Friday, May 17, 2013

Children are GIFTS: Part 5

Thank you to my friend, Nicki! I invited her to post here all week to continue the celebration of Mothers, and WHAT a blessing!

Nicki and her husband, Brad, are faithfully raising three cheerful kids.

I love her comforting smile, her humble determination, and her rumbling hunger for more of God's Word. I know you'll enjoy this week-long study of Biblical Motherhood.
We've been looking at five moms in the Bible and learning how to grow as a parent. Children are GIFTS. Each day this week, we've looked at a different letter in the word "GIFTS".

Here's Nicki...

G is for God-centered (Click here for Monday's post.)
I is for Individuality (Click here for Tuesday's post.)
F is for Fear or Faith (Click here for Wednesday's post.)

T is for Teach. (Click here for Thursday's post.)
S is for Servant's Heart.

Our final Mother is none other than Mary, the mother of Jesus. I love her love for God, and I pray often to have a heart so willing to surrender to the will of God. After being told of the unplanned pregnancy outside of marriage, most women, especially during that time, would have been scared to death. Joseph could have had her killed, but it didn’t even seem to phase her. In Luke 1:38, she says
"I am the Lord's slave ... may it be done to me according to your word." That's a picture of a Servant's Heart!
It is not by chance that God chose Mary to be Jesus' mother. Her heart was what drew Him to her.

I also want to teach my children to have a servant's heart. This is our ultimate goal as parents - to raise children who love others out of their love for Christ. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God. He followed that by sharing an equally important command, which is to love your neighbor as your self.

We are all born into this world selfish and self-centered. From birth, our kids want what they want when they want it. We must teach them to love and serve others.

I explain to my kids that - once we are saved - the only reason for us to stay on this Earth is to further the kingdom of God. We simply do this by loving others and sharing our love for God with them.
You don’t have to go to Africa, unless we're specifically called to. People everywhere need to feel the love of God.

We pray for our friends and family.
Often, I encourage my kids to do something kind for someone during the day, then I ask for them to share it at dinner that night.  It may be as simple as "I helped Suzy go to the nurse," or "I made my friend, Hector, an origami tank."

We try to do a good deed as a family a week.
This could be making a card for someone who is sick or baking cookies for a neighbor. I’m just trying to allow them to focus on others for even a few minutes.

All the women we've studied this week have effectively passed along this quality of having a Servant's heart. It is what gave Samuel a love for Israel so that he gave his life to be their priest. It led Samson to give up his life for the Israelites to defeat the Philistines. It liberated Moses to lead his people from slavery to the edge of the Promise Land. It caused Timothy to give up his life so that others might hear the gospel of Christ. And it led Jesus to Calvary to die for you and me.

 If our kids our going to bring any glory to the name of God, they must have a Servant's heart!

While it is true that children are a gift from God, they are not our possessions.  They belong to God. It is not by chance that my children are Brent, Beau and Bailor. They are picked by God as good and perfect gifts for me. They are a gift that allows me to depend more on God. Their presence in my life helps me develop love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I have learned just how selfish, self-centered, impatient, and prideful I really am by being a parent. But that’s the gift - God is teaching us to become more dependent on Him while also shaping us to look more like Christ.

In all God's sovereignty, you are also exactly the woman he ordained to be your child's mother. He will give you all the wisdom, strength, and courage that you need.

I thank God for the gift of children and the true joy that comes from being their mother, but our eyes should never stop at the gift. The gift should always point us to the Gift-Giver!

What are some of the gifts God has given you through parenthood?
What are some ways you can encourage your kids to put others first?

For more ideas about raising caring kids, click here here.