Jill Aycock
by Jill Aycock on March 21st, 2018

by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

Welcome! I am Jill Aycock… Thank you all for joining me on this journey. I have been praying about this day since January…  I am so excited that God has put the subject of parenting so heavy on my heart. It’s scary, it’s not easy and I don’t think we are ever done parenting this side of heaven. I have 4 kids… Carter is a 15 years old, Walker is 13 years old, Anderson is 11 and ReeseKathryn is 9.
Cody is the rock in our family… I won’t mention how old he is. I will tell you he’s younger than me… but I always refer to him as my Moral Compass… he is an old soul and I am so blessed to call him mine!

As many of you know, I am just a mom with 4 kids living in this neighborhood… I have a great husband named Cody who probably is the one who should be up here. He is the calm focused one on our partnership… I am the one who loses my mind when I find clean laundry shoved in the bottom of the dirty hamper… It isn’t pretty!
There is something I want to be clear about…  I am NOT going to stand up here and tell you how to have a perfect family and perfect kids.…. We are certainly not perfect… No one is and if you have a friend that you think has a perfect marriage, a perfect house and perfect kids… Get some new friends girls… they are also perfect liars too. We need friends who we can be real with and share our struggles with. The world tells us we aren’t good enough through social media and television, we don’t need friends making us feel worse.
We all have issues… we all have laundry rooms full of dirty laundry and kid with crap shoved under their beds or in their closet… or like mine… they just prefer to leave it on the floor…. We all have issues…
They just have different faces and are different ages… So if you are here for a step by step… you are in the wrong place…
During these next 4 weeks we are going to focus on more on the type of parent God wants us to be, not what kind of parents we think we should be..
God has been telling me for many years that I need to be honest with my struggles in life and in parenting and also how He has changed me and worked on me in the last 16 years…
How He continues to challenge me to dig deeper into the scriptures to learn more about Him and how he wants me to live my life…
I could have never stood before you 16 years ago when we were starting our family and say I WILL GROW GODLY CHILDREN! That wasn’t my goal
Back then, my number one goal was to figure out how I could get this baby to sleep through the night… Number one goal. I love to sleep and I wanted my baby to sleep too!!! I probably stressed out about a schedule about 6 months into my pregnancy, probably about the time I started to not sleep well… I was neurotic… I am a woman… I like to be in control of everything…
When I was pregnant with Carter almost 16 years ago God blessed me with some people who introduced us to
“Growing Kids God’s way.” That is the series Cody and I use with our infants and toddlers.  I believe Dr. Ezzo changed the name and they are now called Baby Wise, Toddler Wise, Preschool Wise, Preteen Wise…  Teen Wise… Although I  didn’t agree 100 percent with everything he had to say… most of it was great advice. For instance, he didn’t believe in pacifiers... but this nursing mother did.
So as we go through this study, I don’t expect you to agree with everything I am saying, I am honestly just sharing my story… Everyone has their own story. Many of  you are ahead of me in the parenting journey. Some may have college kids…. Good job mama and some of you may be in the trenches of the toddler years. Good luck mamas… None of this is easy!
We need to be real. This is the hardest job we will ever take on and the most important.  We can always go to work for another company, but we only get one shot with our kids….
This needs to be the priority in our lives and if you have never thought that this is what God put you on this earth for… think again. He has trusted us with these kids, they are a gift… it was not a coincidence that you are parents to your children and if you aren’t putting His children as a high priority, in my opinion… you need to change your priorities.
I don’t mean priority like helicopter mom… or worse lawnmower parent…. Trust me, we will get to those in a few weeks… I am saying your priorities should be God and what he is doing in your life.
God, husband and then children… That’s how we need to do it… Everyone needs to know their place… Tell God he is number 1, talk to him, pray to him… become friends with him… tell  your spouse they are number 2, I would suggest a gentle tone and to find the right time, you guys are a team. You need to have a strong foundation for your kids. You want to have the type of marriage that will make your children want to get married… We call it Team Aycock…  and then please tell your children they are number 3… 4 or 5 depending on who is acting crazy that day… They need to know their place… Children need to know they are not the center of your universe. God is. They need to know that they are loved and a priority, but this world does not revolve around them.  We don’t need to be raising children who have never heard the word NO and think everyone is here to serve them. This doesn’t create secure children; this creates  children who are clueless on how the real world works.
 About 8 years ago a group of friends of mine were talking about the stresses of raising young kids and our hopes and dreams for them…
I was concerned when most of the said they wanted their kids to just be happy, to be well liked by their peers and do well in school so they could get into a good college…
UH, NO… My number one goal is not to have happy children… (sounds harsh)

My number one goal as a parent is for them to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to accept Jesus as their Lord and savior….  I want them to be Godly, first and foremost. I don’t care about their social status; I just don’t, it may be important to them, not me… I would prefer them to have just a few friends who are like-minded and will help them grow in their faith….  
Teach them, John 13:34… As I have loved you, Love one another.
I believe our children need to be the light in this world and I pray others see Jesus in my children…. I don’t want them to see a self-centered popular kid who puts himself above others and doesn’t have a good character… NO, I want them to see Jesus. I want my kids to love others like Jesus loves them and I want others to love Jesus because they see how it changes people and changes lives.
It has always been important to me that my children weren’t annoying to adults and I do want their peers to enjoy being around them… but that’s not my main goal… I pray for my children everyday… for their future spouses and for God’s plan in their life.
He will decide who will be their friends, who will and will not think they are annoying and  how and where they go to college, not me…. My number one goal is not that they are happy… my number one goal as a parent is that my child is a follower of Christ.
I want my precious children to know their Heavenly Father… Really know Him. Only He can give them the things they need… not me.
I am not sure everyone knows that I am employed here at the Harvest. I have 2 titles. One is the Director of Discipleship and the other is The Assistant to the Senior Pastor… I am around Jeff McDowell…. All Day almost everyday… and one of the perks of my job is that I get to ask him all the theological questions and just stupid questions I want… whenever I want… and most of the time he isn’t in a position to ignore me… although at times, I think he would prefer not to share office space with me… but I digress…
Jeff and I have talked extensively about me not wanting my children to be happy. He says I am wrong… He says I want them to be happy but I know only through aligning their lives with Christ will they ever find true happiness. (He is so good….)
 God can only fill the “God Hole” we all have in our hearts. We live in a broken world and we try to fill it with everything but God… We try to put things in there and people in there that will make us happy.
We try to fill our own hearts with great marriages, awesome jobs, big houses, great friends, expensive cars… We all have our “fix.” I went through a time in my life that I escaped the craziness of  the toddler years with retail therapy… It fixed nothing… There was always something else to buy… something cuter , something I just HAD TO HAVE!
The hole was empty again.
The good news thought is that our hearts are never empty when we put God first in our lives and only try to fill the hole with Him… God wants us to live an abundant life… that  is Mathew 6:33

Mathew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
He just wants us to seek him first and then we need to trust Him to provide everything we need… Including the wisdom to raise His children the way He sees fit. He is the secret. You just have to listen to what He wants
 My goal for these next 4 weeks is to share my struggles and victories of my experience in parenting. I feel God blessed me with 4 amazing children. I certainly don’t deserve them but I have always looked at them as gifts from God… I have tried to focus on treating them just like that,  a gift… These are God’s children who He is allowing me to be their earthly parent… but I will one day have to give them back and I want to be able to stand before God and tell him I did everything I could in my power to raise them the way He saw fit.
As part of understanding my struggles and successes, I feel I need to share my story/testimony with you.
Many people in this room already know it and some of you even walked beside me and prayed for me during the darkest time of my life,
You see I knew from a very young age I always wanted a big family. Actually I wanted 4 or 5 boys… ReeseKathryn has had her feelings hurt when she hears me say this, but truth be told, I want a house full of dirty smelly athletes with minimal drama… And of course I thought when we decided to start a family, I would get what I want when I wanted. But God had different plans for us.
In the 8 years of childbearing I had 7 pregnancies. I had a miscarriage at 11 and half weeks 2 months before our first anniversary. The loss was devastating. We hadn’t planned to start a family just  7 months after we got married but that was what happened.
So after losing my first baby I was bound and determined to have a baby…. And we were blessed just 10 months later with our first born, Carter.
Life was great!  All things were going smoothly until he was about 10 months old and I got pregnant again… they said I couldn’t get pregnant while nursing…LIARS!!  But with this pregnancy, I miscarried just 3 days after I found out I was 5 weeks along. So again, I wasn’t expecting a baby but now that I had lost one… I WANTED ONE now… It took us 6 months of  trying and we were blessed with him the day before Carter turned 2.
So, although when I say my children are 2 years apart and it sounds so organized… this was quite the roller coaster God had us on and it was about to get crazier…
Because sometimes I don’t learn my lesson the first time, I again got pregnant while nursing Walker. But this pregnancy was different and Cody will tell you that I said that from day on. However, I had no idea just how different it was. In May of 2004 I went in for our 20 week ultrasound and because we thought this was our last pregnancy and we had not found out the sex of our first two babies, we wanted to see what it was like to find out the sex at 20 weeks… When we went in the baby would not cooperate, or that is what the ultrasound tech told us. She did the scan for about 45 minutes and said her best guess what that I was having a girl, but it was just a guess. No matter… what we were thrilled… after 2 boys we were very excited to maybe having a girl… But later that night when we received a call from our doctor, our lives changed forever. We were brought to our knees harder than any other situation in our lives.
The truth was that the radiologist was very concerned that the baby wouldn’t cooperate for 45 minutes and barely moved. They weren’t sure why, so we had an appointment with an OB specialist and genetic specialist… it was devastating news. However, I am a glass half full kind of girl and I believe in a God who has the power to heal all… But after weeks of scans, MRI’s and an amniocentesis, the doctors decided our precious Kennedy Elizabeth would never live outside my womb. They said they were surprised her heart was still beating. She had a chromosome anomaly they had never seen before and they were clueless to what the outcome would be.
They might have been clueless…. But I was not… I knew the only thing I could do at this point was to turn to God. I laid on my floor and cried out to God everyday and night begging him to save my baby… but through all tears and all the begging, God told me he had different plans, He wasn’t going to save Kennedy, he was going to save me through her.
On June 4th, 2004 I gave birth to a stillborn sweet baby girl that changed my life forever. I would never be the same again.
I would never be the same type of mother, wife, friend or more importantly Christian because of a loss I couldn’t imagine. But I was bound and determined not let the loss of my baby girl stop me from being better. I mourned her loss for a long time and I still cry when I think of her, but 12 years later, I can be thankful for that experience. I am thankful for a God that knows my heart and knows my world and knows that not giving me what I ask for is sometimes the best plan for me.
I believe God could have healed Kennedy and I believe she would be a 12-year old 6th grader at Baines Middle School if He thought that was best for me… But God knew my faith would not change and I would not change and I would not be able to be the mother he has called me to be if he had said YES, God said No to me for my own good…. And I was devastated.
I would have liked it both ways… I wanted to keep my baby and change. I wanted not have to talk to a funeral home and bury a baby at 32 years old… I did not want to feel the pain I felt and sometimes still feel… I have never gotten over losing Kennedy, but I have gotten better.
I have parented my children different, I lived my life different but it wasn’t an overnight fix. After losing her, I drank too much to dull the pain; I obsessed over things that were not important to get my mind off her… It was a process… it still is, but I can tell you I am thankful… I thank God for doing what He knew was better and I know when I die and go to heaven, Kennedy Elizabeth will be waiting for me… But while I am here, I am going to do everything in my power so that she gets to meet all three of her brothers and sweet little sister….
So like I said, happiness is not our goal, this is not our home. We should not be raising kids to be happy on earth, we need to be raising kids who have their lives aligned with Christ, so they will ultimately be happy and we will be able to live in eternity with them FOREVER…
SO now, the big question is… How do we do this? How do we raise children to be Christ Like?
I honestly believe we start with ourselves… When we think about how we want our children to act, what do we think about? Have we ever had a role model for our children in this world? Have you ever looked at other children in your circle and said… That is who I want my child to be…
Have you ever done anything about the way your child will turn out?
I believe we can do all the wishful thinking and hoping, nagging and finger pointing  we want to…  but until we get on our knees and ask God what He wants us to do with these children, we are going to lose.

The bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6…
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
Even when he is old he will not depart from it”
It doesn’t say, Cross your fingers and your child will follow Jesus, Hope your child has good character, Wish for your child to be honest… it says TRAIN!!!
 We need to have a plan. We need to have expectations. We need to have guidelines, for ourselves and for our children. If we are just wondering around this planet hoping our children will turn into an awesome adult, chances are you aren’t not going to end up with the awesome adult that you could have had if you had a plan.
I just had a discussion with my brother in law who has 4 grown children. He told me if I thought my job was done when they get into college I was sadly mistaken…. He says you never stop being a parent; so don’t wish for the best.
We have got to be intentional and we need to intentionally start with the way we act. They are looking to us for what to do and how to act.
Think about your own childhood… who did you look up to? What did you think was normal? Your parents? Your Grandparents? Your neighbors? We all had role models when we were children.
I, for example thought my parents were super normal… they were all I knew. My dad ran a business, my mom worked for him and she ran our household. That was normal. We went to church at Christmas and Easter… normal.
I had nothing else to compare it to until I was much older. I didn’t even know I was supposed to have my own relationship with Christ. It was never modeled. We only went to church a few times a year… I thought that was the plan. I thought everyone did what we did. We didn’t talk much about God in the house I was raised in. It wasn’t intentional; I think my parents just had a hard time communicating what faith looked like. They didn’t have parents who molded Christianity to them so how were they supposed to model it for us?
We need to talk to our kids about God. I know it’s hard sometimes, but in Deuteronomy the bible says we should be talking about God all day everyday. He says we should love our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
God wants us to be talking to our kids about Him all the time. He wants us to make it normal for them…
So what are we modeling for our children? What are we showing them that is normal?
Are we kind? Honest? Loving? Do we cuss in front of them do we party in front of them? What are we showing them is normal?
This is tough. It’s not always great to look in the mirror… but we all need to do it and we all have things we need to change…
It is a journey we are on…. If you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing in Christ.
Most of our children are never going to act better than their parents act until probably their late 20’s, early 30’s… depending if you are raising girls or boys. Boys don’t fully develop their brain until 25, so I am thinking maybe closer to 40… but a mom can dream.
Our kids' look to us for how they should act, when they should be kind, what they should say and what we should not say…. I discovered this in my early years of motherhood when Carter was still in a highchair. He was just learning to feed himself and when he accidently dropped his food on the floor… he did a perfect impersonation of me saying OH SHIT… with like, THE perfect inflection I had apparently used a time or two when I didn’t think he was listening. That was the moment as a mother I learned to watch my mouth… To this day I don’t cuss in front of my children, I know several of you find this very  hard to believe… but I realized that if I don’t want my kid cussing, they can’t hear me doing it.
And through the years, that is what I have also learned about my behavior. I am not just living my life; I am modeling a life for my kids. Whatever I do they think is normal… We are the standard for parents for our kids… good or bad.
That is what we have to decide. What do we want to model for our kids?
I don’t know about you, but after 15 years of parenting Carter, I am not sure he’s every listened to one word I have said, but I can guarantee you he has watched the way I treat others, treat Cody and what I do to put God first in my life.
In fact, just this summer he told me I don’t tell him anything... WEIRD, I feel like I have been lecturing him for about 13 years… I tell him stuff all the time. I am full of advice... Mostly unsolicited and rarely ever taken to heart, but although he doesn’t listen to me, but I am aware that my children are watching me at all times.
I mentioned he is 15… so
We are teaching him to drive right now, and he informed me that I rarely fully stop at stop signs… WHAT??? Yes I do!!!
Uh No I don’t…. after he told me that I noticed I roll through 2 stop signs that I go through every day leaving Sienna. He was right and he was just watching me… never did I ask him to watch me drive. Never did I say, look at how I do this driving thing. But for years he watched me drive and as he became more interested in driving himself he started noticing how I drive….
I now make a point to stop at all stop signs, NEVER text, even at red lights and I try to leave my phone in my console and make it a point that he sees me putting it in the console.
If we want great kids, we need to be great adults. We need to start living the way we are suppose to live, we are to start putting others before ourselves, we are to put God first in our lives and if we do all this, our children will most likely follow… They will think it’s normal!
One of my favorite saying of this is “Caught, Not Taught.” We need to be living in a way that we are getting caught doing great things by our children. If you want your child to read the bible, make sure they see you reading your bible… If you want your children to volunteer in the community, volunteer yourself. If you want your child to be kind to others… Be Kind… Be Honest it’s very simple in theory…
 Most of my kids have great manners… most of the time. This is a result of both Cody and I reminding them about 45 Zillion times… If they asked for something and didn’t use manners, we made them wait 5 minutes to ask again.
But other than being reminded a zillion times,  I think they have good manners because it has been modeled to them by their father. Cody has always used the words please and thank you when asking our children to do something,,,, even in anger he will say please… it’s almost bizarre to me. When I was a kid and I was told to do something , it was an order. But not Cody. That man will be in full force yell mode and still drop a please… I have no proof, but I do believe
it has helped. He modeled what he wanted to see in his kids…
This is what we need to do with everything. We need to show them what a man or woman of character looks like… We need to model honesty. We need to be kind to everyone. We need to show them that everyone matters and that it is better to put others before themselves.

As a woman I have always been fascinated with the Proverbs 31 woman… I said fascinated because I thought she was a just a figure of some man’s imagination of the perfect wife… and friends… that is not me, not even close!
But as I began to study this scripture I realized a woman wrote this scripture for her son.  It has also been suggested that the son in Proverbs 31 is King Solomon, receiving advice from Bathsheba, wife of King David. She was telling Solomon how to be a good ruler in the first part of the scripture and then describes the perfect wife for her son…. Now that is something I can get behind. So when I read it again, I thought… YES YES AND YES…. I want all 3 of my daughter in laws to be just like her!!! I also would like my daughter to be that kind of wife… but I never thought I personally could measure up.
Let’s turn to our bible and read it… I will put it overhead… but ya’ll I love my bible.. I love the fact that it’s God’s word and  I love the pages… That is some special paper. I also love to hear a room full of bibles turning… so if you didn’t bring yours today, make sure you bring it next time.
Proverbs 31
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Jewish legend says that Lemuel is Solomon, Lemeul means "(belonging) to God;, a symbolic name of Solomon: -Lemuel…. So there you have it. Love how smart people can figure that out… Anyway. I believe Bathsheba is speaking to her son Soloman.
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Preach it Bathseba…. She doesn’t want her son to be a drunk king who put his people down. She wants him to be an upstanding kind of King. One who stands up for the weak and defends the poor… She wanted a good kid!
 She was setting standards for her King Son… She knew how she wanted him to act and rule his country and made those expectations very clear.
As my kids get older, I am feeling like I have to say things out loud that should be common sense. In the beginning of the summer, I told my 9th and 7th grader…. Alright boys just to be crystal clear, we will NEVER allow illegal drugs or underage drinking in our home… Of course they looked at me like I had 2 heads and said…. DUH! But I just wanted them to know what the rules are. I also told them they will be randomly drug tested…. Not because I thought they were getting stoned but I wanted to give them a tool when the peer pressure got too much for them and they could blame it on their lame parents. At this point, Carter let me know it was called getting High… Thanks for the drug lesson,15 year old..  I grew up in the 80’s, I know the terms…. Anyway... this is an important rule for us. I wanted to make sure the expectations were crystal clear…
In fact I came up with a list of expectations of my children.
I will respect my parents
I will not yell
I will not throw anything in anger
I will not punch anyone or anything in anger
I am allowed to be mad but not disrespectful
I will not take food upstairs
I will get myself to school on time
I will help around the house
I will make my own lunch
I will try my hardest in school
I will take responsibility for my mistakes and not blame others
I will pick up after myself, keep my room clean and keep zones clean
I will limit my time on technology
I will be responsible when using technology
I will do my own laundry
For every 10 minutes I am late, I will be grounded a day
I will not negotiate a time to be home after I have left our home
I will not be at anyone’s home unless there is an adult home or I have permission
I will not drink or do drugs or be around people who are drinking or doing drugs
I will not cuss or do anything else in public that would embarrass my family

Some of these are not new, some of these I just made up. Cody thought they were going to hate me for all my rules, but as I went through them with my boys… again, I got a DUH! I have been very clear about what we expect around here. But as they get into their foggy manipulative teen years, I really wanted something in print… that they could sign… 
And Cody was wrong, they didn’t hate me, they really weren’t impressed with my list. They had known all the rules their entire lives… However, they did fight me on number 6… the food upstairs; which I find disgusting and would not budge on, so they can sneak it and get in trouble… if that’s how they want to play the game.
But I will be sticking with my expectations and probably changing a few and adding  a few as the years go by… I am not inflexible; I am just someone who wants clear-cut expectations. I think it’s important to talk to our kids about what we expect. I think sharing this next part of Proverbs with our kids is a good thing too. I think they need to study these verses as well. Girls need to strive to be like this and our boys need to look for these qualities in a wife.
OK… now onto be the Wife of Noble Character… Listen up girls.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
We are precious in God’s sight… we are priceless to him
Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
She puts him right after God in her life.. She is an honoring wife. She love him, she trusts him
She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
She owns a business and contributes to the family…. I thought  women back in the old days jus stayed home and swept the rocks… judgy, I know. A strong women is contributing to the family
She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
This woman is not slouch… She is a business woman. I know working moms sometimes feel like they can’t do it all but we are called to contribute, to help, to get up early, to make breakfast for our family.
In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
She volunteers her time
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She is prepared… she is a planner… she knows winter is coming because her family is a priority.
She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She has helped him become the best he can be, she supports her man and helps him succeed in life… She is for him.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
Again, she is working and doing her part in the family
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She is wise, she knows God and is able to teach the lessons she has learned from the bible… She don’t worry, she has faith.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
She is busy, she isn’t sitting around wasting her time on Facebook or with retail therapy, she is busy making sure her family is provided for and taken care of.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
She has earned the respect from her family guys… We only have these kids under our roofs for 18 years. We need to have their respect and their love and our window to earn it is short.
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
That is who I strive to be…. Nowhere in the scripture does it say, she made sure her children are well liked and got into a great college. It doesn’t say she stayed up late doing their science project… It focused on being a Godly woman… someone who is focused on God and focused on being the best woman she can be…. That is what we all need to strive to be….
And it looks different for all of us… We are all unique, we have unique children, marriages and families… but what we all can do is align our lives with Jesus and be who He wants us to be.
You are probably going to ask me how and again, it is going to be different for all of us. I always suggest you start with the scriptures… if you aren’t spending time in the bible daily… start there. I have a ton of resources I am happy to share… But if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and spend time deepening that relationship, how are you going to find out what type of person He wants you to be??  Or what type of children He wants you to raise?
Because not matter what you think is the best you… You're wrong, unless you have asked your Heavenly Father.

by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

​I have been asked a few times what I believe the secret to having good children is…  I honestly don’t have any secret but I do believe all parents must 2 do things.
I believe they must be Consistent and have Consequences
Everything in life has a consequence, good or bad. Think about it for a while. Life is about choices… There is a country song by George Jones that Cody sings all the time to the kids…
{I've had choices
Since the day that I was born
There were voices
That told me right from wrong
If I had listened
No I wouldn't be here today
Living and dying
With the choices I made}

We all have those voices in our heads telling us what we want to do and those voices telling us what we should be doing. I don’t’ believe they are just voices… I believe the Holy Spirit is that is voice talking to us, I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to us even when aren’t believers. I believe God puts a sense of truth in all of us and we can either listen to or ignore, and as parents we are to teach our children to listen to it.  Some people call it intuition and others call it their gut… call it what you want, but I believe it is God guiding us, just as we are guiding our children.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me twice that I could remember before I was a believer. Once when I was 10 and again at 23. When I was 10, I was watching the local news. He told me I was to be a news anchor… I thought what a great job, you only work for like 30 minutes a day. That sounded awesome to a 4th grader. 8 years later I started college as Broadcast Journalism major, and I got an internship at the local NBC affiliate in Tucson and eventually worked my way to a job reporting in Little Rock. I can assure you I wasn’t working 30 minutes a day. My first producing job was 11 at night to 7 in the morning. It was a tough job for little pay. I made $13,500 straight out of college. My dad asked if they knew I had a college education…. it didn’t matter. I loved the news business and the thought of being on TV was so exciting, clearly I wasn’t in it for the money. I had big dreams of becoming a morning anchor in Dallas. That was always my favorite city in Texas and I knew that was my destiny. But as usual, God had other plans… but the path I believed he put me on to become a news anchor was just the beginning; it eventually was the path that I would meet my future husband. And eventually end up working here at the The Harvest.
Because the 2nd time I remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me was in college. I was dating a guy who was verbally and almost physically abusive to me… not a great relationship. But I thought I was in love and believed by marrying him, I could change him. One day when we went to look for an engagement ring, God said to me “Stop looking for rings, you are not marrying this guy.” Honestly, I thought I heard Him audibly and looked around the car. This time it kind of freaked me out but I wasn’t a believer yet and didn’t recognize that it was the Holy Spirit. I did recognize that fact that I was in an unhealthy relationship and it was time to break up with him.
I did just that and moved to Little Rock.
Little Rock is a very nice town. I lived with my sister and new brother in law and was there for the first year of my nephew Nelson’s life. It was a blessing for sure. But after living in the small city of Tucson for college and I felt Little Rock was a small town too, I figured it was time to move to the big city… I had big city dreams and small town talent.
After looking for an anchoring job for a few months in some awesome cities like Nashville and Dallas, a news director from Wichita Falls Texas called and I was completely turned off. I did not want to live in a small town again… I yearned for a big city… But after a few minutes on the phones, I knew this is where I was headed next. Not that I wanted to go to a small town, but again I felt the nudge.
I was right…. Wichita Falls is where I met a dear friend, Shauna Sanderson who changed my life forever and within 3 months of moving to Wichita Falls, with the guidance of Shauna, I accepted Christ as my Lord and savior. Just 5 months later I met Cody and as they say… the rest is history. We were married 18 months after that.
Looking back it is clear that Lord had plans for me long before college and long before I was a believer. He knew the path I needed to be on to become His disciple and knew I had to get there on my own… with clearly some nudging.
So I am telling you all this because the Holy Spirit doesn’t just speak to pastors and theologians… he speaks to all of us, especially to those of us who have a relationship with Him. We just must choose to listen. The Holy Spirit was given to us to help us live more like Jesus and spread the Gospel. We must teach our children to listen and we need to discern between what the Holy Spirit is telling us and what we want the Holy Spirit to tell us.
Let’s go Galatians 5:13-21

If you aren’t familiar with Galatians, Paul wrote Galatians to help confirm the church’s faith. He talks about grace and how we are no longer under the laws of the Old Testament. In this section he is talking about living by the Spirit’s Power.
13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesha ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”b 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateverc you want.
 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
God gives us a choice.
Are we going to live in the Spirit or are we going to live by our flesh?
I believe children are naturally are born to live by their flesh. This is a broken world and if you have ever had a 2 year old or worse a 3 year old… You know, they live by their flesh. They say “I want” and “mine” more than any other words… 2s are hard and I get why they call them the terrible 2’s but Lord help me, the 3’s rocked my world. At 2 I feel kids don’t know any different and we are teaching them right from wrong… but when they are 3, I feel like they basically know what they are suppose to be doing, but choose to live by the flesh and disobey anyway… I hate telling someone with a hard 2 year old it’s going to get worse before it gets better and I hope it doesn’t… but 4 times running… the 3’s were hard!
If I am really honest… I think Carter was about 18 months when I starting saying “Or” and “I Will” ALL DAY LONG!!! My boys were busy, busy toddlers…
I would say:
You need to pick up your toys OR I will take them all away.
You need to apologize OR we will leave this play date
You need to be nice to your friend OR you will have no friends
If you punch your brother, I WILL spank you
If you don’t sit down and behave   I WILL spank you
The list goes on… And there was a time when I thought I was ruining my kids with the “OR” AND “I WILL” statements. But as my children have gotten older, I can see that they believe if they mess up there will be a consequence. They also know they are rewarded for exceptional behavior.
They know no different. Through the years the consequences have definitely, changed, I don’t spank anyone anymore but there are still consequences for all actions in our home.
Of course there is always a non-believer…   that is Walker. When he was about 10, he said he didn’t believe me when I told him everything has a consequence.
He said “I don’t believe you that everything in life has a consequence and I said it does. Every action you take has a consequences, some good some bad… he sat there for a minute and said I know of one that doesn’t… I said, Oh Really??? Yes, breathing, there isn’t a consequence for that …. So I told him to stop breathing to see what how that worked out for him.”
It is just how our world works, and as our children grow they need to have harder consequences. Going easy on our children is not going to produce the adults we want running this world. It will produce adults who can’t handle tough situations.
If you have toddlers, make sure your child knows what the consequences are in your home. They are never too young to understand that when they do something bad, there will be a consequence… and for heaven’s sake, stick with it!
Mean what you say and say what you mean…
One of Dr. Ezzo’s advice I did take away from Growing Kids God’s Way was to have one area in your home for spankings. We spanked our children. Actually, not all of them.
One of them needed 1 spanking in her life and others needed a spanking a day… they are all so different.  We can’t think that just because we have children from the same parents they will be alike and respond to the same consequences.
So we picked my closet for the spanking area. They really never had a need to be in there and I believe the philosophy behind the spanking area is that they knew what was going to happen and it turned into being a great threat too… “Do you want to go to my closet?” No one ever said, “Yes mom, that would be awesome!”
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. Proverbs 23:13

I don’t think spanking is the only way to discipline a child but it does go back to scripture.
In Proverbs it tell us…
Proverbs 23:13
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
I also spanked my boys with a wooden spoon…. We called it the “Reminder.” It was great to ask my boys in public if they needed a “Reminder.” Many times, I just had to say the word and they usually straightened up pretty quick.
Years ago, One child that I felt like needed a spanking just about everyday did something that warranted a spanking and I sent him to my closet. I usually let them sit in there for a while. One, for me to cool off and two to make him think about what they had done or squirm.
So after I had spanked this child, I sat him down and said. “Why did you do what you did and what did you think was going to happen?” He actually said, “I knew I was going to get spanked but it was worth it….” BOYS!!!!
So there you go, sometimes strong willed children will still do what they want to do despite the consequence. I do believe at that time, I found another consequence for him. Something that made him deter from making the wrong choice. Clearly, he wasn’t being swayed enough by the spanking.
That is what we need to do as parents… Find what will deter our children from destructive behavior. Every child is different and will need to be disciplined according to their personality.
In our family, one kid is super social, one kid who loves his electronics, one kid who seriously hates to be yelled at and one child who you just have to look at her in a disapproving way and tell her how disappointed you are in her and she falls apart. I am praying this still works at 16… Fingers crossed.
I can’t really tell you what consequence will work with your child. They are all so unique, but you need to know and if you want to figure it out… try to figure out what they love the most and take that away.
When I was in the trenches of toddlerhood, Cody was gone Monday through Friday and I had 4 babies… 6 and under. I think that is one of the reasons I feel like toddlerhood was so tough. I was doing it alone for 5 days a week… and as I was raising 3 boys, whom one day I knew would be bigger than me, I thought ahead. I knew I could spank them now and correct them physically if necessary, but I also knew there would be a day that they were stronger than me and they might laugh at “the reminder” and for my big boys that day has been here for awhile.
Carter is much taller and stronger than me and Walker is catching up in height and was stronger than me in 4th grade.
So I had planned to make sure when they were physically bigger, I still had something on them… I chose Fear.
In the bible it says to Fear the Lord… It says it over 400 times.
There are 2 types of fear… the type that is terrifying and paralyzing. It is normal to fear crime, danger and harm to our ourselves and families… But that isn’t what the bible is talking about.
 We have no reason to fear God. As believers we know that there is nothing that we can do for Him to leave us or Forsake us. That is His promise.
Fearing God means that we have such reverence and respect for Him that we change the way we lead our lives. We as believers respect the fact that God hates sin and we fear his judgment.
The fear of God is respecting Him, Obeying Him and worshipping Him.
I think about it like fearing authority. When we are around our bosses we don’t necessary fear that person, but we might fear losing our job therefore we act accordingly. We act with respect and that is what I want my children to feel around me and other adults. Respectful.
I think some parents shy away from wanting their children to fear them because they associate the word with the terrifying type of fear and if you want to change the word to respect then do so, but honestly I have always wanted my children to fear God and their parents. Both of us have authority over their lives and they should respect that.
I have never used the word fear around my children, I have never told them they should be afraid of me, but I have told them they will respect their parents…
It’s Number 5 of the Ten Commandments. I didn’t come up with this on my own.
Honor your parents… It has been written in black and white for thousands of years.
But again like I said last week, we can’t wish our kids would respect us. We can’t just hope our kids will fear us enough to make good decisions… We can pray about it but we need to train them to respect us.
I believe training them properly must include consequences and honestly I believe the consequences should hurt.
My children do not walk around our house in fear of what might happen to them. We are clear on consequences and they know when they break the rules or are disrespectful there will be a consequence. They also know that they will be praised for good behavior and going above beyond for others. They need positive reinforcement too. I think they understand that is a consequence too for following the rules and doing what they are suppose to do. This comes to teenagers as freedom. If I trust you to make the right choices, I will trust you to have more freedom.
As they have gotten physically stronger than me, there are the times when my big boys will tell me they aren’t afraid of me… and I will remind them that I own everything in our house and if needed they will find themselves in their rooms with just a blanket and pillow. I have told them I will give them 5 pairs of shorts, underwear, socks and 5 shirts. They will be able to do laundry on the weekend… they just look at me like I am crazy. And I probably am, but because I have never caved on a consequence, they think I am just crazy enough to go through with it and truth be told, I would love to someday to just make my point.
That brings me back to Mean what you say and say what you mean point…. NEVER CAVE AND ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.
Consistency…. I can honestly stand before you and say I have never-not followed through with my children in the privacy of my own home… Yes, I might have threatened a time or two at Chick Fil A when they were little or at Target in front of God and everyone. But I believe YOU need to say what you mean and mean what we say…. IT is just that simple. Don’t say you are going to spank them if you don’t. Don’t say you are doing to ground them for a week and give up 2 days later… They smell weakness and know you are full of it. That is what they do. Look for you to not follow through.
Make sure you follow through when you tell them what consequences are going to be if they break a rule or disobey you. Cody says sometimes I bring an elephant gun to shoot a squirrel. He makes sure I think before I threaten.
Years ago we were sitting at dinner and Number two was being disgusting with horrible table manners…. I mean he can be so gross!!! So I told him, if he continued to have bad table manners he would NEVER eat at our dinner table again….
Thank the Lord that Cody was sitting right next to me and said… “Think about what you just said. He will NEVER eat with us again?”
I kind of get out of my mind sometimes!!! Anyone else?
So I told him he would have to eat alone for a week…
Say what you mean and mean what you say. You need to have follow through… these kids aren’t stupid and know when we are losing our minds and say things that aren’t true.
We need to stay on our A game. We need to know that as our children grow into tweens and teens, and expectations and consequences change. I believe I have been very clear with my children but there are those times when they do something and act like they have never heard the Aycock rules and that’s when I think…
Have you lost your mind? Hello, I am your mother and this is how we do things. They look at me like we have just met sometimes… So we sit down and go over the expectations… AGAIN AND AGAIN!
I don’t expect my kids to be perfect; in fact, I want them to make mistakes… that is what I am here for. Parenting is about teaching them through the tough times, not just getting to enjoy the highs and joys of parenting and I believe there are too many of those to count… But those are the easy parts of parenting.
We do need to be very real with our kids. I let them know I am human and I make mistakes all the time and have to apologize to them more than I would like to admit.
I tell them I get my feelings hurt and feel left out sometimes, even as a grown adult… They are just shocked by this. I tell them that I want them to learn how to deal with the human race because mean girls become mean women and bullies usually continue to bully as adults unless they are parented… We don’t grow out of hard situations, they actually become tougher as we grow older. We need to teach them how to handle difficult people and situations. You can’t run away from your problems.
I love the saying “Little kid=little problems, big kids=big problems”
It is so true, there are days that I long for the day that our biggest issue was teaching them to use the potty rather than not smoke pot…. Or not hitting their friends and siblings instead of not killing someone while driving.
Parenting isn’t for sissies and God gave us theses children because He believes in us. If you have a hard strong willed child then I want to tell you that God thinks you are strong and tough… He knows what He is doing; let’s not pretend He doesn’t.  There is no such thing as coincidence.
But it is hard and we need to stay strong and we need to stand together. We need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with people who will be there for us and help raise children who will one day run this world with honesty and integrity. We need to be compassionate with each other and forgiving. We need not to judge another parent’s style. We don’t know other people’s kids… We don’t know how they were raised… we don’t know anything; we haven’t walked in their shoes.
But what we do know is the love of God and what He would do. He teaches us to help our friends, not condemn them and guide them when they needed it. We don’t need to do this parenting thing alone. If you have a spouse, make sure you are on the same parenting page and if you are a single parent, surround yourself with people who will help you… and everyone needs a good friend to bounce ideas off of or some days just vent. We all need a tribe.
I have been blessed with an amazing tribe who has helped raise my children… we have been in the trenches together. We have been through tragedy together, we have lost children and parents together… but we have also been able to experience the joys of life together too. When one of our children experiences success, we all feel a sense of pride.
And when one of their children hurts, my heart hurts too. Theses kids know that I am always there for them and love them like my own.
I am a better parent for surrounding myself with these people…
​Years ago I heard a sermon on 1 Corinthians… 15:33 “ Do not be misled, Bad company corrupts good character.”
Who is your company? I love this scripture and I have preached it to my children for years. I also teach it to any group of kids I get in front of… Do not hang out with people who will bring you down and influence you in a way that you will turn away from Christ. I tell my children… You will be nice to everyone, but you will not be friends with everyone.
I tell them they are to be a light in this world and spread the gospel, but that does not mean you will become bff’s with the bad kids to try and change him. You will be an example in your life of what God is doing, but I don’t believe they should constantly be with kids who make bad choices… and this goes for the parents as well.
This seems harsh, I know. But I choose to not surround myself with people who I feel like are bad influences on my family and me. The type of friend I have is the type of friend I want my kids have… we are setting the example for what friendship looks like too. If your child hears you talking badly about your friend to your spouse, they will think it’s ok to gossip and talk bad about their friend too. If you go get wasted with your friends every Friday and Saturday night, that is what your child thinks is normal and will probably follow in your footsteps. They see you as normal remember?
They do what they are modeled in everything, including your choice in friends.
I know making friends isn’t always easy and finding the right friends is even harder. But first and foremost pray about it. Ask God for the type of person you need. Do you need someone who understands your child? Do you have a child who struggles with specific issues are you feeling alone in that situation? Ask God to surround you with those people. He will do it.
If you are struggling in your faith… Ask God to send you friends who will lead you closer to God… he is yearning for those prayers.
After praying about it, you must do some work.
When I was new to town with a 19 month old and 6 months pregnant… I was dying for friends. I am naturally a social person and back then I knew I needed some friends to help me in that season of life.
Cody and I were invited to a Sunday school class at a Methodist church by a co-worker. Cody wasn’t keen on mixing business with pleasure… but I told him I NEEDED SOME FRIENDS!! Because he loves me, he went with no intention of making friends. But 13 years later we continue to foster the same friendships we created in that Sunday school class. Some of you are in this room. I have been blessed by the effort I made to make friends and I was very intentional about it. I pretended to like to scrapbook to be invited to gatherings, I pretended I knew how to cook to be invited to Pampered Chef’s Parties… I wasn’t being fake; I was drawn to these strong women of Christ and figured out a way for them to become part of my life.
As I write this, it sounds a little like Single White Female… maybe I was, but my intentions were to surround myself with women who loved the Lord who I knew would direct me in the right path… and I believe it was successful.
I am thankful for these families and thankful for their children. These people are our greatest supporters and biggest cheerleaders. They are also there when things get bad. I know I can call them at 2 am with an emergency; they are the family I chose.
Proverbs 13:20
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

As our kids grow and become more independent, they will be making friends who have parents we don’t know… classmates and teammates… although we can’t control whom they come in contact with after we send them to school, we can still help them discern what a good friend looks like and how to handle friends who are unhealthy for them.
This is part of our job too. ReeseKathryn is the one who has had the most friend drama. It’s a girl thing in our house.
She is kind and forgiving and also wants to hang with the cool kids… so sometimes she gets hurt. This is new parenting territory for me. My boys are dudes… if they get their feelings hurt, they just move on, there is no overanalyzing why this boy was mean and what he could do to change it… They just move on.
 Sometimes I wish I were a guy… they have it so easy. They check their emotions at the door and go on about their business but God gave me the gift of a girl and I am still trying to figure out how much I should meddle in her friendship drama.
I have read articles several articles about this and about how letting them deal with it helps them better understand what it means to be a good friend.
Most of the drama happens at school or when I am not around and I know there are two sides to every story. So I have decided I will parent ReeseKathryn to walk away. I have taught her to not be friends with people who don’t respect her or who are mean to her. That is what I model as well. I do not have high maintenance friends who I have drama with. I just walk away.
​God tells us to Love one another, as I have loved you and I believe sometimes the best way you can love someone is by not having them in your life. It is ok. You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with everyone. I have found that when I have pulled away the relationship actually gets better. I will be there for anyone in need and would do whatever is necessary to help anyone, but I refuse to be in a relationship with some who is toxic. I learned this on my own and I believe our kids need to navigate friendships alone too. I do believe we can guide them, but we don’t need to be up in their business all the time. They will never understand what is means to work through a healthy relationship on their own if we have our noses where they don’t belong.
I know not every situation is the same and not every kid is the same… I feel very strongly that we need to allow our children to feel things… success, failure, embarrassment, shame, and guilt. Real emotions… Our children need to feel these feelings while they are young.
And that is where we will start next week. God has been telling me for a long time to write a book called “Let Them Feel It” We will get into why we should allow our kids to feel the pain and why we shouldn’t protect them from the harsh reality of emotions.
Let’s Pray

by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

I am going to start today where we left off last week and with what I believe God wants me to write a book about… “Let Them Feel It”

I feel very strongly that we need to allow our children to feel things… success, failure, embarrassment, shame, and guilt. Real emotions… Our children need to feel these feelings while they young. 

I believe we spend too much of our time and energy trying to spare our children of their own feelings. I understand that it might be in our nature to protect our children from these harsh realities of life but we are actually denying them the lessons that come with being able to recover from these hardships of life or with the true feeling of accomplishment of succeeding on their own. They can’t truly know the feeling of success when someone else does the work for them. 

Why do we do this???

Fear? Fear that they will not succeed? Fear that they will be depressed? Fear that they will embarrass us? 

If you kid hasn’t embarrassed you… you haven’t been a parent for very long or you haven’t taken them to HEB or Target.

“We are not to do the work for them, we are to prepare them for the work ahead of them. “

We need to prepare our children for the harsh realities of the real world and part of this is letting them fail….  And let them do it early in life when they are little.  Failures don’t really count in 1st grade. They don’t count in 4th grade. 

But what counts at a young age is the understanding of how to recover from failure. We are supposed to help them with that.  If your child doesn’t know what if feels like to fail, what will give them any motivation to not fail again?

It is also ok for them to feel the shame and guilt that goes along with failure or when they do something wrong. They need to know those feelings are associated with a negative behavior so they never want to feel that again. This can help motivate them to try harder. 

We can’t sugar coat that it’s ok to fail and not try again. We can’t let them think it’s ok to just sign up and go with the flow… we need to stop giving out trophies for just showing up.

Why would our kids work for a huge trophy when their parents only have to pay a registration fee to get one?

My kids have shelves full of trophies that I will one day throw in the trash and they know it. I have told them when they got to college; I will only keep the ones they have actually earned. An MVP or a Super Bowl Trophy is something to be proud of…  In my opinion, a participation trophy is a waste of money.

If we are giving our kids participation trophies for doing nothing and completely take over their science projects in 4th grade because we want them to win, why are we confused that we are raising lazy, unmotivated children?

What do they have to work for? What can they call their own? What can they be proud of?

Our children need to turn in their own work. They need to do their own projects and their own homework. I am not saying don’t help when asked, I am saying don’t do it for them. You aren’t teaching them to make better projects; you are teaching them that they are not capable of doing anything on their own. 

Trust me… I know. I tried to help with “the Bee” project when Carter was in 3rd grade. I found some black and yellow boas to wrap around a water bottle to make a huge bee… It was awesome! I got so excited about the pretty project I forgot it wasn’t my project. I told Carter I “needed” to help because of the hot glue… Wrong! It was my own ego wanting to do the project myself. I didn’t want him to “mess it up.” Carter still makes fun of me for “my” bee project. He’s the kind of kid who is annoyed when I try to help him. 

Oh… I didn’t learn my lesson with him, because when it came time for Walker to make his bee project… it was a repeat of just 2 years before. Same mom, same project… same obsession with black and yellow boas. I doubt my boys remember what part of the bee the Thorax is, but they do remember they didn’t do the project alone and how annoyed they were with me for trying to make something awesome when I wasn’t even asked to help.


The night before my children started Kindergarten I gave them an alarm clock. I told them it was their responsibility to get up on time and get to school on time. I was not in school anymore and they will have consequences at home and at school if there were late.

My kids were so psyched to go to kindergarten; they didn’t want to be late. They didn’t want to get in trouble with their teachers… or me. To date, none of my children have ever been late.

This is not because I am such a great mom, it’s because they know that this is their responsibility and they have been trained, and a great mom who has great kids, gave me the tip! (Thank you Liz Sandell)

During preschool I told them they had to be ready to walk out the door at 8:15. We were in a carpool and we weren’t going to make the other kids late just because we couldn’t pull it together. I told them if they couldn’t get dressed I would be happy to take them in the pj’s and their teachers would dress them at school.

The thought mortified my boys. One morning when Walker was in the Bridge class, and Anderson was in the older 2’s class, Anderson was having a hard morning and did not want to get dressed. I calmly told him it was ok and I just shoved his clothes in his backpack and walked back in the kitchen. I overheard Walker say “You better put your clothes on or she is going to take you to school in your underwear!” Anderson said… “Really?” Walker shook his head and Anderson hurriedly took his clothes out of his backpack and got dressed.

It goes back to…Mean what you say and say what you mean people… I am not going to lie. I wanted to take one of my kids to school in their pjs one time… just one time to show them I meant business. But none of them called me on it… except ReeseKathryn. She was and still in in love with her 3-year-old class teacher, Mrs. Merrell who we have been family friends with before she was born. She was more like an aunt than a teacher to ReeseKathryn. When ReeseKathryn was having a tough morning, I did to her what I had done to Anderson probably 2 years before and put her clothes in her backpack. But instead of being mortified at going to school in her pj’s, she was joyful at the thought of Mrs. Merrell paying special attention to her and getting her dressed that morning. So instead, I pulled the clothes out of the backpack and started World War III getting that child dressed that morning…. Different kids, different consequences.


Kids like to feel success. They like the feeling of responsibility. My toddlers constantly said… Let me do it… I want to do it… Let me try. We humans, have a natural instinct to want to do things on our own. But life and being hurried sometimes gets in the way. Who has time for a toddler to try and put on their pants for 30 minutes? I know I didn’t, but there are other things we can do to let our children feel a sense of accomplishment.

We can give them age appropriate chores. We can allow them to succeed at a sport or musical instrument that they love. We can encourage them to read lots of books that they love. We can help them learn to play sports if that is what they are into. 

When our kids were babies I told Cody that we were not going to live out our dreams through our kids… If our kids like to play chess, we were going to learn the game and play with them… not make our interests, their interests. 

I knew they needed to find what makes them happy, so they could feel their own sense of accomplishment.
We can’t find happiness through our kid’s extra curricular activities anymore than we can find them in our kid’s schoolwork.

We need to let them do their own work. We do not need to be emailing their teachers everyday asking what is due and when. We can stay off Skyward.

Years ago I conferenced with Anderson’s teachers at the end of his 3rd grade year and during that conference they told me they could tell that I didn’t check Skyward that much. I didn’t realize teachers could tell how many times parents clicked on their child’s page. I was a little embarrassed at first until they told me that another parent had clicked on their child’s page 437 times that school year. I was in shock… I am not math major but that is more than once a day…

We aren’t in school anymore. These aren’t our grades… Praise the Lord; I am not going back to school.

Back in the 80’s we figured it out on our own and our children need to too. I got in trouble when I brought home a bad grade. I felt shame and I was sad, I was punished. I also figured out a way to get my grades back up on my own. I am not saying there is never a time to step in but it can’t be the first line of defense. You have to trust your teachers until they fail you. You have to trust your child until he shows you he’s not doing what he’s suppose to be doing.

We have a rule at our house. If you have a C at any point in the grading period on Skyward, you are grounded from all friends and screens. The good news for my kids is that I don’t check it until progress reports come out. I have only had to ground one kid so far and I have never seen a kid work so hard to get his grade back up. 

This is my child who suffers from anxiety and does not like to speak up. He was forced to get out of his comfort zone and confess to his teachers that he wasn’t happy with his grade and he needed to know what needed to be done to get it back up… I didn’t ask her what he needed to do… his grade, his challenge. He knew the consequence for having a C.

It was awesome to watch this kid work hard for something he wanted. I really wanted him to succeed!!! But, it was his job to get it up or he was going to be grounded for 4 weeks. That is a LONG time for a 4th grader.

I honestly don’t remember what subject the C was in, but neither of us will ever forget the lesson he learned by fighting for something he wanted. From that point on he checks Skyward regularly. I never check Skyward; I am almost embarrassed to check it after what those teachers told me in that conference.

I want to be a parent that trusts my child and my child’s teacher.

In 13 year of education. We have had more than 60 teachers for our children. Not all of them great… Most of the have been awesome.

And I am sure you aren’t surprised when I tell you I pray for my kid’s teachers every year and pray for my child when they are with these teachers. I pray as I pass by their schools and the rooms are filled with students. I think it’s great when we get that teacher we all want, but I think there are some valuable lessons when we don’t get what we want.

If you feel like you need to get involved, get involved, we are our children’s best advocates… But watch where you step, our children are learning to function away from us while they are at school. A very important lesson… More important than calculus, which I never have used since high school, but I have tons of life skills I learned in school I use everyday. Most of them didn’t have anything to do with earning an A plus in English.

This brings me to helicopter parenting… If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is defined on Wikipedia as 

A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter)[1] is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter>, they hover overhead, overseeing their child's life.

Another site defines it as, “A parent who hovers over their child in all aspects of their life. Paved with well-intentions, the helicopter parent wants their child to feel safe from a world gone mad and proceeds to shelter them from experiences that are actually vital to becoming an independent adult. “

As you can tell from my stories, I am not a hovering mother. I have stood before you and told you I want my kids to make mistakes so they can learn from them. But in the past I have felt alone. Other parents have made me feel less of a parent because I give my children independence and responsibility… We are supposed to be for each other, not against one another.

But honestly, that was just when Carter was young, I have matured and become more confident in my parenting as my kids have gotten older, but I think society does that to us. If one mother isn’t letting their kids do it, I shouldn’t. I remember when Carter started 6th grade a friend asked me who is teachers’ were. I thought she was asking about Walker, because I said, he is in 6th grade with 7 teachers, I have no clue. She just laughed. I still don’t know who all my kid’s teachers are in middle and high school.  Remember, I graduate in 1990.

As a Christian mother, I teach my children to put all their trust in God. I tell them that He loves them and wants the best for them. 

So what is the message we are sending them when our actions show that we don’t trust God enough to guide them? 

I believe that is where helicoptering parenting is rooted, trust and fear.

We don’t trust God to provide our children with what is needed to produce a successful adult. We don’t trust society and we don’t trust this world.

We however do trust ourselves. We control situations, we have resources to make things better for our kids, and we know if we are doing the work, the work is getting done. 
But where is Christ in all of this?

Where is He in our parenting? We have to walk the walk with our kids. We can’t say, “trust in God” and then never trust… They are watching us. They will do what we do.

Here are some scary statistics about college-aged kids.
Statics show college kids….
84% Overwhelmed by responsibilities
60.5% felt very sad
57% felt very lonely
51.3% felt overwhelming anxiety
4% had seriously considered suicide

Why are 84% of our kids feeling overwhelmed by responsibility? Perhaps this is the first time in their lives that have ever had any? Maybe these kids are sad and lonely because their parents have lived their lives for them and they are clueless on how to live apart from the parents who did everything for them.

These stats are all kids, not just those with hovering parents. College kids with helicopter parents have a significantly higher level of depression and increased tendency to engage in risky behavior like smoking and binge drinking. Being a young adult is hard enough, what can we do to fight these statistics? How can we raise kids who aren’t afraid of responsibility? Who don’t feel sad or alone?

Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

We can train them; we can show them the love of Jesus.
We can train them in the way he should go into this world and be Christ like. How can our kids be Christ-like if they have never tried it on their own? 

We need to allow our kids to trust in Jesus... on their own. They need to have their own relationship with Christ, so they will rely on Him and not us.

Our goal should be for our kids to rely on Jesus, not us. We need to parent them to go to prayer, even before they come to us. This should be their habit. This should be our habit.

I don’t think helicopter parents believe that. I think they believe their children should come to them with every problem and issue… I completely disagree! They actually might get better advice from their Heavenly Father, rather than their earthly mother… Do you believe that? Where do you get your best advice? Your neighbor or while you are in prayer?

God has all the answers…. Not us. Let’s teach our children to go to him first!
Do you wonder if you are a helicopter parent??? Here are some signs.
INABILITY TO LET GO – Parent feels considerable emotional pain when they aren’t in their child’s presence. 
SPOILING CHILDREN – Wanting our children to have the best sometimes results into buying it for them. 
LOBBYING – Rather than letting our children learn from their mistakes, we step in, regardless of the situation. 
BEING A SECURITY GUARD – Not allowing certain types of play and not allowing our kids to work on their own problems. 
HELPING THEM TOO MUCH WITH HOMEWORK – Occasional help is necessary, too much hurts. 
GERMAPHOBIA – Not a common sign, but being too concerned with your child being sick and avoiding germs at all cost. 
WATCHDOG – Monitoring where your children are at all times (in person or electronically) and never allowing them to be somewhere that you aren’t. 
TOO MANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Overscheduling to make sure their kids have the fullest childhood and so they will look good on a college resume. 
TOO MUCH PRAISE – Many helicopter parents pile on too much praise and don’t believe their children should ever feel failure. 
If you are doing 2 or more of these things on this list it is time to land the plane… I mean helicopter!
It’s never too late to step back and teach responsibility… NEVER!!! It will be easier the younger they are, but high school kids can learn to be responsible too and you probably want to take small steps at first… but start today.
Teaching our kids responsibility is crucial to their development. They must be responsible or how can we trust them?
We can always trust God, but our kids must earn our trust and once that trust is broken, it must be re-earned and that is a tough one for me.
I am not a very trusting person by nature. I think it’s my DNA. My dad is the same way, we don’t trust right away.
It might also have to do with the fact that trust is the most important factor of a relationship with me. I was taught long ago, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship, you have an acquaintance.
You must have trust to be in a healthy relationship. This goes for everyone, from your spouse to your kids. If you don’t trust your child for whatever reason, you need to learn how to regain that trust.
I think trusting a teenager is very hard. I think I have a hard time with it, not because my kid has done anything untrustworthy, but because of my own past.
I remember clearly what is what like to be a 17 year old. I remember thinking my parents were lame and how different I wanted to be. I wanted independence and they wanted me to follow the rules. I wasn’t a big rebel, but I did fly under the radar trying to live my life the best way I saw fit. I was not pointing my life towards Christ; I was pointing my life towards the next party. I trusted that is was where I would find happiness.
I am going to have to search deep into my soul and look at each one of my children as they become teenagers and see where they are pointing their lives. To Christ or to the next party? Where are they looking for happiness?
We all want happiness, but where are we seeking it?
If we don’t trust in God, we will have a hard time trusting our kids and what the outcome is in their lives.
What brings us faster to our knees than our kids? When we experience fear… go to prayer, when we experience anxiety… go to prayer.
Instead of hovering over your kids, try hovering over your bible. The bible will be the game changer… in you and your kids.
You will find wisdom and guidance for your kids in your bible… in hovering; you will find more anxiety and worry.
​In Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
In Matthew we read that worry will not add a single hour to our life… this goes for our kids too. We can’t worry our kids healthy, or happy or successful. It won’t change anything.
We can’t worry enough to where our children will be accepted by their peers… it doesn’t help.
Worry is so unhealthy… for your mind, for your soul and for your body.
In a 2011 article in psychology today… it states that stress and worry are probably the 2 biggest risks we face in life. The more you worry, the sicker you will be. Worry brings higher blood pressure, depression, and hair loss, even infertility. It is so bad for you!
We aren’t doing anyone any good by worrying and stressing out about our kids. It won’t change a thing and it just makes us sick. If worry changed things, life would be perfect.
We all worry to some degree, but we need to reteach ourselves to go to prayer when we feel the anxiety and pressures of life.
Matthew 11:28 “Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus tells us, give it to me… Let it go. He knew the people of this broken world would worry.
God knows we carry several burdens that aren’t ours… and he wants them. He wants all of them, not just the big ones… the little ones too. Who else wants to carry our worries and our troubles? Not our friends, no matter what they say. They have their own troubles, we need to be unloading on Jesus.
Several years ago we did a study in my Wednesday morning class by Max Lucado called “Fearless – Imagine your life without Fear.” This is a terrific study or read if you are a worrier. He has lots of great points of why we should not live in fear and worry… The number one statistic that came out of that study for me was that 99% of the things we worry about will never come true.
How about that???? What we worry about won’t come true… We do you worry about that you think might come true??
I never worried about losing my best friend to cancer at the young age of 37; I never worried about having a baby who would never live outside my womb…. I didn’t even know to worry about the bad things that have happened in my life.
However, since those tragedies happened, I have worried about losing other friends and other young mothers getting bad news at their 20-week ultrasound appointment.
We worry about what we think might happen… not what will happen… No one wants anything bad to happen in his or her lives. We don’t want to feel pain and sorrow, but we will. We have all felt failure, embarrassment, shame and guilt. We have all been hurt and been sad… but guess what???
We are all sitting here and we have survived. Not without scars… not without pain… but we are all sitting here survivors.
That is what we want for our children… We need to teach them that the Lord will always be with them. As long as God is with them, he will never forsake them…
Deuteronomy 31:8
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”
We are not to be afraid… we need to trust. Trust that the Lord is involved in every aspect of our lives and our kid’s lives. We need go to prayer anytime we feel anxious. God knows this emotion and does not want us to dwell in it. He wants us to dwell in him. Proverbs 1:33 teach us just this:
But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Let’s end today on that… we need to go through this next week dwelling in the Lord, focusing on Him. If we are so worried about tragedy, we need to stop stressing, stop fearing the worst and start dwelling…. God saves us all and carries us all… we just must trust in him and stop relying on ourselves.
Let’s Pray

by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

​I can’t believe we are already to week 4 on this journey of Parenting for His Purpose. I have been blessed to be able to learn right along with you all. In the last 4 weeks I have taken a look at my own kids and our household and how things are running. I did a mental check on each child and their character. I also took a look at myself in the mirror and thought about how I must continue to walk the walk.
Talking the talk is easy. Reading books and articles about parenting is easy... sitting in this class listening to me is easy… but the hard part is in the work. It’s hard to parent through difficult situations.
It is much easier to just keep the peace and sweep the issues under the rug… but as we all know, that is not what God is calling us to do as parents.
Here is a funny video a friend sent me from YouTube
I am not saying pour wine in your ice cream, but I am saying this chick has some good advice… She didn’t use scripture, she used common sense.
God is not calling us to be friends with our kids… God is calling us to be the adults in the situation.
We may one day be our adult children’s friends, but not our little kids and especially not our teenager’s friends. I think she has some sound advice, if your kids are your best friends; you need to look for some friends your own age, that is weird to have 8-year-old friends when you are in your 40’s!
Our kids need to foster healthy relationships with kids their own age, most likely, they will go through lots of sets of friends through the years, figuring out different types of relationships, but God gave them just one set of parents. We need to do our job.
I do hope that one day, my children will respect me enough as a parent to choose to spend time with me and I do pray one day ReeseKathryn and I will BFFs, but for now, she has Julia Howell… I am first, her mother. I have a lot of work to do with her before I can consider her my friend.
There are a lot of parents out there who are looking for friends in their children…
Parents with little kids are buying their kid’s friendships with toys and candy and giving in when it’s tough.
While parents of teenagers are buying alcohol for their kids and their kid’s friends and allowing sleepovers at their homes… they are allowing their kids to do things that you might allow a friend your own age to do. This is not parenting.
The parents of teenagers buying alcohol for their kids are not only committing crimes, they are also teaching their kids it’s ok to commit a crime.
I know some people think allowing their teenager to drink and “teaching” their child to drink before college is beneficial, but I don’t think most kids need a lesson in beer bonging 101. They need lessons in self-respect and moderation. They need lessons in what it means to be a virtuous young woman and young man, not how many beers they can handle.
We need to teach our children to follow the law and the dangers of alcohol. They need to know that moderation is the key to everything in life. You need to have open, honest conversations about both alcohol and sex with your kids earlier in life than you would probably like to.
But you do not need to teach them how to drink or have sex. Take it from me, they will figure both of them out on their own.
In our house we tell our children, the danger isn’t in drinking, the danger is in the decisions that kids make when they drink. Their inhibitions are gone and they make life-altering decisions that could change the course of their lives, this is when people drink and drive and get killed. This is when teen pregnancies happen… this is when they decide to break parent’s rules and lose focus on their future.
They tend to focus on partying and getting high, rather than focusing on what’s truly important...
I have read you need to start talking to your kids about drinking and drugs as young as age 9. I know that sounds young, but kids need to be informed age appropriately. If you haven’t started talking to them, sit down tonight.
The earlier you talk about hard topics, the easier it will be when they are teenagers and those conversations aren’t about “those older kids,” the conversations will be about your kids and the decisions they need to be making.
And trust me, if you aren’t talking to them about it they are hearing it from their peers and getting mixed messages through their phone and social media. This leads me to what so many parents think is literally the devil.

I know lots of parents hate technology. They think parenting is so much harder with these phones that are in our kids hands all time and I could NOT disagree more.
Yes, we have much more to parent earlier, but we have an insight past generations did not have. We have more details about what our children are doing and saying and we have more parenting opportunities because of it. 
Please don’t stick your head in the sand and say, “it’s too much… I can’t keep up with it.“ or trust that your spouse is the one taking on the responsibility. You both need to be aware of the dangerous tools our children have in their hands everyday, all day long and what is going on in that tool.
Your kids are probably praying you don’t look at their phone. I can tell the stress in my children eyes when I ask for their phone. I can tell if they are hiding something or if they are not afraid for me to look at their phone.
I don’t let my children claim this to be an invasion of their privacy. They don’t have $600 to pay for a phone or $40 a month to pay for the service… this isn’t their phone, this is my phone they are allowed to use and I don’t want a bunch of junk on the phone I own.
If you haven’t taken a look in awhile, it’s time.
I know more about my children’s personalities and their interest just by what Carter calls my “daily hover.” It’s not actually daily, but it does feel that way to him. I know last week we talked about helicoptering parenting and hovering. I don’t think checking up on what your child is putting out for the world to see is hovering. I believe this is responsible parenting. I don’t do it all day everyday, but I do it. I also think my kids keep it clean on their phones because they know they might be checked on. It is kind of like drug testing kids; they know you will check, they just don’t know when, so they stay clean.
I believe the Holy Spirit has led me to check my son’s phones when necessary; friends have also given me a heads up.
What your kids are writing and talking about via social media and on their phones is a good check of their character and their friend’s character.
I feel like I know more about what other kids are up to and how they speak by just looking through their text string and direct messaging with my boys.
And don’t be fooled, they don’t just text their friends… they are super sneaky.
Instagram has a secret Direct Message that only you can see if you get into their app on their phone and of course, Twitter has the same thing…. Please go home and take a look at your kid’s phone and see if they have an extra  calculator app on their phone. This is were the hide the horrible stuff...
A friend of mine from Arizona told me about some 7th grade boys who were hiding nude pictures of girls and videos of naked middle school girls doing sexual acts in this app and selling access to the pictures. 7th graders… 12 year olds! We need to make sure we know what is going on in our kid’s phones.
You also need to be readying about the latest technology and apps out there. There are tons of articles that we can be reading to keep our kids safe. Kids want parents to stay out of their business, so they stay on top of the latest “secret app” to stay one step ahead of us. We need to be talking to each other, sharing ideas and making sure we are up to date on what is “cool with the kids.”
Here are the top 5 most dangerous apps I found in an article on the internet. I think some kids at appropriate ages can handle some apps while others will be bullied or worst if we aren’t monitoring what is going on.
3. KIK

SNAP CHAT - Experts say it is in the top app teenagers use to send inappropriate and risqué pictures…

Yik Yak - This app allows people to anonymously send messages to other users with a mile and half. It often turns into an anonymous message board for an entire school

KIK – Experts say sexting and bullying are common on this app because most parents don’t check this one. This one can be accessed online, so the kids don’t even need their phone for this app.

Whisper -  This app encourages teens to anonymously share deepest darkest secrets with a stranger. Experts warn this is an ideal app for predators to connect with teenagers and GPS is used on this app, so they can track down your child.

Poof, App Lock, Hidden Apps – Just because you can’t see a particular app doesn’t mean it’s not on your teen’s phone. They are apps that can be downloaded that hide apps or change the icons to make them look like different apps. That is what the calculator is… it’s the most popular. 

Let’s go back to an old favorite bible verse…
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."
We are called to instruct our children in biblical wisdom and today that includes teaching them how to apply biblical wisdom to technology. We need to be talking to them all the time about what is going on in this world… age appropriately.
Teaching our children how to choose appropriate apps and use them responsibly is part of our job in this media saturated culture.
Basically, I own 4 phones. Mine and my 3 boys and they know the rules… They will hand them over at anytime. If they delete a text message, they will lose their phone. They will not be a part of a disrespectful discussion and guess what... the older 2 have had their phones take away for all of the above violations.
There are times that I don’t look at their stuff, I don’t do a “daily hover,” and there are times when parents have contacted me to let me know my kid has said some inappropriate stuff on a text or that his name was on a text string that had porn associated with it.
I am glad I can say he is alive today because he didn’t send the porn pictures, but he sure did see them and didn’t make the decision to leave the conversation. His involvement was that he didn’t leave the conversation. He didn’t walk away.
That is an option. Just like physically walking away from a bad situation, our kids can also virtually get away from a situation. It just takes guts and parenting.
I also have had to contact a few of my friends to let them know their kids were involved in a text string that had some “concerning content.” I have told you all, I have a great tribe of friends who a long time ago made a pact to do this parenting thing together. We have always said if you hear of my kids being involved in something bad, it was their duty to tell me and my job is not to be mad at them for telling me.
After I told my friends about the text string and concerning content… I left it up to them to parent. I never followed up and never spoke of the incident again. It is not our job to judge or condemn other parents; we are to help one another. I always say, I can’t parent what I don’t know. We need to help each other out in these situations.
If an Aycock is making a fool of himself /herself, I pray my friends know me well enough that I would want to know. I want to parent my kids through the tough times in life. I want them to know that I am here to help them be better people and parenting them through the really tough times is when that happens.
Community of Accountability
I don’t think my friends are the only parents who want to know what their kids are up to. I believe we need to form groups or make a list of people who want to know what is going with their kids. I understand not all parents care to parent… but my heart tells me 99% of the parents out there want to be raising great kids and want help.
I think that is why God has led me to this subject. I am here to tell you parenting is hard and we need to form a Community of Accountability. I am sure the kids will call it the “Snitch Club” but truly it needs to be a place that we can all look out for each other’s kids. I have been hesitant in the past to inform parents of incidents because I was afraid they would be mad that I told them. These are people I don’t really know and people who don’t know me well enough to know that I give kids grace… I give all kids grace… we need to give our kid’s grace and we need to especially give other people’s kid’s grace.
James 4:11-12
"Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?"
When we condemn and judge kids, we are doing God’s job. It is not our place to judge.
It is our place to give kid’s grace. When we condemn, it makes us feel like our kids are better than other kids. That is prideful.
We need to show our kids that we are the adults. We need to show them that we can be forgiving.
In the fore mentioned situation when I had to let some parents know about some “concerning content” in some text messages… those boys knew it came from me. Not sure how but Carter came home from school saying they called him a snitch. Let’s be clear… One, when you write something in black and white and a parent finds it on their own, the kid isn’t a snitch, the parent is just an investigator. The kid that got caught was trying to deflect his poor judgment on someone else. Carter wasn’t too upset with being called a snitch. He knew he didn’t ask me to search his phone for porn, another parent told me to look for it… The tribe rocks! He was off the hook. However, it did bother him that the kids were mad at me and didn’t like me. I didn’t care, but he did. I had to tell him that just like I am not his friend, these boys are not my friends either.
A few days later these boys were going to the movies and miraculously no boy on the text string wanted to ride with me... shocking, they felt shame as they should. But that all changed after I told Carter to tell them that I wasn’t mad at them. I told him to tell them that I knew they made a mistake, their parents parented them and I had already forgotten about it. The next time I saw those boys I hugged them, asked how they were and probably asked about their last game. I showed them that I forgave and forgot.
I think it worked too because every single one of those boy’s body language and actions have changed with me over the last year. They were shown grace and love and understanding.
They made a mistake… they are kids, their job is to make mistakes and learn from them and our job is to make sure the mistakes are corrected.
I told Carter there was not one word, not one picture, not one action spoken in those texts that shocked me. I am a grown woman; I know the ways of the world. What I was shocked at, was finding myself parenting this situation with my own kid and his friends in 8th grade. We are so past that incident… those boys learned many valuable lessons from that incident and I did too.

Show kids God’s love and they will love you for it. It doesn’t mean trying to be their best friend, it means loving them like God has called us to love them. God is a god of order. He likes discipline.
Disciplining our kids is scriptural. This is not a cultural thing. Our Heavenly Father tells us without discipline we will be without success.
Hebrews 12:11
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Kids like structure and they like rules, no matter what they say. They find comfort in structure and rules. They feel love when they are disciplined. Scriptures doesn’t say those who discipline their children hate their kids, it actually says the complete opposite. This is Proverbs 13:24
"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." 
If you spare your children discipline and structure you will not get them to love you or even like you. You will not be making friends with your kids. You will be creating kids who do not respect authority.
Proverbs 29:15
"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."

OUCH! I do not want to be known as a softie and I do not want my children to bring me shame because I wasn’t strong enough to discipline them. I want them to bring me joy. I want my boys to be the type of men that are honorable and have integrity.
I want ReeseKathryn to be a kind soul and strong woman, all at the same time… These virtues are taught and learned through discipline. They don’t just happen. I can’t wish or hope or cross my fingers that my children will be virtuous adults. I have to train them and we need to make sure we can do it together.
There is an old African proverb that says “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” I believe it does take a whole village.  That means an entire village. It takes all of us. We need to come together and support one another in raising our children. We need to stop judging each other and start helping each other.
We need to be modeling the life we want our children to emulate and we need to start discipling our children at home.
Faith starts at home. We need to be teaching our children the Gospel and showing them how to live the life God intended for us, but we can’t show them what we don’t know.
We can’t pass on great habits of what we do not possess… We can’t give what we don’t live.
If you think you can train a child up but have no training yourself, you are sadly mistaken. You need to get right with God yourself before you can expect your child to live like Jesus. Remember, they do what we model.
If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… it’s time to get one.
First, you must be reading the Word everyday…. Get into your bible. If you don’t know where to start, start in the Gospels. I love Matthew; Jeff loves Mark… it doesn’t matter where just do it!
I love Jen Hatmaker’s book “ Modern Girls Guide To Bible Study.” It changed my daily walk with the Lord a few years ago. She gives you step-by-step instruction on what to do and how to do it.
I personally suggest continuing in a bible study or small group. I believe weekly accountability is awesome and studying the word of God with your neighbors and friends is very bonding.
Don’t say you don’t have time; it’s just about priority. We all have the same amount of hours in a day and days in a week; we just choose to use them differently. Choosing to attend a bible study makes the rest of the hours of a day and days of week much better… trust me!
Getting another workout won’t make life better, it won’t make your marriage better, it won’t make your relationships with your kids better… but studying the Word of God will… I promise.
I believe if our number one goal would be to raise Disciples of Jesus Christ, the other parts of parenting wouldn’t be so tough. Disciples aren’t going out and getting drunk and having sex…. They are focusing on Jesus and what He wants them to do.
Disciples aren’t bullying other people, they are kind. Disciples aren’t mean…. They are loving. Let’s teach our children the Fruit of the Spirit.
It is Galatians 5:22-23
"But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance (patience), Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control"
These are the virtues I want my children to have and I want to have them.
I found this check-up list on line and wanted to go over it with you in class to see how we are doing possessing the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives.
1. Love.  This word for love doesn’t refer to warm feelings but to a deliberate attitude of good will and devotion to others. Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back.
Question: Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving in order to receive something in return? 
2. Joy.  Unlike happiness, joy is gladness that is completely independent of the good or bad things that happen in the course of the day. In fact, joy denotes a supernatural gladness given by God’s Spirit that actually seems to show up best during hard times. This is a product of fixing your focus on God’s purposes for the events in your life rather than on the circumstances.
Question: Am I experiencing a joy of life on a regular basis, or is my happiness dependent on things going smoothly in my day?
3. Peace.  It’s not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of tranquility even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content knowing that God controls the events of the day.
Question: Do I find myself frazzled by the crashing waves of turmoil in my life, or am I experiencing “the peace that passes all comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7)?
4. Patience. Other words that describe this fruit are lenience, long-suffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness. It is the ability to endure ill treatment from life or at the hands of others without lashing out or paying back.
Question: Am I easily set off when things go wrong or people irritate me, or am I able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?
5.Kindness. When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice.
Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?
6. Goodness. While kindness is the soft side of good, goodness reflects the character of God. Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the temple) for that to happen.
Question: Does my life reflect the holiness of God, and do I desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?
7. Faithfulness. A faithful person is one with real integrity. He or she is someone others can look to as an example, and someone who is truly devoted to others and to Christ. Our natural self always wants to be in charge, but Spirit-controlled faithfulness is evident in the life of a person who seeks good for others and glory for God.
Question: Are there areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in my life, or is my life characterized by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around me?
8. Gentleness. Meekness is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power; it just chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and lives in tranquility.

Question: Do I come across to others as brash and headstrong, or am I allowing the grace of God to flow through me to others?
9. Self-control. Our fleshly desires, Scripture tells us, are continually at odds with God’s Spirit and always want to be in charge. Self-control is literally releasing our grip on the fleshly desires, choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power focused in the right place.
Question: Are my fleshly desires controlling my life, or am I allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?
How are you doing? How are your kids doing? Do you have some areas to work on?
This is what we need to focus on if we want to Parent for His Purpose. We need to be raising children with values that reflect scripture. We need to be making sure this is our checklist for healthy happy children, not society’s checklist.
All of this starts at home. We can’t pay someone to do the work for us, we must dig into the scriptures and figure out what we are suppose to do and how we are suppose to live before we can lead these kids.
We must equip our children with the right tools. This is a crazy world we live in. I couldn’t imagine I would be parenting “smart phones” when I brought Carter home from the hospital 15 years ago, we still had dial up at the time, but I can assure you, none of this is a surprise to God.
He knows what is happening, how we are handling it and what is to come. I believe he wants us to stick to the basics and more importantly stick to what the Bible says. 
We always want our children to be aligning their lives with Christ and it is our job to give them the tools… and it starts in studying the Word of God, having a relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to be your co-parent.
Let’s Pray.

Posted on September 29th, 2016

It's not that because being a Christian is bad, I just thought I had better plans for my life than God... (That is just sad to even write, but it was the truth)

I have always known Jesus, I just didn't want to be a Christian.

Let's be honest, I didn't think it was cool and I didn't want to give up the control. I wanted to be a rich and famous news anchor not a bible teacher and I felt I knew how to get it... On my own, ha!

I grew up in a home that I would identify now as Chreasters (Christmas and Easter) or CEO’s (Christmas, Easter and Occasionally). We attended our home church on high holidays and occasionally on a random Sunday. I am assuming this depended on what was going on in our family of 5.
I hold no judgment  for my parents… First, I love my parents and have a great relationship with them. They are great people and did everything they could to raise their children right. Second, I am a parent and imagine I am doing something wrong with this parenting gig that will send a kid or 2 or 3 or 4 to a therapist one day.
My parents like most parents raised their children with all the unconditional love that God gives us parents. I believe they wanted to go to church, but like today, life was crazy, my dad owned a company that my mom worked at and they were raising 3 kids, we were all busy in activities and they were just tired on Sunday. I can totally relate, no judgment.
Although I didn’t attend often, I still attended enough to remember the way church made me feel. I can remember this awesome store they had in the fellowship hall that sold James Avery jewelry, I loved to grab a donut and go browse the book/jewelry store. I wanted some of the beautiful jewelry… I felt like if I had some I would somehow fit in with these "church people." I once yearned for that jewelry/feeling like I now yearn for the Word of God. I wanted so much for the church to be a part of my life, but like the jewelry, I though I could take it off and continue acting MY WAY. My rules, not God's rules!
At the age of 11 I remember wanting to know more about this Christian thing, about this guy, Jesus.  I knew some stories, I obviously knew the birth and resurrection stories, (I never missed those days). But I also could sense that Christians were different than others. I knew I felt judged when I was around some Christians, not all, but I was a kid and was trying to figure life out. I wanted to always have the feeling from the jewelry store without the judgment but was clueless on how to get that feeling.

It wasn't until MUCH, MUCH later in life did I figure out that God had much better plans that receiving some type of Christian jewelry. He taught me in my late 20's that a relationship with Him was the "feeling" I was looking for. It was also something I couldn't put on and take off like a piece of jewelry. Don' get me wrong, in the last 20 years I have taken that Christian jewelry off plenty of time so I could go back to my old ways. However, it never felt right. So at the age of 40,( I'm a little slow) I decided to strip myself of all control and give it to God. Just so you know, I had given my life to Jesus at 26, so for 14 years I said I was a Christians but I wasn't living the life God had called me to live. I was just tipping my toe in the Christian water and getting to know Him.

When I decided to align my life with Christ it was almost a physical struggle with Him. I knew He wanted me to give up control (there is that word again), but I was afraid. I was afraid my life would look different and not be as great as when I was in control. However, He kept telling me "Jill, just give it up, give it to me." So one morning as I was praying, I said " God, your will is better than my will, your plan is better than my plan, take my life and do what you want." It was a very scary prayer and I honestly didn't know if I meant it. But I continued to pray that prayer every morning and things began to change. Now, almost 5 years later, that is my morning prayer everyday. I can honestly and easily give my life to God every day knowing He will do a much better job at managing my life. Of course there are times when I take off my Christian jewelry and end up making choices I am not super proud of. But God is so gracious and loving, He allows me to acknowledge and confess my sins to him over and over and always greets me with open arms.

So now I am a Christian before all other labels. I am a Christian wife, Christian mother, Christian daughter, Christian sister, Christian friend... the list goes on. These days I choose Jesus, not because I deserve Him, but because I am nothing without Him.


by Jill Aycock on August 4th, 2016

​Rules Rule… but sometimes they’ve just got to be kids.
I started this summer with a word document for my kids called Summer Rules…
How super fun of me!!!
But exactly 9 weeks into summer and with only 18 days left I haven’t stuck to our Summer List of rules more than 10 times and you know what??? We have had a great summer!
So now I am redesigning what summer looks like around here…
June – stay up late, sleep late, hang out, have sleepovers  with your friends 5 days in a row… detox from the school year.
July – Family/Camp time… Family vacations and Camp Deer Run
August – Get back on track! This needs to happen or some child might be sold on the black market or mama might lose her mind.

I love summer. It is my favorites season and time of year! As a kid I loved the sun, long days and the freedom to do what I wanted.
However, when my kids were little I dreaded it. The thought of 4 little ones destroying my house all day long sent me over the edge. We just lived at the pool during those years. We were they when the gates opened and left at nap time... that is how I survived. Now, my kids are older and have their own lives. I want them to be able to relax and enjoy their time with us and their friends. They sacrifice so much during the school year that I think summertime should be fun time! I want them to get bored, be lazy and stay outside most of the day. I feel like our kid’s lives are so scheduled they don’t even know how to combat boredom. Why would they? Their lives are scheduled from sun up to sun down with activities… I think when kids are bored they learn to be creative.

I also learned a lot this summer by just letting the Summer Rules hang on the clipboard by the fridge and be ignored. I realized my kids are capable of knowing what they want to do and need to do without too much nagging from me. I have said “find something to do or I will find you a chore that needs to be done” several times this summer … and miraculously they did!
Summer of 2016 has flown by and we have had such a great time together… Now that August is here, I will attempt to get a little more scheduled so we all don’t freak out on the 22nd. I know they need to get to those summer reading books and packets… but looking back I am so glad I didn’t follow all my “rules” this summer and just allowed my children to be children…. Happy Summer Y’all!

by Jill Aycock on August 4th, 2016

Cody and I throughly enjoyed our 12 days of freedom! No laundry! No cooking… and the most obvious evidence that our 4 children were away at camp was the fact that I wasn’t bending over three million times a day picking up things off the floor… It truly was a vacation from my real life.
But last Thursday, I was ready to pick up 4 nasty, dirty, Jesus filled children and get them home.
We arrived at camp and loaded SUV with loads and loads of nasty stinky clothes and towels.. We all ready to hit the road… But first, we had a special surprise.
Our 9 year old daughter, ReeseKathryn asked to be baptized before leaving camp. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. My baby girl has heard about Jesus her whole life. She has been going to church since she was about 6 weeks old, she knows nothing else. But this time she chose to follow Jesus on her own. Before Friday, her faith was our  faith. She loved Jesus because her parents love Jesus. But now, she asked to be a follower of Jesus Christ on her own… this is huge for me! This is my number one goal as a mother. I want 4 children who love Jesus. I want them to be leaders in their faith. I want other people to see the light of Jesus in them… ALL THE TIME! That is the goal around here!

I know some people have goals to have socially acceptable children, or kids who are rocket scientist... children who will make a difference in world. These are great goals to have, but my number one goal is that my children will have trust in their Heavenly Father. I want Him to be the compass for their future. I want them to look to Him for what they should do and who they should be. I believe if they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they will be able to handle any situation this world throws at them… It is just what I believe.
So not only was I super happy that my kid asked to follow Jesus, but I was about to have all my kids home under one roof… Loved it, while it lasted.
Try to guess on long it took until they started fighting… a week? 3 days? Nope, less than 48 hours…. 48 hours people… that is it! It is like they lost their camp mind… they forgot that they were suppose to put others before themselves and DO WHAT JESUS WOULD DO(GET THE BRACELET PEOPLE)…. Jesus does NOT aggravate his sister.
I couldn’t wait to get my kids home and I prayed for a great reunion and a time to reflect on what they have learned over the past 12 days… Instead I got a dose of reality… I love my reality, I truly do… just was hoping for a good 72 hours of a Camp Kumbaya as a family. But that was not the reality around here… Reality around here is the fact that even if you are awarded Best Camper, you still will come home and be the annoying big/little brother… I think it’s like Vegas… What happens at Camp Deer Run stays at Camp Deer Run… Until next year!

by Jill Aycock on June 29th, 2016

If you are hungry for the Word of God, I suggest you put down your fork and pick up an apron.
This isn’t my quote, (darn it!),  but I have used it/stolen it so many times over the years of teaching that I feel like it should be. I have suggested it to many many people, but for the first time I feel like I did just that.
Tuesday night I just got home from a beach camp with 50 of our church’s youth. This is our third year to take a large group of kids to Orange Beach, Alabama, for Student Life’s Camp @ The Beach. My role at this camp is to make sure 50 kids and 11 chaperones are fed three times a day and have plenty of snacks and water. I have an amazing team, and I would be lost without them.  
In the weeks leading up to camp, we discuss the best way to feed this crew. The best way to make sure they have good nutrition on a budget. We are in condos. We have to figure out how to feed 60 people at one time in a beach condo. God is good. Three times a day, we fed and got all 60 out the door in less than 30 minutes. My crew and I have been doing this for 3 years, we know what we’re doing. We’re good! But this year was different.
In preparation for this camp, I not only went over the camp menu, I went over the registration list for weeks and prayed for each kid. I prayed that God would be present on this trip and that these kids would see God and get a message that was new and exciting. I was very hopeful and trusted that God would show up in a very real way. But I expected it only in the kids… I mean, I didn’t truly expect to be fed as I was feeding.
But like I just said, God is good! Over the past week, I have seen teenagers come to Christ. I have seen teens weep over their relationship with God. I have seen kids who have been “born into the church” realized that they didn’t just need to go to church, but they needed to have their own relationship with Christ. I saw a hunger and a thirst in kids I have known for 13 years that I never have seen before.  These kids are changed creations of God and I had the honor of watching this unfold before my eyes.
What a gift!
​Every night we have small group bible studies in our condos. The relationships and bonds that happened before my eyes were humbling. God was felt by all and kids honestly shared their struggles and fears with me. They told me they wanted to be different and act different. They told me they didn’t want to be of this world. We studied Romans 12:2 and talked about how we can change. How we can sacrifice whatever is in our way to having a closer relationship with Christ. These kids were hungry and God let me feed them…. Not me.
I am honored to be able to a part of this. I feel humbled that God trusts me enough to be part of these kids’ spiritual journey. But I am not surprised!
God is good… He’s faithful and He’s trustworthy! He allowed me to feed theses kids spiritually when I signed up to feed them nutritionally. He allowed me to hear about their real struggles and He gave me the words to lead them closer to Christ.
You think after all this feeding, I might be tired. I might be ready to get back to my life, to my kids, to my bible study. No, that isn’t the way the Lord works. This camp has made me even hungrier - hungry to share the Gospel; hungry to spend time with the kids that will change this world; hungry to carve out time in my day to get closer to God in my own walk with him.
Clearly, I am on fire. We call this a camp high. I am fully aware of what is going on, but I will keep praying and keep being a part of these kids’ lives, so I can help plug them into small groups and our youth group. This is a critical time for these kids. They have come back to reality and now the real work begins.
I have tied my apron on tight and I will continue to feed them what really matters, the Word of God.

by Jill Aycock on June 7th, 2016

​I can’t help it. I love rules. I love to have rules, to make up rules and to enforce them. The other 5 people in my house may not share the same thrill I get from these rules but I feel like it helps me keep things nice and orderly around here… so we will have rules... lots of them
Last week I spent some time thinking about what rules are necessary around here. Not new rules necessarily, but I wanted to make sure my kids are crystal clear on what we expect from them. As Carter approaches high school, he needs to see in black and white what his dad and I expect from him and his behavior. Since he was three I have told him, our family has our own rules and other families have their own rules. Not everyone runs their households the same. We don’t judge, we just follow the rules of OUR house.
I posted a sneak peak of our rules last week on Facebook and giggled at all the moms who wanted a copy of the list because while they were posting on Facebook and seemed excited for a list of rules, Cody and I were in the middle of World War 3 over the very list.
After looking at the completed list he told me my kids were going to hate me because of the list. I laughed, got mad, totally disagreed and stormed out of his office. I feel like rules help kids feel safe.  They like to know what is expected from them and what the consequence is if rules are broken. I didn't think they would hate me.
I am not completely un-flexible and decided to take another look at my list. I did think is was awesome but decided to compromise on one rule, #6. Originally I said they were grounded for 1 day for every minute they were late… I changed it to every 10 minutes… F-L-E-X-I-B-L-E!!!
I presented the list to my older boys at different times.
Each of them read them and said, “ Yeah, I know, nothing new.”  Both of them also tried to fight #12. They have never been allowed to eat upstairs… Not flexible.
Carter did mention the fact that he wasn’t signing anything until his lawyer was back from vacation and could look at the list. (Our neighbor and best friend, Brad Howell was in Boston).  I laughed and said he will sign regardless.
Here they are. I don’t think any of them are groundbreaking or life shattering… I think it’s just what should be expected from my kids.
  1. I will respect my parents
  2. I will not yell
  3. I will not throw anything in anger
  4. I will not punch anyone or anything in anger
  5. I am allowed to be mad but not disrespectful
  6. For every 10 minutes I am late, I will be grounded a day
  7. I will not negotiate a time to be home after I have left our home
  8. I will not be at anyone’s home unless there is an adult home or I have permission
  9. I will not drink or do drugs or be around people who are drinking or doing drugs
  10. 10. I will take responsibility for my mistakes and not blame others
  11. I will pick up after myself, keep my room clean and keep zones clean
  12. I will not take food upstairs
  13. I will get myself to school on time
  14. I will limit my time on technology
  15. I will be responsible when using technology
  16. I will help around the house
  17. I will do my own laundry
  18. I will make my own lunch
  19. I will try my hardest in school
  20. I will not cuss or do anything else in public that would embarrass my family
1. Picked up your room/made your bed/cleaned your zones
2. Had breakfast
3. Dressed and brushed your teeth and hair
4. 20 minutes of reading or working on summer packet
5. 30 minutes outside:
riding your bike
...Then you can play on your phone, iPad, or computer
If you want to buy something, earn some money and pay for it. We pay $8 an hour.
  1. Pick up dog poop
  2. Wash Winston and Cowboy
  3. Walk Winston
  4. Clean and vacuum mom’s car
  5. Clean the kitchen
  6. Clean a fridge
  7. Organize the pantry
  8. Cook breakfast, lunch or dinner
  9. Sweep and vacuum
  10. Clean the windows
  11. Pick weeds
  12. Sweep out the garages
  13. ​Trim bushes
Remember, it's only day 3 of summer... I'll give you an update in a few weeks! 

by Jill Aycock on May 26th, 2016

​#Don’tblink #timeflies #wheredidthetimego
These hashtags are all over social media this time of year. I have written it and felt it in the past week and I only have an 8th grader. Can’t imagine what the mom's of seniors are feeling just 7 days before graduation. YIKES!
#stoptime #dididoitright #doover #NO
I read last week we only have about 940 Saturdays with our kids from the day they are born until they go off to college… That means we have just about 218 with Carter until he flies the coop, someone hold me!! From there the math is easy, that’s 322 with Walker, 426 with Anderson and 530 with ReeseKathryn…. Whoa… I don’t have much time when you put it that way!
Why do we say don’t blink? I will tell you when all my kids were in preschool I wish I could have blinked and gotten through that stage or maybe wiggled my nose “I Dream of Jeanie” style and pushed through the days of whining ,crying, naps and diapers… I was seriously just burning daylight until bedtime… I‘ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that was a H-A-R-D  time in my life. If you are in that stage, stay strong, enjoy your babies, hug them all the time and savor the smell of their sweet smelling heads, because you may not believe me now, but this too shall pass and dare I say, you will miss this stage.
But don’t be sad, you will then hopefully hit what I called the “sweet spot.”  ReeseKathryn was out of diapers and done napping (I had to be home for naps at 1pm for like 9 year!!!! I was over it) and Carter wasn’t a teen. No baby problems and no hormones to deal with,  those were the days… but honestly I have lived the last 5 years thinking it was going to get hard again and with a soon to be 15 year old and 13 year old in the house, I can already tell its not going to be a walk in the park, but I feel it will be a different hard. Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.
The preschool days were physically exhausting and now I just have to stay on my toes mentally with these guys. They are at a stage in life where we feel like we are coaching more than parenting. We’ve taught them right from wrong, what it means to be a good human being, they have all chosen to be followers of Christ  and they know the rules of this house. We are now just steering them in the direction they need to go and correcting when they decide to break the rules.
​I am reading a book called “It Starts at Home: A Practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith.” By Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope.  It talks about how we should not depend on our church or God forbid, this world to raise our children. It talks about marriage, parenting, “grandparenting” and being a leader in your community... I am loving it!
Bruner says, it doesn’t matter what stage we are in with our kids, we must always be Intentional.  He believes Intentionality is the key. “The better we understand our children, the better equipped we will be to teach them in a manner that reaches them. How? By learning to create and capture opportunities to impress our beliefs and values on their lives.”
It makes sense. If we Intentionally get know each of our kids and what their specific needs are, we will be better prepared to raise them.
I don’t always feel Intentional around here, most days I feel outnumbered! However, I love direction and rules!  
So for the next 530 Saturdays this will be my hashtag.  I plan to be an Intentional mother and an Intentional wife. I know this isn’t going to guarantee that I get this parenting this right. Nor is it going to save me from the sadness that I will feel as my children leave our home to start their own lives. But I do believe, those who know they have done it right and  have raised good kids Intentionally won’t ask for a Do Over. They will most likely just pray that those kids will always want to come home and Intentionally make sure it happens.... I will keep you posted in 530 Saturdays.

by Jill Aycock on May 17th, 2016

Ask and You Shall Receive
Sounds so simple. Tell someone what you want, and you will receive it.
It doesn’t seem like life always works that way does it?
I would like a new car, please, pretty please, with a cherry on top? I could get on my knees and pretend to beg or not pretend… just beg. Can you imagine what the sales guy at the dealership with say or think? Or who he might call (the cops.) “Nice crazy lady is asking/begging for a new car... will not leave” Whatever he might think, you and I both know I wouldn’t be walking out of the showroom with a brand new black shiny Range Rover. (I mean, aim high right?)
However, there is someone who promises to always deliver when you ask with a sincere open heart. It is written over and over throughout the Bible. God wants us to ask Him what is on our hearts. He wants us to ask him for the important things in our lives and the things we think are too insignificant for God.  He especially wants us to ask Him for advice about our kids.  Our kids are not really ours. We have them on loan. God has given us these gifts to raise here on earth. How different would our parenting style be if we had to check in with God every 30 days and tell him what we have said and done to His children?  What if we had to fill out a form for God. Can you imagine?
Have you shared the Gospel with my child this month?
Have you talked to him about the fruit of the spirit?
Have you led your life in a way that is glorifying to me?
​Have you read my book with her? 

I can tell you right now, I would change my style! I would change my words.  I would think before I picked up my phone to check Facebook instead of discuss important life lessons with my kids. I would think twice before I yelled at them because I was tired, not necessarily because of what he had done.  I would also be more careful with my actions in front of my kids. (They don’t do what I say. They do what I do. That’s an entirely different subject I will get to another day.)
So how do we parent with God?  I am far from a perfect parent. I just want that to be crystal clear! I have had parenting moments that I am not proud of. I have done things I would like to forget, and I pray God can forgive me for losing it on His children throughout the year. I am human. I am just like everyone else. I get tired, impatient and annoyed. But, I am also a follower of Christ and a HUGE believer in prayer. I believe your relationship with Christ should center around prayer. How can you have a relationship with someone if you don’t talk to them? How can you hear from God if you don’t ask Him questions? He’s almost begging us in Scripture to ask Him for what we want. He promises to deliver.
Here are a few I have prayed over through my 15 years of parenting:
James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Psalm 107:28-30
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.
Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:6-8
"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
John 14:13-14
"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
"If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
This is the simple answer to all the parenting questions. Co-parent with God and spouse. I talk to God ALL THE TIME about my kids. I pray for guidance and knowledge and wisdom with them.
A friend of mine once told me I am lucky because I hear God talking to me. I don’t believe that is luck at all. He doesn’t love me anymore than He loves anyone else.  I think the only difference is that I have practiced listening to Him for many, many years, but I still miss a ton of things that He’s trying to tell me. However, when I am serious about listening to Him, I hear Him. Also, after years of asking for guidance, He sometimes just gives it to me before I ask for it. He is the greatest parent, right? Giving advice before we need it. Isn’t that what we do with our own kids?
Just last week we had a situation where my oldest, Carter was set to receive an award he had been working towards the entire school year, (so we thought). We felt like he had it in the bag. He had done everything his coaches had asked of him. He has been so involved in working towards this goal he has only been home before 6pm 3 times since the first day of school last August.  This kid is committed and worked hard. He didn’t let anything get in the way of his goal. He knew what he had to do and he did it without complaining. This kid has an awesome work ethic.
So, yesterday I was set to pick him up from the award ceremony at 5pm (parents aren’t invited to this one). I was a little nervous for him because he had worked so hard and it would be a devastating blow if he didn’t get it.  I should also mention, this kid is SOCIAL… he loves people and is always about the party. So, when I get a text at 4:43 saying “Can you come get me?” I kinda freaked out. My heart sank and I started running around the house gathering the little kids to hurry and get in the car so I could get to Carter. I thought, OH NO! How devastating. I texted back “R U OK?”  Silence… He doesn’t have a phone right now. He texted from a friend’s phone, and when he didn’t text back I felt, oh no, he doesn’t want to his friend to know he’s upset.
Why do we always go worst case scenario? Is it just me? Does anyone else do this? It’s so annoying, and I can’t help it! But I go there, and I go there FAST!!!
So after what seemed like eternity, I was in the car with the littles and headed up to school. During my drive, I went immediately to God. I prayed to him and asked him for wisdom and comforting words for my potentially devastated kid. I told God I knew that failure is apart of life and not getting what you want breeds character. I prayed this would make him work even harder for his future goals. I don’t want things to come easy to my kids. I want them to work for what they get. I am completely against Fun Fair Positive Anything for my kids.  But when you know you are going to have a devastated 15 year old on your hands, you need some guidance on how to handle him. And in the midst of  begging, God for the right words… He said “Jill – Carter is fine. He just wants to get to his new job.” I thought, Yeah, yeah God…, but I need to be prepared. Way to discount God!
Who does that? Me… all the time. I clearly hear Him tell me what to do and I don’t do it or think I know better.
I literally heard God’s voice and I still questioned. I am sure he rolled his Heavenly Father eyes big time at me at that very moment because when I pulled in to pick Carter up I could see the award in his hand. Yes, he received the award that he had worked so hard for and he just wanted to get to the pool for his new job he seemed almost more excited for… PHEW!
Carter informed me last week that his pet peeve is when I tell him I think he is good at something or that I am proud of him. His love language is NOT Words of Affirmation. I high-fived him anyway and told him I was very proud of him as we headed towards the pool. He hasn’t mentioned it again and when I took a picture of the award to send to Cody so he could be proud of his son too, Carter just rolled his eyes at me.
A big fat mountain out of a molehill! That’s what I created by not listening to God, even when I heard Him clear as day.
That is what we do. We create fake scenarios in our pea brains that mean nothing.  We borrow trouble where there isn’t any, and if we would just listen to God, He will guide us and give us the tools we need to be successful parents and humans.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful this story has a happy ending, but we live in a broken world. Happy endings aren’t always the case. Our kids don’t always get what they work hard for, so we need to be prepared.  We need to ask God for help… in everything and be assured even when it doesn’t turn out the way you want, God will give you the peace we need to get through the storm.
Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Posted on May 9th, 2016

God loves us so much he can’t bear the thought of us spending eternity away from Him. He wants us all to know and love Him and to know and love each other. The Gospel is for all of us, especially the broken. The Gospel is to free us from this broken world and set us right. He wants us to keep our eyes on him. Forget about what is going on around us, just look to Him.
I wish I could put blinders on my entire family. It hurts my heart when ReeseKathryn comes home from 2nd grade talking about other girls and their “groups”--- Are you kidding me?? Groups in 2nd grade, only created to make others feel left out and the Queen Bee to feel good about herself.

I barely remember 2nd grade, but I remember the feeling of being left out, it happens to all of us, I think the latest time it happened to me was last week. Adults are the same. Why do humans do this? Why do we do this so young? Is this nature or nurture?
When my mommy claws come out, most of the time I can blow it off and think, those girls will potentially peak in high school and that is not what I or Jesus wants for any of my children or any child.  I want them to flourish and be well rounded, I want them to have blinders on and keep their eyes on Jesus. I want them to first know the Lord and second be kind… they just go hand and hand.
When Carter was in Kindergarten I got my first dose of Kid Comparison Overload… I am sure I lost sleep over it and I had a newborn, 2, 4 and 6 year at the time… what the heck??? But I learned early, to put the blinders on, Aycock Kids are unique and they are not like others. They will blaze their own path that I pray is laid out by God, not by some over achiever Pinterest Room Mom.
Years ago when some women actually spoke the words, “I Just want my kids to be happy and well liked," I said, “I don’t care who likes them, I just want them to know the Lord” (Jesus Freak Mom!) I know it’s not main stream, but if we trust in God and give our children to Him, they will be better than popular… They will be strong in their faith, have eternity, have their eyes on Jesus and have him in their hearts. What better way to prepare our children for the real world and equip them with a shield that will honestly protect them.
I am so far from a helicopter parent, CPS might have some issues with me, but I love to read about what these parents are doing and what the results are. The newest parent label I read about is called “lawnmower parent”… One who just does life for the kids.
I am sure my kids wish I had some lawn mover in me. But I purposely don’t read emails from their middle school teachers and ignore due dates… Last time I checked I am not in school any longer… I didn’t really care for the time I was there, I am not going back. This is their time to succeed and at times, fail.
We have got to let our kids fail!!!! How are they ever going to learn how to recover when we have them wrapped in bubble wrap at 2 and are doing their projects at 15??? Good luck in life people. They have got to feel frustrated, embarrassed, angry, failure so they can understand this is temporary. You need to let them persevere and have some real successes on their own.
I love nothing more than a crappy crooked jacked up kid project. This shows me that they did the work and they are so proud of the crappy project… I believe their teachers are proud of their crappy projects too. We don’t give our teacher’s enough credit to see through the Pinterest projects. They aren’t stupid, they know what 2nd graders are capable of.
Please let our kids be kids, please stop doing everything for them. We learn more from failure than most things in life. When you feel failure, you realize, “this sucks and I need to figure out how not to do this anymore.”
God doesn’t care about projects or grades, God cares about character. Let’s focus on that. Let’s focus on our children being honest, kind, loving… Those characteristics will be far more valuable in life than an A on a science project that your child sat and watch you carefully glue together.

Posted on May 9th, 2016

​Luke 4:1-2  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in to the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing and at the end of them he was hungry”
I was full of something for 40 years… I just wish it was the holy spirit.
I love when numbers mean something, I love the numbers of the bible. I love the number 7, it’s nice and tight and almost sweet (everyone’s lucky number), I love 14 because it’s divisible by 7 (random) and it’s my boy’s jersey number. It was given to Carter when he was 9, but has been all the Aycock’s jersey number since then. Walker picked it after he saw it on his brother and the tradition continued with Anderson… (RK has yet to have a jersey, but I have a feeling, she will pick 14 too) Every time I see it, it makes me happy. Even if it’s on someone else’s son’s back, I can’t explain it, I just like it.
But I don’t like the number 40. If fact, I have dreaded it my entire life and thought life would be over when I hit it. I remember my mom turning 40 and her friends throwing her a party. They picked her up in black dresses and veils, gave her black roses and left in a black limo. The image is burned in my brain that life at 40 meant death… As a kid I thought they went to grieve this awful birthday… 32 years later and knowing these ladies the way I do now, I realize they left for a GNO and they were clearly not headed to the funeral home… These ladies were headed out for the time of their life with their awesome themed party.( Pre Pinterest and very impressive.)
I was 12 when my mom turned 40 and for 28 years, I truly thought it was going to be a funeral. But in reality, I turned 40 almost 5 years ago and  it has been the best 4 years of my life. Instead of a death sentence, it has been the most freeing time of my life. I just don’t care…. I used to look to what everyone else was doing and check in to make sure my kids were dressed right, my house was decorated right, I was dressed right, my marriage was right… I spent too much time looking outside my immediate house to others comparing myself to everyone rather than looking to God to see what His plans might be.
When I hit 40, I was at a place that I was so tired of looking to others for what my life was suppose to look like, that I wouldn’t have minded my friends picking me up in a limo and driving off into the sunset…. But God is so awesome!
He as turned these years that I have dreaded most of my life, to the best time of my life.
When I read Luke 4 1-2, I think how can Jesus go without eating for 40 days… at the end of 2 it says he was hungry… ya think???? That sounds so simple, but after 40 YEARS of wondering in the desert, I was hungry too. Not hungry for food, but hungry for the Word. Hungry for God to show me His plan, hungry to live my life according to Him. 
And ya know what…. He did! He showed up when I asked. Matthew 7:7-Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
I honestly asked. Everyday and still do… I asked him to show me what kind of mother he wanted me to be, what kind of wife I should be…. What kind of friend I should be. I still ask him all the time.  Show me who You want me to be. Every time He answers. Every time!
I seek Him when things are good and I seek him when things are bad…. I knock and ask for him to come into my heart and He does. He always does.
So for 40 years I was in the desert doing things my way, according to this world and after 44 years, I am still so hungry. But it is a hunger for God, a hunger to be better and do better.  I want to make sure I am always doing what He has called me to do and be who he called me to be.
I always want to be hungry…  I never want to be done with God. I want to continue to be filled up by Him and seek Him.  For when we are seeking God we are doing what He wants us to do… and we don’t need to dread anytime in our life, but especially not our 40’s because this is the time in my life, for the first time, I know who I am and I know what God wants me to be doing.

Posted on May 6th, 2016

​In 1981 was the first time I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me. Of course, it would take about 30 years to figure out that it was God speaking to me, not just my “gut” guiding to me to do something.
I was sitting on the floor in our family’s living room in Scottsdale near the TV because we didn’t have remote controls back then, or cable. The kids were the remote controls. We sat close to the TV so we could change the 3 channels we got via rabbit ears when asked by an adult who was comfy on the couch.  That my friends is what I call, smart parenting!
I was watching Cheryl Parker on KPNX deliver the 6pm news with my family and as I watched, God told me he wanted me to be a news anchor.  Sweet! I thought I would only have to work 6 to 6:30… Nice Gig!
Fast forward 9 years, I enrolled in the University of Arizona as a Broadcast Journalism Major… I was on my way! WELL… A few too many parties and a “suggestion” from the dean of students for me to take a “break” from “The University” (I love air quotes when writing) I did as he “suggested”, took some classes at Pima Community College and re-enrolled as a Communication major.  During my 2nd senior year I interned at the NBC affiliate in Tucson. One thing led to another and I went into the business that God led me to… So I thought.
I got my first “real job” in Little Rock at KATV, the NBC affiliate as an over-night editor… that led to some reporting, a job at the CBS affiliate as a producer and reporter and then to Wichita Falls, Texas as a weekend anchor.
WOW! I hit the big time… Weekend Anchor. But I was quick to learn, I didn’t hit it big in my career, I hit it BIG TIME with my relationships.
The day I moved into my backhouse apartment, I met a girl who would change the direction of my life forever. Some say, the minute Shawna Sanderson and I met, we said “hi” and neither of shut up. We both loved to talk… about ANYTHING and ALL THE TIME!
Shauna was married with 3 kids and was a ball of fire. Her personality was B-I-G!!! I loved her instantly. I also immediately fell in love her sweet family. After months of spending all my spare time with them, I realized she had something I wanted. Not a perfect marriage and 3 kids, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That my friends was THE  game changer.
Within months of realizing this, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savoir and I immediately felt different…. Hungry for knowledge,  I wanted to know this guy Jesus who was changing people’s lives everyday. I wanted him to change mine.
And boy did He! … Within 5 months I met Cody Aycock…. God’s timing is perfect. Cody and I both grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, just about 8 miles apart… We attended different high schools, but we knew all the same people. However, God protected us and kept us apart until we were 25 and 26 years old.
And this is just the beginning. I believe God used my television career to get me to a place that I was ready to accept Him and also prepare me for the person He wanted Cody to marry. I also believe He wasn’t done using me. He never is done using us to better the Kingdom.
I believe He gave me writing and speaking skills to spread the Gospel and I am finally at a place in my life where I am ready to obey.

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