Off The Rails

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Thomas the Tank

Parenting is tough!  There is no operations manual, installation instructions, or quick start card for raising children.  When your child goes through a phase, there is no script to follow.  For all the books that are out there telling you what you should do, there is no formula.

If that weren’t enough, to make it even more of a challenge, each child is completely different.  Each of your children has their own personality that you get to adjust your parenting style to.  What works for one, won’t necessarily work for the other.

I’m a “continuous improvement” guy.  At work, I like to draw up flow diagrams to map out a work process.  Do step one, two, and three to get a certain result.  There’s always cause and effect right?  Often the trap is set before me as a parent to apply that same thinking to what we did wrong, or how we could have done it differently.  This does not work!

So what do you do when things go off the rails?  When your child grows up and begins to make their own decisions, I’m learning this is a very delicate place to exist.  This is particularly difficult when they are making decisions that you know are not wise and even potentially harmful.  Here are a few things that my wife and I are learning:

  • Get out of the way.  The Lord is speaking to my child, and I need to be quiet so he can hear His voice and not mine.
  • Pray.  Because there are no instructions, I am constantly faced with a new challenge that I can even wrap my brain around.  Proverbs say to ask the Lord for wisdom and he will give it.
  • Forgive.  Cut yourself some slack.  Have I made mistakes?  Absolutely!   I’m a parent and I’m doing the toughest job on the planet without instructions.  We’ve all been given this beautiful gift called “free will” and this is true for my kids. They have the ability to choose a path of righteousness or sin. (see first bullet point)
  • Share.  Know that you aren’t alone.  Social media would have you believe that everyone’s life is perfect (rainbows and lolly pops).  Well it’s not!  We have a great support group of friends, that are encouraging and praying for our family. (see second bullet point)  It takes courage to be vulnerable, but those that love you won’t judge, they help carry the burden.
  • Stick Together.  I think it was some kid that came up with the battle cry “divide and conquer”.  Nothing in our 23 years of marriage has created more arguments then parenting decisions.  There are times it rocks the very core of our relationship, but through it all you can’t let it beat you.  When we stay united is when we are our very best as parent and spouse.

Feel free to add to this list by adding a comment below.

Jeep Tune Up

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My son and I did some tune up work on his 1993 Jeep YJ today. We got it this summer and it has 157000 miles. We changed out the spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, and rotor. We took care of the oil change and new filter too. It was great to spend some time with him in the garage. By the looks of these old plugs, it’s been a really long time since this jeep’s engine has seen any TLC.
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The Tabernacle of Meeting

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In the midst of desolation, there was a Tabernacle of Meeting.
No matter where they wandered, the Tabernacle moved with them.
When the world seems dry and lifeless to our natural eyes, God is still there.
When there seems to be no direction, God is still there.
When it seems that what is around couldn’t possibly be from the Lord, God is still there.

Go into the Tabernacle of Meeting, God is still there!

Colossians 3:12-16

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“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts”

Excerpt From: Tyndale House Publishers. “Life Application Study Bible NIV.” Tyndale House Publishers. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/HCLtE.l

Hebrews 12: 1-3

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“1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

2 Corinthians 4

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I found this encouraging today.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
“7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Read on…

“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Excerpt From: Tyndale House Publishers. “Life Application Study Bible NIV.” Tyndale House Publishers. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/HCLtE.l

Quote

1 Corinthians 16

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“13 Be on your guard; stand firmt in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

Excerpt From: Tyndale House Publishers. “Life Application Study Bible NIV.” Tyndale House Publishers. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/HCLtE.l

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