Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Impressing On My Children

deuteronomy 6

I have many memories of my parents spending their own quiet time with the Lord. In the mornings, I could always count on finding my mom sitting at the end of our couch, Bible and journal in hand. My brothers and I knew that no breakfast would be served until Mom was done with her quiet time. At the end of the day, my dad would come home from work, kiss my mom, catch up with us for a while, and then, on many occasions, retreat to his room until dinner was ready. When sent to tell him to come eat, I’d find him laying on the bed with the Bible spread out across his chest. Sometimes he was sleeping, but most of the time he was underlining or starring passages and making notes in the margins. I always wanted to find something in my Bible worth underlining, or have some thought to jot down as well.

At night, my mom would pray after tucking me in, and my dad did the same with my brothers. The nightly routine of praying with my mom continued until I moved out of the house to go to college. Granted, as I got older I went into her room since mine was too much of a mess. I never doubted the reality of my parents’ faith. I saw it modeled and wanted the same for myself.

Since becoming a mother myself, modeling my faith has been a frequent topic of thought in my mind. How do I maintain the depth and frequency of my time with the Lord while also showing Jace how valuable and genuine it is in my heart? The things I thought would have come so naturally have truly taken effort and consideration. When I found myself slipping into a routine-sounding prayer before putting him to bed each time… “Dear Jesus, Thank you for Jace. Please help him to have a good night sleep. In Jesus name, Amen…” I realized that this precious time of rocking him while he cuddled into me and actually listened was an amazing opportunity to not only pray, but model heart-felt prayer and consistently advocate for my non-believing brother. By committing to this, I feel convicted each time I allow myself to rush through and use the routine prayer.

While my quiet times in the past have always been at night in bed before going to sleep, I’ve recently realized that it’s impossible for my son to see how important daily time in the Word is to me. So now I do it in the mornings while he watches Dora or any show of choice. It may not be as intimate of a time between me and the Lord, I find it no less valuable—if anything, I feel like God has rewarded me with greater revelations about His Word.

I love Deuteronomy 6:5-9. We are given the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength. But that love is not supposed to stop at the personal level—it’s to be impressed on our children. To be demonstrated in our words and actions. To be engrained in their hearts and minds. My words, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, are to point my children to an understanding and respect of God’s commands. My faith is to be present within my home, not just my heart.

I definitely have not arrived in regards to impressing my faith on my children, but I’m finding that when I keep it at the forefront of my mind, it’s much more likely to happen. I’m so thankful for parents who honored this command and can only hope and pray that I can do the same for mine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Satisfied with Adequate

Five months after stepping down from my part time job as the Children's Ministries Director at our church I entered a new realization about my role as a full time stay at home mom. From day one I was thankful for this opportunity. I didn't question that it was a change called for by God. I saw the benefits in my relationship with my son. I was slowly settling into the role of homemaker. But what was new five months into this journey was my realization of contentment. I knew without a doubt that home is where I am supposed to be. I don't think I've felt such a sense of contentment in my life--ever.

But despite this place of peace, I found myself falling short in my role as mother, wife and keeper of the home. A whiny day from my two-year-old was met with intolerance and irritation and my hard working husband came home to a wife who showed no signs of contentment. I spent my evenings recovering on the couch--after all, my day had worn me out and I deserved a break. Despite having few commitments outside of our house, dishes had piled up and laundry needed to be washed or folded. The bathrooms were far from lovely and my list of what should be done ran much longer than the list of what was actually being done.

And that is when a Bible study I was doing through my church brought me a scripture and a new perspective on my life. "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life," 2 Corinthians 3:4-6.

While working full time and then part time in the church, the fact that my ministry could only succeed according to the Lord's strength and not my own was on the forefront of my mind. I knew that when I tried to act according to my own abilities and giftings things might look good (or possibly awful) on the outside, but within myself and the core of the ministry things would fall apart. I knew it was not by my strength but His that things would succeed--and then it would be in spiritual terms and measures designed by God. And when I stepped down from that role, I knew that finding a new ministry would be key. After all, I needed to continue serving.

Sadly, thinking of my home and caring for my family never entered my mind as that ministry. I knew it was the role God called me to, but looking at it in spiritual terms didn't happen. Sure, I'd heard women talk about how the ministry God had called them to in this season was their family. I may have even applauded some while scoffing at others thinking it was an excuse not to get involved in their church. But recognizing that my family is my ministry first and foremost, no matter where I get involved next just hadn't happened. 

And then working through the study leading up to this passage I started to take on a new perspective. Which lead to 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 showing me that everything I do within my home (dishes, diaper changes, cuddles, laundry, cooking...) is my ministry and God will be the one who equips me for it. Serving my family is not something I can do on my own, with my strength or abilities. HE will make me adequate. Or, using the words from other translations: sufficient (ESV), competent (NIV), and qualified (NLT). 

He will show me what my son needs. He will give me patience. He will give me motivation to get off the couch. He will give me the desire to do dishes. He will give me joy on the hardest day so I can greet my husband well. That is, as long as I don't get in the way. It doesn't mean He'll make me supermom. He'll make me the person I need to be to accomplish the ministry He called me to. And then everything that happens within that accomplishment will be a testament to the work He is doing in and through me. 

So join me on my journey to becoming adequate--and being satisfied within that role. To not just be content knowing I am where I'm supposed to be, but to love every aspect of where that is.