Child training · Motherhood

The Heart of a Godly Mother

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?

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. Consider some Godly examples.
    1.  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!
    2.  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.
    3.  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!
  4.  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!

  1. 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!

children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent

 

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The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

Denise Signature 150 px

Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting

Family Friday – The Price of Sparing the Rod

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When you bring a sweet little baby into your home, your last thoughts are about the time when you’ll need to correct them.  I mean, they’re so adorable and innocent when they’re little!  But those discipline days come sooner than you imagined, and you find yourself either taking up the rod and lovingly obeying Scripture, or you talk, reason, bribe and threaten until you’re sure someone will die in the process!

I can vividly remember one day with one of my daughters in which I learned a lesson the long, hard way.  She had been a “stinker” all day.  I had warned her and tried to use my words to correct her behavior  (using words as rods is just cruel!).  Late in the day I realized that I failed to obey God’s directives to take up the “rod,” and discipline her in love.  I pulled her to my lap and told her that what she was doing was sin, and that because she’d continued to disobey after my warning, I was going to have to give her a spanking because I loved her and didn’t want her to continue in her sin.  She bent over my lap and I administered the two or three swats with my little paddle.  She cried.  I cried.  I held her in my arms and we prayed that the Lord would help her obey.

Tears were wiped away and she merrily skipped on her way to continue her play.  She was so HAPPY!  Her attitude was completely transformed, as was our day!  It was as though she had been waiting for me to deal with her biblically to prove the amount of love I had for her.  

A parent who loves their child will discipline them as God disciplines us.  Over and out.  I had selfishly kept back from the training she needed.  But now, here she was, singing, playing, and happy after the loving rebuke.  She knew I loved her, and I had learned the lesson to give the correction when it was needed so we could both enjoy the child/parent relationship as God intended!

Do you find yourself frustrated as the parent of a young child?  Have you obeyed God’s Word and lovingly administered discipline?  It’s God’s way, and if used lovingly and consistently, will produce the results of leading a child to recognize their sin, and their need to repent – both to God and their parents.  Stop the frustration, and obey so your child can do the same!

Don’t lose heart; train your children with love and your relationship will be refreshed in unbelievable ways!

I read this article this week that was excellent.  I pray it will encourage you as a parent!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Parenting

Loving Training VS. Unfair Cruelty

Family Camps and Family sermons are a blessing for a mom who is hungry to do things God’s way! I can remember times when after attending Family Camp, I’d come home all fired up and ready to set my girls on the straight and narrow path of discipline. Yes sir, we were going to have an organized, happy, well-run home now! So I’d get out my notes from the sermon on Child Discipline and I’d begin to apply the rules, and the loving discipline that came as a result of not obeying Mommy. Wow! What a change! My daughters knew their limitations, what was expected, and what would happen if they chose to disobey. I learned that children want to know where the boundaries are. It made our girls feel loved and safe.  It made them happy, and it made their parents happy! That is until…

A tiring day would set in. Maybe it started because I had a migraine the night before and got little sleep. Maybe we’d had a busy day, and everyone was worn out…especially Mom. One of the girls would “cross the line” and do one of the “Taboo” things they were recently taught not to do, and in my weariness I’d overlook it. I’d excuse it for one reason or another. Then not long thereafter, she’d add another “taboo” action or response, and she knew it, and so did I, but in my weariness I’d reason, “don’t we all have bad days now and then, for goodness sake?”

On and on this would continue, until finally Mom had had ENOUGH. The proverbial tea kettle boiled over and Katie bar the door, this child was in BIG TROUBLE! Discipline was given, but in anger and frustration, rather than loving correction. How unfair. How cruel of me. The only thing I taught my child in moments like those was to be afraid of Mom!

It was time for Mom to go to school and learn some parenting Math:

Discipline + Consistency = Loving Training

BUT,

Discipline – Consistency = Unfair Cruelty

This equation is true in every area of parenting.  We learn this from our heavenly Father. God is a just God.  He’s immutable (never changing). He loves us enough to consistently discipline and correct every time we disobey.

Last week I gave some encouragement for moms who desire to train their children to sit in church. I heard through the grapevine that one mom read that post and then said, “I sure hope this works!” It’s no secret formula, for sure, it’s just doing the math problem above, adding discipline with consistency in order to lovingly train your child to sit quietly in church. It takes time, it takes patience, but probably the most important ingredient is the consistency! 

When you’re doing the training at home on your couch, if you overlook him getting down a couple times because he “needed his blankie,” or “he wanted his other sippie cup,” you are headed for nothing but frustration. It’s essential that what you expect from your child you adhere to each and every single time. Without that consistency, your child won’t know what’s really expected. They will be confused. One day you correct him for getting down or throwing a fit, the next day, you overlook it. Then when you’re sitting in church and he decides to take a trip down the aisle during the sermon, you’re now embarrassed by his actions, and you chase him down, snatch him up in anger, and storm out of the service. How unfair and cruel.

On my inconsistent days with my daughters, when I finally got back on track and followed through with the loving training, you know what happened? The strife was gone from our home! The Tea Kettle settled down, and my child was once again happy! Yes, even after being corrected. Love your child enough to be consistent with him. It’s the loving training that will bring glory to God and peace in your home and hearts!

When do you find it hardest to be consistent in child-training?

With love,