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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's Being Passed on to the Next Generation?

I just started reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper and I am excited about this book!

DearHubby has been working so hard that a lot of the childcare and household responsibilities have fallen on my shoulders. DearHubby has great confidence in me and trusts that I am able to carry this load. We've talked about our desires for our children, which is to bring them up in the ways of the Lord, but we've never really discussed the details as to how we ought to do that. In the past, I've nagged DearHubby about his role as our family's spiritual leader. I used to have expectations of what that spiritual leader looks like and one of them is leading me and the children in a family worship time. I know that DearHubby desires these things, but I also know that he's burdened with the responsibility to uphold our family's financial needs too. We are reminded of the sparrows and the lilies of the field and how God takes care of them and because we mean so much more to God then how much more He will take care of us. And though I know that DearHubby fully trusts the Lord with our financial issues, I understand that there is a burden of responsibility that he carries to make sure that he's providing enough for his family. In addition to our financial needs, DearHubby has been burdened with the task to renovate our home so that we have a roof to provide over our children's heads. Therefore, though it's been a difficult task for me to reach this point, I've finally accepted the fact that, for now, I am the one who will be mostly influencing our children about the way they see the world.

Anyway, so, DearHubby and I have discussed our desires to raise our children in God's ways, yet I often lose sight of this goal because the task of just surviving through the day often blurs my vision. The girls' diapers need to be changed, DearDaughter1 is being disobedient again, DearDaughter2 needs a feeding, the girls need a bath, do their toenails and fingernails need a trim, what's for dinner tonight, a load of laundry needs to get in the washer, the dishes need to be washed, the toilets and bathtub need cleaning, the trash needs to be taken out, do we have enough money for groceries this week, can we afford to buy the girls clothes, and the list goes on...This long but necessary list of things to do often causes me to forget my main goal and desire for my children, which is to know and love God.

So, I am excited for Noel Piper's book because already in the first chapter, she reminds us mommies that the traditions we have in our family displays the "Treasure of our lives." Then, at the end of the chapter, a few challenging questions are asked to help remind mommies what should be the driving force of our actions:
• What is my greatest treasure? What is most precious to me?
• How do I reflect and express that treasure in my life?
• How can I pass that treasure on to my children and others within my circle?


I truly appreciate these questions because it helps challenge me to think about what is most precious to me. Why is this list of things on my mind? Is it really important that those things get done? What drives me to get these things done? Are the chores the end itself or is there a greater reason? These questions have already caused me to realize that there is a greater reason. This list of things should be the outward workings of my love for God which in turn causes me to have love for my husband and my children. That is what ought to be displayed to them as I work. When I grow angry because something is not getting done or when I get frustrated and am unkind to my family, what I am reflecting and expressing is that this list of things to do is far more important to me than the true care that I have for my husband and children. That is a huge reality check for me! Is God truly my treasure or have I made my list of things to do my treasure and is that really what I want to pass on to my children? I thought God was most precious to me, but these questions truly helped shed light on what's really hidden in my heart.

Therefore, I am excited to read the rest of this book, excited to see how the Piper's treasure was displayed to the circle of people about them, particularly to their children, and be encouraged to pass on this great treasure to our girls too.

2 comments:

Trish D said...

Great post... it's so tough to find this balance. Obviously there are day to day tasks that need to be accomplished - as much as I would just love to read theBible to them all day long we do need to eat, bathe, etc. And I think that the picture is different for each family. We are, after all, made up of unique individuals in a unique situation. That's not to say that we can't learn from others' suggestions, but I've had to step back and remind myself that we're doing this OUR way, and that I can't implement every wonderful idea I come across.

I do like the "Parents' Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children" from Focus on the Family, and it gives some really good ideas. I also like the book "Pioneer Parenting." Even though I was raised in a Christian home, there are many things I wish to do differently. (You can get some of the author's thoughts here: http://www.pioneerparenting.blogspot.com/)

And what does it all come down to? "But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right)..." (Matt 6:33 Amplified)

In Pursuit of His Call said...

Thanks for the resources. I hope to check them out soon.

For me, my greatest struggle is getting too caught up in the everyday tasks of life and for some reason I really feel an anxiety well up inside of me and I get really stressed out when things don't go my way. For example, JC Penny's doesn't just allow you to stop by to pick up portrait pictures anytime you're at the mall. You have to set up a pick-up time. So, I had a 10:30am appointment yesterday, but I fell behind in the morning because I needed to give both girls a bath. For some reason, I had it set in my mind that the girls had to get a bath before we left. I guess I thought that if I didn't give them a bath right then then I'd be too tired later on to give them a bath. Nonetheless, giving both girls a bath put us behind. Well, this anxiety welled up in me because I knew I wouldn't make it to the mall in time and then I got really stressed out. As a result, I got really frustrated and impatient with DearDaughter1 and was not very kind to her whenever she would deviate towards something other than getting out the door...The whole time I was doing this I kept thinking to myself, "what am I displaying to DearDaughter1 right now? that these pictures are more important than me being kind and loving towards her." Well, of course, I became more upset and unhappy, especially at myself, because I knew that I was not responding correctly.

Anyway, that whole long explanation, was to just exemplify my greatest struggle in getting too caught up with the everyday tasks of life. These tasks are important, but not more important than glorifying and enjoying God. Could I have responded differently? YES!

I think the hardest part about a life in Christ is seeing what's really hidden in my heart. There's this story I just read, which I might just post, about a man who asks God to show him a picture of what heaven and hell are like. So God brings him to 2 doors. Behind the 1st door are people around a table with a delicious dinner in front of them. A spoon is tied around their arms. They are able to reach out and scoop their food, but the handle of the spoon is so long that it prevents them from getting the spoon into their own mouth. Therefore, in this first room, all the people are thin and starved. Behind the 2nd door, the man sees the same scenario as the first, but all the people are healthy and joyous. In the end, God says, "the difference between the 1st room and the 2nd room is that the people in the 2nd room have learned to feed each other." I am discovering, through my children, that I am like one of the people in the 1st room. God is revealing to me, through my response with stress and actions towards my children, that I am selfish and I have not been seeking His kingdom first. He is also revealing to me that I am the one acting this way and though things of my past influences the way I act and think, I do have a choice to respond in godliness, but I haven't depended on God's grace and spirit to help me.

You are so right when you say that it all comes down to seeking God and His kingdom first and what's being revealed to me is that I truly have not. I may be doing all the right things, but what treasures are truly stored in my heart? Is it an earthly treasure or a heavenly treasure? It's so hard being hit in the face with reality because I am a prideful one and to me I thought my treasure is God, but apparently, it hasn't been.

I am not slamming myself for it and feeling pity for myself because I know that we're not called to be perfect people. It's just an eye opener when you're revealed something that you don't want to see and that's what God is doing, showing me what areas of my heart needs to be worked on and I don't like that. This is me kicking and screaming because I don't like what my Father is doing. Just like a kicking and screaming child, I need to learn that what my Father is doing is for my good and that "Father knows best."

Anyway, I want to end this response with a few quotes from Treasuring God in Our Traditions:
Now although we cannot bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name. “Everyday” and “especially” traditions in a family are an important part of that teaching, of picturing who God is and what he’s done in our home and in the world. Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us.

We need to remember, too, that when our traditions are displaying the Treasure of our lives, he is there to be seen by everyone who comes within our circle. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God wants our family and others to give glory to him because they’ve seen his light through us. Paul says we should be “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).