Dear Moms, I am so very happy to have finally reached summer! What a blessing to have fewer activities, longer days of sunshine, many more fresh fruits and veggies and more leisurely days with my family and friends! But summer also represents to me, a time to sow—a time to garden! I especially see this as a time to purposefully sow into my children’s souls and memories!
When I wrote the new version of Season’s of a Mother’s heart, I included a story about Nathan in the summer sections. Summer is that season where you have a window time to cultivate and sow seeds for a window of time, when the window is closed—just as the time to plant seeds and grow a garden closes, we cannot go back. The time has passed. I have observed this in many areas, many years.
The particular story about Nathan concerned his summer after he graduated from high school. By that time, Nate was already busy with work and friends and activities. So I knew that when he had free time for me to be with him, I wanted to make it special so that he would look forward to other such times. Seems to me that if I want to have an open heart to speak to, I have to invest the time to fill my children's emotional cups, first--even if it means filling their stomach!
To make a long story short, (and you can read about it in the new book), I made time to take Nathan out for coffee and lunch and then took him to a beautiful spot in the mountains to pray with him and dedicate his adult life to the Lord. It was a very memorable moment and we had a lot of fun! And he even held my hand as we prayed together! When the time was over, Nate said, “Mom, I think my friends should hear what you told me today! Not all of them are committed to the Lord, but I know they would all love to eat! Why don’t you make them steak dinners, and fully loaded baked potatoes and homemade bread and a chocolate cake and then they will listen to any thing you say!
So, a week later, I invited his friends and had such a party and shared scripture with the boys and gave them a send-off speech, (I know that God can use you boys to change the world if you choose to follow Him speech.) These darling, funny, hunks of boys, all huddled up around me and asked me to pray for them. So I prayed my heart out in as cool a way as I could—and can just see them in my minds eye, even now, so wanting their lives to be special
Since then, a number of moms who have read that chapter, have asked me to post what I said to the boys on my blog or write it into a newsletter! The whole 30 minute speech would be too long, but I did decide to include the verses I used and just a few comments. Here are the main verses I used.
1. Above all, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all, all the things you need to live your life will be added to you." (Matt 6:33 Seeking first the kingdom comes with the understanding that we are only temporarily living in this world, but everything we do and choose in this world will have implications in heaven--where Jesus' Kingdom will be lived for eternity. We have this time given to us to be faithful, bold, lifegiving, generous. Choose to see everything you do through the lense of eternity. Seek first, as you make decisions, to make them in light of His Kingdom and His righteousness and you will build and store treasures for all of eternity!
2. The most important thing God wants from you is to love Him. He doesn’t expect you to be perfect any more than Peter was perfect, but He can work with a man who serves Him from the depth of his heart. “You shall love the Lord with all of your heart—your personality, passions, dreams, purpose—value Him above all others. Love Him in the way you speak to others, treat others. Love Him in and through all of your actions and then you will know what is acceptable and what is not moral or right to do! Love Him with all of your mind—let only those thoughts that honor him fill your mind. Fill your mind with His words, read great books, only watch those movies and engage in those areas of thinking that are worthy of His greatness.
Along with this verse, remember that God’s is looking for men of a faithful heart and He tells us that, “The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” II Chronicles 16:9
3. Love your neighbor as yourself. God is a relational God and you are like Him when you choose to be loving, forgiving and gracious to people. When you love unconditionally, you are acting out God's divine nature.
4. Remember that each of you has a personality, strengths, messages and skills that God has created you with uniquely. He also says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” He has something for you to do in this world in your life-time that no one else can accomplish. Ask Him to show you what you have been designed to do, how you are to bring His light in the world, how you can be a redeemer to bring His truth, hope and beauty to all that you meet. When you follow Him where He has designed you to go, you will have His power, blessings and resources to complete it. Seek to do His work in His power and in submission to His will and you will be used by Him mightily.
5. In a world that is separated from God, you will encounter many battles and times of difficulty where your resolve to be committed to God will be tested. The one thing Satan would most love to accomplish is to have God’s redeemed quit believing in Him and His goodness or to fall into temptation and end in despair. First, write down your non-negotiables. What are the morals you will keep? What are the commitments you want to make? Write them on a slip of paper to keep in your wallet or in your cell phone. Review and read and pray over these often. If a soldier is going to go into battle, he needs to know that his enemy is out to get him. He must take precaution in order to win the battle.
Next, though, remember that God wants loyal children. Remember that believing in God, praying to Him, expecting Him to work is the secret to a life that will always have the grace to be resilient in any situation! Hebrews 11:1 and 6 informs us about faith—Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. A man who can hold fast, be patient, wait for God is indeed a man who God will use. “And without faith it is impossible to please God for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. When you trust in God’s resources, He will accomplish great things—kill giants, open pathways! Just keep believing!
This was the main part of what I shared with them--but I must stop now so the article won't be too long! Just one more thought, though. When I make time to celebrate life with my children and honor them as my treasured friends, it lays a foundation in their hearts that is also open to my influence.
************************************************************************* Such a time also happened with Joy this week. Last Monday marked Joy, who is my youngest, 13th birthday.Though we had been out of town for a conference in Florida for 5 days, we knew that it was a day to celebrate and acknowledge. Birthday breakfast and all that goes with it was lots of fun as well as a grill-out with friends that evening. But, every time our children turn 13, Clay and I feel we need to usher our children into young adulthood with our own personal time with them. A sweet friend of mine and her daughter went to an overnight at a hotel. (I had free points!) We treated the girls as lovely girls—a little package of lotion, a scrubbing mask, treats before dinner with candlelight, and chocolate cake and milk (all brought from home!) We shared dinner, shopping for a whole evening, swimming to top off the day.
The next day, we had a leisurely breakfast and then ended our time together with tea at a lovely café new to us. (It is in historic downtown Littleton, Colorado near Denver. Called Serendipi TEA Shoppe, and if you go there, please tell her you heard about her from us--a very sweet, lovely woman. ) We all donned hats and especially enjoyed the warm, crusty scones with clotted cream—delicious! The hours together provided time for great conversation, prayer and giggles. As the youngest, Joy has often had to compete with the older kids for attention. When we came home, she hugged me fast and said, “Mommy, you can’t even imagine how much fun it was to be with you all by yourself! I love you!
PS I cannot figure out how to answer comments as typepad is new to me! A sweet mom suggested that there are moms who think spiritual input should be left to the husbands. Look at Proverbs 8 and 9--Wisdom is always personified as a woman calling out to young men to live pure lives. Paul tells about Timothy's mother and grandmother who taught him scripture. God used Esther to influence the King to protect the Jews. Proverbs 31 tells us that the teaching of wisdom is to be on the tongue of a godly woman. Clay married me because he loved my mission letters home. We have both felt that it takes both of us, all the time, whenever possible to breathe spiritual breath into the lives of our children. I am so privileged to be home during the daytime hours when all of my children's friends are around. We have lots of people over for dinners at night when Clay can be there, but part of a woman's strength is to pray and to civilize nations right from her home! May He bless your spiritual impact in and from your home!