Momlog 2018: Night Terrors

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Usually the Momlog is light-hearted and funny.  Today I’m going to take on a more serious topic.

Preface this by sharing that our family is Christ-centered.  We are Christians.  We not only attend services on Sundays we pray, read our Bibles, teach our kids about Jesus.  We believe Jesus is real.  We believe that God has power today.   (Having said that, you are welcome to have your own thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc about this.  I welcome comments, questions, discussion and even disagreement…I do not welcome shaming, name calling, or putting down people. )

The boy has had night terrors on and off for a while.  At one point I noticed that it happened quite a lot when he had been over stimulated around bedtime.  Or when he was very tired.  We aren’t super rigid about bedtime but we keep a schedule.

Some of the timeline on these events were overlapping.  Our boy is 9 1/2 now.  I first noticed the night terrors around age 5.  He kept telling me about a bad “farmer” outside his window.  (I wrote about this in another Momlog).  It turned out he was trying to say “Transformer”.  My husband, is not as conservative about what he allows our son to watch: I am error on the side of conservative.  He had allowed our son to watch part of a Transformers movie.   It clearly made an impression on our son.  I prayed for him and ask that God would remove all of his memories about the show.

I monitor what our kids watch.  I do not allow shows that include witchcraft (think “Sophia the First” ), disrespecting attitudes (think Spongebob…I’m sorry, I despise this show or any of the teenie bopper Disney sitcom shows – I have strong opinions about how parents are portrayed in these shows), zombies (or any type of death culture).  Yes, I am conservative.  We do watch educational shows (think PBS, WildKratts, Odd Squad, etc).  There is something to be said for the saying “garbage in, garbage out.”  Kids will think about what we allow them to put in their mind.  In our home, we talk about self-monitoring and not watching things that mom and dad do not allow even when mom and dad are not around.  Yes, we have Netflix.  Yes, we have Amazon Prime.

We love going to the movies.  Most movies we watch before taking our kids to see them. Yes, this NOT convenient.  Parenting is not always convenient.

I wrote all of that to tell this story.

In the past 5 or 6 months, I had gotten a little relaxed on some of my own convictions.  I wasn’t watching programs with my kids but allowing them to watch some shows on their own.  I tend to like the Lego shows and Starwars show.  I wasn’t monitoring those shows.

My son loves Legos.  He had been asking me about some Legos called Bionicles.  In general I like Legos because they promote creativity and learning to follow directions and build things is good for young minds.  I looked at these Bionicles and thought, “Eewh.”  They are kind of creepy.  I’m not a big fan of children’s toys with skulls on them (see comment above…promotes a death culture).  He asked if he could watch Bionicles on Demand (I think it’s a Cartoon Network show).  I said “yes”.  At Christmas, He asked for Lego Bionicles.  Being that I’m his mom and he is a great kid who rarely asks for anything, I wanted to get him what he wanted. I found some on eBay.  I bought him one.

We had our Christmas a few days early as we were traveling for Christmas.  He was super excited about his Bionicle.  Two days later, by Christmas, he was having night terrors again.

No, I didn’t put any of this together until weeks later.

Here is what happened.  I woke up around 4 a.m. I could hear my son in his room screaming.  Normally, I would get up and go wake him up, sending him to the bathroom, basically breaking his REM cycle.  This night, I just started praying, asking God to send His peace into his room and calm his dreams.  Almost immediately, he calmed down.

When I was younger (in my 20s) I had serious night terrors and would wake up in a cold sweat.  Once or twice I would wake myself up praying.  Even in the past 10 years, on occasion, I have woken my husband up praying because I was praying in my dream.  When I have had night terrors, I have recognized a spirit of fear that I have somehow allowed in by something I read or watched.  I had somehow opened a spiritual door that allowed a bad spirit into my mind.

As I layed in bed praying for my son, I asked God, if we had any open doors that were causing these frequent night terrors.  IMMEDIATELY, I saw the Bionicle that my son had been carrying around everywhere since Christmas.  I was bummed.  How am I going to handle this?  Deep in my heart, I want the best for my kids and I do not want to have any spirits in my house other than the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit).  As I lay awake, I decided to investigate these Bionicles (Thank God for iPhones and google).

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As I read the story behind the Bionicles (on Wikapedia), I realized there was a “spiritual” story behind the toy that does not align with the Bible or our belief system. It seems innocent enough…but is it?

I prayed, asking God for wisdom.  (James 1:5).

The next day I talked to my son about the toy and the show (he had only watched a few episodes).  We prayed as a family together later that day and gave our son some choice about giving up the toy.  I did agree to get him a replacement of some type in the future.  He gladly gave up the toy.  He had another dream a few night later…then I found the box to the toy and also got rid of that.  He has been sleeping soundly.

Some children are more spiritually sensetive than other kids.  Some kids just manifest differently.  (I banned Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” for a while because my daughter had been watching it over and over and then she was yelling at her dad – Ariel yells at her dad very disrespectfully in that movie.  As soon as she stopped watching it and we explained that her behavior wasn’t honoring to her dad, she stopped yelling at him. She’s sassy and doesn’t need any thing pushing her to be more sassy).

I am also thanking God that He doesn’t remember any of the dreams he had and he didn’t even wake up.

The Bible says this:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  – I John 4:1-4

We need not fear.  God in us is greater than any evil spirit.

Pray and ask God.  The good news is, God loves your kids even more than you do; He does!  He wants them to be  safe, feel loved, have confidence, grow in kindness and be a light in a dark world.  He doesn’t want thier minds filled with darkness.

I’m all for real.  My kids are adopted.  They know they are adopted and why…there is plenty of darkness in the world without adding scary movies, creepy shows and toys, ghost stories, zombies, etc.

If your kids are experiencing night terrors, there are certainly physical issues you can check out.  I’m not discounting all physical issues.  There are times when it’s a spiritual issue.

Questions to ask:

  • Has anything happened to my child recently (These can also be a result of being molested, bullied, fearful – prayer can also help with any of these issues but other steps may need to be taken.)
  • Have any new toys or shows been introduced? (check those things out)
  • Have there been any big life changes going on in my child’s life? (Are you in the middle of a divorce?  Has someone died recently?)
  • Have you moved into a new house? (spirits will linger until you pray and tell them to leave, in Jesus name.   John 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. “)

Talk to your child and find out if anything unusual has been going on.  Pray for them.  Take them to the doctor if you feel it’s a physical issue.

Remember, God made you the mom (or the dad).  God believes you are the best mom (or dad) for your child.  Those gut feelings are most often God communicating with us.

God Bless you and thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

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Momlog 2018: So How is that “no TV” thing going?

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I knew y’all were wondering.  My four year old is very persistent and has been asking every day we can watch tv yet.  Not yet.  We will plan something fun (maybe going to a movie) around Valentines day.

We have listened to several books on Audible (app).  Our boy, used a gift card that he got for Christmas (Thank you, Aunt Margie) to buy a chess/checkers/tic-tac-toe game.  Dennis has been teaching him to play and he has been teaching his sister.  Last night she had a good cry because he killed her piship (bishop) and all her pawns.  It wasn’t fair.   As a family we have been playing more games (Uno is great for kids) in the evening including playing canasta with the kids (I ended up “helping”/playing for the girl).  The kids have been building with Legos…I believe they are building some kind of fleet.

The girl did tell me she doesn’t think it is fair that we get to use our phones and she can’t use the iPad.  She has a point. We are learning family accountability.

I ordered a this devotional. (Recommended to us by our pastors)

Growing up, my parents tried to do family devotional/prayer with us but wasn’t always successful. We mostly hated it. I’m sorry, dad. Our parents were not as well equipped as we are now. They didn’t have the same resources we have available today. My parents obviously did an awesome job as we are all Jesus-loving people. It’s great that we can have a family devotion geared toward our kids age level.

One thing we do that our parents both do that our parents did is we listen to preaching messages. My dad always listened to Chuck Swindol in the morning on the radio…I still love his voice, plus he’s funny. I didn’t always understand what he was saying but it was a great habit. We listen to Bethel messages, Gateway messages and Embassy Church. We are laying a foundation.

Overall, the “no tv” thing has been good for us. We might be ready for a device-free vacation.

Momlog 2018: NO TV

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Hey readers!  How has 2018 been so far?

Mine, pretty good.

In January each year, our church has a fast (interestingly, Webster’s doesn’t have a religious connotation definition… to abstain from food or activities for a set about of time).  This year, we decided, I decided and my husband has gone along with me, that our family is giving up TV for 36 days at the beginning of this year.  Why 36 days?  Because there are 365 days in the year and I wanted it to be a “first fruits” kind of fast.  36 days, is a 10% tithe on the year, we are doing it in January so it will be our “first fruits”.

I admittedly have become an Netflix junkie.  My daughter is not far behind me.  The Boy, he’s all about “Clash of Clans”, so I made it a “no device” kind of fast.  Yes, I am still on my phone but no games and cutting back on the social media (except for my business “stuff”).

What does this mean?  This means I have a 4-year-old following me around all day asking, “Mom, can I play ‘ebucational’ games on my device?” (yes, she calls it a device.)  She’s very animated with her hands while asking.  I keep saying, “no”.   Ordinarily, I would allow her to play a game because she does have some educational games and I am working on homeschooling and, and, and….bottom line….it’s easier for me.  BUT the Girl switches to a movie as soon as she can go hide in the tent in her room.  I am busy and do not track her down until five hours later when I realize how quiet it has gotten or she gets hungry.

Moms of preschoolers, admit it.  Four-year-olds talk a lot; A LOT!  I went through this with the Boy at this age.  I would tell him, “Mamma needs to think.  Your mouth is on a time out.”  He still goes through phases sometimes….yesterday, after 20 minutes of talking about Legos and Starwars Legos and which Legos his friends have…I was done.  I enjoy Legos, it is kind of like doing a puzzle with instructions.  However, if it wasn’t for the Boy, I would not be putting together Legos.  Mom’s of boys have to have quiet a few interests.  We have had to know about sports and aerodynamics.  Seriously, I find myself having to explain some pretty significant scientific questions.   Then there is the Girl.  I have put together a Frozen Lego set and many Dupulo towers but she wants to have a tea party everyday.   Last weekend, she hosted a tea party with Dad, brother and many dolls/stuffed animal friends.

Bottom line, this no TV thing boils down to us having to entertain our kids more.  This shouldn’t be my attitude about any of it.  Because really, it isn’t entertaining so much as spending time with them. Spending time with them shouldn’t be a chore but a joy.

I did order a family devotional that I have been wanting to do to teach the children about Godly character traits.  Hopefully, it will come in soon.  I’ll let y’all know how this goes with a four-year-old.

In the meantime,  we have played Uno and a memory game each night.  I’m longing for some adult interaction (this reminds me that I need to make actual contact with friends outside of Facebook.

Can we go 35 days including 5 weekends with NO TV?  No cartoons? No Criminal Minds (the kids aren’t allowed to watch this show, this is one of mine)?  We can do it!  Can we do it without going crazy?  Well, that’s a better question…and I’m not so sure.

I have already listened to one book on Audible and I’m pretty sure we do not have enough Audible credits for me to continue to run through books this quickly.   I have also started reading again.  I have always loved reading but I am pretty sure, I need reading glasses (thanks to my sister).  Which means I’m going to become one of those ladies who always has a pair of glasses in her hair because one set is for reading and one is for driving and she keeps misplacing them so she just wears them in her hair but feels she is “too young” for bifocals.

Have I lost my mind with this latest endeavor?  (I’m really asking myself).

The Difference a Year Makes

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When I find myself sharing a testimony a few times….it’s time to write it down.

This year has been interesting.  Last year, we attended a Kairos event in November.  Our goal was tmulti-fold. We took our small group and we had in our hearts to present Kairos to our church. And we also knew that God would continue the work of healing He has started in us.

Our family has had an ongoing situation of disfunction.  We have been praying for a family member for years that she would find Jesus, get sober and healed.  In addition to her actions we have been praying that her enabler would begin to open his eyes to the part he has been playing in the situation.  In November of 2016, I was done.  I had lost hope in any change happening.

Dennis says that Kairos has a way of re-calibrating us. That’s a great description.

I had a moment during a session titled “Appetite for the Eternal”.   I realized that I had believed a lie. At some point I began believing a lie…a lie that many have believed.  The lie said, ” They will never change”. Which led me down a path of losing hope.

One of my life verses is from Psalm 27.  Verse 13 says, “I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”   I had lost heart concerning this situation.

The thing about losing heart is, it bleeds over to other things….all other things.

If you decide, God can’t handle this situation or this person; when God is no longer big  enough, strong enough,mpowerful enough, ENOUGH… Then He isn’t going to ENOUGH for any part of your life.

What they do not tell you when you join up is…Jesus is all or nothing.  You have to go “all in”.

My logic is that if one person is “too much” then I have to throw in the towel on my entire faith system.

That’s how easy one lie can lead us to lose our faith.

God’s truth, spoken over this situation is, “As long as they have breath, God can…”

I began to speak God’s truth over this situation.

What happen next is the difference a year can make.

A week or two after Kairos, she failed to appear for a court date.  The court issued a warrant for her arrest.  She was arrested.  Her enabler had already spent all the money he had availed to bail her out for the past arrest and since she jumped her bail, she was held without bond.  The judge sentenced her to a prison stint.  She was sent to prison in January.  SHE GOT SOBER. She was released after 10 months to a sober house.  We will see what happens on her spiritual journey but at this time she is as least sober to choose.

People have said  her life is over because she has been to prison but her life is just beginning.

God’s got this.

While my have believed that Psalm 27:13 is one of my life verses, maybe I need to expand that to include Psalm 27:14 which says “wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Still learning to “wait” better.

How Big is your God?

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Sometimes I am a bit of a nerd.   (I don’t care…I’m cool with it).  Statistics about things interest me.   Since we have worked in foster care there are many stats about children that have been in foster care.  I’ve read the stats.

For example, there is a statistic that children who end up in foster care, will most likely have their children end up in some type of stint in foster care.

There are stats about everything.

There are times when we have to decide that we aren’t going to be a stat.

Maybe your stat is that your parents were alcoholics which statistically, you have a much higher chance of being an alcoholic.

Maybe you were abused…does that mean you have to be an abuser?

A friend of mine, who has adopted children was quoted a statistic.  Her children were victims and she was told they will likely become abusers.

I was thinking about this…what’s different in their situation?

God…God is what is different.

Do not let statistics be the lie you believe.

Our God is bigger than the statistics.  Our God is bigger.  If the God you serve isn’t bigger then you need to take this opportunity to magnify Him.  Make Him a little bit bigger in your eyes!  He can handle you, your situation, your pain, your grief, your anger.  He’s bigger than all of it!

 

 

Revealing

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Warning…Spoiler Alert for the Wonder Woman movie.  If you haven’t seen it, but you are planning to, then do not read this blog.

I’ve seen the new Wonder Woman movie twice (so far).  I went to see it with some of the women from my church (Woohoo City Chapel ladies!!).  And then I saw it again with the Hubs.  I would watch it again.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while but summer has been busy.  Sometimes a topic will stick with me until I write it.  I had a little “God-moment” (God spoke to me) through this movies.  There is something about superhero movies that stir me spiritually.  The idea of good overcoming evil.… I’m not sure what it is.

Clearly, Wonder Woman has Greek mythology weaved into it’s story.  Having a firm foundation in my belief system (I am a Christian), I would not allow my son (9 years old) to watch this movies…there are some adult themes (I caught some lesbian themes going on)  as well as the mythology and well, although WW is mostly covered there is some scantily dressed women in this one…in any case, I digress.

The movie starts with Diana’s early childhood.  Her mother shows her a sword, and she is told that it is a god killer.  She is told of another “god” called Ares who is the god of war. She is taught that the communities purpose is to protect the earth and humans especially from Ares.

This is the scene….

 

As Diana attempts to strike Ares with her sword, which she believes is a “god killer”, she finds herself weaponless…or so it seems.  Ares tells Diana, “Only a god can kill a god.”  It’s the moment in the film when she realizes who she really is.

My thought was, sometimes you have to come face to face with an enemy to find out who you are.

As a “freedom fighter”, I do not believe the enemy makes us or breaks us.  Our enemy is liar.  We cannot put stock in anything our enemy says about us.  However, it is usually in our darkest hour, during the battle, facing the enemy that we find out who we are, who God is and how strong our faith is.

Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32).

Many years ago I heard a sermon by Stan Mitchel.  He said, “Sifting does not make, it only reveals what’s there.  The good farmer knows that if you throw up the wheat and chaff in a good 5 to 15 mile per hour wind the wheat will fall to the ground and the the chaff will blow away.   The chaff can withstand some wind and if the wind is too strong, even the wheat will blow away.

As believers we go through life expecting everything to “go our way”.  When difficulties come we say, “I’m being attacked”.

Most Christians either love Job or hate Job…or at very least, think poorly of Job.  God orchestrated Job’s story.  God allowed Job to go through trial.  Yes, the enemy was at work, but God allowed it.

At times, God allows us to go through things.  Why?  Because difficulty reveals our character….both good and bad.  The battle reveals our faith.  And through things reveal to us God’s goodness and His character.

 

If you are going through a trial, if you are in a battle…look around you.  What does this fight reveal about you?  Did God allow this battle to call you back to prayer?  Did God allow this to reveal something in you He wants to heal?  Every trial has a purpose.

Romans says, “All things work together for good.”

Something good will come out of this, no matter how dark it looks.

 

Freedom’s Price

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A few weeks ago we wrapped up our first Kiaros event.  Our team of nine put together a Kiaros event for our region.  We modeled it after (in conjunction with Gateway church, in Southlake, TX).

We invested our time (conference time plus many meetings leading up to the event), our personal testimonies, and our money.  I believe our team would agree that it was worth it to walk others into new levels of Freedom.

We will be hosting another Kairos in Austin next month.  Click here to get more information.

Kairos is a free event.  We do not charge for it even though it isn’t free.

Anyone who hasn’t been to a Kairos event might wonder why would invest so much for freedom’s sake.  There really is nothing like the feeling of being free.

Freedom is never free.  Someone, somewhere is paying for it.

I am reminded of something Graham Cooke once said.

“Getting free is not revenge on the enemy.  Revenge on our enemy is when you get free then you reach out a hand and help someone else get free.” (may not be an exact quote).

Here’s the thing….I want revenge on the enemy.  I was held captive for too long.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I am free.  I don’t need something like Kairos.”   Honestly, this is where I would roll my eyes a little.  We can all use a fresh perspective on God.  We can all be more free.  None of us are so free that we are in a state of returning to God’s original design.  There is more.

There are things that God has walked me through in order to heal me because I had an urgent need for healing.

Hurting people hurt people.

Too often, we do not desire freedom for ourselves.  It is easier to hold on to our familiar (comfortable) place.  It is much easier to see where others need freedom rather than looking at our own life. Of course we all have blind spots.  There is no denying that it is far more difficult to see the log in our own eyes.

Here are a few signs that you need to pursue some healing in your life:

  • You are holding a grudge against someone (if you saw them at the grocery store would you turn and run away away or say “hi”?)
  • You over-react to some things.  Maybe a song, movie, statement or even a look someone gives you sets you off your emotions. (crying, disgust, etc)
  • You have angry outbursts for minor reasons.
  • You have many failed relationships.  (It may be that you are the common denominator or it could be you choose to engage in relationships with people who are damaged themselves).
  • You engage in a sin-cycle (Some people may describe this a bad habit).  You engage in an activity that is opposed to your Biblical beliefs, you may ask God for forgiveness but you tend to go back to the sin eventually.
  • You are insecure about who you are or about your relationships.
  • You have lost hope that God is good and has good intentions toward you.
  • You have believe your circumstances or people in your life are too big for God to handle.
  • You have lost sight of who God says you are and His plans for your life.
  • You keep replaying events in your mind over and over.
  • There are some things you just can’t let go.
  • You cannot seem to be content.
  • You have settled for survival rather than thriving.
  • You are not thankful.
  • No one can please you. You find yourself criticizing or judging everyone and everything.
  • Drama follows you.
  • Although you are religious, and attend services regularly and even serve in your church, you do not feel connected with God.
  • You are always frustrated.

What will freedom cost you?  

  • You will have to give up self-pity.
  • You may have to over-come some pride.
  • You may not get the attention from others because you are no longer a victim.
  • You may have to trade in your survival lifestyle for a new abundant life.
  • You may not get the accolades of service when you shift to focusing on your relationship with God, rather than being busy doing.
  • You will have to give up your mistrust of God.

As much as I would like to round people up and force a Kairos event on them……that’s not how it works.  Kairos only works if you decide you want to be free and you begin pursuing freedom.

 Freedom will cost you everything you never needed in your life.  
Freedom has a cost, yet, it’s freely given.