Church kids or Children of God?

For a few years, I’ve had this nagging feeling that won’t go away.  I don’t want “church kids”!  Does that mean I don’t want my kids going to church or viewing church as an important part of their lives? Certainly not and I believe it’s an essential part of their spiritual growth.  I just want more for them than obedience and going through the motions.  Anyone can be trained to obey over time, but do you want your kids to obey mainly because they fear the consequences?  I want them to trust God in all things with their lives and to know He won’t fail them.  I want their souls to be on fire for Him, but that may take some time to happen.  My hope is that they find their identity in being a child of God because our strength is in Him not us.

As Christ following parents, it can be tempting to focus on performance in our kids.  Sometimes it’s for our selfish image in the church. Other times we get lost in the chaos and exhaustion of our daily routine that we don’t take the time to think about our parenting motives. We just want them to do what their told!  I get that, I have 4 children and I know how that feels to be so tired and if they could just be the good Christian kids I want them to be.  If they would just stop fighting and tattling and just sit down at the table like the well behaved kids in the booth next to us, that would be GREAT!  The more I go through these experiences with my children that I cannot for the life of me control, the more I know God is using it for our family’s good and for His glory.  He is teaching me to point them in His direction because I can’t do it in my own strength.

The enemy takes every opportunity to distort God’s purpose for us.  Think about about play dates for example.  The purpose is to come together in community and fellowship with one another with benefits for parents and children.  I’ve seen it happen over and over again where Moms begin to compare their child’s behavior with another child.  If their child is the one that’s going through a season in which the Lord is working on them, they are usually the targets.  God is exposing their sin so it can come out into the light, but we typically want to shut down the behavior immediately and make them behave.  That tactic backfires and the enemy takes that opportunity to tempt you into humiliation, shame, and isolation.

Don’t allow the seemingly difficult season your child is in to allow the enemy to make you feel unworthy of community.  Please don’t allow anyone make you feel like a worn out and bad parent because your child isn’t good at performing.  Be thankful to God that your child can be free and honest in the season of life they’re in.  How sad it would be for our kids to avoid coming to us with a struggle in their teens for fear of rejection, condemnation, or lack of unconditional love.  Be thankful in those days they have public tantrums and your face turns bright red, for the judgement of others can easily change them into obedient guarded church goers. God wants more for our families!  

This verse always encourages me as a parent.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  In those embarrassing moments with our kids, there is a purpose.  When we feel defeated as parents, there is hope.  Don’t be discouraged, He is using it all!  

Wait on the Lord!

Wait on the Lord?  Do I have to… can’t God just come through now?

It can be so difficult to wait for God’s timing, but we are so blessed when we do.  When I was saved 16 + years ago, I wanted my family to know the love and closeness of God immediately.  People can sometimes feel like you’re trying to sell them something or your goal is earning points with God  while you’re trying to convert people.  I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that approach at times.  His love is so overwhelming that you can’t help but want those you love to experience that joy with you.  Trusting in God’s timing is key because as much as we want our loved ones to be in relationship with Him, it’s only going to happen in God’s timing.  Living for Him and loving others is so much more of a testament to who He is than trying to convince someone.

I have been waiting, praying, pleading with God for almost half my life for my family to know how much they are loved by their creator.  I am happy to say that waiting on the Lord has paid off!  I had the privilege of baptizing my step father (we all think of him as our real father) yesterday.  At my complete surprise, the spirit of God was at work in the heart of my Mom, my sister, and my niece.  They all obeyed the spirit’s call and they took the plunge together.  I have never cried tears of joy like that in my life other than when I gave birth to my children.  It was worth the wait and I’m excited to see more of my family members come to know the intimate love of Christ through them as well.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”  Psalm 27:14

Wait on Him, He knows what he’s doing.

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…You will not be burned

Why am I so shocked when I face adversity?  That’s part of refinement in Christ right?  I fight it so much and yet when I step out of myself and analyze these struggles, I’m reminded that I better get used to expecting them to come my way.  God disciplines those He loves, so I should be thankful and submit to His way not just because I fear Him, but because I trust in Him.  “But now, this is what the Lord says, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’” Isaiah 43:1-2  

He will allow us to go through pain, but He’s in it with us guiding us even when we fall.  We will fail at times, but He never will!  That’s the only hope we have and I’m resting in that.

…think on these things

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Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Who are you to have anything important to say?  How could you possibly help anyone?  You remember who you […]