Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 Bible Study Part 6 - Being A Mother

Amy writes:

1. Children are a gift from the Lord.

Children are a gift from God, they are His reward. Psalm 127:3

Children truly are a gift from the Lord. Whether we receive them biologically or as a bonus, as was the case when I married, they come as a bonus with your husband. Kristyn became an even greater gift to me when we tried to have children and the Lord said "Wait, then yes, but not on earth." I went through a period of infertility, became pregnant during this time and our angel was born into Heaven rather than earth. After another period of infertility, and an intense time of prayer, God opened the eyes of my heart and let me see the gift before my very eyes. The one I had mothered as though she were my own became the ultimate gift to me. She was all I had, and I can honestly say that I did my best with her. She's 24 now and is married. Now I have grandchildren. And a host of nieces and nephews and cousins who make me very happy!

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD." ~ Psalm 113:9

Connecting with our children is something we must do from the moment they become ours. To some it comes easier than others, and we are certainly tested in our flesh sometimes to disconnect with them because of one reason or another.

Amy has given some good guidance on connecting with our children:

Ways to truly connect:

1. Establish a day of the week for family night.
2. Read a book together.
3. Go outside with them and actually play with them. Don't just watch them.
4. Ask your child what he/she thinks of things. Find out what they are thinking.
5. Start and hold to some family traditions.
6. Eat a meal together at the table - without the television on.
7. Take your children to places that hold great memories for you and explain it to them.

These were all things I did with Kristyn throughout the years. Our traditions still hold, from going and dropping a rock in the lake on Thanksgiving (I don't know why - it's just done!) to talking and talking and talking some more. Sometimes all I had to do was ask a question and she could talk for hours. I let her talk because I wanted her to know what she had to say was important to me. One thing we did was have a "Girls Night Out" once a month. I can remember when she was little a special time we shared. We went to see the movie Harriett the Spy, and as soon as we left the parking lot, I said, "Would you like to see Matilda, too?" We saw 2 movies in one afternoon. She loved it! It was something that normally we wouldn't do, but it made her feel special and like she was getting a major treat!

2. We must parent on purpose

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

While we are responsible for parenting the ones given to us by God, it's not just about manners and safety and how to play sports. It's not just about academics or art. We are biblically responsible for our children's training. We must not leave it for someone else.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We are called by God to be solely responsible for the education of our children regarding matters of faith. Whether we send our children to public or private school or homeschool them, we are called to be the ones to instruct them. A great supplement to this is lessons learned in school, Sunday School and church. But we are to be the first in teaching them.

Kristyn grew up in a multi-denominational enviornment. Both denominations are Christian, and we agreed not to interfere with each other's teaching, as long as it was biblically sound. Kristyn's mother began to get her on a regular basis when she was 8 or 9 years old. They went to church on Saturday and observed that day as their Sabbath. When Kristyn was at home, she had no chores to do that day because I knew she wouldn't at her mom's. Tabitha treated her the same way on Sunday's. She didn't make her do any chores on Sunday, because she knew it was the day we observed our Sabbath. While we had no dietary restrictions at our home, we did not insist that Tabitha feed Kristyn things that were "against" their religion while she was over there. We worked well together in training her in Christ, and did not quarrel over minor differences.

Discipline, unfortunately, is part of the child-raising process. Whatever our methods of discipline were, we stuck to it. It was hard sometimes. Steve was the disciplinarian at home for major issues. Fortunately, they were few and far between. I always stuck by what he said or did for disciplinary purposes. She learned a lot by example. Not all discipline is bad. There is the matter of self-discipline, and I was able to teach her that, too. For me, part of my own self-discipline was rising early for morning devotions and quiet time. Soon, she wanted to participate, and she absolutely loved the devotions we'd use and request them when we were having a hurried morning and didn't have time. We'd make time at her urging. There were things she taught us!

Amy wrote, "Read Matthew 18. Be sure to highlight any that stand out to you and be sure to take notes."

Matthew 18

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Children have no preconceived notions. They are born innocent (for all practical purposes). They are totally dependent on us for their every need. If we lead them astray, "Woe to us." as my bonus daughter used to say! "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. Our children's welfare is of our utmost importance. No child is more valuable than the other, no matter how many children we have. Losing one, gaining another, doesn't balance out in our hearts when one is lost. I think about how concerned we are for them and their safety and health and realize that God is way more concerned than I am because His love is so much higher than mine. We can do all we can to protect them, but our protection can only go so far. As much as we care for our children, we simply do not have the capacity God does to love them. When one wanders off, we search to the ends of the earth to find them. Our heart grieves when they are lost. But oh, when they return, or if they don't return on earth, the joy that we will have being reunited with them in Heaven. I cannot wait to hold Sydney in my arms! If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you....We must discipline our children in love, and all their offenses don't have to be announced to the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." This reminded me of how Steve and I should always be on the same page with Kristyn, even as an adult, covering her in prayer. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Which is almost the exact number your have to forgive your kids growing up, hah hah!
3. We must allow our children to become who He designed them to be.
While we are to counsel our children in love and give them guidance on helping them plot the course of their lives, we must remember that each one is unique. Amy references Psalm 139. No one knows us more intimately than God, and the same is true of our children. God has placed within them their own hopes and dreams, and we must free them to live out God's purpose for their lives, not our purpose. I thought Kristyn would make a good chef or a great artist, and I always encouraged her in that. God planted within her the desire to stay home and mother her children, and likewise, I encourage her now.
Focused Thoughts:
  1. Children are a gift from the Lord.
  2. We must parent on purpose.
  3. We must educate our children. It is our responsibility.

Scripture for Memory:

The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!—Proverbs 20:7

Write It Down (or post it):

Be sure to record your revelation and thoughts in your bible, notebook, or let us all share in what you are learning and write a post about it and link it here!

Done - see above.

Share with us what God has revealed to you when were seeking Him.

I sought God so intimately for an 8 year period regarding one matter, and as I began to pray, He laid more on my heart than I could have ever imagined. God has revealed Himself to me through His Word in so many ways. As I have sought Him, He has reminded me:

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
~ Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

His plans have been far richer for me than I could ever have imagined. I really limited myself in praying for "just one child, Lord. Just one!" He has given me a bonus daughter, a son-in-law, 2 grandchildren and 7 nieces and nephews, and several precious cousins.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." ~ Ephesians 3:20

For Study Purposes:

Study the word "train" in the bible. Use a concordance. Record your findings.

From www.blueletterbible.org -

The Hebrew word for train is used 3 times in the KJV and has two meanings.

The word used in Proverbs 22:6 is chanak. It means: 1) to train, dedicate, inaugurate a) (Qal) 1) to train, train up 2) to dedicate.

I think this definitely speaks to how we raise our children.

The other Hebrew word for train is shuwl, which means, 1) skirt (of robe)
a) of high priest's robe b) of God's train, city as woman, ignominy, defilement (fig)

The garment that covers each of us as mother's should be our husbands and God!

Sit down with your spouse and discuss your current parenting techniques. What can be changed? What worked well with you concerning your own parents and what didn't?

With Kristyn being 24, this is not something we could do, but we have discussed grandparenting techniques already! As for what worked well concerning our own parents.....I came from a highly dysfunctional home so I was ready to adapt to his chosen method of child-rearing. Anything sounded good to me. I'll be like Forrest Gump and say, "That's all I've got to say about that."

Ask God to speak to you about how you should be training your children. What have you heard from Him? How do you intend to train them in that way?

I did so much praying regarding Kristyn. Once I felt led from God to pray for her her entire fourth grade year. I never missed a day, and she never had a problem. I don't know what my prayers prevented, but I trust Him. I have asked Him for wisdom and guidance in training her many times in the past, because I was not a Momma. I was 20 years old and the sudden bonus mom of a 6 year old. I made a few mistakes along the way, but I trust that God worked it all out for his own good.

Questions to ponder: Have you been connecting with your children? How can you improve upon what you have been doing? Are your discipline techniques working? What can you do differently?

Everything is perfect in that department. I can say that because she's grown and gone. Our nest is empty now. Seriously, we connected well and established a bond that proved to be permanent, though it was tested during her late teenage years. All is well now and I am so happy that even though I was not perfect, God's grace stepped in where my lack of skill and wisdom was simply not there.


Cheryl said...

Laurie Ann,

Kristyn is so very lucky to have you, as are your grandchildren.

Some don't understand what a gift a child is.

I know you do, though.


We have got Wilson's toys packed and ready to be mailed.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey Laurie Ann,
What a great job sharing this week! I read through my lesson, but haven't posted it yet.
How are the grands doing? I have loved the pictures you've shared.
Hope yall are feeling all better!

MJ said...

What a lovely post. My step daughter is trying to have a baby and things have not been going good. I wish she could see her step daughters as a true blessing as you see your daughter ~ it just does not seem the case right now.

She is certainly lucky her father found you!

Denise said...

Any child is blessed to have you as a part of their life sweetie.