Inward versus Outward

“And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones me (1)

 

I’ve sensed a trend happening around me that has me pondering.  It’s actually a good trend – I think.  Something very close to my heart and something I put a lot of time and effort into.

The trend is actually about parenting.  And children.  And families.  It’s a very big part of my life.  I am a parent and a grandparent.  I taught pre-school for many years and now work part-time in children’s ministry at my church.  Hubs and I lead a parenting class once a week and we invest in families around our community.

The concern about this trend that my mind keeps getting stuck on, though, is how we, as humans, have a tendency to place all of our focus in one direction.

I believe focusing on our families and relationships is a good thing.  We encourage parents to be students of their children, learning how God wired them so they can lead each of their children in the way God intended them to.  (Proverbs 22:6)

But here’s where the concern comes in – do we make our family an idol?  Do we put our family above our relationship with God?  Our schedule and checkbook will tell what our priority is.

These past few weeks have put a focus on families more than ever.  Children are home from school and all extra activities have been suspended.  Many parents are working from home and spending more time with their children.

For some, this is a blessing.  A generous gift of time spent together.  For some, this is a burden.  Trying to balance work and schooling and hungry tummies.

For most of us, this is a time of circling the wagons of safety around our precious cargo- our family.  Of doing what we can to ensure the nasty virus cooties don’t touch our people.  It causes us to look within instead of up.

Inward versus Upward

There is a danger of worshipping our family.  Putting all of our attention on to our little mini-me people.  Family togetherness turns into focusing on making our kids happy instead of focusing on what grows our children into having a relationship with God.

So, what will our children remember about “The great COVID19 Social Distancing” of 2020?   Will they remember it as a terrible time when their little lives were turned upside down?  Will they remember it as a time they got to spend the day in their jammies, doing school work and baking cookies together?  Will they have any memory of what God did in their lives and the lives of their family and friends and community?

It’s up to us.  We set the example.  We show the way.  We shine the light.

The opportunity to really show our children how to look to God for guidance and praise Him for His faithfulness in our lives is in front of us.  Right now.

We get to teach our children, like never before, what it looks like to follow Jesus.  After all, we’re hanging out 24/7.  We’re in each other’s business.  We’re rubbing elbows.

What should this look like?  It will be different for every family but think about these things:

  1.  Parent time alone with the Lord each day.  Let your children see you spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.  Let them overhear how you pray.  Let them overhear you praying for them.
  2. Family time spent talking about God.  It doesn’t have to be a formal time – unless you all are a formal type of family.  Small nuggets of God’s truth, at the right time,  are awesome – and doable.
  3. Family time spent praying.  Pray for each other.  Pray for other people.  Pray for those in leadership positions.  Pray for those in dangerous positions (first responders, medical, military).  Pray for those you don’t know but who are sick or hurting.  There is nothing more precious than hearing little voices praying to God.  I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
  4. Family time spent worshipping God.  This can be listening to Christian songs on the radio, singing Sunday songs and hymns, or practicing music lessons with Christian tunes.
  5. Family time spent remembering how God has been faithful to your family.  Think back to times when God has blessed you and your family.  Watch for ways that God is answering prayers and your life right now.  Write them in a journal.  Make artwork for the fridge.  Write them on colored strips of paper and put them in a basket or jar.  The important thing is to remember.  Remember God’s faithfulness.

Remembering God’s faithfulness will strengthen your faith and erase your fears. It will comfort you in times of stress.  He promises to never leave you or forsake you.  (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Transitions and tough times can make your relationship with God stronger or weaker.   You choose.

They can make your relationship with your spouse stronger or weaker.                           You choose.

They can make your relationship with your children stronger or weaker.                           You choose.

You’ve got this because He’s got you!

Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are good and faithful and you are the one true God.  Thank you for always being there for me and for always keeping your promises.  Forgive me for the times I’ve take my eyes off of you.  Help me to look to you daily for the strength and wisdom I need to accomplish all you have for me to do.  Help us to lead our families well, knowing that they are a gift you have given to us.  Bless our families, Lord.  Bless and heal our community.  Help us to grow stronger through all of this and glorify you in all things.

 

 

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