And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children
(Deuteronomy 6: 5-7) (emphasis my own)
As a family, I don't recall many times where we sat and talked about God or His word. My grandmother took me to church every Sunday but I don't think I knew what it meant to give my heart, soul and mind to Him.
Today, as an adult, I rededicated my life to Christ through a new baptism at my home church. I wanted to say under my own power, that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
I am a work in progress, thank the Lord.
Having faith is something I have said I have a great deal of, however, being diligent in living God's word has not always been something I have paid close attention to.
I haven't been that great at actually reading the word, let alone talking, living and teaching it.
Having kids changed that for me. Suddenly, I wanted them to not only hear about God and his great love for us, but I wanted them to see it in all I did!
In part one, (just below this post) we talked about living God's word all the time! Loving God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and living His word everyday!
Deuteronomy 6:6 tells us what to do THEN!
T-h-e-n...four little letters but a great big responsibility!
Once you love God with all you are and are living and talking His word everyday everywhere, THEN he charges us to whet (sharpen) these things so we can impress them upon and teach them to our children.
Having kids meant I needed to whet my skills of walking in God's word! It meant reading the word and then talking about it, living it and teaching it to my children.
It doesn't mean I do it perfect, not even close. Thank goodness ours is a God of grace.
I think for me, living God's word, talking it and then teaching it to my children means:
- I live my life in such a way that my children see tangible things I do that reflect my desire of having a relationship with God.
- It means I interact with my kids in ways that reflect what God's word is teaching me about living.
- It means I show my kids ways they can build a relationship with God
- I show them and read with them the word of God
There are so many ways for all of these things to happen. So many ways we, as a family, can grow with and in God's word.
Don't you think so?
So many ways my Mr. Right and I (and you and your Mr. Right) can show our children how we are growing in and with God's word.
We chose several options that really work for us. I hope they encourage you as well!
- We attend church together with compromise and open minds. Now, here's where it gets a bit special for us. My children struggle with meeting and interacting with other kids at our church because of their every other weekend schedule. Most of the time, they chose to sit in the service with us. We typically try to keep it 'spicy' but alternating sitting in the main sanctuary with sitting in the smaller sanctuary because each of us likes something about each area and do not like things about each. Don't be afraid to compromise so everyone can connect with God during church time!
- We do family devotions. When the kids are here, we usually do a family devotion together. I try to make them more than just reading. Usually that involves either a craft or a visual aid to go along with the bible reading. YouVersion.com has a ton of amazing family devotions. Our favorite so far has been Truth or Trash (fun and interactive). Spending time as a family in God's word is a great way to teach how to live it!
- We let our kids see us reading our Bibles. I spend time every morning with God and in His word learning all He has to teach me. I love the quiet time with God; I also love being interrupted by my children upon occasion because it gives me a chance to talk with them about what I do to seek a relationship with God. It usually turns into a read aloud as well on those occasions when they 'catch' me with God. Let them 'catch' you spending time with God.
- We pray together as a family. Not just a meal times but in all places and for all reasons. It is not uncommon for us to be making a short trip to the grocery store and one of us to just pray out loud for the trip to be successful and short (that's usually the youngest's prayer...he's not real big on shopping trips). We are trying to teach our kids that praying all the time and for everything going on in our lives is exactly what God desires.
- We practice forgiveness. We all make mistakes and walk outside of God's word. We are imperfect and we allow our kids to be as well. We do insist though that asking for and giving forgiveness be a part of those mistakes and sins. We practice being the grace God extends to us. Showing our kids how to forgive and ask for forgiveness is a huge part of teaching them about God and His word.
Is it a perfect plan? Good grief NO! Is it an effort to do something little but great? You betcha!
Walking in God's word doesn't mean we have to be perfect!
For me it means I strive every day to be better at it today than I was yesterday!
It means that we seek God's grace and offer it to our children, spouses, and others who cross our paths.
Children tend to live what they see. I want mine to see me seeking God's word for my life, don't you?
I get so excited when I hear one of my kids express God's word in whole or in part as they go about their day because that means my THEN is working!