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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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