Category Archives: parenting
I am no stranger to “spring cleaning”, regardless the time of the year. End of August and beginning of September are the best times for “back to school” organizing. For many moms whose children are still living at home it is a welcome move from unorganized chaos of the summer to a schedule-based school year. For those empty nesters whose children just left home it is time to stop crying and begin enjoying the freedom- and space. Trust me.
Regardless of what your situation is decluttering may be just the thing you need to get a fresh start. By doing so you undoubtedly will gain a new perspective on your surroundings and future actions. It is hard to approach new beginnings when weighted down by baggage and clatter, be it physical or emotional.
When you are facing changes in life, are scared and vulnerable sorting things out may need to start in your closet.
Do you hold on to emotional baggage? How about stuff in your closet? Do you keep a few thing with tags still attached because you just can’t let go of them? Are you also afraid to let go of friendships that don’t make you feel good any more? Did you accept hand-me-downs you didn’t really like (and never wore!) because they were free and you could not refuse the temptation? How about other temptations in your life, do you give in easily? Can you say no to requests that will sure put you over the top? Are you afraid to express your true feelings to your family members because you don’t want to hurt them? Do you still have that skirt you got on clearance three years ago? Even though it was a little too tight it was cute so you got it hoping to lose weight soon. Does it fit you now or have you gained a few? Do you still hope to lose weight? That’s good, but a thing you don’t realize is that a skirt is a silent reproach of your conscience: you can’t do it, looser!
Can you recall everything you own? How about in just one category? Do you remember every pair of jeans you own? Every blouse and dress? Can you access them easily? If the answer to every question is yes than congratulations, you are a minimalist and you may stop reading now. If, on the other hand, just reading about clatter in your closet makes you anxious it is high time for you to do something about it.
This month I will walk you through a few simple steps. Please don’t get carried away and try to clean and organize everything at once- you may burn out and quit altogether. That is not what you want, right? Let’s start with clothes. Decide what you will do with the things you will let go of. Give away? Donate? Sell? There may be people who appreciate vintage and want what you no longer need. You, on the other hand, will learn what you truly need.
You may be blessed to afford beautiful expensive designer clothes. Even if you spent a lot of money on such things do you still love them? If not, one by one separate them from the things that still bring you joy. You may choose to donate them. In this case you may want to locate designer boutiques that may give you better tax credit for you items than regular donation places. Another option is selling them. But only consider selling if you definitely WILL do it! Don’t create a pile of things you will eventually sell if it will never happen, it only creates more baggage and clatter that will weigh you down emotionally.
After you made a decision about what you are going to do with discarded things have some fun! Pull out every skirt or pair of pants you own. If you have dig for it, that’s ok, just try not to get distracted and start organizing your photos or other non-clothes items, that’s a no-no at this step. This is a week to deal with clothes only. Pull every item out, take it in you hands and ask yourself if this thing still excites you. What are the reasons you may want to keep it? If you think “It may fit me eventually if loose weight”, ” I can wear it to work in the garden”, ” You can barely see the stain, I’ll wear it around the house”, ” It’s sort of cute”or “I wore it in 1982” that is not it. Does it make you happy? Do you want to wear it tomorrow? This week? To a next party? You have to love it to keep it, otherwise it should go into a “letting go of” pile.
May be someone would love it more than you do. Count your blessings that you were able to afford clothes that gave you please to wear them. Then free yourself from them with gratitude. After you are done with all skirts and pants by using this approach you will move to a next category: sweaters, dresses, scrubs, dress shirts. At the end you will most likely cut your belongings in half. Bag the items you don’t want to keep. Nearly organize the things you chose to keep so they are easily reachable. As for the things you bagged, try get them out of your living space within a week, the sooner the better.
Good luck and happy cleaning!
“Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.” Proverbs 23:19
When our children grow up it seems that we cannot change them, we can only pray for them. We need to teach them when they are young, by word and by example. There are beautiful scriptures in the Bible about teaching children wisdom: Proverbs 22:6, 2:1-6, 3:1-12, 4:1-17, 6:20-23, Ephesians 6:1-4.When they get older sometimes the interaction between parents and children change. Quite often our strong-spirited children take our well-intended advice as not having enough confidence in them and not trusting their judgment. It is very challenging to watch your child fall and learn from his mistakes. I think this is how our Heavenly Father is watching over us, allowing us to grow, mostly through pain.
We can pray for divine appointments in our children’s lives and good godly influence from their friends and people they meet. Most likely it is not God’s plan to use only you to influence your child and shape his character, can you agree with that? Even though we are surrounded by negativity of the world God will provide in due time and he does answer prayers.
Many of you have wonderful, loving and caring children, you can be proud of them. But in reality it is only by the grace of God that they are who they are. It is only God who gives us our talents, abilities, and character, to become who he wants us to be. Remember, even the hair on your head is numbered. It is not right to be prideful and say it is only because of your dedication and guidance your children turned out the way they are. The Lord blessed you so you can raise them right and you can do this job for him. We should not boast about our great parenting abilities because it is God who gives us wisdom as well as children who listen and respond well. Do not look down on those whose children are not as well-behaved or successful as yours. Does it mean that God loves other people less than you if their children bring grief and shame to their parents? Do you think those parents did a lousy job raising them? How do you know? Actually, it does not matter what you know. We have no right to judge others; we can only encourage them and pray. No gossip-prayers, please.
There are numerous stories about pastor’s kids. Some keep walking with Christ and are great examples of lives lived for God. Others may rebel against their upbringing at some point and decide to test their boundaries. They will try to see what the world has to offer and drift away from God. You know pretty well that good Christian kids, regardless pastor’s kids or not, can do bad things. For some kids, especially teenagers, having an “overly religious parents” may be not “cool”. Maybe they think that their parents are out of touch with the “real world” and are clueless. Would you struggle with that if it were going on in your family? You are praying for your child, and you are nice and sweet and yet your kid is a rebellious teenager who thinks that it is embarrassing if you talk about God all the time. It’s ok, just keep on praying. Never cease to pray for a child and be a good example. Sometimes you may not want to talk too much, and bore your kid to death. Don’t worry; your child will catch on later. What you need to do is listen, and if you show your love to God through your actions rather than words, your child might very well listen more. And if you ask them questions without judging their choices outright perhaps you might open a door to a deeper level of communication. At times you may wonder what happened to this sweet little child of yours. They are still there, but they are changing, going through their own growing pains and at times causing pain to you. Let it be, God is always in control, even when it does not feel like it.
We need to learn to forgive ourselves for mistakes we made in raising children. Children do not come with an instructional booklet at birth- not a single one. And if you have a few children you know how different they are, even the twins! You may raise them the same way, but God gave them different personalities.
Parents often wonder if they did or are doing everything right. Many feel guilty for what they did not do, classes they did not signed their children for, fieldtrips they did not chaperone, and conversations they did not have with their children. Even the “super-moms” have guilt relapses! You did your job to the best you could with resources, abilities and level of maturity and wisdom you had at that time. We do not know what is the reason for all the hurt, pain or mistakes. The Lord is the one who can see the whole picture. God knew what He was doing giving you this child. Have no regrets.
Trust God and rely on Him completely. Hannah’s story from the Book of Samuel comes to mind. The story is about a barren woman who desperately wanted to have a child. Year after year she prayed and even vowed her child to be a servant of God if she ever become pregnant. The Lord finally heard her prayer and she gave birth to a son. She only had him to herself for a short while and later took him to the temple to serve God. Can you imagine how difficult that was- to give up your child, even if you know he will serve God? You can read this story in 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
Another story about intrusting your child to God is that of Moses. His mother Jochebed put an infant in a basket and placed it in the reeds by the bank of the Nile. She asked her daughter to watch and see what would happen. Most of you are familiar with this story and know that it was a move dictated by desperation- all Hebrew boys were to be killed. I can imagine there were plenty crocodiles in the reeds and not too many princesses walking around saving babies, so placing Moses there was a total trust in God.
We all are different and everyone has a unique story. But we all have to remember that kids will be alright- they are in caring and loving hands of their creator.
Heavenly Father, please keep our children save. You give them desires of their heart, please help them to fulfill their lives purpose. Please give them wisdom and guide them along the way. Fill their heart with joy and bodies with health. We pray in Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.