“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)
Due to varied circumstances, our family is sending the kids to public school this year. It makes me tremble a little—actually, a lot.
I've spent ten years in home school. Passion for holiness and a deep walk with Jesus spurred me to teach them, have them read their Bibles, sing with them, and pray. I was on
But how often do we depend on our circumstances to ensure Godly kids? And how do we explain that homeschooling family of ten who ends up with more wayward kids than the secular home down the street?
Our brains whirl. Mothers, what are we depending on?
I love homeschool. I love home making. But we dare not depend on it, or we are building on sand just as the home with no vibe of Christ at all. Our kids grow close to Christ, not as much by the method in our home as by the Master of our home. Permeate your home with Jesus Christ, and when your props are gone, your kids can still hold on to Christ because
He is there even when your life changes a little—or a lot.
Your kids can be bold as a lion in those schools if you've led them to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who roars on their behalf. They can know Him as the gentle Shepherd and as the Roaring Battalion, whichever one they need Him to be at the time.
Teach them to fight bravely and not retreat. Talk to them about mocking, and how to handle it when it happens. Read to them about persecution and how to expect it rather than be surprised by it.
In whatever method you need to use, be brazenly bold. Have a strong back and a soft front, and teach your kids to have the same. Because the wicked will flee, but the righteous will face it off boldly.
Homeschool moms, don't lay down your sword just because your kids are at your kitchen table in flannel pj's rather than in the halls of the closest school. Be bold with the Word!
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2, ESV)
She danced and twirled, a lovely little being with deep dimples gracing both cheeks. I watched her, proud and thankful to be her mama.
She had asked me one day, “Mama, is it wrong to want to be a famous dancer?”
She's a person of beauty in every way, born to nurture others, serve them, and bring love into difficult lives. I couldn't help but notice how her personality and giftings matched her outward beauty. Often, when we had a disabled person in our home, she was the one who loved on her. And it was she who placed cookies before her father when he needed something to cheer him up.
“No, child, it's not wrong to want to be a famous dancer,” I told her. “God gives people gifts, and I think one of your gifts is to bring beautiful things into this world. Simply live for the glory of God, and all will be well.”
Can we teach our kids not to pursue human praise while at the same time leading them to realize that using their gifts brings much glory to God, who wants HIS goodness displayed?
Can we teach them that hiding their gifts is as prideful as boasting about them? That God simply wants people who are all out in a quest to walk close to His heart—and He means for his own beauty to be displayed in his people?
That it's not their own goodness on display, but God's—therefore, performing as well as possible means you are performing for the glory of God?
Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he felt the pleasure of God. He loved to run, but he was also willing to give it up for the sake of greater things. God used both Eric’s passion for running and his surrender of running to bring glory to Himself.
Always guide your child to know the heart of Jesus Christ, that wonderful Son of Man who walked among us so we might know Him. From there, walk under His smile, whether He leads you to enjoy your gifting or asks you to surrender it for a time.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Profuse are the kisses of the enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6)
Remember that feeling as a child when daddy rebuked you? Remember that sting and desire to justify yourself? It's still there as an adult—but oh, how good and healing to receive rebuke from someone who loves you dearly!
Helping our kids to learn humility is one of the chiefest things we can do to ensure a blessed life. Never blame another adult quickly when they come with hurt feelings.
Search out the matter, and sincerely help your child see his wrong, if there is any. Teach them to honor and respect all adults by walking them through a rebuke with integrity.
Teach them that a faithful friend will always speak the truth, even when it hurts. Teach them that discomfort is no reason for discredit.
When your teen is bashed, try to understand what she might have done to offend. Refuse to jump on the mama bear wagon, but come alongside to help her search her heart and grow. Many, many parents raise hurtful adults because they were not strong enough or brave enough to receive rebuke themselves.
The most loving thing you can do in your child's difficult moment is to teach them that love doesn't always feel good in the moment. But love speaks truth, love receives truth, and wants truth at all costs. If your child embraces this difficult moment, it will help him to be spared from a difficult life.
Teach them that only the truth, even when it hurts, will set them free.
“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring his hand to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.”(Proverbs 26:15&16, ESV)
I handed my three little ones a scrub rag from the red bucket and watched them kneeling on the floor, having fun with a menial task. It didn't matter that the floor would get less clean, or that there would be wet knees making spots on the furniture.
My own mother had given us cleaning rags at an early age, and I remember her frustration as we stood there, swinging them aimlessly through the Saturday morning air. Today I'm grateful that she taught us to clean, and I'm fascinated as I realize my own little sisters inspire me to be a better homemaker.
This didn't just happen. Our mom made us work. There was no consideration of lounging with a screen all day, eating what we wanted, when we wanted. There was no hovering over iPhones all night while we ignored dinner dishes and each other. Our parents raised us on purpose, by making us do things on purpose.
I remember spending hours in the kitchen as a teen, cooking for our family of twelve. Sometimes, six pies graced the counter tops when I was done. It wasn't always fun, but it got done.
I've seen kids ruined by lack of chores. There is no upbringing on the screen, and no discipline learned by lounging around twelve hours a day. Start very young, and you will have kids who expect to work rather than resent work.
Each weekend, our kids expect to clean house and cut grass. They may be found planning out the chores just as they are found planning their play dates! Together, we can do in a few hours what would take me all day to accomplish.
This week, the twelve year old was lazy during chores. When a friend popped in unexpectedly, he asked to run to the river, but had to stay and work, first. It's hard to place boundaries, but so important. And it's up to mothers to be strong enough to do so.
Mothers, don't be afraid of making your child work! If they get lazy, refuse to take them anywhere until their chores are done. Stall that outing if the bed isn't made.
Be faithful, and you will be blessed by their faithfulness!
“By mere words a [child] is not disciplined, for though he responds, he will not understand.” (Proverbs 29:19, ESV)
My daughter walked out the door with a happy smile, dressed for her day at the beach with a friend.
It's hard to let go. I'd love to say no, no, and no. But I'm realizing that mamas who let go end up able to hold on better in the end.
Why could I let her go that day? Because we shoved law down her throat and into her mind each day since birth? No! I could let her go because her own conscience has been awakened and she wants to do good.
We must guide our kids' hearts more than we demand their good performance. We must talk, share, and go deep. We listen to apologetics so we can share the why's of God and His ways rather than expect a naive mind to overcome a postmodern, humanistic world.
From early on, we ensure that we are focused more on the heart than the behavior. Because out of the heart, the life is lived, and if the heart isn't in touch with God, the life can't be pleasing to God.
She returned happy that night, telling me of her day. Her heart loved her mother and was happy to stay within certain guidelines. She appreciated her freedom and wanted to be able to keep it.
Guide your child straight to the heart of the Father by reaching into their hearts as their mother. Talk to them, early and often, about things that make you search deep for your own answers. Equip them before the world does!
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV)
I have a few treasures in my house: pieces of furniture that tell stories of past generations and mementos that remind me of moments I’ve experienced in this generation. But of course, these are just things. They are items made of wood or porcelain or paper. They have value to me because they remind me of relationships and lives and experiences, but in the end, the objects themselves have no eternal value.
As the keeper of our home, my mission and calling is to fill it with true treasures: rare and beautiful pieces that will endure forever. But it is not up to me to decide what those treasures are; God has already established them.
Oh mamas, may our homes be filled with the kind of treasures God assigns value to in His Word.
Thank You for the wisdom you give us in Your Word.
Thank you for the truths and guidance about parenting that You, the Perfect Parent, graciously share with us.
Help us to glean knowledge and understanding from Your Word so that our homes may truly be filled with treasures.
By knowledge and understanding, help us fill our homes with words and actions that build our families’ spirits up, rather than crush them.
By knowledge and understanding, help us fill our homes with patience that reflects your glory.
By knowledge and understanding, help us fill our homes with faithfulness and good gifts that speak the language of love. Help us fill our homes with input that reflects Your truth as we leave the outcome to you.
And by knowledge and understanding, help us fill our homes with the true freedom that comes from observing your lovingly laid boundaries.
In the name of Jesus, the One and Only, Amen.
(Based on Proverbs 18-24)
“Do not move an ancient boundary stone.” (Proverbs 23:10a NIV)
Like most parents, when my children were little, I put boundaries in place to protect them: baby gates, banister shields, outlet covers, and enclosed play spaces. My goal was not to take away their freedom but to protect it; within the limits I set for them, my children were free to explore, learn, and live in safety and security.
Now that my girls are teenagers, I’m still putting boundaries into place. These are less physical and more mental, emotional, and relational, but they’re still safeguards meant to preserve my children for future happiness.
The idea of an ancient boundary stone—God’s way of saying, “Do not go beyond this point…what’s past here is not for you”—applies beautifully to parenting teenagers. I want to teach my teens that God's good boundaries are not intended to restrict but to protect. I want to teach my teens that Yahweh’s boundaries do not keep them from present blessings; they preserve them for future blessings. If I, for example, teach my children that certain physical and emotional lines in interpersonal relationships should not be crossed, it’s because I want them to be able to fully experience a joy and gift later, when the time is right. I want them to store up a blessing for themselves that will last far longer than any momentary choice.
God's boundaries—laid in love—are not meant to deny our children something good but to protect them for something better. The world will tell our teens that they are missing out when they observe certain boundaries.
We must teach them that when they stay on God’s side of a line, what they are actually missing out on is pain and heartache and confusion. And in this “missing out,” they will hit on the lasting joys and gifts that God—their all-wise, all-loving parent—has for them.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
Today's verse is possibly one of the most well-known verses about parenting in all of God’s Word. It is powerful and hopeful. Generations of parents have clung to it. But oh mama, I really didn't want to talk about this one with you today.
I wanted to skip over this verse because we all know parents—and maybe we are these parents—who have trained children up in the way they should go, but have absolutely seen them turn from it. As a Christian mom, I don't want to think about this. I want to think that if I just train my children up, everything will turn out fine. And I'm going to tell you right now I don't have any easy explanation for how this verse works out in real life.
But here's what I know about parenting boiled down to three steps: train your children; trust them to God; repeat. The tricky truth is that God does not want robots who can do nothing other than love Him; He wants thinking, feeling, mind-and-soul, flesh-and-blood children who choose to actively love Him out of love for Him. And anytime there is choice involved, there is risk involved.
This is where as parents, we have to focus on what our job is and what it isn't: our job is not the outcome, our job is the input.
Pour into your children truth about God, honesty about your own relationship with Him, prayer, worship, fellowship, service, and Biblical knowledge. And then, hard as it is and though you do it with fists that constantly want to clench back up, release the outcome of your precious children to God—with the comforting knowledge that He released His beloved to take hold of your beloved.
“A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.” (Proverbs 21:14 NIV)
Gifts are not my oldest daughter's love language. It's not that she doesn't like to get them or to give them; they're just not what speaks love most fluently to her, and they're not how she speaks love most fluently to other people. But she does like encouragement, and she is touched by small gestures that demonstrate love, so I try to surprise her once in a while with small gifts that speak those things…gifts that can soothe the rough moments of life a little.
I once put a note in her lunch to which I had affixed a Rolo candy; the note read, “I Rolo-y love you.” I knew it had spoken her language when she found it and texted me immediately: “I loved my Rolo-y note. It made my day!” Another time, when she was coming home from college for the weekend, I put a chocolate on her pillow, hotel-style. I wasn’t home when she found it, but again, I knew it had spoken love in her language when she texted me a picture of it as soon as she found it and told me, “You are the cutest.” (Which, as any mom knows, is pretty much as good as it gets in the mom-compliment department.)
I’m not suggesting that we bribe our children with gifts or that we try to cover over anger by giving them things. But, done wisely, when we give gifts to our children, we reflect the heart of God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift. And truly, that is “Rolo-y” worth doing.
“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6 NIV)
Do you love your children? Do I love my children? The question almost seems absurd. Of course we do. How can there be any doubt about it? But I’m reminded of Jesus asking Peter again and again in John 21, “Do you love me?”
The thing is that love has to look like something. And Proverbs 20:6 tells us that one thing it looks like is faithfulness. Faithfulness gives love a voice and hands and feet. Anyone can make a claim, but God seems to be telling us that finding a person who proves that claim by faithfulness is going to take some searching out.
I can claim to love my kids, but if I am faithful, I will speak gently. I can claim to love my kids, but if I am faithful, I will serve them, sometimes by doing things for them that they can do for themselves. I can claim to love my kids, but if I am faithful, I will walk with them through trials and hard places.
And with Abba’s help and by His strength, when we show faithfulness to our kids—when we choose words that will build up rather than tear down, when we do things for them that we’ve done a hundred times before, and when we journey through tumultuous seasons—we take our claim of love and prove it.