Nurturing the Spiritual Development of Your Children
Start with yourself
You can’t give someone else what you don’t have yourself.
Get as close as you can to God. Spend time with Him without distractions. Wait in His presence. Talk to Him, but make sure you listen to Him, too. Ask Him what He wants to say to you. Listen to Mark Virkler about how to hear God’s voice. He has videos on YouTube about this. He teaches how to do 2-way journaling. Write your thoughts to God, and then write what you hear God saying to you. He also has some excellent books about this.
Do the necessary heart work
Ask the Lord to show you what lies you believe about yourself. You may have had a traumatic experience in your childhood, or you may have developed wrong beliefs based on immature understanding of what happened to you. Children often blame themselves for things that happen in their families. They often blame themselves for their parents’ arguments or divorce.
Identify a lie that you believe and when you started to believe that lie. Ask Jesus to go with you into that painful memory. Try to see where Jesus was while that was happening to you and how He felt about it. Ask Him to tell you the truth about you to replace the lie you believed. Go to Someone Believes in You to learn more about this from Theresa Griffith.
Pay attention to what God is saying to you through signs and messages in numbers and repeated words or phrases. When you hear a particular verse or message repeated in many different places over a period of a few hours or days, it might be God trying to tell you something.
Make heart connections with your children
Get to know your children
Spend time with them. Do things with your individual children. Think of something that your child would like to do or a place they would like to go. Take them out on a date. Take them out for ice cream, just you and your one child. If you have several children, you might need to do some creative scheduling.
Figure out their love language.
There are 5 love languages that have been identified by Dr. Gary Chapman. You can read his book called “The 5 Love Languages of Children” to find out how to identify your child’s love language.
Does she like hugs? Her love language might be “touch”. Does he respond well to your attaboys and compliments? Maybe his love language is “words of affirmation”. Find out what makes your child feel loved and then interact often with them using that language.
Pray with them.
Ask them what they would like to pray about and pray with them. Take their concerns seriously. Tell them that Jesus cares about everything that they care about. He wants to answer their prayers, and He will answer them. If we pray according to His will, we will have it. Help them to understand that we must find out His will so that we know that He will answer our prayers. Teach them how to listen to God so they can know His will.
Pray over them.
Lay hands on your children and pray for them. They will see you modeling prayer, and they will feel your love and care for them. Pray for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Pray for the things they have told you they were concerned about. Pray for their walk with God. Ask God to release them into the destiny that He has for them.
Share with them what you are hearing from God. Tell them how you heard God speak to you. Pay attention to their dreams and desires. Ask them what God is saying to them or showing them.
Read the book by Shawn Bolz called “Growing Up with God”. Two of my children asked Jesus into their hearts after reading this book together! It also teaches them how to hear God.
Have videos about Bible stories available for them to watch. Use children’s Bibles like “The Jesus Storybook Bible”, “Jesus Calling Bible Storybook”.
Pray together as a family
This one can be tricky. We want to make sure this is a pleasant experience for all. We need to make sure that the children don’t feel pressured or coerced into praying, or they won’t want to do it. But we should definitely present the opportunity for each of the children to pray out loud.
Pray for the family’s needs. Pray about situations that you and your children are concerned about. Pray about relationships in the family. And pray for the people you love. Praying together is powerful. It’s another opportunity for you to model prayer for your children, and it’s a chance to show them that you really believe in the power of prayer. Praying together with others multiplies our prayer power, and I believe there is an extra dimension of power when families unite in prayer.
Keep track of answers to prayer, and make sure to tell your kids about them.
Rehearse the wonderful things that God has done for your family and the many answers to prayer that you have seen over the years.
Another thing you might want to do is start a family journal that anyone in the family can write in. Put it in a prominent place, and tell your husband and kids that they are welcome to write anything they want in it (within reason, of course). Tell them to record answers to prayer and things that the family has enjoyed together.
We can give our children a good, solid spiritual foundation and plant lots of good seeds. It is up to each child to choose their path, but we can give them a good start. If they stray for a while, we can always pray according to the scripture in Proverbs 22:6
And trust God to lead them into their prophetic destiny.
A wise woman once told me, “Pray down blessings on your husband’s head even when you feel like killing him.”
She told me this at a time when I didn’t feel much for him at all. We had 6 children at the time, and the oldest was almost exactly 10 years older than the new baby. So I was in full-time Mommy mode, and my relationship with my husband was almost an afterthought. He had his own life and didn’t seem too concerned with the heavy workload I dealt with every day. He seemed to think that his only responsibility to the family was to bring home the paycheck. I was the one who had to cook, clean, do laundry, buy groceries, change diapers, dress the little ones, feed them, and homeschool the older kids. He didn’t even know how much I did.
My mother-in-law could tell that we were struggling. She suggested that we talk to a couple from Nigeria, because they seemed to have a good understanding of relationships. The wife is the wise woman I referenced above.
We were in a strange place in life. Gary had gotten laid off, so he was home every day. But he spent his days out in a separate office building working on a business plan. Even though he was home every day, he still didn’t spend any time with me or the kids.
I was feeling very frustrated with him. The couple from Nigeria who began to mentor us could see what was happening. The husband talked with Gary about making sure that my needs were met before he tried to take care of anything else. Even the kids. He was supposed to make sure I was okay, because if I was okay, everything else would be okay.
He would call Gary every day, and the first thing he said was, “How is your wife?” Gary would come looking for me and ask how I was. At first I was annoyed and just brushed it off with a quick “I’m fine” and a quizzical look. But I started to realize the purpose of that question. And I started to answer honestly and frankly. I was tired, worn out really. I needed help. I couldn’t do it all. I wanted him to start helping me with stuff around the house and with the kids. There, I said it.
So he gradually started to get it. He started doing the grocery shopping. Then he picked up the cooking. He finally demonstrated the great cooking ability he had always insisted he possessed. Things got way better between us and in our family in general. It’s a good thing he learned to help when he did. I became pregnant with twins soon after that. When they were born, I sure couldn’t do everything I had done before.
So Gary learned how to really integrate into our family, and I was much more content. Thanks to our Nigerian mentors, our relationship was restored.
We Hit Another Rough Patch
Fast forward seven years or so. Gary and I had been through the wringer in almost every way. We had lost our house after 4 years of unemployment, we had lost two babies to miscarriage, we had been through so much stress and anxiety that it almost caused each of us to have a nervous breakdown, and then bankruptcy.
We survived all of that. Then the tension relaxed some. God changed everything for us. We found ourselves with $20,000 in savings (provided supernaturally), a job that paid more than we had ever made, and a nicer house than we had ever lived in. The pressure of poverty was relieved.
Even though things were better financially, and we felt more secure than we had been before, my husband’s faith had been damaged by all that we went through. He no longer knew what God might do next. He stopped trusting Him, talking to Him, and studying His word.
He got mad at God, and I got mad at him.
I wanted him to be the high priest – the spiritual head of our family. And he was doubting everything he ever believed about God. Not a good situation.
When we arrived in Texas in 2012, we were reunited as a family (after a year’s separation because his job took him to another state), but our hearts were far from united.
We had to readjust to each other after a year apart. I did not have my usual amount of patience with him. When he said or did anything that I found insulting, offensive or insensitive, I left no holds barred. I told him what I thought about his insensitivity or impatience or anger or whatever fault I found with his behavior. That was a new thing, and he seemed rather surprised but not too perturbed by it. I think he was too numb to care. Or he was too stressed out to notice. He didn’t seem the least bit affected by it, and that made me even madder! Nothing I said was penetrating his consciousness, and it felt like he didn’t take anything I said seriously, so I started to lose hope that anything was ever going to get any better.
He had adopted the attitude that if anything was going to happen for us, he would have to make it happen himself. He didn’t trust God to provide for us anymore. He took the reins. He got laid off after only being at his new job in Texas for 5 months. Boy, was he mad! So he started spending all day every day applying for jobs online. He wasn’t talking to anybody or doing anything with any of us.
I have never felt as alone or hopeless about the future of our marriage or our relationship as I did then.
God at the Library
One day I was at the library, and I happened to be in the aisle that had books on marriage. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading about marriage. I was in the sulking stage of not caring since he didn’t seem to care. Honestly, I didn’t FEEL much of anything about him or about our marriage. I think I was looking for “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. I wanted it for Patrick. My eyes fell on another book written by John Eldredge called “Love and War”. He wrote it with his wife, Stasi.
It looked kind of interesting, and for some reason I felt compelled to check it out. I halfheartedly started to read “Love and War” which was subtitled “Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of”. I read through most of the book and started to feel a little bit of desire to work on my relationship with Gary. I was at least convicted about all of the yelling I had been doing and the short fuse I was exhibiting for my children to see. Then I got to the last part of the book, and I started reading about spiritual warfare and how to fight the enemy when he is trying to mess with your relationship. BAM! That hit me between the eyes. I had forgotten about spiritual warfare. I started to bind the enemy that was trying to destroy my marriage.
ADHD Can Make Marriage Difficult
I started to see some changes in Gary. He had been talking to a woman at work who said that her husband was a lot like Gary. The things that she said confirmed the things I had been saying to him. She wanted to meet me, and she wanted Gary to meet her husband. So one night we went to visit them. From our conversations with them, we came away with more desire and motivation to work on our relationship than we had before. We started to work together and talk about changes we needed to make.
I see some ADHD tendencies and behaviors in Gary. These were the things that his coworker noticed in him and wanted to tell me about. Some of these things have hindered communication and have been magnified since we came back together after being apart for a year. She told me that her husband has been doing much better since he started taking medication for ADHD. I didn’t want to go that route, but I thanked her for sharing with me.
Gary started to acknowledge some things and try to change his angry reactions and impatient, impulsive tendencies.
God Set Me Up!
I also started attending a marriage class at church just to have something to do while I waited for Anna while she had worship team practice. God set me up! We watched the movie “Fireproof” and started praying for our marriages. We started reading “The Love Dare”. I asked Gary to read it, too, and he said he would. I was shocked! One night he brought me flowers!
Things are much better between us now. They have been steadily improving.
Another thing that helped me get on the right track was the book, “Keep Your Love On”, by Danny Silk. It helped me to start seeing some things that I definitely needed to improve in, especially concerning communication.
I Stand Corrected
But the thing that has been coming to me lately is that even at the worst, I really had no right to even think about giving up on our marriage. I should have been keeping at the front of my mind that I made a commitment before God and family and friends that we would stay together until death parts us. I had made a covenant with God, and that is never to be taken lightly. I fully repent of the thoughts I had and the low value I placed on that covenant I made with God and with Gary.
In the movie “Fireproof” they talk about the difference between a contract and a covenant. In a contract, one person agrees to do something as long as the other person does what they have agreed to do. But a covenant is different. In a covenant, each person vows to do what they say they are going to do, no matter what the other person does. In the movie, they use the illustration of a salt and pepper shaker that are glued together with super glue. Nothing can tear them apart without damaging the salt shaker or pepper shaker or both. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. And the covenant is between the man and his wife and God. So it is more binding, and more sacred, than a contract.
So I should have been thinking about the covenant I made with God, even when I was not too crazy about Gary.
Now I’m able to pray for him while he sleeps. I pray with genuine love in my heart again. I pray with him while he’s awake. I’m not so impatient with his impatience or inconsiderate, impulsive behaviors anymore. I pray down blessings on his head.
The Lord gets all the glory, because I, in my own strength and my own love, was ready to throw in the towel. God led me along the path back to “felt” love for my husband.
If things are dicey between you and your spouse, remember the covenant you made with them and with God and ask God to help you get back to your first love. It may take a while, and there may be several steps along the way, but I am sure that He will lead you back to a relationship that is honoring to Him and is edifying to you and your spouse.
Hold onto your covenant.
Proverbs 5:18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
Malachi 2:14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.
Malachi 2:15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
Matthew 19:6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Remember your vows. Even when it’s hard to remember them.
Hold on tight to your covenant. He will carry you through.
This post first appeared as part of a marriage series on https://www.angelpenn.com/hold-on-to-your-covenant/ Angel Penn’s site.
Music: A New Light in Their Eyes by Joel Clarkson from Story Book Soundscapes
Simple, Effective Homeschooling
It’s simple, really. Think of homeschooling as part of your lifestyle. Incorporate learning into your daily activities. Real life learning is the most effective kind of learning because it involves all of the senses, and it accomplishes a real purpose.
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life
This is a quote by Charlotte Mason. If you don’t know about Charlotte Mason, you ought to research her philosophy and her writings. She wrote a series called “Home Education” which you can find in many places including Amazon. Many homeschoolers get the whole series. I have read parts of it, but I must confess that her writing is difficult for me. She wrote during the 1890’s, so her language is a bit dated. But there are many modern authors who interpret her ideas and principles for the homeschoolers of today.
A very good place to start to find out about the Charlotte Mason method is the book by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay called “For the Children’s Sake”. She is the daughter of Francis Schaeffer, and she describes her search for the best form of education for her own children in this book. She also explains how we can apply the CM method in our homes. This is the book that inspired me to follow the CM approach. Karen Andreola has also written several books that are very helpful in learning about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and how to apply it in our own homeschools.
If we think of education as an atmosphere, we will set up our homes in a way that will encourage learning. We will have learning materials and resources readily available for our children. We will keep an orderly and peaceful spirit in the house as much as possible. We will encourage questions. We will be available to our children and communicate with them often. We will include them in the daily activities of taking care of the home. Teaching them to do chores is an important part of their education. Real life activities teach them many thinking skills and problem solving skills that they will need throughout life.
If we think about education as a discipline, we will train our children in good habits and character. We who are Christians tend to think of homeschooling as discipleship. So this involves teaching our children the Bible, prayer, worship, and growing in our relationship with God. For me, this is the most important part of parenting and homeschooling. I remember praying with my children many nights. I prayed for them to come to know Jesus for themselves. I prayed for them to experience His presence and to have encounters with Him that caused them to know how real He is. We put the Bible first in our homeschooling. We watched videos of Bible stories. We prayed together as a family. We sang worship songs together.
If we think about education as a life, then everything we do as a family is educational. You don’t need to worry about covering each subject when you live your life with your children, speaking with them, letting them help you, looking for teachable moments, and answering their questions. When my children were young, I encouraged them to use their imaginations and talk to me about whatever they were thinking. I paid attention to their ideas and made them feel as if they were important and interesting. Because they were! I tried to make my children feel respected and heard. We went to museums and farms and plays, but we also went to the grocery store and the post office together. I wanted them to experience life with me. I looked for opportunities to let them experience new things in the ordinary world that we lived in. I talked with them about issues that bothered them. I listened to their concerns and gave them advice and comfort. I tried to tie our homeschooling with things that were happening in real life. We studied the holidays as they came around. We studied the history that accompanied them. We learned about heroes in the Bible and heroes in history. We read books together as a family. It was part of our lifestyle. We were then able to share the experience and enjoy a story together and then share inside jokes and memories and family bonding that naturally happened.
Simplify Your Life and Your Homeschooling
Using these basic CM principles, you should be able to simplify your life and your homeschooling. Look at learning as a natural process since most children have an innate curiosity and naturally want to learn everything they can. Work with that curiosity and desire and learn right alongside them. Answer their questions if you can, and if you don’t know the answer, research with them to find the answer. In this way, you will enable them to take ownership and eventually control over their own learning. They won’t be learning because you are telling them to but because they really want to learn. And that kind of learning will stick. It will help them to find out their own gifts, talents, and interests.
Your children will enjoy the learning process and will complain a lot less than students do when they are forced to read and write about things that have nothing to do with their own lives or interests.
Simple and effective – isn’t that what we all want for our homeschooling?
I hope this message will free you up from expectations and ways of thinking that were bogging you down and keeping you from enjoying this amazing time in the lives of your children and this wonderful experience of living life with them.
May your family be blessed by the atmosphere, discipline and life that you live together in your home.
Here is a little freebie I’ve made for you if you would like to learn more about the Charlotte Mason method.
IT HAD TO BE THIS WAY!
None of us expected the election to go this way. Many of us felt the shock and disappointment to the very core of our being. How could this have been ripped away from us in such an unfair miscarriage of justice? The Trump rallies, the city parades, boat parades, even Amish buggy parades, the obvious excitement and enthusiasm for Trump, especially compared to the complete lack of campaigning on the part of Biden, led us all to believe that President Trump would win easily. And so many prophets heard from God that he would be a two-term President. So when the election was called for Biden by the media (who put them in charge?), we were shocked and devastated.
WAS THERE REALLY ELECTION FRAUD?
So many things were done that pointed to election fraud, but the media kept saying this was the most secure election ever, there’s no proof of fraud, President Trump is making baseless claims of fraud, etc. Any questioning or even testimonies of eyewitnesses were completely ignored or denigrated as false or exaggerated.
THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT
President Trump and his team knew this would happen. He warned us about the dangers of mail-in voting. He knew they were going to steal the election. He watched them cheat and let them get away with it. He had to let them commit the crime before he could arrest them for it. The truth is leaking out slowly. Many unscrupulous people are being exposed and arrested. Lots of these things are happening behind the scenes. If you really want to know what’s happening and what’s really true, do some digging and praying and you’ll find the truth. If something doesn’t make sense, it’s probably being done by the ones who have been manipulating and controlling us for decades. Look up the cabal, deep state, central banks, luciferians, or any term that relates to secret societies or mind control, and you’ll find out why things have been so difficult and getting worse all the time. They are the source of much of the human trafficking, economic woes, wars, racial strife, division, and corruption in our country and around the world.
Most of our leaders have been corrupted by them. That’s why nothing good ever came out of Washington even though we tried to vote in leaders who would fix things and do what’s right.
Leaders in all aspects of society have been influenced by these evil people. They have been paid off, blackmailed, or coerced into using their influence to turn our country and our children away from God, the Bible, and traditional family values. Education, government, entertainment, media, medicine, and even businesses have cooperated with them in their evil agenda to destroy America as we know it.
CATCHING THE CROOKS
President Trump and his team have been aware of the corruption at all levels and in all spheres of society. They have been steadily catching the crooks and cleaning up each area for years. It’s a colossal task, but they are making progress. They had to let them do their dirty work and then catch them in the act.
THE COVID SCAM
Even the Covid scam was already known before they enacted it. The plans were written long ago, and people who know how to research discovered them. The cabal telegraphed to us through movies and TV shows what they were planning to do to us. They are all about depopulation and genocide.
IT HAD TO BE THIS WAY
Because President Trump’s team let it play out this way, everyone should realize that the deep state is real and its agenda is evil. That’s why it had to be this way.