We were at the beach with our boys. I know that sounds blissful. It was so much fun but vacation with four boys is still a lot of work and very busy to say the least. I brought the Message Bible along. Truthfully, I don't always read the Bible on vacation, but this time I did. I decided to read Philippians and the scripture that popped out at me was from Phil 2 "Provide people with a glimpse of good living and the living God". I really thought about this verse. I am not sure that I have done a great job of this, there is room for improvement. Then I took it further. What do I want to teach them about God's Word before they leave home. I came up with 10 things for now. Here it goes.
I WANT TO TEACH THEM:
1. about the Living God. I can do this by drawing attention to His creation such as nature, animals, the weather, etc. How? I can pray each day that I see Him at work and give Him the credit. When we encounter hard things in our day, I can pause and pray out loud.
2. that God is entirely and completely trustworthy. We may not always understand why things are happening and life can be hard. I want them to realize He is always at work and He knows what is best for us. He is always on our side and with us. How? I can remind them time and time again of His faithfulness in our lives regarding moves, friendships, etc.
3. this more than anything else.... "LOVE GOD & LOVE PEOPLE". They can know every Bible story but if they don't love people, they have missed it totally. How can I teach them this? By providing opporutunities for them to serve and to give to others. I have this saying posted throughout the house (in the bathroom, in the kitchen).
4. to cultivate a thankful heart each day. A thankful heart helps us get our focus off of ourselves, off of the junk in our lives. How? I can provide an example of journaling thanks each day. ( I leave my thankful journal in the kitchen so they can spy it) I can encourage them to journal thanks as well. However, not every boy loves the idea of journaling.
5. to understand that God's love for them does not fluctuate. God's love for us is not based on our behavior or our performance. He does not love us more if we strive to be "perfect". How can I help them grasp this? By reminding them in instruction/discipline that God loves them and so do I even when they blow it.
6. to realize there is always a negative and positive list in our lives. We can acknowledge the negative but our focus should be on the positive. If we let our minds focus on the negative for too long, depression, discouragment, and defeat will be the result. How? When they are struggling, help them to see the positive list.
7. to depend on God daily. We have to fight off self-reliance and independence. We live in a world that pushes us to be strong and succeed. God is drawn to us when we ask for His help and depend on Him. How do I instill this? Remind them to pray for themselves daily. Remind them to ask Him for help.
8. to be someone who promotes God and not self. We live in a world that loves to call attention to "self". Our lives were made to call attention to Him and bring Him glory. How do I instill this? By talking to them about true humility: not promoting self, letting others praise them.
9. to be an encourager: Be someone who strives to build others up and not tear them down. Speak words that are helpful and not hurtful. How? By pointing out their strengths regularly. (I like to write in a journal to them each week.) By disciplining them for tearing down their siblings.
10. be someone who accepts responsibility for wrongdoing. I want them to learn to take responsibility quickly and not make excuses. They need to learn to ask for forgiveness from the individual and from God quickly. How? When I mess up, I need to apologize quickly and pray and ask God for forgiveness in front of them.
As I have jotted these ten things down, I have realized that the example that I provide for them is crucial.
Am I someone who reads the Word and prays often? Do they see me reading the Word?
Am I someone who serves others and gives to others?
Do I cultivate a thankful heart often or do I have a discontented heart?
Do they hear me tearing others down or building others up?
Do they hear me depending on God throughout the day?
Do they see me living a humble life or do they see me calling attention to myself?
Am I someone who confesses wrongdoing quickly?
What I do matters. What I say matters. Who I am matters. This mommy stuff is a huge challenge. With God on our side, we can do this. We can. We really can. Hugs to all of you courageous moms!