Impress Them On Your Children – Deuteronomy 6:7

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Deuteronomy 6:7 - "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."

Am I making an impression? Do they really listen? Am I having a positive effect on them? These are things I wonder all the time. I wonder them in many areas of parenting, but as you may have guessed from Deuteronomy 6:7 up there, today I am talking about littles and faith.

It’s not hard to understand why I wonder these questions. Sometimes, in the day to day of it, it’s hard to see the big picture through the momentary frustrations. And if you’ve ever been to church with small, antsy children, you might wonder if they are even hearing or learning anything at all. You might wonder if the messages about God’s grace and forgiveness and salvation are being listened to or if they’re just going in one ear and out the other.

I know I’ve wondered. Some days I wonder if my kids even know the meaning of sit still. And I’m sure that everyone in church must be aware of their antics. (They’re probably not. Once again, I fall into the trap of thinking that people are thinking about me way more than they actually are.) Some days I cry in the car on the way home from church because it feels like the kids will never learn how to sit still and not fight with each other in the middle of church.

And I know, I know it’s their ages and that Allen, especially is still super little. And I know that this is something that will get better with time (bigger picture) but in the moment, that doesn’t necessarily make it feel any easier. In the moment, it still feels very hard.

So anyways, I wonder all of this. And it’s not just about church I wonder – I wonder when we read Bible stories if they really understand what they mean or when I talk about God if they really understand that. I want and try to do what Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about – talking about God’s word in our life no matter where we find ourselves. Weaving it into every area of our lives.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, when they get older.  You start to realize that yes, God is making an impression on their little hearts. And then, when I watch Dominic, I really understand what it means to have a childlike faith in a way that I couldn’t understand when I was still a child. I see his enthusiasm to want to talk to Jesus. I see his desire to praise Him when he makes up little songs about God (Song prayers, he calls them). I see that something is clicking when he says that Jesus died to forgive our sins. I even see glimpses in Allen, who has learned to say Amen. Not a huge deal, but it shows he is paying attention, he is observing. I’m grateful to God, that He gives me these moments of small encouragements.

When you baptize your child, you are putting your faith in God, in the Holy Spirit, that He will work faith in your child’s heart. But I admit, I struggle with seeing the big picture in the moment of weakness – Satan whispers in my ear that they aren’t really learning anything. Or worse yet, he whispers that I am a failure, that I am not doing enough, that I’ll never do enough to impress the Word of God on their hearts. But these are lies, from the father of lies. While it’s true I’m not perfect, God’s word is powerful enough to overcome my human imperfections and it never returns to Him empty.

So, I will choose to continue impressing these things on my children, imperfect as I may be, because the Word of God? It’s bigger than me. And I’m so, so glad for that.

Is this a struggle for you? What are some ways that you impress God’s word on your child(ren)’s heart(s)? 

Picture from Stockvault.net. I edited it to add Deuteronomy 6:7. 

Philippians 4:6

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Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

What a wonderful gift God gives us to be able to take everything to him in prayer. I have to admit, this isn’t always a strong point of mine. Prayer isn’t always my go to response when faced with a problem. And when I do, I’m not always including the thanksgiving part. I too often ask God for things instead of thanking him.

Now, I do think my prayer life is tons better than it used to be. I used to think for a while that praying for myself was selfish, that there were other people who were suffering much worse than I was, who needed the prayer more than I did. I lacked an understanding that God wants us to pray to Him about everything, big or small. I think the church I had in college did the best job of changing my prayer life and helping me to understand why we pray and what God wants us to pray about.

Even though I still don’t have the best prayer life, I have been praying a lot lately – about money and that Nick’s removal of conditions on his permanent residency would go well and also earlier today when my phone was broken (or something – I’m still not entirely sure what happened or how Nick fixed it.) And of course I am always praying for others. (Speaking of which, do you have a prayer request that I could pray about for you?)

But I really need to work on that do not be anxious part. Unfortunately, I am kind of an anxious personality and this makes it pretty easy to be anxious about everything. I need to pray for more peace I think and to trust God more when He says He will take care of us.

Despite my not so fantastic prayer skills and my tendency to be anxious, I am still so glad He is a loving God who not only allows us to come to Him in prayer, but invites us too.

God’s Protection

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The accident I had when I was 19 has been on my mind a lot lately. Not really entirely sure why. Maybe it was hearing about someone else who stopped to help at a fatal car accident, maybe it was because it happened in fall also, maybe something else. Who knows?

I’m not sure if I’ve written about it before on this blog, so to recap, when I was 19, I fell asleep at the wheel of my car, crossed two lanes of traffic on the highway, woke up when I was going over the rumble strip, tried to go back but it was already too late and my car rolled in the ditch. Scariest and weirdest thing ever because I know the rolling was very quick but it seemed very slow. Anyways, that’s my recap – moving on with the point of this post which was not necessarily to talk about my accident.

On that day, it was so clear to me that God’s protection was with me. I didn’t hit any cars while crossing lanes asleep even though it was busy at that time of day. I rolled my car and walked away without a scratch. Just so obvious to me that he was protecting to me.

And l think I tend to think sometimes of God’s protections only in the big things. The really obvious and overt ways He shows up. But I tend to forget that He protects us in little ways all the time. In ways that we don’t even know. We don’t know all the things God has protected us from. He is protecting us every day, but I tend to only give Him credit for the big ones that I know. I think I will try to give him credit now too for always protecting me, even when I don’t realize it.

What Psalm 78:7 Means to Me

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Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
– Psalm 78:7

I don’t think I have a lot to say about this verse, but I like it because it’s comforting. I trust God because of what He’s done – sending his son to die on the cross and rise again from the dead for me, seeing me through everything in life, everything basically. And I like this verse because of something else it gets at – our motivation for doing good. Because the reason I try to live my life in a way that honors him is not because it gets me anything, but because of the deeds he did for us. It’s my way of saying thank you. I hope this verse brings you comfort too!

Disclosure: This post may contain links that, when clicked on, will give me a portion of the proceeds. Thanks for supporting me! 

On Closing Your Church

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This past weekend at my church we had our final church service. It’s something that makes my heart very heavy and I’m still trying to process through all the emotions that come with it. I cried during the church service on Sunday – just the very gravity of realizing this was the end, that it was the last time we were going to worship in this place, it’s something that hits you hard and fast.

It just feels like the end. It feels very permanent. Somehow God kept us in that building for five years and so, in some part, I thought (naively?) that He would continue to keep us in the building. I couldn’t face the ending of this place. I know it’s just a building, but it has a lot of meaning to me. It’s the place where we got married. My son was baptized there. I’ve had so many memories in that building – murder mysteries, good food, great fellowship, and lots of friends.

Sometimes I am even angry. Why is it that we couldn’t figure out a way to keep the building? Why is it that we have so little support for campus ministry in Milwaukee? Does anyone care? Sometimes I feel that way. But I know God has a plan and that in his infinite wisdom, He will make a new way known for His work to be done here.

And part of the sadness is, where do we go from here? Our church wasn’t perfect, but it was an excellent fit for us. Nowhere brought me greater joy. As someone said during the band’s prayer before worship, it’s been the one place I’ve looked forward to going to every week. When school got me down, I knew I would find joy and laughter and smiles and a refugee there. That was my safe space. And now my safe space is gone and where do I go from there?

So on Sunday we’ll start looking for a new church. No easy task – as I think my husband and I envision things that are a bit different in our church. But God hasn’t failed us yet and I know we’ll find a new place. But I also know it won’t be the same.

Disclosure: This post may contain links which will generate a small amount of income from clicking them. You should feel no pressure to click them, but if you do, I appreciate your support. I’m just trying to pitch in and help my family in whatever small ways I can. 

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10 Finds for Saturday – 9/29/12

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All right, it’s that time again – a round up of ten things that I think you should read (or look at or watch)!

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading

1. I Have a Disease: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Face Blindness

2. Hermione Granger Vs. Bella Swan (infographic)

3. Bookshelf (xkcd comic)

4. Free Language Arts & Literature Curriculum

5. Small Cities in the U.S. Paying Off Student Loan Debt for Residents

6. Old Wives Vs. Science (in pregnancy)

7. Baby Brain Map (Interactive)

8. Ten Objections to Christianity and How to Respond

9. Awesome Books to Replace Your Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

10. Insufficient Funds: A Story of Canada (video)

Enjoy!

By Faith

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2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

What a short verse but what a powerful statement about Christianity. Faith – that is the be all and end all. If any verse is relevant today (I mean they all are) but we are thousands of years removed from when Jesus came to die for us. We don’t personally know his physical self. We can’t touch the wounds in his hands and side the way Doubting Thomas did.

Which is why we need faith. Because let’s face it, we would be lost if we had to rely on things we can see. Because when I look at the world I see tons of problems and frankly it’s a little depressing – human trafficking, hunger, child abuse – the list goes on. But when I look to the Bible I see hope. Hope through the faith that I have that he will take me to heaven to be with him someday. And that is a truly beautiful thing.

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