Raising children is hard work. Some days are easy, encouraging and fun. Many zap our strength, rattle our confidence and tempt us to doubt our objectives, strategies and capabilities. We’re imperfect, learning-as-we-go moms pouring into imperfect, absorb-it-when-I’m-ready children.
…Do you ever wonder about the outcome of your efforts? I sure did.
Am I wasting my time?
My kids think I’m so unfair.
I feel like a lone-ranger focusing on this issue.
Sometimes I (eventually) realized that my objective or desire was unessential, so I let it go. Other times I felt that the Lord had impressed on my heart a practice or boundary to train up in our children. Understandably, they challenged me. Our wills clashed as we each persevered for our point of view. Especially for the long-haul themes, discouragement and hurt feelings were familiar to each of us.
Below is a devotional that our daughter Cecilia wrote for younger girls. I hope this encourages you as you faithfully plant the seeds that God gives you to sow into your children.
Your Input is Your Output
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. “ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Give me a rainy day and I’ll watch a movie with you in a split second. Or tell me you want to go on a road trip and I’ll be the DJ because there is nothing better than a good sing-a-long. Or take me on vacation and I’ll be great with doing nothing but reading a book all day. I love the arts and find it fascinating to see how some creatively develop in new and innovative ways and how others remain…timeless. I believe that God delights in the arts and in the fact that we can see and learn more of who God is through them.
Sadly, we live in a fallen world and so things in it that are good have the capability to be tainted, flawed against their original purpose. The arts are an example of this. Think about it. In the sea of movies you’ve watched, music you’ve listened to, or books you’ve read in the past year, what percentage of those would you say God delights in? And before you roll your eyes like I did SO many times in high school when my parents would challenge me on this, hear me out.
God tells us in the scriptures that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that “you are not your own…therefore, honor God with your body.” That’s referring to what we put into our body, physically, yes, but also mentally and spiritually. In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. For what we put in will in some form become the output.
As I hinted at earlier, I butted heads with my parents countless times regarding which arts were inappropriate for me. There is a website called “Plugged In” through Focus on the Family that reviews every form of media with a Christian mindset. It can tell you how many curse words a movie has and what they are. Yeah, serious dedication to the cause. My parents loved it and I hated it. I had to turn down invitations to go see particular movies with my friends. There were certain books I wasn’t allowed to read. I couldn’t listen to music that was inappropriate. So when my peers at school were talking about the movie they went to see Friday and how awesome it was, I couldn’t really join in. And it was really hard.
Looking back now, I could not be more grateful for my parents and how they groomed me to really think about what I put into myself. When I went to college, I gained a lot of freedom. And so yes, I defied what I would’ve typically done in high school and didn’t filter what I watched, listened too, or even read as much. But it was a short-lived season. I realized that I really hadn’t missed anything and that I would rather fill myself with truths than lies.
The moments of missing out on conversations or having to turn down an invitation to be with friends were hard ones, but because of those moments, I have not become numbed down to what the culture says is life-fulfilling and “cool.” God calls us to be light. How can we be light when what we put into ourselves is full of darkness? We are made to be light, so we must choose to fill ourselves with it so that it will pour out!
MEANWHILES… Remarkable spaces in God’s eternal plan where His Kingdom breaks in and we are never the same.