Sunday, June 22, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
We took parenting as a serious committment. If God chose to entrust us with children, we would be accountable for the way in which we raise them.
Our most important goal was/is that they would love the LORD and serve Him with joy and their wholehearts. How to do this was the question.
Many preachers emphasized the correlation between earthly parents and Our Heavenly Father. With that in mind, the light bulb lit! We determined that we would teach our children by example as much as possible, and train them to follow our example.
Training began when they were wee babes in arm. Daddy would often hold them during Bible reading, and pray with them at bed times and meals, folding their little hands and bowing their heads for them. It became second nature to them to pray this way.
Service was the harder part. The work continues today. But please bear with me as I give testimony of the goodness of God and His blessing us in spite of our often selfish motivation.
Over the past few months we have been enjoying missionaries on deputation/furlough. It has been a season of full days for us. This is a novelty because in times past, we would go for months, or even years with only a little company here and there. Though we can't support them financially on a regular basis, we consider it a great privilege to offer a place to sleep, good food to eat, and all the fellowship they can take.
Imagine how delighted my 18yr. daughter was to be told she "is an excellent kitchen manager"
My Mom commented after her last visit that our children " make her feel special because they serve her"
Let me assure you that I do not take credit for the glory given. It is all the LORDS.
Sometimes as a mom/dad you teach and tell, and teach and tell, and show and... It all seems to go in one ear and out the other. You watch your child falter, fail, forget, and fuss, until all looks hopeless. I cant tell you how many times I have wondered how my child will turn out. I can't count how often I wanted to give up on being tough and a parent, and just be a fun, nice Mom who is a friend to her child. I'm glad I/we were able to hang on to our parenting job-which if a grave responsibility-even when we wanted to quit. Waiting to reap was the harder part....you keep thinking when will they get it, when does it get easier? The answer, none of us like, is in time-weeks, months, years.
Below is a partial list of things we required our children to do (as they were of age/able):
- Chores-these were started as soon as baby was able to understand "pick up you ....", and as they grew stronger, more capable, bigger tasks were added. Picking up toys, making bed (even if it looked bad), folding washcloths/socks, and emptying trash cans, and dishwasher. Once able each child cleared their place at the table, vacuumed, mopped, swept..... With their growth came added/harder chores--washing dishes, mowing grass, making beds properly.
- Community Service--picking up litter near our home, helping neighbors without pay, ministry
- Company--when adults came to visit, clean-up rested on their shoulders (they were around 12 when we started that); quietness to allow adults to converse; babysitting younger ones giving moms/dads a break to be with grownups. Service--greet guests, welcome them, meet their needs as much as possible.
Going back now to the correlation between God the Father and our earthly parents, this was used as a jumping off point for teaching our children to serve us, and more importantly their Dad. Get his food and drink, his slippers, see to his comfort and needs, do anything within their ability to help him, please him, and love him. My husband requires them to do the same with me.
One off-beat thing my husband came up with having them do, to honor their parents, was letting them make-up our room in the mornings. I can hear the shocked "whats?" I said, I thought the same thing. Weird huh? My husband and I had a few fights about this, let me tell ya. It didn't go over well with me, at first either. Many people who hear it think it is..... unfair.
The reasoning behind this is the same as the preachers. They say if you can't honor your earthly parents, if you can't obey authority you can see, how will you honor and obey those you can't see? Meaning God of course.
Once I got over my worrying about what other people would think about any of the stuff we require our children to do, and once I got past feeling guilty for my not doing it all myself, I was able to see the wisdom in my husband's decisions.
I wish I could tell you that I was a dutiful and submissive wife who sweetly went along with the plan, without fear or worry as to whether the children would be bitter, hate us, etc. but I wasn't. Up until recently it was, in fact, one of my greatest fears. And it was proven true to a degree several months ago. However, the real root of the child's problem(s) was/is not over doing chores, in fact, he/she isn't able to be still too long and has to be doing something.
No, his/her problem is rebellion--against Dad. He/she acted as though he/she believes Dad is wrong on many counts, and he/she passed judgment on Dad based upon his/her own opinions. This even came to the point he/she had to leave home.
Now he/she has begun to see the error in thought, attitude, and actions. Praise the LORD! He/she has even phoned home to thank Dad for teaching him/her to work, to serve.... This one has a ways to go, but God is faithful and will continue to work in his/her heart and life.
God has promised us that His word will not return unto Him void, that it will do what He wills. Though things with our child and the rest of the family will never be the same, ( and maybe that is a good thing too) The Word of God which was instilled in this child, from conception to this day, will return to the LORD doing what HE wills. We are trusting Him.
Serving others, serving the LORD God in any way, shape or form, whether big or small, begins in the home, serving those we can see, and touch. IT can be a form of worship and bring glory to God if it is performed with the right spirit and attitude.
If you are struggling today, wondering will I ever see GOOD fruit, will it ever sink in--I am telling you today, YES! YOU WILL. YES! IT WILL.