Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Women Living Well book study: Chapters 10-12 discussion + new study guide

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Chapter 10- The Completing Him Marriage Challenge Week 2

Okay, so I've really enjoyed these marriage challenges over the last two weeks! I was terrible at doing them in order {and did some of them on the same days}, but I think they were still a success. Some challenges were easier- instead of cooking his favorite meal, we went to Chuy's and got most of his favorites in one place {he said those were his favorites- and I was all in!}. And on Thursday he requested a dessert {something he never, ever does}, and it made me incredibly happy to make brownies for him.

Rob's love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch. I'm usually pretty good with the touch one I think, but the words of affirmation are always so much harder to give. Why is that?? I do it every now and then, but I'm trying to become more consistent in doing it more often.

I thought about this quote a lot this week:

It's so crazy how well you remember kind words, isn't it? What love it is to tell someone affirming words from your heart! Even if it isn't their love language, it means so much. And if it is- even better!

And the respect challenge- that was interesting! :) I asked him what made him feel disrespected and he said, he feels disrespected by me offering to drive {I never, ever drive when we're together!}, opening my own door, or me trying to mow the lawn {I've only done that once, ever, and it was not with his approval- it was a surprise and I almost couldn't start the mower!}. I asked him about a few of my own ideas- things I think would make him feel disrespected, and he agreed with me- many of them were on page 107!

As far as respecting him goes: I think thanking him often for what he does, asking for his opinion, and giving those words of affirmation really seems to be important in our marriage.

I feel extremely blessed to have such a wonderful husband and a sweet marriage with him- and this challenge really brought us closer than we were before. I was so happy with it!! :)

Chapter 11- The Influence of a Mother

This entire chapter on the influence of mothers reminded me so much of this quote:

Oh how I long for my children to walk in the truth! And to think of the great responsibility it is to lead them, train them, and teach them seems overwhelming to me. I know I can't do it on my own, and that no good would come from me if I tried! I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit changes hearts and lives through the power of what Jesus did on the cross. I am so grateful for the Helper that teaches me what I need to know and gives me guidance to do this VERY hard parenting thing!

I'm praying more that I will show servant leadership to my family. I want them to remember a mama who didn't complain, who listened, who loved with all of her heart. I want to show them what it is like to be like Jesus- to turn the other cheek- to do more than is asked of me- to lay down my life and wants for others.

It's seems like a hard balance to be a mother who is training little people and teaching them to care for themselves and a servant to them at the same time, but I know the Lord will lead me the right way when I seek Him so that I can decide in a moment how to lead them the best way.

Chapter 12- Parenting in the Digital Age

This was a short chapter- but there's so much to talk about here! We live in a media saturated world, and it's so strange to think that our children are being raised in it.

In our home, what we watch is a huge deal to us. Strangely enough, while we started out on a very different path {watching everything}, from the very beginning we have been very strict on what our children watch. We have even learned over the years {by trial and error!} that very clean cartoons on PBS can have very bad attitudes that are easily mimicked by even the smallest of our children.

I don't talk about this much because I know every family is different, and what we do in our own family should be up to the Spirit's leading, not a set of rules made by man. I can only say what the Lord has worked on in our hearts about these matters, and tell you the fruit that it has produced in our lives.

We only have children 10 and under right now, but we have found that video games and movies greatly affect the way our children behave. We have had seasons where we allowed them to spend a few hours a day in front of a screen watching cartoons and playing video games, and within a few days we saw so much more disobedience and whining, as well as a huge increase in bad attitudes and fighting between the children.

When those things happen, we suddenly realize we've let TV slip in way too much, and we turn it off altogether. And it even happens when they just get too much time in front of a screen- like playing non-violent wii games such as Mario. It's crazy, but it has happened over and over again before we realized why. Limiting the quantity of their intake has become very important to us over the years.

I've found it's really the hardest to monitor the quality of their media intake when the children are out of my care: when we're at the gym, the homes of others, and even sometimes when we go out to eat at a restaurant {together!}. I struggle with this so much, because it's very important to me, and I can't always control what they see when they are in the care of other people, even when I try my hardest to communicate what they aren't allowed to watch.

Even just watching innocent shows on cable TV can show them a wide range of awful commercials. :( I just really want to keep their minds pure and holy- because Courtney is so right- "your eyes take in images that your mind cannot erase." {p. 134}. You can't take them back. Ever. I know I can remember so many things I wish I'd never seen in my 31 years.

This is where we've really tried to communicate to our kids what they are and aren't allowed to watch anywhere and why. We do have rules, but it's not about rules- it's about keeping our hearts and minds pure before God. I can't stress that enough to them or to myself {or to you :)}. I don't want to fill my heart and mind with evil things, and I don't want to let my children do that either, you know?

It's so hard, but so important to me- and I know it was a work of the Holy Spirit on my behalf that He rescued me from watching more and more and more evil {and loving it}. I am comforted and encouraged by this verse in Proverbs 8:13: "The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." And it's good for me to remember why: "For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you." Psalms 5:4. 

Evil does not bring delight to God or dwell with Him. Isn't that so heavy? Oh, it hits my heart so strongly! This is serious business.

I want to fear the Lord more than anything or anyone else- I don't want to love or enjoy watching things God says He hates. What do I profit by doing it? When is it really ever worth it to expose my eyes and my mind to wickedness? How many degrees of pretend wickedness is "okay"? I'm so not perfect here- not by any means- but I long with all my heart to be what God wants me to be.

My heart also longs for my children to walk in the truth- to be even more ahead in their walk with God than I was and not make the same mistakes I did.  I pray for them to be able to discern what is good and right and pure on their own through the Holy Spirit, and that they would not love evil, or watching it- now and even more so the older they get. It is a dangerous place for them to go. I've been there and I know.

I know He will guide us- if we ask Him, He will show us what is good to watch, or what is not. He definitely does not leave us alone in this!

I was really encouraged by the closing of this chapter- maybe you were too?
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The child who is loved and has a healthy fear of God will eventually be able to monitor his or her own media. A child who daily is in God’s Word and desires to please Him will be sensitive to the junk that media offers and will practice self-control. So we must parent toward this goal: to raise children who love and fear God and who walk with the King! {p. 130}
Oh, that we may walk with the King in every area of our lives and teach our little ones how to do the same. It is possible, with the help of our Lord. He can do it in us!! Isn't that so very exciting? :D

So tell me- what did you think about these 3 chapters? What really stood out to you?

How do you communicate media guidelines to your children? What has worked for your family?

And please share how your challenge went this week! I'd love to hear!

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