Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Love language translation...

So, many of you are familiar with the work of Dr. Gary Chapman. The love language book is often used in pre-marital counseling, preparing men and women to effectively communicate though they give and receive love in different "languages".
It has been helpful in my own marriage. I thrive on words of affirmation, while my husband prefers quality time. Secondary for both of us is physical touch.

Adding children to our marriage, I put the book out of my mind, that is, until recently.

You see, we have three girls. They are each two years apart and all still fairly young. They are quite different from each other and the communication between child and parent is not always clear.

What I have realized is that my oldest is just like me-very strong verbal skills and words of affirmation. She frequently draws pictures for me with eloquent words of praise and adoration. She compliments me with many words.
My second-born is not very verbal at all. She loves to be near you. She frequently wants to be hugged, held, patted on the head, and if I brush her hair she almost melts in contentment!
My youngest seems to be more verbal than physical, but we're still getting to know her.

If you know your love language, what I am about to tell you will hopefully get through quickly. It shocked me when it first came to my mind.
If you use a person's love language to affirm them, you will do great good. If you discipline in their main love language, you can do great harm.

Imagine myself, a words of affirmation person, receiving an angry lecture belittling me, tearing me apart word by word! I will hang onto every word and meditate on the lashes for quite a while. I'm photographic with those words. If I were to receive a different discipline such as removal of a toy or loss of a privilege, it would not crush my spirit the way this would.

The fragile heart of a child is even easier to wound. Can you imagine how empty my eldest would feel after such a harsh way of discipline?
Well then, imagine the physical touch child. Desperately thirsty for love and affection, communicated best through loving hands, subjected to a harsh physical beating.
Most parents are not going to give a harsh physical beating like I have described, but rather a short, loving, and firm physical connection of sting to bottom. Still, I have really been thinking about it.
Especially as it had never seemed to affect her behavior.

For some children, the occasional spanking is a temporary reminder of negative reinforcement and is effective. I would like to suggest that for a physical touch child, this may be the wrong approach and may be the reason that you find yourself thinking "spanking doesn't work!"
For a physical touch child, I would like to suggest temporary removal from those around (i.e. time out in their room or another place where they do not have physical access to friends or siblings).
They may get loud and upset, but that also tells you it is effective. They are very upset to be away from you when they long for your tender, loving touch instead.
Also, make sure you DO embrace when they are calmed. You will soothe their hearts and let them know it was a temporary separation. That your love has not gone away!
Then, their hearts will blossom and flourish!

What other love languages do your children express or communicate through??
Have you found the same truths as I have or is your experience completely different?


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year, New Journey

I decided to participate in the oneword365 challenge this year.
It took a while, but I chose the word "trust"
This photograph is from my first contribution to the Brave Girl Community website.
I'll be a regular contributor there. "All for His Glory" is a common theme among us "Brave Girls". :)

That is one of the main things God is showing me as I pursue Him this year.
It's not about Tammy.
You'd think that being a parent to grade-schoolers, pre-schoolers and toddlers, and trying to teach them that the world doesn't revolve around them, that I'd have grasped that it doesn't revolve around me either.
You'd think so.

Really though? The verse stating, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves" is really burning a hole in my head right now. (Philippians 2:3)

How do I trust God? By realizing that I was made in His image.
A mini-me...reminds us of the "Me", the Great "I AM", should cause our minds to be directed to the source.
That He created us to further His name, His glory, His greatness.
We don't matter in the sense of our own achievements (Paul had a great comparison of our righteousness...for a modern day understanding, use the Message translation).
What matters is that through us, the Creator of the Entire Universe is healing people (physically, mentally, socially, emotionally and spiritually) and transforming their lives into unselfish beings further carrying on His work. (Pay it Forward on a grander scale that we can fathom)

"If you do it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25)

As I wrote my "blog" for the Brave Girl site, the most impressing thought was our pursuit of fulfillment. God gave me a very clear thought and I even got to share it in a discussion of the "Wife After God" devotional through the Unveiled Wife ministry!
She quoted it later in the Facebook event as we're going through it the entire month of January.
We were discussing feeling worthy of God's love and why we don't feel worthy.
Here is God's truth:
"Realize that your spouse, your children, their performance will never fill you and your disappointment of unmet expectations will further your emptiness. Only God can fill the longings for acceptance that daily hit us like hunger pains!" 

On Sunday as I was driving home from church, I began to write a song. I've decided to share it with you, though I'm not polished in my recording. I literally recorded an hour after writing it and didn't have my words or music memorized, so I mess up in the middle.
God's been prompting me that I need to stop presenting a fake, "perfect" image of myself. That there will be times I'm polished and times I'm not and that all those times, I'm still His representative.

Lyrics begin with verse 1: "I'm not worthy, but I'm willing. You are calling and forgiving. You are leading, I will follow you." (you'll have to watch the video to hear it and the rest of the words)

So, I'd love your feedback.

This year, I'm hoping to see a transformation.
Way back almost 2 years ago we were given an index card in a Bible study and challenged to write "The desires of my heart. What and who do I want to be?"
That has been in my Bible, notebook, purse, just taking up space until recently. I didn't have a goal, didn't know what I wanted.
I want something BIG. Something God-sized. Something I can't have without Him.

Here's what I wrote:
I desire to truly want only God to be glorified. 
I desire to have no selfish motive for my use of gifts.
That I would want to use my opportunities for His glory and the need for any praise or affirmation other than His would ebb into nothingness. ~Jan 4, 2014~

Other blogs/devotionals that have inspired me and led me to these thoughts recently have come from the Proverbs 31 ministry.