Speaking Truth to Our Children {plus an awesome giveaway}

Talk Now and Later Review

“Mom, have you ever lied to us?”

I paused for a long moment, a bit shocked by the question my oldest son had just asked me as we drove into town several weeks ago. My mind rapidly began flipping through mental files, still frames of memories flashing one after another, each one, a moment where I had a choice to lie. Finally, the slideshow going on in my head rested at one memory, about 7 years ago.

Isaac was two years old, and we were in the car, on one of our many long trips to see Tim at one of his military trainings. We had been chatting about Tim being a soldier, but his next question at the ripe age of two, caught me completely off guard.

“Momma, could Daddy get hurt in a war?”

My heart sank as I contemplated the answer to this tough question from my toddler who was barely old enough to speak the thought clearly. At that point, we knew about Tim’s upcoming deployment to Iraq, and I knew that my answer here mattered. While I wanted desperately to give the easy answer of, “No, of course not,” I knew that this was a defining moment of my motherhood. In that split second, I made the decision to always be truthful, no matter how hard the question. So, I took a deep breath and I said, “Yes. Daddy could get hurt in war. But you know, Isaac, we trust in God, and we believe that God is good all the time, whether things are good or bad. God will always take care of us, no matter what happens.” I braced myself for Isaac’s response, which I imagined would be either uncontrollable crying or the start of another chain of questioning that I wasn’t prepared for, but he only said, “OK,” and went back to his toy. Somehow, he was able to rest in the security of truth.

It was that conversation that partly shaped the way I parent. Since then, I’ve fielded many, many other questions from, “Why did ______ happen?” to “Why did my birth mother have to give me up?” So, when the question, “Mom, have you ever lied to us?” came, and I flipped through my mental filing cabinet, I was grateful to be able to say, “Isaac, if I have ever lied to any of you, I didn’t know it. I can’t think of a single instance where I haven’t told you the truth. I’ve always done my best to be 100% honest with you.” And his response was, “I didn’t think you had.” At that moment, I was incredibly thankful that years ago, God lead me to choose truth.

That’s why I really appreciated Brian Dollar’s book, Talk Now and Later. As a children’s pastor of a large church right here in my home state of Arkansas, Brian has years of experience in ministering to families. One of the principles that he is passionate about is parents talking to their children. And not only talking to them, but being proactive and intentional about it.

Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar Review

So many times, we tend to feel that children are “too young” or “not mature enough” to handle tough topics, but Brain reminds us that if your child isn’t talking to you about the tough topics, you can be sure they are talking to someone else, most likely their peers. And we all know how that can go! While Brian does emphasize that we should talk to our children in an age appropriate way, he also encourages us not to “dumb down” our answers and cautions us against believing that our children can’t grasp difficult concepts.

I was personally encouraged and challenged by Talk Now and Later because while I’ve always been open and truthful to my kids, I don’t know that I’m super proactive on certain subjects. I definitely tend to procrastinate. Brain’s knowledge not only encouraged me to be more proactive, but also equipped me with the right words to tackle the really sticky subjects like sex and death.

One of my favorite excerpts of Talk Now and Later is about how we tend to want to let children’s pastors and youth pastors take care of these subjects for us, but it’s really our job. It’s our job to lead our children spiritually. Here’s what Brian has to say about this:

We have hijacked the spiritual development of kids by promoting the idea that a “professional children’s minister” is the only qualified, competent person to speak spiritual truth into children’s lives. To some degree, we’ve developed a “savior complex” elevating our roles as the highest and best source of spiritual input for kids. Though we didn’t plan it, this perspective lowered parents to second-class status. Ultimately, we became a hindrance to God’s plan. Here’s the truth: God’s plan is for parents to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

I am so thankful that my son has felt comfortable enough with me to ask me tough questions, like “Have you ever lied to us Mom?” I think we are on a good path, but it’s a constant battle to keep the lines of communication open, especially as my boys approach their teenage years. I was so impressed by Brian’s book for that reason. It gives some truly wonderful tools for parents to utilize so that they can be proactive in prioritizing communication. I would very highly recommend Talk Now and Later to any parent who desires to improve in their communication with their children. It is so important.

You can check out Brian’s book on Amazon by clicking here. He also has an awesome Children’s Ministry blog where he writes with experience and wisdom. I would love for you to check it out by clicking HERE. I rarely hang on to books once I’ve read them, but this is one that I will keep handy and reference often.

Want your very own copy? Great, because today, I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of Brian Dollar’s book Talk Now and Later! Just click here to head to my Facebook page.  Then, click the “Giveaway” tab to grab up to 8 entries!  Giveaway closes on Sept. 8th.

Can’t wait to read it?  I understand!  Click here to get your hands on a “hot-off-the-press” copy of Talk Now and Later from Amazon!

So, I’d love to hear from you now! What’s the most difficult question your child has ever asked you?

Great Bible Study for Moms

I was prepared to hate this book.  This is my first book that I’ve received for free in exchange for a review, and I was totally prepared to give a scathing review.  After all, I don’t want to be a softie…but as I opened the cover and began reading the introduction, I knew this would not only be a book that I would give a glowing review of, but it would be a book that I would actually treasure for all my years of mothering.

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood is an excellent bible study for mothers in either individual or small group settings.

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood is an excellent bible study for mothers in either individual or small group settings.

Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa B Kruger is an eleven-week Bible study full of nuggets of wisdom.  I found Kruger to be conversational in her writing style, which I really enjoyed.  Her words spoke directly to my heart at a time when I need guidance (of course, when do I not need guidance in this whole mothering thing??).  With each page turn, I felt as though she knew what I was walking through at that very moment in my motherhood journey.

Each day, I sat on my front porch with a pen in hand and underlined, circled and starred my favorite parts of the book so that I could highlight a few of those in my review.  However, now that I have finished the book, there are so many underlined, circled and starred portions that I may as well just type out the book again for you.  I think one of my absolute favorite parts came from Week 7 entitled, Walking in Peace.  As a mom, anxiety and fear is something that I am continually battling.  Kruger’s words really encouraged me in this area.

“…anxiety is actually a lack of trust in the Lord and a form of prideful independence.”

“There is no greater threat to the peace of our homes than anxiety and fear directing our actions.”

“While it might not be in my plan to have a sick child, a diaper leaking all over my clothes, or a teenager’s moodiness to address, these tasks take on significance when I realize this is God’s plan for my day.”

I highly recommend this Bible Study for mothers.  I believe it will bless you and encourage you as it did me.

I highly recommend this Bible Study for mothers. I believe it will bless you and encourage you as it did me.

I think one of the greatest comforts I received from this study was that Kruger knew every struggle a mother faces, and while she calls out sin, she also gently shows how to find your way to repentance as a mother.

“I cannot protect my children from my weaknesses.  As hard as I may try, at some point my sin will affect their lives.  However, the way I deal with my failure can provide an example for them to follow.”

 I appreciate the many practical suggestions concerning common struggles such as comparison, contentment, fear & worry, and anger.  I also enjoyed the last few pages in which the author included a list of verses for moms to memorize and a list of verses and character traits to teach your children.

I would highly recommend Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood to any mother.  I believe that mothers will be incredibly blessed by the study in both individual or  small group settings.

*As stated above, I received this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are solely my own. 

To see more Bible Study Ideas, check out my Pinterest Board by clicking here.