Dealing with disappointment

imagesI had to disappoint one of my little friends today. It made me really sad. I had hoped to be able to accompany her on an overnight field trip for school, but the date happened to correspond with a required work date. It broke my heart to have to cancel and to hear the disappointment in my little friend’s voice.

Disappointment in life is inevitable, so how can we help our little ones deal with disappointments?

First of all, we need to help our children learn to deal with small disappointments so that when the bigger problems come, they are not so overwhelming.

I see parents every day trying to keep their little ones from being upset. From fixing special dinners, to running themselves ragged to get their child to every activity, to buying clothing that is not needed. The list goes on. Parents, it is OKAY to tell your child no. It is OKAY to let them be a little hungry. It is OKAY for them to miss an event. It is OKAY for them to experience disappointment.

In the case of my little friend, I tried to help her look at this from a different perspective. What if God is protecting her from something? What if He wants her to be at school that day to meet a new friend? What if His plan for her is better than the plan she wants for herself?

The sooner we learn these lessons and pass them on to our children, the more content we will all be.

I know of a child who was never told no. All through his years growing up he was given anything he wanted. His parents were divorced when he was very young and both parents felt some guilt about that. So, they tried to make up for it by never allowing him to experience any disappointment. Going out to eat? He chose the restaurant. Going to the movies? He chose the movie. He didn’t want anyone else to play with his toys or video games? They were locked in the closet so he wouldn’t need to share with anyone who came over. This went on his whole life. He grew up to become a very self-centered teen.

He had never been one to get in trouble, but one day he did something at school that caused him to be called into the principal’s office. He had to suffer the consequences of his actions. For the first time in his life he had to deal with major disappointment. And, he couldn’t deal with it. He ended his life that very day. Sixteen years old. His whole life ahead of him. But, he had no idea how to maneuver through this situation. He had never had to deal with disappointment.

Jesus told us himself in John 16:33 –“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are going to have trouble. We are going to have disappointment. There is no getting around it! But we can trust God that his plan is better than our plan. When things don’t go our way, we can know that Jesus can give us peace.

So please parents – you do your child a disservice when you don’t allow him to learn how to work through the small disappointments of life. When you help your child maneuver through disappointment, you are helping to set a foundation of trusting God. And when the bigger disappointments come, your child will have the tools they need to handle it.

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The value of TEAM.

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I was watching the Olympic Women’s Road Race this afternoon and something struck me as I watched. The American, Mara Abbot, was in the lead by over 30 seconds with a few kilometers left in the race. After a horrific crash by the Dutch cyclist, Abbott was alone in the lead. Behind her were three women, all from different countries. The three cyclists began working together as they cut into the lead. They would take turns leading, allowing the other two riders to draft, which allowed them to each conserve energy for the end of the race.

Slowly but surely, the three women cyclists began gaining on the lone leader. She had no one to work with – no one to draft behind. My heart sank as the three cyclists passed the leader with the finish line in sight. The American cyclist who had been leading for so long ended up in 4th place while the other three cyclists took the gold, silver, and bronze. Sadly, there would be no medal stand appearance for American Mara Abbott.

Team matters. Working together makes a difference.

I remember early in my marriage when I would have a disagreement with my husband. Lee would often remind me – Kathy, we’re on the same team. We’re better together. And, 31 years later, I would say he is right.

Every Sunday we have hundreds of children attend one of our three campuses. There is NO WAY I could begin to minister to hundreds of kids all by myself. I rely on a team. We MUST work together. The success of the ministry is dependent on it. I am incredibly blessed to serve alongside so many sacrificial servants. I love my team!

Not only do I love to see our children’s team work together, but I love to see our families work together. Often on Mondays I will help count the tithes and offerings from the day before. By far my favorite envelope to open says TEAM Schultz – Every. Single. Week. I LOVE this!!! I love that this family sees themselves as a team. I love how they serve together and work together on service projects. I love TEAM Schultz!

Have you ever seen the acronym for TEAM? – Together Everyone Accomplishes More. There is truth in that statement. Just ask gold medalist Anna van der Breggen of Netherlands, silver medalist Emma Johansson of Sweden and bronze medalist Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy. They can testify to the importance of working together as a team.

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Take care of yourself!

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This year I have had reason to fly much more than in the past. Twin grand-daughters living 15 hours away will do that to you! I’m one of those nerdy people who actually listen to the safety speech as the plane taxis to the runway.

Every single time the flight attendant instructs the passengers that if we lose air pressure in the cabin, the oxygen mask will drop from above. We are to put our own mask on first before helping others.

I’ve heard this analogy before – take care of yourself so that you can properly care for others. Never is this more true than when you are a young mom taking care of preschoolers.

I see young moms all the time who are barely hanging on. They give and give and give to their children until they have absolutely nothing left – and then they give some more.

I want to encourage you moms – you do not have to be a martyr. I would even go so far as to say that being a martyr doesn’t make you a better mother – just a worn out one.

I know you don’t want to disappoint your precious little ones. I know you get tired of their whining and pouting. I know they will wear you down with begging and pleading. I get it. I was there one time. I had 3 boys in 3.5 years. I promise – I KNOW!

Yes, your kids need you. But they need a healthy you and a healthy you can sometimes tell them no, or wait, or you can do it yourself.

Do your kids give you a hard time when you try and drop them off at their classes on Sundays? Do you give in and have them come sit with you only to be distracted and unable to listen to the message? I’m not talking to the parents who feel led to have family worship. I’m talking to the parent who really wants their child to be in children’s ministry, but gives in because they don’t want to disappoint their child or hear their whining and crying. To that parent I say, drop them off and leave. With a pat on the head, a kiss on the cheek, a reminder that they can trust you to return and get them after service, GO. Our children’s ministry staff is ready, willing and able to handle separation anxiety.

Are you exhausted because your children are being clingy, demanding or pouty? You do NOT have to listen to whining. Whiny children were tired children at my house and tired children went to bed early or took a nap. It will NOT kill your children to cry or be upset. You are doing your children a disservice if you never allow them to learn to work through disappointment. Giving in to every whim will only exhaust you and make your children learn what it means to be entitled. Let your no be no and your yes be yes. Walk away and close your door and allow your children to learn that you are in control and they can trust that you have their best interest at heart.

Do you need a rest time? Train your children to sit on their beds and have a quiet time. Start early. Nap when your children nap. Rest when your children rest. The laundry will still be there when you get up. Dads – pitch in when you are not at work. Do not expect your wife to be on 24/7 if you aren’t as well.

Moms – you are the adult. You are in charge. You get to call the shots. You have earned it and the best gift you can give your child – aside from teaching them about God – is to teach them respect and obedience. The sooner those lessons are learned, the more joyful and peaceful your home will be.

So, take care of yourselves Mommas! Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually. Fill your mind with truth from God’s word. Fill your home with respect and honor. Model for your children what it looks like to take care of yourself. Early on, more is caught than taught. Make it easy for your little ones to “catch” what you want them to know and how you want them to behave.

You’ve got this Momma! I believe in you!

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What makes your heart beat fast?

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I had a visitor at Baby Praise today. She is in student ministry at a church in Raleigh, but has been serving as a liaison for the children’s ministry for her church since the resignation of their children’s director.

I realized after spending about on hour talking with Michelle that I came back to my office totally charged up about children’s ministry. I have noticed that this happens whenever I have the chance to talk about ministry with other leaders. I just get so excited!

Sharing things I have learned over the years and hearing how other leaders do things makes my heart beat fast.

Having lunch with a volunteer who “gets it” in relation to kid’s ministry makes my heart beat fast.

Watching my coordinators interact with their teams makes my heart beat fast.

Seeing kids excited to enter our ministry area and not ready to leave when it’s time to go home makes my heart beat fast.

Walking down the hallway and hearing team members interacting with kids makes my heart beat fast.

Visiting a church that I have been pouring into and hearing that something I suggested is working well makes my heart beat fast.

Dreaming about the future of our children’s ministry makes my heart beat fast.

I am passionate about children’s ministry – can you tell?

Everyone on staff was given a sign for our office that says – It is a PRIVILEGE to be on this team. THANK YOU GOD for choosing ME.

I love that sign. Thank you God for choosing me to be a part of children’s ministry. It makes my heart beat fast.

What makes your heart beat fast?

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Good, good Father…..

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Recently we have been singing a worship song at our church called Good, Good Father. I love this song. I have heard it said that the impression one has of God the Father is a reflection of the relationship one has with his earthly father.

In his book God Distorted, John Bishop writes – I think that whatever comes to mind when you think about your father, there is a good chance that you attribute similar characteristics to your image of your heavenly Father. Simply put, your image of God has been formed and shaped by the father figures in your life.

I have been incredibly blessed to have a good, good father. When I think about my dad I think about a strong man who can do anything.
He can fix anything.
He can build anything.

He loves his family.

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I remember when I was a little girl, one Saturday my dad starting nailing some boards together. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was building me a playhouse. Several hours later I had the cutest little A-frame playhouse in my backyard that you have ever seen.  My sister and I spent many hours playing in our playhouse.

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My daddy was a hard worker. He was a machine operator in a factory that produced aluminum foil. His work environment was hot and noisy and my daddy worked the 2nd shift, meaning he would be asleep when I got up in the morning and gone to work when I got home from school. I didn’t see my dad during the week, but we made up for it on weekends.

I love going places with my daddy. I would choose going to a football game with my dad over going places with friends. He’s still the one I call to go to ballgames with me! He taught me to fish, how to shoot a gun, and how to fix things around my house.

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My dad made sure we were in church every Sunday. He led the singing and I played the piano. He cared about my relationship with the Lord. I never wondered where he stood spiritually. It is evident in my dad’s life that he loves the Lord and follows Him daily.

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My friends and family know that my favorite flower is the daisy. My husband gives me daisies on special occasions. My bridal bouquet was daisies. I just LOVE daisies! Recently my mom sent me a text of a picture of some wild daisies growing near their house. My dad had mowed around them, leaving the wild daisies, because he told my mom that when he saw the daisies he thought of me and he just couldn’t mow over them. That’s my dad.

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So, as we approach this weekend where we honor our fathers, I want everyone to know that I hit the jackpot. I got the best daddy in the world. Sorry everyone, you can’t have him – he’s mine.

Good, Good Father

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There’s Something About Mary

MK2Proverbs 15:13 says – A happy heart makes the face cheerful. I have been blessed with a daughter-in-law with a happy heart.

Last week I spent the whole week in heaven on earth. I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law and twin grandbabies in Wisconsin. What a wonderful time I had laughing and playing with my little monkeys.

The twins are 2 1/2 now and MAN – are they ever busy!!! They love to dress themselves (most of the time the clothes are inside out and backwards) and they love to play! The sun comes up around 5:00 AM in Wisconsin and the girls are not far behind. From the moment they crawl out of their cribs, they are ready to eat, play, and make messes.

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They are good little pumpkins, but even though they are good, they are still TWO and require so much energy! Two year olds are demanding. They don’t have a concept of time so they don’t understand “wait a minute” or “I’ll help you in a second”. They want so badly to be independent, but that independence means shoes are often on the wrong feet and feeding oneself results in more food on clothes, faces, and floors than actually inside one’s mouth. They don’t understand how cranky they get when they are tired. (Seriously! Why don’t little kids just close their eyes and go to sleep?!?!)

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But, in every situation – no matter how stressful – no matter how annoying – no matter how LOUD – Mary Kate was cheerful.

And I don’t think she was just faking it because her mother-in-law was there. She is genuinely cheerful. I must admit – I was not always a cheerful mom. I was more like a drill sergeant. As a matter of fact, Lee used to call me Sergeant Carter. (I know I’m dating myself, so all you young folks watch this clip of Gomer Pyle USMC. )

I wish I could have been more like Mary Kate. No matter how difficult things get, Mary Kate keeps a good attitude and a cheerful countenance. I admire that – I truly do.

Mary Kate, you are good mom. I am proud of you and I am thankful that you are mommy to my precious grandbabies. Thank you for all you do and for always doing it with a smile on your face. I honor you!

MK4

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The audacity of discontent…AKA that time I visited an orphanage in Chengdu, China.

There are some memories that are forever burned in my mind. One of those memories was a day spent in an orphanage in Chengdu, China. I was honored to visit this orphanage with a group from my church and I was even more blessed to be able to have this experience with my then eleven year old son. I found my diary from that trip recently and this is one of my entries:

The orphanage was just outside of the city. When we arrived we met two young girls, around eighteen years old, who had been Christians for about two years. Since that time they have dedicated their time to caring for the children in the orphanage. There are currently thirteen boys and 1 girl living at the orphanage, but over a hundred children have been through their doors. The man in charge has a notebook with information on each child – where they were found (some at train or bus stations, some just roaming the streets, and others foraging for food in restaurant dumpsters), the day they came to the orphanage, and the day they accepted Christ – along with a picture of each child. The man who runs the orphanage relies solely on faith. The day we were there the girls were cooking cabbage and onions which they could get for $.05 per pound. They rent the building for $1000 per year. A pastor who was with our group gave the man enough money to pay the rent for the next year. At one point we all went upstairs to a terrace where they would hang their clothes to dry. The children asked to sing a song for us. They closed their eyes and lifted their faces toward heaven and began to sing in Chinese. Our interpreter told us they were singing about how much Jesus loved them. Tears rolled down their cheeks. Even the youngest children sang with such feeling. it was obvious that the Spirit of the Lord dwells in them.

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As I stood there listening and watching the children sing I was ashamed. I was ashamed of how spoiled I am. I was ashamed of all the times I complained about the silliest of things – things that were so trivial. I was ashamed of all the times I had complained about being too hot, or too cold, or not having a cold coke in the refrigerator, or having to wait in a line. I could go on and on. Here were these orphans – rejected by their parents, some with disabilities, with only cabbage and onions to eat – but they are praising God and singing about how much Jesus loves them. They had almost NOTHING in the form of worldly goods. But they had faith and they had trust. They had a love for the Father like nothing I have ever seen before. They were content.

As a teenager I had memorized Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, whatever state I am in, in this to be content. I had memorized that verse and knew it in my head, but on this day I was seeing it lived out by these orphans and I was embarrassed that I had not taken this verse to heart the way these children did.

I live an incredibly blessed life. I have a wonderful family. I have more clothes than I need, more food than I need, a nice car to drive, a job that I LOVE. I am rich beyond measure. There is NEVER a reason for me to be discontent. The audacity to complain is ridiculous. May we all look inside our hearts and take inventory. May we be aware when discontent starts to creep in to our minds.

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. Timothy 6:8 

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