let Your Husband Rebuke You?

Rebuke. Our flesh hates that word.

Coddle. Comfort. Encourage. Compliment. Our flesh likes those words!

Rebuking is loving though. Rebuking can be even more loving than comforting or encouraging because those we truly love receive not just compliments from us but the truth spoke in love from us. 

God gave us our husbands for many reasons and I think one of the best reasons is to help refine us. The Holy Spirit can use our husbands in our lives to make us more like Christ, IF WE LET HIM.

My husband has helped me SO MUCH in my weaknesses. Even though my flesh hates it, my spirit rejoices in knowing how God is using him to refine me.

Maybe you talk too much. (ahem, that would be me). Maybe your husband has told you that you dominated conversation somewhere and your flesh flared up and you defended your flapping lips by saying something like: “People like what I have to say!” and then you call your best friend that doesn’t have the guts to tell you the truth and so she coddles you and tells you: “No! You don’t talk too much.” And then you proceed to ignore your husband’s counsel only to continue in your conversation-dominating ways. 

Maybe you waste too much time on the internet and your house is losing out because of it. Maybe your husband has shared with you that he has noticed your priorities seem out of order and you get super defensive and offended saying he doesn’t appreciate how hard you work when all the while in the back of your mind you know you aren’t prioritizing keeping the home and he is totally right.

Maybe you are wasteful and your husband wants you to be more accountable with your spending…so you start to hide purchases from him rather than admitting you are buying more of what you want rather than what your family needs.

Maybe you’re a little dramatic and constantly complaining to him about other people so he tries to point out good things about the very people you are wanting to trash talk and rather than thank him you get upset and go and vent to someone else.

Maybe you worry too much. Maybe you are a total freak when it comes to your kids being sick and your husband is just trying to help you look on the bright side. Rather than thanking him you yell at him and tell him he doesn’t care about the children.

Maybe your relationship with your children is suffering because of your anger or lack of affection toward your children or any other number of things you do or don’t do. Maybe your husband tries to give you some counsel on how to love them better and you proceed to point out all of the ways he’s failing as a father.

There are SO MANY THINGS that we need to work on and change in order to be more self-controlled, God-honoring women. Who better to help us in this than the man who sees us day in and day out in the raw?! Who better to help point out where we can grow than the man who is best acquainted with our weaknesses?!

No, it’s never fun to hear about ways we may be “failing” or struggling in… but this life isn’t all about us never facing the truth. God wants to walk with us in our journey toward Christ-likeness and He wants to use our husbands to help us in this journey! Don’t inhibit what God wants to do through your husband. Pray for humility and a heart to grow more than a heart that wants to walk in pride and never be challenged.

Proverbs 9:8-9 could be written like this for us as wives: “Do not reprove a scoffer, or she will hate you; reprove a wise woman, and she will love you. Give instruction to a wise woman, and she will be still wiser; teach a righteous woman, and she will increase in learning.”

The opposite could be true too:

A scoffing wife hates her husband. When you reprove her she will reject your reproof. When a husband seeks to give instruction to an unwise wife she will refuse to be wiser and she will continue to decrease in her learning…

Don’t be a scoffing wife. Be a righteous, wise wife who considers her husband’s counsel…even when it hurts!

Love, Katie

 

 

3 Things I Do To Make The House Run More Smoothly

So many things to do. So many ways to do them. Here are three ways I do things to make our house with 6 children 10 and under run more smoothly.

1. Set a timer. I love my little black and white timer. We have a schedule that is blocked out in 30 minute increments. We set the timer at the beginning of each 30 min. time increment and the kiddos go to their name to see what they are supposed to do during that block of time. One of my biggest tips that involves the timer is what I call: “12 item pick up!” Every time the timer goes off the kids know they need to run around and pick up 12 items. This has changed recently though. I have my 3 year old only pick up 5 things and my 9 year old checks laundry (making sure no rooms have dirty laundry in them, if they do he brings it to the laundry room. He also switches the laundry over and brings clean dry laundry out to living room where I or my 7 year old sorts it and puts it in the right room). This helps in the upkeep of the house SO MUCH.

This is the timer I have. Only $5!

This is what my daily schedule looks like. Super blurry pic but just wanted to give you a glimpse:

30123847_10156384937350555_1422817644624478208_o

Here is the book I used to make up this schedule. I HIGHLY recommend it!

2. Subscribe and Save. I LOVE THIS! We hardly ever run out of: paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper etc. And I get an additional 15% off of the already low price!

Here are two tips in doing subscribe and save:
1) Make sure you check them every time you get an email from amazon saying: “Review Your Monthly Subscription Delivery”. Many people ignore this and get frustrated when the toilet paper shows up at their door and they have no place to put it because they have so much toilet paper already from the last delivery.
2) Be accurate in how often you receive the item. If you really only use some item every 3 months make sure your delivery button isn’t activated for a delivery every month. Make sense?

Here are some of my subscribe and save items:

3. Jurisdictions. Major game changer. I felt like my days were consisting of arguing over who did what. So I assigned each child (except for my 1 year old) a jurisdiction that they were responsible for every day. No, I don’t have a spinny wheel to spin and get a chore. I don’t “change it up” and have them do a different one each month to make it fair. Life isn’t fair and I am sure in the future my children will have to do the same things day in and out because that’s how life is and so, they have the same jurisdiction every day.

jurisdictions

Ricky, age 9, has the dining room every day. Johnny, age 7, has the living room every day (and because the laundry gets dumped on the couches when clean, he also sorts the laundry and puts it in the correct rooms). Rhea, age 10, has the kitchen every day. Chloe, age 3, unloads the dishwasher every day. Charis, age 5, cleans the girl’s room (including putting all the clothes away) every day. Throughout the day I will say: “Jurisdictions everyone!” There is no confusion. They all know what that means 🙂 We automatically do them after every meal and before bed.

Love, Katie

Be sure to check out my husband’s books! Both 5 stars on Amazon!

 

Why Am I the Weird One?!

I am pregnant with baby number 7. Most people think that’s weird. In fact, someone asked my brother the other day: “Why would she do that?!” As if I had committed some terrible crime or something…Others have commented about how I “did this to myself” as if being pregnant with my precious child was the worst choice I could make. It’s one thing when the world has this attitude but it’s a whole other thing when believers have this sort of attitude. I always want to respond with: “Wait? Don’t you believe God is the Author of life? Don’t you believe He is the one knitting together this little baby in my womb?” Sometimes I think of saying: “Ok, let’s line my kiddos up and you tell me which ones we should get rid of.”

In our culture it is weird to have what God designed as normal.

Normal Katie?! Yes. Normal. Most women were designed to carry a number of children during their childbearing years. This isn’t always 15 kids either. I have a couple friends that surrendered their wombs to the Lord and only had 2. It’s not about the number. It’s about seeing fertility as a normal part of life. I understand that some women are not fertile and would do anything to even have one child. I also understand that there are life-threatening circumstances for very few women that inhibit them from being pregnant.

22528928_10155894749660555_1962280817781274894_o

Why isn’t it weird that people go to the doctor and tell him to cut or tie a part of their bodies that is functioning exactly the way it was designed to function? Can you imagine going to the Dr. and saying: “Hey Doc, could you cut my kidney out?” Doc: “What’s wrong with it?” You: “Nothing, I just don’t want to use that one anymore.” Not going to happen because your kidney is doing what it’s supposed to do, just as our parts that make us fertile are doing what they are supposed to do.

I do not judge those who choose to cut and tie. As you know, we did that at one point but reversed our decision . My point is not to judge but maybe get people to think: “hmmmm, she’s not weird. She’s normal. Having babies is normal.” And then maybe people can be happy for me and our family that God is choosing to grow another little one in my womb rather than treating me like I am so strange.

It’s not strange that a woman has babies into her early forties. It’s not weird that a woman carries 10-12 or more or less children in her womb over a lifetime. It’s not weird for a woman to have a little one while also getting to have her first grandchild. That’s normal. Don’t let the culture dictate what’s normal or good or better or best. Let God’s Word determine that.

It’s hard to have big families. It’s sacrificial. But it’s not weird. No where in the bible will you find that hard and sacrificial are bad. In fact, hard and sacrificial are recommended in the bible.

No matter our family size, may we encourage one another rather than making the other feel less than or inferior or stupid and may we look at large families as normal.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!”
Psalm 127:3-5

 

 

5 Top Tips to Get Out of Debt and Stay out of Debt

  1. Live Under Your Means. Too many people live in a way that says: “I have a bunch of money!” For example, they make $5,000 a month but they live like they make $6,000. Continually living pay check to pay check and/or using a credit card monthly. If you make $5,000 a month you should be living like you make $4,000 (or less) so that you are able to put more money toward your debt! If you always live within your means you won’t pay off your debt because you won’t have any left over. Remember, like Dave Ramsey said, “live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”
  2. Enjoy The Free Things In Life. There are many things enjoyable to do that are free! Find out something that your family loves to do together that costs nothing! Not sure? Just check on-line! Or check out books like this one! (only $2.99 on kindle!) Or type into google: “free things to do in….” (and type in your city). Get your family used to the idea that you aren’t going to go to movies, or sporting events or special beauty treatments etc. Get your family excited about paying debt off! Some day you will have more money (because you won’t be throwing it at your debt) to do things but for now the excitement needs to be found in free things!
  3. Stay Home. What’s the cheapest thing to do? Stay home! Eat at home! Play at home! Laugh at home! Every time you go somewhere you are putting more wear and tear on your vehicle. Every time you go somewhere you are going to be filling up your gas tank sooner. Every time you go somewhere you are spending money some way. Create a home where your children like to be. Do things together as a family. My husband purposefully sets aside time each night where we just sit and visit. Relationship is key! When your children feel connected to you and each other they are more likely to want to stay home. When they feel like family time revolves around a television screen they are more likely to feel connected to the television, not their family. Look for ways to connect as a family. I knew one family that made Friday night: Family Game night. Another family had Friday night be a stay in night where they made pizza and just hung out as a family. One of the main ways to make home enjoyable is to have a good relationship with your spouse! A home filled with fighting is a place no one wants to be! Look for ways to make peace not war. Remember Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” Make home a place people want to stay, not run away from. Home=Money Saver.
  4. Keep The End In Mind. It’s hard living like no one else. I get it. I was there for years. We paid off our mortgage about 4 years ago. The first 7 years of our marriage we lived like “crazy people” looking for every little way to save money, but we kept the end in mind. We dreamt of what it would be like to live debt free. No more bills (aside from the obvious like water, garbage etc.). The extra money we would have in savings at all times. The feeling of never having to “stop buying groceries this month”. The feeling of knowing that we were going to put more toward retirement and be able to give more. There are just so many liberties and joys that come from being debt free that we reminded ourselves: no item or trip or meal was worth giving that future feeling up.
  5. Put ALL Money Toward Debt. Tax return? Put it toward your debt. Christmas cash? Put it toward your debt. Birthday cash? Put it toward your debt. Earn a little extra money on the side? Put it toward your debt. When my mom died I inherited some money and put it ALL toward our mortgage. You get the point. When you get money put it toward the absolute necessities like food and put the rest toward debt.

    BONUS TIP FOR WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF DEBT

  6. When out of debt, pretend you are in debt. Ok, maybe not quite like you’re still in debt… but close! Just because we are out of debt doesn’t mean we go crazy with our money now buying whatever we want, whenever we want! Nope. We seriously consider purchases. We still talk about almost all purchases together that aren’t food. We still don’t buy new stuff. We still look continually for ways to save. Getting out of debt has freed us to spend money on things we may not have before, like my husband’s books! (Yes, it costs money to write a good book). The goal is to be debt free for life, not in and out of debt!

    How about you? What are your top “get out of debt tips”?!

The Illusion of Cliques

“That church has so many cliques.”

“No one said hello to me….again.”

“People are so selfish!”

These are all things I have heard over and over again in my 15 years of being involved in ministry.

I am hoping to encourage you lonely folks out there by giving you a different perspective.

I went to college in Northern California. I became a believer in Junior College and my first goal when I hit the campus at a “real college” was to get plugged in to a church, preferably one full of college students. I found one! They met on campus on Sundays and I couldn’t wait to go.

I walked in eager to have all these people flocking to me to make me feel welcomed. Um… nobody talked to me. I walked in and out without meeting a soul.

I went back. This time my heart was different. This time I would initiate. And that’s ok. Ya know why? They were like a family already. Some of these people had known each other for years and I couldn’t expect to walk in and be on the same level as them.

So, I introduced myself to numerous people. I did the same the next week. Sometimes to the same people who “forgot my name”. So I re-introduced myself a few weeks in a row. I didn’t quit going and get mad at the cliques. I kept pursuing friendship. I kept telling people my name. I kept going to all the things the church had to offer so that my face went from being unfamiliar to familiar. I went from being unknown to known.

But guess what? I still never really felt like I was part of the in-crowd. Nope. And guess what? I think I have a pretty good idea of why and it’s not because there were so many cliques. Nope. It’s because I was controlling and talked about myself too much.

Marriage has a way of helping us to get rid of some of our rough edges. Suddenly many of the character flaws that no one had the guts to tell me had come to the surface because a spouse has to live with those flaws and they are certainly worth confronting.

As a side note, my husband and I are very purposeful in training our children on how to not be annoying. We tell them when certain behaviors and actions are obnoxious. We tell them we want them to be well-liked and have lots of friends. That’s the loving thing to do. 

I for one am thankful for the iron sharpening iron aspect of marriage. My controlling, manipulative nature along with the propensity to talk too much was finally confronted and I am able to see more clearly that the cliques I thought existed were actually an illusion. There was a reason that a certain number of friends of mine were part of the “in -crowd”.

When I look back at those friends I notice some things that they had in common: they asked people questions like: “how are you doing?” and they really wanted to know! They listened well. The didn’t dominate. They weren’t restless. They enjoyed each other and served one another. They stuck around through awkward silence and just hung out.

I can’t help but wonder if some people feel lonely because others don’t have the guts to tell them they don’t want to hang out with them.

I know that was me for years and years and I am thankful for the people who have loved me enough to say: “Katie, it’s not them, it’s you.”

One time I ordered a “household meeting” with my roommates in college. We were going to “get it all out on the table” and tell each other what we really thought so that we could be honest. I let one of my roommates go first and she said to me: “Katie, I hate to come to you with my problems because you lecture me and don’t listen.” I did the mature, godly thing any woman who wants to grow would do: I walked out of the room and got into my car and drove off… um, yeah, so clearly I am amazing at receiving criticism.

We would all do well to listen to others’ criticism and seek to change. That’s the way we grow. If we want people to want to be around us we have to be open to growth and change even if the truth of how we need to change is super painful.

So here are some types of women I know drive people away. Sincerely seek the Lord and see if you fit into one or more of these types and ask the Lord to help you change.

Snarky Susie: This woman is always full of sarcasm. Nothing can ever be taken seriously. All of life is a big joke to her. Continue reading The Illusion of Cliques