Renewed & Transformed

Intentionality

Today was beyond beautiful, you couldn’t ask for better weather. Summer took a while to get here, but it is finally here in full force. It was one of those days where the temperature was already 20 degrees by 10 am. Our morning went as smooth as can be expected. We had a house showing scheduled for 9:30 this morning, which is exciting news, as it’s been almost 2 weeks since our last showing, but there is always a mad dash to get the house in spick and span order. I had done the majority of the clean the night before, and left only the garbage, vacuuming and washing of floors for the morning. I snuck this all in before the boys got out of bed. We quickly changed, ate breakfast and out the door we went for swimming lessons for my oldest at 9 am.  All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. We all had good attitudes, we had our listening ears on and no mishaps on our way out the door. I would call this a mom win.

So, I’m on day two of no day home and basking in summer vacation mode. It was just so beautiful out when we returned from swimming lessons that I decided we would play outside while my youngest took his much-needed morning nap. My older two boys were playing fairly nicely on the deck under the fort I had made them, while I relaxed in my lounge chair with my latest read Surrender by Nancy Leigh De Moss. All I can say is that I felt an overwhelming sense of peace with being home with just my boys. This is not the first time I’ve experienced the peace that comes from submitting to God. I love the passage in John 14:6, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I rest assure in knowing that no matter my circumstance or situation, I have nothing to fear or worry about because Jesus is my Prince of Peace.

Well, I’m sure this next scene is familiar to most moms. Just as I started into my book, my middle son came meandering down the deck stairs and asked to sit on my lap. Following right behind him was my oldest son. So, there I was on this already quaint chair, now squashed underneath my growing boys. I just love these moments, when they remind me of what is truly important. I can’t get enough of these snuggle times because I know they won’t want to do this forever. I also enjoy it so much because I’ve noticed it’s been a more frequent since there have been no day home children around. They were always so busy with day home children to play with that they never had the time to just sit and snuggle with me.

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So, as I sat there just soaking it all in, my middle son asked to sing songs. He just loves to sing and it brings my heart such joy to hear him singing songs as he walks around the house or outside at the park. The common requests are Jesus Loves Me and I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my Heart, so this is what we started with. We definitely have our favourites and my boys can sing them over and over again, but I do like learning new children Christian songs. I was not raised in Sunday school or Bible camp, so I don’t have any songs memorized from my childhood. They are all ones that I have learned since becoming a Christian and working in the different children’s ministries. I’m always up for learning new ones and changing up our time of praise. I have Spotify on my phone, which is such a great App. It has endless amounts of songs and whole albums available to download. You can search endless themes and it always seems to come up with something. One of my new favourite artists for children’s worship music is The Rizers. The instrumentals are so catchy and modern and each song helps children (and who am I kidding, even adults), to memorize Scripture verses.

I just love this idea of using song to help memorize Scripture. Memorizing scripture with my boys has been on my to-do list all year. I had started with some scripture in the beginning of the year. We did really well up until December, then with travelling home in January to visit family and finishing off home renovations, some things just did not start back up.

As I look ahead to September and scheduling my morning routine for home learning, I know that I will be putting memorizing Scripture back into our routine. I know I often struggle with retaining the verses I have been memorizing, but I have found that by listening to these songs all I have to do is start humming the song and the words just come to me.  Back in April, I was reading a book called The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, which is a compilation of authors but the general editors are Joh Piper and Justin Taylor. One of the compilations was titled Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing? written by Bob Kauflin. In it he writes, “Music has a powerful mnemonic ability that scientists are just beginning to understand. They’re discovering that our minds are hardwired to recognize, categorize, and remember patterns in music better than we remember patterns in words alone” (p. 124).

How true is this? Have you ever been sitting in the car and listening to the radio when all of a sudden, a song from high school comes on and you can sing those lyrics clear as day, yet I can’t remember the memory verse that I have been reading over and over again for the past few days. Music could be the answer all along.

Interestingly enough, Bob Kauflin also points out that God has a passion for singing and it is evident throughout the book of Psalms.  Psalms 96:1-2 says, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” And Psalm 47:6 says, “Sing praises to God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”. Kauflin writes, “In just four verses we’re commanded to sing seven times. All told, the Bible contains over four hundred references to singing and fifty direct commands to sing. The longest book of the Bible, the Psalms, is a book of songs. And in the New Testament we’re commanded not once, but twice, to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another when we meet (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)” (p. 122). There is just something so incredibly powerful about singing praise to God. He seems so much nearer to me when I’m worshipping Him through song.  This is the kind of intimate relationship I want my children to have with God. So, my thought is how can I foster this relationship from early on?

I was watching a Bible Study on Right Now Media titled, “Raising Kids with a Faith that Lasts,” by Tim Kimmel. The first video was “Where Does Faith Begin,” by Mark Holmen. In it he spoke so highly about the importance of the home in raising godly children. He quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.” This scripture weighs heavy on my heart. God is letting me know that it is my responsibility to train up my children to know and love the Lord. I need to intentionally model and display my acknowledgment and love for the Lord daily to my children. In the video, Mark Holmen mentioned that children love what their parents love. If a parent loves a specific sports team, often times the child love the same sports team. If a parent loves eating a specific type of food, often the child loves to eat that food too. Our children mimic us in so many ways. We need to be so conscious of this and use this to our advantage. There is nothing more that I want in life then for my children to grow up and love the Lord with all their hearts. So how can I build in them a solid foundation on Jesus? Well, I can build my life on the solid foundation of Jesus. I can model an intimate relationship with Jesus on a daily basis by praying, reading my Bible, singing, fellowshipping with other believers, serving and talking about Jesus in all we do. This requires intentionality on my part, otherwise, it simply does not happen.  

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Now-a-days, there is so much concern around socializing our children. Parents fear that their children will be the odd duck if they are not socialized with other children their age, but we so often neglect socializing our children with Jesus. Many say that it is important to start socializing our children when they are young, that socialization teaches valuable skills that children use throughout life and a child who is not socialized with other children often times struggles within peer relationships. So how can we apply this to socializing our children with Jesus?

First, we must start when our children are young. They are never too young to start hearing about Jesus and seeing how Jesus takes center stage in the family. Second, we equip our children with skills they will rely on throughout life, especially when life gets hard or complicated or stressful. If our children know to turn to God’s Word or prayer or seek council from Christian friends during these times, then they will more likely turn to Jesus rather than shy away. Lastly, if our children do not see Jesus in our homes, then they will most likely not form an intimate relationship with Him. I read an article that showed that with age comes a less likelihood of coming to know Christ. Jesus calls the little children to Him for a reason. They have a faith unlike our own- one not shaken by our circumstances or expectations.  Therefore, we need to take intentional steps towards socializing our children daily with Jesus. Many of my favourite moments with my children is when our prayer time takes a curve ball and leads into a rich discussion of Jesus dying on the cross for us, the greatness of heaven, and the love Jesus has for us. This is what is truly important and I’m so thankful that my children point this out to me. Sometimes, I get too caught up in my own relationship that I forget to invite my children in. They give me the nudge I need to take intentional steps to daily foster an intimate relationship between them and Jesus.

Many Blessings!

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