Tag Archives: children

Whatever Happened to Honor?

“I don’t enjoy going to lunch with my work associates as much as I used to,”” my young friend confided over coffee one day. “The conversation always seems to turn into husband-bashing.” She admitted that while her own marriage wasn’t perfect, she tried to respect her husband’s reputation in the eyes of others. “I’m a very transparent person,” she smiled. “So I try to be real. But I don’t want to dishonor my husband. And I want my friends to know I love being married to him.”

As we talked further, she came to the conclusion that it was okay for her be honest with her friends about some of her marriage struggles. She decided she could share a few of the ways she and her husband are working through their issues. But she resolved to do this in a manner that would honor both Christ and her husband. I loved her heart. And knowing my friend, she’ll be a winsome witness to her friends about what it means to have a Christian marriage.

That conversation was just one of many I’ve had with women of all ages and stages over the last few months while working on my soon-to-be-released new book: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband.  My husband David has written the companion volume for you guys: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife.  I think you’ll discover that honor is something that’s vital for all of us–married or single, young or old.

Honor not a subject you hear much about these days. If anything, we’ve become much more accustomed to disrespect and dishonor. The urban slang for disrespect, or “dis,” has made its way into everyday language. Most any child can tell you what it means to “dis” someone. Or worse, to be “dissed.”

Honor. Simply put, the word means to treat someone with respect or admiration.   It has to do with qualities like honesty, integrity and dignity. The biblical version of honor is much weightier. Even lofty. It conveys the precious nature and worth of the person being honored and is related to words like glory, worship or prize.

I’ve come to believe that deep down inside, most people yearn to be treated with respect. We benefit from both receiving honor and from giving it to others.

God set the bar so low that even a child can show honor. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2,3).  Some refer to this commandment as “the training wheels of honor” ((Exodus 20:12).

A  beautiful thing can happen when children learn to show honor to their earthly parents–they begin to understand the importance of honoring their heavenly Father.

We’re a culture that’s desperately thirsty for honor. Perhaps it’s time to recapture this age-old virtue. We can take the first step by honoring God.  But let’s do so with a sense of reverence and expectancy. For God Himself makes this bold promise: “Those who honor me, I will honor…” (1 Samuel 2:30).

30 Days of Hopeful: day 17

Our God-given hopes and dreams can impact the entire direction of our life.  The Bible reminds us of the importance of dreams:  “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).  Some of the most courageous women I know are mothers raising their children in fragile neighborhoods.  These moms know that dreams can divert their children from drugs, gangs, and prison.  Dreams mean survival.

My young friend Dominique was just ten when some gang members befriended him.  “I was kind of a mascot,” as he puts it.  But gang mascots eventually become gang members, and he was headed for trouble.  One day, Dominique discovered an online chess game.  He got the hang of it and became good—really good.  Before too long, he was “busy” when gang members called.  Dominique was way too busy finding his purpose to run with gangs.

By the time he was in high school, Dominique had become the top scholastic chess player in the state of North Carolina.  In his college application, Dominique wrote: “By getting closer to the One who allowed me this chance, and continuing with the plan that we dreamed up together when I was a young child, I feel that I will be able to help someone else and make a lasting impact.”

Dominique didn’t attend church growing up.  But as a small child he had a sense of God’s destiny and a mysterious awareness of His calling through his childhood dreams of playing chess.  And when he heard a clear presentation of the Gospel his first semester in college, the vibrant young man accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.

Dominique recently graduated from college–the first to do so in his family.  He plans to pursue a master’s degree.  And he continues to play chess.   He’s made his way into the realm of international competition.  This week, he’s playing against some of the best in the world at a match in London.

One thing is clear. Dominique’s earthly dreams had eternal implications that went far beyond the mastery of chess.  A reminder to take seriously the hopes and dreams of those children entrusted to our care.  Mother Teresa put it this way: Tread gently around the dreams of a child.  You might be treading on the dreams of God.

Day Seven: Only by Prayer and Fasting

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta laugh a little.  Even when life seems serious.  Jesus was a “man of sorrows acquainted with suffering,”  but he must have had a playful side.  His parables were often laced with irony and wit.  He hung out with coarse fishermen.  Sinners felt comfortable in his presence.  Even little children were drawn to Jesus.  And children usually steer clear of someone who is no fun.

We’re on day seven of our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. Some of you may be wondering if fasting works.  I hope to encourage you with a story about one of the first times I ever fasted.  In the end, there was an answer to my prayers, with a humorous twist that still makes me laugh.  For me,  the episode was unforgettable and opened my eyes to the power of prayer and fasting.  It happened when my almost twenty year old son was nearly two.


“This Kind only Comes Out by Prayer and Fasting”

After the birth of a beautiful daughter and a fine strong son, I still felt like our family wasn’t finished.  We had agonized through years of infertility before having our two children. People wondered why would we put ourselves through more anguish and expense when we already had a daughter and a son.  I could only describe my feelings by explaining that it was as if someone was “trying to come to us.” And sure enough, just a couple of months shy of my fortieth birthday, our little Michael made his entrance into this world.

Our lives, which had become fairly predictable with a nine year old and almost six year old, took a sudden detour back to the world of diapers and midnight feedings. Things were made easier by the fact that Michael was a happy child. But he was also active,  curious and always into something.

Michael’s curiosity as a toddler was the reason I had to call poison control three times in one week. He  swallowed a penny, drank a bottle of ear drops, and ate half a tube of toothpaste all in the same week.   This is still a family record.

Michael began developing sinus infections the winter before his second birthday.  The repeated infections were resistant to antibiotics, and grew more serious by the day.  This forty-something mother of a toddler was exhausted. Doctors were baffled.  Our next step would be a series of x-rays to determine the cause of the infections.

Six weeks into this saga, I decided in desperation to fast for our son.  I had little experience with fasting, but I was at the end of my rope. I wasn’t sure how one even did such a thing.  So I resolved not to eat. Throughout the day,  I went to God over and over with the same simple prayer:  “Help, Lord…we’ve tried everything. Surely You know what is causing these infections. Please show me!”

After naptime, I let Michael venture outside to play for a little while.  It was unusually warm for February and he had been cooped up for weeks.  A few minutes later, he ran inside pointing to his nose. For a split second, I simply thought he wanted me to wipe it.  Looking closer I caught my breath.  A partially lodged brass pin-back (the kind used to fasten a sports insignia) was sticking out of Michael’s left nostril!

As I gently removed the badly tarnished (and very gross) pin-back,  it suddenly dawned on me that this was the culprit of our forty-day ordeal!  When I asked Michael how the thing got into his nose,  he explained, in toddler language, what happened.  Weeks earlier, he had climbed out of his crib one night and crawled up on his big brother’s bed.  He unfastened one of the sports pins on his brother’s baseball cap and stuck the pin-back in his nose.  Seriously??

We stood there, incredulous, Michael and I,  half-laughing and half-crying.  I could hardly believe what had just happened. And right at that moment, a calm, yet somewhat amused inner voice seemed to whisper the same words Jesus once spoke to his disciples.  Words I have never forgotten:  “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.” 

*You can read the entire story in  Mark 9.


mom’s three minute rule

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need… Philippians 4:6

How many times on any given day are you tempted to lose your patience? If you’re like me, the answer is plenty. Next time a petty problem causes you to unravel, I challenge you to pause. Try to wait for three minutes before you allow yourself to become anxious. Time yourself if necessary, but stay calm. Just for three minutes. Then see what happens. I’m amazed at how many of life’s little whirlwinds clear up in three minutes! My kids have come to call this “Mom’s three minute rule.”

It’s the minor irritations that quickly steal our joy. It’s the “little foxes,” marriage counselors will tell you, that nibble away at our marriages. And it’s the trifling annoyances that rob our daily calm.

What if we stood up to the enemy and said, “No! I will not surrender my peace of mind.” I may not be able to keep my cool forever, but surely I can wait for three minutes. Especially if I remember to turn the matter over to God through prayer. Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you, we’re reminded in 1 Peter 5:7. But casting your anxieties, I’ve learned, takes a bit of spiritual muscle.  Continue reading