Sunday, May 10, 2015

The High Calling of Motherhood

One of the workshops I attended at Exponential was about discipleship in the home.  It was led by Bobby and Chad Harrington, father and son.  While they admit to being far from perfect, this topic was so important to them that they helped to research and write a book called Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus.  I must have looked like I really needed the advice, because I was one of two people in the room chosen to receive a copy of the book!  I have not yet read it, but plan to.  What I'll share here is some of what was talked about and how it impacted me.

First, let's lay a scriptural foundation...

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 on 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 - Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Some of this talk may occur naturally.  However, I've found that spiritual conversations usually take some kind of prompting - an act of intentional forethought.  It's also important to note that the commandments are first to be on OUR hearts, and displayed through our actions.  I recently heard a pastor say "Your kids will do what you show them more than they will do what you tell them."  Modeling is important.

If we look at how Jesus interacted with his disciples, we can see that he spent time with them, listened to them, and spoke words of wisdom.  Relationship is the key to obedience.  In John 14:23 Jesus says "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching".  Based on this, the Harringtons came up with these relationship equations:

Relationship + Rules=Righteousness

We've got the rules part down, and I desperately want to avoid the rebellion- so that leaves relationship.  As my boys are growing up (now ages 8, 10 and 12) I find it increasingly more difficult to connect with them.  My husband has it easy - sports and violent video games are right up his alley.  He has a great relationship with them because of the time they spend together, both in work and play.  I tend to be more "behind the scenes".  Sure, I'm the one that makes sure they have yummy food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and keep their schedules straight - but that doesn't always translate into relationship. So my goal is to take every opportunity I get to connect on their level.  Chaperoning field trips.  Watching a movie with them (even when I'm not interested in it) just for the chance to cuddle on the couch. Taking them out one-on-one to do something special.  Attending as many of their sporting events as possible.  For you moms of pre-teen boys: What ways do you bond with your boys?  

Since I wasn't raised in a Christian home, I have no example to follow on how to engage older children in spiritual conversations.  How do I spark that desire in their hearts to want to follow Jesus?  We have tried age-appropriate devotionals around the dinner table, but aren't great at being consistent with it.  I have just started allowing my oldest to read Christian books that I pick out in order to earn money.  (If that's what it takes to fill his mind with the truth - I'll do it!)  One thing that Chad Harrington's mother did was to ask "What was the pit and peak of your day?" when tucking her children in at night, and then praying with them. If you were discipled by your parents growing up, what worked in your home?  Let's share some ideas!

Today is Mother's Day.  Our culture leads us to believe that us mothers are to be pampered on this day.  While that would certainly be nice, I think the most important thing to remember is that we are blessed.  God has entrusted us with a high calling - to raise up a future generation.  It is too overwhelming of a task to do alone.  We need His guidance and His grace.  May you enjoy spending time with your children today and strengthening your relationship with them!

 And you may want to take a minute to tell your Mom "Thanks" as well.  I hope you enjoy this video!

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