Dear Younger Kim (#6), Grace and More Grace

 nick-and-emily-on-tractor-summer-2000This series is in response to the question:

So if you met yourself when your kids were as young as mine (4 and 1), what would you tell her?

If you haven’t read Part One in this series, click here.

Dear Kim,

Take a minute and read this passage out loud.  Savor it.  I hope this one puts a smile on your face and the joy of the Lord in your heart.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10

I want so much for you to be walking daily with Jesus, that I’m afraid I’m pushing you too hard.  And when things are hard, you’re be tempted to do it in your own strength.  And the thing is, Kim, it is too hard for you to do it in your own strength.  You’ll only be able to walk this narrow road of faith as you trust in Him and believe in the mercy of God who loves you and gave His own Son for you.

Remind yourself daily that you were saved by grace, through faith, and that none of this is your own doing.  It is not the result of works.  You can’t earn God’s favor.  You will never deserve His love.

It’s the other way around, Kim.  While you were dead in all your sins, while you were a child of wrath, while you were the chief of sinners, God demonstrated His love for us, the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us, sending His own Son, to die for us that we could be forgiven.  Wow!  This is the good news of the gospel.

It’s so easy to get this mixed up.

Remember that God created you.  Not the other way around.  You are HIS workmanship.  He created you in Jesus for good works, not because of them.  As Paul wrote to Timothy, God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” (2 Timothy 1:9 ESV)

Before the ages began, Kim.  Before you’d taken one single breath.  Before you’d had the opportunity to do even one good deed, He saved you and called you.  Because of His own purpose and grace.

Now, walk in that grace, by that grace.  Give that grace to others.  Pour out on others the grace and love that has been poured out on you.   Trust Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  He’s got the whole world (that includes you) in His hands.

By His grace,

TWIG

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Dear Younger Kim (#5), Discipline Yourself

bill-and-i-with-emily-and-nick-christmas-1999This series is in response to the question:

So if you met yourself when your kids were as young as mine (4 and 1), what would you tell her?

If you haven’t read Part One in this series, click here.

Dear Kim,

This is going to be another tough one.  Not so much a tough one to hear, but a tough one to follow.

Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7b-8 NASB)

You’re reading the books and listening to the speakers about how to discipline your kiddos, but how about how to discipline YOU?  And not just disciplining yourself to wake up early to go to the gym, or disciplining yourself not to eat that third cookie of the day, but disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness.

OK. I hear you, older Kim, but what does that look like?

There are two places I want you to focus: (1) be diligent to study His Word and to pray faithfully each and every day and (2) keep a watch over your mouth.  I’ll save that second one for my next post, so for today, let’s look at how to be faithful in your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Kim, I know that you’re worn out, that you don’t want me to add one more thing to your “to do” list.  But, Kim, it’s just not like that.  This is going to be time that fills you up, that gives you more energy.  It will give you the direction that you need, so you can spend the time you have investing in worthwhile pursuits.

Check out Terri Maxwell’s book “Sweet Journey” and go through it with a friend or a sister, or by yourself if you can’t find anyone and make a daily commitment to start your day with Jesus.  She’ll help you get started in how to spend time with the Lord every day.

It will be good for your children to be trained to wait for Mommy while you read and pray.  It will be time well spent.  Trust me.  Go to bed a little earlier and get up a little earlier.  Just like your children will be trained a little bit at a time, so will you, and you need to start now.  Don’t wait until they’re older to invest in your own time with the Lord.  Trust me.  (Why do I keep saying that?  I think it’s because I know how prideful I am and what a hard time I have taking direction from someone else.  Ouch.)

After you finish Mrs. Maxwell’s book, join a Bible study.  A real one.  Find a Precepts study (one day I know you’ll love them) or look up Community Bible Study.  Don’t be afraid.  I know some of those other ladies know more than you do, but you know what: That’s good!  You can learn from them.  Be transparent with them and tell them your needs.  Do the best you can on the homework and just keep going.

No one becomes an Olympic athlete over night and no one expects you to know the full counsel of God in a day, but you’ve got to start somewhere.  So, put aside your pride and all those time wasters and begin today to have a consistent time with your Savior, Redeemer, Father and Friend.  Trust me.  You won’t regret it.

TWIG

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Dear Younger Kim (#4), Number your Days

emily-and-nick-may-2000-on-counter-leaving-little-brennanThis series is in response to the question:

So if you met yourself when your kids were as young as mine (4 and 1), what would you tell her?

If you haven’t read Part One in this series, click here.

Dear Kim,

I know you’re coming to me looking for any nuggets of wisdom that I might be able to share with you, so here’s the next one.  It comes from Psalm 90:12.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Your days are numbered by the very God who created you.  You cannot add to them.  You cannot subtract from them.  You do not know what tomorrow holds, but He does.

So, enjoy this moment.  Enjoy these moments.

Spend time with your children, Kim.  Make memories with them.  Smile.  Laugh.  Recognize that these days when they are young truly are fleeting.

Pour into them.  Disciple them.  Read with them.  Pray with them.

Don’t be jealous of those other moms whose kids are older or whose kids are in day care or school.  Don’t be jealous of your husband for the time he gets to get out of the house.  Be grateful for the influence you’re able to have over your children’s lives.

Teach them what you want them to learn, even a little bit at a time.  You didn’t get where you are today overnight, don’t expect them to.  Remember, they’re children.

Don’t wait until they’re older to start training them.  You’ll be amazed at their capacity to learn – not necessarily to learn to read or multiply, but to learn.  They’re learning from you every single day.

They’re learning to be patient.  To be kind.  To listen.  To think of others more highly than themselves.  To have self-control.  To value God’s Word and prayer.

They’re also learning to be impatient.  To respond in anger.  To pretend not to hear when you’re talking to them.  To be selfish.  To be foolish.  To value man’s wisdom.

What kind of model do you want to be for them?

Beware of the amount of time you’re spending on social media, on making chore charts, on researching just the right Christmas gift on Amazon and just the right curriculum at Rainbow Resource.  Consider spending that time in prayer and with some godly older women.   That is where you will find the real wisdom and refreshment that you’re seeking.

Number your days and enjoy every single one of them.  Fill them with the fruit of the Spirit who lives in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I’m praying for you.

TWIG