Tag Archives: relationships

Living a Constructive Life in a Destructive World.

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Living a Constructive Life in a Destructive World.

A little over a week ago, my husband suggested we take away ALL screens – iPad, phones, computer, tv’s- from our kids. At first I wondered if he was attempting to punish ME {haha} But, I jumped on board and the kids have been screen free for NINE days. (Let me start by saying we have always encouraged their creative side and prior to the screen fast limited screen time BUT it was still too much for them) Our original goal was seven days but I had to keep going because the benefits and LIFE I was seeing happen before my eyes was mind-blowing. Not rocket science at all but just a “screen free world”, something we could ALL use more of.

 

I believe moderation is key and will be the ultimate goal but in a technology driven world we have forgotten to stop, look and LIVE. In this blog, I’m going to share some of the changes I saw in our hearts, in our minds and in our home.

 

First off, It’s not fair for me to start with the changes I noticed in my children when part of the REAL issue was ME! It’s a heart and mind issue. Mindsets have developed over the years to be “what’s in it for me” instead of “what’s in it for YOU” or “how can I serve you”. This is because our very society has gotten far away from God and Biblical standards. As a result we see many young families struggling to float and constantly sinking. We see more behavioral issues. We see children with knowledge of things in life that they have no business knowing. We see more sleep disturbances. We see a decrease in compassion. We see a decrease in “a servant’s heart”. We see a decrease in social interaction outside of the virtual world. We see a decrease in church attendance because “iPad church” has become acceptable. Am I saying God hates technology or that the Bible forbids it? No. But it has become a real distraction and a real pacifier.

 

Technology has enabled parents to have more “free time” than ever before! I have tears in my eyes as I even type this out because I too can say I have been guilty to handoff an iPad or phone to have “just one more moment of me time”…to have “just 5 more minutes in the shower”…to have “just 30 minutes of peace and quiet in the kitchen as I prepare dinner”, “just 20 minutes so I can fold and put away the laundry” or how about (because my intentions are to be real and transparent) – to have “just 30-45 more minutes on my OWN screen”  It’s a TRAP that keeps the clock ticking – minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, year after year and it MUST stop – for my household. I often realize I don’t have any fruit to be shown from the “just one more’s….” I end up feeling guilty. I end up feeling defeated. I end up feeling frustrated. These are NOT fruits of the Spirit.

 

Secondly, Technology has enabled our children to be monitored by a device that can be destructive versus a reality that is constructive. We have allowed a mindless device to become the wheels that churn our children’s thoughts. We have allowed the voice of the unknown to become their “reality”. We have allowed parental freedom to reign over parental control. Of course all YouTube Kids videos are age appropriate – right? Wrong! The day that I began to trust the voice deep inside of me versus the reviews of the world I quickly realized that many of these “harmless toy reviews” are shifting our children’s thinking on bigger topics. Things such a homosexuality, things such a violence, things such as sex, things such as religion. Many “children’s sites” have become the platform for “all” the voices to be heard. I know the ONE voice they should hear and the ONE who never fails us and the ONE in whom they can trust, so why am I ok with the world pushing off their agendas on my innocent children?

 

Thirdly, I’ve noticed that the HOME LIFE in families has become increasingly dysfunctional. Kid’s not sleeping well, kid’s not eating well, kid’s not listening, kid’s having behavioral issues, kid’s lacking in compassion, kid’s lacking in social skills, kid’s lacking in awareness. Is this all technology’s fault? No – but with no boundaries come many consequences. It’s basically an endless cycle. Your kid is acting out due to the very thing you are “pacifying” them with. Our children actually THRIVE off of boundaries. God has given us as His children boundaries and we thrive and flourish within them but take us out of the “fence” and we go crazy. I say “crazy” because I have actually seen my husband pull in from work and want to run out the door because my own kids have been just that for a day – crazy. We’ve all had those days right? And it’s because I gave them a “field” too large to roam in. One that their mind’s are not able to handle. One that stimulates them more than they can process. One that causes them to “shut down” once the device is taken away.

 

Since we have been on this screen fast my children are THINKING more clearly. They do not seem pre-occupied but they are alert, refreshed and engaging with reality more.They are being creative – painting, drawing, coloring, creating something out of nothing. I’ve found tents and hideouts being built-in corners of the rooms and I have found my son reading without me instructing him to do so. I have been “ok” with them getting bored because they are learning to “pacify” themselves with creative outlets versus staring at a screen and getting lost.

 

I have gotten full nights of sleep because my KIDS ARE SLEEPING ALL NIGHT. My husband was shocked the other night because my son climbed up onto his top bunk and said “Shhh I’m trying to go to bed” because his little brain was literally ready for rest – he had put in a FULL day of playing, learning, contributing and engaging in reality. He did not spend an hour or two on mindless idleness that leads to frequent wake up calls at night etc because I am CONVINCED that too much technology interrupts the sleep cycle. Before this “technology fast” my six-year-old son was waking up at least two times per night EVERY NIGHT – for unknown reasons. It’s like his mind was playing “catch up” from the information overload.

 

Thankfully my children don’t lack in the socialization department. They are quiet outspoken and don’t meet strangers BUT since the technology fast they have become INTENTIONAL with conversations. Meaningful conversation and asking more in-depth questions about what we are studying or just deeper questions about life in general. At times, these questions can be challenging (and annoying) if honest for parents and I think society has allowed us to clam up and just hand a device when our children become “too vocal” but LET THEM BE HEARD. If they don’t feel like you are listening now with the small things, how can we expect them to come to us later when it’s the BIG things. In the past, I have been guilty of giving my phone to my child in the buggy so they are “seen not heard” Once again, a pacifier to make my life easier. A way for me to escape mom duties for just a few more minutes. They aren’t fully grown adults and they are going to say funny things or even super embarrassing things at times but let them be teachable moments instead of silencing them with a screen.

 

During this fast, I reflected on my very own childhood. I grew up in a home FULL of intentional conversation, a LOT of outdoor playtime, plenty of crafts, chores and cooking with mom in the kitchen. My parents were ok with me being bored and would encourage me to fix that problem…on my own. What has happened from then to now? What has changed? Why do we as parents find it acceptable to create a “numb” environment for our children. Why are behavioral issues on the rise? Why is childhood anxiety/depression on a high? Why do we see parents staying up LATE “waiting” for their children to fall asleep?

 

After thinking about these things, I once again, feel it is because society has totally become *focused on self* instead of focused on others. In order for our children to thrive and develop they need REAL LIFE encounters and interactions. They need discipline and boundaries. They need to be free to express emotions and yes even have the occasional meltdown run it’s  course without silencing them with a device. I’ve found that when my kids have too much energy stored up (due it idleness) it reflects in poor behavior. Think about adults who deal with “cabin fever” during winter – just needing to get OUT. Same principle for littles – Let them run a few laps outside around the house and I bet it will quickly be resolved. Teach them life skills by allowing them in the kitchen. Have them complete chores. Of course it will be a little messy but it’s hard to learn a skill without practicing – and practice is messy! Baseball players head to the field with white pants and come home with brown and green stains all over them. Parenting is full of messy moments and it is OK.

 

Earlier, I mentioned moderation was our ultimate goal. Is technology bad? NO. We love it in our home but learned that it needed to be scaled back…a lot! For myself, my husband and my children. Technology offers many benefits and is what we will be using it for from here on out. Educational apps that correlate with our homeschool lessons, tv shows that my children can learn from but enjoy, a way for my husband and I to stay connected to beautiful friends and family all over, a way to share our faith with others but ALL within moderation. Like thirty minutes a day for the kids. I cannot expect something from my children that I myself cannot demonstrate. OUCH. That thought hit me hard. That’s when I realized it was more than a technology issue…it’s a heart issue. I can’t expect gentleness, patience, kindness, obedience ______ etc unless I too display it. It’s very hypocritical and something that “our millennial generation” doesn’t do well with but yet …. here we are.

 

In conclusion, I’m SO thankful that we went through this journey and I encourage each and every parent to do so. Maybe technology doesn’t “seem” to be the root issue in your home. I too at one point didn’t believe gluten, dairy and grains were a root issue with my health but once I totally removed them I quickly began to see a difference. I too believe you will see a difference with doing a “technology fast” with your children and then reintroducing it with new boundaries. **Warning **You will be tired sweet mama and daddy. You will answer MANY, MANY questions. You will play more with your children 🙂 and experience more JOY and LAUGHTER in your home. You will get full nights of rest or at least better rest time. You will notice behavior changes – good and bad. Anytime we detox something from our minds, bodies or spirits there is a “withdrawal” stage but it too shall pass. God has chosen YOU to be your child’s parent and He is calling us to a deeper level of commitment and relationship with them.

 

Father,

Thank You for allowing us to go through this eye-opening journey. Thank You for awakening me as a parent to see my own selfishness in this process. Thank You Father for helping me see through a new lens (Your lens) and not simply a smart phone camera. Keep me from falling into the selfish trap that the world has set up in every room. Help me be ok with the “messy moments” and help me to be focused on their development versus my freedom. Help me to put ON the mind of Christ and help me to be intentional in raising my children…YOUR children. Give me the strength to overcome the temptation of pacifying my child with a screen. Let me hear their questions and answer them with a grateful heart. Help me direct them to You to find ultimate fulfilment.

Amen!

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•Obtain•Remain•Sustain•

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.Deuteronomy 30. (Read)

The Lord put on my heart back in November to read through the Bible – cover to cover. My pastor encourages to “read scripture slowly” so I haven’t been following a “Read your Bible in a year plan” but instead 1-2 chapters sometimes 3 a day. One of the challenges I’ve had over the years is to f o c u s and dig deep into the Old Testemant. I was a skimmer of the OT before but WOW how God has been using it to speak to me and making it come alive and relatable to my today. 

Our Father desires us. ALL of us.

“Ex 34:14  Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

He wants to prosper us and desires us to remain in Him. God is not pushy or a God of force. He wants us to want Him — above all else. As I was reading Deuteronomy 30 the Lord put three words on my heart. Obtain,Remain and Sustain. So I pulled up google and searched “define…” and typed in each word to dig a little deeper than Jessica’s definition of these words 🙂

Obtain. “to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request”

Proverbs 8:35 “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.”

Remain. “to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified”
John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Sustain. “to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.”

Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.

He is OURS. We GET to serve and live with Him FOR Him. We are priveldeged enough to obtain His salvation. In order to fulfil His plan we must remain in Him — not of this world or fleshly desires. When we remain in Him — He sustains us. He gives us the strength, love and support that we need to walk out His will.

Be encouraged today that HE is Emmanuel — the WITH us God. We don’t walk through mountains or valleys alone because God is the Constant One. 

If you didn’t have time to read Deuteronomy chapter 30 earlier — it’s talking about the ones who are -coming back- to His goodness. God has laid out the paths of life or death. They got to choose…so do we. I love how it mentions it’s not difficult to obtain His favor. We don’t have to ask someone to cross the sea and bring it back – it’s IN Him and He abides IN us now! The same God who provided for the Israelites and redeemed them time and time again is the same God who redeems us TODAY. He is restoration! I encourage you to read the whole chapter.

All He asks for is our heart — pure, deep, aching love for Him that continues so much so that He is the ONLY one who can sustain us because after all we were created for HIM by HIM.

Father,

Thank You for choosing to create me. Thank You for giving me grace and eternity when I deserve hell. Thank You for new mercies every day. Father forgive me for the times I haven’t remained in You. Forgive me for the times I chose my agenda over Yours. Help me to chase after You with all that I am. We all crave something more and God You put that crave there for a purpose on purpose — to continually remain IN You. Help me seek You more. Help me love louder — without demand or expectations — simply because You love me. Be my sustainer in the mountains and the valleys. I welcome You to lead, guide and direct — every area. Help me to keep pure intentions and focused on YOU. Your kingdom come – Your will be done. Amen.

Xoxo,

Jess Fox
PS. If you haven’t read the Bible through — today is the day to start! Transformation in your life starts with saturation of the WORD💛

Higher Thoughts 

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Higher Thoughts 

I know I’m not the only one that gets overwhelmed with the ins and outs of every. day. life. It’s easy to become •distracted• with our thoughts, worries or concerns. It’s also easy to take the mundane tasks for granite. 

Are you lost today in your thoughts? Do you feel as if you are walking in defeat? The Father says that’s enough and that He has come to give us *life* and life to the •FULL• The dictionary defines -full- as:

*Containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space.

*Not lacking or omitting anything; complete.

We get to choose what we are “full” of. We can ~choose~ fear and doubt to reign in our hearts which leads to chaos. OR we can ~choose~ faith and joy that is deep within us that leads to p e a c e.

The enemy LOVES for us to be fearful – the more fear the better. The enemy’s desire is for us to be so full of fear that we are completely distracted by it instead of dwelling in Faith. Faith is GREATER than fear but we cannot discredit or ignore the downspiral effect it has on believers today. I’ve read “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers a few times and I totally agree that the mind IS a battlefield. IF the enemy can sneak in – just by one. single. thought. He’s got you right where he wants you. It just takes a little space to create a flood of negative thoughts. 

Colossians 3:2 says “Set your minds on things •above•, not on earthly things.”

That’s a daily act…a million times a day act. For example, when your kids are acting up and you feel like you can’t handle another outburst – set your mind on things above. When you get a not so good report from a doctor – set your mind on things above. When you’re not sure how you’re going to pay a bill – set your mind on things above. When your car breaks down and you’re late for work – set your mind on things above. When you are unhappy at your job and feel as if you can’t clock in not even one more day – set your mind on things above. When the enemy whispers you’re not good enough – set your mind on things above.

When we •think• God thoughts and become FULL of His word and Spirit – there’s no room for anything else. The very definition of -full- shows us that statement to be true. “Having NO empty space”

My challenge today (myself included) is to think God thoughts – ones that align our hearts and minds to His Word. All other thoughts – take captive and release to Him. Personally, I find it helpful to •verbally• share my concerns with Him. This can be done in your car or in your kitchen – or wherever because He dwells in us and is Emmanuel – the WITH us God. 

Ps 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and He *will* sustain you; He will •never• let the righteous be shaken.

Set your minds on things above and walk in His fullness,

Jessica Fox

Love in a lust world

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*** This may make you feel awkward or even make you blush – but it’s the Truth.

 Song of Solomon (Chapter 7)

HE:

1 How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O noble daughter! Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
2 Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks toward Damascus.
5 Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.
6 How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights![a]
7 Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.
8 I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples,
9 and your mouth[b] like the best wine.
She:

It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth.
10 I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.

The Bride Gives Her Love

11 Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages;
12 let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

Ok, who after reading this wants to go grab your husband/wife and give them a big kiss?? If you’re not married it makes you desire to find someone who cherishes his wife this much. This is straight out of God’s word! These naughty little youngin’s with their metaphors. As I read this scripture I could feel the desire to be with one another so strongly – Encouraging intimacy between a groom and his bride – inspiration.

It’s b e a u t i f u l.                                     It’s h o l y.                                                           It’s p u r e.

The husband isn’t commanding his wife to be a “slave” to him but his heart and mind is full of desire for his bride.

The two became ONE.

It breaks my heart to think that innocent girls/women are being made sex slaves (sex trafficking) but our society would rather entertain a provocative, pornographic book and movie than contribute to HELP these lives (or at least not contribute to the movie/book 50 Shades of Grey – which is indeed making a woman a slave to her master).

My newsfeed has been full of justifications. Some of the comments I’ve read – “This will help my relationship because it will spark a fire in our intimacy” , “It’s not really a sin to watch this movie” or “Christian’s are so uptight about harmless movies” These are LIES – from the enemy.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

God created sex. He wants it to be spicy, interesting, fun and PURE. When you invite such filth to come before your eyes, it’s no longer your spouse arousing you but the “thought” of another man or woman’s relations and this is known as ADULTERY. It’s in the Bible…

Matthew 5:27, 28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Exodus 20:17 “you shall not covet (lust) your neighbor’s wife,”

So often it’s made to sound as if men are the only ones who struggle with lust. Yes, I feel like the enemy has a stronghold on men with the desires of flesh – literally. BUT women are NOT perfect and usually enjoy fanacizing or reading books or watching movies on other people’s relationship finding themselves -craving “that type of love” Comparing these two incidents – they are identical because they BOTH lead to destruction. They BOTH lead to a wandering mind. They BOTH lead to unfaithfulness because it’s in the mind and heart where things stir up.

Think of it this way – two different scenarios

A. You plant a seed in the ground. You realize that you do not want what it produces, so you choose to not water it. End of story.

B. You plant a seed in the ground. You continue to water it and watch it spread, grow and take over your garden. When you planted the seed you did not realize it was a WEED. This weed now thrives and is able to grow and take over the life of your beautiful garden.

Humans are NOT perfect – we fail each day. You may think – “oh one glance at him won’t hurt me” or “I’ll watch this movie with my girlfriends and nothing bad will come from it” or “Just one more chapter and I’ll quit reading 50 shades of grey” or  “I love the way he makes me laugh – he really gets me” or “This woman encourages and boasts of me – I wish my wife did”

All of these statements are “seeds” from the enemy taking root in your relationship. When you welcome this thought well, it’s downhill from there. No one enjoys pulling out weeds and they will quickly invade your marriage.

Proverbs 4:23 “ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”

If you need some “spice” in your intimate relationship DO NOT look to the world but search through God’s word with your spouse – trust me, Song of Solomon has it down pat. Perfect model of admiration for one another.

Stand with me and say NO to watching or reading 50 Shades of Grey. Don’t support this filth that is captivating our culture.

I’ll leave you with this thought – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.”  (Song of Solomon 6:3)

xoxo,

Jess Fox