Thursday, August 12, 2010

Authentic Parenting

We only have one chance to raise our children.
That is exactly why we should be making the most of our time. I don't want to be one of those parents who looks back and mourns lost opportunities that I gave up to train my children up in the Lord. Studies have shown that 75 to 88% of Christian teens walk away from Christianity by the end of their freshman year of college. I don't know about you, but that is alarming to me. I don't want my children being included in that statistic. I want more than anything to hand down a faith that is authentic and overflowing with love and gratitude for what the Lord has done for me. I want my children to experience the joy and peace that only a personal relationship with Jesus can bring. I also want for our family to pursue holiness and for the Lord to continue to show me the areas in our home and my life that need tended to.
At times I tend to compare our home with the homes of those around me or that of society. I think about how my children are fortunate to have a mother that stays at home each day, how our family reads our Bible together, how we go to church every Sunday, how we limit ungodly influences in the home with our music, books, and media. By doing this I can start to feel that we are doing a pretty decent job raising our children. The danger of comparing our homes with others is that it almost always leads to pride and becomming stagnant in our walk with the Lord. We can't grow if we think we have no room for growth. We need to see ourselves in the light of God's Word, not by how we look compared to others. When I look at God's standards and not the worlds I see many areas that I fall short and it's only with God's grace that I'll be able to change. I have struggled with being submissive to my husband, speaking kind words, managing my time properly, having a critical spirit, doing things out of obligation rather than love for the Lord, and being content in the season I'm in. I am learning that I shouldn't necessarily strive to have a home that is counter-cultural, I should strive to have a home that glorifies the Lord and lines up with the Truth in God's Word, which in return will make my home BE counter-cultural. I should make pleasing and serving the Lord my very 1st priority.
Alot of parents, including myself has a list of do's and don'ts for the home. Don't watch these type of shows, don't listen to that kind of music, read our Bibles, say our prayers... Sometimes we can get caught up in just going through the motions without explaining to our children the WHY behind the things we do and don't do. I have to admit, sometimes I make sure our family has our devotions just so I can know in my mind that we done it, so I can check it off my list. God has shown me that my children need to see AUTHENTIC family worship, not something done out of obligation. Children know the difference between their parents going through the motions and being authentic. Family worship is when the family gladly comes together out of love for the Lord to celebrate God's abundant grace and goodness- something none of us deserve. In what areas of parenting do you struggle? Has God revealed areas in your home and parenting that need tended to?

May my life, thoughts, words, worship, and home be pleasing in Your sight. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-25
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is that their parents do not cherish the hour. Children can feel the difference between duty and delight. Therefore, the first and most important job of a parent is to fall in love with the worship of God. You can't impart what you don't possess.
John and Noel Piper

If therefore our houses be houses of the Lord, we shall for that reason love home, reckoning our daily devotion the sweetest of our daily delights; and our family-worship the most valuable of our family-comforts… A church in the house will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you.
Matthew Henry
The Complete Works of Matthew Henry, Baker, 1979, p. 260-261

When culture rushes down on your family and the professing church is trying to imitate the world itself, how will your family keep from being swept away in its path? Only through the Word of God! Family worship, on a daily basis, is your hope that they will stand like steel piers against the prevailing tide... In India there was a custom of throwing babies into the Ganges River as a sacrifice to the gods. If we are unwilling to do any more than merely take our children to church, we might as well be throwing them into the river of the culture. This is an explanation why many children of Christian parents are so often no different than the world’s. They have been given to the gods by their parents – thrown in with hands of neglect.
Jim Elliff
The Heart of Family Reformation, Christian Communicators Worldwide

Search Me, O God lyrics:

Search me, O God,
And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
For cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word,
And make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
Where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire
To magnify Thy Name.

Lord, take my life,
And make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart
With Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
My passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord
In me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
Revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival,
Start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

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