About Dawn Aldrich

Dawn Aldrich is a children's author and inspirational blogger. Besides writing she enjoys building family memories with her husband, Peter, their two grown children, and her young grandchildren. To learn more about her book, Auntie's House (2009, Halo Publishing) or to read her inspirational blog, Dawn's New Day please go to http://www.DawnAldrich.com or http://blog.DawnAldrich.com.

Torn Between Heaven and Earth
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“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1 NIV)

I stepped up to the half-walled voting table with only space dividing me from my fellow citizens and cast my ballot. It’s a simple task that takes only moments, but weighs heavy on everyone’s heart. We wonder, “Does my vote count? Will it make a difference? How does this matter between heaven and earth?”

It’s our right purchased by the spilt blood of countless Americans over the centuries. And, for women, a right sought after for an additional 144 years. This privilege, this voice offered and sacrificed for should never be taken for granted.

As Christians we hold dual citizenship in heaven and on earth. Until Christ comes, we are God’s plan to be salt and light; to usher in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. So, how do we raise our children to understand this?

  • Become politically aware – as an individual and as a family. Discuss the ideals behind a candidate or a cause and how it aligns with Biblical truths.
  • Take them into the voting booth – there’s no rule that bars children from observing our highest privilege; let them witness democracy in action.
  • Practice democracy at home – on family movie night, give them two choices, then everyone votes for their movie choice by secret ballot; the movie with the most votes wins.
  • Demonstrate honor and respect –  Peter teaches us  that our dual citizenship requires we honor and respect all authorities over us.

“Show proper respect to everyone: love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1Peter 2:17 (NIV) 

Yesterday, we cast our votes and our leader chosen. Regardless the outcome, we’re called to respect and honor him. Beyond that, we are to be God’s salt and light between heaven and earth.

Staring Down A Scary Path
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“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 8:11

 The graveyard path stared me down. It was the safest route to school, she said. Yet, my first grade feet stood motionless–planted in fear at the opposite corner. I cowered my head into my mother’s side. No words of comfort, no logical argument could persuade me to cross that street and enter the gates of death.

Then, the friendly crossing guard lady approached, holding open a small, black, silk change purse filled with rainbow sweetness. Nursing a pink jelly bean, I listened to her calming voice. “Don’t be frightened,” she said. “I’ll watch you walk that path and I’ll be right here when you come home. Now take this little purse and suck on a jelly bean when you feel scared. You can do this. I’ll see you soon and Mommy will be here waiting for you, too.”

Isn’t it like that sometimes when we’re faced with God’s chosen path in our lives? We stand–firmly planted in the familiar, the safe–in a stare-down with God’s chosen path. The leaving looks like death–scary and unfamiliar territory. We want to turn around, run back home or take another path.

God meets us and leads the way–feeding us sweet nuggets of encouragement through his Word with each frightening step until we are fully immersed in His joy. What’s better, unlike the crossing guard, he never leaves our side, but walks with us–even through the shadow of the valley of death–until the very end.

 Are you or your family faced with a scary, unfamiliar God-path today? Are your hearts gripped with fear at the overwhelming road ahead? Grab onto God’s hand in faith together and let Him lead you. Lean into His side and find reassurance and joy in His presence and through His word.

 “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

 Prayer:

Oh Lord, sometimes your paths frighten us. Your ways are unfamiliar and at times beg us to leave the comforts of home. Yet, Lord, may we find comfort in your promise that you “will never leave us nor forsake us.” Speak your words into our hearts. Whisper your sweet comfort and lead us down your path that always leads to life.

How Do You Make God Real?
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 “May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.” Psalm 90:16

We snuggled there in the dark gazing at the stars through his open window. Breathing in his little boy scent, wondering how many more nights of after dark cuddling were left between us, his profound question interrupted my thoughts.

“Who made the stars?”

“God did,” I quietly smiled hugging him a bit tighter.

“And who made the moon?”

“God did. And you know what?” I asked.

“What?”

“God made you, too. And He loves you more than all the stars in the entire world!”

As we marveled at God’s shining handiwork suspended above us, my thinker-boy asked more questions until, in his child-like way, understood God’s immeasurable love for him.

As a young mother, the idea of growing my child up in the Lord daunted me. How do you teach a child to believe in an invisible God? How do you explain that words spoken into space are heard by his Creator? How will he know Jesus once lived and died and lives again? Exactly how do you explain the unexplicable?

In other words:

How do you make God real?

·  Teachable moments – when an experience lends itself to the spiritual, use age appropriate ways to teach your child about God’s creation, character, and unconditional love.

·  Hard questions – welcome every question and answer them honestly. If you don’t know the answer, research it or ask a trusted expert or church leader.

·  Prayer – pray together often. Teach them the power of prayer by sharing God’s answers to those prayers.

·  God’s miracles – in big and small ways God still performs miracles in our lives and throughout his creation. Look for them together and thank God for his marvelous deeds.

·  Trust God – entrust your children’s lives to God. He created them, wrote the script for their lives, and will draw them to Him. For he promises:  

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33 

How has raising your children up in the Lord looked like for you? In what ways or through what deeds has God shown he was real to your family? What words of wisdom would you offer parents or grandparents in raising children of faith?

Where We Belong
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Delight yourself in the Lord …

 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 Psalm 37:4

“There’s something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they’ll take you. Mine took me here…where I belong.” Beatrix Potter, the greatest children’s author of the 20th century, belonged at Hill Top Farm in rural England. She found inspiration and freedom to write about the many adventures (and misadventures) of her animal friends surrounded by beautiful, lush, rolling hills. It’s where she was most herself and where her passion as an artist flourished. 

We all long to find where we belong, don’t we? As small children we belong to a family. We live where they live, find our identity in who they are and take our rightful place in the birth order amongst our siblings. As we mature, we find everyone in our family is different. Our eldest brother likes sports and our middle sister lives for fashion while we find we are most ourselves playing the piano. We’re shy. They’re social. We like solitude. They like crowds. We’re most obviously different. And so, our journey of belonging begins.

In part, the journey can answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we’re first asked, we usually don’t have a clue. To some extent it answers “What do you like to do the most?” But more so, it’s a journey of the heart and soul.

Belonging, is knowing your purpose – doing what God created you to do – where your heart soars. It’s a place that feels like Paradise.

So how do you get there? First, deal with your heart-wounds alone with God. Once you do, you can put the past behind you and move forward on your journey. Next, lay down your passion, your deepest desire before God in prayer.  Ask God if what your passion is truly His desire for you. Most usually, His desires align with our greatest passions, but how we are to exercise our talents/passions needs to come into alignmenet with His will. This may take time listening to God and examining our own hearts. Finally, step out in obedience to God’s leading.

Our passions make our hearts soar and create a place in this world where we belong. When we’re doing what God purposed us to do we’re welcoming the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth – a bit of Paradise.

What’s your heart’s desire/passion? How do you live it out? What steps are you taking to discover God’s purpose for your life or the life of your children?

Blessings,

Dawn Aldrich
Author of Auntie’s House
Host of Penn’s Pals

There is No Substitute
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“Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.”       Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 The Message

We choose churches for many reasons, one being how active their children’s and youth ministries appear. While these ministries help engage our children with their faith, I fear parents sometimes substitute their personal responsibility as the family’s spiritual leader for these programs.

I’ve seen this from many angles: as a daughter of divorce, a Sunday school teacher/youth director and as a parent.

More children than ever are raised in broken homes – absent a father, mother or both. And, when they step foot into a church, brought by a grandparent, aunt or uncle or neighborhood friend, the teacher/youth leader is most often the first and only reflection of Christ in their lives. The church leader becomes their spiritual parent, creating a haven where these children find grace, mercy, and companionship; a place of purpose, joy, and spiritual growth.

Watching my children transform from helpless infants into stubbornly independent toddlers, I realized firsthand, a parent’s great spiritual responsibility. As a parent we are our child’s first reflection of God. How we treat them, what we teach them through our actions, words, and deeds determines their world view and their God-view, regardless how wonderful their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders are. What we emulate at home matters most. Yikes!

So, if we’re so messed up, how does God expect us to teach them His ways? God says it best in Deuteronomy 11: 18-20. Devour God’s Word until it becomes part of who you are. Then teach these things to your children all the time – morning, noon, and night. And if you do, His Word becomes part of them and things will go well (paraphrased).

In other words:

  • Make God a priority in your own life – develop your relationship with God first. We cannot teach our kids what we don’t do ourselves.
  • Intentionally teach your children God’s Word and Ways – show them God’s presence in everyday occurrences (creation, relationships, etc). Do your kids see you reading the Bible, praying other than grace? Is Bible reading and praying part of family time?
  • Reflect God in every part of your life – not just at church.
  • Be real – when you mess up, admit it and ask their forgiveness. Kids need to know we’re not perfect.
  • Show mercy and compassion – keep the doors of communication open with unconditional love. Set healthy boundaries and discipline with love.

It is our number one priority and privilege, as Christian parents, to reflect who God is to our children. We’re not perfect but we are their first encounter with the One, true, and living God. Embrace every opportunity. There is no substitute!

Embracing Every Opportunity,
 
 
Dawn Aldrich
Author of Auntie’s House
Host of Penn’s Pals