Long day! Infant baby girl crying and not sleeping...boys needing help with school...laundry needing done. But now...
NOW...I am actually laying on my couch while I type this...in my very quiet house. Oh yeah, I hear the dishwasher and the washing machine and dryer, BUT no children at the moment. No one is running through the house or jumping around or slamming doors!
My thoughtful Pastor came and picked up my boys for church because Tom is not home from work and Emma didn't get picked up until late. How kind is he to do that! I'm very blessed to be in the church family I am in. These peeps have my back I tell ya!
So what do I wanna say while I have a quiet moment to think...
Well, here is something that has been on my heart, and it goes along with what I have been blogging about...ya know, taking that time to really BE with your family?
I read somewhere a few years ago about family reading time. I had NEVER even thought of doing that, and frankly laughed at the picture of what my boys might be doing while I was trying to read a nice, wholesome book to them! :)
But, I decided to try this because "they" (you know, those people out there who are deemed qualified enough to get something published!) said that it would help to create a love of reading in children. I really do believe readers are leaders and leaders are readers! People that take time to read are usually studiers and thinkers and learn to not just follow anyone blindly! That is what I want for my children. I want them to know what they believe and why they believe it!
It was suggested that I read them chapter books because it would entice them to want to keep reading more. I should also say that I implemented this at a time when I was really stressed out. My husband was working LONG hours, which left it up to me to make it through the whole day with them. 3:1...NOT good odds when you are the 1!
So...I gave the reading thing a try and wow, was I ever surprised! They were riveted. They couldn't get enough. They would beg me to keep going! And, I decided this special time would happen at bedtime because when I would just kiss them goodnight and leave the room, they would giggle and talk and you know what all else if you have kids! I would end up yelling at them or spanking them and many nights I would end up crying in exhaustion.
We got a reading routine down. I would read and they would settle in and actually be quiet because they wanted to hear! Then, we would pray together and that opened the door to great conversations. Again, I would read some more, and they would just drift off to sleep. It was so peaceful!
My sister-in-law was shot by her (now) ex-husband, and for a year, three of her kiddos came to live with us. When I first told them that we all read together at night, the oldest two couldn't believe it and were not real excited to participate. By the time they were about to move out, they were upset with me on the nights that we got in late or I was just too tired to read!
It takes some time, patience, and diligence, but I am telling you, it makes such a huge difference in the family. I have been so blessed hearing the thoughts my children have...and we never go to bed frustrated or angry with one another on the nights we read.
We have read all kinds of things from biographies to history to science to devotionals and theology books. Some of their favorites are books about sightings of angels and stories that seem too coincidental not to be God's intervention.
Currently we are reading Visions Beyond the Veil (our really, really, really good book I mentioned in another post). It is about a group of Chinese children who were taken off the streets and brought into an orphanage started by a missionary couple. The children began seeking the Lord with all their hearts in prayer and had all kinds of supernatural things happen...things that are credited by Scripture, but things these uneducated and newly-introduced-to-the-Christian-faith children could not have known about any other way than by divine revelation!
Three weeks ago, I began crying out to the Lord because of what I was seeing rising up in my boys. Lying, deceiving, and disrespect for others. I'm not willing to receive the lie of this world that "boys are just like that" or "children go through these stages." No! Nothing in the Word of God says they have to! It says that all those dedicated to Christ can overcome because Christ overcame for us and gave us all His authority!
I am not going to ignore these things in their life...things the world calls "mistakes" or "stages." This is blatant sin and it is not going to rule my sons' lives if I can do anything about it! So, I had to fall on my face and ask God for His help. He loves my boys more than I do, and He wants their hearts more than I want them to be enamored by Him.
He spoke to me and said that once they taste of the supernatural, this world cannot hold them. I just had this knowing that He did not mean they were to seek after signs, wonders, and miracles. He meant they needed to taste of His tangible presence. They needed to encounter Him. They needed to seek HIM!
Of course I began to plead with Him to direct my steps and show me how to help them do that. He again answered. Sadly, I was ashamed when He led me back to a website He had shown me approximately two years ago! It is Kids in Ministry International. I promptly poured over all their recommended reading and ordered five books!
I am absolutely astounded at what He is opening my eyes to! The reasons why kids are not staying in the faith they are raised in...why we are so surprised that we raise them in church and they can't wait to get away from it!
I am a BIG stickler about the difference between mere religious acts and the traditions of men verses a true relationship with the One True God. I have taught my sons much about all different religions in this world...where and how they originated and what they claim. They are well on their way to being able to defend their faith.
But, I have recently realized that I have to do more to teach them about how to grow in their personal relationship with God and how to know Him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This generation is crying out for the supernatural. They are seeking it in all kinds of ways. They were created to want it...to need it...to walk in it. They are being filled by counterfeit satisfaction. They are being deceived.
They ARE going to search, so we better be ready to direct them to the Truth. We better learn ourselves and begin at an early age to guide them into experiencing the presence of God. Anyone who has TRULY had a taste of His presence is never the same and is never fulfilled by ANYTHING else! Anyone who says they have "tried" it and it didn't "work" for them or wasn't their "thing" has not experienced Him in Spirit and Truth.
So I am learning, and I am leading my children. I am determined that they will know Him personally. They will never have to hang on the shirttails of my faith. I believe they will soar past me and experience things I never have. I believe they have everything Jesus says they have and they will do great things in His name...ALL FOR HIS GLORY...until the WHOLE world hears.
The signs...the wonders...the miracles...are just what follows when we press into Him. He longs to commune with us. He wants to reveal His mysteries to His children. We can't conjure these things up. They are not magic! They are His gifts...His blessings. He yearns to pour out His Spirit upon them that will believe. He desires for us to know Him in full...to know all He can do. But, history shows us that He doesn't bestow these blessings on just anyone. He waits for those who earnestly seek Him...those who are humble...like the Chinese orphans, who for the first time, experienced true love in finding His salvation and wanted so much to know Him that they spent hours in prayer!
Oh that my children would cry out to Him and humble themselves, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways so He will hear their prayers!
I have NO greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth!