Parenting Lessons from a pair of sister wives

As most of you know I co-lead a Moms of Teens group. I am also part of an online group called Good Morning Girls that reads the bible together 1 chapter at a time. God has been teaching me many things as I spend time with him reading his Word. This month we are reading 1 Samuel.

The beginning of the very first chapter captivated me and I have been meditating on it for a few weeks. So much application to my own life and to my role as a Mom. I can put myself into the place of each of these characters.

I knew that we had chapters in our current Moms of Teens (MOTS) book that spoke on friendships and on eating disorders … I could see some of that in this pair of “sister-wives”.

I wanted to come right out and share each insight but truly felt God nudging me to not “teach” it but to simply guide others in reading it for themselves. And as we did that together as a group, I learned even more.

Some big revelations like … how we can sometimes try to make our kid’s problems all about us and try to solve things for them instead of listening (WHAT?!)  like Elkanah did to Hannah.

And we made some interesting observations like … beer is mentioned in the bible!

So if you are reading this, give it a shot. See what you can learn from this passage:

 

1 Samuel 1:1-20 (NIV)

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.

Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

 12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” 15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

 

Reflection Questions:

What can we learn from Hannah and Peninnah’s relationship? Have you or your teens ever felt like Hannah? Peninnah?

How did Hannah initially respond to Peninnah’s provoking (v.7)?

How did Hannah’s husband react to her (v.8)? Do you ever find yourself taking it personally when your teen is downhearted, weeping or not eating?

What did Hannah do in her deep anguish  (vs. 10-17)?

And how did it change her (v.18) ?

How can this help you in parenting your teenager?


 

These are my attempts at writing scripture prayers from the story. And of course, I added some photos to them too. (I didn’t really have photos of people provoking one another but I could recollect a few of my kids poking and provoking each other.)

Prayers for your teens based on 1 Samuel 1:1-20

Lord, I pray that ___________ would be a good friend and never provoke or intentionally irritate others. And if ___________ is provoked, that he/she would come to you in prayer.

 Just as Hannah did, I pray that ____________ would share his/her downhearted feelings and his/her heart’s desires with you. Remind ____________ that you remember him/her.

 

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5 Minute Way to Start to My Day

I have never written down resolutions. I often have positive intentions for change floating around my brain but I don’t generally want to commit to them because…

pressure!

And who needs more pressure !! It also seemed to have a year long commitment attached to it and that just seems too ….  long.

Some of those floating ideas are really expectations I imagine that others have of me.  (and if I told my husband what I imagined he expected, he would calmly and wisely reply “I reject that.” Because he knows much of it is not based in reality. This may sound dismissive but it has saved us from many arguments that are not based on anything true.

I realize that writing things down (or typing them out) helps me to clarify what is really going on. If I had to list some general resolutions (less commitment) I would say I want to be more intentional, more present, more grateful and leave space in my calendar to follow where God leads daily in my relationships. And leaving space on my calendar is so much better than the packed calendar I have strived for in the past. I have always loved a calendar. I have had weekly calendars and monthly sheets I created myself and hung by my computer. Now I have an app. But honestly, it only has appointments.

Many, many years ago (like over 20) my co-worker, Abdul, and I took a Franklin Covey management training class in San Francisco. I loved all the tools and books they handed out. It was full of organizational hope. A new beginning in an awesome planner (that we got for free! … well free to me, I’m sure our company paid for it). But honestly what I remember from this class is that Abdul didn’t go to lunch with me. It was Ramadan and he fasted from dawn until sundown!  For . A.  Month!  This was a completely new idea to me. I was fascinated and impressed with his dedication. Now that’s a resolution with commitment!!

Fasting isn’t one of the thoughts floating around in my brain (although I do have some fitness wishes) but routine is floating. And thinking back to my planner, I think I could benefit from writing down some goals. And if they were flexible daily goals … it might just work.  Sooo…. here is where I am going with this …..

Today, I listened to a Facebook live video by Nicole Unice. She is the author of the book I read with my Moms group in the fall and I had the privilege of meeting her in December. She was talking about resolutions and an idea she got from “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss & Arnold Schwarzenegger. It immediately resonated with me. I took notes and created a worksheet. This is going to be my resolution … to complete this worksheet each  morning. (Not in my first 5 minutes… I tried something like that last year … but my first 5 are pretty sleepy. I need eye drops, coffee, my people out the door and then my readers on).

Here is the idea:

3 for 3  in 5 minutes    ——->     3 categories with 3 bullets each

  1. Today I am grateful for:

  2. 3 things I want to accomplish today:

  3. Who I am praying for today:

Yes…. this is all me!! gratitude, purpose and prayer!!!

Woo Hoo! I am so excited to start this tomorrow! Want to join me? I’d love to share this and be accountable!  email me if you want me to send you the word doc.

 

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Update: This idea has quite a few followers. I have created a Facebook closed group for encouragement and accountability. We’d love to have you if you are interested. You can search for “5 Minute Way to Start My Day” and request to be added.

Facebook accountability group

How to herd cats … or sheep

Have you ever heard the phrase herding cats?

Herding Cats… brings to mind activities like: elementary school field trips, toddler playgroups at the playground, taking Preschool VBS kids to the gym, pep rallies…

My friend Karen just shared this memory with me and my first thought was the chaos and noise of that bailey bear boogie pep rally .. in fact, I carried ear plugs with me after that day 

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and as a photographer… group photos.

In fact, I have an album on our Swim team site that I named Herding cats and other shenanigans… img_5566

 

Now sheep sound somewhat more peaceful, right?  … you know… those fluffy white guys you can count when you can’t sleep.  So Sheep herding should be less chaotic, right?

Have you ever taken a personality test or a spiritual gifts test?

Well, one of my gifts is Shepherding. Yep! Sheep Herding.

 {okay… i just went down a rabbit hole…I remembered that Hope Church used to have a test on the website… and guess what, It’s still there! so if you are interested… here is a link: Spiritual Inventory from Hope Church Memphis}

As far as shepherding goes, it does sound natural to me. I don’t imagine chaos. I love to gather groups of people. To connect on a deeper level. To care for one another.  That is my basic view of it.  Here is the definition I just found in the rabbit hole:

SHEPHERDING

The gift of shepherding is the special ability to nurture, care for, and guide people toward on-going spiritual maturity and becoming like Christ. The person with this gift enjoys spending time nurturing and caring for others, and enjoys giving guidance and practical support to a small group of people. (Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 5:1-4 John 10:1-1)

Yep! I do enjoy it!

Do you ever find yourself exhausted from nurturing, caring an guiding others?

I do!  I can get a little overwhelmed and worn out. Whether in parenting, marriage, extended family, friends or ministry. It happens.

But God has shown me some answers.

It started with me looking for something descriptive on the Hope website about Moms at Hope {pm}  (which is one of the groups that I enjoy… and I get to be mostly a sheep in there) but clear as day was another class that God had picked out as an answer to prayer after a long day of bearing others burdens…. this was the class description ——>

God’s Word and our own experience of the Lord’s Spirit, teaches us we are to “love one another” and “bear one another’s burdens.” This six-week seminar will give our Hope community an opportunity to understand and improve the quality of care we share with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and customers. Understanding how to give care allows us to grow in our ability to reach out to others with Christ-like compassion.

Bingo…. I thought improving my skills was perfect… something I could DO!  But it’s not really all about DOING!  But it was still clear that this was where I was supposed to be.

Yesterday was the 2nd session and we were to read scripture and identify how Jesus showed compassion. Our group was assigned  Mark 6: 30-34  It is the beginning of the familiar story but these 4 verses had a different highlight for me.

30The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Jesus makes clear:

  1. When we are weary, we need to be with Him in a quiet place and rest.

  2. The crowd is still there but we are equipped to show compassion and be a shepherd and/or a teacher after we “land”.

 

The picture He gave me was from that very morning. Before Moms groups begin, we have a leaders’ prayer time. 30 minutes in a quiet room in His presence preparing for the day. A time to breathe and lower our heart rates. At the final Amen, we have landed. We head across the hall to “munch and mingle” with the large crowd and His presence goes with us. And His love abounds.

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