February's back is toward us, she's sidling out the door. Her departure beckons me to make good on my year's goals. For February leaves March in her place and after March, hold on.
This year I determined to use January as a month of prayer for 2015 and seeking God as to what I should aim toward this year. I realized that November and December are not months that offer a lot of reflection and planning time outside of reflection on Christ's birth and planning for the holidays.
Thus February 1st became my January 1st.
One major goal I have is to re-evaluate our family mission statement and consider how it applies to our current family season, ages, location, opportunities, etc.
I'd be honored to have you read along as I attempt to breathe life into ideas Brian and I put down on paper through numerous date nights a few years ago.
Mission: To prepare our children to live independently of us and dependently on God.
As Brian and I talked through our major goals as parents, we realized that from the very moment we received each child, they were very dependent upon us for everything. Our purpose as parents is to use their growing up years to wean them from their reliance upon us.
Yet independence is not our goal either. It is transferring dependence from us to God, the ultimate source of life, wisdom, and hope. And so our overarching statement was borne. (If I can find some other places to use the English spelling of words, I will, because I am drinking English tea while I write this.)
How does this play out with five children between the ages of 5 and 13?
Certainly part of what this means is that they have many opportunities throughout each day to be autonomous people, caring for their own needs and recognizing the needs of others and the needs of the circumstance.
I glowed from within the other day when I went to the coat closet and it was tidy. I mumbled something about "how did this get clean?" and a seven year old girl told me she saw it was messy and straightened it up. I affirmed that.
But aside from giving age appropriate responsibilities, jobs, and expectations, how do we transfer their reliance not just off of us but onto God?
|Blood Moon over the Little Muddy River|
My mind keeps returning to my first experience with Teen Missions International when I was sixteen. Our team of thirty-some teenagers in Tanzania was continually pointed to prayer. We prayed together when we got up. We prayed together when we went to bed. We prayed before every meal. We prayed before Bible study. We prayed before driving anywhere, every time. We prayed before every hike to a new village on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We prayed before doing our work. We prayed before, during, and after our marketplace presentations. We prayed about everything.
Many would say it may have been over-the-top but it seared something profound into my mind and heart. The practice of constant prayer taught me what it looks like to talk to God, walk with God every moment of my day. It taught me that I need to rely on Him, acknowledge Him, thank Him, remember Him in everything I do.
In order for our children to understand this great truth, we must model it. Brian and I first have to continually rely on God ourselves. And we need to do at least partly out loud so they can see and hear.
|The Turtle Mountains|
How easily I forget to do this. I go about my day dealing with good things and frustrating things and hard things and praiseworthy things and take it all in my own hands. I discipline and correct from my own understanding. I rely on my knowledge, experience, Google, feelings, advice, influence of others, and marketing to make my decisions.
All these have their place but above all these resources needs to be a continual remembrance and prayer to God for all that comes my way. The favorite verse in Proverbs 3, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" is an admonition that takes willful focus and pursuit.
I am taking my daughter to her friend's birthday party. Siri is directing me via Google Maps but I am driving in circles and my frustration is mounting. This is even a street I drive daily, so I am not lost but I cannot find my way. Noelle senses the tension as my navigator fails me. It is only after I have lost my cool that I call out loud to the Lord for help to find the place. He still helps. He calms my heart. He gives me eyes to see. And we arrive.
The bullet points in our mission statement flesh out this goal further, but I begin with the conviction that I first must be in process of living the mission I am teaching.
|Meatball dinner at a local church|
-Freedom from sin and death through the life of Jesus (salvation)
-Daily victory over sin (sanctification, continual growth and understanding)
-Daily provision of food, clothing, shelter and so much more
-Guidance in our big and small choices
-Help in our weaknesses
-Ways to use our strengths for God's good purposes
-Safety and health
-Relationships with others
-Love from a pure heart, Gal. 5.22 fruit of the Spirit
-The ability to know God and grow to be more like God
If you have ways you help instill a reliance on God in children, please share in the comments. I'd love to hear!