We move today from our role as wife, to that as mother as we review Elizabeth George’s book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart.
When Elizabeth George heard someone say that there was no greater place of ministry or position or power than that of a mother, her heart sank, It certainly wasn’t how she thought of motherhood. She had two busy preschoolers whom she loved, but she agreed that they were untrained and undisciplined. Their home was filled with tension because she didn’t know how to control them or train them.
Maybe you find yourself in that same position? I hope to encourage your heart today and give you some direction about how to have a heart for your children.
It also took a hard lesson for me to learn the value of me being the one who spent the most amount of time with my daughter. When my oldest daughter was four, I was offered a teaching position in the Christian School in our city. Believing that it would help us financially, my husband and I decided that I would teach at the school, and our daughter would go with me to school and attend the preschool in the morning. At noon my husband came and picked her up and took her home with him. We had it all figured out in our head, but in reality, it was a nightmare!
I found that I missed my time with my daughter so much. Other people were having to pick up what I had dropped. In the afternoons when my husband had hospital calls or a funeral to officiate, someone else was called on to care for my daughter.
Those nine months were months of learning that the best thing that I could do for my family was to be present for our children.
In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George also found that spending a great amount of time away earning a degree in family counseling was not helping her family! She was trying to help everyone else while her own home was in disarray. How can we have a heart that reflects a heart that truly loves her children?
!. We must have a passion for teaching God’s word. The most important thing that we can teach our children is to love the Scriptures. We might wish to have a ministry at church, but it’s not the children at church that we should be focusing on. Nor should our focus be our friends’ children or our neighbors’ children. Our own children are to receive the first fruits of the burning passion that we have for the Scriptures. Proverbs 1:8 says, My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of your mother. Who is teaching this child? Their mother is! Proverbs 6:20 says, My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother. This indicates that you and I are on assignment from God to teach our children His Word. We can do so many things for our children, but teaching them God’s Word is to be the greatest passion of our heart and life. Why? Elizabeth says that God’s Word (the Hebrew for Torah which is the Divine Law, the Word of God) has value for salvation and for eternity!
How will they know who God is without the Scripture? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17. II Timothy 3:15 teaches us that Timothy was taught the Scriptures as a child that made him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. God’s word will always accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. (Isaiah 55:11) We cannot teach our children God’s Word if we do not know it. It must be in our heart before we can share it with our children. How well do you know God’s word? Your children will not surpass your understanding of the Scriptures. We need to saturate our own hearts and then teach them what God has taught us.
2. We must have a passion for teaching God’s wisdom. This is closely connected to teaching them God’s Word. The second meaning for the Hebrew word Torah is wisdom. In other words, this is Scriptural wisdom for daily life, and who doesn’t want their child to have that?!
Proverbs 31 1-9 gives us a peek into a mother who treasured God’s Word. King Lemuel records the prophecy that his mother taught him. Think about this king as a young child sitting at his mother’s knee being taught by her. She’s passing on wisdom that she has learned from God’s word. Now all these years later, he is a king and he’s using that wisdom to guide his leadership..
Deuteronomy chapter 6:6, 7 says that we are to teach our children diligently and talk of his word when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. It has to first be in our own heart, and then we must deliberately and diligently teach our children all through the day in every activity that we participate in.
We need to be teaching our children the essentials of loving God and knowing Who He is. How do we do that?
- We bring him into everything that we’re doing throughout the day. When we sing our little baby to sleep, we should be singing Bible songs and hymns and songs that teach them about the character of God. Elizabeth shares an example about a woman who has such a passion for memorizing scripture. She would recite the scripture she was memorizing to her little ones each night as she tucked them into bed, when one of her children grew up to be a college-age student, she had learned so much scripture by memory that she didn’t even really attempt to memorize. She had heard her mother say it over and over so often that it just embedded itself in her heart as well!
We need to be relating God to our child all through the day and all the decisions we make. Relate every tiny thing to God. Talk to your children about the Lord whether they like it or not; whether they think it’s “cool” or not. We talk about things that we value. How much do we value the Lord and his Word?
The first way we teach is by our words, but the second way we teach is by our walk Or simply the way we live. They are watching us and we are teaching them either positively or negatively. Do your children hear you say one thing to them and then watch you do the opposite? They are very wise to see duplicity. You be the real deal and live a life that is so compelling and your children will follow.
What are some practical ways to do this?
- Make some serious decisions. Will you take time in your schedule each day to teach your child God’s word? Will you talk about him? Will you turn off the television or lay down your phone so you can spend time pouring truth into your child? Proverbs 14:1 says that a wise woman builds her house, but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.
- Recognize your role as teacher. Ruth Graham said that the nicest, most rewarding job in the world is being a mother and a homemaker. She said it was second to none not even preaching! Then she added, maybe it is preaching! Preaching is simply instructing and imparting truth and every opportunity, and that is what every mother must do.
- Consider some Godly examples.
- Jochabed had Moses probably for only 3 brief years before he went and lived with Pharaoh. His mother knew that she only had a brief time to teach him about God and His truth. She took it seriously!
- Hannah. She took Samuel to the temple when he was probably only around 3 years old. He was going to live with an old priest who had rebellious sons. But she had taught him God’s Word and he lived to be a godly prophet and leader of God’s people.
- Mary. She took her assignment from God very seriously, having Jesus in the place where He needed to be at all times. Our task is no less important than hers was!
- Memorize Scripture and read the Bible together . Corrie Ten Boom who was imprisoned during World War II in the Nazi concentration camp, was sustained and used by God through the Scriptures that her parents taught her while she was a young child. Her storehouse of God’s Word helped her to survive the Nazi concentration camps. Her father had told her, “Girl, don’t forget that every word you know by heart is a precious tool that God can use through you.” God used his word as an instrument of evangelism as she offered the hope of the Gospel to other suffering prisoners.
Read God’s Word together as a family How could you implement that into your family? I love reading the psalm of the child’s age each night as they go to bed. They are usually very short Psalms, and by the end of the year before their next birthday, they will probably have that psalm memorized… and so will you!
- Follow the model of other mothers . It’s so valuable to spend time with a mom who has been where you are. Learn from her, ask her questions, talk to her about issues that you are struggling with and get some good counsel!
Remember that you cannot pass on what you do not already possess. If you want to have a child who loves God and His Word, you must be a woman of the Word, then let that spill over onto your family.
What will you do today to pour truth from Scripture into your child’s heart so that they will know God’s Word and have His wisdom?
Refresh your love for God’s Word!