I almost didn’t get to this post! I wanted to blow it off….but I remembered the last time I almost blew a post off and how God used it to convict me of so many things in my heart toward my husband, so write this I will!
Chapter 3 is the “A” part of H.E.A.R.T – Accept Your Children. It sounds a bit funny, to think that we wouldn’t accept them, but it is a reality to many of us parents that the way our children are just bugs us sometimes!
Rachael right away combats the idea of changing, or completely rewiring our children. God has been working on this in my own heart since early last year – it all comes back to that again, the HEART, the attitude, NOT the actions!
What is going on inside their little lives, how they are wired, how the react and respond – God has given them to us to MOLD and direct, not change. Oh no, that work is left up to the only one who can accomplish that – through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit as they surrender themselves to the Heavenly Father!
Rachael said “Could it be that I have given birth to an answer to prayer?”. It really struck me – deeply. God has made my children just the way they are for a REASON, for his reason and purpose, not mine. Instead of working so hard to change them, I need to pray for God to reveal HIS plan and purpose for their lives – not mine.
The Boy, almost 7 years old, has always had a very strong will, and right from the beginning I was determined to make him do what I wanted him to do, to “rewire” him in a sense. But God stopped me in my tracks and showed me that I need to LOVE my children, just the way they are, and use his word to teach and train, and most of all PRAY, letting HIM do the dirty work in their hearts. And we are beginning to see the effects of prayer and communication, correction, love and patience (although I fail DAILY in this area!) in this Boy’s life as his will is not BROKEN, but rather prayerfully BENT toward serving God and not himself. He is becoming more compassionate and kind, helpful, with a servant’s heart – not because of anything that we have done aside from our responsibilities as his parents to teach and train him, but I really believe because of the Holy Spirit at work in his life. He is our firstborn, and his name means “Valiant protector” – we are trying to teach him what this means, to be valiant – STRONG, FIRM IN THE FAITH, unwavering, unafraid, fearing God and not man, protecting those younger, weaker. I had no idea when we gave him the name just how important this would become, and I am excited to see how God will work in his life!
JJ, just turned 5, is a ball of energy, barely stopping for a breath, always moving, building, talking….falling :D He’s a challenge that one, and does not fear going up against the rules – in a subtle, cute, yet frustrating way, he’ll toe the line as far as he thinks he can get away with, sometimes without really knowing (I honestly think his head is in some lego creation in his mind most of the time). Yet he IS able to direct that energy toward good, and to give himself whole heartedly to a task, often offering to do more than is required, even before it is asked of him. His name means “God will raise up” or “God will exalt”, and as the prophet Jeremiah, I pray that he will direct that energy toward teaching the truth, not following the rules of this world, but understanding and obeying the Lord’s calling in his life.
Then there’s Keeker. Our little girlie girl tomboy, 3 going on 10. Her name means “Beautiful, pleasant, delightful” – and there are definitely those moments! She also has a strong will (gee, I wonder where on EARTH she got THAT from…momma, cough, cough), and a loud opinion. When she’s not happy or getting her way, she lets it be known. And because she’s the baby, and the only girl, and so cute :D it’s easy to let her get away with it. BUT, as parents, we are to LOVE and CORRECT, even when we don’t feel like it. And when we keep on that correction, we see more and more of the beautiful and pleasant come out. And boy does she ever follow up on her “Thursday’s child is tidy and neat”! She loves to clean up and help mommy and the boys with tasks around the house – a real servant’s heart is there to be cultivated!
Through this chapter, God has revealed a lot to me about our children. I have a picture beside my bed with Psalm 117:3 on it “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” I most CERTAINLY do NOT always feel this way – that’s my selfishness talking. When they don’t behave a certain way or do what I want them to do, I feel annoyed, like a failure. But often the character flaws that bug me so much are imitations of my OWN sinfulness. It is so humbling to see your children behave the way you just modeled for them, and know that it was NOT a good attitude you displayed for them. (How many times do I yell up the stairs “STOP YELLING AT YOUR BROTHER!” Ouch.)
So what do you do when this happens? BE HUMBLE! Repent before the Lord, then bring it to your children’s attention – let them know the way you behaved was wrong, that the attitudes and actions you showed them were wrong and led them astray. They are so ready to forgive and when you deal with your own sin, then you are able to lead them in the way they should go.
God wants me to give all these situations to him – to teach these children to know who they are in CHRIST, not what the world tells them to be, or identifying/accepting themselves.
To help them to identify what God has called them to do by affirming their strengths and directing them through handling their weaknesses. Instead of “sermonizing” when they do wrong (oh how I struggle with wanting to do this when I’m ticked off at the way they’ve behaved!), I need to help them to see what God would have them do – to give reproof, teach, correct, train in righteousness – but skip the sermon, they know what they did was wrong!
I love how Rachael lays out how to deal with sin toward the end of the chapter:
- Remind them that God is their HEAVENLY Father, their King, Maker of heaven and earth
- Recount all that God has done mercifully and graciously for them
- Show them what God says in his word about sin (general, and specific)
- Discuss, pray together for the Holy Spirit to do a mighty work in their hearts and give them strength to live obediently
- Memorize – overcome by the word of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16 – all scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness)
We use “For Instruction In Righteousness“, a fantastic resource that goes through all different kinds of sin areas in our lives, uses biblical examples to reproof, verses to memorize, suggestions for actions to make things right. It has been a real encouragement in knowing how to SEE what kind of sin is happening in their lives and how to correct it and love through it.
I am committed to accepting my children for who God has created them to be, teaching, correcting, training in the truth of His Word, praying for them and with them, and getting out of the way to let the Holy Spirit do the work in their lives.