Sunday, March 14, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ The Truth, Way, & Life

I have been praying on what to share this month and I believe God is clearly speaking this into my heart...this months theme on Totally Tots is new life and this photo represents that for all who believe on so many levels.

John 4:7-14
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."

8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

13Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

Later in John 7:38 Jesus says, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"

As parents we must teach our children that they have the everlasting life and power of Jesus Christ living in them (once old enough to ask Him into their hearts). Our goal is to help them believe in The Truth, The Way and The Life! Then to allow His truth,way and life to change them from the inside out.

The picture of Jesus speaking to the woman at the well is a beautiful example of how much He loves us all and desires to have a personal relationship with everyone! He did not mock her for being married several times. Nor did He tell her she was not worthy because of the countless sins she has commited! No He told her all she has to do is believe upon Him and everlasting life is hers!

With that she ran and told everyone in her town. They too believed and came to meet a man - The Son of God. The only one who could give them everlasting life. They didn't need proof even from a woman not known for telling the truth. In their hearts they knew what she was saying was The Truth.

My hope is to display this kind of belief before our children and teach them to trust in God - The One who perfectly and wonderfully created them. I hope that by my example day in and day out they will want to drink and be filled by His living water all the days of their lives.

I continue to learn during this journey of parenting 9 children that I must feed them by His every word. That I must shower them with His love and NOT mine. That I must speak His truth into their hearts and minds. That I must show them by my choices that He sits on the throne of my heart! I must spend less time worrying about what I want for them and truly put all of my thoughts and focus on what He wants for them.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

God is asking each of us to parent our children His way. His way is full of grace, mercy and love. His way is full of hope, joy, peace and rest for our souls. His way is truth. His way is life. His way works.

God is not asking any of us to think up the best parenting plan or how to discipline a strong willed child. He isn't expecting us to have a single answer on how to do it right. He isn't looking for us to help Him parent them or even lead the way. I think that is where we fall short daily - we forget to seek His truths for our day and theirs. We forget that our quiet time with the Lord must be carried into the morning as they wake and then every minute thereafter. We forget just how big He is and who He is. We get close to Him and then for whatever reason we place Him in a proverbial box. A box that limits how often we seek Him, trust Him or obey Him. A box that limits how much we pray and rely on His power and faithfulness.

His promises are too big for us to put in any box, especially one we could carry or hide in a closet. Sadly that box is being given to our children - young and old. That box needs to be thrown out and replaced with the right image of God.

I was given this graphic of who I am in Christ two years ago and I believe it is important that we pray these words over our children, with them and explain to them regularly whose they are. Then and only then will they have the right image of God! His word is power to all who trust in it and it will not return void! Just another one of His amazing promises!

Here is a promise that I believe we as parents must remind ourselves daily as we press on towards the goal of Christ Jesus...let it encourage you and help you seek His way for your children (and self)! 2 Corinthians 5:17-22

17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

WOW! You and I are no longer seen as we once were. One of the things I like best about the winter time is showing our children how God sees us every time we confess our sins or when we first ask Him into our hearts. Because of Jesus our scarlett lives are made white as snow! His blood paid the price for all of our sins - past, present and future - we are set free from the bondage of sins and so are they! It is a choice that we must make each day - living out Romans 12:1-2. It is a choice to lay down our lives for the call of God upon our lives as parents raising disciples fit for our King!

Many want the easy parenting answer - you know the quick fix for behavior that is embarrassing or the truly disobedient child. Sorry to say there are no quick fixes for you or me either - we are all in the process of sanctification - glory to glory - faith by faith!

That is the lesson I want our children to learn by watching me and hearing me pray. I want them to know that I too must seek God's throne of grace humbly when I mess up and then walk away filled with joy knowing I am once again white as snow before Him. I want them to hear me say I fell short of Your standards Lord and need to lay down this area of my life so that You and You only may be glorified.

I speak His truth as often as I can and bring them back to God's standards when they begin to forget who they are truly serving. My husband continually reminds me that we are not raising them for today - but to be future leaders of their generation - bold and on fire for Christ - able to defend their faith - and willing to do whatever God calls them to do! We are teaching them to think about their choices and how each one effects their future.

We are known by our deeds. Our words fade but the things we do that glorify God live on. Our legacy is not in the words we speak - it is the deeds we do sacrificially empowered by God for His glory. Not works for approval. Not works for earthly gain. Not works for heavenly rewards. We are not working for anything - but from EVERYTHING!

All of us are working from His love. Every heavenly blessing has already been given to us. Now it is our goal to press onto the prize of Christ Jesus by allowing God to be God in us and through us.

So when all the things you learn don't seem to be working and you feel overwhelmed by the task of parenting toddlers who are strong willed, or a teen who has begun to rebel against your words of wisdom, don't try to figure it out - go right to our Father who longs to help and make our paths straight. Cling to His promises and trust Him as you obey all that He is asking you to do in training up your children in the way they should go.

Today I would like to leave you with other articles and words of encouragement. I pray they bless you and inspire you to follow fast and hard after Him! He is The Truth, The Way and The Life! He will never lead you astray and everything that He allows or bring into your life no matter how strong or long - is for your good and His glory!

For more encouraging bible verses click here.

Some of my favorite parenting posts:
Loving Adopted Children
Love is an Action Word

A great biblical parenting blog and book:
One Million Arrows

A powerful biblical book on raising our children:
Raising Your Children for Christ by Andrew Murray

Walking in His love with you,


Jenilee said...

I LOVE that bell illustration! You share so many wonderful and practical ways to share God's love with out kids. Thank you!

And, thanks for linking up to the discipleship post from my awake journey... I still go back and reread that one myself every so often! :)

Coby said...

This was so encouraging, and right on point - the Lord is really showing me how to let go of my own expectations and agenda, and truly walk in His spirit and direction - for myself and for my children.

Thank you!

Renee said...

Wonderful encouragement!