Make Time Matter

Make Time Matter

Do you ever find yourself saying “time, slow down” as you go through your week?


It seems as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete tasks or to simply enjoy my family. I can find myself rushing through the day to drop kids off and pick them up, get chores done, finish my checklist, and crash at the end of the day.

Some parents are naturally wired to schedule things. Some just aren’t. I can sometimes be so task oriented that the important relationships in my life can get scheduled out.

Regardless of how scheduled or unscheduled you are, there are a couple of things you can do to help make the most of your time with your family:

1) MARK IT UP
As a mom, I am constantly filling my days with appointments, deadlines, and tasks that always feel urgent. If I’m not intentional, that’s ALL that will get space on my calendar. So, once every month or so, I look at my calendar and schedule the things that no one is asking me to schedule.

I mark up the calendar with things like:

Take the kids to the park.

Have a date night.
Do a family night devotion.

That may sound silly, but by marking my calendar with these important things, it reserves the time and makes sure that nothing else gets in the way.

2) MEASURE IT OUT
Most days are pretty typical and can even become monotonous. But one of the best ways to make the most of every week is to create some habits.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What I love about this passage of scripture is that Moses is writing to God’s people, instructing them to make the most of the time already built into their day to pour into their families. When they wake up, when they are on the road, and when they go to bed.

For example:

What do you do every morning at breakfast?

What if part of your breakfast routine just became looking for ways to encourage your children?

When do you eat together?

You don’t have to make a home-cooked meal to have a conversation. What if one meal a day was a media-free time when you were intentional about having a conversation with your child?

What’s the last thing you do before your children go to bed at night?

Every day ends the same way. We go to bed. So what’s your bedtime routine? How do you make the most of the moments right before your son or daughter drifts off to sleep?

Making sure time doesn’t get away from us isn’t easy. But we don’t need vacations or special days to make the most of our time. Let’s use the time we’ve already been given in the very best way possible.

Don’t let life fly by and forget to make moments that count!

To The Couple That’s Been Trying

I know how you feel. Alone. Grieved. Desperate. Angry.

I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still go there. My husband and I have experienced infertility for over 10 years, and even after adopting, that same sense of loss and grief can resurface from time to time.

Maybe you’re struggling through infertility now. Maybe you have experienced a miscarriage. Maybe you have birthed children, but no longer can. Maybe you have a friend who is infertile (and if you are reading this, what a great friend you are!)

Wherever you are in the journey, it can be difficult.

Most couples experiencing infertility don’t talk about it. We think we are alone. And we think other people won’t understand, or won’t know what to say. We may struggle when someone else gets pregnant. We may have a hard time celebrating at someone else’s baby shower. We may struggle with our spouse because of the stress infertility and trying to conceive puts on our marriage. We may question what is wrong with us; if children are a blessing from the Lord, why are we cursed?

Why do I tell you these struggles?

So that you know you aren’t alone. One in eight couples experience infertility. It affects men as well as women. And while you may find tremendous heartache, suffering, and desperation in the middle of it, we have to share what we’re going through to help others.

Here are three ways I have found to cope with infertility:

  • A support system

Whether it is other couples that have or are walking through infertility or an online support resource like Hannah’s Prayer (www.hannah.org), join with others that can help you navigate the ups and downs. Talking about my journey, and asking others to hold me accountable during my struggle, have been a tremendous help.

  • Prayer

Seek God about His plan for your family. Let Him lead you, and listen to His guidance. His plan for your family may be different from His plan for another couple. In the beginning, we pursued fertility treatments, at the same time we were foster parents, at the same time we applied for an international adoption. One-by-one, through prayer and fasting, God opened and closed doors for us and led us to adopt through foster care.

  • Leaning on God’s Word
  • Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
  • 1 John 5:14-15 – “And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”
  • Philippians 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”
  • Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

We struggle. But we can’t live in the struggle. God is so faithful. We aren’t defined by what we don’t have; we are defined by what we DO have – HIM. And in Him, we have HOPE.

Be encouraged. God hasn’t forgotten about you. He knows what He’s doing.

When Sorry Is Not Enough

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

Last year, Dylan and I planned a surprise for Cheryl and the girls.  He was away at college and Savannah was on the Homecoming Court.  We informed the girls that Dylan just couldn’t make it home because of scheduling and pressing issues at college.  They were all quite disappointed but certainly understood.  

The afternoon of Homecoming, Dylan came home to surprise them.  We were able to capture on video each emotional reaction.  It was a moving moment.  Each reaction to seeing him was quite emotional. It will go down as one of those “special moments” for our family.  

Click Here To Watch Video

After posting this video on social media, I was asked multiple times, “What did you do in your home to create an atmosphere where your kids love each other like that?”  I spent some time trying to answer this question.  After making lists and being thankful for the Grace of God that made up for our shortcomings as parents, this is where I landed on the answer to that question:  

One of the most important things we did to create peace in our our home was to teach our kids to appropriately apologize.  

It is so important for each person in your home to be able to apologize well!

In a world where the words, “I’m sorry” have become cheap and somewhat meaningless, here are the 4 components to a real apology that will lead to peace and reconciliation in your home.

  1. Say “I’m Sorry”

The first step is to say “I’m sorry.” When we say this, we are showing regret.  Regret is when we recognize that we did or said something wrong that affected the relationship with another.

When saying “I’m sorry,” we trained our children to:

  • look each other in the eyes  
  • speak clearly and with sincerity
  • control their body language when they said “I’m sorry” – meaning we would:
    • make them fold their hands
    • place their hands in front of them
    • then speak to the other person  

Doing this helped them settle themselves, which led them to “be in the moment.”

Always remember, the words “I’m sorry” should never be followed by the word “but.”  This is a bad practice and usually tries to excuse our behavior.  

  1. Say “I Am Wrong”

When we say “I am wrong,” we own the offense.  We cannot excuse it away.  

Our children had to name the offense.  If they lied, cheated or stole something, they had to say it out loud and verbally own it.  They were not allowed to make an excuse for their actions.

Saying “I am wrong” is so important to having peace in your home!  

Do you know anyone who always has to be right?  Do not be that person!!  When we always have to be right, we have the tendency to crush the spirits of the ones we love, we close relational doors and we narrow the path to reconciliation.  

Remember, the goal of a real apology is to restore the relationship not just “right” a “wrong.”

A home where people freely admit they are wrong is probably a relationally healthy home.

  1. Say “Will You Forgive Me?”

This is such an important part of an apology.  When we ask another person to forgive us, we take a position of humility and give up control.  Wow – I know those are concepts that we may not hear much about these days.  When we ask for forgiveness, we are placing it in the hands of the other person.  

Giving up control trains our children to have humility and helps them understand that life is not all about them, their desires and wants.  That is a good thing! 

It is so important to train your children that they are part of a family and the well being of this group is more important than the individual.  

In our home, after one child forgave the other, I would make them “hug it out” or sometimes I would pray with them. This would be a sign that they were forgiven and they could move on!

  1.  Change Your Ways and Make It Right

When we continue to apologize to the ones we love but we don’t change our actions or words, then it nullifies our apology.  If I lie to Cheryl, apologize to her, and then lie to her again next week – how does that make her feel?  

It is important that we remember a real apology is not to just “right the wrong” but, more importantly, it is to restore the relationship.  

That is why this 4th step is so important.  It solidifies that we are serious about making things right with those we love.

Doing all 4 steps should become an important practice in your family.  When we practice these steps, it closes the offense and buries it!  There is freedom when we are able to be freed from guilt and we are forgiven.  

When we let conflicts go unresolved…

When we don’t deal with the hurt…

When us being right is the highest value…

We are leaving relational trash in our home.

When we choose to live with this trash everywhere, the path to reconciliation with the ones we love becomes narrow.  

Here is the GREAT news!  It’s never too late to start saying “I’m sorry” and giving a real apology!  Start today – example it, encourage it, make it a part of your family’s culture.  You will never regret making things right with the ones you love!

Who Said Anything About Them Leaving Home?

As I prepared to pen these words, I took a trip back to 1990 when our first child, Kimberly, was born in the mountains of Guatemala.

I scrounged up her baby book and took a stroll down memory lane for about an hour today. Born on March 24, at 7:32pm, she weighed 7lbs and was 21 inches long.

Then there is an excerpt taken from the Memorable Firsts page. Tonya writes, “She had worms for the first time at 14 months and amoebas at 16 months.” Now, you won’t find these words in many baby books, unless you raised your children on the mission field!

I don’t know about you but when our first child was born, I was clueless and scared, excited and overwhelmed, happy and proud – all at the same time. I had this grin on my face that couldn’t be wiped off. But, one thing was for sure – we needed some help, advice, instruction, and wisdom.

I am thankful for godly parents, grandparents, pastors and friends who gave us wise counsel and were there to answer our questions in the following years. I am also thankful for good books and teaching videos.

However, one form of support stands out above all the rest. I am thankful for the leading and instruction we received from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Don’t ever underestimate or overlook His offered help. He will direct you! He loves your children more than you do and He knows them better than you do. He wants to help you raise them to love and serve Him! He will give you insight that only He can give concerning each one of your children.

Seek Him daily for His wisdom! Beg Him to be merciful to your child and to shower your home with His grace.

Three of our five children are married now and they have blessed us with seven beautiful grandchildren. They are all striving to raise this next generation in righteousness. We read in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

LaTonya and I, along with our parents, continue to seek God for His mercy as our children raise the next generation.

Definition of Success in Parenting

A quick search of the internet turned up this definition of parenting: “The point of parenting is to guide children toward independence.” There are many other definitions to be found there, for sure.

But, I would have to counter with this definition: “The point of parenting is to guide children to complete dependence.” Dependence on the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Others say, “Success is helping our kids be everything they want to be.” But again I counter with, “Success is helping our kids be everything God wants them to be.”

I trust that you are developing a vision for your child’s life that goes beyond the cultural norm. Hopefully, you see that the ultimate measure of your success in parenting is not your child’s future income, education, or social status.

Instead, it is whether your child gets safely home to heaven and is equipped to lead future generations of your family there also.

Let’s begin with a question.

When your son or daughter leaves your home someday – you say, Whoa! Slow down – Who said anything about them leaving home? We’re just getting started and you’re already pushing them out the door.” Well I have news for you, you will blink a few times, take a nap and Voila’, they’ll be headed out the door!  

So let’s start again – when your son or daughter leaves your home someday, which one of the following would you want most for them?

  • academic success
  • athletic success
  • financial success
  • social success
  • to be a person of faith and character.

Personally, I would like to have another option: all of the above. But if you could only have one, which one would you choose? You most likely said that faith and character are most important. At least that seems like the “right answer.”

Let’s change the question a bit. Which of the following parenting issues gets the best of our time, the most effort, money, worrying and planning?

  • academics.
  • athletics.
  • work.
  • social life.
  • faith and character development

One thing is for sure, we will not raise Fully Devoted Disciples of Christ without a plan, a purpose, and a destination.

Re-Post | 4 Ways To Help Your Child Navigate Disappointment

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

— This is one of our most popular post to date here on fullydevotedfamily.com. Pastor Arvil Ogle shared an in the moment post about parenting his then 18 year old son Dylan. Information this good shouldn’t only be seen one time. For all of you that missed it the first time around, here is your chance. I hope you enjoy!

The time had arrived. Dylan, our 18-year-old son, has played basketball since he was 7 years old. This is his senior year.

Almost every season thru these years Dylan played along side his friend Zach. Zach has always been the guy you want on your team. He dominated with his talent and determination. But Zach graduated last May, so it was Dylan’s time to step up.

Dylan’s season started and his first 9 games Dylan played strong! Then on Dec. 13th, during the 10th game of the season, we were in the middle of a SCROOGE performance and I was backstage getting ready to go for my scene…. I get the message

Eternal Danger of Parenting Fantasies

I spent many years growing up thinking about my future family and what we would be like. I dreamed of perfect children, perfectly dressed, perfectly behaved, and perfectly lined up in a row. I was focused on being the perfect parent, wanting people to tell me what a good mother I was because of how well-behaved my children were. I learned very quickly into parenthood the eternal dangers of my fantasies.

Many times, parents fall into the temptation

Promoting Godliness In Our Children – Prayer

How do we pray for our children? How often do we pray for our children? What do we pray over our children? These questions do not have simple answers.

God takes children seriously, so serious in fact that in Matthew 18:6 Jesus says,

“If you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

That seems pretty harsh. Are you telling me, that if something I do, or allow my children to do, leads them into sin (not just the obvious big sins: steal, kill, lie, etc.; but also the not so big sins: bad attitudes, half truths, gossip, etc.), then I would be better off killing myself?

First of all, I’m not saying it, God’s Word says it.

So, yes!

God takes the raising of children seriously and so should we. This idea that kids are

Scared of Being Hurt? Is that Selfish – I think YES! Read below…

This is a Guest Post by Nicki Olinde. She is wife to Chad, mom to Griff, teacher, leader and now foster mom. You can catch up with her on Instagram or contact her by Email at nicki.olinde@claibornechristian.org.

“You need to make sure you have a lice kit on hand; inspect any belongings they bring for tiny critters.” This was one of the warnings we received during our training to become certified foster parents.

So, we were prepared. Just like I was prepared before our son was born 16 years ago. I had cassette tapes recorded with perfect labor and deliver music and a well-thought-out birth plan. So, yeah, despite my preparation, NOTHING went according to plan, and I quickly realized that many things were out of my control.

Last week, the extra room was ready, all recommended supplies on hand, a new stuffed animal on the bed to comfort a nameless, faceless hurting child. Still, as we stood on the porch waiting for the caseworker to “make the drop,” we were overwhelmed with all of the unknowns, again things that were completely out of our control.

My mind raced with questions: Would he be sad, angry? Would he run to us or run from us? What is his favorite color? Would he like my cooking? Wait, I don’t cook.

Then, the side door of that mini-van opened, and EVERYTHING seemed to grow quiet and still. I remember the same exact feeling when I lay on the C-section table and heard Griffith’s muffled little cry for the first time. It was as though the world stood still and my heart was flooded with this supernatural love, joy, & peace in an instant. Last Tuesday, when I saw that little face grinning at me, when his skinny little five-year-old

Do Kids Find Comfort In Fences?

I’m a rules girl. Give me a good list of rules, expectations, boundaries, or a box, and I’m as happy as a camel on Wednesday.

My 9 year old son is a carbon copy of me. My 2 year old daughter…she would rather be a rules-maker than a rules-follower.

Despite the two opposing personalities, both of these kids need and want boundaries. Yes, you read that right, kids (and even teens) WANT boundaries.

Several studies have been conducted with children and fences around playgrounds. One school removed their chain-linked fence because they thought students would have more freedom without the visible barrier. The school stated that kids resented being “fenced in” and restricted to roam.

What do you think happened when the fence was removed? Their security was stripped away. The kids huddled in the middle of the playground. They didn’t venture out, and they didn’t roam free. Why? They didn’t know their limits, so they felt insecure and unsafe.

Many times in our home I can find myself becoming tired of “repairing the fence.” I get lazy. Holes creep up, boundaries are pushed, and the fence falls down. Sound familiar?

7 Lessons That Turn A Boy Into A Man

This is a post by Dave Willis. You can check out the original post here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

My wife, Ashley, just had an ultrasound and we found out that we’re having another BOY! That’s right, four boys in a row. I’ve never seen an ultrasound without also seeing a penis. Pray for my sweet wife who is now completely engulfed in a house full of testosterone!

Since God has entrusted me with the sacred duty of raising four boys to noble manhood, I want to make sure I’m teaching them the right lessons! They’re growing up in a world where manhood has been redefined and good role models are harder to come by. I want my boys to know that they’re not automatically a “man,” just because they start shaving or hit their eighteenth birthday. Manhood is about so much more than hair and age.

The modern ideals of masculinity are a schizophrenic mixture of unrealistic or even destructive role models. Hip Hop culture presents a man as a lawless, materialistic, womanizing thug with with no respect for authority. This is particularly damaging, because that music has the most influence in urban settings