Friday, June 5, 2009

Loving Your Children God's Way; and God's calling from Titus 2 - Part 1 - A Devotional

Hi Everyone:

I take very seriously God's call for the "older women to teach the younger women" as it relates to their husbands and children, homemaking, and the like. As a result, I have read dozens of books, and studied God's Word extensively as it relates to my life as HIS daughter, my husband's wife - and sister in Christ, and the mother of my children. Listed at the bottom of this post will be some of my personal favorites.

I was cleaning out some things near an old computer we used to have and found the following notes I'd made for a friend. She'd called me at her wit's end about her oldest child (she has 3). She was on her way back from dropping her off at school and an apparent battle had ensued between the two beforehand. Here's what I shared with her, and with you all now...

The following verses are critical to our understanding of our role as parents, and mothers in particular. I like the teachings of Lorrie Flem, who always begins with, something like this - I'm here to teach under the authority of my husband and my God. I do not desire to teach the men, as that is not my place. So, men, if you are reading this is encouragement for your wives, as you support them in their role as your helpmeet and the mother to your children. I share her sentiments.

So here I will share some scripture and a few thoughts as I've pondered them over the years.
Proverbs 13:24 "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." To me this just reminds me that a swift dealing with behavior is God's best course of action for us. Don't let it go on, don't let it fester, don't let it grow resentment or frustration in your heart or theirs. Discipline them swiftly and justly. This is one thing I'm definitely doing differently with my 2 year old than I did when my oldest (12 year old) was that age. Fits, tantrums, crying when she doesn't get what she wants - all of these things are met with an immediate and swift swat on the diapered behind and she's told to, "Hush!' With the first one, I tried the psychologist way of doing things and "ignored the bad behavior - trust me, it doesn't work - it only gets worse with age.

Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands." I'd like to be able to say that this is self-explanatory, but I can't tell you how many Christian women I see doing this very thing. While clinging to the ways of the "world", and refusing to follow and embrace the VERY IMPORTANT roll God has given them, they lose much joy which is found only in losing your life for His purposes.

Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction." Again, common sense should tell you that the earlier you start to train their hearts the better, and the easier! We should not sit back and wait on the Lord to impose punishment on them when we should be doing it ourselves. And I hope that it goes without saying that we should never glory in the destruction of our children because they "just wouldn't listen". They don't need to hear, "I told you so!" Instead they need us to beg and plead with them from our hearts to come to and follow the ways of Christ.

Provers 20:11, "Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right." I must warn you that this is a particular peeve of mine. :O) Just because your child may have gone to Vacation Bible School, or Church Camp, or whatever and had some sort of "spiritual experience" does not mean they are born again!!! Read their behavior, then you will know if their hearts have indeed truly been changed. The danger here is that we may sit back idle, thinking - "well he got saved at VBS." Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous!!!

Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." As I've studied over the years, I have come across many resources that indicate that the literal translation here is "In the way he should go, or according to his bent." I have not personally studied the Hebrew text, so I'm going to have to take their word on that, and proceed with caution in my thoughts. This is an indication that because all of our children will have different personalities, character traits, interests and callings from God that we MUST seek God's wisdom for the best means of disciplining each one individually. The way you deal with each child will and should be different, because God has made each one of them different. That is not unfair or unjust, it is wise.

Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." You needn't be around a child very long before the foolishness will rear its ugly head! Do everything within your power to drive it from their hearts while they are still in your care. Remember that ultimately we aren't raising children, we're raising adults and if the behavior/or poor character trait would not be appropriate for an adult, it's not appropriate for your child. (Examples: whining, complaining, arguing, begging, disobeying authority, disrespect, etc...) Drive it out with consistent correction.

Proverbs 23:13-14, "Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell." I most certainly do not advocate beating our children, although I do believe an occasional trip to the "woodshed" is warranted with most children at some point in time, but I don't think that is the point of this scripture. The point here I think is, that we must be swift to correct them, and be serious with our tone when we do it. They are in sin against their God, rebellion against their Maker, and THAT IS SERIOUS!! Do the right thing, so that you may have hopes that you have done everything within your power to delive their soul from hell."

Proverbs 29:15;17 "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul." This parenting gig is hard work!!! But, by being willing to do the hard work in the lives of our children, we ultimately bring peace and rest. We want our children to be a delight, not a terror, and it really begins and ends with us. Do not allow behavior at 2 that you wouldn't want to see again at 10, 12, 16, or 40!

So, this is the first part of the thoughts I shared with this friend, and now with you, my online friends. I will complete part two for tomorrow.

Would love to hear your comments, thoughts, wisdom or insights. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Abiding in His Grace, and walking this parenting road alongside - though a little ahead of some - of you.
Lori (Don't forget to scroll down for the booklist.)

My favorites include:
The Excellent Wife and
Becoming a Titus 2 Woman both authored by Martha Peace (these 2 especially are tough "meaty" reads, but highly recommended) Passionate Housewives - Desperate for God - by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald
Shepherding A Child's Heart - by Tedd Tripp
The Mission of Motherhood - by Sally Clarkson
Created to be His Helpmeet - Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious - by Debi Pearl (I do not agree with everything she and her husband teach in other books, but this was a good sound book.
Most recently I'm reading The Measure of a Woman - by Gene and Elaine Getz.


Debra said...

You know, I have often said I could be a great wife and mother if I didn't have a husband or children !

I am reminded that parenting takes wisdom and grace which we only get from the Lord and through His Word. Additionally, I chose to discipline my children because I love them. It is time-consuming and a choice to be swift about it and not let it "fester". Thanks for the reminders and the encouragement.

Lori McGuire said...

Thanks for your comments Debra!

I know exactly what you mean... I've always said I needed a wife or my own personal secretary to help me keep it all together.

We wives and mothers do have such an important role in the family and a hard one at that! :O)

And, I've always said, "I was the perfect parent, until I had kids."
Lori :O)