Raising Spiritual Children, from Takers to Teachers.

Here I am teaching VBS a month before my third baby was born. I never would have thought this was possible, after my first. God gives us the growth.

Here I am teaching VBS a month before my third baby was born.
I never would have thought this was possible, after my first baby. God gives us the growth.

The first week after my daughter was born, I was baptized into the fire of motherhood. Life before my Ariel was simpler. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. If I wanted to stay up late watching a movie uninterrupted, I did. If I wanted to play the first Sims game that came out for hours on end, I did. (Anyone remember the people Sims game?) If I wanted to take a nap and/or go on a date with my husband, I did. I was pretty much living for myself, and my husband, who is pretty self-sufficient. So I really had no worries whatsoever, except my part-time job and finishing up my college degree, which, compared to motherhood, was a breeze. After a very traumatic first birth (compared to my following two births…I know this to be true,) I was left in a state of constant survival. I didn’t know how I could meet the needs of this little bundle of joy. In fact, all I could think about was, “How do women decide they want to have more kids after their first?” AND, “How did my mom do this 5 times?” AND “How did my mother-in-law do this 7 times?”

“AND How does ANYONE take care of more than one child while taking care of a newborn baby? I really had no idea.” 

Suddenly, I felt very, very ashamed of the life I lived so selfishly before. I had NO IDEA what moms had been going through since the beginning of Creation, yet I was always the expert on how I would do it, when I had kids. (Nervous laughter ensues.) Oh boy. I must have looked like a complete fool with some of the ways I threw my opinion around and how I KNEW what was best. Now I could barely keep my head above water.

“Drowning here! Someone take the baby.”  “Thanks, Mom!”

Oh yeah. There was my mom, helping me out, even when she had kids at home (I am the oldest of 5). She stayed with me for 2 weeks, cleaning, getting up in the middle of the night with the baby, and cooking. She basically did everything except nurse the baby, while I slept. Yeah. Here I was, again, a guilty taker. But, now that I look back on that, I know that was JUST what she needed to be. A servant that was teaching me what a real mom looks like, while I felt the pain of what a real mom feels like. It was a lesson in reality. The hard cold reality of life that would unfold into my reality of joy.

At 11 years old, playing football teaches my son teamwork, work ethic and responsibility. But, he always knows that God comes before sports.
Nothing makes me more joyful than cheering as this guy runs a touchdown! At 11 years old, playing football teaches my son teamwork, work ethic and responsibility. But, he always knows that God comes before sports.

I realized something with the birth of my second and third children. God makes us SO much stronger than we think. God makes us able to accomplish more. He designed our bodies, minds, souls and spirits for eternity. We have eternal capacity, but we live in a fallen world. Life is the eternal workout. As we go through it, we learn, get stronger and “grow into” our capacity for serving God and our families. It’s really too bad that by the time you really reach a place of wisdom and capacity your body starts to deny you the physical ability to do everything you can mentally and emotionally handle. I guess that’s a good reason to workout and eat healthy, right? But, like a good woman, I digress. God gave me a spiritual parallel today to this motherhood thing, which is very spiritual, indeed.

Hebrews 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

God made us for spiritual growth. When we are born into the kingdom of heaven, we need sufficient time to grow, sit and take, the same way we all do from our parents’ homes. Let me compare this spiritual maturity thing to something tangible. There is an interesting thing about children. When you have a household full of kids 7 and under, you probably feel like you are drowning. BUT, once your kids hit 7, 8 and 9, they are able to do really helpful household chores that, when taught correctly, can take a load off the mother, but also prepare the children for life and responsibility. 5 year olds can collect the little bags of trash out of everyone’s rooms every day and deposit them into the trash can in the kitchen. 6 year olds can unload a tray of clean silverware and fold washcloths and hand towels. They can water and feed animals. My 11 year old unloads the dishwasher 2-3 times a day, can take out the trash, fold a basket of laundry, clean his room, including dusting and vacuuming. My 15 year old runs the house like a tight ship when I am gone, and if properly reimbursed, the kids will be fed, bathed and the house in order when I get home from one of my Pampered Chef shows in the evening. 

Of course, the 6 year old could never do what the 15 year old does.

Picture taken by Ariel Nei Hanging in his footie pjs with hot chocolate and a basketball. The oldest two think he has it easy, but I remind them that they used to be 6, too.
Picture taken by Ariel Nei
Hanging in his footie pjs with video game controller and a basketball. The oldest two think he has it easy, but I remind them that they used to be 6, too.

But, can you imagine what it would be like if the teens in the house got to exist like 6 year olds? It would be madness!

Beautiful first-born child is creative, fun and a hard worker, like her daddy! No longer a taker.
Beautiful first-born child is creative, fun and a hard worker, like her daddy! No longer a taker.

Are we raising our kids to be takers or givers? Spiritually speaking, are we raising takers or givers? How do we take these real life scenarios and apply this in the real life of the church? In the church, what is expected of a new believer? To drink spiritual milk? To confess their faith? To take time to develop their relationship with God in prayer? How about you? How old are you in Christ? What are your responsibilities in the family of God? When someone sits under good Bible study for a while as a new Christian, they should be slowly given responsibilities in the body of Christ. Not everyone should be a teacher, (especially a new Christian, that would be like making the preschooler in charge of the college classroom.) But, there are other responsibilities in the family of God. But, many people who have gone to church their entire lives continue on in pew sitting- the equivalent of all the teens in the house playing video games while mom and dad do absolutely everything. This is not healthy for anyone involved, especially for the one not learning spiritual responsibility.

Teaching teens that work for God is hard, fun, necessary and sometimes dangerous. We had to wear masks 2 weeks after the storm to keep from getting sick from the mold and other hazardous particulates in the air.
Superstorm Sandy Clean up! Teaching teens that work for God is hard, fun, necessary and sometimes dangerous. We had to wear masks 2 weeks after the storm to keep from getting sick from the mold and other hazardous particulates in the air.

Responsibility is not something we always feel like doing and new tasks can seem daunting at times, but just like a new mom or dad, with God’s help and help from your brothers and sisters in Christ who train you, you GROW into your ability and capacity and find that there is more freedom and power! If you have been pew sitting for a while, ask God and the person who is discipling you what a good responsibility would be for you to take on. If you are “past” being discipled by a person…boy, oh boy should you EVER SO MUCH MORE know that you need to be serving God. Are you called to lead a small group or to open your home to a Bible study? Are you called to teach Sunday School or to help with the local homeless ministry? It may be out of your comfort zone, at first, but ALL of God’s children are growing in righteousness IN the family of God. My prayer for you is that you can KNOW that God is faithful and if he planted you in a church home, he wants you to grow up there into a healthy and responsible member of God’s family so his kingdom can continue to grow and so can you!

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4 thoughts on “Raising Spiritual Children, from Takers to Teachers.

  1. God has been laying this very thing on my heart recently. Basically, that we need to look for ways that we can open the door to spiritual growth and servanthood for others, thereby providing them the opportunity. Thank you for saying it so well.

    Here is the scripture that spoke to me this morning:

    “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” – Matthew 24:45 NASB

    Much love,

    Mom

    Liked by 1 person

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