Last Sunday morning at church, I heard a fantastic sermon about God creating work and how that applies to our life. It ended with everyone standing and being commissioned or ‘sent out’ into whatever role occupied most of their time. As a ‘stay at home’ mum, I was deeply challenged by this. We have made a lot of decisions over the years – for me to stay at home with the kids when they were babies/toddlers/preschoolers and not put them into childcare, to homeschool our children instead of outsourcing their education to the government, to build into my children instead of chasing a higher education qualification of a PhD etc.
Sunday morning, though, I was challenged by the questions,
1. Am I discipling my children to the very best of my ability or is good enough near enough?
2. Am I letting some things slide so that I can manage life at the moment?
3. Have I understandably let some goals with my children lapse so as to manage certain life stressors, but now I haven’t picked them back up again when I could?
Please hear me. I am not making value judgements on what you are doing or have done or how you choose to live. I am reviewing how I am doing in the light of what I have been called to do – to disciple my children to the very best of my ability. This will look different for each parent.
Over eleven years ago, God strongly impressed on me that I was to live my life based on the verse from the Bible in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the standards of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Thus, I know that I need to run decisions through the filter of “Is this a world’s standard so ingrained in culture that we don’t recognise it or is it a godly standard?” Also, I am called upon to constantly be renewing my mind so that I can understand, make decisions and implement things so much more effectively.
How am I going in this? How am I effectively discipling my children, not in the ways of the world but by God’s standards? What things need to change? What things are beyond my control? How do I need to change to become the best disciple maker for my children that is possible? Children tend to learn best by watching what is modelled, not by changing their behaviour by what is said.
If my children are displaying behaviour that is what I consider not appropriate, how am I responding in a godly manner? Also, where did they ‘get’ that behaviour from? What do I need to change in relation to that?
Some more questions that I am mulling over this week include:
1. What is the fruit of my disciple making in my children in their attitudes, words and actions?
2. What fruit am I wanting to see that I haven’t yet seen?
3. Have I even written down the fruit I want to see rather than just have a vague idea in my head?
4. How serious am I taking my role as a mother, ordained by God to raise the children that He has given to me, in the best possible way?
5. How am I spending my time, money, energy and resources and what am I modelling to my children?
God in His amazing wisdom has given every parent the right children for them to parent. Everything you are and am becoming is what your child needs from you as their parent. Parenting particular children may stretch you and grow your character greatly. Please don’t despise the growth. It is crucial.
I have found it interesting to observe families and see what the parents are into and then see how often their children seem to have similar interests. Thankfully, our children usually have a higher platform to start from since they are starting from where we are now, not where we have come from. An example is the prophetic gifting in our family. It is really only the last two years that hubby and I have started exploring the prophetic and growing in being able to hear from God and then communicating that to others so as to encourage and comfort them. Our children, through osmosis by being around us, but also by how God has made them and gifted them, also have a gifting in this area. They are so much more advanced in this area than we were at their age. We didn’t even know about it then. This week it has been a normal part of our life to all participate in writing and drawing 32 prophetic words for every student and teacher of the new Christian school being started in a month’s time in Nepal and even a prophetic word for the country of Nepal.
To see my main role as a disciple maker, though, I need to look at all areas of both my life and my children’s lives. To closely examine where we currently are at physically, spiritually, mentally, socially, educationally, and emotionally and our use of resources, time and energy and also our way of responding to situations, events and people. I need to realistically look at what both hubby and I can do to maximise their growth in all these areas, and also what needs to be outsourced for others to influence them in particular areas where we can’t fulfill their needs. Thankfully, we also have a gracious God who can do immeasureably more than what we can imagine or hope for.
Where are you in relation to all of this? In raising world changers, a lot depends on us, our character and what we are modelling. We can expect our children to model our behaviour, our character, our pitfalls, our values. Are we being world changers ourselves? Is it too much to expect our children to be world changers if we aren’t modelling changing the world for others, in big ways or small?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.