“For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding … then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go… Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.” (Proverbs 2:6, 9, and 11, NLT)
The Book of Proverbs is a study in contrasts. The godly vs. the wicked. The hard worker vs. the lazy person.
Generosity vs. greediness. People with common sense vs. those without it. Integrity vs. dishonesty. Those who accept correction and those who reject it.
If you can identify a character trait (good or positive), chances are, Proverbs has something to say about it and how it affects our everyday lives. Its practical approach to living makes it the perfect instruction manual for teaching our children how to live disciplined lives.
Proverbs shows us:
Solomon tells us wisdom, understanding, and insight are like treasure. And we should seek them as though they are (Proverbs 2:4).
Do you want your children to walk on a guarded and protected path? To have a deep well of common sense? Seek wisdom (Proverbs 2:7-8).
Do you want your children to be filled with joy? Seek a wise heart (Proverbs 2:10).
Do you want your children to be saved from evil and immoral people? Wise choices and understanding will keep them safe (Proverbs 2:11-19).
Not only does pursuing wisdom protect us from the pitfalls of sin, it deepens our relationship with our Creator. God is the author of wisdom. As we seek and gain it, we begin to understand His heart and His ways (Proverbs 2:5).
When we’re faced with the choice between generosity and greediness, or integrity and dishonesty, may we walk in the way of wisdom … understanding what is right, just, and fair.
“These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.” (Proverbs 1:1-2, NLT)
One of the greatest things we can teach our children is to seek a heart of wisdom.
They will make foolish choices, to be sure. That is part of the maturing process. But there is no greater joy than seeing our children become adults who make wise decisions. Because we know, often by experience, the devastating result of making foolish choices. And that is the last thing we want for our sons and daughters.
Embracing wisdom results in a life that is free of the consequences and entanglements of foolish living.
The Book of Proverbs is loaded with wisdom. Wisdom is understanding how to use the knowledge we learn from God’s Word. When I was young, my dad encouraged me to read one chapter of Proverbs every day. There are thirty-one chapters in the book, and at most, thirty-one days in a month. I followed his encouragement and have read through the Book of Proverbs many times.
Sweet Mama, the TruthBytes app is perfect for devos on the go. But I challenge and encourage you to take this a step further. Once again, I’m reading the Book of Proverbs every day, each month this year. Looking for different nuggets each time through. Will you join me in reading a chapter a day, just this month?
Better yet, find a translation that is easy to understand and read it with your kids! They may not have the attention span for an entire chapter, so choose a verse or two that is relevant for them. Yes, this is another challenge for you. It’s hard enough prioritizing your own time with the Lord. But intentionally creating this time with your children will have life-long and eternal consequences—the good kind!
Let’s do this together!
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” (Psalm 16:8-9, NIV)
Wherever you are today and whatever season or situation you find yourself, our God is with you. He is equipping you and calling you toward wholeness and victory in Him. Whether it’s the words you direct toward others, the ones directed at yourself, or the ones with which God beckons you, there is hope and there is life to the full.
You have given me the beautiful gift of words as well as the unique positioning as Mama to my children. Lord, let my words be pleasing to You (Psalm 19:14). Let them give life, not death (Proverbs 18:21). May they unite, not divide. Fill me with your wisdom, Father, so that I may know when to speak and when to remain quiet. In the moments when my patience is tried and my brokenness tempting to lead me astray, point me back to You that I may speak of Your glory and rest in Your security (Psalm 16:9). Lord, give me eyes to see my children’s hearts so that I may guide them correctly. Help me to lead them well even in the midst of chaos and overwhelm. And, Father, please reveal to me where I have erred, and humble me in repentance. Thank You for loving my children and myself beyond even my understanding. Thank You for redemption and for Your grace that wraps around me, covering all my offenses. In You I rest, and in You I seek righteousness. In Your precious and holy name I pray, Amen.
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT)
The world in which we are raising our teens has never more been affected by words than it is right now. Today our children are vulnerable to the words of others 24/7 due to digital media.
I see the accolades and “likes” my athlete boys receive on social media. I get it. They work hard, are good at what they do, and everyone needs encouragement. God directs us to use our words to encourage others.
I see young girls posting pictures with their friends along with the selfies so popular today. Compliments are lavished through comments, likes, and emojis.
But in the same environment of accolades and compliments, rejection and humiliation lurk. Years ago, we escaped the class bully or mean girl for at least a few hours every night. Today, our children often cannot.
Sometimes the attacks are more ruthless because being mean is easier when the bully is hiding behind the screen of a digital device.
As Christians, we determine our worth in the reflection of God’s unfailing love. Not from the inconsistent and often angry reflection of the world. Yet as children conditioned by social media, grasping that truth becomes more difficult than it already was. With one Instagram “like,” our teens feel valued. However, with one negative comment, or fewer “likes” than the social norm, the enemy threatens to break the value system of our tenderhearted child.
As teen mamas today, reminding our children of the truth of who and Whose they are is critical.
Below are 3 favorite scriptures reminding us of that truth. Write them as notes to your teens. Stick them in backpacks, send as text messages, or write them on bathroom mirrors with dry erase markers.
Let’s endlessly remind our children their identity is in Christ, not in the approval of man.
‘”How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT)
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1, NLT)
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matthew 15:18, NIV)
“Let me guess, Mom, you want to get to what’s in my heart.”
And can you believe his teenage self said it in conjunction with a half eye-roll? Little did he realize, though, his reaction affirmed our issue definitely was a heart matter, and getting to the bottom of it was necessary.
Being a mama involves a million momentary decisions.
Our children did, do, and will make poor choices on a consistent basis. Our job in training them up is determining which choices need consequences, which are quality talking points, and which are molehills we can possibly ignore.
Often, it’s overwhelming. However, the Word of God is always our greatest help and the Holy Spirit our greatest Helper.
Scripture tells us what comes from the mouth is an overflow of the heart. Our actions and thoughts are all tied to the same place–the heart. So, it serves us well to examine our child’s heart in relation to the situations we face.
We need to ask ourselves where our child’s behavior or choice comes from. Is it a heart matter or a momentary lapse in thinking? Is it a place where they lack clear understanding of what God wishes for them, or was it in intentional opposition to what they know to be right and good?
We are all tempted at times to answer with the infamous, “Because I told you so.” Life is hectic; but, sweet Mama, lean into the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, take that extra breath of energy, and get to the heart matter with your child. The extra moments will not only lessen the overwhelm in the long run, but will help your child grow into an adult who loves the Lord, and loves others well from the depths of a well cultivated heart.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)
I remember my beloved rocking chair and holding tight to my babies while whispering lullabies into their precious little ears. One of my favorites was a short hymn of Psalm 19:14. In its simplicity, it speaks every hope we have for our children …
And for ourselves.
When our thoughts and words are acceptable before God, the rest falls into place. It moves us to follow Him, seeking the purpose for which He created us. It gives us eyes to see the world through Him and compassion to reach out to the least of these. And friends, it leads us toward living lives filled with hope.
However, getting our thoughts and words to cooperate isn’t easy. Our brokenness tends to get in the way, leading our thoughts down paths of jealousy, greed, and insecurity (to name a few).
But the battle isn’t hopeless. It may be daily, but sweet Mama, because of Christ it’s already won. His grace and redemption wait with open arms.
David referred to the Lord as “my redeemer” in this verse. Because nothing is simply coincidental in the Bible, I don’t believe it’s coincidental that David referred to Him in that manner. God knows our battles and cheers us on as we stand against the enemy. Yet grieves with us in our losses.
But more than that, He’s ready to receive us with His grace and turn our loss into victory. He’s ready to redeem our sins. So, as we step into each day, let’s intentionally lean in close to Him. Let’s go to Him requesting His help with both our words and thoughts. When we catch our brokenness taking control, let’s confess, repent, and receive His grace and forgiveness. Then, let’s start that very next moment fresh, redeemed, and ready.
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)
I’d missed the paperwork deadline. It wasn’t just a sign-up-for-this-month’s-snack kind of paperwork, it involved state requirements and my daughter’s special needs. The error was a major one on my part, and I was frustrated with myself. Then the internal narrative began.
“How could you!”
“You messed up … again.”
“What is wrong with you?”
How about you, sweet friend? Do you ever catch yourself saying things to yourself you would never say to another?
Are you your own worst critic and sometimes downright mean to yourself?
How we speak to ourselves matters. When God teaches us that our words are to be sweet to the soul, He didn’t just mean towards others. He meant the words we direct toward ourselves, as well. Our health depends upon it.
Our ability to live as our best selves, and therefore the best mamas we can be, depends upon that health.
Start practicing graciousness toward yourself. Take each thought captive, and turn your thoughts toward truth.
Speak life. When you inevitably fall a bit short, begin a new narrative.
“It’s okay. It isn’t anything that cannot be repaired.”
“I remember a lot of things and take care of a great deal really well, but I’m human and forgot this particular thing.”
“When I am weak, God’s strength is revealed. I trust Him in this.”
Once upon a time, I didn’t catch narratives in action. Instead, I let those thoughts continue unedited, limping along with a broken soul. Today, the work isn’t over, yet you would be hard pressed to notice the limp.
Sweet friend, with Jesus, you don’t have to limp along with a broken soul, either. One faithful step at a time will bring you to health. To your best self. And to being the best mama you can be.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, NIV)
Sitting in the stands with other moms alongside the basketball court is a place I frequent. It’s also a place where the enemy tempts me toward ungracious speech.
As moms, we face that temptation often. It starts with play dates, then gradually transitions through the different stages of our children’s lives.
Whether it’s chatting with a dearly loved Mom or defending our child to the mom who brings out every fiber of Mama Bear living within, we talk. A lot.
Scripture uses the phrase, “seasoned with salt.” Very little salt is actually needed to season a dish. Too much ruins it. Yet, not enough, and it is irrelevant to the flavor. What about the kind of salt? Table salt, sea salt, Himalayan pink salt? The type of salt we choose can potentially ruin what could be a wonderful meal.
The same goes for our words. The quantity and quality matter. If they are to be gracious and effective in response, they must be seasoned with wisely chosen and wisely used salt.
God calls us to encourage and lift up one another, and represent Him well with all our words and deeds.
Today, let’s challenge ourselves to inventory our words for both quantity and quality. Not only our spoken words, but the words we choose in our emails, texts, and on social media.
Are they gracious?
Do they lift up?
Is truth shared in love?
Do our words unite? Or do they divide?
Then let’s commit to making a change for the better.
Where our words attack or divide, with the grace of God wrapped around us, let’s turn those words into ones that encourage and unite. Friends, perfection is not our goal, but progress is. One word at a time, we can shine the light of Christ
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NLT)
What a precious gift God has given us! Through His Word, He whispers delicately interwoven words of peace, comfort, hope, and joy. And He offers us the wisdom to confidently raise our children.
As Moms, we are inundated with parenting theories and instructions. The mass quantity often leaves us overwhelmed and confused. If only our new treasures arrived neatly packaged with a manual!
Who hasn’t found themselves in a puddle of hormone induced tears struggling to get a little one to sleep in the middle of the night? Aunt Betsy, our mother-in-law, and the ten books on the nightstand all differ in their advice. How can we know the right thing to do?
The situations change as our children age, but the need
for answers doesn’t. Which school? Cell phone? Dating? College? Marriage?
Friends, wherever you may be in your season of raising children, I know the weight of the decisions resting upon you. And I know it isn’t easy.
It’s not that we shouldn’t educate ourselves, and lean into the wisdom of those who have gone before us. However, we can’t forget the one source of information that is eternal. One that will never change and never guide us astray.
The Word of God.
Within the pages, we may not find the answer to the proper age for cell phone usage. However, what we find is peace. You see, when we know the Word of God, it helps us base our decisions on His will for our lives. And when we are in His will, we cannot go wrong.
So, today, choose to start with prayer and the Word of God. Draw near to Him, soak in His wisdom, and feel the warmth of His unfailing love. He holds the answers to all your greatest needs.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6 NIV)
Your words have the power to heal or hurt, bless or curse, so choose wisely.
The best way to do so is to seek God’s guidance. When we don’t know what to say, we can simply ask Him and choose to be guided by His Spirit. It’s better to wait on the Lord than rush ahead thinking we know what’s best.
Let us be intentional with our words, seeking to bless those who listen. Let us be humble when we make mistakes and be quick to make amends. We won’t be perfect, but we can rely on the One who is.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what to say. The words I choose and the way I say them tend to come up short.
That’s why I’m so thankful for your grace which covers over my mistakes. Forgive me for every ill-spoken word, thoughtless action and missed opportunity. Help me to be quick to make amends and to love others deeply.
Encourage me, dear God to move forward in your grace, confident that you have given me a fresh start. Let your love be evident in the way I speak and treat others, so they may see your power at work in me. I want nothing more than to live a life that pleases you. Whether it is in my conversations, my thoughts or my actions, I pray that I will seek to honor you. Help me to speak words of life to those along my path today. Speak through me, I pray, that others may come to know you. Thank you for answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8 NIV)