So you want to be super-mom?
It's not easy and you won't achieve it by pinning the perfect gluten free-pumpkin-oat-cinnamon-chocolate chip-pancake-muffin recipe. Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest. I have over 1,600 pins.
1,600 y'all. Don't mess with my pins. I need to know the 15 different ways to whiten my teeth. And raise chickens. And DIY every room in my house.
Some of those pins turned out great and, much like parenting, some didn't turn out quite like the post led me to believe. But God is teaching me something important.
Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs all have their proper place but they're no substitute for real life. Real interaction with real people - flesh and blood messy kids and moody spouses. All the rest is like a giant cosmic time-sucker and relationship squasher. Plus, they cause us to compare ourselves with others and doing that only leads to disappointment.
What will be important in the long run, twenty years from now when your kids are grown and gone and living on their own? What will their lives look like? What will their character witness about you?
As Christians, we're supposed to be in the world but not of the world. As Paul reminds us in Titus:
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men." Titus 3:8
There are intentional, practical things we can work on in our families to change our corner of the world and make an impact for Christ. I reject the lie that teenagers will rebel and young people will leave the church. It's true that they do and they are but it doesn't have to be that way.
They will only want to know Him if you live like He's worth knowing.
How you live in front of them day by day and year by year will inform their concept of God more than any amount of Bible reading or scripture memorization or church attendance they do. Your kids are watching you.
Are you the same person at home on Monday you tell your friends you are on Sunday? Like Hosea and his wayward wife, our strongest sermon, our most vivid witness is our relationship to our families. We can't separate our witness from our lives. And our kids are our most telling character witness.
12 ways Christian families can change the world:
- We are the image-bearers of Christ to our family first and after that, to the world.
- The culture is not your BFF. Our primary job as parents is to give our children a strong identity in Christ and love for God. If we don't they're likely to get their identity from the media–movies, TV shows, music, and video games–from their friends and from a corrupt and pandering culture.
- Authenticity in relationships with God and our children is key. Admit mistakes. Ask forgiveness.
- Each of our children are born to do something, to leave a God-legacy to the next generation. As we seek wisdom for raising our children, God will show us their world-changing purpose.
- Honestly live God's word every day. Intentionally and with humility and integrity, the good, the bad and the ugly. The most important words in our vocabulary are: I'm sorry, I forgive you, I love you and God has an amazing adventure for your life.
- Reject the lies our culture tells us are true. Our enemy is using this culture to steal, kill and destroy our children. Please don't be afraid to set boundaries and say no. Don't be afraid to parent.
- If we don't want our children to be idolators, we must stop clinging to our own idols. Food, entertainment, comfort, money, personal space, addictions, etc. are just a few.
- If our children know who God is, they will know who they are. We help them become mature believers by strongly rooting their identity in Christ.
- Teach them to live like they matter. Help them navigate where they're going, remind them they do have a destination and a big, God-sized purpose to live out.
- Pass on to the next generation the goodness, the hope, the sheer delight of knowing and loving God.
- What you model they will follow. Model the qualities you want them to express in their lives. Humility, integrity, honesty, respect for authority, love for the unlovable, mercy, thankfulness and generosity. That's a start anyway.
- Reach out to the poor, the widows, the fatherless and make it a life-priority. Your children are watching.
I know it's not easy but it is possible. The more time we spend with God and our loved ones and the less time pinning, posting, tweeting, comparing and striving, the more change we'll see in our families and ourselves.
So, today do me a favor. Log out of facebook. Relinquish the 'pin-it' button. Stop checking Instagram and Twitter, it'll all still be there tomorrow! Instead, bring your kids breakfast in bed, go on a picnic, build a tree house, count clouds with your 3 year old, give your husband a massage, make a mess with finger-paints, go out for ice cream after dinner, watch a family movie, engage your teenager.
Get face to face with the ones you love. Because, unlike social media, they're the ones who will love you back.
I know my list of 12 is not complete. What are the essentials for your family? Please share, I'd love to hear!
Blessings, Kate Battistelli
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