DIVINE Roasted shrimp, tomato and feta bake

Ok, so i’m not a huge shrimp fan, but this dish was AWESOME!!  I didn’t invent it, but I did tweak it a little bit, and it was so good, it was one of those meals that when I ate it, there was NOTHING I would have changed about it!  ( I don’t know if that’s EvEr happened to me!)   It actually was a surprisingly quick meal too!  I started cooking at 4:30 thinking it’d take an hour to make dinner since it was a new recipe for me, but I was done by 5:00!  Its great, healthy, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!  Here’s the recipe:

Serves 6      Hands-on Time: 15m     Total Time: 40m

Ingredients

  • 5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths (I used about 6 roma tomatoes, larger size, cut into quarters or eights, depending on its size).
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.  (I used small shrimp to avoid shrimpy texture, personal preference.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup Feta, crumbled  (I used one 4-oz package of Feta and sprinkled with a handful of Italian blend shredded cheese after it had baked)
  • crusty bread, for serving

Directions

1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish (I used a square 8×8 dish) and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.

2. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. (I was fairly generous with the salt since tomatoes absorb salt to much)  Roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.

*While those baked, I sauteed the shrimp stove-top in 2 TBS olive oil, 2 TBS butter (toward the end), about 1/3 cup chopped onions and 2 TBS minced garlic.  Get the garlic and onions nice and seared to the point of becoming transparent-ish, then throw in the thawed shrimp. (I bought mine frozen).  At one point, the juices were starting to pool in the pan from the shrimp, so I drained the extra juices into the sink, and kept sautee’ing.  I wanted my shrimp browned, not soggy.  I did this till the shrimp were beautifully browned and flavored.  Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

3. Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp, parsley, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the Feta.

4. Return the dish to oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.  (I just did it for 10 min, enough to toast the cheese since the shrimp were already cooked.  When I removed the dish, I then sprinkled a generous handful of Italian blend shredded cheese over it to melt and add more cheesy yumm-ness!) Serve warm with the bread.

SERVE WITH:

I made garlic french bread to go with it, and served it over Whole Wheat angel hair pasta that I spiced up with a little olive oil, dry italian blend herbs (a cheap blend I got at the dollar store!), a touch of salt and 1 or 2 TBS of paremesan cheese.  That made the pasta have a great neutralized flavor to go with the slightly tart/zing of the tomato, lemon and salt in the dish.   I also made microwaveable broccoli and cheese for a veggie on the side.  The meal was AWESOME!  And my husband Loved it!  So, good luck and enjoy!!

Health perks from this meal:

-Use of olive oil is a great plant-based fat that keeps you heart healthy, and even targets the burning of belly-fat (per the Flat Belly Diet– which I’ve done and loved how healthy and effective it was!).

-Whole grain pasta is a wonderful alternative to typical processed pastas and doesn’t cost but a few pennies more (and is more sustaining!)

-Using white cheeses (like most italian cheeses, feta and mozzarella) helps keep things more natural.  The colored cheeses are almost always dyed and a little higher in fat.

-Fresh tomatoes!!  Tomatoes are a huge health food!  They have so many great vitamins and antioxidents that help to prevent cancer and other health problems.  And, tomatoes are one of the few foods where their health benefits INCREASE as they are cooked!  Bring on the tomatoes!

This is a meal that will leave you feeling satisfied, but not bloated.  You will feel GOOD after you eat this meal (as I distinctly noticed when I ate it the other night… and I even had two full servings!)  Eat guilt free, save on prep time,  save on your ingredients list, and save on your waistline.  That’s a win-win to me!

How to get your children to take vitamins they can’t swallow.

I don’t know about you, but spending a load of money to get specialized “children’s chewable” vitamins, or the liquid form of vitamins for my children is not my idea of economical wisdom.  Not to mention, there have been many times I’ve been needing to give my son a dose of zinc for that cold but didn’t have anything on hand but the non-chewable version.  Hmm… what to do?  Well, I got creative and decided to see if I could crush those pills into powder and add it to their juice!  Lo and behold, it worked!  Here’s how I did it:

1.  Set out the appropriate dosage for your child on a piece of aluminum foil.

2.  Use the flat, metal handle of a utensil, such as a large spoon or a butter knife, to crush the pill into pieces.

3.  Continue crushing until that pill is reduced to a fine, dissolve-able powder.

4.  Add it to their juice (I even use crystal light, just be sure the flavor of the drink is strong enough to overpower any distorting flavors from the vitamins), shake and let them suck down all those great vitamins!  They will never know the difference, but you will have saved money, saved a trip to the store, and gotten them on the road to quicker immune-boost!  Ignorance IS bliss in this case!

Dialogging my questions about “healing” with the Lord

How is it that some things that seem so black and white in scripture can be so ungraspable and confusing in my first-hand reality?  One such thing being “healing”.  I have developed so many questions about it from “why didn’t they get healed” to “how come it takes so long to see healing after its been promised” to “how do some people minister healing and see it right away?”  Sometimes in scriptures Jesus addressed the sickness itself, and sometimes he cast out demons, and the result was wellness.
Healing seems so vague and ambiguous at times, and yet there is this determination inside myself to understand it so that I can be a vessel of healing on this earth.  So, who better to ask than the Lord himself? I sit down with bible, pen and notebook and start in with my questions, carrying Jeremiah 33:3 as my guarantee that I’ll get some answers.  “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  So I begin to call.  And he begins to direct my thoughts.
I think about how many times when its in my heart to contend for healing in a situation (like a flu in our home or something), if I decide to intervene with my flesh and shortcut His intervention with medicine, it always brings confusion to my understanding of healing and how it works, or in what settings it works most certainly.
Then the Lord showed me something simple but true: from Isaiah, His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts.  When I try to grasp something from the supernatural realm, (His ways) with my natural thoughts (my thoughts), its not going to make sense.  It’s like trying to answer a math test with Spanish history. They’re on two totally different planes.  If I try to reason within my own thinking and understanding about His Ways of healing , it will always be confusing to me because my own simple thoughts don’t grasp his thoughts and his ways unless he reveals and enlightens them to me.
So, I said, “Alright Lord.  Then, in your words, give me the mind of Christ that I might understand your thoughts and your ways.  Teach me about healing.”
He responded.  “Ok.

… I Love.
… Therefore, I heal.”
I laughed out loud, a baffled laugh.
“Are you kidding me?  That simple?  All this confusion for something that simple?  You must explain, please.  Why is it so confusing to me, then?”
He said, “Because you have put all kinds of stipulations and qualifications on it.  “When”, “how”, “only in these circumstances”… human reasoning trying to regulate My Higher Ways.  Thus, confusion.”

“Ok.  I get that.  Me trying to figure out “when” or “how” healing happens in different setting s like its some formulated thing.   But, what about the “faith” qualifier?  Even Jesus referred to it as “ye of little faith” or the soldier who had “great faith”.  Jesus makes it look like faith is something incremental, or able to be measured, thus it seems to make that the qualifying factor to healing.”
“Jenilee, in anything I do, is it ever about the “thing” being manifested, or is it primarily about your relationship with me?   My goal and priority is not just to see things of the supernatural manifested in the earth, but first and foremost it is to see a people whom I love, love me deeply and truly in return.  All of these “things” I do, like healing, provision, prophetic insight, sharing my secrets, etc, are all just FRUITS of my love.  That is why the gifts of the Spirit always operate more freely in an atmosphere of Love.  Love is what compels me to heal, to provide, to restore, to bring peace.  Faith comes when a person glimpses my love.  When you take your eyes off the “thing” you’re believing for long enough to see Me, my heart of love for you, assurance is immediate that I can and will do what you’re needing.  That assurance in your heart of what you are hoping for is Faith.  (Heb. 11:1) But that assurance won’t come unless you see ME behind it all; unless you see MY HEART in it all.  Unless you see my LOVE, there is no seed for faith.  So, I love, therefore I heal.  And when you can see that its simply because I love that I heal, there is the assurance and faith needed to receive your healing.  I don’t want a bunch of followers who HOPE I’m a certain way (loving, and healing), I want a bunch of Lovers who KNOW I’m that way.  The difference between the two lies in our relationship.  The difference between faith or no faith really truly lies in knowing Me, knowing My Love.  That’s how I’ve designed everything to work.  It all revolves, every single thing in my kingdom, revolves around my people knowing me intimately and personally.  (Daniel 11:32) That’s why I created you.  That’s the context in which all the fruits and gifts of the Spirit will flow: inside a close, personal, intimate relationship where love is the language we speak.  Does this make more sense?”

“Yes, Lord, it does.  So what do I do when I need healing in an area?  How should I respond differently than I always have?”
“Look to Me. Not to the healing.  When people go to a Doctor, they feel assured that they will be fine if they know the Doctor is intelligent, intuitive, and has their best interests at heart.  If they are confident in their doctor, they believe in their hearts that they will be well.  Same thing.  When you are in need of a healing, keep your eyes lifted to Me, and my Love for you.  I Am the Source.  And as you glimpse my Love, an undeniable assurance will settle into your heart that you have what you ask of me.  And you will!  (Mark 11:24) If you begin to doubt, simply lift your gaze back to me.(Ps. 30:2)  Look at me and don’t look away until you see my love and that assurance has returned to your heart.  The assurance makes way for thanksgiving.  “Thank you” is what you say when you’re receiving something.  It’s as simple as that.
“Hmm.  Ok Lord.  Is there anything else?  Is it truly that simple?  So every time I haven’t seen a healing take place, its because I wasn’t realizing your love?”
Rather, think about every time you HAVE seen healing take place.  In every instance, you knew my love and rested in it.  That “resting in my love” gave Me room to move and heal.   Many people “wait patiently” but they aren’t really resting in me.  Anxiously biding the time to see something happen isn’t resting.  Resting happens when you know I’m the only one that holds what you need, and you know I’ve got your back.  Resting happens when you’ve seen my love and know that you are in a safe place, completely needing me.  A safe place of perfect Love.”

“Hmm… Well, Lord, you’ve given me plenty to think on.  I love how your ways, as high as they are, are so simple.  Simple enough for a child.”  I smiled.
He smiled too.
“Exactly.  Do you know why a child’s faith is so great?  Because their love is so pure.  They love freely and greatly, and they understand my Pure Love.  The older people get, they struggle with faith because they really struggle with the concept of “pure love”.  They have encountered so many pains and wounds in life that it weakens their belief in Pure love’s existence.  They struggle to trust me, because they struggle to rest vulnerable in my love.  Thus, faith is a challenge for them.  But, if you can throw yourself into me, into my Love, receiving my Love, seeing my love, basking in and trusting my love, your faith will be great!”
“Wow.  Thank you Holy Spirit, for teaching me, just as I asked you to.  Thank you for revealing your secrets to me.  I sure love you Lord.  Open my eyes to see your Love in great and wonderful ways; in small and simple ways.  Good night, father. “

That is “so YOU” and I love it…

The way you bite your nails.  The way you crinkle your nose when you’re thinking about… whatever it is

you’re thinking about.  The way you get excited over coffee but couldn’t care less about Disneyland.  The unique things that make you “so-you” make you irreplaceable to me.  These are the things I want to focus on when I think about YOU.

We all go through times where we take those we love for-granted or just treat them with less esteem than they deserve.  We probably find ourselves doing that most easily with family or those closest to us.  I started to wonder, and ask myself why in the world the ones who are most precious are the ones I easily treat the worst!  Is it because I don’t REALLY love them?  No.  That’s not it at all.  Is it because I’m too consumed with myself and my own life?  Maybe.  But not totally.  Sometimes it was as though I’d be looking at my husband but not really SEEING him.  Interacting with my kids on auto-pilot, but not really being AWARE of them.  Hmm…

Then it clicked.

I was not relating to them as individuals, constantly aware of their personhood, I was relating to them according to what they represented to me.

For example.  My husband is Stephen.  But on a daily basis, he is my bill-payer, he is my bug-killer, he is the father of my children, he is the one I cook for and clean up after, he is my helper with the house hold responsibilities, he is my grass-mower, trash-taker-outer, listening ear, and fellow minister.  He is all these things to me on a practical level.  And so long as I’m functioning on “do-or-die” mode in life, I will likely not slow down enough to see past all the things and chores he represents to me, in order to see HIM.  And that is when I treat him carelessly.  See, its easy to mistreat a bug-killing-trash-taking-lawn-mowing person because they just represent a lot of separate functions.  But when I stop and make myself see deeper than the jobs he fulfills to the unique creation that he is with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, hopes, insecurities, and loves, all of a sudden I become aware of the heart of this man, and even more aware of how my behavior and words have either been enhancing him, neglecting him, or wounding him.

Wow.

You see, it takes work, and intentional effort to stop and engage in people.  Even to stop and engage in ourselves, or in the Lord.  But if we don’t, we will move through life treating people as service-men, treating ourselves like a machine, and treating the Lord like a religious-system rather than treating all our relationships with value and honor.

So, as simple of a revelation that this was, it really helped me to see my own need for stopping the busy rhythm of my life, even if just in my own head and spinning thoughts, to take the time and engage.  Engage in the Lord and His ever-present-companionship.  Engage in the ones around me and take the time to notice them and the unique things that make them special to me.  Engage in my own heart, see deeply inside myself and simplify.

Given this valuable revelation, I have started a new little habit, tiny, but I believe will add a richness to all of my relationships.  I have started challenging myself to, when I think about someone, stop long enough and let my thoughts linger on them and what it is about them that makes them so very special to me, un-duplicated by any other human being.  What is it about them that makes them “so-them“?  Then, as I become better and better at identifying those things (because it can be a challenge at first!), I begin to express those things to those people when given the chance.  Be it a hand written card, an email, a text or in person.  Any way I do it, it will mean a lot to them, and it will simply deepen my appreciation for everyone around me, and hopefully also make me more aware of how I treat people.  I want to live a life that sows honor and value into people.  I think this is putting me on the right track.  🙂

I cor. 13:13  “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Thanks for reading!!

Tell me the story of my tears from your eyes…

‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown.’- Jeremiah 2:2 (the Lord speaking through Jeremiah to Israel)

There are indeed seasons of barrenness meant to build in us perseverence, steadfastness, unwaivering committed love. No marriage is always bliss, and that includes my marriage to the Most High. The seasons where “feeling”, “emotional rapture”, and thrilling encounters with God seem like a distant memory. Surely I must be doing something wrong if I’m not connecting with him like I long to, right?

Maybe.

But sometimes, if the Holy Spirit is bringing no correction to my attention, I must forsake the voices of condemnation and accusation that burden me with burdens not mine.

In those times i must realize, those tears I cry because I cannot seem to touch him like I have before, those tears are PRICELESS to his ravished heart.

His heart is ravished with me. Song of Solomon says that one glance of my eyes steals his heart, making him “weak” with love.

Surely if he loves me so, and I were doing something wrong, would he not faithfully show me?

These tears I shed in longing, these frustrations I endure as I pray, wait, worship, press in, and find no emotional connection with Him, those tears are far more valuable to his heart that longs to be sought after than the laughter of a quick connection.

To him, those tears tell a story of a love which will pursue him THROUGH the desert.  Do I always feel of great courage to follow? No. Many times I feel faint of heart as I grasp upward only to grip nothing, finding my pursuit of him so mightily tempted to wane.

But then I remind myself that though those times of prayer, waiting, worship, reading-only-to-find-nothing-life-changing may feel like wasted moments, that to God, they are invaluable. I am sowing to the Spirit, and in time I will reap of the Spirit.

I am sowing to Love. And in time, I will reap in Love.

So Lord, though my heart grow faint within me and I have no great thing to offer, I offer you my longing. I offer you my tears. I offer you my perseverent pursuit of you… for the ways I long to know you Compel me to chase you even still.

I believe these tears of mine have a voice to you… and on the other side of eternity, would you share with me of their worth to you, read me that story that they have told?

Though I feel you not, I will love you.tear on eyelashes

Though I touch you not, I will reach for you.

Though I “see” you not, I will search for you.

I will follow you even through the desert, because I know that in time, the desert must end.

In time, your ravished heart will turn and ravish mine.

In time, my steady and sometimes bitter pursuit will yield a sweeter, richer Love between us than I have ever known.

So Lord, I come.

(Written August 2009.)

A Prophecy on Valentine’s Day

This was a very sweet word the Lord spoke to me for our congregation and the Body on Valentine’s Sunday this year.  I thought it would be good to share on here too.  Enjoy!

“I see many people here who are hungry, like baby birds who who have their mouths open and the mama bird just drops food into it, and their faces are lifted heavenward, worshipping. But its like in the spirit their mouths are open and I see the Lord’s hand (its huge!) above the congregation, and he is holding a giant clay pitcher pouring water into the mouths of those who are hungry, filling them with the waters of Life. Its easy. There is no coercing, no convincing or twisting the Lord’s arm. They are simply hungry, and asking. and he is simply responding, pouring the waters of Life into the mouths and bellies of all who ask. These waters bring a refreshing, cleansing and even a restoration to all corners of their lives; some ways obvious and seen, some ways invisible and unseen, but present none the less.

Then I see those who stand back with their arms crossed and like they are waiting for the Lord to come to them. They are waiting with their guards and suspicions up. on the outside, the hesitation looks like pride, but at the root of it is really a fear, a hurt mistrust, an uncertainty that God really had good intentnions toward them. The voice of religion has fueled that mistrust. Condemnation, guilt, accusation (all the voices and fruits of “religion”) all make them put their walls up toward the Lord in fear that He is going to hurt them, not be trustworthy or even just be sorely disappointed with them. But the Lord is saying, “Come. Come to me, for I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have watched and loved you so deeply and patiently, all the days of your life. And I will continue to wait patiently. But I would ask you to take a chance on me. Open your heart to me and I will pour my love on you in a way that will touch you in a very unique and special, healing way. Those who put their hope in Me will NOT be disappointed. Bring your walls down, take a chance and step beyond your fears adn let me love you and your life will be changed. Some quickly and drastically, some slowly and steadily, but I know you and will woo you and draw you to myself at the pace that YOU need. There is safety in my love. Let your walls come down adn I will draw you and speak tenderly to you. I will betroth you to myself and the day will coem when you will no longer call me “My Master”, but you will call Me, “My Husband”. Oh how I have loved you. Let my love rest on you and fill you. What a beautiful journey my love is. Know that my love for you is patient. My love for you is kind. Come to me, for I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Then there are some in here whom the Lord has specifically been drawing, for days, weeks, months or even years. But especially lately you’ve been finding yourself thinking of the Lord more, finding a curiosity about Him growing in your heart, even a tugging on the inside: a subtle nagging in his direction. that is the Spirit of God calling you by name. His Love, drawing you to himself. Not so that you would do all kinds of things for Him, but because he LOVES you. He has LONGED for you!! As a parent loves their child so deeply and passionately, so simply and powerfully, so the Lord has loved you… simply because you are His. He wants you for YOU. Not for things you can do for him. He says,”Religion has twisted the image of my love into an abusive and self-serving thing. But my love is PURE, and my love for you is GOOD. It brings peace and freedom, it is not burdensome as some have believed. you see, I am FOR you and not against you. Behold, My Child, I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have sought after you from the womb. All of yourdays, look back and you will see my fingerprints throughout your life drawing you to myself. Come, come to me my child for I have loved you with an everlasting Love.”

Understanding: a lesson learned in parenting

Understanding…

I frequently think about life a few years from now, to anticipate hang ups or snares, and make a plan for them.  Like Proverbs says, “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it”, I figure that if there are challenges most parents complain about, surely there’s a way to take a different route and see a different

Jenilee and Judah walking together in the park
Pregnant with Levi, walking with Judah through the park enjoying some time together.

outcome.  So, I frequently wonder about the teen years of my children and what they will look like.  Many times when I was with our youth kids they would tell me something and I’d ask if they had told their parents and they would say, “What?! No way! I can’t tell my parents THAT!”  Finally one day I asked my car-full of youth girls as we travelled home from a youth event, “Girls, what is it that your parents do that makes you feel like you can’t talk to them?”  They thought for a minute, and without exception, though their examples varied, the bottom line problem they agreed upon was this: “they don’t understand where we are coming from.”  I thought about this and followed with another question, “Don’t you think they probably do? They were teenagers before too, and you will be parents one day.  What makes you think they don’t understand?”  Here the answers varied a bit more but were not a surprise: “Well they just get angry and never want to know how I feel.”  “They don’t really listen to me!”  “They only care about what they think is important!”  What I heard in all their answers was this: My parents don’t hear me, see me, or value my feelings as important.  Granted, parents have been there, done that during their teen years and they have a very different perspective looking back in retrospect.  Its so clear to them what to do when you can look back on a thing, but what they forget is that when you’re in the middle of it right now, it IS a big deal, and it IS important, and it DOES hurt.  And that’s what those girls were saying.  “Meet me where I’m at and show me you care, even if it’s not yourconcern.”  What a valuable thing to learn: Understanding.  What a difference this one thing makes in relationships.

As I thought back over my relationship with the Lord and about all the different times I was an emotional wreck, or a confused wreck, or just plain a wreck of a wreck, and I would go to him for counsel, interestingly enough, he would always meet me where I was at: he would meet my emotional needs FIRST, and then tend to the matter.  If I was hurt, he would comfort me and console me with understanding.  He didn’t endorse lie-based emotions by telling me how I felt was “normal”, but he DID make me feel that truth or not, the way I felt still mattered to Him.  As his love and understanding comforted my heart and brought the healing needed, then he would gently bring me the truth of the situation.  That is when he would tenderly bring loving correction, or would show me where I was wrong and how it had hurt me, or even would show me where I needed to go and make things right.  Whatever it was, he brought me truth; but not before he brought me LoVe.   Love heals and nourishes the way for truth to land on good soil.

Now, how does this apply to my little three-year old? Given this principle of understanding I began to ask the Lord to help me lay a foundation of understanding with my boys now, that way trust would be developed and our relationship would be built on a trusting foundation of placing value on the other’s perspective and feelings.  This so that by the time the teen years reach us, we will already be heading in the right direction.  See, I knew that if I waited until the teenager years to try to develop an understanding stance toward them, they would see it as an insincere effort because our entire relationship history would have already been built on a different dynamic.

One night as I tucked Judah into bed, we talked about the evening we had just had.  There had been some spankings and some tears and so I was taking the opportunity to teach him a little more about the situation.   At one point he said, “Yeah, and when me and Levi wouldn’t eat our hot-dogs, you were being mean, Mommy.”  I remembered the scenario: hotdogs, ketchup, dinner time, and the never ending challenge of getting them to eat what I put in front of them.  This time, however, I was tired.  Daddy was out of the country and I was more than ready for bed, so my patience was thin and I was harsh. I spanked them more out of frustration than correction.  As Judah reminded me of this, I was about to correct him with, “No honey, mommy wasn’t being mean, you were being disobedient so mommy needed to correct you-” when the Holy Spirit came gently to me and quickened to me, “He is telling you how he feels in three-year-old language.  Honor that, and honor him.”  Wow.  Yes he was.  He wasn’t accusing me of being mean.  He was telling me that I was treating him with a meanness that hurt his feelings.  My tone quickly changed as I corrected myself and softened and said, “Judah, you’re right.  Mommy did get mean, and I am so sorry.  I should not have spanked you in the way that I did.  Mommy was upset and I took it out on you boys and got angry.  I am so so sorry.  That was wrong and I hurt your feelings.  Will you forgive me?”  He looked at me with so much grace and gently said, “Its ok Mommy, we can try again tomorrow” as he reached out to hug me.  Wow.  What forgiveness.  And what grace.  And what a mended relationship.  If I had just forsook his feelings and pursued arrogantly my agenda of teaching him and putting him in his place, his little heart would have gone unseen, his little voice unheard, and our relationship wounded.  However, after I took the time to hear him and tend to his feelings and repent for my sin (because it WAS wrong that I spanked him in anger like I did), I gently explained why it was so frustrating that they did not eat their dinner.  He nodded in understanding to what I shared, and easily agreed to eat his dinner the next time.   And he did!!  (And he made sure I knew he did too!) 🙂

The bottom line is this: in any relationship, if we fail to honor each other by treating one another with understanding, then our relationships will slowly deteriorate, one wound at a time.  We were designed to need understanding in relationships.  In and of itself, understanding carries a healing essence to it.  Why else is counselling and having a “listening ear” so beneficial to people?

Proverbs 11:12 says “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”   Most times, the doorway to listening with understanding ears is simply to hold our tongue, and reallyhear what the other person is saying.  To hear past the words, to what their heart is trying to communicate.

Proverbs 18:2 “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”   and Proverbs 20:5 “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”  If our form of discipline looks more like “airing my own opinions” than drawing out the deep waters of the heart, according to scripture we are not likely in a position of understanding.  Listening is a lost art that is crucial to healthy relationships.  Listen to hear and see the person you are talking to, not just to see when you can insert your next good point.  If you have children, try approaching them from a stand point of understanding.  This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them they are right, it just means you offer validation to how they feel, and show them that it matters to you.  Understanding brings so much healing and establishes trust in a relationship.  Treat them with the same kind of understanding that you hope someone offers you in your next moment of crisis… and watch as the healing waters of love and honor nourish and restore the relationship.  For some, this may take longer than others.  And for you, this may begin with more than just a habit change, but an actual heart change.  Wherever it begins for you, take the challenge.  It is worth it if it means peace in your home and more obedient children (which also means they will be safer and healthier if they are obeying you!).  Start today, start now.  Start with yourself, take responsibility, confess and repent to your children if necessary for not treating them more carefully.  And allow the Lord to teach you and give you wisdom on how to treat them with the same honor he treats us with.

Proverbs 24:3 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;”

Me and Judah
Me and Judah while on a walk
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