Friends, I am honored that you have followed me here at Alfelfa Sprouts. I’ve been writing on this space for 4 years, and this past summer I began to realize it was time to make some changes.
In the last 6 months, I attended my first writing conference, joined an online writing group known as hope*writers, and built a brand new website with a brand new name. I hope you will join me at www.amandaleighfreeman.com.
To celebrate this milestone in my writing journey, I am hosting a giveaway today and tomorrow on social media. You can enter this giveaway either on Instagram or Facebook. It ends 4/4/19 at 11:59pm, so make sure you check it out right away!
The best way to stay updated going forward is to subscribe here, since current subscribers will not automatically transfer to the new website. As a thank you for subscribing, you will receive a link to a worship playlist in your welcome e-mail. I do hope to see you around!
How do you even answer that? She was 4. Four years old. I know adults who struggle with the possibility of death, so how do you explain it to a preschooler?
The topics of death, dying, and Heaven had dominated our conversations for several months. She wanted to know about angels, what heaven looks like, and whether all the people she knew would be there. She asked, “When we die, will we float up to Heaven?”
I have a feeling you’ve had a child ask a hard question or two, and if you haven’t, there’s a good possibility your kiddos will think of something completely off the wall to ask. So, just in case you have some crazy questions headed your way, here are 3 tips on how to answer them:
1. Remain calm
There was something slightly disturbing about my small child discussing her imminent death at bedtime. But when I took a deep breath and gave myself a moment to respond, I realized just how innocent this question was. In fact, I could take joy in the fact that she wanted to know more about eternal things at such a young age.
Children are curious. If they don’t know the answer to a question, they just ask. In this particular case, my daughter had heard about Heaven. She had heard it was a place you go after you die. She always wanted to know when we were going to Nana’s house, so why wouldn’t she want to know when she was going to Heaven?
The question is probably a bigger deal to you than it is to your child, but if you have a strange reaction, chances are your child will associate the concept with negative feelings. If you want to be the person your child goes to when they have tough questions, be willing to have tough conversations.
2. Take time to answer
It is perfectly acceptable to tell your child you don’t know an answer to an impossible question. Should this be the case, let them know you will see what you can find and get back to them.
Since my daughter had been so curious about Heaven and death, we purchased a book to read together as a family: “Heaven for Kids: My First Bible Reference for 5-8 Year Olds” by Ed Strauss. This book did the hard work for us. It answered many of her big questions and was a resource for any additional questions in the future.
Come back to the topic a few days later to keep the line of conversation open. Let them know what you’ve been thinking since then and ask if they have any more questions. The idea is to keep the dialogue going. This will strengthen your relationship with your child because you are showing them that the things they think about are important to you.
3. Make the most of the opportunity
The more my daughter asked about Heaven, the more we told her about Jesus. We didn’t share the gospel message with her in one fail swoop, but my husband and I tried to help connect the dots: Heaven is where we will get to be with Jesus. He created it and wants us there with Him. Only people without sin get to go. Jesus died so we can be without sin. Everyone gets to choose whether or not they go to Heaven. We are clean from sin when we invite Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, and then we will be in Heaven with Him one day.
These statements came staggered over a period of several months. She would ask a question, and we’d give another nugget of truth. We would read a Bible story about Jesus’s death and resurrection and then discuss the meaning behind it.
Eventually, these little conversations led to the biggest question, “Can I ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior?” Yes, sweet child, you absolutely can.
So, back to that first question.
How did I answer?
“You know what baby girl, nobody knows for sure when they are going to die, but let me tell you what I do know. I know that you are young and I believe God has a great big plan for your life. I believe that as you grow, God will use you to make an impact for His Kingdom. And you can know, no matter what happens, God is always with you and you can trust in Him.”
What impossible questions have your children asked? What other tips would you share?
I don’t know about you, but I often feel like my days get consumed by the seemingly meaningless tasks. It could be meal time (are your kiddos always hungry?), dishes, laundry, school work, or the general tidying of the house. It’s the navigation of emotions and wills as my children battle over who is allowed to look in which direction.
It’s the navigation of my own emotions and wills when I start to lose my patience.
Doing Kingdom work came much more simply before my little people entered the scene. I used to be available to serve at all church events at the drop of a hat. Now, I have to consider whether it works for our sleeping/eating schedule, or if the opportunity will require a babysitter.
It was easier then. My life operated on my schedule. If I didn’t get enough sleep it was because I chose to stay up too late watching a movie. My quiet times with God were guaranteed, as long as I didn’t hit the snooze button too many times in a row.
But now? With kids? Things are harder.
Kingdom work is harder, but not impossible. In fact, I believe that God uses the stretching of our comfort zones to shape us into the women He has destined for us to become. My husband has told me, “Your greatest ministry comes from your deepest pain.”
I felt a lot of pain when my girls were babies. The lack of sleep hit me hard. I grew angry at the inconveniences this role was placing on my life. Depressiondrifted in after the birth of my second child, and it took me over two years to find my way out. Two years to claim joy and purpose once again.
You see, more than anything else, I wanted to be a Kingdom Builder, and these small ones (as precious as they were) made it really difficult to accomplish my purpose.
But life isn’t about my purpose, is it? It’s about His. His plan for my life. And if I have learned anything over the years, it’s the fact that His plan often looks very different from my plan.
So, Momma? If you are feeling the drudge and the weariness of the every day task, those invisible moments that will never be seen by anyone but you, remember this: God sees it. And He is using it.
He is using you to bring up the next generation of Kingdom Builders. You get the opportunity to speak life into these little people, to show them what it looks like to pursue the Lord, and to be an example of living a life of sacrifice for the sake of the One who sacrificed everything for us.
Look past the moment and see the end. It’s not about that one moment, it’s about allowing God to use all the moments combined to accomplish His great purpose.
You are a Kingdom Builder.
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord – his name alone will be worshiped.” Zechariah 14:9
Everywhere I look there are needs. Big, overwhelming, heart-rending needs.
These are the needs that surround:
a diagnosis a death financial disaster catastrophe infertility and more.
Some of our needs stem from the good things in life:
The new baby means sleepless nights. The job promotion requires extra work. The big exciting move means making new friends. The first home comes with a long list of updates. The new marriage stretches from the comfort zone. The needs keep coming.
There are needs that we try to push to the side because other needs seem bigger in the moment:
The needs to be wanted, loved, adored, remembered. The needs for conversation, hope, rest, support, community, and comfort. Then there are the unnamed needs that keep nagging at our heart and we can’t shake them no matter how hard we try.
All of these needs are important. All of these needs matter. And you know what’s true? God is big enough for your needs too.
It’s easy to see someone who has great need and to feel like your smaller needs must take the back burner for the time being. But you know what else is true?
Your need is not so small that it will slip through His fingers. Your need will never be too heavy for Him to carry. There is no need too big or too small for Him to hold.
He carries it all simultaneously, and it gives Him great pleasure to do so.
What is your need? Name it. Place it in His arms and allow Him to carry it. He will see you through.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
I’ve been doing some deep work here on the blog. For one thing, I’m completely overhauling the website, and I hope to have the new site ready to launch in the next month or two. For another thing, I’ve been reading and praying and researching so that I can best serve you, my reader.
Here are some things I believe to be true about you:
1. You love Jesus. 2. You are a momma of little people. 3. You want to make a difference as you pour the love of Jesus into the lives of your little people.
There are exceptions to this (Hi, Daddy), but in general, how am I doing so far?
The plan going forward, is to write with these perceptions in mind. I don’t want to waste your time by randomly sticking up posts. Instead, I want to be your cheerleader and encourage you as you pursue the heart of your heavenly Father.
I haven’t finished the deep work yet, but I’d love to carry on a conversation in the process. So, how about we start with fasting?
Every January and August my church (along with many others) does a season of 21 days of prayer and fasting. It is a time of early rising to intentionally spend time in worship, Bible study, and prayer; giving God the first of our day in an act of submission to Him.
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from something in an effort to connect with God. He doesn’t like us more if we do it, we are not a superior Christian if we do it, but it does honor Him by removing distractions as we focus our heart and attention toward Him.
The question is, how do we effectively fast with little people around?
I don’t know about you, but my little people do not always follow my pre-determined schedule. They tend to wake up mid-way through the 6am livestream, and since their bodies are still growing, l cannot ask them to fast from food. These small ones are the definition of hangry.
Some of you may be pregnant, or nursing, or have health needs that require you to eat. Some of you aren’t sleeping very much at the moment because the baby is still waking up three or more times every night. This makes it hard (impossible?) to wake up early enough to have an entire hour of quiet with the Lord.
Here is what I want you to hear today: God sees your heart and He loves your efforts.
Our season of fasting may look a little different during these younger years, but that does not make them wasted. Consider implementing one of the following ideas for 21 days. Will any of these work for your current stage of life?
7 Ideas for fasting with little people:
-Starting the day with worship music. -Staying off of social media. -Keeping the tv off after the kiddos have gone to bed. -Choosing one verse to meditate on during the course of the day. Or week. Or 21 days. -Fasting from one type of food item. What is it that you reach for when you just need a moment? Instead of reaching for it, pray to Jesus. -Fasting one meal during the day. -Consuming a liquid diet for one day.
No matter what you do, it’s the heart behind it that matters. God loves for His people to seek after Him. He knows your current reality and sees the sacrifices that you make to spend time with Him. He delights in you.
Keep after it. Any time you find to devote toward God will not be wasted.
“‘When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.’ God’s Decree.” Jeremiah 29:12-14 (The Message)