Making Room for Discipleship Training

Let’s face it. Life is busy. Even if your children don’t participate in an abundance of extracurricular activities, life is still busy. Keeping house keeps moms busy. There is always something left undone by the end of the night.

It is so easy to get caught up in the things that are immediately seen. You see dirty dishes and dirty floors, and know you must wash them. You see unfolded laundry that needs tending to. Children need to be fed several times a day. Those needs that beg your immediate attention are often the things that you focus on caring for.

These are not bad things to care for. It is required we care for our children and homes. But, too easily we lose sight of the vision God has given us as mothers. We get too wrapped up and forget the crucial, most pressing need of our children: discipleship. Not passive Bible stories or Bible coloring pages and crafts. But, real, intentional, scheduled-in time to sit with our children and nurture their hearts to live for Christ.

Being a living example is also excellent, and necessary, but the intentional teaching couples with the living examples. It’s difficult to have one without the other and disciple successfully. Jesus spoke in parables in order to help people understand eternal things. But He also walked as a living example of how to live for God; how to trust Him and depend on Him.

I could live for Christ, but if I don’t talk about Him with my children and have conversations about why I make the decisions I do, why we avoid certain things, how to embrace others, then what good is that to them? They only see a mother who lives a morally dignified life. Nothing more. Walking out our faith is essential. But so is setting time aside to specifically teach and talk about Christ; just as He did with his own disciples.

Creating these hard stops specifically for discipleship training does several things. Now, when I say hard stops, what I mean is stopping whatever it is you’re doing to meet together for discipleship. You can do this by adding it into your schedule or doing it at a specific time each day [or several times each day]. Stopping hard simply means dropping whatever you’re doing at that specified time and making it happen.

Here’s what it does:

  1. It shows your children learning about Jesus is important and a priority for your family. When you specifically set aside time from each day and guard it, your children see that you value this time.
  2. It develops a consistent habit of training. Having this habitual teaching and training helps your children grow consistently in character and in Christ. In addition, it will keep the things of God in the front of their minds and they will more readily be equipped to apply the teachings to their lives.
  3. It offers direction and instruction to help your children make better choices. When we intentionally teach our children, we can often prevent bad choices or bad behavior before they develop. We are being proactive rather than reactive.

Planning these times are not hard, it’s following through that can be challenging. The first week can be easy because you begin with gusto. But once the second and third weeks roll around, circumstances arise that seek to steal this time. We must guard this time as precious. Keep it a priority and do not allow complaceny to creep in.

I find  what happens when I miss a day, is that I write it off as no big deal; kind of being nonchalant about it. The problem is, because of this attitude, I do it again the next day. And the more I allow that time to slip away, the easier it is to let it go. Before I know it, our discipleship time is a distant memory that has dissipated due to a complacent attitude.

There will be days missed. It happens. And by all means, give yourself grace, for His are new every morning. But, the goal is to get back to it as soon as possible. Do not let distractions rob you of intentional discipleship with your children.

By Christin, Joyful Mothering

Praying for Your Children On Purpose

I’ve gone through seasons of being incredibly intentional about praying for my children — notice I said seasons. I admit, I’ve not been faithful in prayer, as I wish would have when I look back on the fifteen years of parenting that have already passed.

Praying for Your Children

There was this one year that I prayed for each child on a different day of the week. And another year in which I participated in a Moms in Prayer group — and oh my, we saw the Lord move on behalf of our children in amazing ways! But for the most part, my prayers for my children have amounted to something like this. . .

Oh God, be with them. Keep them safe. Help them to be wise. May they love you fully. And may they want to know you personally and make you known.

While this prayer may seem fine, it sort of feels like the cliff notes version of a larger book that should be read in order to get the full appreciation of the content. It’s not all that I can do as a praying mother. And I want that to change.

Lamentations 2:19

Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children . . .

Although I have journals scribbled full with pleas and petitions to the Lord, there aren’t enough of those pages filled up with prayers for my children. I think I’ve pushed praying for my children aside because their needs feel so easily met by me at the moment. In light of other circumstances we’ve faced, like family tentions, life-changing decisions, and health crises too many to count, my children are doing just fine. Fine is fine. But for how long?

Their lives will only get more “un-fine” as they grow up, which is why they need their momma praying for them on purpose . . . now. {click to tweet}

So as I turn to face the next decade of being a mother, I want to invest my time in bringing more than passing pleas to the Lord. I want to pause long enough to reflect on their needs and pray for them the way I’d want to be prayed for by others.

I want to give to the Lord what I see in their personalities that need His touch.

I want to talk to God about the struggles they face and the fears they feel.

I want to hand over to their Maker my concerns about their relationships.

I want to yield to the Lord His plans for their lives and get out of the way of the story He is writing.

These desires to pray diligently for my children may be lofty, but I think they reflect the heart of God.

 A longing to pray for our children comes from the Spirit’s conviction and most certainly will face the enemies opposition.

So how can we move forward with a plan to pray for our children that won’t be stumped by fleshy distractions? It think it looks like this:

  1. We need to start with prayer, asking God for His strength to move in this direction.
  2. We need to ask for someone to hold us accountable — someone who shares the passion and will be willing to ask us weekly, “So how did you do in praying for your children this week?”
  3. And we need a simple plan for how to pray, like this resource you can download from moretobe.com, so that we can be intentional.

What do you think, momma?

Will this be the moment in which you decide that you’ll pray for your children on purpose?  Will you embrace the fresh start, here at the beginning of a school year, and set a goal of sticking with it for more than a month?

I hope so. And I’m willing to ask you to hold me accountable, too. I want the next decade of my mothering to be marked by a commitment to pray for my children. Let’s do this together.

Shine Bright & More Beautiful,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

 {Don’t forget to grab the “Praying on Purpose for Your Children” download available at More to Be!}

3 Tips For a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

ManagingYourBlessings.com

Many students are returning (or already have returned) to school this month and sometimes in the transition things can become chaotic. I cannot count the times that summer seems to vanish without warning and the next thing I know, it’s time for school again. I know I certainly do not enjoy being stressed out when I can prevent it. In my experience there are three things that help make this back-to-school transition for our family run smoothly year after year.

3 Tips For a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

  1. Lay out clear goals with deadlines throughout the summer. I have found that getting things done a little at a time gives me the freedom to stress less and enjoy summer more. If you are able to get your child’s supply list at the end of the year, then do so. If you are able to schedule doctor and dentist appointments staggered throughout the summer, then do it. When I map out my goals – writing them down – it helps give me a tangible way to see them coming to pass. And this, my friends, gives me great peace.
  2. Make the time to pray over your back-to-school goals. This is an important step. All too often we can find ourselves caught in the “busy” of life managing to get to our appointments and cross off things on our to-do list leaving God out of the equation. I know I’ve been guilty of this very thing. I also know that when I do things in my own strength, I have no peace and tend to be grumpy to those I love the most. Praying over my goals has allowed me to hand over all the stress of day-to-day life back into God’s hands giving me the peace and strength to move on and show my family more grace. It’s a win-win for everyone.
  3. Talk to your children about your expectations for them in making the transition. This always helps our children when they understand what is expected of them. It gives them the opportunity to work through things in their heart and minds giving them time to formulate questions or concerns. Because our family is military, we move often and this can cause a different type of anxiety in each child. We have discovered that when our family is able to communicate both our excitement and concerns for the upcoming school year that we thrive during the transition. This makes for a fun back-to-school season!

When we set clear-cut expectations and transitional goals for our family, praying over them, we find that we have less stress and more fun every summer. It’s important to recognize that our children find comfort in this process as we settle into a new routine every fall. I am thankful for a loving and merciful God that guides us through life giving us the wisdom we need to life a peaceful, Christ-filled life.

Does your family have any routines to cut out the chaos and replace it with God’s peace? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Carlie @ Managing Your Blessings

What You Know Will Make A Difference, But Sometimes Forget

We make time

At the end of yet another hard day of exasperated children and weary parents, I leaned over to kiss my oldest boy goodnight…

…to say I’m sorry for the harsh words,

…to say that I regret that he was caught in the crossfire of stress-out parents who put themselves, and not one another first,

…to say that I shouldn’t have allowed my stress and frustrations to rule my actions. 

…And his simple response was humbling and convicting:

“I’m finding that when I get up early and read my Bible, my day goes so much better. It really makes a difference in my day,” he says.

Somehow, my 12 yr. old connected the dots where my sophisticated, deep-thinking, rationalizing mind was failing to recognize as basic and true: I need God’s Word to direct my heart each day…not to check it off the list, not to earn favor with Jesus, not as a lucky charm…but simply because God’s Word transforms our hearts and minds.

We know this to be true, and yet there are days we choose email over transformation, believing that clearing our inboxes will change our lives. And it does, but not the way truth can.

We know this to be true, and yet there are days we choose physical self-improvement over transformation, believing that physical remodeling will make everything better. And it may, but not the way truth can.

We know this to be true, and yet there are days we prioritize our to-do lists over transformation, believing that crossing one more thing off will make the difference. And it will, but not the way truth can.

There are many reasons why we may not read our Bibles regularly, but it always comes back to this:

We make time for what we think will make the most impact in the thing that matters most to us. 

And so, I remember, again, that what draws me to Christ and the Word of God, is not guilt, fear, or fastidiousness, but rather – LOVE. I love my savior. I love the family he’s entrusted me with. Therefor, I will remember to prioritize what is most important to me, and ask the Lord for the discernment to not make what’s most important, ME.

When Christ matters most in our lives, the impact of drawing near to him each day will make the greatest difference in the lives I seek to love well.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  – Romans 12:2

Because of grace,

IMG_6098

www. gracelaced.com

(Photo by Tish Goff)

 

 

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