a pioneer of a new style of painting.
So often, when I talk to women, they live as though they have no hope. Often, they have lost all vision of their purpose as moms--they have quit dreaming with their children. When we are limited in our hearts to the tasks of life, to the responsibilities and bills and duties we have, we can become very discouraged.
But when we realize that the Holy Spirit, Himself, dwells in us and wants to bring glory through our lives and create supernatural life and love right where we are, it gives us a whole different way to live. As a trainer of children who could learn to dream and take on the task of bringing God's kingdom to bear on this world, I always looked for ways to expand their faith, to listen to their talents and delights, to speak of how God might use them in this world.
I told them they had only a few years to bring about miracles of love in His name, to banish sadness and darkness and to bring about light and His life through all that they did. It gave us an excitement about every day, every lesson God was teaching, every story that we heard. The way it played out in my children's lives was different for each one. Sarah was an incredible reader from the time she was very small. I would read volumes of books to her, and enter her into every reading program, contest and give her lots of opportunity to write. She would fill dozens of journals with her writing. I encouraged her as a message maker who would bring light to many minds. I truly believe that she will become one of the great writers of our times. Her insight and creativity and wisdom for one her age has been blessed by God. She has had to work hard, but I believe her many years of input is beginning to pay off.
Joel, had the same input in soul, with the reading and devotionals, but I noticed that he sang in perfect tune from the time he was 15 months and could do perfect harmony by the time he was three--it came naturally to him. Consequently, we encouraged him to play guitar like his dad, exposed him to lots of different music, took him to concerts, and gave him all the software and instruments we could afford when he wanted to try to produce a small album. Now he is composing music and working in Los Angeles with a well-known composer, and has produced 3 albums.
Nathan, our very extroverted child, loved people, activity and performance. Clay took him to Christian magician conferences to stretch his own skills as a stage illusionist. Sending him to the New York Film academy when he was 19 was a faith risk, but just this week, he is producing his own movie that he wrote. We provided training in discipleship as he followed all of these areas in hopes of having a ministry to his generation through the arts.
Joy literally came out of the womb loving a stage. She has grown up at our conferences and never flinched when she stood up in front of hundreds of people--in plays, musicals, conferences or anywhere else. When Joy performs, I feel God's gift and pleasure in a marked way! We allowed her to have one semester of competitive speech and debate, because she is such a natural. (The other years, we had our conferences and could not do speech and debate.) Now, she is an RA working with new students, has a debate scholarship and is speaking at her college. We just pray for our children and support their efforts because we want to encourage them to live by faith and to invest their lives, and to own the gifts God gave to them.
I see so many moms, whether in Classical school, homeschool, public school and private school, become bogged down with the work load and curricular demands. But I meet few, who have invested much time in Kingdom dreams with and for their children. David became king of the slingshot--was that according to His mother's hopes and dreams? He also came to court because of his great music. Gideon was a grape stomper. Esther was a pretty orphan. Peter was a working class man. Paul was an academic. But the thing they all have in common, is that they used who and what they were for God's glory--to make a difference in the world for His kingdom.
Proverbs tells us the from the heart flow the springs of life. Jesus wanted us to live from the wells of life springing up in and through our hearts from His Spirit. If we are to take the world by God's force and light, we must learn to be dreamers, empowered and inspired by God, to bring His light to the darkness. We do this by cultivating the dreams and passions of our children's hearts.
Often, dreams are costly--we went 5 years without a regular salary to start Whole Heart Ministries, but we believed there needed to be a ministry specifically focussed on giving the kinds of specific messages that God had place on our hearts to give to families in this generation. Bills and difficult tasks all had to be attended to, but prayer and scripture would always light the fire of our dreams. Faith in "things hoped for but not seen" was what energized each project. We rented our first hotel by faith when we believed moms needed refreshment, we sent out some emails, and the rest is history!
One of the reasons I wrote The Mom Walk was because I felt so many women were trying so hard to get the training of their children and the living of their lives right by following the right formula or doing the right things. I found that someone's box did not ever exactly fit our family or our lives. I saw much more over the years, that God intended me to walk by faith, to learn to listen to Him as he spoke to me through scripture and gave me ideas of how to obey Him and honor Him through my times of prayer. I found that on my journey with Him, throughout motherhood, that learning to walk in freedom and peace with Him, and living by His design freed me up to watch Him work, to live by grace instead of someone else's expectations of me.
Your and your children and husband may all have unique purposes through a story for God's kingdom. You may not always understand it in the midst of God preparing your heart and character for the work He has for you to do, but He uses those whose eyes are turned toward eternity, toward Him, toward His glory and work.
A good question to ask is, "Am I living by what I can hope to accomplish by my hard work only?" or "Am I living in the realm of possibility of what God can accomplish, beyond my own skills and effort, because I am trusting Him to be accomplishing through me what He is able to do, even beyond my efforts, but according to His abilities?"
Am I speaking life-giving encouragement to my children in the midst of their ideas and dreams, or do I throw water on them by asking them to be "realistic"? There is so much to be said about the work side of dreams, the bills to be paid, but today is a day to focus on the dreaming part of our lives. My vision for raising my children must be bigger than grades, SAT's, getting a job. It must be a call to bow their knee before God and ask, what is your work for me? For my child? For our family? How can I bring you pleasure? How can I live in your power? May our sweet Father fuel our hearts with what is on His heart and use us and our children as He dreamed when He made us!
May you dream big for Him, and may all your dreams come true!