Is your Life Self-centered, Child-centered, Husband-centered, or God-centered???

This past week, I have been studying Matthew 23 along with the other ladies in my Community Bible Study group. In this passage, Jesus pronounces upon the religious leaders of His day (the scribes and Pharisees) a series of seven woes. Six times Jesus calls these self-righteous men, “hypocrites.” Rather than leading the Israelites to pursue God with pure hearts, these religious leaders had hearts full of greed and self-indulgence, performing law-keeping deeds in order to be seen by others. Ultimately, their lives were SELF-centered, despite any external appearance of GOD-centeredness.

This Tuesday, I was listening to my favorite podcast, “Family Life Today.” In this episode, Dennis Rainey was sharing some words of wisdom with the new “Family Life Today” hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson. Mr. Rainey was explaining how easily most moms can be drawn into a CHILD-centered life, where their “family solar system revolve[s] around the kids.” Such truth in just 7 words.

My mind immediately began drawing a picture of a solar system with my children taking the place of the sun, and my husband and me revolving around them like Earth and Mars.

Mr. Rainey and his wife, Barbara, then shared about the importance of keeping the marriage relationship strong, so that the marriage is prepared to outlast the children. If our world is revolving around our kids, what’s going to happen when they grow up and move out?!

I’m afraid that in an effort to not be child-centered, some marriages, then become husband-centered, where the whole family revolves around making dad happy. Rather than the wife pleasing her husband as an outflow of her allegiance to God, pleasing her husband becomes the very center and focus of her life. This, too, is a messed-up solar system.

In my mind I had a new vision of a solar system. This solar system had my husband and I spinning together, arm-in-arm, while God remained the ever-present enormous shining sun whose gravity held us both. In this solar system, both of our lives revolved around Him, not our kids, and not each other.

Like the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” I began asking myself, “Kim, what is the chief end of your life? What does your life revolve around? What is that gravitational force that holds your life in order? Who is in the center of your life’s solar system?”

Is my primary goal to “glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”?

Yes. Yes, it is.

TWIG

Love more than sacrifice

There are too numerous things to count that I’ve learned about God specifically through being a mom. One of the most breathtaking is the idea that God desires love more than sacrifice, and the knowledge of Him more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).

 

I have trained my children to obey me. Ever since they could speak (or in my youngest son Daniel’s case, before they could speak), I have taught obedience as rule #1 in the Endraske house. The first Bible verse my kids learned was “Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right, Ephesians 6:1.” I taught them to obey promptly and fully, without complaining, arguing or questioning. (I’m not saying they did this … I’m merely saying this is what I taught them.)

Now that  my two oldest are young adults, I’m finding myself in a trap here. If I ask them to run an errand for me, or do a chore around  the house, or even say have lunch with me …. I don’t want them to do this out of a sense of obedience and/or sacrifice. I want them to WANT to. I want my kids to WANT to help, to serve, to give, and I especially want them to want to be with me, to love spending time with me, to value my relationship. And I fear that in all my drilling and discipline on obedience, they missed having the opportunity to choose to demonstrate their “just because” love for me, because it was all about doing as they were told. 

So, when I was recently asked by an unbeliever why God would create mankind when He knew that some would reject Him and suffer the eternal consequences of that choice, it reminded me of my life as a mom, and how I want my kids to want me.

When my kids were younger and they’d pester me to buy them something, or take them somewhere, I’d try to explain to them how they were stealing my joy of giving them a gift, that I wanted to give to them freely, and not under compulsion, being nagged and cajoled into giving them something.

I wonder if God ever feels like that. He loves us, with His incredible love. He demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, He sent Christ to die for us.  (Romans 5:8)  He does this as a free gift by His Grace through faith and even gifts us that faith in the first place, that none of us can boast or tell Him that He’s “got to give it to us” because it’s our wages due. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5)  Because, in fact, our due wages is death (Romans 6:23).

God Himself is a cheerful giver, a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). If He forced us to love Him, if there were no alternative BUT to love Him, I wonder if that would limit the joy that He receives from our grateful hearts full of thanksgiving to Him for the blessed gift of faith and love.

To the only Worthy One, my Savior and Redeemer and Friend.

TWIG

Boredom Busters – part 2

Lest you think that I only assign my children chores when things are a little slow over the summer, let me share a few of my other ideas.

I am incredibly thankful for the blessing it is to home school, but I do look forward to a summer break!  Our goal is to work on schoolwork from August 1 – May 1, but this doesn’t always work exactly.

When the majority of our schoolwork finishes up, I sit down with the kids to help each of them write up a list of about 10 summer goals.  (I admit this is the first summer in many years that my adult children have not done this with me!)

These goals include family activities (like going swimming or to a movie), as well as getting together with friends and projects (like cleaning out a closet or painting a picture).   Each week I try to make time to accomplish at least one of each of the kids’ goals for the summer.

During the school year, I keep my own list of goals for the summer dated in May on my Google calendar.  Then, when summer comes I can start working on them.  These goals range from house upkeep and cleaning projects to writing projects to field trips to homeschooling prep to lots of catching up with friends that I’m unable to do during the school year.

In the summer, we continue our daily Bible study as well as math and book reading, plus plenty of outdoor play.  But the kids are still frequently at a loss for what to do when I’m busy on one of my many projects.

So, this year, I’m trying a terrific idea a friend posted on Facebook.  The kids and I each wrote several activities on popsicle sticks and marked them with a time (like 30 minutes or 60 minutes or 2 hours) .  That way when we had a little time or a lot of time, we could pick one out.  This has worked well so far!  Thank you, Suzanne!

What do you do in the summer???

TWIG

 

 

These are a Few of my Favorite Things – Part 5 – Games and Websites

GAMES

  • If we’ve kept pretty close to our schedule, we’ll play a game after lunch.
  • Each of our four children and I have our own “day” where get to pick things like the board game or what we eat for lunch or who opens with prayer, etc.

Cards

  • Uno
  • Sleeping Queens
  • Ruckus
  • Sushi Go
  • Five Crowns

Word Games

  • Apples to Apples Junior
  • Blurt
  • Balderdash

Strategy Games

  • Risk
  • Catan
  • Ticket to Ride

Other

  • Hedbanz
  • Whoonu
  • Clue
  • Dominos
  • “Farkle”

WEBSITES

www.RainbowResource.com

  • Best prices on homeschooling supplies. Free shipping at $50.  They have everything.  Great place to look for educational gifts.

www.GraceandTruthBooks.com

  • Good prices on books.
  • More selective than Rainbow Res./Amazon – they only carry what they like.

www.BlueLetterBible.com

  • My favorite Bible website AND “app”
  • Great for looking up cross-references and original language def’ns
  • Great for printing off verses or chapters for inductive study or memorizing
  • Consider printing off a chapter or book of the Bible and have your young reader read along with an audio Bible of the same translation.

And my personal website: TeachWhatIsGood.com