Tag Archives: children

Susannah Joy’s Lullaby with Love

Susannah, Nathan and Melanie’s first little girl, was born March 21st and went to be with Jesus March 24th. To read more of the background, see last year’s post.

It’s been on Joseph’s heart to re-record the lullaby he wrote for Susannah’s funeral. He didn’t want to just redo it; he wrote a bridge in addition for the song.  We know the deep ache many have felt as they’ve gone through the loss of a precious child, and we hope this song will minister to you. We all miss Susannah, yet we know this separation is only temporary.

And we can’t wait to meet you, when we see you at Heaven’s gates. 

vocals by Anna, Mary, and Joseph Maxwell
guitar by Joseph Maxwell
bass by Mary Maxwell
keyboard by Jesse Maxwell

“And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there …
but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Revelation 21:25&27

The Little Things in Life: Celebrating Accomplishments

As homeschoolers there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate. For example the other day, Abigail completed one of her school books. She was given two celebrations: one with the aunts and one with her daddy and mommy. That particular night, the aunts were watching the three nieces while Nathan and Melanie had a Baby appointment (Baby is doing well, I might add). We took a delightful walk, and then we donned party hats, ate dinner, and had smoothies as our celebration treat. What accomplishment could you celebrate with your child this week? It’s not hard to create a party!

Joyfully His,

Bethany has such a cheerful countenance.
Bethany has such a cheerful countenance.
Christina's sparkle is contagious. And the way she says my name is enough to melt a person!
Christina’s sparkle is contagious. And the way she says my name is enough to melt a person!
Don't want to get your bike wheels muddy? No problem. Just pick it up and carry it over the offending spot.
Don’t want to get your bike wheels muddy? No problem. Just pick it up and carry it over the offending spot.


Abigail, a great helper.
Abigail, a great helper.


To get this group picture, we set my camera on a share, put the timer on, and then got into position. Gotta love those hats!
To get this group picture, we set my camera on a chair, set its timer, and then got into position. Gotta love those hats!


See what I mean? So sweet.
See what I mean? So sweet.


Aunt Mary and Niece Bethany matching: a special request for the aunt by the niece. Mary's braid is courtesy of Abigail.
Aunt Mary and Niece Bethany matching: a special request for the aunt by the niece. Mary’s braid is courtesy of Abigail.


Aunt Anna and Niece Abigail matching: another special request by a niece.
Aunt Anna and Niece Abigail matching: another special request by a niece.

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste!
yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
Psalms 119:103

Aunties’ Playtime + Grandpa and Grandma’s Night

Every Monday afternoon, the little girls have a special playtime with Aunt Anna and Aunt Mary. If it’s nice weather, they enjoy outside time, but since it has been inclement lately, they’ve been inside. Their favorite toy of choice has been a Melissa and Doug house I bought on sale in December.

A new tradition my parents started this year is a special night, once a month, where the grandchildren from each respective family come over for dinner, playtime with Grandpa and Grandma, and Bible time. This month, the day that worked best was on Monday (normally they’ll do the first and second Thursdays), so the girls stayed over after their aunties’ playtime. We pulled our Playdoh activity center, along with old Playdoh, from the attic. We hadn’t used it for years, and would you believe the Playdoh was perfectly pliable and easy to use? Playdoh with Grandpa and Grandma was most enjoyable.

Serving Jesus,

Christina is such a cutie.
Anna and Bethany
There's a lot of action going on!
There’s a lot of action going on!


Happy times.
Happy times.


“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance …”
Proverbs 15:13

Choosing a Baby Name

Choosing a child’s name is a huge responsibility for a parent. Think about it – your child will have the name you choose for the rest of his life.  That’s incredible!

When Christopher’s family was over on Sunday, Christopher mentioned that he and Anna Marie were going to spend an hour working on baby names that evening. This was not their first time pondering names, either. They take picking a name seriously, considering and praying about what the Lord would have for their child.

Here are most of the characteristics that they take into consideration when choosing a name:

  • Bible-based
  • The character traits of the person(s) in Scripture with the name (good and bad)
  • The meaning of the name
  • How the meaning of the first and middle names combine for a custom name meaning/life vision
  • How the first->middle->last sound together
  • The initials
  • Whether we, [Christopher and Anna Marie], like the name

I hope this will be an encouragement to those who are expecting a little one right now, and for those who are looking forward to a family someday — thoughts to ponder!

Serving Jesus,

Christopher and Anna Marie Maxwell
Christopher and Anna Marie Maxwell working on choosing a name for their baby.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing
also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found
grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. “

Exodus 33:17

A Dramatic Heart-Change Testimony About Children

I hope you’ve had a blessed week! Recently, our friends, Dave and Liz, came to visit. But, this time, it wasn’t just Dave and Liz. We were delighted to meet Anna, their new little girl, for whom we’ve prayed. Liz’s testimony is one of God’s faithfulness, mercy, and overwhelming goodness. Read below. — Sarah

The new Anna with Anna Maxwell
The new Anna with Anna Maxwell

From Liz:

My husband and I were married in 2000 at the age of twenty-two and twenty-three. We loved the Lord, and we were excited to begin the journey of our lives together with Him.

I’m not sure how it happened, but one year turned to three, three years turned to five, and before long I really believed that I didn’t want to have children. One day I actually said out loud to the Lord, “Lord, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I want to have children.”

It’s heartbreaking to think that those words came from my lips and that I could be so selfish, all the while thinking we were doing so much good for God. My heart was in bondage to fear and distrust, and I didn’t even realize it!

Then, one morning in 2007, we were praying with a group of friends. We were asking God to bring back the value of life in our nation and praying for the ending of abortion. Suddenly, I felt the strong, yet kind, conviction of the Lord on my heart. How could I pray this prayer and yet keep my heart closed to the Lord about having our own family? Once again I spoke out loud. “Lord, I’m so sorry for saying that I didn’t want to have children. Please forgive me!”

Now, although I fully believed that God forgave me, I didn’t feel any different. I mean, I didn’t all of the sudden have strong feelings when I was around babies or get emotional when I thought about being pregnant. It was more dry road obedience. If God wanted me to have children, I’d do it out of obedience, but I didn’t feel excited about it.

Then, in 2009, I was introduced to the Duggar family who have a large number of children. It was the joy of the Lord that I saw in their family that drew me in. There was so much love and joy! Then, like an arrow of truth to my heart, I got it. Children are a BLESSING from God. A BLESSING! A GIFT! A JOY!

It was like in one moment, clarity came. All those years, I had not believed the truth of God’s Word that children are a blessing. I believed that children were hard work, a testing and trying part of life. I believed that God gave children to teach parents about sacrifice and self-denial. There may be some truth in those thoughts, but God is a good God, and He gives good gifts. Children are good gifts from God! It’s a way that He desires to bless us, and there I was saying, “No, thanks God, I don’t want your blessings.” Oh how thankful I am for forgiveness and restoration!

In 2011 we found out we were expecting our first baby! However, our excitement turned to sorrow only seven weeks later as we lost the baby in a miscarriage. I really didn’t know if that would be the end of the story. I didn’t know if God would give us that blessing that I had held at arm’s length for so long. Thankfully, He did.

On October 29, 2013 we welcomed our sweet Anna Victoria into the world, and every time I look at her, I’m thankful that God changed my heart and gave me this precious gift! May the Lord’s name be praised, and may He continue to turn the hearts of the fathers and mothers back to the children.

Mary and Baby Anna
The Maxwell Ladies with Liz and Anna
The Maxwell Ladies with Liz and Anna
Dave, Liz, and Anna
Dave, Liz, and Anna

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14 

Are You Raising a Winner?

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September Dad’s Corner


I pulled into the Shell station in a small town in Colorado to fill up while on vacation. A cheerful, official-looking young man around fourteen wearing a neatly-pressed shirt with Shell logos on it approached me as I got out of the van. “Sir, would you like me to pump your gas for you?”

Since I didn’t know if there was an extra charge, I simply responded, “No, thank you, but I’d enjoy visiting with you while I do.”

We first discussed Oregon where an attendant must pump your fuel for you. Then I learned his name, that he was a Christian, that he was homeschooled, and that his father had been a pastor. His friend’s dad owned the station, and he and two of his sisters worked there after school. He was full of life and enthusiasm. He might have been pumping gas for a season, but I’m confident in a few years he will move on to more challenging, higher paying endeavors. I felt he was on track to be a “winner.”

Raising children is much more than changing diapers when they are young and feeding them. Fathers are commanded to take an active role in training their children. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Paul, by the Holy Spirit, would not command fathers in this responsibility if children automatically acquired these attributes themselves. It takes commitment and hard work. Our first priority is to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that they are headed down the right road spiritually.

Dad’s daily example of life in Christ is important in shaping his children, and family Bible time is his most effective tool for shaping his children into winners. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalms 119:9). Not having family Bible time seven days a week is like skipping feeding your child meals because it takes too much time. I’ve heard some say they don’t want to be legalistic about having Bible time every day. Are parents accused of being legalistic who feed their children three meals a day? Of course not! We feed them because it is needful for healthy bodies. We feed their spirits daily because it is needful for healthy souls. No spiritually discerning person would argue that their bodies are more important than their souls, therefore we feed that which will live for all eternity at least once a day. Our family eats “spiritually” twice a day, morning individual Bible time and evening family Bible time.

The young man at the Shell station was a great conversationalist. He looked me in the eyes, spoke with ease, answered my questions, and asked me some of his own. He was confident and had enthusiasm. What about your children? Are you raising winners? (If you need help, see Making Great Conversationalists!)

Are we teaching our children to work hard and apply themselves? Teri and I had a casual conversation “on the road” one day with a public school teacher. She told us how she prepared her students for successful test taking. As she taught them, she would emphasize what would be on the test and encourage them to write it down in their notes. (This is not to imply all government school teachers do this.) Then when they took the test, they were able to use their notes. Can you imagine the difficult time they will have as adult employees trying to provide for their families when conditioned not to have to work hard? How likely do you think their employers will be to give them raises for good performance? Are we teaching our children to work hard at learning?

One way to provide our children feedback on their academic performance is to give them grades for their schoolwork. By giving them tests over what they were to have learned (no open book tests), they will develop the correlation between hard work and positive results. “For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee” (Psalms 128:2). Working hard produces good fruit and is what we want to instill in our children. This leads to developing winners.

As your children grow older, give them projects to do that are beyond their current experience. CHALLENGE THEM—vocationally, physically, and spiritually. This is what lies ahead of them in life, challenges that are beyond what they have already accomplished. Get them used to working hard for a goal and then enjoying the feeling of success and the confidence that they can achieve anything the Lord Jesus calls them to do. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). I strive for each of my children to know the truth of that verse in daily life.

When I use the term “winners,” I know you understand what that means. You have a mental picture that necessitates evaluating your child. That is how serious the challenge is before us. We are preparing our children for life, and the stakes are high. We aren’t teaching our children to win by defeating others but by defeating their own laziness. Everyone is in the race, and all can be winners. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Train your children every day for life ahead.

We just returned home from our vacation in Colorado (see this link and this one for blog reports). We love our time together. As much as possible, we put aside our normal work or ministry responsibilities and focus on each other and the Lord. We spend many hours in intense physical challenges all the while enjoying the beauty of God’s magnificent creation. Together Teri and I climbed two mountains over fourteen thousand feet with our children (now seventeen to thirty-six), and they went on to climb a third one that required a two mile transverse. I want my children to know how to work hard and delight in the view from the top spiritually, vocationally, and physically. Do you desire that for your children? May I encourage you in the job at hand? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Steve Maxwell