Kelsey made a lovely dinner. All by herself. She is 17 years old. She is doing well at her job, too. We did a scope about it.
Do you find yourself longing for more in the life of your family? More unity? More warmth? More peace? More of God?
If you build it they will come. Hee hee. Just kidding.
Actually, maybe I’m not.
We Christian mothers have one overriding desire. We want our family to be a godly family. But how can we go about building such a family? It’s more than a dream. We can make this a reality.
We need to lay a foundation for this godly family that we desire with all of our hearts. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Is this the declaration that you make in your heart?
If so, start here: Build a close, intimate relationship with God yourself. This involves more than just the spiritual disciplines that you may be familiar with, like reading your Bible and praying so that you can check these off of your to-do list. I’m talking about a relationship with God that is as real, as tangible as your relationship with your husband or your best friend. You need to get to know God. You need to go deep with him. Learn to hear His voice. When you pray, don’t just talk to Him. Listen for what He might be saying to you. This may take some time. And some effort. If you have never done this before and you’re not sure how to go about it, try this. Tell God that you love Him, and then pause and just listen to your spirit. You will probably hear a voice inside of you responding in kind. That is the voice of your Beloved telling you that He loves you, too.
Develop and cultivate a deep awe and reverence for God. Worship Him from the depths of your being. Imagine Him seated on the throne of the whole universe. Picture yourself bowing there before Him. Remind yourself of His goodness to you. WORSHIP Him in spirit and truth. Thank Him for His blessings. Let your heart fall in love with Him. Picture Him in all His majesty and splendor looking on you with eyes full of love, smiling on you as a good father smiles on his little girl that he delights in.
You have to make time for this and really do it. Sometimes you will hear the Lord call you away from something else to spend time with Him. When He does, make sure you do! You need it! You won’t be sorry. On the contrary, you will be very glad that you did. Spending time in His presence builds you up.
The second phase of this building project is to love your husband and honor him. On days when he walks in the door and rushes over to you and gives you a long kiss that melts you and makes you feel like the most loved and beautiful woman, the center of his universe. And on those other days when he doesn’t notice that you’re there. Or worse he complains about everything in the universe and asks what you did all day, why is the house a wreck, and what’s for supper. Even when you feel like screaming at him, telling him what an insensitive brute he is, how hard you’ve worked all day taking care of HIS kids, and how he has ruined the loving welcome you had planned for him by his rotten attitude. Yes, even on those days, honor and love him. I didn’t say this was going to be easy. Pray down blessings on his head. Not, “Lord, get him!”
His biggest need and desire is to be respected. Show your love for him by treating him with respect even when he deserves all the wrath you have stored up from all the times he hurt your feelings, ignored you, took you for granted, overlooked all of your hard work, and broke your heart. By praying blessings on him and treating him lovingly, you are giving God room to deal with him. Do your part with all your heart. Build him up. Treat him better than he deserves. Your relationship with him is the bedrock of this family you’re building. Your relationship with God is the foundation and cornerstone, but your house won’t stand if your relationship with your husband is filled with anger and resentment. Also remember that whatever happens to him happens to you. If you want to live a blessed life, you should desire that he be blessed and then do whatever you can to help make that happen.
You are a wise woman building your house. Not a foolish woman tearing it down with your own hands. Or your mouth.
Now on to the next phase. Love your kids in such a way that they feel loved. Not like they are an obligation or a burden or a pest. Your children need loving, patient discipline and instruction. They also need to know that they are greatly loved and highly valued. You love them more than anybody else in the whole world. Make sure they feel that. Show them affection and kindness in the middle of the messes and frustration that define toddler. Love those kids that seem like they’re only here to give you more work to do and a bad attitude. Love them as they grow up and start thinking they know more than you do and think they learned it on their own without any help from you. Show them you love them by listening to them, responding to them, treating them with dignity and respect, not like they are your property only here to carry out your wishes. Lead them to Jesus by modeling the same attitude he had toward children. Let the children come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Keep at the forefront of your mind that childlikeness is good, and maybe you need to take some lessons from them!
Listen to those who inspire you to grow spiritually. If you can find a group of Christians that gathers regularly and love the Lord and their only purpose is to know Jesus and make Him known, then you are truly blessed. If they have good teachers and prophetic teaching and ministry, even better. If they follow the first two commandments – to love God and to love people – then you have found a gold mine.
We find good Spirit-filled teachers and worship leaders online and listen to them together and individually. We read the Bible together as a family and individually. I would encourage couples to pray together. We pray for our kids and just doing that takes us quite a while!
Some of my favorite teachers are Lance Wallnau, Todd White (lots of videos on YouTube), Rick Joyner, and Kim Clement. I have recently started listening to Shawn Bolz, who teaches a lot about giving words of knowledge. One of the best things I do for myself spiritually is worshiping the Lord with good worship music. I love to worship with Bethel Music. They have a lot of great worship leaders. I especially like to listen to Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, Kim Walker-Smith, and Jenn Johnson. I get touched and ushered into the throne room while worshiping with Cory Asbury, Matt Gilman, and Kari Jobe. I play videos on YouTube and worship along with them.
Love God’s word. Use examples in everyday life. Let it flow naturally in your conversations with your children. In situations that come up, especially relationship challenges, ask yourself and your children, “What does the Bible say about this?”. When the little ones argue about a toy and one snatches it away from the other and then they start chasing and hitting, kicking, and crying, sit with them and talk calmly with them about how Jesus wants them to handle situations like that. Ask them what the Bible says. We are to love each other, be kind to each other and put the other person’s happiness before our own. We are to do everything out of love for the other person. There are so many verses about walking in love and dying to yourself. Read a verse to them and remind them that they want to please Jesus. Live what you read about in the Word of God. Speak the Word all the time. Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to read and meditate on for that day. Keep meditating and thinking about what you’ve read throughout the day. Tell your kids about what the Lord is saying to you right now and what you are reading. Ask them what the Lord is saying to them. Ask them if they have had any dreams or any specific words that the Lord is saying to them.
Look for analogies in nature. You can teach the way Jesus did! He told stories about farming: sowing and reaping, seed time and harvest, and looking for signs in nature of the seasons and what is coming next. He used poetic words like the trees clapping their hands, the seas roaring, the mountains shaking, the animals frolicking with joy and many other similes and metaphors, such as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Point out how God made intricate, delicate flowers for us to enjoy and marked many animals and plants with beautiful designs. Remark to your children about how our bodies are so amazing and self-healing because of the way God made them. Notice and call attention to little ordinary things that are marks of a loving Creator who made all things good.
Apply the parables of Jesus to daily life. Make connections between what is happening in your life and the life of your family with the parables that Jesus told. If someone needs help, if you are able to help them, you should, just like the Good Samaritan. If someone doesn’t want to forgive, there are many parables about the power of forgiveness, like The Prodigal Son and The Unmerciful Servant, and Jesus spoke about it in The Lord’s Prayer. I like to let life present the problem and become a teachable moment that you can use to apply the spiritual principle or story from the Bible.
Pray together. Our family tries to do this on a regular basis. We make sure that we all gather at least once a week. The goal is to do it every evening, but it doesn’t happen when life gets too busy. Sometimes we have to just go ahead and pray with whoever happens to be home. Try to find out what works best for your family as far as time and method. We have a pattern now of saying a blessing over the new day, putting our spiritual armor on and saying The Lord’s Prayer in unison. Then we take turns praying. We have at least 4 people pray each time. You can experiment with different methods and times and see what works best for your family.
Worship together. When children are younger, listen to worship songs for children. Or let them hear what you are listening to, and they might like some of those songs, too. Then play often the songs they like throughout the day.
Minister to others in your home. Demonstrate to your children hospitality and helping others in need. Invite people to eat with you. Teach them how to be good hosts when someone comes to visit. Pray for friends when they come over. Lay hands on them and pray if the situation warrants it.
Give to those in need. Model generosity to your children. And don’t forget to tie it to the Word of God: Give and it shall be given unto you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to give to the poor and to orphans and widows and ministries that you feel are really doing a great work in the earth. Make sure your kids know that you are giving in obedience to what God has told us to do and because you have compassion in your heart. Let them experience the joy of giving themselves. Don’t hinder them when they want to give of their own money or possessions. Encourage a giving heart. I believe that is extremely precious to God and blesses His heart. Help others all around you and give any time you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit. Don’t hold back. God will bless you when you bless others.
I am me. You are you. She is she.
And the converse is true.
I am not you. You are not me. And she is not you or me.
What am I saying?
God has made each of us unique.
So why do we compare ourselves to each other?
I will not do things the way you do them. I don’t want to do them the way you do them.
I do not see things the way you see them.
It’s okay. I am me. And you are you.
I discovered something while teaching my kids how to drive. I noticed things that they didn’t notice as I was looking in the same direction that they were. In some cases, I saw things that I wished they had been paying attention to, like the brake lights on the car ahead of us!
But in other cases, they noticed things that I didn’t see that helped us get to where we needed to go.
At first, some of them noticed nice cars that they liked all around us. That drove me bananas! I couldn’t believe they were paying attention to such insignificant, unimportant things when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them, the traffic, and making sure they were in the right lane to get to where we needed to go.
As they got more experience, they started to learn about what they really needed to be paying attention to. Some near misses, some exclamations from me, some honks from other drivers, missing exits that we should have taken, and getting lost helped them to realize that they needed to pay more attention to their driving than to the nice cars around them.
They learned how to drive safely. But they don’t do it exactly the way I would.
They learned the most important skills and what really deserved their attention while they were driving. They still don’t notice the same things I do as we’re driving along. But they take care of the important things now.
There are some things that we all need to pay attention to. You and me and she all have to do some of the same basic things, like take care of ourselves, our families and our houses.
But the way we do these things will vary with our priorities, our interests, our goals, and our personalities.
My way is not the right way.
Neither is yours!
OK, I’ll be me – you be you.
I’ll take ideas and inspiration from the things you do and the way you do them.
And you can see if there’s anything I’m doing that you may want to try.
But do it your way. The way that works for you and your family.
Owning my life means “living with deep intention, bold faith, and generous love,” according to Sally Clarkson.
She wrote this book Own Your Life to help moms develop a vision for living a life of purpose by finding out what God’s purpose is for their life, accepting whatever that purpose or calling is and carrying it out in a joyful, intentional, life-giving way.
This large family of mine is a big part of God’s purpose for my life. Being a wife and mother is a big role to fulfill. I can only do it well as I rely on God’s guidance and strength. Doing it well includes being joyful and loving and gentle as I carry out my responsibilities. That is where I need the most supernatural help.
Speaking of responsibilities – this son, Morgan Keith, will now be taking modeling and acting classes. We took him to an audition and he was called back because they saw potential in him. I will do my best to help him fulfill his dreams and purpose for which God made and equipped him.
This son, Patrick, just made his first sale. I have been doing the best I can to help him further his new career and develop the gifts that God has given him.
This son, Shawn, was just offered his first full-time job, which he accepted, and he loves!!! I am committed to supporting him in whatever way I can so that he can continue to do a great job in this place of employment and any other endeavors that he undertakes.
Another part of owning my life is creating a beautiful home for my family. The atmosphere is important. The sights and sounds and aromas of home will stay with my children forever. I will be intentional about creating a lovely place, with a peaceful, happy atmosphere so that my children will have fond memories and feel secure and content and have warm thoughts and feelings about home and family.
Part of creating memories is keeping traditions for the holidays. We like to have a beautiful Christmas tree, a beautiful mantel including our favorite manger scene and stockings that can be stuffed to overflowing!
The biggest part of our role as parents is to make sure that our children know about God and know Him for themselves. Gary is reading the Christmas story from the Bible (on his phone!) before we open stockings or presents or anything on Christmas morning.
We are teaching our children patience as they wait for their siblings to get up and wait to open presents. This is Emma waiting patiently. She was the first one up, and she had to wait for several hours before she got to open presents.
We postponed our Christmas until Jan. 10. There were many reasons for this. One of them was that Shawn wanted time to get gifts for everybody this year. He really enjoyed buying gifts for all of us, and he said giving was his favorite part of Christmas this year. Here he is holding up his favorite gift, the One New Man Bible.
And Morgan was happy with the grooming kit that he received from Shawn.
Kelsey USED her gifts to make the German Chocolate cake, the Confetti cake and the Strawberry cake.
Each of the FIVE birthday celebrants chose a different kind of cake, so we had FIVE different cakes!
Another part of making life fun and celebrating the gifts, talents, and uniqueness of each child is celebrating and encouraging their creativity. And Fiona is FULL of creativity. She made up a story about this little doggy, Boo. The story involves a Good Plan and an Evil Plan that Boo has to choose between. Fiona drew them on two pieces of paper. I found the papers and asked what they were about and then took pictures of it to encourage and validate Fiona’s creativity.
Fiona made a card for each person whose birthday we were celebrating. This called for lots of drawing! She finds out each person’s favorite animal and draws it for them. She just turned 11 years old. On this day, Jan. 10th!
This was something I found in the play room one day right before Christmas, so I took a picture of it. When the kids see me take a picture of something they did, they know I think it’s very clever and special, and they feel encouraged to keep using their creativity.
Having five birthdays within the first two weeks of January is – – A LOT to celebrate. So I decided we should add Christmas to the mix and really have a BIG, BIG PARTY. So we did. We had Christmas in the morning and the BIG Birthday party that same evening.
Emma had chosen a Confetti cake.
We sang Happy Birthday to her first and she blew out her candles.
And he blew out his candles. He had the German Chocolate cake.
Then we sang Happy Birthday to Fiona, and she blew out her candles. Fiona had our famous Hot Fudge Pudding cake.
Then we sang Happy Birthday to Morgan, and he blew out his candles. He had a lemon cake.
And last, but certainly not least, Shawn blew out the candles on his Strawberry cake.
And I did not bake nary a cake!
Kelsey baked three of them, Katie made one and Anna made one. I just relaxed and enjoyed the atmosphere, the fellowship, the love and the fruits of their labor.
Which I guess you might say is the fruits of my labor.
The fruits of “living with deep intention, bold faith and generous love”.
I linked this post at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-Up
And at A Wise Woman Builds Her House Link-Up
This is a brand new book by Sally Clarkson! In this book, she shares stories of how God has helped her to live the life that God gave her to live. She tells about her life and the lessons she has learned and how we can live well and leave a legacy that God will be proud of.
Learn from one who has been there! And she is still mothering and nurturing her grown children. Her heart is to help those of us who are coming along behind her to live “that blessed, intentional and full life that God designed for you to have.”
Go to Sally’s blog to pre-order this book.
I know that you will be blessed by reading this book. I’ve read the first chapter, and I was majorly touched by it.