I have a confession to make. I rarely ever make a recipe as written. Coming from a long line of “dump” cooks (who don’t measure at all), I am brave enough to experiment and come up with my own version of printed recipes. It’s no wonder, I tend to do the same with great ideas for teaching children.
I don’t really remember where I saw the original ideas (although Pinterest is always suspect!), but this combination of several might become a holiday tradition for your family. Call it the “Joy Challenge”.
Schools all over the country teach fire safety to even the youngest children. If you say, “Stop, drop and roll.” to almost any child, he knows it is what he is supposed to do if he is on fire. As a Mom, I feel like I am a “Stop, drop and pray” Christian. My life is often so chaotic, I may be praying without ceasing, but often they are prayers because my life is on fire at the moment. My prayer life is often a reaction to the events and problems surrounding me currently or that I see approaching in the near future. My goal is to develop a more proactive rather than reactive prayer life, especially in my prayers for my child.
When my daughter started kindergarten, several of the moms approached me about joining their Moms In Touch group. MIT consists of small groups of Christian moms all over the world. They meet regularly to pray for the students and teachers in the public and private schools their children attend. Being in that group introduced me to the idea of planned, proactive prayer. The group shared with members several handouts of scriptures to pray for your child. Many of them focused on godly characteristics you hoped your child would develop.
I don’t like to brag, but I throw a pretty awesome pity party. When things aren’t going my way, I can feel sorry for myself with the best of them. Frankly, I am an awesome martyr except for the minor detail of never actually having been martyred. Maybe you can identify?
Life can be really tough sometimes. Christian life brings its own set of challenges. We are called to behave better when bad things happen to us and at the same time are sometimes mocked and scorned for our beliefs. Often it seems like we are the only person on earth still trying to please God and we aren’t so sure how great we are doing.
Maybe I am just in a blue mood lately, but it seems Christians around the world are being persecuted more than they have in years. Our lives may not be in danger for practicing Christianity in the U.S., but we are routinely mocked as stupid, uneducated or hateful. The pressure is sometimes overwhelming to veto God and say His commands are no longer valid in today’s world. Our children will to have to be strong to withstand the peer pressure or persecution they may suffer for obeying God.
Even if our children grow up in a world where God is valued and worshipped, life itself can bring pain. God does not cause pain, but the fallen world means we are surrounded by illness, heartbreak and evil deeds. Even our DNA is no longer perfect, resulting in disabilities and inherited illnesses. Our children will need to be strong to have their faith remain unshaken by the stresses of living in a fallen world.
Even if you could be the perfect parent, bad things are going to happen in your child’s life. Not because God is punishing your child, but because we live in a fallen world. As much as we would love to spare our children any pain, we can’t. Your kids will have disappointments, heartbreaks, illnesses, injuries and other painful experiences during their lives. How they handle the pain though, can mean the difference between living a godly, productive life and being stuck in the pain forever.
Having had a tough year personally, I was excited to get a chance to read Nick Vujicic’s latest book, Unstoppable. (Click to read the first chapter for free.) If you are unfamiliar with Nick Vujicic, he is an Australian Christian speaker who was born without any arms and legs. Evidently, his first book told his story in depth. In this book, he chooses to address issues people in pain may face, giving them hope and practical godly advice.