I am back! Time to continue our discussion of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here, chapters two through four here, and chapters five and six here. If you have not been reading, or are just starting, the schedule is below. You can still jump in here or in the group. This is a really great read; lots of things that have really been challenging how I see things!
Chapter eight is all about praying for our children, and this group has invited us to join them in a prayer challenge for the entire month of July. It’s not hard – really — we just commit to praying for our kids every day of this month. They even made a simple little printable for us to use based on the chapter and prayers Paul prayed himself, for God’s people. I included it below for you; anything that encourages me to pray more, is great I think. Sound good?
Chapter Seven ~ The One Good Story
This was a tough chapter for me to read; I took issue with a number of things in here. I have to say this also challenged me to think about things we have not had to really deal with thus far, since our kids are all so young. We believe in being in the world but not of the world and I know that can its a fine line for us to walk. I also know that while we are to separate ourselves from sin, we also need to be aware of the sin in our hearts. How can we encourage our children to be salt and light while also being sure to keep protected as they grow and learn all the need to know?
2 Timothy 2:22 says:
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
There are so many things in the world that our children should not have to endure. I do not believe my children need to experience bullying or gangs or cliques….As children it is my duty to raise my children, using the Word of God. As they grow, I am responsible for training them to do battle with sin, and then to go forth and disciple others. They need to learn and understand the value of boundaries; they need to learn the importance of obedience to the Word as well.
Paul gives excellent advice as to how we ought to live our lives; behavior we ought to look out for and qualities we need to have within us if we wish to lead others to Christ:
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
Our children need to be fully equipped for the battles that they will face living for Christ. We also need to ensure that they have a firm foundation though and this does not come easily but with much time and training.
Chapter Eight ~ Go and Tell Your Father
As Dave Harvey says: “I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.”
How we need to spend time with the Lord. And the more we do the more we will desire to to as we gain a greater understand of His love and grace. It is such a privilege we have, to be able to come before the Lord and speak directly to Him. We are His people – a chosen generation – and unlike long ago we do not need to go through another, or sacrifice lambs or bullocks; we are able to directly speak with Him for ourselves. And when we are baptized in the Holy Ghost, we are blessed with the ability to pray in those beautiful, unknown tongues ~ a heavenly language only He hears and comprehends. Time with God is of the utmost importance, in our work.
I loved and needed,the reminder given in this chapter too, that rather than giving lots of advice, we ought to first seek out prayers. If we are going to another, we need to understand how they pray for their children. We must pray for them. Only God can work in their hearts and minds to give them the hunger that they need for His Word which will transform them as it draws them nearer to Him.
I really enjoyed how this chapter journeyed through Paul’s letters; he regularly prayed for his “spiritual children” and there is much we can learn if we perhaps begin to pray those same prayers for our own children. Below is a prayer calendar few can use, based upon Paul’s prayers. Imagine all the great things that could be done for His kingdom if we simply committed to praying for our children. Use the calendar below to remind you and help you pray for your children. Its a blessing, any thing that helps us to pray ❤
Will you join our month-long prayer challenge? If so, grab the printable (just click on the link right below this).
Chapter Nine ~ Weak Parents and Their Strong Savior
…being a successful parent and raising successful kids is the only paradigm we seem to be willing to accept. But what if we’re measuring success in the wrong way? Could it be that our perception of success isn’t God’s plan for our family? …Is there room in your parenting paradigm for weakness and failure if weakness and failure glorify God? (Give Them Grace, pgs 148-149, emphasis theirs)
I loved this chapter. I love how Paul’s ministry is made an example to us. There is so much we can learn from this man of God. I mean, Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, he was poor, imprisoned, starved…so much persecution he faced. Yet he continued to serve God; he continued to preach the Word of God and he took joy in these challenges. If only we could see our struggles as he saw his.
Its so important for us to understand and appreciate that how we expect things to be is not always what He has planned for us. His ways are not our ways. Let us see those times of weakness, in our life, as opportunities for Him to show Himself strong in our life. Certainly it can be hard to accept that His will is perhaps, a challenging, sullen child, sickness, or financial struggles in the home. He knows our needs;we cannot see God as too small or something as too insignificant because He works in every little detail of our lives. Our weaknesses are chances placed before us, to grow our faith and our character. These are things that will deepen our walk with God and glorify Him. It becomes a testimony to His power in our lives. We may not always see it, but He is in all those details, His promises are for yesterday and today and tomorrow too. His grace is enough. We need to trust Him in all things. Let us have faith that His hand is working in the lives of every member of our family from my little Rachel who is two months old to my oldest son – soon to be ten. God is in control!