How Do You Teach Your Children to Keep Their Gift Wrapped?

I’m told that God gave us a gift that we are not supposed to use until marriage. Many of us unwrapped our gift or someone else unwrapped it too early.

As I observe the world I can’t help but notice that the numerous decades of life are teaching our children there is nothing precious about their gift.  Each year this escalates and as it escalates it becomes more and more difficult to keep others from running off and opening this gift that our children possess. The world tells them it’s okay, it’s normal, it’s freeing and it’s abnormal to save it for later.

gift

So, how do we teach our children the value of their gift and that it needs to be saved for one very special person? How do we fight the selfishness of the world who practically demands they not save their gift?

This is a difficult thing to do. It may even be more difficult for those who didn’t save their gift for that one special person.

I seriously ask, “How do you teach your children to keep their gift wrapped?”

I have four children and three of them are teenagers. I know it is not an easy task and I don’t profess to have the answers to this question either.

So far, my children are doing well in this area but I know it is a struggle for them.

For those who have made it… how do you do it?

 

Past Notes

As I was browsing I found some old doodle books and a calendar that I used during the most emotional times of my recovery from abuse.

It was interesting to go back and read what I wrote and drew. I disassociated so often that I hardly remember doing many of the things I recorded.

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Here is a poem I wrote which must have helped me put a voice and words to my struggle and give me hope to keep pushing through.

“The ugliness that lays before me… Where’s the beauty they say lies ahead. Sometimes I think I can see it. Sometimes it’s nowhere but dead.

Agony is aching – Sorrow is quaking – My heart and soul rupturing inside.

I need restoration. I need change. I have no hope when I’m the only power I gain.

I believe, Lord God, that you can restore… You’re there for me at heavens door. You searched me, you found me, you love me so, this child of yours, this ugly soul. I chose to change … Grow in your grace, be refined by you till I’m at heavens gate.

I have no hope except in you. Use me for your will in all you want me to do.”

The Root of All Evil Can Be the Root of All Good

money-a-story-of-good-and-evil

As I grew up I came to believe that

money was evil

but before evil destroyed my view of money I believed differently.

It didn’t bother me that I had holes in my shoes where my big toe stuck out.

It didn’t bother me that I didn’t have brand name clothes. In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing of so much importance.

It didn’t bother me that I lived in a trailer.

I wasn’t bothered that I never matched my outfits or brushed my hair.

I didn’t know that bathing daily was something I should do or at least consider doing more frequently than once a week or more.

I was poor according to American standards. And as a young child I didn’t know I was poor.

It was when I was laughed at and secluded on the playground for my toe sticking out of my shoe that I realized something was wrong with me.

It was when I was treated with insignificance because I didn’t have on stylish clothing.

It was when peers saw I lived in a trailer when I was told I am nobody.

This is just a few of the times when I began to believe that money was evil.

Overtime I learned!!

I learned that money does not have to be evil!

I learned that I can use money and turn it into something good!

I can give to organizations that help cure the sick, house those who lost, heal those who have been hurt.

And I can stop putting so much significance in things! I can purchase items that are not name brand so I can have more to help others.

I can address someone who looks less put together and treat them as if they are as good or better than I.

I can model significance in everyone so that my children do not carry the evil of money into their schools and churches but bring into their environment love and understanding for everyone.

Money does not have to be the root of all evil! Let’s make it the root of everything good!

If you live in the Central Texas area consider joining a study about One Mission where the book, The Genius of Generosity will be studied. Click here for a list of groups that will be meeting. If you are outside of this area consider reading it yourself or with a few friends and explore together how to be meaningful when it comes to managing your finances. 

TESTimony

Sometimes my inner most being hurts so badly. Today I was burdened by the pain of many others and then by my own pains and sufferings. All I could do was cry out to God because I am angry. I am tired of life hurting so bad! I am tired of seeing others hurt and hurt others because of it. Times like these I want to throw in the towel and give up.  “Why do others have to endure so much from the enemy!” I scream.

I just want to love God with all my heart and in the meantime I am enduring pain that is so insignificant to what others are dealing with, yet I am deeply hurt and wounded. In the midst of complaining to God, I open a book and in big bold letters it says … test I am then reminded that the greater the test the greater the promotion. I want to be used by God. It is my greatest desire! 

The word test reminds me that Jesus says to hold fast! Do NOT give up! He loves me more than anything and wants to promote me to what His purpose is for me! He has a purpose for us all. And can only use us if we give in to Him, especially during times of trial, pain, and devastation. Your test may bring generations or nations  into a relationship with Him!

Today! I am thankful that I cried out to God in my pain. I am thankful that I told him I am sick of life hurting! He quickly came to my rescue and reminded me of the work he is doing in me and through me. Know this, when the test is finished you will have defeated the enemy by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the word of your TESTIMONY!

I beg of you! Cry out to God with your deepest hurts because this opens the door for Him to enter. And when he enters, he will heal, guide, love, and forgive. If you only knew how much he longs for you and loves you; you would never shut him out when you are going through your test. Please, I, WE, need to see the word of your TESTimony!  

 

 

13 Crowns – Stop Sex Trafficking

The average age a young girl is trafficked is 13 years old!

Help spread awareness and trade in your hat for a crown/tiara.

Take your pic in it and post it in the 13 Crowns Photo Contest

tonitiara

Make sure you hashtag is with #stopsextrafficking #crownsofhopetexas

 

Enter to Win Here!

REWARD: Hundreds of Dollars

I want to tell you about a reward I received. I wasn’t expecting this reward and was totally surprised!

The Beginning

I have this beautiful 18-year-old daughter who graduated from high school this past May (2014). Her greatest desire is to be a missionary full-time. All she wants to do is serve God! You may be wondering, “How did I get so lucky?” I wonder the same thing!

Despite her hearts desire, she is going to attend a community college here in town while she investigates how to support herself as a full-time missionary. (Hint: Those of us who have been there and done that know a college education will help her be a full-time missionary but I am not sure she realizes that yet.)

She enrolled in three classes and handed me the bill. It was over $2000!!! I am in graduate school and am paying just a little more! I can’t believe how much this is costing at a community college! I take a closer look at the bill and realize I am paying an “out of district charge.” I could have swore we were paying extra taxes in our property tax bill which would make us “in district.”

The Plan

So we concocted a plan to change her living address to our business address which is “in district.” We filled out the paper work. She drove to the DMV. And they wanted more proof that she actually lived at this address we gave them. We weren’t happy! So we came up with another plan. “Let’s try another DMV with the hopes they won’t ask questions like this one did.”

Well, we never got around to it because lying is hard work. The thought of her mail being sent to an address further away from home, always having to refer to a place where you don’t really live, and having to hide the fact that you live somewhere else sounded exhausting and inconvenient. But, on the flip side, we would save $500!!! Uhg!!!!

I decided to sit on this and consider if it was worth it or not. Well, my daughters due date came and I headed down to the office to pay the FULL tuition. I bit the bullet, decided it wasn’t worth lying about, and brought the $2100 to pay for what is now only two classes. (She ended up dropping one for other reasons.)

Bill DUE!

I walked up to the counter, pulled out a wad of cash and told the guy I am there to pay my daughters tuition. He looked her up in their computer system, read her info, then stopped and paused. I’m wondering, “Great, is it even more? Did we screw up registration somehow?” He asked me to wait and he would be right back. So now I am holding up a long line of people wanting to pay this cashier.

I wait. Then he comes back and said, “I have some news for you I think you will like. Your daughter was marked out of district. I don’t know why, but I felt like I needed to check your address.

The Reward

“You actually live in district and you are going to save $500 today!”

“What?” I said. “Are you kidding?”

I couldn’t believe this! I didn’t have to lie. What a reward and surprise this was for us.

Lessons Learned

  1. If we would have went through all the work of lying we would have felt stupid and guilty for going through with it.
  2. Trust God! He totally took care of us! I never even asked for this man to check our district status. God totally showed me that he has my back and took care of it.
  3. Doing what is right does pay off. I didn’t want my daughter or I to feel guilty for hiding something as simple as where she lived. So we didn’t finish going through with our plan. Being rewarded with a lower bill is an awesome bonus.

The next time you feel you need to lie, even if it is a harmless white lie such as changing an address, think again!

You just may be rewarded hundreds for telling the truth.reward

Growing Up During Therapy

Therapy from sexual, emotional, and physical abuse has been grueling at times. At times it has felt like my world is going to end and nothing will ever change. Then a moment comes when the pain is lifted, I grow up a little more as I learn about the world, its people, and healthy ways to live life. That is where the growth occurs and when I have those ah-ha moments. Each time I have one of those moments I heal that much more. The pain is that much more manageable, and my life becomes that much more enjoyable.

I have related these various ah-ha moments as my growing up process. I began this growth in the stage of selfishness. I have thrown fits. I have experienced many panic attacks. I have threatened to hurt myself if others did not love me the way I wanted. Basically, I acted like a little child and I felt like a little child. During this stage I craved many childlike activities. I colored, painted, desired to play in the closet of my counselor’s office, ran around with my kids like I was one of them and always daydreamed of playing what little girls would play but my grown up body told me that was ridiculous. I hated being reminded of that.

The ah-ha moments continued and I grew into the stage of adolescents. I dressed more provocatively, I behaved irresponsibly in a loud and crazy way, and I drank till I was incoherent. Looking back in hind sight I now realize that I craved discipline from the one whom I felt loved me unconditionally. This person was my counselor. He set up these boundaries that made me so upset. I would throw fits, cry, rage, scream and he never gave into my demands but he still showed me love, kindness, patience, and empathy. It was unbelievable what this guy put up with! It kept me coming back for more.

My counselor allowed me to go through these stages of childhood with him. He became my protector, my safety, my teacher, and my spiritual leader. My mind needed to experience a healthy childhood with a healthy adult. I needed to be raised, so to speak, all over again with love and understanding. Of course, it is different this time. I am in an adult body, I have adult responsibilities, and I have adult consequences. When my unconscious mind felt safe with my counselor he became the epitome of trust, security, and love and I regressed back to childhood frequently. I recently discovered that as I progressed through therapy with him I began trying to make him love me. I wanted him to fulfill the place in my heart where my father destroyed me. My adult self knew he was just my counselor and I was just his client but my child side was trying to find a loving safe family. I have been in constant battle with these two sides of myself.

Further on in therapy I came to a point where I literally felt like I reached the adult/college stage of my therapeutic life. Most counselors would call this the maintenance faze of counseling. I still needed to have this safe place to call home in order to air out my dirty laundry, a place to “come home” so to speak. I needed to know that even though I was out doing more grown up things, such as literally going back to college that he was still there for me. As I was going through this stage a bomb dropped! I equate it to being almost like a death in a family. My safe secure pretend family was moving far away. So far away that communication would be extremely limited. All of a sudden I went into high speed mode to make them like me so much that they would feel like I was part of their family. They would love me so much that they would make sure communication would never be dropped. My mind was racing finding ways to be clingier. My logical thoughts knew that I needed to begin to let go before they left. I needed to come to reality that my “father” isn’t really my father. He has no legal or blood commitment to me. But my fantasy kept winning over my logic. I couldn’t give up yet. I wanted him to tell me I am like a sister to him. But not just a sister in Christ; a sister that drops by unannounced, a sister that receives unplanned phone calls because he has a minute and thought of me, a sister that tells me what he does in his personal life. This man has raised me from a child so says my unconscious now conscious mind of mine and I want to be more than just a client. I want to be family!

Recently, I had a revelation. I realized that I am trying to hold onto something I have never had. I’m trying to make someone love me that doesn’t have to love me. I’m trying to keep the only feeling I’ve known of safety and security as close to me as possible. It’s not working. Instead, I am acting out in anger. I am hearing words of hurt that weren’t meant for hurt. I’m grabbing onto any thread of hope that he loves me like families love each other and it keeps slipping out of my hands, vanishing into thin air. Every time I go home to my own family I am reminded that I am not a part of his. Every time I see a Facebook picture of his family I am reminded that I have my own family.

So this is where I am today. I am left unsure what to do. I am left with unresolved feelings. I am left knowing the truth but not being able to accept the truth. I am left grieving for a father I never had and for a taste of what a father might have been.

While writing all this a word comes to mind … lucky. Lucky reminds me of being thankful. Can I be thankful that I did get to taste what a fathers love is possibly like? Or will I resent all of this because it hurts so much to let go? I’m betting there are countless women out there who have never experienced a father’s love. What would they give for that? What would they give for the taste that I experienced? I hope I can stay thankful, not turn it to resentment and hold onto that father’s love as I continue figuring out this growing up stuff of life. After all, God does say in Ephesians 1:3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us…. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his [children].”

Not too long ago I wrote a poem. I read it often to try to practice the truth that God is my real father who will continue to love me while my counselor is gone. It goes like this:

God chose you to show me Himself.

I saw His image as you sat patiently while I cried with anger.

I saw His hands as I stared at yours to help me focus and stay present.

I saw His eyes as I briefly looked at yours for reassurance.

I saw His feet as I looked towards the ground at yours in shame and regret.

I saw His smile as you laughed back at something funny I spoke.

I felt His love as you walked me through panic and despair.

I felt His justice as I learned from you that I have the right to have boundaries.

I felt His strength as you gave me food when I punished myself through starvation.

I felt His heart break as you showed anger for injustice done to me.

I felt His comfort as you stayed with me during intense pain and emotion.

He taught me integrity as I watched you keep your boundaries.

He taught me relationships as I watched you interact with others.

He taught me commitment as you worked tirelessly for God’s kingdom.

He taught me forgiveness as I witnessed you forgive me for my mistakes.

He taught me honesty as I witness you proclaim the truth with sincerity and candor.

God chose you to show me Himself.

I couldn’t have chosen a better man for Him to use.

Father Holding Daughter's Hand