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Discipleship at Home: Repetitive & Maintaining

If our goal as Christian parents is to raise life-long disciples of Jesus Christ, then we must pay careful attention to how and what we teach. We find that discipleship of our children works its way out in a few different ways in our family:

  1. Structured and planned
  2. Spontaneous and responsive
  3. Repetitive and maintaining

The first two ways mentioned, structured and planned, as well as spontaneous and responsive were addressed in previous posts. In this final post, I’ll address the work of being repetitive and maintaining.

Repetitive & Maintaining

Most recently I’ve had to repent and meet the Lord regarding my frustration about having to repeat myself to my children so much. As moms, if we are to be diligent in the instruction of our children and raising them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we are going to be repeating ourselves a lot. We can’t water a garden once and expect it to yield fruit, so why do we begrudge the repetitive work it takes to tend to the souls of our children? Paul said in Philippians 3:1 "To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” Oh to have the same gracious spirit toward those whom I love most. That being said, there is a world of difference between reminding and nagging.

While planning our daily liturgy (as mentioned in the previous post on structure and planning) is crucial, more so is actually carrying it out. Too many days I have found myself lost and overwhelmed with circumstantial daily duties that I forgo the most important things that I had actually planned. I let the urgent usurp the needful. No wonder I feel overwhelmed. When I am not intentional about centering our thoughts and daily duties around the Lord and His Word, I should not be surprised when the rest of my day is spent in spiritual chaos.

Repetitive discipleship also shows itself in how we serve others in need, whether cooking for ill family members or neighbors, or serving our own family members by helping with their chore load. Daily required chores contribute to the well-being of the whole family, and it’s character building for children to take part and have a sense of ownership. But also, when children see their father help clean up after supper, take on the bedtime duties when mama has a migraine, or simply make the coffee, they take notice. When they see their mama cook yet another meal when she’s exhausted or quickly tidy up the home before dad gets home from work, they take notice. They take notice if we are serving cheerfully or begrudgingly.

We can’t weed a garden once and expect that no more weeds will grow, and the longer we neglect the maintaining, the harder our job is to restore the garden back to only its intended produce. When we let a disciplinary issue slide, when we don’t rightly address a sin issue, when we are not diligent to guard our children’s hearts in their entertainment choices…all these sorts of things are like weeds that creep back into our gardens that can stunt growth in discipleship. We as parents are the gatekeepers of our homes. We decide what and who is welcome (or not) into our homes. And in this digital age, we had better be diligent to maintain the standard that we have by faith committed to the Lord. We can read all the Bible to our children we want, but if we are not diligent to maintain a godly standard in our homes, living lives set apart for the Lord, then we can be sure that we are teaching our children a double standard.

As parents, we are discipling our children whether it’s our intention or not. We can be easily angered at their lack of self-control in whining and totally miss that we were easily angered. One more grumble and I can snap crackle pop. But when we do fail, and we will fail, we get to teach them that Christ is ever-faithful and sustains and keeps us. This discipling is all about Him. We are life-long disciples discipling our children to be life-long disciples so that they can teach their children and their children’s children to be lifelong disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. So as parents, the admonition to not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9) is accomplished by God’s grace, and our perspective in keeping the end goal in mind helps us to see the Lord as the Author and Perfecter of our faith…to keep on doing what He designed us as parents to do, tend the sweet garden He’s planted in our families. And that takes repetitive, regular maintenance.

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On the Consistent Disciplining of Children

(Because I Need the Consistent Reminder to Be Consistent)

Oh, what a blessed irony it is to write about disciplining children while currently feeling as though some of my own efforts are pressing up against a brick wall. It’s a blessed irony because the Lord tells us not to grow weary in well-doing; it’s also a good reminder that all my efforts are just that, my efforts and faithfulness, and only that. As parents, it’s our job to plant the seed, water, and tend the soil in the hearts of our children. But it is God who gives us the seed in the first place, the seed in which He has miraculously placed His design for growth - with proper and diligent care, in due season. It’s only by His power that growth will happen. Still, He requires consistent labor from us.

Recently, I had been silently bemoaning my inconsistency in disciplining a certain child of mine. However, the inconsistency in me was not a failure to address these ungodly behaviors, rather, it was an inconsistency to stick with the same method of discipline long enough to see if it would produce any fruit. And herein lies the issue: without wisdom and discernment from the Lord, when we don’t see the fruits of our labor, we cannot know whether we’re exercising futility or whether our efforts, by God’s grace, are indeed cultivating evidence of grace in the hearts of our children through that discipline.

My tendency is to switch methods too quickly because when I don’t see fruitful change I must be doing something wrong. But how easily I forget that growth happens long before we see it. Depending on the variety, it can take a seed weeks to germinate and a tender shoot to sprout. How much longer still until a plant matures to produce fruit! Surely there are times when changes must be made before there is any hope of helping our children feel the mercy of conviction. But more often than not, when we remain faithful and loving in our discipline, all the while consistent, that is when change is happening. Consistency, by nature, can only be revealed over the course of time.

It might be a long while before visible signs of heart change are seen as a result of discipline, but that doesn’t mean the cultivating ceases. It also doesn’t mean that uprooting everything and starting over with some more relevant, pragmatic “proven disciplinary method with failsafe results” we saw on a blog post or Pinterest board will mean that growth will be visible sooner. In fact, it could stunt, damage, or altogether destroy what good was being done with our previous simple consistency. We too often forget that doing anything worthwhile takes time.

The reward of faithfulness in the disciplinary well-doing of our children comes long after that first sprout of change is seen. The season between seedtime and harvest can tend to lose its wonder as we do the daily, diligent, and often mundane work required to maintain an optimal growing and maturing environment for our children. But isn’t it also a beautiful irony that the Lord uses the same work of faithfulness to discipline our children and cultivate consistent perseverance in us at the same time? He truly does all things well!

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

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Love is one of the most commonly used words in our English vocabulary

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Have you experienced days where you felt like giving in or giving up?

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God not only created you but, He is also always with you.

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God not only created you but, He is also always with you. Yes YOU! The world quickly puts a works/performance based standard on relationships, which is the opposite of our relationship with the Lord. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, there is nothing that can separate us from God's Love. No matter where you are at, know that you are NEVER ALONE! God is with you, everywhere & always, so it's time to fellowship with Him. When you feel like you have no one else, you've hit rock bottom, depressed or lonely, can't seem to find purpose in life - it's time to reach out to the one who has always been there waiting on you. Pray, worship, listen, get to know your creator and the one that will show you unconditional love.

#godslove #truthrenewed #beingrenewed

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An ambassador is an accredited diplomat[Jesus Christ] sent by a country[Heaven] to a foreign country[broken world needing reconciliation].

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