The Gifts We Give Our Children

During this season it seems all the world is focused on gifts.

We are making lists of them, choosing them, wrapping them, displaying them, mailing them, hiding them, and finally actually *giving* them, anticipating the look of delight on a child or friend's face. While there's a lot of lamenting out there over the commercialization of Christmas, it does sometimes strike me as ironic when we get all bent out of shape over the to-gift-or-not-to-gift question, since Christmas, at its heart, is all about The Greatest Gift ever given--Christ, Himself!

And so I too will hunt and gather, wrap and mail joyfully, whether homemade goodies, special things gathered from a thrift store, or something lovely from the mall. I am sure of the center of my Christmas, because it's the center of my life.

Ministry of Motherhood was written after I discovered something very exciting to me. While we are not exactly flooded with detailed examples of wonderful mothers on the pages of Scripture, there is in the life of Christ Himself a true wealth of lessons to be learned, if we only search for them! His interactions with His disciples are packed with so many truths, so much light for our own paths as moms.

As my children were growing up, Clay and I together worked out a framework for what we wanted our home life to look like. We knew we wanted to give our children eternal gifts; the gifts the Lord had given to us. We eventually came up with an outline to carry us through the training of our children as we walked daily with them--gifts we hoped they would in turn pass on to a broken and needy world. Using the word GIFTS as an acronym helped us to remember what our spiritual priorities were. Here they are, as shared in The Ministry of Motherhood:

G represents the gift of grace--the kind of undeserved but freely given love and favor that comes from God. We model grace by extending it to our children, but also by insisting that they learn to extend it to others. Practically speaking, the gift of grace is all about relationships. It's the desire and ability to relate personally and lovingly to God and people.

I represents the gift of inspiration--which is all about motivation and purpose. This gift is essentially the desire and ability to view all of life in the light of God's sovereignty and purpose. Inspiring my children to understand God's purpose for their lives and say yes to His call provides them with a sense of meaning. It helps give them the energy they need to do what God wants in their lives.

F represents the gift of faith--both content and attitude. We give this gift both by teaching "the faith" (sound doctrine, biblical literacy, practical application) and by modeling what it means to live in faith, trusting God for our needs. Biblical faith gives my children the strength they need to proceed in thier walk with the Lord. The gift of faith is the desire and ability to know God through His Word and Spirit and to trust Him for every area of life.

T represents the gift of training--the desire and ability to grow in Christian maturity and godly character in the power of the Holy Spirit. It's not just telling children how to live, not just modeling right behavior, but repeating these lessons with patience and perseverance until they become part of their lives. Training is a process of gradually moving a child's character and habits in a godly direction.

S represents the gift of service--the desire and ability to minister God's grace and truth to others. Giving my children a heart for ministry teaches them how to serve God tangibly and practically by using their hearts and their hands for ministry.


This book, which I'm featuring here this month, lets me share some of the lessons I learned about being a mom from studying Jesus--plus stories from our house showing just a bit of the many things my children have taught me! I hope you'll be inspired and encouraged to follow Jesus' example with your own children, and consider making your own list--or fleshing out this one--with the things you want to pass on as you walk with your family. You can buy a copy of The Ministry of Motherhood by clicking here!

Have you come up with any great ways to remember your main priorities with your children?