These are the things that my heart is happy about and why I’m singing praises to the Lord:
My children are growing in faith. They enjoy singing praises to God and learning new Gospel songs. No, they don’t know secular music. They believe and trust in the power of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They believe in the power of prayer and laying on of hands when they are sick. They believe that Jesus is their Healer and they rest in that truth.
They don’t watch TV shows that they aren’t allowed to. And if they see TV ads that they know are bad and that they are not supposed to see, they quickly cover their eyes or turn away. They don’t cuss or utter swear words. And if they hear such words spoken by playmates, classmates or relatives, they are quick to rebuke them.
When they have behaved badly, they know how to say sorry and humbly ask for forgiveness (sometimes with urging and encouragement). They know how important it is to forgive, too, and not to harbor ill feelings.
But, there is another side to this. Kids being kids, my children fight. When my 4-year-old son is angry, he screams his tonsils out. When he has tantrums, he screams, kicks and hurts those who come near and often, he hurts himself, too. He slams doors repeatedly that I’m just sure baby Sam, our infant neighbor, is being roused from her sweet angelic slumber. Oh, he is just given to sulking with the slightest provocation and petty reasons!
My 11-year-old frowns and sometimes stomps out of the room after a scolding (but it wouldn’t be fair with her if I didn’t say that she really knows how to make up). She forgets and neglects to do her duties and responsibilities and needs to be reminded always. Often, she doesn’t play her role well as the big sister. Generally, both of them are willful in varying degrees.
Often in my prayers and quiet times with the Lord, I ask why my children are difficult and why they just can’t get rid completely of their bad attitudes. Then I would think that they are like that so that, together with my other “emergency” petitions, I will always be on my knees begging and crying out to the Lord. Needless to say, it’s my constant prayer that the Lord will make them well-behaved children.
And because of these things that make my heart heavy and my soul weary, we do the following relentlessly, completely trusting that by our “watering”, God will “give the increase”:
Attending Church and Embracing the Teachings
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6)
Regular Bible Reading and Discussion
I encourage my daughter to speak out. I ask how she understood what we have read, what lessons she has learned from it and how she could apply them in her life – family, school and friends. I have also found this time together as a great opportunity to talk about problems at home or in school and how we could resolve them. When in the events of the day there has been a strife, and I know it’s wrong timing or I find it wearisome to explain or admonish lengthily, I always find comfort in the thought that I can bring up the matter later in our Bible time, when our minds and hearts have drunk of the Word.
Leading by Example
I believe this is the best way to enforce the teachings of the Bible to our children and to encourage them to practice and live these teachings out on a daily basis. We must serve as inspirations, as shining lights to them, for what they see us do, they can easily follow. And because their eyes are upon us, depending on our guidance as they are growing up, we need to be regularly bathed with the Lord’s light. When we ourselves are constantly under His light, we reflect that light to our children (and to other people) and we can teach them to be a light to others, too.
My weekly gratitude list – praising and giving glory to God for:
- gentle, earnest words that produce good fruits.
- anointing the singing of the Children’s Choir during Sunday service.
- moving so mightily during the singing of Singles Choir. The chorus was sung many times over as the Holy Spirit lingered, the whole congregation of the saints standing up and worshiping God, being filled with the Spirit. With arms wide open and face towards heaven, I thanked God for the glorious moment!
- for the testimony of a sister-in-Christ who was filled with the Holy Spirit while He moved during the singing of Singles Choir. After the singing, she was brought to the pulpit to tell the Lord’s message. Oh, the Lord sees everything and right there in that stadium, He opened up heaven and angels came down! By God’s grace, I will share this very important testimony in the coming days.