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Child Training Archives | Imperfect Homemaker

Category Archives for Child Training

Teaching Our Children About Broken Fellowship

Guest post by contributor Andrea

 

Last year when I was struggling as a mother of four kids under the age of four (including newborn twins), a dear friend gave me a book called “Loving the Little Years” by Rachel Jankovic.  That little book has been read several times now, as well as the sequel, “Fit to Burst”.  I love these books because they are short, and the chapters are short.  They are random thoughts on motherhood in no particular order.  I could usually finish a chapter while nursing the babies.  It is chock full of humor, practical suggestions, encouragement, and lessons on motherhood – specifically in mothering little people.

Perhaps one of the reasons I “connected” with the author so well is that our children fall into the same birth order, two toddlers, then twins (and now she has two other children).  So many times I wondered if Rachel had been sitting in my living room watching me mother my children, and then gone home to write a chapter about it!

Broken Fellowship jpg

One of the biggest things I took away from this book was how to teach my children to restore fellowship.  I’m sure you’ve been there – the kids are fighting over that same toy, again.  One child gets mad and hits his sister, while the sister spouts off unkind names to her brother.  And there you are, trying to figure out who had the toy first, who did what, and who gets the discipline.

I am always frustrated when this breaks out in our home!  {And it happens quite often…just saying.}  But now I approach my teaching and discipline from a different perspective.  Instead of dealing with who had the toy first, we talk instead about broken fellowship.  You see, my children had both decided that the toy was more important than the fellowship with their sibling.  They assigned more value to the item that to the relationship.  They don’t realize they are doing that, but it provides a great opportunity to counsel them about sin and relationships.

We now go through questions something like this:

What is more important, your brother, or that toy? 

What did you act like was the most important? 

What should we do to show your brother he is most important? 

How can you restore the fellowship? 

It takes several counseling sessions to help your children understand the concept of fellowship.  You want them to understand that relationships (people) are more important than things.  If the rift in the fellowship is really bad, I do take away the toy.  I explain that it would be better to throw the toy away than to have it in our house if we are going to break fellowship because of it.  And when push comes to shove, the kids usually find a way to share the toy rather than have it thrown in the garbage.

To restore fellowship, the kids need to say something like, “I’m sorry I wasn’t kind and I broke fellowship with you.  Will you please forgive me?”  Then they hug, and make-up.

This has not only been very helpful in solving fights, but it is also a valuable opportunity to teach them about the Gospel.  Every one of us is born into broken fellowship with God.  The only way to restore fellowship is to ask Him to forgive our sins through the blood of Jesus, and to come into our life and be our Savior.  Even as Christians, we experience broken fellowship with our Lord on a daily basis every time we sin.  But the fellowship is easy to restore when we ask for forgiveness.

Good thoughts on teaching children why they should be kind to one another

Every time my children my children experience broken fellowship with each other, I get to illustrate their broken fellowship with God.  I am praying that one day soon my oldest will understand more completely and choose to accept Christ and the restored fellowship He offers.

Feed My Lambs

Our pastor just finished preaching through the book of John.  I love the end of the book – chapter 21 – when Jesus meets His disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  He gently restores Peter by reaffirming his call three times – the same number of times which Peter had denied Jesus during the crucifixion.  Jesus states His mission for Peter – “feed my lambs” one time, and “feed my sheep” twice.

Feed My Lambs jpg

We know that Jesus was calling Peter to be a leading force in the newly formed New Testament church.  The reference to lambs likely refers to new believers.  Jesus wanted Peter to gently care for those who were new in the faith.  “Sheep” could refer to more mature believers.

As my pastor was preaching through these verses he mentioned how lambs have to be fed more often.  Sometimes the shepherd might have to get up in the night to care for these vulnerable little ones.  On a recent missionary deputation trip we stayed with a family who has a hobby goat farm.  One of the goats died giving birth to twin kids.  The family members alternated who got up every four hours during the night to give the goats a bottle of milk.

My mind wandered to mothers of newborns and young babies.  We get up in the night to meet the physical needs of our children by nursing them or giving them a bottle.  We comfort them when they are sick, hold them when they are teething, and soothe them after a bad dream.  We don’t tell them to feed themselves or to go back to sleep – we deal gently with them, even though we are weary. 

Though there could be many applications from this passage, one was important to me, and I have meditated on it many times over the last couple of weeks.  As mothers, we have an important role to take care of the physical needs of our young children.  Sometimes we feel alone, home-bound, weary, lost in the monotony of routine tasks, and even unimportant, unaccomplished, and unappreciated.  But our efforts are not lost to the Savior.  He recognized that those who are young or immature need more care.

Yet our responsibility to feed our young children extends far beyond the tasks of meals, laundry, cleaning the home, etc.  As Christian parents we are responsible to spiritually feed our children.  They should hear the Word of God from our lips, and they should see it lived out in our daily choices.  It is not the Sunday School teacher’s job to teach our children the truths of God’s Word.  Their ministry is reinforcing what our children should be learning at home…from us.

We “feed the lambs” by teaching them God’s Word, living God’s Word, explaining God’s Word, helping them memorize God’s Word, and applying God’s Word to everyday situations in the lives of our children.  We feed the lambs when we pray for our children, and refuse to let the enemy get a stronghold in their lives.

Sometimes I get tired of going through the same lecture, the same discipline, the same scenario with my little ones.  Are they bickering over that toy AGAIN?  Did he just hit his sister AGAIN?  I want to say, “I shouldn’t have to tell you this again!”  But just as there are times physically when I don’t think I can squeeze another ounce of energy out to pry myself out of bed and nurse the baby, so there are times spiritually when I don’t think I have the strength to shepherd these little lambs and their delicate hearts to the Savior.  And do you know what?  I don’t have the strength.  I can’t do it alone.  As He gives me strength to meet the physical needs of my children, so the Lord gives the wisdom and the strength to go over that lesson on kindness with my children one more time.

We just started homeschooling for kindergarten last week, and I am very weary.  It seems like things are grating on my nerves more quickly than normal.  Each task seems to take more energy that I have.  But I have been encouraged from this passage to continue on feeding His lambs.  He has entrusted four of them to me, and I don’t want to fail the Savior in my task.

 

 

Dark Sayings of Old (and a Free Devotional eBook)

Guest post by Imperfect Homemaker contributor Ellen (my mom!)

 

What do I want to leave my children and grandchildren when I leave this present world?

It would be nice to leave them a few riches in material goods, but I don't know how much of that is going to happen.  But much more important than that, I want to leave them riches in Christ.  I want to leave them a godly legacy.

Christian Motherhood quote | imperfecthomemaker.com

As I get older,  it is more and more clear how little time we have on this earth.  I pray that I never take my time with my family for granted for it is the only time I have to show them who Christ is and what He can do for them.  I want to live in such a way before them that their desire will be to love and serve Christ whole-heartedly. This is what I read in Psalms 78:1-4: Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

Here are some things I ought to do as a parent, grand parent, or instructor, using the examples in the Bible to teach my children truth:

1. Tell them and read to them from God's Word all that He has done. Teach them the holiness of God so that they learn to reverence Him, love Him, and obey Him.

2. Use object lessons to teach them God's truths.  My husband was very good at using travel time, play time, dinner time, etc. to take every day happenings and make lessons out of them to teach the truth of God's Word to our children.   We are grateful it paid off.  As parents we ought to work hard at practicing Deuteronomy 6:7  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.

3. Don't ever hide these things from my children. Don't be silent about God's goodness by keeping it to myself.  Show them from God's Word and through examples in my own life. Show them and tell them of His strength, the works that He has done, and answers to prayer.   Praise Him continually before my children and grandchildren. Teach them to teach their children the same.  Why? So that generation after generation will know God and who He is and will in turn continue to pass it on to the next generation.  Today we see more and more of a generation that does not know God!   Is it perhaps that the parents and grandparents neglected to teach it to them? Just suppose that Moses' parents and Daniel's parents and the three Hebrew children's parents had not taught them about God.  What might have been different?  And what might be different in the future if we faithfully teach our children; one of them may be used of God for “such a time as this”!

Christian motherhood quote

(I've recently been reading this story of a woman who left a godly legacy.  She was a prayer warrior; she walked by faith, not by sight.  She prayed, believed God, and God answered.  She was a godly example to her family.  You will not be able to put the book down.)

My parents also left us a godly legacy.  I saw my mom every morning read her Bible and pray.  She was consistent and lived what she learned in front of us.  My dad also, if he was not working, was studying his Bible and taking notes.  We are privileged to have his Bible notes now and it is just exciting to me to hold them in my hands knowing they are written with his own hand writing. Godly parents are such a treasure and what a treasure to know that we will one day be together again in eternity.   Recently, I have been scanning all his notes and putting them into files so they can be shared with all the family. He wrote one study on effectual prayer, which I in turn studied and it was such a blessing to me.  It prompted me to write my own notes regarding effectual prayer.

I enjoy writing in journals every day.  I keep a daily log of happenings and blessings and thoughts and meditations from God's Word.  I do so hoping  that one day my children and grandchildren will read about my blessings and the treasures of things God has taught me from His Word; hoping that in turn some of these things will speak to their hearts and help them to grow in grace.

If you have never done so,  I encourage you to write down something everyday that is a blessing to you from God's Word, even if it is just a verse.  It will keep it in your mind better and who knows but that one day your children or grandchildren will read the things that the Lord has taught you, only to apply them to their own lives.

I am also working on a devotional book in eBook form.  You are welcome to sign up to receive the first volume for free!   These are just random devotions from my daily time with the Lord; I pray that you will be encouraged with something from God's Word that you can apply to your own life.

I Am Blessed With a Beautiful Mess

Every day I face mountains.

 

Mountains of laundry.

Mountains of dishes.

Mountains of exhaustion, frustration, and confusion.

 

Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done.

 

Last night my husband took the kids out for a couple hours, and I had a quiet house to myself.  (Well, I had the baby with me, but she seems like no work at all when you're used to three other tornadoes in the house!)

 

You would think I would have enjoyed the quiet.  Having a chance to go to the bathroom without having to referee sibling bickering through the door should be blissful, right?

 

But you know who the happiest person was for those kids to get home?

Me!

 

I hardly knew what to do with myself while they were gone!  I was (dare I say it?) bored!

 

You see, while they are a challenge to face each day,  every one of those mountains in my home is beautiful.

 

Those mountains of laundry represent a little boy who is full of healthy curiosity about the world God made.  They represent siblings playing outside with one another, climbing trees, playing on the swing set, and picking honeysuckle together.

I want these to be the memories my kids have of home; not of how mom was always complaining about how hard they made her work.

Motherhood is a beautiful mess

 

Those mountains of dishes represent meals around the family table, talking and laughing together.  The discussions about how to read the clock on the kitchen wall will all too soon turn into discussions about how their college classes are going.  I don't want to waste precious memories that will pass too quickly by spending my time focusing on the dirty dishes.

a beautiful mess

 

The mountains of exhaustion, confusion, and frustration represent long days teaching children how to be kind, responsible, honest, and obedient, even when they are not the most cooperative students.

But each “Yes, ma’am” that I hear brings a renewed energy and determination to work diligently so that one day those “Yes, ma’am”s will turn to “Yes, Lord”s.

And one day when I see my grown children living a life for God’s glory, I will look back and reflect on this beautiful mess that defines my life as a young mother. And I will declare that every mountain I scaled was worth the effort ten times over.

Christian motherhood quote

 

 

 

Thoughts on the Sacrifice of Motherhood

The following is a guest post by Imperfect Homemaker contributor Andrea.

Motherhood is Sacrifice jpg

The Lord has really been working in my heart recently about one specific area of motherhood: sacrifice.  I don’t even feel qualified to write about it because many days I kick against the sacrifice involved in rearing my little people.  But as the Lord has continued drawing my heart, I am realizing the incredible privilege and reward involved in being a sacrificial mother.

Most moms are self-sacrificing for their children.  I was blessed with a godly mother who sacrificed day in and day out to stay home with her three children, homeschooling all of us from kindergarten to graduation, cooking for us, cleaning up after us, and much more that I am sure I will never fully realize.  And while I knew that being a mom involved these kinds of sacrifices, I didn’t truly understand the full extent of it until I was knee deep in the trenches of motherhood myself.

Especially if you have little people in your home, I’m sure the sacrifice seems very real.  I know – I have four kids, ages four and under.  Sometimes I think they wait for my head to hit the pillow and then they start crying.  I am usually the last one to sit down to eat, and often my meal is cold by the time I get to it.  Just when I finished the breakfast dishes there is a pile of lunch dishes to wash.  I can change bed sheets pretty quickly – I do it nearly every morning right now on at least one bed/crib.  Some days I feel like I discipline for the same thing all day long.  The laundry and floors are two things that are never clean!  Yes – motherhood is sacrifice.

Many times I have struggled with all that I have to do, all that I need to do, and how fast the time seems to fly away.  I have lamented to my husband that I never get to scrapbook anymore, or that I just spent all day cleaning the house only to have it messy again at bedtime, or that I am so tired from being up several times in the night with sick children.  Sometimes I just want a little time for myself.  Sometimes I just wish I could stop and take a vacation from mothering.  But then the Lord reminds me: motherhood is sacrifice.

This point was really brought home to me when I came face to face with these facts.  Did you ever stop to consider that your child is an eternal soul?  That one day – he/she will spend all of eternity in either heaven or hell?  If that is not sobering enough, consider that your child is entrusted to you for the first 20-ish years of this eternal existence.  And then consider the fact that we only get one chance at this mothering thing.  We can’t put it off until later or a more convenient time, we can’t start in when they are a teenager and hope to fix all the problems, and we can’t go back and do it over a different way.

I had never seen parenting from that perspective before.  I get to be the one to influence and raise my children for the first 20-ish years of their eternal existence.  My children are really the only thing I can take with me when I die.  The house?  It stays here.  The money?  It will be left to someone else.  The scrapbooks/hobbies?  They will probably end up in the garbage one day.  But my kids – I can take them with me for eternity…If I am willing to sacrifice what I want now for what I want my kids to be someday.  Because motherhood is sacrifice.

It really comes down to what is most important to me.  I could put my kids in day care so that I could pursue a career which will ultimately be of no lasting value.  I could be selfish with my time and energy, insisting upon “me time” instead of pouring the Gospel into my children’s lives and living it before them.  I can fuss over having a clean house instead of playing with my kids and building  life-changing relationships with them.  Motherhood is sacrifice.

Now I am not saying you can’t ever have any “me time.”  Or that you can’t ever leave your children with someone else.  But I am saying we should be willing to sacrifice some of the temporal pleasures and entertainment in order to be the right kind of mother to our children.  My scrapbooking can be picked up again when my kids are bigger or on their own.  Eventually I will not have a living room full of toys.  There will be time for  hobbies or pursuits later.

Christian Motherhood quote

If I neglect my children now for other things which I deem to be more valuable, then one day I will be left with empty arms and fading accomplishments.  But if I sacrifice temporal things now in order to influence my children in their foundational years, then when my kids are grown I will have a full heart and rewards in heaven.   Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  When my kids grow up to serve the Lord, I will get to share in that reward because I will have poured my life into discipling them.  That is something that is worth the sacrifice in my book.

Mothering is a hard job.  It is not for the faint of heart!  Many days I earnestly desire to be done with diapers and discipline.  But until then I am trying to remind myself that this sacrifice now will bring rewards and benefits far into the future that I cannot even begin to imagine.  So be encouraged to keep giving, to keep teaching, to keep sacrificing because your rewards are eternal!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9

Finding Time for God When You Can Hardly Find Time to Breathe

As our family continues to be blessed with more children, the amount of time I have to myself decreases.

Thankfully, my children sleep really well most of the time, and I can usually get up early and have a few minutes to spend time alone with the Lord while things are still quiet.  But there are seasons when that doesn't happen, such as when I have a new baby , when one of the kids is sick, or when I was struggling very badly with chronic fatigue and would sleep until I heard the kids up running around.

During those times it is extremely difficult to find any time to spend time with the Lord reading his word and praying.  From the time my feet hit the floor until the time my body finally falls asleep at night, I am busy wiping noses, changing diapers, cleaning up messes, and listening to childish chatter.  But, oh how desperately I need the Lord!  Most days the first two words I think when I wake up are either “Help, Lord!”  or “Lord, help!”  I cannot complete this monumental task of nurturing souls, loving my husband, and maintaining a smoothly running household on my own strength.  It is HARD!

I'm sure many, many of you are in the same boat, so I want to share some practical ways I have found to spend time learning from God's Word and praying even when it's not possible to get up earlier than everyone else and have your own quiet time.

Practical tips for spending time with the Lord even when life is busy

 

1. Memorize scripture – Even if I have only a minute or two of quiet time, I get a whole lot more bang for my buck if I spend that time putting scripture to memory rather than just reading it. I can then spend time meditating on God's Word all throughout the day, and I'm not confined to whatever quiet time I may have the chance to enjoy.  (See also: 10 Ways to Help Your Child Memorize Scripture – these will work for you too!)

2. Keep scripture around the house – This goes along with #1.  I can be thinking on the words of Scripture as I see it throughout my house.  I want my mind (and the minds of my family members) to be saturated with God's Word, and all it takes is a little effort to print out verses and post them all around the house.  I can remember memorizing several verses as a child just because they were hung in places where I would frequently look.  Over time I just simply knew them without even trying. (Find a free printable of Philippians 4:8 right here.)

3. Pray in the shower or while you're getting dressed – these few moments that I get to spend alone are invaluable.  I enjoy having a few minutes of quiet to spend in prayer.

4. Read and pray with your children – If my children are already up when I wake up, I don't forgo my time with the Lord.  I simply allow my children to join me.  That way I can still learn from his Word, and my children can learn as well. They'll also see how important it is to depend on the Lord every day and learn to love God's Word for themselves.  (See also: How to Help Young Children Develop Their Own Relationship with God)

5. Meditate on scripture as you fall asleep – One of my favorite times to review the scripture I've memorized is as I'm falling asleep at night.  Rather than letting my mind race thinking about all the things I have to do the next day, meditating on Scripture quiets my thoughts and keeps my focus on Christ rather than on my problems.

6. Keep a Bible handy – I keep Bibles scattered throughout the house and in the car.  That way whenever I do happen to find a few quiet minutes, I can pick one up wherever I am and read a little bit.

7. Listen to scripture on audio – there are several audio versions of the Bible available.  (I think this is the one we have.)  You can listen to scripture as you do your work around the house or drive somewhere.  I also really, really like these Scripture Meditations CDs.  They are Scriptures on various topics being read with a background of gorgeous orchestral music.  (We also use these CD‘s for our kids to keep scripture going in the house throughout the day.)

 

Can you think of any other ways to spend time with the Lord even when life is busy?