Jul 31 2017

How to respond when your spouse undermines your parenting

your spouse undermines your parenting

How to respond when your spouse undermines your parenting

I tapped out after an exhausting argument with my child. One benefit of parenting together is being able to walk away and cool off while still leaving someone present to continue the parenting protocol, or so I thought. After I left, my husband made a decision to solve the conflict by repealing a chore plan I had in place. He literally threw the paper away. Problem solved, he thought.

After I cooled down and was ready to re-engage life in a more reasonable manner, I found out what had happened. It felt like a kick in the stomach. How was I supposed to respond when he undermined my parenting? At the time, I didn’t respond well. I let the unresolved chaos of my defeated-parenting moment fuel my anger.

Parenting in the trenches is hard enough. Being undermined adds a double load of hardship. It creates isolation where unity is supposed to be.

Being on the same page in parenting is a great goal. But what do you do in the interim while you reel back after discovering this shocking truth: your page and his are not only decidedly different but are written in two separate languages? What happens when you’re the only one who has a page, and your spouse doesn’t want to follow along? One page or two, children still need parenting.

Time has passed since that moment, and the resolve of getting on the same page took much longer than I wanted, but that experience taught me a few important lessons. If your parenting is being undermined or you are wrestling with two-page parenting, these lessons might help provide direction and hope.

Keep these four ideas fresh in your mind and find hope.

Pray

Prayer is powerful. There’s not a situation in life that doesn’t warrant prayer. But here’s why prayer is the first on my list: God is able to work in your life, your spouse’s life, and in the lives of your children in ways you never can. Parenting “right” doesn’t create perfect children. Just as Adam and Eve rebelled against their perfect parent, your children have a will of their own—a will that can defy even the best of parents. If the goal is to raise kids well, God working in your life and in the life of your family is essential.

Own your part

No one is perfect. You’re not perfect nor is anyone else. Conflict is a combination of imperfect people exposing their unpleasant weaknesses in each other’s direction. It’s easy to smell another person’s stinky attitude and think our issues are like perfume. My husband (unintentionally) exposed my chore system as a flop. And by the conflict I was having with my child, the system wasn’t working.

Could I’ve talked with him about issues I was having and invite him into the process prior to our in-house war? Yes. Did I? No.

Could he have talked with me about changing the plan before throwing my system away? Yes. Did he? No.

Guess who I thought was the problem?

Guess who was surprised when I was upset with his solution?

Shift expectations

Lowering my bar isn’t the same as accepting defeat. When I have my “parenting well” goggles on, I shoot for the stars. I want the best for my kids. I want them to be passionate about Jesus, hard-working, polite, helpful, compassionate, and achieve academic excellence. I read books and make plans. Yet, I have zero control to make my children grow into maturity. In my striving, I get my eyes on the goal and miss the million steps that are in between. Celebrating little steps or being accepting of missteps in the journey feels like lowering my bar, instead, it’s releasing my sense control. Lowering my bar means I love my kids where they are and point them toward the goal. I can only guide and encourage.

Recognize God’s role in parenting

Acknowledge God as the primary parent puts the responsibility in the right place. No matter how much you love your children, God is infinitely more invested in their good. He started the knitting together part of your children before you knew they existed. His greatest desire is to make them fit for an eternity with him. In that process, he seeks to make them into people that reflect his image well. He never fails and never gives up. God is your everyday, in-the-trenches parent with you. You are never alone in this job of parenting. Need wisdom and strength? He’s got you covered.

Getting on the same page with your spouse in parenting is a process. There is hope because God loves you, your spouse, and your children. He can work miracles.

Will you pray and invite God into your struggle?

Even if your spouse is unwilling to talk about parenting, you can pray. God still moves mountains. The biggest ones have been the mountains he has moved in my heart.

What lessons have you learned about yourself when you’ve faced parenting conflicts with your spouse?

Share your lessons in the comments below.

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Jul 28 2017

What if our prayers really mattered?

As I think about prayer, and praying the truth, I get excited thinking about the impact prayer has in my world. After reading Dutch Sheets book on prayer, I started to ask myself, “What if my prayers really mattered?” In joining Five Minute Friday, here are my five minutes on inspire.

What if our prayers really mattered?

What if our prayers really mattered?

Go.

What if the God of the universe inclined his ear when you spoke?

If he heard your words and acted?

Would that inspire you to pray?

Would it change your prayer life into a lifeline?

What if you began each day talking with God and listening and talking with him more and forgot to end the prayer but, instead, kept the conversation going throughout the day.

What if those prayers were answered right before your eyes?

Would prayer become a “get to” rather than a “have to” or “supposed to” part of your life?

I believe the God of the universe hears. That he inclines his ears to his beloved children. And as they pray in line with Scripture, he acts. He calls us to ask. He says there are things we have not simply because we didn’t ask. He listens. He hears. He responds.

When I think about that, I’m inspired to pray my heart with my mind on scripture. I pray for the many things that touch my heart.

Stop.

Praying scripture

When we read the Bible, we learn the truth about God, the truth about ourselves, and the truth about our lives. In addition to that, he reveals his will. When we connect God’s priorities to our lives and our prayers, we are assured of his provision. His provision isn’t a stamp of approval for our plans but for his plans. His provision isn’t a guarantee of ease but a promise for his supply—giving what we need to bring about his ultimate glory in eternity.

Praying truth about our world

As we learn to pray scripture, we learn how to pray about our world. Our world includes:

  • Our inner world (“God help me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.” Romans 12:1-2)
  • Our intimate world including friends and family (“God, help ______ to forgive just as you do.” Ephesians 4:32)
  • Our work world (“God, help me to do all things without grumbling and arguing and reflect you well.” Philippians 2:14-15)
  • Our neighborhood, city, country, and beyond. (“God, give our president and government leaders wisdom to govern well.” 10 Scriptures to Pray for Our Nation and Our Leaders.)

If you don’t know what or how to pray for someone

Some ministry friends sent me a prayer update that included ideas “if you don’t know what to pray.” When I looked at the list, I knew I had to share them. They’re scripture-based prayer requests. When we pray these prayers for others, we’re praying the truth of what they need in their lives.

  • That we would strengthen ourselves in the Lord, by resting/abiding in him (Ephesians 6:10; John 15:5)
  • That we would strengthen ourselves in the power which His incredible might gives (Ephesians 6:10)
  • That God would give us a spirit of wisdom, a whole aura of understanding, that we might greatly grow in our knowing him as he reveals himself to us (Ephesians 1:17)
  • That our eyes would be opened even more to knowing the tremendous hope we have because of his calling us as his own – both us and our friends in Christ. (Ephesians 1:18)
  • That we will truly know the awesomeness of all that we have in him (Ephesians 1:18)
  • That we might really know intellectually and experientially his tremendous power that he has for us who believe in him (Ephesians 1:19)

When we pray the truth about our world, aligning ourselves with God’s will, we can be certain God hears and answers. 

Will you seek to pray the truth about your world?

Our world desperately needs our prayers. From our inner world to the ends of the earth, let the conversation begin with the Father and never end.

Sign up for the PARK Plan

The PARK Plan

If you’d like to find out how to pray the truth, sign up for my PARK Plan email series. PARK is an acronym for Pray Ask Rest Keep. After you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email taking you through each step of the PARK Plan.

 

Prayer Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash

Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/prayers-really-mattered/

Jul 26 2017

Book Review: The Essential Guide to Prayer by Dutch Sheets

The Essential Guide to Prayer

The Essential Guide to Prayer by Dutch Sheets

 

The Essential Guide to Prayer: How to Pray with Power and Effectiveness  (affiliate link) came at a perfect time. I’d been wanting to read more about prayer, and the title caught my attention. I’m not new to talking with God, but I needed to renew my mind on the subject.

What I liked

I liked the author’s conversational style of writing. He brought forth the topic of prayer within the context of real life. Most of the time, he used his own stories. He also included many examples of others who have experienced the power of prayer in their lives. As I read about the miraculous answers to prayer, I thought over and again Wow, that’s amazing. Could God answer my prayers in the same way? What prayers could be answered if I persevered in prayer?

The author explained the meanings of the original language words used for intercession in a fresh and unique way. Knowing the meaning of words brings depth to the understanding of scripture.

As a whole, this book encouraged me in the necessity of prayer. While I want more understanding about unanswered (or a “no” answer) prayer, he gave solid answers to possible reasons why a “yes” answer is delayed.

My favorite parts

One of my favorite parts of the book was the prayer at the end of each chapter. For those who are new to prayer or not so new, these sample prayers take the thrust of the chapter and apply the message with prayer. What’s more appropriate to a book on prayer than praying?

Final thoughts

My biggest takeaways:

  • Prayer is about a relationship with God.
  • God answers according to his will. Pray scripture with a desire to align with God’s heart.
  • Whenever God prompts, pray.
  • Prayer changes me and the world around me.

I don’t know if I agree with everything the author asserted in the book, but I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about prayer.

Read more about prayer

 

Note:

I was given a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House Book Publishers. My opinion is my own. Unlike a biased view of my kids (the best in the world), the review is my honest thoughts and reflections.

Links in this post contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products mentioned on this page, I do benefit—at no extra charge to you. My intention is to bring to your attention products I recommend. Read my disclosure policy here.

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