Refresh! Relax! Revive! Part 5: Love their children (Left hand)
“That they may teach the young women…to love their children” Titus 2:4
Continuing with our Spiritual Health Spa theme, so far we have talked about being sober, and we related that to our faces, how our face is what people see first, and that when they see us, we hope they see a woman who is serious about her walk with the Lord. Then we talked about loving our husbands, and chose our right hand to correlate because as a helper fit for our husband, we are to be his “right-hand woman”. Today, we are talking about loving our children, and I chose our Left hand. Remember, we talked about how we make our hands soft with lotion, and we might go get our nails done to make them clean & pretty? We don’t just do our right hand, do we? We have a responsibility to train up our children to be “clean and pretty” before the Lord, or “well-pleasing unto the LORD” (Colossians 3:20). Our left hand is very important, some special people (about 10%) are left-handed, my Mum is one of them, and to them their left hand is very important. Well, to those of us whom the Lord has blessed with children, they are very important and special to us, and as Christians, our goal is to raise children that strive to love and serve the Lord. I’d like to share some things I have learned over the years, and I hope that they will help you as you raise your “little blessings.”
SO, I have come up with some things we need to SHOW our children, and then some things we need to TEACH our children:
Things to SHOW our children:
Love for their Heavenly father (Matt 22:37) Let them see you reading your Bible, pray with them at meals and bedtime. Let them see you trying to live to please Him, talk about Him. Let them know when you fail, and let them see your repentance and thankfulness for His mercy.
Love for their earthly father (Titus 2:4,5) As we talked about last time, the most important thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father. (See last week’s post) I know that when I love my husband the way that God intended me to, our home is loving, joyful and peaceful.
Love for them by:
Giving your Love– (1 Cor 13:4-8) The Greek word philoteknos means “beloved, and tenderness”. I remember the tender feeling of holding a newborn baby, nursing them in the wee hours of the night. BUT, we all struggle with impatience, and we need encouragement and help to remember to love our children. One verse my children remember me quoting to them often (sometimes LOUDLY) is “Be ye KIND, one to another, TENDERHEARTED…” (Ephesians 4:32), they still tease me about that. Sometimes I needed to remind myself that it applied to me, TOO!
Giving your Time – (Ephesians 5:16) Be there for them daily, to train and teach them about what they need to know to be a success in life (Joshua 1:8). They are only young and teachable for such a short time! If at all possible, be there when they come home from school – even High School –because that’s when the window of communication is, when they will talk about their day. I found that if I wasn’t there when they got home, I had missed it!
Meeting their Needs (not wants) in a loving way: With food: (1 Timothy 6:8) When my kids were in public school, I always packed them a lunch. When other kids teased them about their Mommy making their lunch, the boys would say,”My Mommy packs my lunch because she LOVES me!” With clothing: (1 Samuel 2:19) I tried to teach my girls modesty in clothing, allowing them a little freedom to be themselves. With hygiene: (James 4:8) Keep them clean and healthy. With intellectual stimulation: (2 Peter 3:18) I always read to my children at bedtime, I found out later how beneficial it is for their learning.
Keeping them safe– “be wise as serpents, harmless as doves” (Matt 10:16). My husband gives my kids the “I’m the best friend you’ll ever have” speech. We love our children more than anyone else does, more than their friends. We want what is best for them, and most of the time we know what is best for them and what is bad for them better than they do. Be wise about: TV, movies, internet, places they go, school activities, chaperones, overnight sleepovers – don’t be afraid to be a little over-protective! Trust your husband’s wisdom in what they can/can’t do! My husband often has insight into things that I wouldn’t think of because he is a man. And make your home a safe haven, a fun place where they can bring their friends.
Training them to Do Right– The word “train” means to dedicate our time, and self to what God wants for your children. Teach them to WORK (2 Thessalonians 3:10), even young children can help with chores, cook, do laundry, etc. Let them help you, don’t discourage, and don’t expect perfection! Train them to think about how to please the LORD with the CHOICES they make. Discipline tham.
Disciplining them in a loving way – (Proverbs 13:24,22:15, 29:15, Ephesians 4:15) God’s Word tells us that children are born sinners, they are foolish, and they need discipline. That is our job as parents. It is really in their best interests to OBEY their parents, we have rules to keep them safe and to keep them from hurting themselves and others. If we discipline too harshly, or have expectations of them that are too high we can provoke our children to wrath. Don’t punish for accidents, only for outright DEFIANCE and DISOBEDIENCE. Be consistent, and remember WHY you are disciplining – NOT for your own selfish reasons. Ask them to explain to you what they did wrong, ask them how they think God feels about what they did wrong. Encourage them to pray and ask God’s forgiveness for their sin. Don’t discipline in anger – “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
Things to TEACH our children:
God’s LOVE – (John 3:16)- Salvation –Give them the Gospel, remember they are born little heathens! This is your first mission field. Don’t push them to get saved, share the Gospel, and let them make the decision when they are ready, pray with them and for them. Encourage baptism when they are ready, as a step of obedience. We waited until after they were baptized to let our children take communion, to be sure they understood.
God’s WORD – (Deuteronomy 6:6,7; 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15) Read Bible Stories at night, use Bible verses to teach principles. Don’t neglect family Devotions -there are many great publications out there that are age-appropriate. Ideally, your husband is the one that should lead the daily devotions, but if he doesn’t, you may have to do it for a while. Keep praying that he will, and find a time to respectfully bring it up in private, let him decide where, when, what, etc, give suggestions. WAIT on the LORD.
God’s WAY – (Colossians 1:18) Make Him pre-eminent in your life if you want your children to make Him pre-eminent in theirs!! Church should be a priority – Sunday School, Sunday Morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. The Lord is pleased when we are faithful. As the song goes, “OBEDIENCE is the very best way to show that you believe!” Teach your children that it is very important to God that children obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3), that it may go well, and they may live long on the earth, that is TRUTH! Sometimes obedience IS life or death! When our children got their first Bibles I would ask them “What does the Bible say?” and I taught them to say, “Jesus loves you, and obey your parents”, that was all they needed to know at that point. As they got older we talked about deeper issues and applications of God’s Word as it applied to their lives and situations.
I hope these have been some useful tips from a mom who’s “been-there-done-that” for you to love your children the way God tells us to.
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) That is a PROMISE of God!!