How to Build a Stronger Life This past Mother’s Day, I spoke in church on…
Holidays are the season for friends and family. It can be a strategic time to build a relationship bridge to anotherâ€™s heart. (See our Christmas newsletter for even more ideas:http://love-wise.com/Christmas2011) Here are a few examples on ways to connect heart to heart over the season:
(1) I (Pam) wrote, framed, then read my dad a “blessing” as a Christmas gift to help repair the relationship his drinking had caused. I prayed and asked God to show me one positive thing and then I wrote affirming words from that place of memory. (Read the blessing in 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make) Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven . . . (Ps 32:1).Â
(2) I (Bill) instituted a weekly Bible study on Skype with our grown sons because we are spread over 4 states, yet long for close relationship. We all read the same book and call weekly (or monthly) and discussed a piece of what is read. (We began with Uncommon by Tony Dungy, and will work through my (Billâ€™s) 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make in coming year). Childrenâ€™s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Pr 17:6).
(3)Robin selected 3 gifts that applauded each of her childrenâ€™s unique passions or personal calling. As you think about gifts, by focusing the choice and connecting it with a personal letter of blessing, it can help a child see themselves more clearly, more from heavenâ€™s point of view. (See 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make) Train up a child in the way he should go . . .(according to his/her God-given bent) Proverbs 22:6
(4) One year when money was tight, I (Pam) made a simple paper angel for each preschooler of our extended family (including our three sons). We placed a chair in the center of the room and each person in the family, answered the question, “When I think about ______, what comes to mind is_________.” Each person gave a verbal blessing that was written down on that angel ornament, and each year that ornament hangs on the treeâ€”many of the qualities people spoke out about that were seeds of character, that now almost 20 years later, have fully blossomed in those now adult “kids” lives. The LORD remembers us and will bless us . . .( Psalm 115:12)
(5) Carl wrote a blessing, purchased a necklace and a tiara and “blessed” his Modern Day Princess daughter with a personalized prayer and gift. The power of words read aloud can change the course of a personâ€™s life. As he or she rereads a letter, they then “hear” your voice in their mind. (Raising a Modern Day Princess) The LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory (Ps 149:4).
(6) Jeff apologized to his family and asked them to forgive him for the past choices he had made that stressed and harmed them. A true apology can bring a marriage back from the brink, callÂ a prodigal home, or repair a strained friendship. Remember when apologizing–no excuses, no rationalizing, just a heartfelt, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me” has more power. A truly “contrite” heart can be felt and seen by those who you are trying to rebuild with. An “I was wrong” can be powerful gift! (See Love, Honor and Forgive)
These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit. (Is 66:2).
(7) Julie and Kent created a marriage mission, and had the kids help design a family logo (or “seal” or “signet”. For help, see 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make or read and see examples from past ezine and blog) ” . . seal it with the kingâ€™s signet ring . . .” Esther 8:8.
(8)Jen and Steve, one in college and one a young adult, used 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make to write life goals in 8 major areas and gave a copy to their parents (so mom and dad would quit nagging and gain peace knowing their kids had “direction”) . HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), Ephesians 6:2
(9) For the newlyweds in the family, do what we did when we wrote 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Makeâ€”interview those in the family who have long lasting love. One of my (Pamâ€™s) most treasured possessions is an audio recording made one Christmas of my grandparents telling the story of how they fell in love and stayed happily married for 60 years. Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll. . . (Job 19:23).
(10) Gina helped her newlywed kids lay a stronger foundation with the Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti DVD, a waffle maker, a pasta bowl and server as a gift. (A less expensive version is the Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti book, some waffle mix and package of pasta. You can upscale it with a gift certificate to a waffle house and pasta dinner restaurant can accompany the book. “He created them; male and female . . .” (Gen 1:27)
(11) Sandra planned a rite of passage for her soon to be 13 year old to welcome her into adolescence. (See Got Teens? for ways to mark the moments all through the teen years for both sons and daughters). If your child is near a transition (into kindergarten, jr high, high school, college or marriage, use this as a teachable moment and have your gift(s) reflect what is on the path ahead and prepare him or her to succeed by building into them wisdom.
Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding . . .
(12) Carolyn pulled several Farrel books, and a few others, off her shelf and scanned through the dinner and dialoque questions in the back of each book (or end of each chapter). She used many of these questions for “conversation starters” for the holiday meals where extended family and guests would be present. Planning conversation topics can ease the newcomer or help open up that “hard to get talking” person in your hospitality circle. . . . Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road . . . (Dt 6:7).
All these ideas will be more effective if you spend time while wrapping gifts, or cooking meals silently praying for each person you will be interacting with during your holiday celebrations.
Have a Merry, blessed, heart-felt Christmas!
(all resources available at www.Love-Wise.com)