The Power of Being the First to Speak

Turning the Enemy's Arrows on His Own Camp

I sat alone watching the video being shared all over Facebook of Alton Sterling losing his life this past week–my stomach turned, and all I could muster was whispering, Oh Jesus….Jesus, Jesus.

When this was followed by Philando Castile losing his life, and then Dallas police officers being shot & killed defending & protecting people, I could not help but consider what my role is as a white, middle-class momma of three.  Because, even if I don’t feel my children are threatened or my husband is in danger when he is doing his job, the loss of these lives, and the hate-spewing, name-calling, line-drawing division the enemy is stirring up is of the utmost concern to every child of the King; and further, if we don’t consider how to be part of the solution, we may as well be part of the problem.

So, naturally, as a momma, I considered what I am teaching my people–I know they are not hateful or antagonistic against people of different races. My girls’ only mentions of people’s skin color to date has been to admire their beauty. Audrey was shocked, last year, on Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. day when I taught her about the civil rights movement and why it was necessary at the time.  The idea of looking down upon someone or thinking less of them because of their skin tone was foreign to her, and for this I am grateful.  I imagine that many of you mommas have children who feel the same way.

And, so you may think you have done your job–you are part of the solution because you are not raising children who have spent time marinating in hate of another people group. Until a few days ago, I would have agreed with you, until I listened to a sermon podcast from Bethel Church, entitled, “Transforming Your Life,” and learned of the principle of first mention.

The principle of first mention says that the first time something is mentioned to us, and the information given on that topic, our brains then use as a lens on that topic. For example, if I teach my children God’s truth about sex first, and then they hear something else on the school bus or in Health class, they will use what I have taught them as a filter through with to process everything else on the topic; they will keep what lines up with that filter, and dismiss everything that doesn’t. If, on the other hand, I let my children hear about sex on the school bus first, and then at age 16 give them “the talk,” they will sift all of what I tell them through the filter already provided to them on the school bus.

So, mommas, if we want to raise people who love with Jesus-love regardless of skin color, social background, upbringing, or income-level, we had better be the first ones making mention.  I used to think that not discussing skin color, for example, was a good plan because it showed my children that, to me, it isn’t a big deal. However, what I am doing is leaving them without a God-honoring lens for race relationships & leaving the filter to be set by whoever happens to first mention the topic to them. Scary to think about, isn’t it?

So, today, to be part of the solution, part of turning the enemy’s weapons back on his own camp, we need to be the first to mention the messy & painful history of race relationships to our children. It needn’t be complex to begin especially for young children. I plan to sing a familiar song with my girls, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight…” and be sure they know that their momma & daddy believe that God created people with all different skin colors (just like he created us with different noses, eye hues, and mouth shapes), and there are some people who would like us to believe that one color is better than another.  But, those people are wrong. Every single human being was created in the likeness of God and for that reason alone their life is sacred.

So today, mommas, make mention & set a filter so we can raise up a generation whose perspective on race relationships lines up with that of Father God’s.



A Father’s Day Post in July

Because our men need it

Because it doesn’t have to be Father’s Day for me to need a reminder about building up the most popular guy in our house.  Here are three ways to help your man be a father you & your children admire.

1. Let him play the dad way–I tend to be the one chosen by my girls to play Barbies, and my boy loves to snuggle me and read books–but all our people know Daddy is the go-to guy for some good old before bedtime armpit tickles and games of chase around the living room. Refrain from correcting him, telling him to be careful, or reminding him he is riling them up.

Remember what Charles Swindoll wisely said, “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” and let your man make deposits in his own way.


2. Let him discipline the dad way–It is not uncommon for us moms to leap to our children’s defense and knock our husbands legs out from under them.  “As we moms often spend our days immersed in the details of little lives, we make hundreds of mistakes, and as we grow, we trust God to honor our hearts, and as only He can, make our mistakes work for good in our children’s lives.” Can’t we do the same for our husbands?

I have fallen into this trap plenty of times, which is why I have an entire post on the topic, “Let Him be the Dad: Stepping Back when Our Husbands Step up.”


3. Let your concerns be voiced to your Heavenly Dad— many of us have heard the saying, “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?” What if we ask ourselves this question before offering any constructive (or not so constructive) criticism of his dad-ways? What if we shared our concerns with the one who truly knows the hearts & needs of our children? Let us pursue the one who has entrusted them to our care with our heart’s concerns, and include our hubbies in the conversation when and if the Lord tells us to.

Everywhere on Facebook us mommas are told our job is hard; we are told to let go of the little things, to not be so hard on ourselves, to remember that what your children really need from you…is YOU! I don’t see dads getting these same kinds of exhortations or permissions to just be with their kids. Let us decide that regardless of the size of the dad cheerleading team outside of our home, the cheering inside our home will be deafening.

Let’s hear it for those dads!

Bedtime Theology

An easy tip for sharing the Word with your people

Fireworks cracked outside his window as I laid him in his crib last night. And I told him a truth from my time in the Word that morning, “Beckett, nothing will ever separate you from the love of Christ.” It was a truth far too deep for his 23-month old self to understand.

Several days ago, while changing a stinky diaper, I told him truth from my study of Romans–God did what the law could not do, Beckett! He set us free forever. God has been prompting me to share truths and speak God’s word to Beckett rather than just over him in my private prayer time. I don’t presume that Beckett can possibly understand what I am saying to him–he still doesn’t understand when I try to explain the raisins are gone.

But, what I am learning from these quick times of speaking to Beckett is:

1) God’s Word does not return void. 

“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

2) We let ourselves believe that teaching the Word to our children too difficult & complicated.

If the enemy cannot stop us, he will discourage & distract us.  We are mommas on a mission to teach the word to our children, and he knows we aren’t going to stop.  But, he wants us to believe complicated plans, stories with crafts, and a degree from Bible college are necessary to properly teach the Word to our children.

Listen to the words of Deuteronomy 11,

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (verses 18-19)  

Can I encourage you to just start speaking the truth of God’s word to your children whether you think they can understand or not? Keep reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to your people and have fun with some Bible crafts from Pinterest, but don’t make it so complicated, just speak the Word and let God do the rest.