I mentioned in a post last month that I read the book The Mom I Want to Be by T. Suzanne Eller and how it truly touched my heart about the legacy I am leaving behind for our grandchildren. Sure that is still about 10 years away from happening but everything I do with and for our children now effects how they will raise our grandchildren. That thought is causing me to get real intentional with my parenting.
Then another book was recommended to me Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz and I’m almost finished reading it. This book like the first is touching me in a way nothing has outside of reading the bible. It is cutting through every layer of my heart and any mask that I have put on since I was a child. Some of those masks are not so easy to look at or take off. One by one like an onion God is slowly peeling back the layers I have so comfortably lived behind and in. He is showing me that none of them are who I am to Him or my family. I thought I knew Him a month ago. I really did. I thought I had gotten so far from where I was a year ago even and then this book came, and now I realize how little I truly know the God I gave my heart and soul to. I want to be intentional with getting to know Him and me through His truth! Because what I have been telling myself is selling my children short for who they are to become because of my inner most beliefs.
It is NOT easy to take such a hard look at yourself. It is not fun either. I didn’t set out for it to be easy or fun when I committed this year to trusting and obeying God no matter the cost. The cost this time is letting go and letting God completely. Not an easy task for someone whose life has revolved around me taking care of myself in many different ways to survive or to feel loved. I have gone back in time through 100’s of memories starting from very young all the way to today. Each memory has given me a piece of why I am the way I am today. They have shown me why I react the way I do in any confrontation (i.e. disagreement), when I feel threatened, uncomfortable in different situations, my inability to communicate as easily in person as I can sitting here typing to all of you and why I so desperately need God to parent 9 children.
I see small things already in our children that I don’t like about myself and want to help them now make changes to be successful in areas I have struggled my whole life! You know seeing your sins 24/7 in your children no matter how minor they are begins to tell you that it is time to address them and be intentional about it! Homeschooling your children has a way of speeding up this process as well. Adopting 7 children in less than five years doesn’t slow it down either! We sometimes joke, just count our children and you know God is doing something to work out any selfish behavior in us. Often I hear His still small voice when I begin to feel bad that my plans didn’t go as I hoped or wanted, “Jill it is NOT about you.” Right Lord! Sigh… How many times do I need to be reminded of that fact? I’m not sure I can count that high. So in the meantime I praise God He keeps reminding me that my life is to serve Him and not myself!
A week ago the author of the book:
contacted me to help create and design a new blog for them. When I read his testimony that he shared in the email originally sent to me I knew I had to check out this book. Again, God makes no mistakes in when He delivers what I need to hear and know. Nor does He ever make a mistake when I meet a new person – 9 out of 10 times it is for me to learn something and be challenged in my walk with Christ. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m about to be challenged in a whole new way as I get to know Alan and read his book. I would highly recommend all of you checking it out and spending some time reading the reviews here.
What I see as a big gapping whole in the body of Christ is the complete lack of discipleship going on. It starts with you and me at home. It does not begin at church. It is an intentional choice each day to spend more time with God as a family than we do anything else. It is an intentional choice to pray for and with your children. It is an intentional choice to pray for and with your spouse. It is an intentional choice to train them in His ways which are 100% opposite of the worlds. It is an intentional choice to not raise our children to look, talk and be like the world. It is an intentional choice to teach them the joy, peace, rest and hope that comes from living for Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is an intentional choice to let them see you walk by faith, not by sight and to let go of anything holding you back from a fuller relationship with God. It is praying for the grace to be sustained through the trial and sickness, not praying for it to be taken away. It is praying for the grace and wisdom to handle whatever you are dealing with today. It is praying to live for today – not the past or what will be. It is living by faith in God with complete trust in His plans for you and your family. It is living a life of holiness – not complacency and showing the world how on fire you are because of Christ’s love for you!
I have shared this before but it is worth posting again because until we all grasp who we are in Christ and the freedom we have in getting to know Him – nothing will change where it counts – in our hearts and homes.
As I begin to fully understand the word intentional - my eyes are opened to see things His way, my heart is softened and ready to do whatever He is asking of me, and my ears are ready to receive it in full obedience. The way to show God we love Him is to become a disciple of Jesus. Follow Him, deny ourselves and pick up our crosses daily. Anything less is not worthy of the cross He shed His blood on to save us.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me.”
No child is unworthy of the good news and it is time we started to live like it is the best news we have ever heard!
The funny thing about all of this is – when I was first asked to write this feature for Totally Tots I thought God’s plan was to use our experiences over the last 15 yrs of parenting, little did I know He was going to use this feature to teach me many things about the greater things to come! I thank God for a place like this that causes me to draw closer to Him and rely on His wisdom. I thank God for allowing me the privilege to share all that He continues to do in my life and our family as we trust and obey in Him more each day. I thank God that there is hope, mercy, forgiveness, healing, grace and love in The Truth! I praise Him for bringing me to my knees once again as I dig deeper into what it means to walk by faith intentionally!