When our daughter was starting to walk, we told her she was not allowed out of bed without permission. We had heard too many horror stories of what happened to babies who wondered out of their cribs and rooms during the night. Our daughter was great about playing quietly or looking at books until we came and got her in the morning or calling for us if she had a more immediate need.
When we potty trained her, we wanted to get rid of the rule. I didn’t want her to wait for me to respond if she had to potty. I wanted her to run for the potty so she wouldn’t have an accident. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to convince a child who had been told a behavior was a “no” for so long that the behavior was now a “yes”. “No” was easy and safe. She knew what that looked like. “Yes” was scary. How could she know she wasn’t doing “yes” wrong?
To truly dedicate your children to God, you need to prepare them to share their faith with others. Too often though, Christians seem to believe sharing their faith merely means showing up to well choreographed worship services. If we are feeling particularly evangelistic, we may invite a friend to join us. Churches are sometimes places where we are worshipping with people just like us. People perhaps unwilling to show any vulnerability in fear of appearing somehow unworthy of being there.
In The Briarpatch Gospel, Shayne Wheeler gives a view of Christianity which we need to share with our older children. In this book, we read the stories of some people who have been involved in some of the more “visible” sins often viewed as almost unforgivable by many Christians. Wheeler encourages us to realize we are all equally sinners and God has called us to something more than just evangelizing our friends.
Have you ever been antsy? (I believe the official medical term is “ants in the pants”.) It’s that feeling where there must be something more. Something more you should be doing, maybe something really important. Something that makes a lasting impact on God’s Kingdom. Surely God didn’t mean for you to use your talents changing diapers and wiping runny noses. Or did He?
Enter The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson. Ms. Clarkson does a wonderful job of gently walking you down the path of discovering what it is God has really called you to as a mother. She has developed a systematic way of examining the idea of mothers as ministers. Not a paid minister in a church, but as possibly the most important minister your children will ever have.
As a former career woman, turned stay-at-home mom, I get upset when I hear mothers say staying home with their children is not fulfilling and doesn’t allow them to use their gifts. Women in management often mention the frustration of only being able to use their leadership skills at the local PTA. I am not going to debate the pros and cons of mothers working. I will say that whether you work outside the home or not, mothers are leading a project that requires the most creativity, business savvy and leadership skills possible. The critical leadership role God has given you is to lead your children to Him.
Mothers (and fathers) need to hone and develop their leadership skills, perhaps even more than the most famous CEO. Why? Because we are attempting to lead our children to follow God all the days of their lives. Whether or not we can successfully lead our children, may mean the difference not only in their lives but also in their eternities.
Have you ever wished you had a better relationship with your spouse or children? Are there unresolved issues with your parents or siblings? Do you feel as if your friendships aren’t the deep meaningful relationships you really want? Do you sometimes feel as if there is no one who really knows you and accepts you and unconditionally loves you for who you are?
I don’t know if I have ever said this about any book (other than the Bible of course!). If you have meaningful relationships in your life that are not what you wish they were, you absolutely must read One Month to Love by Kerry and Chris Shook. This couple has done the best job I have ever seen of breaking down the various aspects of not only how to be the person you need to be in your relationships, but helping you understand what you need from the important people in your life.