Monday, May 9, 2011

Teaching What Matters...Trans-parently!

Dear Ladies,

Who knows our children better?  Why do I forget that I do? I am their mom. My children are not toddlers anymore.  The communication between my children and I can be deep and infinite.

When I look at my children I can see their character and some of it is not good.  They learn that from me...after all I am with them 24/7.   If there are areas of Diligence, Charitableness, Loyalty, Usefulness, Purposefulness, Faithfulness, Truthfulness, or Selfless and Sacrificial hearts, these are wonderful qualities for a family to rejoice in.

If Christ is the reason for these characteristics, then we will grow deep in our realtuonships and the result is glory to our King.

If the reason is not for our dear Savior, it should be.

We are not to malign the word of God with wrong behavior.  We do!  I know I do.  For self pride still longs to live in my members and have its way at all cost at times.

All this to say...Can't I help my children in this area?  Yes!   I have God's wonderful and effective word.

If there is an area in my child's life I want to help them with, I must examine myself first.  So as not to be a hypocrite to the watching eyes and ears of my precious children,  I must confess my weak areas to my children and set an example of setting a course for victory with scripture in one hand and my heart for Christ in the other.  How else will they know what is happening in my mind and heart if I am not willing to be transparent about my weakness in the first place.

Then I can ask for prayer.  This is a wonderful and humble process to allow my children to pray for me.

In all this, I am setting an example.  One they can follow when I take great care in approaching them with an area they may need to consider in their lives. There are so many role models but few that live so dramatically different and humble enough to admit it.  We need to be the kind of heroes of the faith our children can see in living color outside of the Bible.  Ephesians 4:29 states "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Our children say and do things in our midst that can make us upset, angry or even unjust.  I am convicted the whole time I am upset.  Frustrated with a child and there the Holy Spirit is gently  convicting me over my method or tongue.  I come to the conclusion that self still lives and has not died and trusted God to grow my children.  I can only plant and water, but God does the growing! If I do my part, do I trust Him with the outcome...what ever that will be.  My frustration is clearly a sign that at that moment I don't.

The truth of Ephesians 4:30-32 dwell richly in my mind and bridle my tongue. It says "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Convicting!!  But as a mother, I want to reach the heart of my children  the way God would like me to do it!   Then, they can see how great a God we have.  Our God loves us with a passionate love.  I want to show my children that kind of love for His name sake.

Does this mean there are no consequences?  No, may it never be...Consequences have there place when grace is cheapened and taken for granted.  But if we are full of the grace of God, will find the hearts of our children sooner than punishment can even achieve.  The principals of the New Testament are loaded with grace, love and mercy.  The power of love and mercy is like placing coals on the head of someone who knows their due punishment. A pardon is what we received from our Savior on the Cross.

If I know my kids.  Really see their weakness and strengths, I can help them.  I can purpose to teach a matter diligently in a way that pleases the Lord.  This may take time.  Weeks of instruction on a single purpose to help the child understand the principals found in the situation.  God is that patient with us when we are lazy and weak to change or cut something out of our lives.  And when they or even I fail....we have Christ!

But for the grace of God go I...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Let Me Be Found Faithful To The Lord

Dear Ladies,

The older my daughters get, the more I know my time with them is getting shorter.  My mom once said, 'You either are a good example or a horrible warning."  It has stuck in my head ever since.

I was not raised in a Christian Home.  The Bible was not the authority for the meaning of life.  Later in life, at the ripe age of 36, the Lord saved me.   My hubby and I had four children and we were behind the proverbial eight ball.  I wanted our children to be hungry for the word, walk in His ways and love God with all their hearts.  I had to make up for lost time.  I needed to tell them what the Bible said.   And it was a big book!!

Through out the years, God has grown me.   He replaced an anxious heart, with one that is learning to trust Him.  He is replacing an impatience heart, with a strong desire to have a winsome way of waiting on the Lord.  Notice, He is the one who is doing the work within my heart.  He gets all the glory!

So did a cloud angel hit me on the head and I just started to think this way about anxiety and patience.  NO!
Actually it was the word washing over my heart, faithful ladies who loving spoke into my life and lastly I needed to pay attention to the history God was writing in my life...who am I to get in the way of that!

After some time of reflection, I could see what God was using to teach me throughout the years.  The word, faithful ladies, watching for His faithful hand in my life.  Now can I now turn around an apply these things to my daughters.

I have become a student of their hearts.  I bring scripture to bear upon their thinking, some times day after day, until it lives in there.

Remember how you felt when you were studying Algebra.  You would said to yourself, "Why do I need to know this...I'm never going to use it!"  Maybe that's what is goes on in the thought life of our children.  So, lately, I have been connecting the dots.  If I share God's word, I not only apply it to the current situation, but to their future.  How it fits into married relationships, siblings, friendship, and work life.

Discipleship is a daily reality.  When the faithful ladies spoke into my life, they did it with love.  They had to be patient to see it germinate and then bloom, if the Lord willed.   This is were their winsome attitude was helpful.  It beat the heavy handed mouthful of judgement.  I know I have delivered that kind of discipleship with my children.  I certainly wasn't putting my fruits on display.  I was not worth following! 

Our children are so precious to us, I think we become frightened and anxious for them.  I want to see their fruit for the Lord and when I don't it causes despair.  I still need to be like my Lord whose kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  I need to forgive, like Christ has forgiven me (Eph 4:32).  I need to love like my Savior (Romans 5:8).

I must enforce consequences, but without the rage, the disdain and the profane lack of love.  I wonder what we would say if we could see our faces on some cosmic TV screen during one of those times, saw what our children saw.  I know I would not be representing the gospel. I would be sending a different message. Worship me!!  Or our God is not worth following when things get difficult.

When God reveals, comforts and encourages us,  I want to be able to say...Did you notice how God worked that out?  We should not be discouraged or angry lest we miss what God will do!  How great is our God!

Now that is a great opportunity ESPECIALLY if my child have had the opportunity to watch me weather  the not so pleasant sides of life in a  fallen world.  I am not saying I have to be perfect.  I need to be able to recognize my sin and repent right away.  If I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, then I will feel the effects of sin.  I can tell when my children are getting my blood boiling.  I need to stop it before it starts.  I need to renew my mind in the scripture Romans 12:1, Col 2:8.  Ask for any forgiveness

When our children leave our home and have families of their own, how do we want to see them nurturing and  admonishing their children.

I hope to be planting a vision for the future. Purposefully living now, so the fruit for the generations to come will be an effective evangelistic tool for a lost and dying world.

Many, faithful saints, of days of old, have proven this reality.  Faithful men and woman whose children and their children's children...All Walked With The Lord.

There is so much at stake.  Let me be found faithful to the Lord.