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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Annoying You Again?

 

Barely able to get through her story, laughing and snorting, my girl relives the hilarious meeting she attended. Pushing Skittles into piles with their noses, races in the hall way with scooters; the tales went on and on… and so did her energy.

Exhausted from a summer day of running errands in the heat, I was so done with the day. The energy Madi had just seemed to drain out the energy I had left.  “Calm down” was all I said.

Squash! In one fail swoop I managed to smash her happy mood. Like a deflated balloon, the fun ended.

“Stop it; you’re annoying me.” Annoying. According to Dictionary.com annoying means “irritatingly bothersome.” Irritating and bothersome by whose description? Mine? Yours?

The thing that I may think is annoying, another thinks is funny. What drives me  crazy may be the exact thing that draws a new friend for another. Maybe the problem isn’t theirs. Maybe the problem is in fact mine.

Proverbs says the person who is annoyed easily is the one who is really the fool. “Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults” (Proverbs 12:16, The Message). The wise person, the person who really has it all together, is the one who let annoying comments go; the one who extends patience.

Show your love and maturity by ignoring the things you find annoying. If someone bugs you, let her alone. Allow her to be herself, especially if she’s young. You’re only a young girl once.

Jesus, I didn’t realize how often I cut down others with the word annoying. I’m done with this word. Help me to worry less about other’s actions and more about my own. Amen.

Pledge to remove the word annoying from your vocabulary today. I’m going to!

 


 

Lynn

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tips – Visitors from College

 

Today’s question comes from Lucy:

“I would like some insight on the best way to deal with older children who return home between college years. My children know my “open” heart, and they take in “stray students” who either don’t want to go home, or can’t afford to go home, and they volunteer for them to live for the entire summer at OUR HOUSE!  Extra beds to set up, extra mouths to feed (an additional 21 year old college senior boy eats a lot!) and extra clothes to wash…and I work 40 hours a week on top of that!

Of course, I want to be a servant of God, and the kids say, “Mom, you are always offering to help other people.  I thought you would WANT them to stay here!”  And I do ….or at least, most of the time I do.  But not only do they think that they can move home and keep the same rules they have set for themselves while they are away at college, but they bring home all of their friend’s extra dorm stuff, because they told them we would store it for them for the summer.  I don’t want to lose my cool, but I need some control over my home! HELP!”

I know many of you are not at this point in raising kid. My husband and I are and having grown children is a whole different dynamic.

Lucy, I love that your kids see the heart of Jesus in you; what a compliment! I certainly understand your need for boundaries though. When my son left for college, I told him that I knew at some point he would want to bring a friend home, but please ask me first. Unfortunately, the ask usually came after he had already told his friend to come on!

I have learned some pretty valuable lessons watching my older siblings and their children;  I’m number seven of eight, so I have plenty of role models! I watch the interactions they have with their adult children and have learned:

If I want my kids to behave in a certain way when they are adults, I need to tell them now. Some examples that I have covered are:

* When you have company, it’s important to change the sheets when they come.

* Don’t forget your dad is allergic to animals, so if you have pets, you’ll have to clean extra well before we visit.

* Be sure to offer your guest something to drink/eat when they arrive.

* When you come and visit me, please be sure to help me clean up the meal afterwards.

There is something extremely uncomfortable about having to ask a 20-something to help you wash dishes.You would think that manners like these would be learned from observation, but there is something that is often missed between demonstrating manners and copying them.

Although this doesn’t help for this summer, Lucy, clarify with your student your heart and your expectations, so everyone can have an enjoyable summer! I hope you at least have some extra summer help!

What do you think Lucy can do to help her get through the summer?

P.S. I asked my soon-t0-be 18 year old and her friend what they thought. Their advice, “When kids come home for the summer, they need to resume whatever the rules are in the house.” Glad they see it that way! I’ll have to remind her of that in a couple of years!

Lynn

Wednesday Wisdom Tip

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

—James 1:19

Do you have a clothes stealer in your house? I’ve got one in mine. When I find my new shirt in her laundry, my teeth tend to grind. If I’ve misplaced my favorite pair of jeans, I might find them under her bed.

You know what this makes me want to do? SCREAM!

James 1:19, 20 nails me: “Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger” (The Message). I’m feeling like God put this one in the Bible just for me.

Pay close attention to the order of those actions:

Quick to listen. (Maybe there is a good reason they did what made me so angry.)

Slow to speak. (Or text! I need to give my words time to run past God’s Word for approval.)

Slow to become angry. (I can still speak my feelings without blowing a gasket!)

 

Today, if you feel your blood starting to boil because she did it again, breathe deep and make a choice. Listen, talk less, and refuse to become angry.

 

Jesus, love is patient and kind, but I don’t always feel that way! I need you! Amen.

 

If you often let angry words fly, find a place to catch them. Journal, go for a walk, count to ten.

Lynn

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hasty and Costly

Equality is a high priority to me. Not the woman’s rights sort of thing; but the keeping score type of thing. In the in’s and out’s of daily life, I have a mental credit and debt system for the relationships in my life. Whether it’s work load, random gifts or acts of kindness; my mind often looks for a way to keep it even.

I’m definitely not saying this is the best way to live; in fact, it can be downright exhausting. I catch myself making quick choices to balance the scales. If a friend has remembered my birthday or made me a meal when I was sick, I make myself a mental note to repay as soon a possible. If I don’t…it’s hard not to berate myself. Whether conscious or not, I am guessing this decision to try to keep my relationships from not tipping too far in one person’s favor or away from another, has at it’s root control.

I wonder if that was Jephthah’s problem too. I sense as I read his story in Judges 11, he also had a problem keeping score. When God gave him the strength he needed to conqueror his enemies, he didn’t just accept this gift. He felt a compulsion to make a hasty vow:

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering. ” Judges 11: 30 – 31 (NIV)

When God’s victory gift came through, Jephthah was prepared to make good on his vow. But who should come out to meet him? His daughter; his only child.

I was so relieved when my Bible commentary explained that very likely the offering of his daughter was an offering of service to the Lord. Scripture says she was a virgin and they mourned that she would never marry; important details for one wholly given to the service of the Lord.

We can appreciate Jephthah’s heart to want to repay the Lord’s kindness, victory in battle, but rather than trying to keep it even with a hasty promise, God would have wanted an offering of thanks. A simple “thank you” would have been enough instead of an attempt at a repayment.

There is no way we can ever repay God for all the goodness He brings to our lives, but we can practice Hebrews 12:28 “…let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe….”

That’s the sacrifice He’s wanting: the sacrifice of a thankful and grateful heart.

Lynn

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wanted

Father’s Day. That day each year when we celebrate the influence of these special men in our lives. For some, Daddy is a cherished name. Just the mention of it brings a flood of wonderful memories. For others, it is a flood of pain. One thing that is true of all, we want our Daddy to want us; to be proud of us.

I, too, just wanted to be wanted. When I was younger, this need occupied my thoughts, filled my daydreams and entered my sleep! I wanted someone; anyone, to want me; be crazy about me.  This wanting was fueled by a fear. A fear that no one ever would. A fear that I would always be alone.

Do you love romantic movies? I do! My favorites are the ones where the guy gives up everything for the girl; which puts “Pirates of the Caribbean” near the top. Picture this scene: Elizabeth is on the gangplank; the evil captain readying himself to push her into the swirling, black water below when in swoops, Will Turner.  Handsome, strong, capable “She goes free!” he yells as he removes the enemy, rescuing Elizabeth from death. Boy does that scene get my heart pounding every time! It doesn’t matter how old I get, I still love the thrill of a guy coming after a girl.

In Pirates, Elizabeth is wanted and Will would do anything for her. I guess I love these movies because deep down inside, that is what I want too!

When I discovered that I was wanted; that Jesus would and did do everything for me, it completely changed me. I didn’t need to rely on men – whether it was my dad, a boyfriend or even a husband one day – to fill that love gap in my heart. Jesus had paid the ultimate price to have relationship with me; his death said, “I want you”.

“…with your blood you purchased men for God…” Revelation 5:9

You are wanted too! That desire you have for acceptance, attention and affirmation can be filled by the one who, with his blood, purchased you for God.  He died to make an intimate relationships between the two of you a reality – here on earth and in heaven one day too.

He’s down on one knee, asking to make you His. Will you say “yes”?

Lynn

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip

Happy Wednesday Friend!

For over a year, I have been sending you tips for the teen relationship in your life, most of which comes from my daily interaction with my three kids. But today, instead of me giving you “wisdom”, I’m asking you to give me some!

What I want to know is:

What are the problems you are dealing with in your home?

What are the ways you want to improve the relationship with your child?

What are the things in society that you feel you need to know more about so you can engage your child?

What questions would you like me to address?

You can either email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com or leave me a comment below. I’ll take these questions and work on creating some new videos and integrating them into my Wednesday Wisdom Tips.

It’s been great investing in our children together over the past year! I’m looking forward to building more community here in the year to come!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my videos on past questions, just click on “media”.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lynn

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Dirty Kind of Beauty

Dirty never looked so good. When Madi sauntered up the steps, she looked past tired. Grungy and worn out, yet I have never seen her glow like she was radiating now. Just completing 24 hours of service to the poorest of our city, love pouring in her and out of her gave her a rare radiance.

“That was so amazing.” she whispered as her backpack slid to the floor. “I’ve got to get to sleep, but just let me tell you about it.”

As Madi recanted her adventure with the least of these, her smile was brighter, her eyes twinkled brightly, her laugh so pure. Loving others created a beauty that could never come from designer clothes and Mac make-up. My girl found the joy of loving others.

I hope your child finds the opportunity this summer to give away. Our cities are full of people to love; to show they are valued. They matter. I’d love to have you share their experiences with us as we help them find what really is important in this world.

Lynn

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unqualified? Says Who?

Being the frugal, money-saving girl that I am, rebates often catch my eye. In fact, there is a form and receipt sitting on my desk right now, just waiting to be filled out. But often I lose my receipt or miss one of the details they require. The money I had a right to never shows up in my mailbox.

Zelophedad’s daughters had a right, but they were missing an important criteria in Numbers 26: 52 – 56. God allotted each family a portion of land to be handed down from generation to generation. There was a glitch for these God girls: land was passed from father to son. They had no brother; no son in their family line to keep their father’s land. They were missing criteria. Believing God would want them to have what was rightfully theirs, they boldly approached Moses and the leaders. With courage, they asked the powers-that-be to allow them to inherit their father’s land.

Not only did their boldness cause them to win their case, but it set precedence for those coming after them.

When I felt called to speak and write, I hit a roadblock. Without a college education, I was unqualified; didn’t meet the criteria. My own fears and lack of confidence blocked my path. I had to believe that God had given me everything I needed to receive his blessing and in turn, share it with others.

Just like Zelophehad’s daughters, we must boldly act upon God’s callings and not on what man says is the criteria. God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. He has given an inheritance of a calling to you; a cause for you to please people through. Though you may feel unqualified, be bold and take a step forward, trusting God to give you everything you need.

 

Lynn

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – What Do They Know?

 

Don’t they look fun? This is my group of girls I get to meet with each week, talk about life and how it centers around Jesus.

Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with one of them; a conversation that really concerned me.

“How could God let all those people go to hell?” she said. I could tell she was confused, and a little angry too. “I mean, when they get to heaven, if they didn’t follow Jesus on earth, God’s just going to throw them in hell? I don’t think he will. God’s just not like that. I think he’ll give them another chance.”

I can definitely understand her concern; we should all be concerned for those we know who are not following Jesus. That’s why we need to share and live it out in front of them. [Read more...]

Lynn

Monday, June 4, 2012

Questions Without Answers

Uncomfortable. Terribly uncomfortable.

That’s all I can think of when I read Rebekah’s decision.

“Let’s call the girl and ask her about it. So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.” Genesis 24:57 – 58

Asked by a complete stranger to leave her family and move miles away to marry a complete stranger, her mind had to have been a sandstorm of swirling questions. What would he think of her? What if he didn’t like her? If he wished she hadn’t come, then what?

What would compel her to push past these concerns and on to her “yes”?

Believing God was calling her.

Uncomfortable. Terribly uncomfortable. God was asking me, a stay-at-home mom, to make a move and invest in a group of teens who were strangers. Confident God was calling me, I still didn’t feel confident. Would they be nice? What would they think of me? What if they didn’t like me? What if they wished they had never come to the study? What if they didn’t come back?

Maybe like Rebekah and I, you sense God pointing you in a certain direction, but questions are holding you back.

Let me encourage you: in order to obey, you don’t need all the answers. Rebekah chose to climb on that camel and start her journey though she didn’t know what it held. I didn’t know if there even was a future in investing in girls, yet I invited them to come anyway.

Should you choose a path of obedience, will it be perfect? Probably not; life never is. But God will bless your choice. Rebekah found Isaac loved her. I discovered young women wanted a loving adult to confide in.

For the next step of your journey of trust, hop on your “camel” of obedience, questions and all. The road may be long, bumpy…less-than-perfect, but you’ll never have the opportunity to experience the blessing of obedience if you never get going.

What’s your “camel”? Do you need to make a phone call, do some research, sign up for a class? Before your mind can start throwing out questions again, take your step and make your move one step closer in obedience.

Lynn