I've been really asking God to grant us wisdom and prepare us for this 18+ year JOURNEY!!!!
I've been reading an incredible book recently....
In this book, I wanted to jot down notes about Amy's parents to see how they raised her. I ultimately know that it's the work of the SPIRIT that will move Evelyn's heart to trust in the Lord and live out her faith, but I want to encourage her and disciple her as much as I possibly can. I want Evelyn to have a faith that moves mountains. I so long to see Evelyn living out God's will for her life.
My sister-in-law texted me, after I was telling her about Amy Carmichael, "Josh and I talk about (Amy Carmichael) all the time and we think about how we want our girls to have those same hearts and desires. Then we think about the way we are living now in America and we think... are we making it easier or harder on them to choose the right path??"
My SIL always has a way to convict me and put my mind on the eternal not the earthly things. She is so right... so I got to thinking about Amy's parents. Amy grew up in Ireland in one of the biggest homes on her street. She had servants and beautiful toys. I think, okay, that is most of us in America. But Amy's mother had such a huge heart that inspired and influenced Amy in a way I can only pray I have on Evelyn.
Amy's mom sent her as a very young girl to deliver soup to the poor. She was forced to leave her big house and comfort zone to feed the poor. Right then, at a young age, she was exposed to the neediness of others and was already giving resources and time to them at a very young age.
Growing up it was described as a "no-nonsense" principles of child-rearing AKA they disciplined their seven children. The children KNEW what was expected of them. The book describes the parents as very well trusted by their children and if they children disobeyed there were always consequences. The consequences were:
- Time Out
- Grounded from outside play
- slapped (spanked)
- Hit with a ruler (type object) on the hand
- and the most severe--Gregory Powder. It explains the powder as something you mixed in your drink. I think it just tasted awful because the kids HATED it. I googled it and it said it was a laxative... OH BROTHER! hahahaha. I can't imagine being punished that way!
After punishment, the kids were to say "Thank you", and not fuss. After punishment, they were sent to their rooms to meditate on their sins.
-side note: how many times, as adult christians, do we meditate on our sins and cry out for repentance?? We should daily!
So every night, all seven kids, were called to a daily family prayer time. There would be prayer and then the father would read scripture to the family. Andrew and I are so passionate about having "Family Worship" every night as a family and this just proves how affective it can be!!
Amy remembered the scripture her dad read aloud. "Her ear was trained in this way from those earliest years when a child's power of memorization of hearing are nearly miraculous." Isn't that so true though? I still remember children's songs that I listened to in the car. So that just proves how important it is to READ scripture to your little ones every night.
The scriptures read to her, by her father every night, shaped her thinking. LORD, I PRAY THE SCRIPTURES WE READ TO EVELYN STARTS TO SHAP THE WAY SHE THINKS.
It describes her MOTHER sharing the gospel to her. Amy's mother also taught her to pray. Her mom taught her that God was a hearer and an answerer of prayer. When Amy was THREE (yes, 3!), she prayed she would wake up with blue eyes. When the next morning came and she didn't have blue eyes, she was sad. But then she realized (keep in mind, she's THREE), that sometimes NO might be God's answer. Prayer is not magic. Like her earthly father who loved her, her heavenly father might also say no.
When Amy was eight she was caught in a current with her brother. He panicked and asked her to sing a song. The only thing that came her mind (at the age of EIGHT) was:
He leadeth me O blessed thought,
O words with heavenly comfort fraught,
whate'er I do, Where'er I be,
Still 'tis God hand that leadeth me
I used to teach 8 year olds, and I didn't know ANY that would sing that song in a time of panic. Lord, may Evelyn sing your truths at a young age. May you be the first that enters her mind in a time of need.
All of Amy's life she had KNOWN of Jesus' love. Her mother often told her of it and sung to her about it. But the book explains that she fully understood the gospel at the age of 15. She says, "In HIS great Mercy the Good Shepherd answered the prayers of my mother and father and many other loved ones, and DREW me, EVEN ME, into His fold."
She got it. At the age of fifteen, she understood what it took to be a disciple. I don't think I fully understood until I was in college.
Amy would look through her moms bible and find writing and scriptures underlined that encouraged her. She learned a lot from her mother. LIKE, CAN I BE ANY MORE MOVED??? I don't think so. Can I just pray i am HALF the mother that Amy's was to her?? Talk about impact. I want to be used by the Lord the same way Amy's mom was used to foster the discipleship in Amy.
I guess I should have warned you this was going to be a long post. And this is more for my sake. I can look back and read this on a stressful parenting day :)
Andrew and I also have the privilege to go to church with Dr. Stinson and his wife, Dana. They have nine kids, one serving in Haiti as a missionary no, they all serve Jesus with their whole heart. Dr. Stinson has a big role at Southern Baptist Seminary. Anyways, they do seminars and workshops on parenting all the time. They did one at our church not too long ago called "Bringing Church Home."
They talked a lot about how American families are relying too heavily on youth group to teach their children about the Lord, but really, that's the parents role. The church supports the parents, but is never the primary source. The parents are to train the children and teach the children about discipleship.
They also talked about turning everything into a conversation about the Lord. Every time you eat/drink, it reminds us of our dependance on God. "He is the bread of life." Every time we sleep, we are reminded that He never sleeps or slumbers.
Quantity time always turns into quality time. He shared that the more time you spend with your kids the more they will open up and a relationship will blossom. Always spend time with your kids. Always.
Show them an authentic relationship with Christ.
- Do your kids whine? Well, do they see you whining?
- Do you kids complain? Do they see you complain?
Teach them who God is!
Speak words of encouragement into your kids
- "I saw you help your sister do her homework, that shows me that the Lord is really working in your and creating a servants heart"
Confront them with sin and heart issues. But be aware of the own log in your eye as a parent!
Have consistent discipline. Show them the standard of the gospel. Have your kids BEG Christ to work in their life and to show them their sin.
Get acquainted with the heart of your child.
Parenting is less of me and more of pointing them to the GOSPEL.
I could write so much more, and maybe I will later, but sleep is calling my name :)
Goodnight friends. Pray for us as we parent Evelyn!!! It's such a joy!!