Archives For Family Life

2 Years with Nya

April 8, 2013 — 3 Comments

It is crazy to think that 2 Years ago today I loaded up my boys into the van and headed to Boston to greet their mom, new sister and become a family of 5. It seem like just yesterday we walked into that orphange and met our daughter for the first time. The past two years have been crazy, hectic, hard, frustrating and much much more. Yet they have been a blessing, and I would not trade them for the world.

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My two beautiful girls!

Below there is a video of us greeting my wife and daughter at the airport. Here are some thoughts from my wife about the past two years.

2 years ago today I stepped foot onto US soil with my baby girl. We waited for her for almost 3 years. We prayed for her before she was even born. I spent 5 weeks in her beautiful birth country with her until I was given permission to bring her home. Adoption is a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing made from a sad, unnatural, tragic situation. I will never know why Nya’s bio mom gave her up. I could never fathom what this precious woman had to go thru, had to feel to have to give up her gorgeous baby girl, but I am so grateful to her for choosing life for Nya. Adoption is not easy. It’s actually quite challenging & painful. It hasn’t been easy for me nor Nya, but she is my baby girl. God has made her perfectly for our family, & we love her oh so much. No matter how hard our days are sometimes, I am still so thankful & blessed that God chose me for her to call Mumma.

10 Things for Dads

February 13, 2013 — 1 Comment

As I have said in a previous post, I like to wait to post this that many would deem New Years Resolutions for the simple fact that we tend to fail at resolutions. Whenever you step into a new year the top 10 lists abound. Many of them are a waste, a few of them are helpful, and some are even harmful. My hope is not that this list would simply become a good thing you read at the and then forget all about it. That is one reason I didn’t post this right away but waited until February

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As a dad of four kids, I find myself frustrated with my fathering skills more than I find myself pleased with them. These ten things don’t grow out of a sense of arrival at the mecca of fatherhood, they grow out of a recommitment to attempting to do these things in my own life.

  1. Pray over, for, and with your children - one of the greatest things you can do for your children is to pray. What this means in my life is my children and I spend time praying together. I also have a 3X5 card for each of my children and have Bible verses on them that I pray for my kids, and things I know they need me to be praying for them. Finally, pray over your children. This can be silent prayers when you are hanging out, or when they are angry or frustrated. Often I will go into their room after they are asleep and pray that Jesus would save their souls or pray for their hearts to delight more in Jesus.
  2. Get on the floor more - I have a 7-year-old, 5-year-old, 2-year-old, and 1 month old, so floor time is the best. This means not sitting on the couch watching them play, but actually getting on the floor and playing legos, dolls, or whatever it is they would like to play. If your kids are older, this will look different. It might mean getting on the basketball court, the bike, the weight room, or whatever it is they like to do.
  3. Know them better - My five-year old doesn’t really like toys (other than legos). What he likes is tools and grown-up things. So to try to make him play with blocks is not going to work. However, my seven-year old could care less about tools, he likes video games, legos and monster trucks. Dads, we need to know what it is that our children like to do, each of them, and do that.
  4. Read scriptures with them - Our children need to see us read scripture on our own, but they also need to hear us read it to them. There is a great little book called Our Home is Like a Little Church. It rightfully argues that the dad is like the pastor (shepherd) of the family. Dad, you are to lead your children to treasure God’s Word. I do not see how you can do this if they do not see you reading it and hear you reading it with them (not at them!)
  5. Show them you love their mom - One thing my dad always did was show us that he loved my mom. I have heard different people say that the Cousineau boys know how to treat their wives, and I would say if there is a shred of truth to this, it is because my dad always showed us that he loved my mom. If you want your sons to be good husbands, show them how to love their mom. If you want your daughter to marry a great God-fearing man, you better show them what one looks like.
  6. Take them out alone - I have four kids (three of whom are old enough of go out), and I try to make sure that I take them out alone. Usually this means letting them pick a coffee shop, a game, or a book and heading out for an hour or two to just chat and drink hot cocoa or, for my five-year old, a latte – he has good taste!
  7. Turn off the screen(s) - If your family time is in front of a glowing object, I am going to be blunt with you, it is not family time. Now I am not saying renting a family movie every now and then is bad, remember point 3 you need to know your kids. However if your hands are glued to your iPad, smart-phone, or the remote to change the channel, then you are failing at your role of leading your kids!
  8. Ask forgiveness - If you are like me, you lose it with your children. You say things or do things you should not have done. The worst thing you can do when this happens is to simply brush it off or act like it didn’t happen. I can’t count the number of times I have sat down with my kids, held their shoulders and looked into their eyes, often with tears in my own, and asked them to forgive their dad for the sin I had just committed to them. You are not perfect, don’t make your kids think you are.
  9. Live on Mission - Your children need to see that you live your life for more than yourself, your wants, and your hobbies. Your children should see you pick up a hitchhiker and invite neighbors to cookouts and parties at your house. They should go to bed and have other people sitting on your couch who are there to chat. They should see that you spend your money on people who have real needs.
  10. Watch and care for your soul - One of the best things you can do for your family is care for your soul. Who is discipling you? Who are you intentionally discipline? What are you planning on reading this year to become a better dad, husband, or follower of Jesus? For many of us, if we would spend 1/10th of the time on our soul as we do our hobby, the change would be astounding. This means we need to be students of the gospel, and growing as a father.

What else did I miss? What could I add to this list of ways to be a better father?

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Grace of 2012

January 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

The other day I posted that 2012 had been the hardest year in my life. While this is so very true, the other side of the coin is that 2012 was also a great year, and one of the most exciting years in my life.

2012

Yeah, things were hard, really hard. But growing up, my dad always told me that if there is not a battle going on then you’re likely doing little for the kingdom of God. Satan and his crew don’t waste their time on those who are not pressing forward and kicking some butt in Jesus’ name. Now I am not saying that there are not people who have spiritual warfare who are lazy and just sin a ton, but I think there is truth to his statement. Amidst all the trials, sleepless nights, internal strife, and stress within life, there were abundant blessings and grace poured out on a daily basis.

I was blessed with my fourth child, Hudson. My other three children are healthy, growing, and a great joy in my life. In August, I was able to baptize my now seven year old! Not only that, but within Redemption Hill we baptized seven and dedicated six little ones. We saw people get saved, addictions overcome, sins fought, and reconciliation happen. We even made budget, which is a major blessing. On top of making budget, we were able to give away over $6,000 to other church plants, with another $6,000 to help fix cars, put a couple roofs on houses that were leaking, buy groceries, and a bunch of other things. This doesn’t mention all the things that happened within each of the Missional Communities in Redemption Hill. Mortgage payments were made, cars were given, childcare was provided, meals were cooked (probably hundreds of them!), rides were given, people were moved, and I could go on.

Above all of these earthly struggles that were helped, Jesus was delighted in. We still have a long ways to go and grow as we seek to be a people that are broken by Jesus and live as a family of missionary servants, but we are slowly moving that way. The Spirit has been doing His part and refining us, hence the pain and joy!

C. H. Spurgeon said, “Every year that the Church is kept a united church, is a year of miracle.” Of all the things mentioned above, this one truth is of most beauty to me. Grace has caused our little church family to still love and care for each other and have great unity. This is something that we cannot do in and of ourselves. It is done by grace and grace alone. The overwhelming thing is the grace that was extended in 2012 by Jesus is the same grace that we are privileged to walk in in 2013.

Yesterday Jeff Vanderstelt, elder at Soma Communities in Tacoma Washington, posted a string of tweets about parenting, that were very helpful. I figured I would collect them and post them here for those who do not follow him online could read and reap the benefits from.

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  • Parents: Using the Consequences OF sin to get kids to stop sinning will only lead to MORE sin…
  • Parents: If you use shame on your kids you will train them to hide and deceive.
  • Parents: If you use Guilt on your kids you will train them to blame & look away from Jesus to find another atonement
  • Parents: Train up your child in the way he should go… he should go to Jesus who removes shame & guilt
  • Parents: Fear of punishment as primary motivator will train ur child 2 seek 2 avoid pain, suffering and sacrifice 4 others
  • Parents: Fear of losing ur approval will train ur child 2 live 4 the approval of others, from worshipping u to another god
  • Parents: Ur job is not to add more consequences. It is to lead ur Children to Jesus who deals w the wages of sin
  • Real consequences of sin = guilt, shame, fear of punishment, loss of trust, broken relationships. Jesus can remove and mend all of these.

Jeff recommended these books to someone who ask him for recommendations on parenting resources; Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley. I would recommend following Jeff on Twitter, or on Facebook.

10 Years!

November 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

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Today I celebrate 10 years of marriage to the love of my life. 10 years is no reflection to my ability to be a good husband or my wife’s ability to be a good wife. It has nothing to do with how amazing either of us our, it has everything to do with how good God has been to us. God’s grace has got us through many fights, arguments, struggles, hardships, low bank accounts, disagreements, joys, excitements and countless other things. It is only because of what He has done in our lives that we are able to celebrate 10 years of marriage.

Anna, I love you so much and am blessed by the grace Jesus has had on our marriage. I am blessed that God has blessed me with you as my wife! Through all the struggles, hardships and joys, you are an amazing mother to our children, partner in ministry, friend, and much more. You are daily a reminder of the grace of Jesus in my life, and for that I thank you for all you have done for me. I look forward to many more years of walking life hand-in-hand with you as we experience this crazy journey called life together.

Love more than I can ever put into words.

Love, The Josh Cousineau!

Anna and I

Anna and I with our baby girl Nya in 2011

 

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Family photo in 2011