(Note from Kat: This is a post from monthly contributor Lara Williams. Enjoy!)
My blood pressure rises when I walk into my daughter’s room. Literally. In fact, I have a slight twinge of fear that she may end up on the show Hoarders.
She’s the sweetest, most thoughtful little thing. But she cannot keep her room picked-up to save her life. Which I assume is one of God’s creative ways of keeping this recovering perfectionistic control-freak (me!) in line.
Lord, help me.
It’s easy to see what their hands do (or don’t do). That’s the easy thing. I can see my daughter’s mess. I can see (and hear) my boys clobber one another. I can see them disregard the feelings of the other. I see those things with my physical eyes.
But as their mama, I want to see more. I want to see their heart behind their hands. And only He gives that kind of vision.
As I’ve prayed over the years that He would allow me to see my children — really see them — He’s graciously answered.
The most important guidelines I can teach my children
I don’t have a bunch of rules for them to follow. Partly because I can barely remember which day it is, much less a long list of “shalt nots.” Instead He’s led me to steer them with a handful of heart-guidelines that I pray they take with them as they get older.
- Love: up and out. (1 John 4:8) — This is our core “rule.” And really everything else falls under this one thing. Just like He said. (Mark 12:29-31) I ask them (a lot!), “How can you show love to God (or love to your brother) right now in this very moment?” Everything ultimately comes down to love. And I pray they remember.
- Be a blessing. (Proverbs 18:21; Romans 12:14) — If they do the love thing, then they will be a blessing. But I want them to remember that their behaviors and words can either bless or tear down those around them. Bless or tear down.
- Take good care of what we’ve been given. (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2) — Everything is God’s. He calls us to be good stewards of both spiritual and physical things. (My daughter and I talk about this one often.)
- Pray for your brothers and sisters. (Matthew 5:44; 1 John 5:16) — When one of them falls under mama’s discipline, I want the others to learn to pray for them. Because we’re called to lift those around us. We’re called to intercede for those who fall into sin — not sit in the corner and point and laugh at their downward spiral. Prayer shows love.
- Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience brings consequences. (Deuteronomy 28:1, 15) — God works this way. As a faithful Father, He blesses obedience. But as a faithful Father He also disciplines our disobedience — for our good and His glory. I pray they remember.
God alone can change my children
I cannot transform their hearts. It’s not in my power or in my job description as their mama. That’s His work to accomplish.
But by His strength I can train and lead them in His ways. I can point their hearts in His direction. I can (imperfectly) exemplify a woman who loves my Maker and depends upon His grace when I fail.
What general heart-guidelines do you lay out for your own kids? Let us know in the comments!