Mama, you hold the keys to the kingdom. Everything your children experience goes through you. Their experience passes through the choices you make for them, your choice of conduct and your choice of daily priority.
What do you focus on and where do you put them? Do you put them with you or somewhere else?
Have you put them in school, whether public or private? If you have, recognize that you’ve turned over the keys to that kingdom. You have underwriters, writing daily on the tablets of their minds. Underwriters that are quite likely spoilers of the kingdom. You’ve also turned them over to a peer group to raise them. And remember that a peer group is simply a large group of children left to themselves… a large group of children biblically prescribed to bring shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
Do you put them in front of the TV or Hollywood or the internet on a regular basis? You have likewise turned over those keys to the kingdom! …turned them over to the makers of Disney or whatever else. Don’t be surprised when your children’s behavior lines up with the current social engineering, they become inordinately covetous, or they bear the primary fruit of exposure to modern media: becoming sexually aware and forward, acting or dressing in ways you wish they wouldn’t. They have been written on.
Do you nag on a daily basis when you are with them and let your discontent spill over into their lives? In so doing, realize that you are teaching them life isn’t worth living. Mother, you have lost the keys. You have thrown them into the moat and your children are waiting at the drawbridge for someone to rescue them and for someone else to write into their lives.
You hold the keys to the kingdom. In sitting down to write about the beautiful ways to make use of that daily kingdom, I realize that many of us have forfeited it entirely. May the LORD give wisdom to not forfeit it entirely but to undertake it and step into our place!
Once we have our children with us, we can do so much. We can do what we’re supposed to do, when we rise and when we walk in the way. (Deut. 6:7)
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”
We can’t do it if we aren’t there. We only can when we structure our lives the way God planned, with mother dedicated to the home and children living their lives in that home, with us. There is no other way to check off that huge box of honoring God’s desire and plan and fulfilling our commission. It only happens daily with them. It happens at mealtimes. It happens during chores. It happens when the children are very little and we share a bed together or we are trying to get them to sleep on their own.
It happens in our daily choice to focus ON THEM, with God’s desire in mind. There is no one else to nurture them in the manner He wants. I am passionate about daily life because it is what makes little human beings what they are. C.S. Lewis said that “In the long run either our Father or the Enemy will say “mine” of each thing that exists, and specially of each man.”
Every opportunity counts and it is incredible how many opportunities pass us by, simply unnoticed. We must begin to use all for God’s glory. Cooking, baking, playing, reading… becoming aware of individual abilities in children and enabling them. The right focus expands our ability to pour into them, for children are ready to be engaged pretty much from the moment they wake up until they drop asleep at night. We can make pretty much anything we do… even chores and grocery shopping and diapers, FUN instead of a challenge, when we have God’s focus. And by so doing, we also speak the language native to their age, and we’ve put ourselves naturally in a place to disciple them to Christ. What more do you want and why would you leave it to others?
We can do all of this by God’s grace and seeking Him, instead of the myriad other things we could do, whether sulking or saving the world on Facebook, shopping, worrying or therapying, careering, or being on social media. Adopting God’s perspective on our children is not only kingdom building but also incredibly rewarding. Obedience is always rewarding because it’s what we were made for.
Seeking to involve our children in everything that needs doing is simply a habit change for many of us. There is always a task appropriate for any age, one that is challenging enough and interesting enough to make them want to join you. We were absolutely designed to work together and play together. For those with bad family habits like constant nagging tendencies or giving children entertainment instead of life… stop depriving them of joy and involvement. Insist on change… it is the only way to obey God and everyone will be glad in the long run! Love your children enough to let them be involved with you and you will find joy and fellowship and fruitful room for discipleship. It’s called bringing them up in the nurture of the LORD. It isn’t for the school to do or for Hollywood. Your children’s lives aren’t for a peer group to manage. We must turn to the LORD ourselves in joy and obedience. Then we must plan to be available for them and love them as He would. We must love them as He would.
Christ’s love will cause us to focus more on little people than on tasks or on things. It will see the tasks as opportunities to train, love and teach little souls.
We have so much nurturing instinct bred out of us by society. We lack example. It is an American birthright to think life is about provision or achievement. Babies get in the way and husbands get in the way too. Yet our society is made up of families …and mamas are the ones meant to build the children. We must resist the temptations of society and the need for approval or affirmation in raising children. So often, even if we homeschool, we find ourselves doing it in a way to please family and friends rather than seeking God in how best to nurture them through learning!
Christ’s answers radically transform. He does not often give us answer A. or B. we are waiting for but tells us those answers are all wrong. The answers He gives have never ceased to amaze me! They surprise and encourage, for His answers always bring freedom. Freedom from doubt or fear. Freedom from conformity and freedom from self-imposed things. He leaves us free to do the little things that others would leave off… the little things that are SO important and build a child’s self worth. Children need to be actually needed and actually loved, not pandered to and not an annoyance.
God says He will provide trivial things like food and shelter if we seek first His kingdom. As mothers, we must understand that Kingdom building for us begins at home. It is made up of little people around us, not things which will all burn up. Spills don’t matter and sand doesn’t matter. The immeasurable little tasks and the beautiful charge of doing them matters. The Kingdom matters. Christ said it was meat for Him to do the will of His Father, and so it will be with us!
Questions for reflection:
Do I value what God values?
How have I nurtured and disciple my children today?
What attitudes do I need to pray about and which things do I specifically need to ask for wisdom for?