Honoring Daddy: How To Make Him Feel Special EVERY Day

Popular culture is trying to convince us to downplay the roles of fathering in the lives of children. How often do you see fathers portrayed in a positive light on television, in movies, or any other kind of media? Fathers are often shown as dumb, crude, uninvolved, and/or absent in the lives of their children. And this plays out in the day-by-day as well.

So, what can you do to make your father, and/or the father of your children, feel special, cherished, and loved, not just on Father’s Day but every day?

How to Teach Your Child to Handle Rejection

  After a weekend of speaking, I piled through my backed up email. There, buried under the junk, was a name I didn't recognize. Within seconds, tears streamed down my face. Rejection. I didn't see it coming; thought I was moving forward. But there it was. In black letters…rejection.  My first reaction…text my husband. As I crafted the short message, I felt a pang in my heart. "You are doing the exact thing you teach others not to…running to someone, someplace or something to fill the love gap in your heart." The Holy Spirit nugged me to put down my phone and sit with Him. There, in my favorite chair, a cried a bit and reaffirmed with the Holy Spirit that God was and will continue to be in control over every detail of my life. Then, I texted my husband and son to share the news. "Was rejected for now. Know God has what is best for me." When my daughters came home, I shared the same with them. In this place of rejection, I was reminded: God doesn't just want me to realize He is the only one who can fill the love gap in my heart. He doesn't want me to only tell my children this truth. He wants me to walk out having Him fill my love gap every day with my children. By living it out, I am showing my family what it means to have Jesus fill that love gap. Rejection is hard on any level, whether it is in our careers, family relationships or with our daughter and the crush at school. We can teach our children how...

Are You Losing Control?

(This was our first picture of QiuYue, “Lauren Elizabeth.”) In January of 2006 we started the process of adopting our daughter Lauren from China. We were so excited and did all the necessary paperwork, prepared her bedroom, bought her clothes, prayed for her everyday and waited. In September of 2006, we boarded a plane to China to bring home our distant daughter. She was 2 years old when she came home. Lauren had been found abandoned in September of 2004 as a “red and crying” infant on the steps of a Buddhist Temple and brought directly to an orphanage where she would live until we came to get her. While waiting for Lauren, I read many books about adopting a toddler and the effects of living in an orphanage during the early years of life. While studying, I learned a new term, “attachment disorder.” Healthy attachments begin in early infancy. The infant experiences pain, hunger, or discomfort and expresses rage by crying. The infant’s primary caregiver (usually the mother) responds to the infant’s rage reaction with eye contact, touch, motion, or food. The infant learns to trust his caregiver for comfort and the bonding process begins. This bonding cycle is repeated countless times during the infant’s first year of life. Uninterrupted repetition of the cycle results in a strong trust bond between infant and caregiver. Attachment disorders result when the infant’s needs are not gratified. Kathy Miller, founder and president of The Attachment Network in Oklahoma, explains, “When an infant expresses rage and feels no relief for her need, she learns that to survive this world, she must control...

Teaching My Children To Rest

“Look both ways before crossing the street. Eat all of your carrots. Did you say thank you?” Every loving parent has said these words more than they’d care to admit. We are faithful to teach our little ones the importance of safety, good health and good manners. What about their spiritual health? How often do I encourage my children to keep God’s commandments? What parent doesn’t want their children to learn what God says about honoring their mother and father or His rules about stealing and lying? But, what about honoring the Sabbath? What about that one? It sounds easy enough. Go to church and you can check that one off your list. At least, that’s what I used to believe.  Honoring Sundays as a family has now become the best part of our week. God created our bodies with a Sabbath DNA. He has placed this spiritual genetic matter within each cell that makes up our miraculous body. We can’t help it, it is how we are wired. There is no possible way for the human body to keep busy for days and weeks at a time. Resting is part of our bodies’ routine maintenance. While teaching my Sunday school class a lesson on the ten commandments, I asked the children if they knew what a commandment was. Immediately one little boy’s hand shot right up. “A commandment is what a king gives!” I thought that was the perfect answer.  God’s commandments are rules with benefits. Yet, one of the easiest commandments to keep, Honor the Sabbath, was the one our family was having the hardest time honoring....

Leaving a Spiritual Legacy in Our Grandchildren’s Hearts and Minds

Grandchildren are such a special gift from God! Most grandparents get to enjoy their grandkids in a much different way than when we raised our children. Unless we are one of the many grandparents raising grandchildren, we will have a totally different relationship with these precious children than we did with their parents. I don’t know if it’s my age or their particular needs, but I’ve noticed I enjoy playing with my grandkids much longer and more often than I did with my children. Of course, my daily schedule is quite a bit different, but I’m also a bit more patient than I used to be. As a result, my grandkids and I enjoy lots of easy crafts for kids and seniors alike along with plenty of fun games – from board games like checkers to running games like ball tag. (Did you know, grandkids can make excellent personal trainers!) While all of these are sweet ways to build delight family memories, the most important thing I do with my grandchildren is to help them hide the Word of God in their hearts. As Psalm 119:9-12 (NASB) reminds us: How can a young man [or woman] keep his way pure ? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD ; Teach me Your statutes. That, coupled with 1 Timothy 1:5 (NASB)… I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in...

May We Introduce You to our…Brew Brother!

We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of the Internet Cafe Devotions team…the first male voice here, our “Brew Brother” Mickey Mendoza of The Hush Project. There’s a lot more to share about what Mickey will be doing around the Cafe, but today, we invite you to get to know him a little more. Mickey says of himself… I’m insecure. I compare myself to others. I say, “They have it all together—while I don’t.” I make girls cry with the foolish things I say. I’ve caused many broken hearts, deep scars, and perhaps someone’s distaste for Jesus. I say things that come across as rude and obnoxious—because they are. Anger overwhelms me. “Use your freakin’ turn signal! Go at least the speed limit and get off the road if you’re not going to!” I say. I don’t like to be patient. I once prayed for more of it, and I think God’s been answering me ever since—laughing in Heaven.I have to remind myself that lust is no different than adultery. I don’t always treat my wife like a princess and daughter of God. My internet automatically shuts off at ten o’ clock every night because I’m not strong enough. I once thought I had a right to step on others because I spent more time in school than they did, and that I worked at one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. I have evil thoughts about other people on a weekly basis. I have deep corners in my heart that hopes someone doesn’t succeed. I wish I was born into a rich family...

When Going to School is Plan B

On my son James’s first day of school I cried. Not typical sad mommy crying. I locked myself in the bathroom and bawled for thirty minutes. Nothing was going according to my plan. I wanted to homeschool our boys, but instead, I was walking my three year old baby into the public elementary school to his special education preschool class. Just a few weeks before, we had taken him to be evaluated. We knew something was wrong. He was literally speechless, unable to say more than a few words. He also didn’t make eye contact, didn’t interact with his big brother, and didn’t even play with toys like other kids. After being observed by two therapists and a psychologist, they told us what we had suspected–he was autistic.  When you get a diagnosis like autism, the dreams you have for your child die. You mourn for what might have been. The saying in the autism world is that if you know someone with autism, you know one person with autism. Because it is a spectrum disorder, people with autism have different symptoms and behaviors. We weren’t sure if James would ever communicate with us, play with his brother, or get potty trained. During that time I clung to Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” I prayed that God would work in our lives to bring joy again. from his first day of school in January of 2011 Earlier this week when I dropped James off for his first day of school for this new school year, he said, “Go to school!” and...

Demi Lovato and the Power of Bullying

In April, teen pop star, Demi Lovato, gave her first  TV interview with 20/20 upon leaving treatment for bulimia and cutting. When asked how these destructive behaviors got their start, Demi simply said “bullying”. As an eight year-old, children began to make fun of her calling her “fat”. That was the beginning of a cycle of detrimental behavior. There is probably not one of our children that have escaped being bullied in one way or another. The question is: how do we put an end to this demeaning behavior? It begins by teaching our children the power of their words; the fact that their words hold the power of life and death as Proverbs 18:21 tells us. In my new book for young women,  His Revolutionary Love, I share with our daughters: “A conversation in which another person is put down seems like no big deal. That person doesn’t know anyway right? But you know exactly what happens, eventually those words wind their way back to the person. Gossip damages people. It doesn’t even matter if what is said is true or not. Being talked about in an unkind way tears a person down….The real problem is that every time you say yes to gossip, you allow your heart to become a little more calloused. You say no to caring for others. It makes it that much easier for you to not just say bad things about others, but to actually do harmful things to others.” His Revolutionary Love, p. 158 – 159 Friends, we need to share with our daughters the truth that they have the power to hurt or to...

Powerful Parent Prayers

As parents, our greatest responsibility is to train our children in the way they should go and teach them to love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. And sometimes the best way to do that is on our knees before the Lord praying His Word back to Him on behalf of the gifts He’s blessed us with. My Old Testament professor, the late Dr. J.W. Lee said quite often, “Prayer is the fuel that energizes the power of God.” When our hearts connect with the Word of God and our voices lift high His Words in prayer, God’s mighty power is fueled all the more to actively work in the lives of our children. We may not always immediately see the activity of God in their lives, but we can know for certain that He is neither sleeping nor slumbering but is working all things for their good and His glory. So as the school buses begin to run their routes and carpool lines grow, as homeschool families gather their textbooks and supplies, as budding adults begin their freshman year of college and new mommas take their babies to daycare for the first time, let’s you and I commit to pray the powerful Word of God over the lives of our children this new school year. And to help you do just that, we’re offering to you a FREE download of Powerful Parent Prayers to pray for your children. A month of prayers specifically targeting the spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and academic well-being of your...

Targeting Godly Friendships for With Our Kids

As a junior high student, I was so frustrated when I didn’t have a friend available on Friday night. That’s when my mother would make this statement, “You are blessed if you have one or two really good friends.” At that time, I definitely didn’t want to hear that! One or two? I wanted way more than one or two; seven for every day of the week seemed a much better fit! Now as I have my own children, I see the value of teaching them that more is not always better when it comes to friendships; especially friends that are very close to our hearts. To teach this principle, I draw a target on a piece of paper, making the bull’s eye a heart. Starting with the outer ring, I point to the open space and share, “The outside ring is for those children you have met and know that they are not a good fit for you. Maybe they act or talk in ways that don’t follow the advice in the Bible or maybe your interests are very different. Do not completely exclude these people from your life. Pray and ask the Lord to open a door for you to share Him with them.” Moving in to the next ring, I instruct, “The second ring is for those people who you have just met, maybe a new neighbor or a transfer student in a school. While you are getting to know them, keep this new friendship in the “getting to know them” stage. Keep learning more and more about them until you can see if they are...