Raising Daniels

There has been a reoccurring nudge for the last several months.  A reminder and a very clear message has been shared with me in different ways and in different places about parenting.  It first began at the Sara Groves concert I attended back in the winter.  A few weeks ago, Jamie, Ness, and I went to a Kay Arthur conference.  It was phenomenal! There was a break out session and Jamie and I went to one about leaving a legacy with your children. Honestly, in this class, it took everything within me not to just sit there and sob.  If I could, I would have laid down in the floor and cried like a baby.  I can't even explain it all and the emotion that went with it.  It was a wonderful class on how few years you have to form and leave a legacy on your children.  Which kind do I want?  What do I want to impress upon my children the most?  Am I pursing and focusing on what is most important?  It was extremely convicting and when I got out of that class, I told Jamie, "I need to make some changes."  Schedules need to be shifted, focus redirected to the most important things.  There is a great quote that I have heard before, "If you are too busy to pray and read God's Word then you are busier that God ever intended you to be."  I do have a consistent personal bible study time, but me teaching my children hadn't been as consistent.   If I am too busy to teach my kids diligently, then I am busier that God intends me to be and things need to be cut in the schedule.  So I quit doing custom digital work.  It was liberating, and it has really helped.

A few weeks ago I went to a homeschool convention in Cincinnati.  I needed to be there. Yet again, this was taught to me but in a different way.  There was one session that I went to that once again I could have laid down on the floor and cried.  I'm sure I sound like an absolute crybaby, but it moved me so profoundly.  I needed to hear it.  I went up to the speaker afterwards and thanked him and said that was just for me.  I am sure he thinks I'm a moron because I could barely get the words out.

At the conference, you could buy audio cds from the sessions.  I bought the one that I loved so much and a few others.  One that caught my eye was "If Mary and Martha were Homeschoolers."   I listened to it on the way home when the boys were all asleep (or so I thought).  I really identify with Martha, yet Mary is the one the Jesus commended.  Martha was the one rebuked.  The speaker did little vignettes (which she said she took liberty) and described what Martha and Mary's homeschool day was like.  At the end of Martha's description, Logan chimed in and said, "Mom that sounds like us."  I thought he was asleep, but he heard it and was completely right!  It cut me to the core.  Oh, how I fall so short continually!  

In our Sunday School class we are studying the book of Daniel.  I have studied it several times before, but this time something really stuck out to me that I hadn't ever thought about before.  We just finished Daniel chapter 1 this morning.  Brief synopsis:  Daniel is from Judah and they have been captured by Babylon because of their continual disobedience to God.  King Nebuchaddnezzar ordered to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, ones that were cream of the crop...with no defect, good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom...etc.  These young men were probably around age 14-15!!  Included in this group was Daniel, Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah.  They were taken into the kings command to be basically brainwashed.  Their names were changed from God-honoring names to names that recognized false gods.  They were to eat from the king's food and delicacies.  The problem: they were against the Law on what was acceptable to God.  (Leviticus 11).  Daniel asked to be given only vegetables to eat and water to drink.   He was granted favor from the Lord because he was obedient.

One of the questions in our study was about how Daniel was trained and taught as a child.  We read Deuteronomy 6 to see any insights into his parents.  "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged....You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your might...You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."  (Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 5, 7-9)

How did Daniel have the resolve, the making up of his mind to do the right thing at the age of 14-15 when he had been kidnapped, taken into a foreign land and commanded by the king???  How did this happen?  Did this happen by accident?  NO!  He was firmly planted and taught the truth.  His faith in God was incredibly strong and mature for his age.  He had the ability to stand strong and against those who could have killed him in order to stand for the Lord.

When I think about Daniel at this age, I think of my own children.  That's 4-5 years away for Logan.  Am I raising my children to be able to stand alone, to have a firm purpose, to be able to make it known even if they are all by themselves?  Every time I have studied this book before, I have been in awe and impressed by Daniel, but the thought never occurred to me that his parents played a significant role in this.  NOW is the time to teach my children diligently.  Looking at the Deuteronomy passage, I wanted to put this into practical terms for today.  Here are some examples I thought of....

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deut. 6:7

1)  Casual conversation should include God freely.   When I am in the Word, then I am continually reminded of Him and what He teaches.  I notice things around me that remind me of something that I have read that I can share with my kids.  For example, if they are in a situation where they aren't being treated fairly, a story of someone in the Bible could be shared for a teachable moment and see how it was handled in the Bible.  Landon did this recently.  I heard him talking to Logan about something he didn't think was fair.  Landon's reply was, "Do you think it was fair that Jesus had to die on the cross?"  It wasn't said in a callous way, but with love and tenderness.  It made me stop in my tracks because I was getting wrapped up in the unfairness of the situation.  :)

Another example, thank God in front of your children for simple things like finding your keys or your wallet (for the hundredth time).  I want them to see the "pray without ceasing" demonstrated, so sometimes I have my conversations with God out loud for them to witness.

In order for God to flow freely in your conversations, you have to be in His Word and in His will yourself.  When I'm not, this doesn't happen.  In Deuteronomy, it says to teach them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  How I personally feel this can be applied practically is with a specific time to teach them, perhaps with a Bible study or just simply reading the Bible, but then it should be reiterated all throughout the day with talking of God though all situations of life.  I want my kids to see that God is just not for Sunday.  He is for all day, every day in everything.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. Deut. 6:8
2)  Wear jewelry or t-shirts with Scripture.  This can be a constant reminder and a witnessing tool.  If I have a bracelet or necklace with a Scripture, this will be an ongoing reminder about God.  They took this literally with Scripture attached to their heads...
Although I don't see myself doing this, I think a practical way to apply this for me is with jewelry.  :)

You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  Deut. 6:9
3) Put Scripture all throughout your home.  Hang it everywhere to have a visual reminder.  It is something that will make an impact.  I am not trying to promote my business here, but you can get digital artwork printables that are really inexpensive and change them out regularly.

Bottom line, raising Daniels don't come accidentally.  It has to be diligent and constant.  It's not just taking them to Sunday School or for children't activities.  That's simply not enough.  However, I have to be where I need to be with the Lord before I can teach my children.  Then, I have to be consistent and make it a priority.  My time is short and getting shorter with each passing day.  I am leaving a legacy for my children, but I want it to be a godly one.  I want them to see real Christianity lived out and in every part of my life.  Yes, they will see shortcomings, but I want them to also see repentance and humility.

The most important work you will ever do is in your home.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! The lump in my throat is huge! I totally needed this I desire to be a 'woman of an empty quiver' (to not only do half or part of what I need to do - to follow God's instructions fully) - and right now my children are my mission field! Thank you for allowing God to work in your heart and spread this MUCH NEEDED MESSAGE to others!