5 Life Lessons Learned From Mom

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the love that our Moms have shown to us throughout our lifetimes.  Parenting is a daunting task.  Everyone is an expert on childrearing until they have their own children.  Each of our parents did the best they could with what they knew.  I was blessed to have the mom that God gave me.  She is kind, generous and loving.  She helped mold my mind and heart.  I think of her every day.  Take some time today to remember 5 lessons that you learned from your mom.  Here are 5 that I learned from my Mom out the many I could share.

Paul E Chapman and Mom

1. Love all your children the same.

I was blessed to grow up with 5 siblings at our home.  Not once do I remember my Mom showing favoritism.  She would always say, “I love you all the same.”  And she did.  This didn’t mean that we always had the same amount of treats or privileges.  Things like age and obedience should be factored in to the equation.  However, these differences were never a matter of favoritism or a difference in love.

As a Biblical counselor, I have seen the destruction first-hand that comes from favoritism in families.  The story of Joseph in the Bible should serve as enough proof.  It clearly demonstrates the frustration, anger and politics that favoritism creates.  Some children will be more like you while others are more like your spouse.  Some will be high maintenance and others low maintenance.  Some will have personalities that fit will with yours and others may rub you the wrong way.  Some will be more obedient while others are more obstinate.  Nevertheless, love your children the same and make sure they all know it.

2. Don’t make fun of people.

In our house we were not allowed to make fun of others.  Making fun of someone’s race, size, mental capacity, looks, etc. was a sure way to get in trouble.  Getting a laugh at someone else’s expense was frowned upon and corrected.  There will always be people different from you.  Learn to be a cheerleader of the struggling.  Lift up those who are fallen.  Love the unlovable.  Help others to laugh, but not at the expense of someone else.  Be secure in yourself and you won’t feel the need to tear others down.

3. Choices have consequences.

I thank God for a Mom who disciplined me when I broke boundaries.  Every child needs parents who teach them that choices have consequences.  There is a cause and effect in life.  My mom taught me that if I chose to disobey there was a consequence to my disobedience.  If I wasn’t home on time – consequence.  If I didn’t do my schoolwork – consequence.  If I didn’t do my chores – consequence.  If I chose to talk back, you got it, there was a consequence.

Parents do their children a huge disservice when they shield their children from the consequences of their choices.  Impose consequences that are equal to the transgression.  Teach your children this truth daily.  Help them to know the pain of bad decisions in the safety of your home before they are on their own.  The power to choose comes with a great responsibility.  You can choose your actions, but you can’t choose your consequences.

4. Learn from the mistakes of others.

My mom wanted us to learn from her mistakes.  Like most parents, she wanted her children to have a better life than she did.  She would always encourage us, sometimes with tears, to not make the same mistakes.  We often heard her pray that God would protect us from her bad choices in the past and help us not to make the same ones in the future.  Why is it that we so easily transfer our bad habits to those around us?  Unfortunately, some children become a combination of the worst attributes of their parents.

Beg God that He would help your children to learn from your mistakes.  Be open with your children and teach them how to make better decisions.  Beg them to be smarter and wiser than you were and learn from your mistakes and experience.  Get victory in your own life so you can teach them how to have victory in theirs.  They are made of the same stuff you are and will struggle with many of the same thoughts and feelings.  Be present and engaged in their lives to help them navigate the dangerous waters of life.

5. Have compassion.

Compassion is a worthy virtue.  It changes the way you see the world.  My mom taught me to enter the lives of others.  She didn’t just see life as a series of sterile events, but as people living with thoughts, feelings, fears and hopes.  She taught me to think about how others are thinking and feeling.  Life did not revolve around me.  There were other people in the world and they needed someone to care about them and their situation.

Do you have compassion?  Can you put yourself in other people’s shoes?  Jesus looked on the multitudes and was moved with compassion.  True compassion not only changes how we see the world, but also how we interact with the world.  Show compassion today.

Take a moment and share a life lesson that your mother taught you in the comments below.

The Mother of Your Children

A reminder for Men of all ages

Mother’s day is a wonderful time to show your love and appreciation to the mother of your children.  I am so thankful for, Sarah, my beautiful wife and the mother of my 3 children.

Sarah and kids on Riverboat 2014

Bringing children into this world is a huge responsibility.  God is using your genetic material to create a new being and then trusting you to rear this new person to maturity.  You will always be attached to this precious new life.  However, you are only half of the equation.  Your spouse will provide the other half of the formula and you will be forever connected by the new life you brought into the world together.  Choose wisely and reap the life-long benefits.  Choose poorly and you will endure the consequences for life.

Before I was married, I was keenly aware that my future spouse would also be the mother of my children.  As I considered a christian girl, I looked for signs of the kind of mother she would be.  Was she godly, kind, sweet, smart, pretty?  How did she treat her parents?  How did she interact with children?  Did she have a sweetness that is born in holiness and walking with God or was it a superficial sweetness that quickly fades under pressure.  I’m thankful that my wife truly fears the Lord and walks with Him daily.  Our entire family reaps the rewards of her faithfulness daily.  Thank you, Sarah!

So on this Mother’s Day remember to confess your gratitude to the mother of your children.  Do it openly and fervently.  Let the world know you are thankful for the Mother of Your Children!

If you are not yet married, remember that the person you choose to will also be the mother of your children.  Choose wisely!

Update from our Mayo Clinic trip

mayo-clinic-frontWe made it safely back from the Mayo Clinic this past Wednesday, September 3. My wife and I want to thank each of you who prayed for our family. The Lord really answered prayers.  Although there is no way to convey all that God did for us on this trip, the following are a few things we would like to share with you.

When we made the appointment, the Clinic told us to expect to be there from 3 to 10 days. Many people are done in 3 days and most are done in 5 days. During our first appointment the doctor realized what we already knew – that Sarah’s situation was very complicated and if we wanted to get some real answers it would take longer than they first thought.  We decided that we would just take it day by day and see what the Lord would do.  As the days passed, it became clear that we needed to be there longer.  Although we could have stayed longer with doctors wanting to schedule more appointments, we decided to leave after three weeks.  We felt that most of the important appointments were done and that the other appointments could be done in Rhode Island.  We needed to come home.

Each day brought new tests and doctor appointments.  (more…)

100 Ways to Say I Love You

“Say I Love You” was the theme of our Valentine Banquet this year.  I took about a week and asked the Lord to teach me 100 ways to tangibly say “I Love You” to my wife with words and actions.  This list below is what God gave me.  I shared it with the folks at the banquet.  You will probably find items that you do regularly and others that are out of your comfort zone.  I encourage you to look at this list daily and pick a few of these ideas to show true love to your mate.  I challenge you to do it faithfully for a month and watch what effect true love can have on your relationship.  Let me know how it goes!

Say I love youSay I Love You

  1. By listening to their words with love.
  2. By being patient with their faults.
  3. By looking at them with kind eyes when they speak.
  4. By holding their hand with a smile.
  5. By cuddling when seated together.
  6. By a kiss goodbye every time you leave.
  7. By gentle touch any time you are near.
  8. By kissing passionately without prompting.
  9. By choosing to be with them over other people.
  10. By protecting their reputation when attacked.
  11. By protecting their spirit from harm.
  12. By promoting their good above others.
  13. By fulfilling their desires when possible.
  14. By a hello kiss when you meet.
  15. With long hugs for no reason.
  16. By desiring them intimately.
  17. By saying why you love them.
  18. By thanking them for their work.
  19. With concern when they are hurt.
  20. With comfort when they are troubled.
  21. With an apology when you are wrong.
  22. With longsuffering when they are angry.
  23. With humility when they hurt you.
  24. With joy when they are blessed.
  25. With laughter when they are happy.
  26. With tears when they cry.
  27. With security when they are afraid.
  28. By happily caring for their needs.
  29. By helping them fulfill God’s will.
  30. By serving the Lord together.
  31. By praying for them often.
  32. By praying with them daily.
  33. By encouraging them regularly.
  34. By asking them for their thoughts.
  35. By learning how to please them.
  36. By learning how not to displease them.
  37. By lifting their load when it gets heavy.
  38. By reading a book on marriage.
  39. By listening to sermons on marriage.
  40. By talking about how to make your marriage better.
  41. By asking how you could make their day easier.
  42. By asking how you could better meet their needs.
  43. By going to church with them each service.
  44. By voicing your pleasure with them.
  45. By saying “please” and “thank you”.
  46. By helping them with their household duties.
  47. With a foot massage after a hectic day.
  48. With a relaxing back rub when tense.
  49. With a full-body massage before bed.
  50. By gently caressing their face.
  51. By exercising together on schedule.
  52. By cooking their favorite meal.
  53. By dropping everything when they need you.
  54. By taking them to a favorite restaurant.
  55. By taking them on a picnic.
  56. By taking them on a walk.
  57. With a date by the ocean.
  58. By putting the kids to bed early and spending a quiet night together.
  59. By turning the TV off and talking about nothing.
  60. With reassuring words of love.
  61. With kind words and facial expressions.
  62. By telling them why you love them.
  63. By being their best friend.
  64. By looking for their needs.
  65. By happily fulfilling their desires.
  66. By being easy to please.
  67. By being hard to disappoint.
  68. By not keeping track of wrongs.
  69. By forgiving sins quickly.
  70. By not being selfish.
  71. By putting God first in everything.
  72. With stability and consistency.
  73. With a hand-written note.
  74. By texting them words of love when apart.
  75. By transitioning your mind before you meet.
  76. By reminding them that you made a good choice.
  77. By thanking God for bringing you together.
  78. By respecting their opinions.
  79. By never putting them down.
  80. By never calling names.
  81. By never saying the word “divorce”.
  82. By responding with respect.
  83. By respecting them purposefully.
  84. By scheduling time for them daily.
  85. With unexpected surprises.
  86. By bringing them something they enjoy.
  87. By looking them in the eye.
  88. By still pursuing them after the wedding.
  89. With soft words when they are upset.
  90. By putting yourself in their shoes.
  91. With a Spirit-filled demeanor.
  92. By trusting God in times of need.
  93. By protecting your home from sin.
  94. By yielding to God every day.
  95. By thinking about them when you are apart.
  96. With a quick call during the day to confirm you love.
  97. By learning their love language and using it often.
  98. By entering their world and enjoying their interests.
  99. With a quantity of quality time.
  100. By spending the rest of your life finding new ways to Say I Love You!