Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When God Says "No"

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 11:38 AM 0 comments
Do you ever wish that you could have every wish that you had? I think our tendency is to want what we want and focus on that and only that. At least, I know mine is. Even in fantasy books/stories the need to limit wishes is recognized. Even when a genie or good wishing fairy is present, the receipient of the wishes only gets three. Boy, if I only had three wishes to make in life, what would they be?

Big question. But, I don't have to come up with an answer. That's because my God is bigger than that and He loves me enough not to limit what I can ask Him for or what He's willing to give me. But, He's also wise enough not to give me everything that I wish or want.

Such is the case in relation to my recent post about the She Speaks Conference scholarship. I knew from the beginning that if I didn't get one, there would be a reason. And one of those reasons was that someone else deserved it more. I read the winning entries (okay, I browsed them), and it was true. They wholly and completely deserved to win.

I also knew that if God didn't provide the means that way, He would another way. Lysa TerKeurst even said so in her winning post entry. That to give all entrants a scholarship, no matter how much she wanted to or thought more entrants deserved it, would be to rob them of other blessings. And how true that is!

I didn't get the scholarship, but did register. I am looking forward to this conference almost as much as my own conference, Abundant Life Conference for Women November 2011. The workshops look so good, I had a hard time picking my favorite in a couple time slots.

So now, I'm registered. And the blessings have already started. My two biggest encourages have gone all in to help me attend this conference. Just the sentiment is worth me not getting the scholarship.

So, did God say "no" because I don't deserve it, someone else deserves it more, He wants to bless me in other ways, or He knows how to work everything out for the utmost good of both me and others and bring the greatest glory to Himself?

I'll take the last three. My experience tells me that whenever God tells me "no" it's for my own good and often what I get instead is better.

So, just like when we say "no" to our children to protect them or hold out for something better, when God says "no" there is always a greater purpose.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weary Moms

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 1:50 PM 0 comments
Do you ever get weary? Check out Moms for God for my latest post on dealing with weariness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Amazing Conference Opportunity

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:39 AM 0 comments
Have you heard of the She Speaks Conference? I became aware of it several years ago, after a good friend clued me in on the Proverbs 31 Ministry. This ministry focuses on guiding, supporting, educating, encouraging, and uplifting women to live radical lives for Jesus. They provide this through blog posts, magazines, radio spots, and an annual conference. This conference most intrigued me because of the focus for writers. I thought, "A Christian writers conference for women? WOW!" That suits me to a T. But, it's not just for writers. It's also for speakers and women's ministry leaders - of which I am/have been all three!

I began making plans to go about five years ago, looking towards the conference the following year. Then God surprisingly blessed me with my third child. That counted that year out. The following year, once my sweet baby had turned one and quit nursing, I was working part-time and planned a getaway with hubby, which we hadn't had in six years and three children. That knocked out She Speaks for that year. So, I started planning for the following year. Then, my all-knowing, amazing God blessed me with getting pregnant with sweet baby number four. No She Speaks conference for me once again, but for a wonderful reason.

But, I hang on to hope that one day, in God's perfect timing, I would get to go. Now, with my last precious gift getting ready to turn two, and full confidence that God has completed our family, I am led to to finally attend the She Speaks Conference in 2011! However, living as a family of six on one income limits my ability to confidently pay for the conference. I asked for help to pay for the conference my only Birthday request, but just found out that they are offering a couple of scholarships. Oh, how my heart soared at the thought! I know God will make a way for me to go if He means for me to go. Could this be the way? We'll see.

Is your heart calling you to check it out? Go to the conference website by clicking here. Whether you are or have ever thought about Writing, Speaking, or Leading other women, this conference could bless your life more than you ever could have imagined possible in 48 hours time. In need of a scholarship yourself? Click here to find out how you can apply. Maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? II

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:51 PM 0 comments
I ended the last post with this question: If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?

When we have an appropriate perspective on rewarding and motivating our children and what the proper rewards and incentives are, we allow ourselves to abundantly bless our children and ourselves, as we see them grow through positive interactions. There are many ways to reward our children and many different types of incentives available to motivate children. I think about my children when they were infants. As they learned to smile, to sit up, to crawl, to walk, I was there every step of the way cheering them on. A smile, a little clapping, and a big “yah!” was all they needed to encourage them to keep doing what they were doing and/or try a little harder to make that next step. Cheering our children on is a great way to motivate them. Children generally really do want to please their parents. Cheering for our children can come in many forms and will depend on your personality, your child’s personality, and the situation. Hugs, “way to go,” “I’m proud of you,” and “great job!” are all examples of ways to praise our children. It’s about encouraging them along when they’re getting it right and trying their best.

Time with our children and special treats are additional ways to reward them. We can take them on a special outing for good behavior or completed tasks over a period of time. We can let them choose a movie for the family to watch. We can let them pick what restaurant we’re going to eat at. We can buy them a small treat, or even have monetary rewards. It is all based on what works for your family and what motivates your child.

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; Deuteronomy 11:26-27

With rewarding children, a few more things are important to keep in mind. First, you want to keep rewards relational-heavy. That means that the non-material rewards are not the primary method of reward and incentive and shouldn’t ever become the main focus. Second, rewards should not turn into bribes for expected behavior. If we promise our children a material reward every time we expect something out of them it will be much more difficult for them to internalize their motivation. There if a fine line between rewards and bribes. The main difference is that rewards are laid out ahead of time and eventually decrease in necessity. Bribes, on the other hand, usually are promised in heat of the moment, desperate situations and the child’s requirement of them for obedience increases over time. I think specifically about the reward system for potty training. We used several different methods for our children, but the dancing and singing and “I’m proud of you” always came first. The material rewards were small (3 M&M’s, computer time, eventually a train car) and over time were eliminated. That is how rewards should work. Of course, you will always be adding rewards to teach new skills and behaviors as they grow, but those rewards should remain mostly intangible and a child’s internal motivation should be increasing as they mature.

Lastly, we, as moms, should keep in mind that perfection is never the goal for our children. We should have high expectations for our children, but should recognize that they are human (just like us) and will fail at times (just like us.) We should “expect the best of [our] kids in all situations. Encourage them to shoot for excellence but not perfectionism.” (9) We must make sure that are children don’t feel pressured to be perfect – because they will never reach perfection and will feel like failures if that’s the goal. Instead we need to focus on what our children are doing right and encourage them to strive for better and their best. Then their motivation will increase and they will take pride in doing their best in every situation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? I

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:46 PM 0 comments
Rewards, incentives, and positive given to children for motivation for children to make good choices is not just okay, it is an important part of effective parenting. There is a lot of debate these days about using incentives and rewards in parenting. Some believe that children should do what they are asked to do and should do because it’s the right thing to do. They believe that rewards for good behavior or completing tasks provide outward motivation, which is not the goal. We’ve already discussed that we want our children to mature and develop internal motivation. This is true for making right choices, as well as for things like working hard. However, as I discussed previously, our job as parents is to provide outside motivation until our children become internally motivated. If we take a step back and look at our children in a little different light, it may help us in understanding clearly what rewards, incentives, and bonuses are and why they are important.

First, it’s important to look at the nature of our children. There are different perspectives on human nature. One theory believes that people are inherently good and are corrupted by circumstances. One believes that children are blank slates and develop according to their environment. Another believes that people are inherently evil (sinful) and need to be trained to be good. A Biblical perspective tells us that we are born with a natural inclination to sin, a result of the fall in Eden, have a unique personality that effects how we interact with our environment, and are effected by our circumstances. In essence, this means that children do not naturally lean toward righteousness, need outward motivation to do what is right, and interact with how they are parented according to their God-given personality.

Second, it’s important to recognize that God models rewards and incentives for right behavior. As we discussed in the beginning of the chapter, we talked about the importance of obedience and how God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. The Israelite nation is given rewards in prosperity and peace when they obey God and worship Him. We are promised the reward of the fruit of the Spirit as we seek God, love, worship, and obey Him. In the parable of the talents Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who rewards his servants with added responsibility and shared happiness.
“His master replied ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Paul tells us in Romans that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (8:28a)
John tells us that “God’s love is truly made complete” in us when we obey God’s Word, of which being filled and complete in God through Christ is the ultimate reward. (1 John 2:5)

Looking at God’s Word not only tells us that rewarding obedience is not only an essential part of parenting, but also what those rewards should focus on. There are times that God rewards us materially. He does want us to prosper in the sense that we have everything we need materially and often even more than just what we need. But He most definitely does not want our material rewards to become our focus or motivation for righteous behavior. God is much more concerned with the state of our heart and His Word talks much more about a prosperity of spirit. God rewards us with healing of body and spirit, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy, strength, endurance, self-control, spiritual gifts, and, of course, eternal life. This list could go on and on. It only takes a small amount of time in scripture to recognize the rewards God gives us “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”(Luke 6:38)

If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When God Says "No"

Do you ever wish that you could have every wish that you had? I think our tendency is to want what we want and focus on that and only that. At least, I know mine is. Even in fantasy books/stories the need to limit wishes is recognized. Even when a genie or good wishing fairy is present, the receipient of the wishes only gets three. Boy, if I only had three wishes to make in life, what would they be?

Big question. But, I don't have to come up with an answer. That's because my God is bigger than that and He loves me enough not to limit what I can ask Him for or what He's willing to give me. But, He's also wise enough not to give me everything that I wish or want.

Such is the case in relation to my recent post about the She Speaks Conference scholarship. I knew from the beginning that if I didn't get one, there would be a reason. And one of those reasons was that someone else deserved it more. I read the winning entries (okay, I browsed them), and it was true. They wholly and completely deserved to win.

I also knew that if God didn't provide the means that way, He would another way. Lysa TerKeurst even said so in her winning post entry. That to give all entrants a scholarship, no matter how much she wanted to or thought more entrants deserved it, would be to rob them of other blessings. And how true that is!

I didn't get the scholarship, but did register. I am looking forward to this conference almost as much as my own conference, Abundant Life Conference for Women November 2011. The workshops look so good, I had a hard time picking my favorite in a couple time slots.

So now, I'm registered. And the blessings have already started. My two biggest encourages have gone all in to help me attend this conference. Just the sentiment is worth me not getting the scholarship.

So, did God say "no" because I don't deserve it, someone else deserves it more, He wants to bless me in other ways, or He knows how to work everything out for the utmost good of both me and others and bring the greatest glory to Himself?

I'll take the last three. My experience tells me that whenever God tells me "no" it's for my own good and often what I get instead is better.

So, just like when we say "no" to our children to protect them or hold out for something better, when God says "no" there is always a greater purpose.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weary Moms

Do you ever get weary? Check out Moms for God for my latest post on dealing with weariness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Amazing Conference Opportunity

Have you heard of the She Speaks Conference? I became aware of it several years ago, after a good friend clued me in on the Proverbs 31 Ministry. This ministry focuses on guiding, supporting, educating, encouraging, and uplifting women to live radical lives for Jesus. They provide this through blog posts, magazines, radio spots, and an annual conference. This conference most intrigued me because of the focus for writers. I thought, "A Christian writers conference for women? WOW!" That suits me to a T. But, it's not just for writers. It's also for speakers and women's ministry leaders - of which I am/have been all three!

I began making plans to go about five years ago, looking towards the conference the following year. Then God surprisingly blessed me with my third child. That counted that year out. The following year, once my sweet baby had turned one and quit nursing, I was working part-time and planned a getaway with hubby, which we hadn't had in six years and three children. That knocked out She Speaks for that year. So, I started planning for the following year. Then, my all-knowing, amazing God blessed me with getting pregnant with sweet baby number four. No She Speaks conference for me once again, but for a wonderful reason.

But, I hang on to hope that one day, in God's perfect timing, I would get to go. Now, with my last precious gift getting ready to turn two, and full confidence that God has completed our family, I am led to to finally attend the She Speaks Conference in 2011! However, living as a family of six on one income limits my ability to confidently pay for the conference. I asked for help to pay for the conference my only Birthday request, but just found out that they are offering a couple of scholarships. Oh, how my heart soared at the thought! I know God will make a way for me to go if He means for me to go. Could this be the way? We'll see.

Is your heart calling you to check it out? Go to the conference website by clicking here. Whether you are or have ever thought about Writing, Speaking, or Leading other women, this conference could bless your life more than you ever could have imagined possible in 48 hours time. In need of a scholarship yourself? Click here to find out how you can apply. Maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? II

I ended the last post with this question: If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?

When we have an appropriate perspective on rewarding and motivating our children and what the proper rewards and incentives are, we allow ourselves to abundantly bless our children and ourselves, as we see them grow through positive interactions. There are many ways to reward our children and many different types of incentives available to motivate children. I think about my children when they were infants. As they learned to smile, to sit up, to crawl, to walk, I was there every step of the way cheering them on. A smile, a little clapping, and a big “yah!” was all they needed to encourage them to keep doing what they were doing and/or try a little harder to make that next step. Cheering our children on is a great way to motivate them. Children generally really do want to please their parents. Cheering for our children can come in many forms and will depend on your personality, your child’s personality, and the situation. Hugs, “way to go,” “I’m proud of you,” and “great job!” are all examples of ways to praise our children. It’s about encouraging them along when they’re getting it right and trying their best.

Time with our children and special treats are additional ways to reward them. We can take them on a special outing for good behavior or completed tasks over a period of time. We can let them choose a movie for the family to watch. We can let them pick what restaurant we’re going to eat at. We can buy them a small treat, or even have monetary rewards. It is all based on what works for your family and what motivates your child.

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; Deuteronomy 11:26-27

With rewarding children, a few more things are important to keep in mind. First, you want to keep rewards relational-heavy. That means that the non-material rewards are not the primary method of reward and incentive and shouldn’t ever become the main focus. Second, rewards should not turn into bribes for expected behavior. If we promise our children a material reward every time we expect something out of them it will be much more difficult for them to internalize their motivation. There if a fine line between rewards and bribes. The main difference is that rewards are laid out ahead of time and eventually decrease in necessity. Bribes, on the other hand, usually are promised in heat of the moment, desperate situations and the child’s requirement of them for obedience increases over time. I think specifically about the reward system for potty training. We used several different methods for our children, but the dancing and singing and “I’m proud of you” always came first. The material rewards were small (3 M&M’s, computer time, eventually a train car) and over time were eliminated. That is how rewards should work. Of course, you will always be adding rewards to teach new skills and behaviors as they grow, but those rewards should remain mostly intangible and a child’s internal motivation should be increasing as they mature.

Lastly, we, as moms, should keep in mind that perfection is never the goal for our children. We should have high expectations for our children, but should recognize that they are human (just like us) and will fail at times (just like us.) We should “expect the best of [our] kids in all situations. Encourage them to shoot for excellence but not perfectionism.” (9) We must make sure that are children don’t feel pressured to be perfect – because they will never reach perfection and will feel like failures if that’s the goal. Instead we need to focus on what our children are doing right and encourage them to strive for better and their best. Then their motivation will increase and they will take pride in doing their best in every situation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? I

Rewards, incentives, and positive given to children for motivation for children to make good choices is not just okay, it is an important part of effective parenting. There is a lot of debate these days about using incentives and rewards in parenting. Some believe that children should do what they are asked to do and should do because it’s the right thing to do. They believe that rewards for good behavior or completing tasks provide outward motivation, which is not the goal. We’ve already discussed that we want our children to mature and develop internal motivation. This is true for making right choices, as well as for things like working hard. However, as I discussed previously, our job as parents is to provide outside motivation until our children become internally motivated. If we take a step back and look at our children in a little different light, it may help us in understanding clearly what rewards, incentives, and bonuses are and why they are important.

First, it’s important to look at the nature of our children. There are different perspectives on human nature. One theory believes that people are inherently good and are corrupted by circumstances. One believes that children are blank slates and develop according to their environment. Another believes that people are inherently evil (sinful) and need to be trained to be good. A Biblical perspective tells us that we are born with a natural inclination to sin, a result of the fall in Eden, have a unique personality that effects how we interact with our environment, and are effected by our circumstances. In essence, this means that children do not naturally lean toward righteousness, need outward motivation to do what is right, and interact with how they are parented according to their God-given personality.

Second, it’s important to recognize that God models rewards and incentives for right behavior. As we discussed in the beginning of the chapter, we talked about the importance of obedience and how God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. The Israelite nation is given rewards in prosperity and peace when they obey God and worship Him. We are promised the reward of the fruit of the Spirit as we seek God, love, worship, and obey Him. In the parable of the talents Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who rewards his servants with added responsibility and shared happiness.
“His master replied ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Paul tells us in Romans that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (8:28a)
John tells us that “God’s love is truly made complete” in us when we obey God’s Word, of which being filled and complete in God through Christ is the ultimate reward. (1 John 2:5)

Looking at God’s Word not only tells us that rewarding obedience is not only an essential part of parenting, but also what those rewards should focus on. There are times that God rewards us materially. He does want us to prosper in the sense that we have everything we need materially and often even more than just what we need. But He most definitely does not want our material rewards to become our focus or motivation for righteous behavior. God is much more concerned with the state of our heart and His Word talks much more about a prosperity of spirit. God rewards us with healing of body and spirit, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy, strength, endurance, self-control, spiritual gifts, and, of course, eternal life. This list could go on and on. It only takes a small amount of time in scripture to recognize the rewards God gives us “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”(Luke 6:38)

If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?
 

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