Many years ago, I came to the realization that one doesn't have to follow the cultural trends in how you live or raise your family. There are many, many things we chose to opt out of, for the sake of family life.
We wanted to live with intention, having life goals in mind for our children, and we wanted to have time to build these things into them. Now, our life goals for our children had nothing to do with their life's work, but more the goal that our children would be taught about the Lord in our everyday lives. You know, as Deuteronomy 6:6 says.
Tim and I both wanted our children to not feel as if God was only someone we talked about on Sundays or at church, but ONE who was involved with every aspect of our lives. This meant we had to be in the word together, and to talk together, and to point out God's hand in our daily lives, so that they could see it for themselves.
We wanted our kids to love family - they all do - they are always happy when we are together for some event - grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins - the more the merrier!
We wanted our kids to care about others and to practice hospitality, so we live that out in front of them, imperfectly at best and yet wanting to practice hospitality.
This doesn't mean that because we chose to do it, that everything goes smoothly. Sometimes we are selfish, and sometimes our expectations of others or their expectations of us don't match up! But our kids benefit from seeing us work through challenges with the goal of not 'being right' but of wanting God to be glorified by our choices and behaviors.
The challenge in this is that it requires time and intention. If we intend to practice hospitality, that means that we fore go afternoon naps on Sundays, and make dozens of pancakes for dinner. If I want my kids to know about self control, then I need to practice self control.
We will never get these years of their childhoods back. These are the training years, the ones that require self sacrifice on our parts. Having raised a few to adulthood, we know that these years go by so quickly. We are enjoying our young adults, and seeing them thrive in their lives, working hard, loving their families and others. Being involved in the lives of those the Lord brings their way. Each one does this in a different way, as each one is different from their siblings.
This reminds me of a Steve Green song from years ago:
"Oh may all who come behind us, find us faithful.May the fire of our devotion light their way.May the footsteps that we leave,lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful."
Young Mamas, Grandmas, friends, I hope you'll be encouraged that your work is not in vain. You are encouraging others by your lives, leading little ones closer to the Lord, bearing each others burdens. Choose good things, to model in front of your children.
I'm thankful for each one who is on this journey with me, and the faithful, praying friends, who encourage me! I'm thankful for each of you who visit here, too! Your friendship is precious to me!