Friday, February 25, 2011

Choking on the Internet

Chewing Gum and the Internet.

What do these have in common? Nothing really, except I just had a revelation at how one can be used to teach responsibility on the other. Sounds crazy, I know, but stick with me for a few minutes!...

My little girl INSISTS she is old enough to chew gum.  She just turned 3. Now sometimes, she does ok with it, she'll chew just one piece, then spit it out in the trash. However, this is usually only when/if I am hovering over her reminding her to only put in ONE PIECE and to spit it out when she is through. Yesterday, though, I forgot to hover, and sure enough, she swallowed it! Come to find out, she had THREE pieces in her mouth!!! (Thanks to her generous big brother K, who was only trying to share, LOL.)   AAHHHH! She could have choked! I panicked!

Out comes the Mommy Lecture. I sat all three of them down and told them I had to explain this very important rule to them and that they needed to pay close attention:

  • There is a RIGHT time and a WRONG time for EVERYTHING!!  And I quoted:
    • Ecclesiastes 3

      A Time for Everything
       1 There is a time for everything,
         and a season for every activity under the heavens
 I told them how many, many times, we think we know what's best for us, but really only God knows what's best for us and He laid it out in His Word. And His Word says that parents should seek out wisdom from God, and kids should seek out wisdom from their parents. Wisdom... because only wisdom can really tell you how to make right choices in life. And when we think we know what's best, we think we can make the right choices for us, however, we make choices based on what we want, not what is best for us at the appropriate time. It all comes down to timing! You see, there is a right time to chew gum, but NOT at 3 years old when we can't remember the rules! Just like there is a right time to drive, at 16.... can you imagine a baby driving a car?, I asked them. (They chuckled.)  Right, I said, so three years old is NOT the right time to chew gum! So no matter how much you want to share (brothers) or how bad you want to chew gum (Princess), NOW IS NOT THE TIME.  Do you understand? I asked.

Um, yea. They nodded but looked a bit overwhelmed. Maybe I went overboard, a little. OK, maybe a lot. But all that came out of nowhere!! It just came pouring out of me like a milk jug in a, well, three year old's hand.

When, suddenly I realized, NO. This did NOT come out of nowhere. God gave me those words and we are laying a foundation for future discussions. Those inevitable discussions about dating, sex, and parties. Oh, my teenage kids are going to hate me. But I am already preparing myself to prepare them for a life of purity. Whoa! How did I get from gum to internet to purity?!  WOW, my brain jumps all over the place. BUT.... THE THING IS, PURITY BEGINS WITH THE HEART, AND THE EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO THE HEART.   And now, with technology as it is, the internet is unbelievably easy to access by kids of all ages!!!   This has become one of my greatest fears, and challenges. To figure out how to protect my kids from the internet when it is spreading like the swine flu and being practically forced down our throats from every angle.

Oh, I KNOW, thee are tons of resources for protecting our kids, and I am  eternally grateful for those! (Here is a quick list in case you need some  ideas, each of these can lead you to more:
  1. Safe Eyes (a computer/internet monitoring service)
  2. XXX Church (another computer/internet monitoring service)
  3. Focus on the Family (what don't they have? If you need it, they got it on here.)
  4. PluggedIn Online (reviews media in detail so you can decide if it is safe for your family or not)
  5. Pure Intimacy (articles, resources etc. for how to overcome sexual addictions & protec your family from them)
  6. True Love Waits (an entire program dedicated to teaching youth about purity, lots of helpful stuff for parents)
  7. Pam Stenzel (Dynamic author/speaker on the importance of abstinence and teaching it to our youth.)

However, I am the FIRST PERSON in charge of my kids' purity. (Well, hubby and me, of course.) And it is NEVER too early to start laying the foundations for purity. Especially when their choices regarding purity will effect them for their ENTIRE LIVES!!!

You see, R, my 6 year old, is already feeling  the alure of the magical, wonderful internet. We have our computers all set up with filters, timers, password protected access and monitoring. This has begun to frustrate R, because when he learns about a new website at school, he can't just come home and type it in. Nope. He has to tell me about it, let me check it out privately and then add it to his list of approved websites before he can access it. MANY, MANY times he has asked if he can't just have my password for adding sites. Nope. And then he defers to the ever popular response... "that's not fair! Don't you trust me?"   Yes, R, I do trust YOU, I tell him, and I remind him what a GREAT JOB he  does at protecting his heart by closing his eyes whenever we run into anything inappropriate, either in public or on TV.  BUT, I tell him, it's the internet I do not trust. All it would take would be one wrong keystroke and he would be whisked away to a website that would bombard him with inappropriate images and words before he even knew what happened, choking him then and there before he even had a chance at protecting himself.  He immediately stops arguing, and though I know he does not completely understand, I pray these little lessons are being stored away in his precious little heart for that time when he'll need to remember them. The inevitable time when temptation will come roaring in his face trying to force him to make a decision that could cost him even the tiniest bit of his purity.

And so, you see my friend. We CAN choke on the internet. It happens all the time to men, women and children before they are even aware of what's happening to them.  However, there is hope for recovery. (Please email me if you need to know more about this hope. I have GOBS of details to give you, just not here, right now.) But wouldn't it be better to not ever have to suffer with it to begin with? THAT is my goal in teaching my kids (all kids, really) the importance of making the right choices, at the right time. Starting with chewing gum.  Call me crazy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Birthday Reminder

Here I am feeling all sorry for myself and bored out of my mind, when it hits me how incredibly blessed  I am.

Thank you, Lord, for the smack upside the head.

I have been on complete bed rest, albeit at home, for the past 6 weeks. At first it sounded good, like the idea of resting up all I could before bringing baby home would be phenomenal. However, it has been less than phenomenal. It has been downright hard, miserable even. I usually hate complaining, but I am all out of patience. I have been vomiting, contracting, cramping and sore for 6 weeks and I feel like I can't take anymore. I have lost so much weight that I now only weigh 2 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight, and though that sounds great, it terrifies me. How can a growing baby survive when his mother is losing weight?!  I so desperately want him to be healthy, but I am now desperate to have him out of me! Doesn't that sound awful?! I feel like a terrible mother for even thinking it. I usually relish each pregnancy, loving the miracle going on inside me and the feeling of baby kicking healthy and strong. So why is it so different this time? Will I bond with this baby? Will I feel differently towards him, love him any less?

Argh, those are dumb, dumb questions, I know. But I just had to vent. My Bible Study leader says (of the importance of having safe, Godly relationships to share life with vs trying to "be strong" and do it alone) that "when we are alone with our thoughts, we believe everything we think." So, since all I've had is time alone, by myself, and these thoughts, crazy as they may be, are the ones swirling around in my head, strange as it sounds - I am starting to believe them! Therefore, I thought it was time I shared them, vented them out loud in effort to hopefully stop them from seeming so real.

LOL, it worked, because now that I see them typed out in front of me they seem pretty ridiculous!

To occupy my time, I have also been reading blogs. Tons of blogs. There is this one I just finished reading, though, that broke my heart. It is the blog of a young mom who delivered her baby girl after going into preterm labor at 25 weeks! Her baby girl is still in the NICU, and her due date was February 20. So this week, her baby girl is supposed to be a newborn but she is 3 months old and struggling to survive. I cried as I caught up on her blog. (Don't always get to read; hard to lay flat and read from a laptop on your tummy). I have never met her, but she is the sister-in-law of one of my very best friends, so I have known about her situation since her pre-term labor began, and have been praying for her, her husband and daughter every day since. She writes with such raw emotion, though that you can't help but feel her pain. Then, realizing that my daughter's birthday was yesterday, February 22, while reading about this baby's plight brought me back to my own daughter's situation three years ago exactly. I remembered how terrified I felt when I went in for a regular appointment at 34 weeks and was told "we have to take her out, NOW!" then they whisked me to the hospital for an emergency C-Section. Her amniotic fluid had dried up, and she might not make it they told me. My baby girl. My precious princess. Might. Die. I couldn't bear the thought, all I could do was pray and beg God to have mercy on my daughter and please, just LET HER LIVE. Now, this precious mom is in the same situation. Everyday brings a twist and turn, it's a roller coaster ride of uncertainty. Please pray for her and her baby girl, Scarlette. I pray that three years from now, she looks back at how far they've come and sees the 3 year old beautiful dancing girl before her and treasures the miracle played out in front of her. It can happen. It will happen. We only had a week of terror with our Princess, but it was the longest week of my life. Today, when I look at her I can hardly believe I almost forgot how we fought for her, and prayed for her. She is so healthy and whole. A Bright, beautiful, dancing, chatty healthy little girl. Thank you Father, for saving her. I beg you, Father, please do the same for baby Scarlette. 

Suddenly, I realized how very blessed I am that my preterm labor WAS stopped and we are now at a blessed 35 weeks. This baby will be fine. I will be fine. God is in control and I CAN Trust Him.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Princess! 

Thank you, Father for this Birthday Reminder.