To Whom Do You Turn?

But he [Rehoboam] abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.

1 Kings 12:8 (ESV)

And what was the result?

So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

1 Kings 12:19 (ESV)

For years, I did not consciously teach my children where to turn for counsel—except urging them to seek their brothers’ perspective on a particular topic.

That changed when my oldest two were departing for college. I urged them to consult their professors if they had trouble in a subject.

Next, I turned to the remaining child. Perhaps, I felt he was vulnerable without his brothers. I told him that if anything happened to my husband and me, whom he was to turn to and whom he was to ignore. I was specific about who could help with each area of his life. He took that to heart and still aggressively seeks counsel.

Thankfully, my earlier years of neglect did not cause harm.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; Psalm 16:7a (ESV)

God's Faithfulness, Parenting

A Place To Listen

Where do you hide your heart?

Amy Grant, Michael W Smith

Why does it matter where our hearts hide? Why does it matter where we teach our children’s hearts to hide?

Because we need a place where we can call for help and listen.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Jeremiah 33:3

Because we need a place to decide what to do next.

My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.

John 10:27

Someone close to my heart ran to a spot with this view.

When my sons were younger, we were outdoors for the love of the outdoors. I am grateful that we unwittingly taught them the value of a quiet, listening place—a place where they would eventually hide their hearts.

Where were you taught to hide your heart?


Where Do You Hide Your Heart?

Where do you go when you’re hurting? … Where do you hide your heart?

Lyrics Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith

I first realized that parents teach places to hide hearts after I watched wounded adult relatives either run to Disney World or long for Disney World. One cousin openly spoke of her desperate need. I was confused until I remembered her childhood vacations to Disney World when her family’s’ life was in turmoil.

After that revelation, I recognized similar patterns. I looked back on my sons’ responses to difficult times or adjustments. With one exception, they consistently headed outdoors. The exception? Libraries.

Along the way, I learned that I had unconsciously taught my sons a physical place to hide their hearts.

A place to run to.

Our family camped and hiked and biked and ran in the woods behind our house whenever we could—unless we were hanging out at the library a few miles away. I didn’t realize I was teaching my sons that libraries and the great outdoors could be safe places when hurting or in need of rest.

Where do you run to hide your heart? Where do you want your children to run?

Parenting, Stories I tell

Stories I Tell: A Brother’s Counsel

Seven years ago this month, my youngest was involved in a wreck that totaled his car and left him unscathed.

“We have family in every city,” I told my son who was hundreds of miles from both our home and his. “This family is called church.” I suggested he use his smartphone and find a local church. I was over an hour from home with a flip phone.

I texted another son and raced home to the internet. My husband was in Italy, and I needed to notify him.

My church suggestion caused my stranded son to send a group text to church brothers who rescued him the next day.

Why the next day? His older brother said so.

While I was driving home, he was taking charge. The quality of counsel he gave amazed my husband and me—more detailed and informed than ours would have been.

“He was Papa Bear taking care of his cub,” I said later. The cub agreed. “I told my friends he was calling the shots.”

During a time of trauma and uncertainly, my heart rejoiced in my sons’ relationship and the wisdom they showed in giving and receiving advice.

Favorites, Friendship, Parenting

I Need Holding Help (From June 21 2020)

A republished blog for the third anniversary of 100 words.

For weeks, I listened to a tough, tender former Army Ranger instruct his children.  “Do not say, ‘I can’t.’ Instead, say, ‘This is hard. I need help.'” 

He drilled his children. “Yes, you can. It may be hard. You may need help, but you can do it.”

One Saturday, I was hiking in a rain forest in Brazil with this cousin and his four children. We had strayed from the main trail in order to explore, and the miles were adding up. The almost-four-year-old turned to me and said, “This is hard. I need help.”

“What kind of help?” I asked.

“Holding help.”

I picked him up and carried him for a while.

Trails in Guaratiba, Brazil where my cousin’s preschool son required “Holding Help.” (Below, I am in the pink top.)

I took hold of my cousin’s response to “I can’t.” It acknowledges the hard we face. It avoids the argument about whether something can or cannot be done. It supplies a solution.

Do you need holding help for your hard? Does someone need your holding help for their hard?