Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm reading an incredible book!

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ~ Ephesians 6:4
Yesterday, at church, I was given To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl (No Greater Joy Ministries). It was God's perfect timing.

In just one day, I'm already seeing the fruit of peace in this house! Lord, help me to be consistent!

When I had no children, I had all kinds of advice and beliefs about how to raise children and how I would raise mine when I had them. I was tested, and still am, by the two eternal souls God has loaned to me to tend and train. I find what's really in my heart through the spiritual gardening that goes on with my sons daily. The results don't lie. The seeds of faith and obedience to the Lord in my own life- of living by the Spirit before my kids and loving them with Christ-like love, teaching them the scriptures as we go, training and disciplining them sprout up joy and a desire to obey in my children. Likewise, the seeds of doubt, frustration, disobedience to the Lord, anger, laziness, etc. in my own life all have sprung forth doubt, frustration, disobedience, anger, laziness, etc. in my children's lives.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1Timothy 4:8

I'm not saying I'm solely responsible for their natural sinful nature. What I am saying is that I'm very aware of my lack of understanding and ability in parenting God's way, and am very aware of the fruit of my own ways. I'm also sooooo thankful for the Holy Spirit, for speaking to me, bearing with me and guiding me to see how He wants me to parent my children for His glory.
This book is just a confirmation of the things I know He's speaking to my heart through His word!

Yesterday began an immediate repenting of my ways in one area and obedience to God's in the same area.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...~ 2 Timothy 3:16

I have been continually reacting to my childrens' disobedience and natural selfish tendencies with discipline, plus many times anger (grinding my teeth) and frustration. I knew that my wrong was inconsistency. Telling them something was forbidden, letting them get by with it when I was finally too tired to get up and deal with the disobedience, and then finally reacting to the disobedience with frustration and anger. (I know, it sounds terrible- it is!) I know I daily need to be consistent. But what I didn't know or realize I was doing was not setting up deliberate times of training to teach my children where the boundaries clearly are in this house and that they are REALLY THERE, no sneaking in under the fence of mom's frustrated fatigue!
When I read the first chapter of To Train Up a Child yesterday, I immediately clearly saw God's tool of training handed to me. I realized I needed to create deliberate times dedicate to training my kids to believe and obey my words. Because I had not created those deliberate times I was frustratingly responding to their every testing of my words with discipline. So, just as I would spend some time training them to throw a ball, or learn their ABC's or fold towels, I dedicated the rest of yesterday, and today, to training sessions. After today, I'll dedicate a set aside portion of the day to "training sessions" and then continue to walk in that attitude of training which will get set by that session all day- by God's grace and by the Holy Spirit!
Because of this proactive step of obedience training I have had ZERO frustration today, and my kids and I are really enjoying each other more! Plus, I'm getting more done! I'm serious! In fact it's as though I can see the frustration start to creep in now and I realize it's because I'm trying to explain obedience in words that sound like, "Wa, Wa, Waaaaa" to my kids dulled ears (dulled by how I've trained them to obey when I'm frustrated, not when I say something kindly and quietly the first time). When I stopped explaining- other than the initially confession that mommy's not been obeying Jesus in training and she's going to start obeying Jesus- the quiet, firm, yet loving confirmation of my commitment to my word was all the explanation required.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25
An example of this "obedience training" which I'm focusing on today is as follows:
  • Erase from calendar or plans things I hope to accomplish on my own (this is happening all day today, but will happen in just a set aside time, an hour I'm thinkin', starting tomorrow- and then prayerfully I'll walk in that mode all day). Doing this is ultimately opening up more time for me to accomplish "on my own" things- such as reading, praying alone, studying, writing, etc. It is also training me to have this attitude towards the high responsibility of training my children in the admonition of the Lord all day long, so that when I must respond to discipline, or I take the opportunity to train my kids and it requires me to leave something I want to do I don't get angry with them, but rather see it as a worthy investment
  • Give my child an assignment such as "Sit here on this mat and play quietly with these legos."
  • When the child gets up or ceases to be quiet ( I did a literal no talking time with this situation) I remind or reinforce my rule of sit here and be quiet verbally.
  • When the child gets up again or ceases to be quiet I give a swat on the bottom to reassure that I meant what I said, with no words of "Why did you do that?" or frustrating remarks like, "I just told you not to do that!" But rather just a little swat along with, "Sit here and be quiet," said kindly and with a quiet and calm tone.
  • Make the training session brief and let it be over on a positive note, when they're quiet and sitting (in my example). Play and hug!

Today I'm doing this all day not in the sense that I've got them on a mat all day, but that there's not free play, but rather organized times of training all day. Even the times of play I'm planning and carrying out these training sessions. I'm really training myself!

I think I've embarked on a healing and restorative work in my relationship with my kids as their parent which is going to require endurance and consistency.

I'll keep you posted!

Here's a quote from the book that really struck me, I completely agree and see that this is what I must do to show my kids that I really do love them:

Some will say, "But, I couldn't take it emotionally." Sometimes it is difficult to set aside your feelings for the sake of training your child. It does involve emotional sacrifice. Yet, what is love, but giving? When we know it will work to the temporal and eternal good of the child, it is a joy instead of a sacrifice. It is a thrill to see it work to the child's benefit.

(P.11 from To Train Up a Child)


Leslie said...


Wow! Don't you just love when God shows up unexpectedly and deals with us?!

To really be the Mother that God desires us to be, we have to put the good of our kids first, above our own emotional and physical needs. Not many Moms these days are willing to do that and I have often been guilty of putting myself first.

I made the comment to a friend once that if I had known what having kids meant, I might not have wanted them so much. I don't think she understood that I wasn't saying that I'm not a good Mother but that the spiritual implications alone can be exhausting!

John 15:5 says "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

I'm so glad that God gives us the strength and helps us when we call on Him. I realized again last night that too often I rely on myself and my own abilities to get things figured out.

Thanks for a great post!


~Tami said...

I have read the book before. There are a few things that I disagreed with, but overall it is a book that all Christian parents should use. I regret that I haven't been consistent with my own children. I think I'll dig this back out.

Sheila said...

Leslie, I know exactly what you mean about if you'd known what raising children meant...I think this is the evidence that we've passed from the flesh to walking in the Spirit in raising our children. When we realize there is a dying to our own needs and wants in parenting and spiritual power in abiding in Christ as we raise our children. The spiritual implications are exhausting and we are constantly reminded that apart from Him we can do nothing- and that's good. That's right where He wants us- fully dependent upon HIM! Thanks for you your wise comment!

Tami~ I also have some differences with the No Greater Joy ministries teachings in general- I don't agree with everything either. But like you said, I think (at least so far- I'm not done with it yet) it's a must have for parents.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments! I love commentors! :-)

Shepherdess to five lambs, so far said...

These books have absolutely been a God-send! We have been reading them over and over sice Eryn was very young. Not to mention implementing their sound biblical advice. Be blessed!