So much parenting wisdom is tucked into this week's podcast. Click here to listen: Episode 27, "Relationship Killers, Maintaining Influence, and Mom, Are You OUT OF ORDER?" First on this week's podcast, Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM, reminds moms that INFLUENCE in our child's heart is a PRIVILEGE and thus we must delicately guard it from relationship killers. Then Val looks at the first half of the key elements of learning to live a lifestyle of Feasting with the Father - by helping moms to not get "the cart before the horse." We moms have a tendency to push our kids to a relationship with God when our own relationship with Him is suffering. We must love Him first and then draw the hearts of our children to Him.
Thoughts from Val to Intentional Moms, regarding this week's podcast... *Influence is a privilege We want to continually have a mindset of maintaining the right to influence our child’s heart if we want to continue to have that privilege in their lives on a long-term basis. Don’t waste this privilege. Don’t squander it. Be careful to not allow walls to build up in relationship between parent and child. There are many ways we can lose influence because we allowed relationship killers to infiltrate. Watch out for these relationship killers! They come in as disrespectful attitudes. They sneak in through selfish actions. Parents are often as guilty as children in having disrespectful attitudes and selfish actions. Beware of these sabotages to our family relationships!
*Mom, are you out of order? What do kids need most from their mom? They need a mom who is Living a Lifestyle Feasting with the Father in the midst of our worries, fears, celebrations, hopes, decisions... In fact, our children need to see us living close to God through all of these life circumstances. In Matt 22:37, Jesus sums up the entire law of God into two essential commands, "The First and greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then secondly, love your neighbor as yourself." As moms we have a tendency to get those two OUT OF ORDER by thinking that loving on our kids and pushing them to God’s banquet table is more important than us personally loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We need to love God FIRST, then draw the hearts of our children toward Him, instead of pushing them from behind. Pushing them is ineffective. I want God’s kingdom to come in my family’s life, and I need to do that God's way, not mine. His way is for me to personally love Him with all of me, then love my family to Him. I'm tempted to think that it is a more valuable use of my time to talk to my kids about their relationship with God, helping them memorize scripture, and having discussions about God's perspective on issues. These activities are incredibly important and critical to my family's spiritual health and my children's spiritual health. However, if I am not making it an even higher priority for me personally to be having a daily, growing relationship with God first, then I am getting God's commands out of order. And that is much less effective and in some cases even counterproductive. Don't under-value your personal relationship with God.
As busy moms we can spend time with Him even with the kids right there in the room. Today I was on my treadmill, praying with my eyes open, perfectly capable of keeping an eye on the kids while also praying to my Lord, giving Him my cares, making my requests known to Him, and praising Him for His love and faithfulness. Some of the time, I was praying silently, and part of the time I was doing this out loud. The important thing is that I was doing it - however I could fit it in. My time with God doesn't have to look a certain way, sound a certain way, or take place alone, since "alone" is something moms rarely get. On my website, www.PracticallySpeakingMOM.com, I put all of my posts about moms' personal relationship with God in the "room" called "Front Porch" (my website is divided into the "Six Rooms of the Intentional Mom's Home").
I chose the Front Porch to represent a mom's walk with God because I have found my front porch to be a great "God-Time" spot for me - to sit on the front porch, enjoying nature, appreciating my Savior and His creation, and lingering in fellowship between just Him and me, even if the kids are playing in the yard or playing in the house or sitting next to me on the porch swing. (I also include a few other things in the Front Porch "room" of my website. Friendships and self-care also are part of the front porch, because my porch is the first place my guests are greeted with a welcoming atmosphere and also because my rare and precious time alone on the front porch is healing to my mental health as well, something every mama needs to monitor in herself). Another way I can put God first in my life is by being Kingdom minded, reflecting on some questions, such as “How can I help His Kingdom to happen in our family?" "How can I encourage an atmosphere of heaven on earth, a safe haven for my family, a place of peace and love and joy in my home?" And, "How can I be living out the fulfillment of who God created me to be as a mom?" The answer to all of these questions is to keep these two commandments in order – loving God first and drawing the hearts of my children to Him second. Both are incredibly important, but I must be careful to not get it out of order.
One day this past week, I was spending some time doing this- lingering at God's "banquet table" that He has prepared for me in the midst of my circumstances - I was prayerfully bringing ALL OF ME to Him and placing everything in my life in His capable and loving hands. My prayer went something like this, "God, I am bringing you messed-up-me. You know all of my short-comings, all the ways I've been feeling like a failure in all kinds of self-discipline and love issues. I feel that my mistakes and imperfections are so big and I have so far to go in my character development."
Do you know what I felt God's gentle, loving voice tell me? He spoke to my heart, "My child, you are focusing on the wrong thing. I have told you to seek first My Kingdom and to love Me with all your heart. Rely on ME to transform you. That's my job, not yours. Your job is to seek Me with your whole heart. I'll take care of the rest. I'll be glorified through the refining process of your character development. Stop focusing on your short-comings, mistakes, and imperfections. Focus on Me and seeking to see My Kingdom to come in your heart and in your family." Click here to Listen to listen to the podcast that corresponds to this blog post.
CONNECT with Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM: www.PracticallySpeakingMOM.com Public announcements & Resources Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PracticallySpeakingMom/ Val's Private Group: Intentional Mom, Strong Family Instagram:@PracticallySpeakingMOM