Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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Monday, October 11, 2010


Alcohol had affected me very dramatically on several different occasions.  My earliest recollection was when I was the tender age of seven.  I saw the devastation of alcohol first hand in my wonderful, big brother Paul, who I adored and looked up to, but he had a drinking problem.   His drinking started like so many others…just one beer now and then for a social event…maybe some wine coolers before bed…but then the subtle bite of alcohol grabbed him into full time abuse.

When my brother, Paul, was 15 he totaled our family car.  When you are seven you can't fully comprehend the dangers and implications of a car wreck that leave the car totaled, but the badly damaged car sat in our driveway for quite a while and I knew that the mangled car in our driveway had something to do with my brother and alcohol. 

On another occasion my brother beat up my mother, because she wouldn't let him come in the house because he was drunk.  She had the door cracked just enough to tell him that he couldn't come in, only to have him bust down the door and beat her up.  My step father (my biological dad died when I was 14) tried to pull my brother off my mom and he called the cops.  Once again my brother was taken to jail. 

On another occasion, I had been praying for my brother quite a bit and he agreed to go to church with me.  I was so excited that Paul had finally agreed to go to church with me.  With excited expectation, I drove to where he was living (which was a construction sight since he was homeless) to pick him up for church.  As I was walking across this gravel construction sight to where my brother stayed, when I got about 10 feet away from him, he comes out slurring his speech  and his genitals exposed.  I got really, really scared and began to run back to my car and took off out of there.  With tears streaming down my face and my excitement turned to hopelessness, I drove to church.  At that moment, a piece of my heart closed off towards my brother. That incident gave me a life-long lesson of the pain of alcohol. It was a very long time before I could pray for him again.  My faithful prayer partner continues to pray for Paul and his salvation which means so much to me, but the years of pain he has caused our family makes it hard for me to pray for him.
As moms we must be aware of the growing threat that alcohol is to our children. You may be thinking, "But Naomi, my children are in pre-school – I don’t think my kids are drinking." Thankfully the young ones aren’t, but pre-schoolers are affected by adults who have alcohol issues. Here are some serious statistics:

Rhonda Anderson, Co-Founder of Creative Memories., in her speech to a group of ladies said:

·        More than one million children a year are victims of child abuse and alcohol has a strong link to the abuse.
·        Alcohol is a leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers.  
·        More children are killed by alcohol than all illegal drugs combined.4
·        An estimated 480,000 children are mistreated each year by a caretaker with alcohol problems. 9
·        The World Health Organization estimates that about 76 million people throughout the world suffer from alcohol-related disorders.
·        According to recent studies, it has been discovered that approximately 53% of adults in the United States have reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
·        The overwhelming majority of youth (74% of 8-17 year-olds; 74% of 8-12 year-olds; 74% of 13-17 year-olds) cite their parents as the primary influence in their decisions about whether they drink alcohol or not..
·        Women are more likely to die of cirrhosis of the liver and violence caused by alcohol abuse and die 11 years earlier than their male counterparts.
There is a mistaken belief that the onset for drinking is 12 to 13; this is not the case. Pressure to use alcohol begins much earlier. We should not accept the glamorization of alcohol as acceptable. Children need to internalize a positive sense of self-esteem. This is vital in the development of peer resistance or refusal skills. Children who feel good about themselves are more successful in dealing with pressure to drink.  http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/

Alcohol related problems are growing and are becoming frequent with Christian kids and adults. What can we do to protect our kids (and ourselves) so we don’t become one of these alcohol statistics? 

What does God's word have to say about it?  To give you some background, the person speaking in the verse is King Lemuel’s mother. Lemuel is another name for King Solomon. And we know that Solomon’s mother is Bathsheba. This is what she said to him:

"Kings and leaders should not get drunk or even want to drink. Drinking makes you forget your responsibilities, and you mistreat the poor.  Beer and wine are only for the dying or for those who have lost all hope. Let them drink and forget how poor and miserable they feel." (Proverbs 31:4-7 CEV)  

Bathsheba had some powerful words for her son.  We must teach our kids to pay close attention to her opening words. “Kings and leaders should not get drunk or even want to drink. We believe that everyone is a leader. As the parents of our children, we were the leaders of our family, as you are in yours. Our kids were leaders in the respect that we wanted them to be good role models to the kids around them. Therefore, we concluded that as leaders we would not get drunk and even more specifically we would not drink alcohol at all.

Tim and I  told our three children, "If you never take one drink of alcohol, you will never become an alcoholic. It will never get a foot hold in your life with zero use. However, if you start drinking at all, you open the door to the possibility…the possibility that one day, something will cause you to drink too much, too often. Perhaps you’ll have a relationship issue or a work problem that will seem too huge and the Lord may feel distant - like He is not hearing you. Then maybe the only comfort you see available is the alcohol."

We didn’t want our kids to turn from the Lord and use alcohol as their crutch.  We didn’t want them to succumb to all the other issues alcohol could bring, so we challenged them with Bathsheba's words, “Be a leader and don’t drink at all.”

 Jamie's Testimony:

Jamie gave a brief testimony. He told of how at age 17 he had consumed so much alcohol that it had burned a hole in his stomach (imagine, only 17)! Laying in the emergency room suffering from the stomach pain, he cried out to the Lord. He repented and asked Christ into his life and the Lord miraculously healed his stomach.  He didn’t say at what age he started drinking but to have that kind of damage at the age of 17, he either started young, really drank a lot or both.  Praise the Lord, what a great guy he is today!

I often hear people say, “The Bible clearly says not to get drunk (which is correct), but it is ok to drink some alcohol because after all, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast.” The original Greek word used for wine in that passage represents both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. One commentator said, “Jesus did not turn water into alcoholic wine at the wedding. John 2:10 says the people had already "drunk freely" or "had their fill".  Since people were already very full of drink, Jesus would certainly not provide more alcoholic drink that would nearly guarantee that the people would drink and become drunk.”  

That commentator’s conclusion that Jesus did not make alcoholic wine does seem to make sense - the heart of God does not want people to be drunk. Which then continues the question, should we drink alcohol at all? Please know that I am not here today to tell you what to do in regards to alcohol or to judge you on your personal choices – no, not at all. I simply offer another Biblical perspective along with my story, and the conviction Tim and I had for our family as something to consider. If parents don’t drink alcohol, it does not guarantee that your kids will never be tempted to get drunk or abuse alcohol. But your abstinence would set a high standard as the leader of your family. 

As a youth deacon, I have had to confront teens who are using drugs. Their response has been, "What's the difference between me getting high and my parents drinking?"  Besides the fact that one is legal and one is not, there really isn't much difference.  In many ways I feel that it is hypocritical to tell our kids, "Say no to drugs", while we sit in our lounge chairs drinking wine coolers and beer.

Our three children had a variety of responses to alcohol as they grew, but today, all three kids do not drink any alcohol at all. They view themselves as leaders and decided to follow Bathsheba's advice. PRAISE GOD!!

Your kids follow in your footsteps more than you may realize, so the choices you make about alcohol will impact them.  

I want to share one more scripture verse from Ephesians 5:17-18 LB: “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life…”

I want to emphasize the words, “Don’t act thoughtlessly”.

 I simply ask you to put thought and prayer into the decision you make about alcohol.

 Something needs to be done on an individual level with this growing issue of alcohol abuse in our country. What would the Lord have you do???

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Questions to Increase Critical Thinking Skills and Discernment

These are questions that I used to ask my kids when we would watch a movie.  It helps to increase their critical thinking skills. This is great for ages 8-12, since that is when they are able to start thinking abstractly.

Questions to Increase Critical Thinking Skills and Discernment:
• "Which character did you admire most? Why?"
• "Do the themes in this movie reflect reality? Do they reflect truth?"
• "How do the morals on-screen compare with the values you've been taught at home, in school or in church?"
• "Do you think movies like this have any effect on how close you feel to your family, friends or God? Explain."
• "How might you imagine God reacting to this movie? Why? Would you feel comfortable if Jesus sat watching it with you?" (See Matthew 28:20)
• "Beyond God's opinion of the movie, does the movie have an opinion of God? What is it?"
• "What would happen if you imitated the lifestyles or choices of the characters?"
• "How does it make you feel to know that, by renting this video, you are supporting the morals and ideas it's promoting?"
• "What would you say is the main point of this movie? Do you agree or disagree with it?"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Discernment vs. Deception

The very essence of deception is that you don’t know when you are in it.  Discernment is the ability to see through the sin. Meaning you are able to understand that this action is going to produce this result BEFORE you do the action. 
True Story: A man was stopped at a red light.  The lady next to him smiled and winked at him,  then signaled for him to follow her.  That man ended up sleeping with that lady.  That one single act/choice cost that man his wife and kids and a life-time of regret, pain, misery and tears.  If only that man could have exercised discernment and  seen all the many lonely nights. If only he could have seen himself crying himself to sleep or crying every time he had to say good-bye to his precious daughters after his weekend visits.  Do you think he would have ever followed that lady back to her place?  No, he lacked discernment. The ability to SEE THROUGH THE SIN. 
Unfortunately our teenagers are put at a great disadvantage, because the frontal lobe of the brain is the last part of the brain to develop, which is the part of the brain that contains the discernment brain cells. These brain cells are our discernment brain cells.  This fact explains a lot about why teenagers do some of the things they do.  You parents of teenagers know what I’m talking about.  Those times that you look at your teenager after a particular lame brain idea that they carried out and you say, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???”  Well they probably weren’t thinking, because their discernment brain cells aren’t fully developed until age 25.  So in an effort to help my teens overcome this brain cell deficit, I printed out these questions and taped them on the wall in front of the toilet, so every time they sat on the “throne” they were faced with questions that would help increase their discernment:

Questions to Ponder: 

1.  Does this decision show respect for God?  Respect for others? Respect for self?

2.  Will this choice benefit my reputation?

3.  Will it build a record of trust?

4.  Will it have negative or positive long term consequences?

5. How will this decision or behavior impact my family, my friends or my future?

I also had another set of questions that I used for punishments when my first set of questions failed me and they showed a lack of discernment:

Behavior Questions to Answer When One Shows a Lack of Discernment/Character

1What did I do wrong?
2.  Why was it wrong?
3.  How should I address the situation?
4.  What is the root sin that I need to consider?
(Note: Please write one full page for each of these questions.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You Get What You Brag On

Lord, let my words be like silver boxes of encouragement.  Words of encouragement can really change someone’s attitude.  Your encouraging words can help others gain more confidence.  One sweet comment may not make a lot of difference, but add up enough of them (at least one a day), and they can stem the negative tide in a relationship and even change the direction.  The key is sincerity.

Expect the best from people and they will probably give it to you.  I once wrote a book called: "Pictures with A Purpose" about "Faithbooking." The purpose of a faithbook is to glorify God and increase my faith and the faith of my family.  I was an avid scrap-booker, but over the years and due to the technical changes that our culture brings with it, my "scrapbooks" have now turned into posting my photos on Facebook.  Never waste a compliment.  I try to use my photo comments on facebook to honor those that I love.  I also try to convey a nugget of truth that might make someone's load just a bit lighter if they read my comment.  The truth sets you free.

If you want your kids to have an attitude of gratitude then brag on that in them.  I recently sent a care package to my youngest son Tyler. He sent me a text thanking me for it and  listed several of the items that were in the package that he particularly liked. Then he sent me another thank you when he was enjoying the Oreos that were in the package.  I could have texted him back with "your welcome" or "glad you liked it", but since I live by the philosophy of YOU GET WHAT YOU BRAG ON, instead I sent him back a text that said, "I love your attitude of gratitude.  An attitude of gratefulness is a very powerful attitude and you are really good at it." Do you see the difference? If you do that for years as your kids are growing up, you will begin to see that YOU REALLY DO GET WHAT YOU BRAG ON!

If you want to raise a leader, brag on that character quality whenever you see someone following your son/daughter and chances are you will raise a leader.   

Joe White,  the author of “Why Purity Matters” said,  "Lack of identity among our young people is the number one problem our society faces."

A strong identity is not something that just happens, it's something that we as parents must be intentional about building into our kids.

In my previous blog titled, "Why the Name Professional Parenting", I mentioned the goals that I had when I was raising my children:

I had three goals in mind as my kids were growing up:

1. The importance of the power of the tongue.
Bragging on the good that I see in my kids moves me closer to reaching my goal and applying the truth that what we say has power. 

2. How to resolve conflict.

3. The importance of guarding their innocence.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Daddy, Date, Daughter

In That Order
I do not think we have a divorce problem, I think we have a dating problem.   Our culture has sold a lie to our fathers who dare step up to the plate and be the protectors that God has called them to be.  When a father says to their daughters, “You are not wearing that outfit," our culture tells him, “Oh, you are just being too over-protective.”  I believe the order should be Dad first, then date (guy), then daughter.  Why would you give your daughter to a young man that you would not even loan your car to? Dennis Rainey asks the question, "How many of you men want your daughters to experience the same dating experiences that you had?"  He says in a room of 300 men, three hands might go up. I say it’s time for a change. Because the way we are doing things now just is not working. One of the biggest battles that I face as the S.E. Representative for "Becoming A Modern Day Princess"  is convincing the girls to allow their fathers to take their role of protector in her life, and getting the Fathers to accept that mantle of responsibility.

Dr. David Jeremiah said, “For any woman, one very dominating influence is her father, he is the first man to whom she gives her heart, and how he reacts strongly effects her future with men.” 

This is a vivid reminder of the incredible impact a father has on his daughter’s life, modeling a life of integrity and protecting his daughter's purity.  The relationship between fathers and daughters sets the stage for all future romantic activities and feelings. Your girls are really looking to you Fathers to gain your approval and see how you value things. 

When you talk to a group of girls about their fathers, the impact of their fathers is so significant that I don’t really think we understand it as a culture.
 These are the questions that we asked Robert when he came to pick up our daughter for their second date.  (Now keep in mind, Robert was 6 years older than, Amanda, he owned his own business and owned his own home.)  We felt that he was in the market for a wife, not just a casual acquaintance.  It is also important to note that we asked Robert these questions with the permission of Amanda our daughter, who was wise enough to want to know who she was risking giving her heart to.  Keep in mind that as parents you are not looking for perfection, you are looking for brokenness.  The Bible tells us that Jesus can only pour the Holy Spirit into BROKEN VESSELS.  Brokenness is the key, not perfection. 
Things for you to ask boyfriend/fiancé/future spouse:

  1. So what’s God been doing in your life lately?
  2. Tell me about your parents. Describe them to me. What are their personalities like?  What are their hobbies?  (Note: The one he chooses to talk about first is generally the one he is closest too.)
  3. Tell me about yourself.
  4. Tell me about your quiet time.  What are you reading for your quiet time? Are you currently involved in a supplemental Bible Study?
  5. Would you be willing to do a Bible Study:  DISC, Marriage, and Resolving Conflict?
  6. Where do you stand in your relationship with God?
  7. What types of movies do you go to?
  8. What do you think about people who drink or people who smoke?
  9. To what degree have you been exposed to or involved in pornography, drugs and or alcohol, witchcraft?  NoteIf there is a generational curse of alcoholism, I spend quite a bit of time on the alcohol question.  Be very specific.  When was the last time you drank?  What was it?  How much did you drink?  When was the last time you were drunk? 
  10. How far is too far?
  11. Do you believe in kissing?
  12. Do you think it is okay to French kiss? Why or Why Not?
  13. What are your physical boundaries?
  14. How honorable have you been with past relationships?  Are you a virgin?  If not, how many girls have you slept with?  How far have you gone in your other relationships? 
  15. How much debt do you have?  How much money did you make last year?  How much do you have in your savings/checking account?  Do you live on a budget?  How do you feel about debt?  What is your plan for getting out of debt?  What are your long term financial goals? (Note: Do not think you are being to nosey, financial pressure has been the number one cause of divorce for years.)
  16. (Daughter's Name), are you comfortable with (Potential Spouse's) earning potential?
  17. (Potential Spouse), are you comfortable with (Daughter's) spending habits?
  18. Are you able to be one when it comes to your finances?
  19. What are your deepest pains or regrets?  What is the good that God has brought out of those pains or regrets? 
  20. Why are you a Christian?
  21. What are your greatest strengths?
  22. What are your greatest weaknesses?
  23. What’s your plan for overcoming your weaknesses?
  24. Have you listened to DISC/Marriage Series by Pastor John?
  25. What is your plan for remaining pure?
  26. What are your physical boundaries in this relationship and what is your plan for reaching those goals? 
  27. Who have you asked to hold you accountable/to assist you in reaching those goals?  Has this person proven themselves to have already succeeded in purity?
  28. (Potential Spouse), tell me what you respect and admire about (Daughter)?
  29. (Daughter), tell me what you respect and admire about (Potential Spouse)?
  30. (Potential Spouse), what are some things that irritate you about (Daughter)?
  31. Tell me about the last conflict you were involved in. (Note: Just listen to their response and see if they walked away, blew up, demanded their own way, or did they work to come up with options that both agreed on and calmly and humbly worked out their differences?
  32. What were the compromises that were met?  Did both sides leave the table thrilled with the compromises?  As the man of the house, God holds you responsible for bringing the two of you to agreement.
  33. To what degree do you agree or disagree with the agreement model of marriage:  That it is the husband’s responsibility to present options that both husband & wife will be overwhelmingly pleased with."?  (Note: This is huge. Listen very carefully to their response.) 
  34. What are your spiritual goals for 2010?
  35. If I asked your younger brother how easily does (Potential Spouse) admit when he is wrong? What would he tell me?  What if I asked your Dad how humble you are on a scale from 1 – 10? What number would he give me? What if I asked your mom,  "In the last year how often did (Potential Spouse)  come up to you after a disagreement and say,  'I’m sorry for my arrogance, I was wrong, would you forgive me?"'  What number would she give? Never, once, 20 times or hundreds of times?
  36. What kind of baggage are you bringing into this relationship?
Closing Comments & Advice

  1. Every day commit to learning how to better manage your: Relationships, Time or Money. 
  2. Note:  Not all 3 every day but every day in these areas of life.
  3. Read “Finding the Love of Your Life.”  by: Neil Clark Warner.
  4. Read "101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged" by: H. Norman Wright
  5. Read "Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts" by: Leslie Parrot.
  6. Go slow, don’t be in a hurry.  NEVER get married in less than 2 years.
  7. Love MUST have TIME to grow!
  8. NEVER get married unless your dating relationship has experienced some negative experiences.

The above interview is what I used to give to my DOKA (Daughters of the King Alumni) Dads.  Then one day a father came to me and said, "Do you have anything that's more appropriate for a guy who wants to take my daughter to the prom?" So I gave him this.  This is more appropriate for high schoolers.  This came off Track 9 of "Interviewing Your Daughters Date". You can order this CD, a must have for all fathers by going to: http://www.familylife.com/.

Interview Light:

Interview Questions for your Daughters Date: Pray and ask God to give you wisdom and discernment as to whether the young man who is asking to date your daughter is a man that is respectful and honorable.
Family, Work Habits, Life Plans, Christian Testimony, Driving, Overall Appearance:
1.   What does your Dad do?
2.   Tell me about your mom and what she does?
3.   Tell me about your brothers and sisters and how well do you get along with them?
4.   What are things like at your home?
1.   Are you working in a job right now?
2.   How many hours are you putting in?
3.   How do you like your job and what are your ambitions for the future?
4.   Do your parents expect you to do much work around the house?
1.   What do you plan to do in the next few years?  Is it college, work, military?
2.   What do you like doing, what are some of your dreams and goals that you hope to achieve?
CHRISTIAN TESTIMONY:  This might be the most important questions you can ask:
1.   Tell me about your church attendance?
2.   How often do you go to church?
3.   Where do you go to church?
4.   Do you like it?
5.   Have you come to a conclusion about who Jesus Christ really is?
6.   How did you become a Christian?
7.   What difference does Jesus Christ make in your life right now?
1.   How many tickets have you gotten?
2.   How many wrecks have you been in?
3.   Have you ever gotten into trouble with your parents for being irresponsible with your car?
1.   Is he wearing a dirty shirt or ragged pants with holes in them?
2.   How does he handle himself?
3.   What kind of manners does he demonstrate?
4.   What kind of answers does he have to your questions?
5.   How does he address you?
6.   Even the handshake he gives you will tell something about him.
Based on what you already know about the boy and what your daughter has told you about him, tailor the interview around him, after all you may be looking at your future son-in-law.

Fathers, by stepping up to the plate you are demonstrating to your daughter that she is highly valued, respected and loved.  She will feel protected and honored if you take the time to get to know her dates.  If a man has been honorable he will WANT to answer these questions.  If he has failed in some areas and expresses his brokenness for his mistakes, you will know that God is able to use that man to advance the kingdom of heaven.  If a man is not willing to sit down with you and answer these questions, then he is not worthy of time with your most precious, and valued daughter. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Word Mother Doesn't Have an "S" in Front of it.

When motherhood gets too important, this is a bigger problem than we realize.
A Mom's Identity

As some of you may know, I teach young girls that it is vital that they find their identity in Jesus Christ.  The importance of this truth does not diminish as we grow from young girls to middle aged women.

The Bible teaches us that we need to be careful not to allow family to become too important.  Remember the words of Jesus when he said, “If you love your son or daughter more than Me or if you love your mom or dad more than Me, then you are not worthy of Me.”  This applied even to  Jesus' own relationship with his mom and brothers.  When they came after Jesus, He said, “Who is my mother and my brothers?  They are the ones that do the will of my Father."  So Jesus knew and taught from the perspective that as important as family is, it can become too important.
 I have seen so many moms lose their identity in mothering.  Being a mom is a very important aspect of my life, but it’s NOT WHO I AM.  We as moms can become so consumed with our role as mom we lose who we are as a person.  When we find our identity in being a mom then motherhood has become too important.  I loved everything about being a mom: I loved the terrible twos and the terrifying teens, and the cake in my hair, and the spilled punch. I loved the chaos, the noise, the craziness of tons of kids.  It was everything I wanted in my life.  I loved that constant overwhelming feeling of someone being completely dependent on me as well as that joyful, awful feeling of watching that same someone just 18 years later leave me and go off into the world on their own. 
I recently launched my youngest child to college.  If we as moms do not remain a strong identity in Christ as our children are young, we will find that when faced with an empty nest we don’t know what to do with ourselves.  If we are not careful, we can allow motherhood to become all consuming to the point that our marriage suffers, our friendships suffer, and our ministry suffers.  What I have found to be true in my own life is when I have balance in my life I am actually a better mom.  I understand that pre-schoolers require a ton of your time and energy, but even if it’s just one day a week that you let Dad take over, do it!
When our kids were babies I was noticing that my kids would always come to me for everything they needed. Instead of asking Daddy to tie their shoe or help them, they always came to Mommy.  Since I am not co-dependant and did not relate need with love, I had no problem breaking my kids of this habit.  The only way for my kids to learn to trust Daddy to meet their needs is if I left for a day so they would have to ask for Daddy’s help.  This was one of the best things I did for my family when my kids were toddlers.  Not only did Daddy gain a deep appreciation for what I did all week while he was at work, it  also provided me with a much needed break.  Saturday was my day to go to the beach, go to the mall, go out and spend time with friends; I always made sure that I had hobbies or interests outside the hobbies and interests of my kids.  I hosted a scrapbooking club that met at my house on Fridays called “Crop til ya Drop”.  I would go on weekend trips with friends.  If you are not intentional about doing things that cultivate who you are as a person you can easily lose who YOU are.  Our kids do need us to be invested in them emotionally, spiritually, mentally, but we need to be careful that we stay balanced, so that raising our kids does not become our whole identity.  For the past three years I have been teaching young girls that their identity must be in Christ alone, because if your identity is in Christ, you can depend on it for your whole life.  It’s the only thing in life that is unchangeable.  If your identity is in your kids, then when they move out so does your identity.  Neither can your identity be tied up in being a wife.  Marriage changes as well.  Everything in life will change, but God never changes.  When we as moms have our identity in an unchanging God, we can still feel secure and solid when our roles as mothers change.
So what are some red flags to look for if your kids are your identity?  When your kids become your identity, you tend to be a much more critical parent because you take on their failures as if your own, because you believe that your children's lives are wrapped around you.   We tend to over-react to our kids imperfections and failures.  It’s important to ask the Holy Spirit to help you separate your ACTIONS from your MOTIVES.  Your ACTIONS are WHAT you do, your MOTIVES are WHY you do them.   We are very complex beings and no one can sort out the motives of their heart without the help of the Holy Spirit.  Why does it bother us so much when our kids fail or make poor choices?    When you allow your children’s behavior to define you, you are in a very dangerous place.  Honestly your children’s behaviors change with the wind and they are going to make mistakes.  They are going to do foolish things.  They are going to make wrong choices and none of that defines you.  It’s vital to keep in mind that your teenagers have a free will and after age 18 they will have to live with the choices they make - good or bad. Your job as a parent is to work yourself out of a job.  Balance is the key.  That balance is finding your identity in Christ which will never change, even though your mothering responsibilities will change over the years. It’s important to be a well rounded person and know what you like and what you don’t like.  Know the passions of your heart.  The passions of my heart are: Teens, Truth, Teaching and Evangelism.  Throughout all the days of my kids' lives, I never lost sight of those passions.  Even before my kids were old enough to be in youth, I was working with teenagers.  I was asked to come work as a counselor in a youth camp when my youngest son was still breast feeding.  I told the youth pastor that if I came I would have to bring my son with me since he was still breast feeding. The pastor allowed me and my son to come to the camp.   I could have easily told the youth pastor no, but I didn’t because teenagers were a passion of my heart.  It’s important to learn the passions of your heart and look for ways that you can apply those passions. 
Another red flag that your identity might be in your kids is if when it comes time for your kids go away to school, or move out and become their own person, you are still trying to hang on with phone calls, constant Facebook messages or text messages.   Another red flag is if the romance has left your marriage then your kids have become too important to you.  Another way to know that you are over investing in your kids is if you look around and you have no friends.  Or when a friend calls you to go out to lunch and your first thought is, “I don’t have time.”  I am part of a group called “Seasoned Sisters” http://www.seasonedsisters.com/.  I love this ministry because it provides the healthy balance that we moms need to keep us from losing ourselves in being a mom and wife.  We don’t all of a sudden lose our identity, it happens slowly over time.  Don’t allow family to become your religion.  So do yourself and your kids a favor - get a life outside of your kids and be intentional about living a balanced life.