I received an anonymous email
with the following included.
I wanted to share some of the reply...
...how is it possible to make up for lost time?
I have 5 children, ages 15 to 3.
I feel like I want to erase and start over,
but oh, that is so impossible.
I don't even know where to start
doing all the right things...
What can I do about my children?
~ Starting the Change...Repenting
The first step is in acknowledging
where we have failed, asking the Lord to show us,
and then confessing and repenting to the Lord...
"Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
~ Psalm 139:23-24
"For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me." ~ Psalm 51:3
~ Begin from where we are...
When God forgives
("If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness." ~ 1 John 1:9),
we can then begin forgiving ourselves,
letting go of any guilt that we may have,
leave the past failures at the cross,
put on our 'runnin' shoes',
and press forward from where we are.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 3:13-14
~ A vision of ministry...
We need to see our husband, our children,
and our home as our ministry.
At this season in our life,
all other 'ministries' must either
wait until another season
or must include my main ministry (my family),
but they are our priority.
"That they may teach the young women...
to love their husbands, to love their children...
To be ... keepers at home...
that the word of God be not blasphemed"
~ Titus 2:4,5
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth."
~ Psalm 127:3,4
~ Looking to Learn from the Master...
He is the Perfect Teacher
and His Word is the Perfect Textbook.
We must be in His Word... Daily!
It is crucial to our Christian walk
and effects every area of our lives.
He desires to have a relationship with us.
He desires to teach us...
"I will instruct thee and teach thee
in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye."
~ Psalm 32:8
"...I am the LORD thy God
which teacheth thee to profit,
which leadeth thee by the way
that thou shouldest go."
~ Isaiah 48:17
He wants us to ask...
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
~ James 1:5
There are many Scriptures
that give examples of asking the Lord to teach.
I highly recommend praying them:
(Psalms 25:4; 27:11; 119:12,33,62)
There is a portion of Scripture
that I like to pray
before each time I read His Word:
"Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes;
and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law;
yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments;
for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,
and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;
and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant,
who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for thy judgments are good."
~ Psalm 119:33-39
~ We Cannot Teach What We Do Not Know...
We are commanded to teach and train:
"And these words, which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them
diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up."
~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7
"Train up a child
in the way he should go:
and when he is old,
he will not depart from it."
~ Proverbs 22:6
"...bring them up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord."
~ Ephesians 6:4
We are commanded to teach God's Word
to our children, to train them in It,
nurture and educate them in It.
We cannot do that properly without, first,
knowing it ourselves.
Not only do we need to be IN God's Word, daily,
but we need to KNOW His Word... memorize it.
Memorizing God's Word seems to be
a forgotten necessity.
It is such an important one, though.
To properly teach and train our children
in God's Word, we need to know it.
They must know what God says,
not only what Mom and Dad say.
When they disobey,
they need to know what God says.
What does God say about sharing?
What parable did Jesus tell
to demonstrate kindness?
We need to be equipped to apply God's Word
to our/their every day lives.
We equip our minds by memorizing His Word,
which also changes our own thinking.
Soon we will be more aware
of how every moment throughout the day
has a Truth from His Word to be applied
and we will be more prepared
to seize the opportunity
to eduate them in God's Truths.
"And that from a child
thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness"
~ 2 Timothy 3:15-16
~ Pray! Pray! Pray!
All of our efforts are in vain if
we are not bathing our children
in fervent, frequent prayer.
We can teach, train, correct, nurture,
and do many other things but
there is one thing
that we certainly CANNOT do...
We cannot change our children's hearts.
Only God can do that.
Prayer is work but it is a vital work.
We must, must be truly laboring in prayer
for our children, going boldly
to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16)
on their behalf.
"...pour out thine heart like water
before the face of the Lord:
lift up thy hands toward him
for the life of thy young children..."
~ Lamentations 2:9
"For this child I prayed..."
~ 1 Samuel 1:27
"The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much."
~ James 5:16b
~ Keeping Their Hearts
We must, actively, be pursuing
our children's hearts.
"And he shall turn the heart
of the fathers to the children,
and the heart of the children
to their fathers..." ~ Malachi 4:6
Though only God can change the heart,
there are things we can do to make
an effort in keeping our children's hearts...
no matter what their age.
Spending quality time with them in play, prayer,
Bible study, ministry opportunities, etc...
are a few tangible things that we can do.
We also need to consider what influences
may be distracting and pulling away
our children's hearts.
If at all possible,
those things need to be removed.
If not possible to remove, then greatly limited.
We must not allow things in our children's lives
(or in our own) that distract,
influence, and pull us away from God.
We must be prayerfully diligent,
as much as we are able, to be tuned in to their hearts.
As mothers, we need to be alert
and aware of what is going on with our children.
"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks,
and to look well to thy herds." ~ Proverbs 27:23
~ Researching other Resources
Though God's Word is truly all we need,
we are sometimes able to get ideas
and encouragement from others
that have been there.
In doing this, though,
we must be very discerning
and line everything up with God's Word.
We must receive the 'meat'
but spit out the 'bones', so to speak.
A few resources that I have used
and continue to use are below.
This is not an exhaustive list of what I have used,
nor do I, necessarily agree with
100% of the content found in these resources.
Again, use all resources prayerfully
and with discernment, lining it up with God's Word.
Saying that, here are a few I use:
Scripture Memory Cards by Evangelist Ron Hood
at Spiritual Success Institute
"Keeping Our Children's Hearts"
by Steve and Teri Maxwell
"To Train Up a Child"
by Michael and Debi Pearl
Miscellaneous Resources from Pastor S.M. Davis
at Solve Family Problems Ministry
"Instruction in Righteousness"
These are only a few
but can be a worthwhile place to start.
There is so much more detail
that we could go into with each point
(and I even left out a few others)
but as we follow these steps
and seek the Lord with our whole hearts,
He will guide us in these areas and nothers.
We can do all that He has called us to do.
It is never too late
and our mistakes are never too great
for our Heavenly Father to use for His good.
"And we know that all things
work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose."
~ Romans 8::28
"...to give unto them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that he might be glorified."
~ Isaiah 61:3