I’m so excited to share our first Wednesday post from a reader! Be sure to check out the end of this post for Aly’s bio and a link to her blog!
Being pregnant is fun, especially when it’s your first. Your heart and mind fills with dreams and hopes and wishes and teddy bears and it’s just a lot of fun all around. I remember seeing the little pink plus sign and thinking “I’m having a daughter!” I started dreaming about all sorts of things. We picked a name, Amelia, when we found out my first thought was correct. We picked a color scheme for her room, yellow and green – we tried to go easy on the pink overload but that is harder to do than it sounds. We picked out sheets and curtains and a crib. We discussed sleep training methods and birth plans and eating habits and diapering options and child rearing practices. It was all very idealistic.
We she was born, the idealism stuck with us for about a year. Call it a honeymoon phase of parenthood. I won’t get into the details, but it was basically the smoothest first year a baby could possibly have. Now she’s a year an a half old, though. Now she has opinions. Now she can walk and run and make her own decisions. My little baby girl who slept through the night at 5 weeks has the ability to tell me no – and usually does it fairly respectfully. When did that happen?
When I realized this change, I adjusted my focus from basic needs like sustenance and excrement to character building. I want her to learn independence coupled with respect for authority. Turns out that’s a really hard balance. I want her to be creative and curious, to have a smile that graces her face easily, and to have a heart that is gentle and kind. Again, I have a lot of lofty idealistic goals. I’d really like to say this second year is going as smoothly as the first one did but training character is a LOT harder than training sleep apparently. So I dug into Scripture. When I don’t know, God does.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Alright, I need to love God with everything that I am. Tell my children about God and His commandments at every opportunity. Keep reminders of God’s commandments all over the place.
I gotta come clean here, I don’t love God with everything that I am. I love God but with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength? That’s a tall order. Sometimes, my heart is a little focused on other things, like my schedule or my responsibilities or pizza. Let me be clear, these things are not bad. In fact, they are good things and they often need my attention, particularly the pizza, but there is a difference between having my attention and having my soul. What is my heart, soul, and strength focused on?
So how do I make that transition from pizza to God? Let’s look back at Deuteronomy. Scripture says to impress the Lord’s commandments on my heart and on my children. I need to talk about them everywhere we are, wherever we go. Write them all over the place, keep them close by to know and to read over and over. Basically, Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I love how practical the Bible is. It doesn’t just tell me to
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
but it tells me how to do that. In case you missed it, I’ll give you some bullet points. Here’s how to train up a child.
- Love God with everything you are
- Tell your children about God
- Tell your children about God’s commandments
- Talk about God everywhere you go
- Write God’s commandments all over the place
- Focus on good thing
- Pray (we didn’t discuss this one in this post but when all else fails, run to God. Actually, run to God even if nothing is failing because He’s the one in control of it all either way)
Aly lives in San Antonio where she is a stay at home mom and wife. She has 4 children. Amelia is a year and a half. Her second two children, Leonard and Sam, are at home with the Lord due to miscarriages. Her fourth child is currently unnamed and will make his or her appearance in October. Aly loves Jesus and hopes to be a missionary in Madagascar one day. You can read more from her at www.MomsGoing.com