Because I Love You…

“Why, Mommy?” asked each of my three precious daughters as she traveled through childhood. No matter which child or what circumstance, the answer was always the same, “Because I love you and want to keep you safe.”

Each could rarely fathom the reason behind a rule, (Why can’t I run out into the street after my ball?) Hopefully she would learn to trust my judgement and my rules, even when she didn’t understand.

As each has aged and begun babysitting, the realization dawns. Young children truly think for themselves. But they don’t always possess the knowledge or experience to uncover the best answers.

My daughters now understand why we have rules and enforce them. They now comprehend how dearly we love them and wanted to protect them, keeping them out of harm’s way.

God does the same with His children. He gives us rules for our own good. He also gives us the Holy Spirit to warn us when we’re going the wrong way.

Instead of rebelling and claiming independence, doing things my way, I find life is better and more richly blessed when I obey Him.

James 1:16-17 warns us, “Don’t be deceived. Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like the shifting shadows.” (NIV)

Basically:

Don’t buy into any lies.

All gifts are blessings from God.

God doesn’t change.

Don’t buy into the lies you hear in the world. Listen to His words, words filled with wisdom. A wisdom we can’t fathom and will never find ourselves. Be careful what you put before yourself.  Those messages in the shows you watch, the media you read, and the music you hear will penetrate your mind. If you spend more time with those things and hearing those messages, those are the things you will think about and will act upon.

God doesn’t change.  While our world ‘evolves,’ and man thinks he makes considerable progress, God stays the same.  God is holy. He doesn’t need to progress. He’s waiting for us to realize what we really need is Him. What a comfort that the Creator of the universe is constant in His ideals, His love, and His expectations.

He loves us and He wants to keep us safe: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

He truly has incomprehensible wisdom; we do not.

He can see the entire picture; we can not.

He knows the plans He has for us; we do not.

Why should we obey Him? Simply put, He is a loving Father to His children. He loves us and He wants to keep us safe.

 

Reflections:

How have I been blessed by following His rules?

Which of God’s rules have I considered unimportant in my life?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, How easily I write off some of Your rules, as outdated or not applicable to me. Please forgive such attitudes and convict my heart to obey You. Please teach me to focus my thoughts on You. Please prompt me to spend more time with You, so I know what You expect.  Thank You for loving me, and working to protect me with You laws. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Thank you for reading! Please return by Friday, July 8, for the next post.

 

Wonderful Wisdom

 

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

Often, our children grudgingly learn the above verse in Sunday school. By mid-elementary, they almost personally connect to the meaning of this verse, and find a few flaws in the teaching they receive.

As a mother I see the proverb as a reminder of great responsibility and as a challenge to me as a parent: is my teaching worthy of gracious adornment?

Very few times.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” reads James 3:1.

Teachers will be held accountable by what they teach.  All teachers.  Not just those who teach at church, not just those who teach at school, anyone who teaches.

If you are a parent you know you can’t delegate this teaching task.  Those small eyes noting your every move, those little ears listening to all your words, (not just those intended for them,) that precious child is learning from you.  Once you’re a parent, you are  a teacher whether or not you ever volunteered for the position.

When my girls were little, I taught them to listen to their bodies.  “If you’re hungry, eat something healthy; if you’re sleepy, take a nap; and by all means, if you need to go to the bathroom, GO!”

But the words would have been meaningless if I pushed myself through any of those issues without resolving them appropriately. Because all kids have two eyes which seem to work infinitely better than their two ears.

The same is true for laying a foundation of faith: if I tell my children to forgive each other yet hold a grudge myself, my words are useless.  If I say time with God is paramount yet overload my schedule so I miss my quiet time and even church attendance, what good were my professions?

The purpose of exploring this passage through this lens is not to inflict more guilt on parents who already second guess themselves, but to challenge us to be intentional in our teaching.

Let’s evaluate our teaching with these three questions:

1) What do I want to teach?

2) Am I a living example of what to do?

3) Am I myself teachable?

 

What do I want to teach? If you claim Christianity, that means teaching the character of God, His rules, His great love, and His plan for salvation. Simply put, to teach it, we must know it.  We must spend time in His word and with Him.

Am I a living example? We’re not talking for perfectionism here!  But when I make a mistake, do my kids see me own up to it?  Ask forgiveness?  Make it right?

Am I teachable? If I expect my kids to positively respond to constructive criticism, then so should I.  Do I readily admit I am still learning? Do I actively search for and expand upon my knowledge? “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” declares Psalm 139:1 Do I ask the Lord to show me where I need to change?

Parenting is a blessing, the biggest I have ever known. It is also the most challenging endeavor I have ever undertaken. Unlike a job, you can’t take a vacation or a leave of absence from parenting.  You can’t put it on pause to go get more education.

But that’s OK. Because although we might often feel like it, we are not alone in these trenches.  God wants to guide us.  He wants to author our words, propel us into action, and reign in our reactions. And like us, He is on call 24/7, (but He is not grouchy in the middle of the night!)

And just as He promises us in II Corinthians 12:9, His grace is indeed sufficient!

 

Reflections:

Monday: Read Proverbs 1:8-9 Think about those you teach, parent, or otherwise influence. How can your words be worthy of adoration?

Tuesday: Answer the question: What do I want to teach?

Wednesday: Answer the question: Am I a living example of those principles? What needs some work? Devise a plan to work it out.

Thursday:  Answer the question: Am I teachable?

Friday: Prayer: Lord, how humbling to face the truth of who I am and how different that is from who you authored me to be.  Yet, thank you for the hope that I can indeed change, I can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and that your forgiveness is always present.  Thank you that indeed your grace is sufficient! Amen.

 

Thank you for reading!  Please return by Monday, May 26, for the next post. Have a blessed week!

Stefanie's blog boxes one