"And to love their children, not with a natural affection only, but a spiritual...taking care of their souls as well as of their bodies, of their spiritual welfare as well as of their temporal..." Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible
In stark contrast to popular culture and worldly wisdom, the Scriptures point to the exalted role of the mother. Our writer Jan Gordon has taken her role as mother very seriously. Raising kids for Christ's kingdom takes so much more that just "natural affection!"
Our natural feelings of love and caring for even our own children (aka "sinners") go just so far. We moms (including Jan) have all had days when we've told God that it's just too hard. We think, "Things haven't worked out the way they were supposed to." But we keep on loving that child by the power that Christ alone provides. And we learn to love, not the child we wished we had, but the child we really do have.
Let's all continue to seek the Lord, and to unite with our husbands to know Him and make Him known in our families. As Jan prays, "Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children" (Psalm 90:16).
Teaching Younger Women to Love Their Children (Titus 2:4)
by Jan Gordon (Gator Christian Life, Gainesville, Florida)
When I was a younger mom, the older women in my life taught me to love my children by...loving my children. They would point out sweet qualities in them and praise them for things they did well. Most of all, they taught me to love my children by being a godly example of training up their own children, so that I could learn from them. Here are a few things that God has been teaching me lately.
I am the mother of 11 children and can easily fall into the trap of people pleasing tendencies. I love my children so much, and try to think of the things that would be best for them, but that sometimes gets mixed up with what they think is best for them. My best judgment can get muddled with their desires and wants. This happens most when I make a decision and they appeal it, and my "best" judgment goes out the window because I want to please them. You've heard the saying, "If you let the cat in the door once, he will forever try again." The same is true with our children. They can start believing that your word is not the final word, or that our convictions and judgments can "change," and try to push for their wants and desires. Our hope, since our kids were small, has been that at our command they would obediently (and cheerfully) respond with a "Yes, Ma'am."
As they get older, our desire is still a submissive, cheerful response. We want there to be discussion and for them to share their thoughts and heart in situations, but their mindset shouldn't be to challenge and change what we have decided.
As a mother, I desire to have prayed through (and talked with my husband) and developed convictions in regard to how to "best" answer and make decisions for my kids. I desire to seek wisdom for "then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course" (Proverbs 2:9). I want my yes to be "yes" and my no to be "no" in their minds, and that it would be a rare time that they feel they should challenge me on my (our) decisions. I need solid convictions, boundaries for my kids, and no allowance for "distortion" of what Matt and I desire for them.
A verse I have been meditating on this week is Galatians 1:10, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." This is speaking to the Galatians regarding their "variations" to the gospel and Paul's need to confront their erroneous thinking. We need to be alert, understand God's heart, and seek His ways for our children. They are our priority, our focus, (just after our husband), and we do our kids a favor as we seek His face for our children and their ways. "She looks well to the ways of her household" (Proverbs 31). Pray for those convictions and judgments that are from God, and from decisions with your husband.
Weekly I like to write my children's names down and pray for them (daily), and write one thing down that would be specific to do with or for them. Sometimes it may mean buying them shoes, playing a game or riding a bike with them, cooking them a "special" something, or calling them (if they live elsewhere). No one will love, care, and think about them like we will, and it is a special place we have in their lives.
I pray through a list of prayers for children. I am attaching it and hope you are able to print it and put it in a place for daily use. I believe that God works through a mother's prayer and want to believe God to do His work in and through them. Psalm 90:16 says, "Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children." I ultimately desire that my children will be prayer warriors and see His majesty. This is happening!
About twice a year I like to think through their spiritual needs and set some goals. This list may also include daily disciplines I want to implement in their lives to help them be well rounded. I have to get alone for two to three hours of extended time with the Lord for this to be effective. I follow my husband's lead in guiding them spiritually, but I like to dream about what gifting I have that can add to this flow.
One example of this is memorizing verses to made-up songs. A treasure I discovered in our house this year is an MP3 player that I can record songs on, then hook up to a speaker, and replay our verse we've made into a song. We then put them on the computer and make a CD to listen to in the car. The kids now try to make up songs or raps to learn verses on their own or with others. Adding sign language for the younger children has also been a desire of mine because it brings life to the words. "Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes" (Psalms 119:5).
We have an opportunity to expose our children to so many "right" things and build into them truths that will last their lifetime. "Do not despise the day of small beginnings" (Zechariah 4:10). I will end by sharing Rick Whitney's suggested "Seven Days of Prayer for Our Family." I believe they give us courage and hope, as we believe God for His grace in our lives to love our children as He would, and give the younger generation this same hope.
- We would be Astonished by God's work in our family.
- Our children would do Better works than their parents.
- The kids would have Christ-like values and character.
- All my Descendants would be saved.
- The children would become Excellent spouses and find good mates.
- Our family would be Free from moral impurity.
- That we would be a Great Commission family.
Biblical Prayers for Children
"Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace" (Psalms 144:12).
- That God would draw them to Himself at an early age (John 3:3, 6:44, Psalms 78:5-7).
- For them to obey and respect authority(Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1).
- For their moral purity (Proverbs 5:7-23; I Thessalonians 4:3, II Timothy 2:22).
- That they would be protected from the deceits and schemes of Satan (Ephesians 6:10-11, Psalms 91).
- That they would know and love God's Word (Psalms 119:9-11, I Peter 2:2, II Timothy 2:15).
- That they would glorify God in whatever health or life circumstances He gives them, rejoicing always (I Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:4).
- For them to be wise in the wisdom of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 2:1-7).
- That they would have and be a special friend (David and Jonathan-I Samuel 20).
- That they would endure hardship in fellowship with Christ (Colossians 1:24, II Thessalonians 3:13, Hebrews 10:36).
- That their yes would be a yes and their no would mean no (Matthew 5:37, Psalms 15:4).
- That they would be equally yoked to a godly spouse (II Corinthians 6:14-20, I Corinthians 7:32-35).
- That they would always be humble, desiring for God to have the glory (I Peter 5:5-7, John 3:30).
- That their life would be used to promote God's Kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 20:24).
- That they would understand grace and so live out the law of Christ (Titus 2:11, I Peter 1:13).
- That my girl(s) would have a quiet and gentle spirit and my boy(s) would be the spiritual leader of his family (I Peter 3:4, Ephesians 5:23).
- That they hunger and thirst for God's righteousness (Matthew 5:6, Proverbs 20:11).
- For them to identifywith femaleness/maleness and be protected from gender confusion (Romans 1:25-28).
- That they hate evil, avoid it, and get caught when they disobey (Psalms 34:11-14, Proverbs 4:14).
- For them to be hard workers (Colossians 3:23).
- That they would think biblically (John 8:31-32, 2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 12:1-2).
- For them to be an encourager to others (Hebrews 10:24).
- That they love the Church (Ephesians 4:14-16).
- For them to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).
- That they be securein who God has made them to be (Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:3-6).
- That they know they are deeply loved (Psalms 103, Lamentations 3:22).
- That they love the Lord their God with all their heart (Matthew 22:37-39).
- That they love othersas they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-39).
- That they would have honestywith the Lord, themselves, and others (I John 1:1-9, Psalms 15:2).
- That they be faithful stewards of their God-given talents and their money (I Timothy 6:6-10, Psalms 112:5, Proverbs 11:24-25).
- For them to live by an eternal perspective (Philippians 2:20, Colossians 3:1-2).
- That they would be men and women of prayer (Colossians 4:2, James 5:16, Acts 2:42).
If you would like to respond to Jan, email email@example.com.