1. For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc.) that you believe God can use for his purposes.
Shrade's traits (as of age 2)- helpfulness, praise and worship, attention to detail, loving, joyful, polite, friendly.
2. Referring to your lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don't forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God's kingdom.
Dear Shrade, I know you are young, but I can already see things that God has given you that I hope will become stronger as you grow older. You have a very joyful and loving attitude. You are very friendly and say hi to everyone you meet. You accept people and everyone enjoys being around you. You are also very helpful and you have very good manners like saying please and thank you. You are very concerned about details and you always see things that we don't catch. Best of all, I love that you sing praise and worship songs to God. I pray that your heart will be drawn more and more to him.
3. Read Matthew 6:33. This passage is clear about what our priorities should be, but priorities easily become skewed in the course of daily life. Consider the way you spend your time and money. What does this say to your children about what is most important to you and is this the message you want to send? In light of this verse, should a mother's children be her first priority?
I admit that I'm a pretty selfish person and I don't daily take the time to make God or my children a top priority. Recently I've changed my morning schedule. I used to spend a lot of time on the computer, but now I'm trying to get things done before my son gets up (my shower!). I'm finding it hard to juggle an infant and toddler. But as I daily seek God I am changing my schedule more to reflect my priorities. I think in seeking God's kingdom and righteousness, my children are my first priority during the day.
4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 19:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the work of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder--and point out God's wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, "Come, look!" at least once a day.
Every time I think of Mt. Rainier I feel the power and magnificence of God. One time I was coming home from college (TN) on an evening flight. I was sad not to be able to see the mountain. I really missed it. But circumstances on the flight changed and I ended up having to stay overnight in San Francisco. The next morning as I flew home I got to see all of God's beautiful mountains and lakes. God had answered my prayer and I will never forget that flight where I could see his creation. Right now I'm looking for those opportunities to expose my children to God's majesty in nature. Also, I married a nature lover and he's taught me many things about appreciating the little things God has made. I've learned so much about plants and animals. I try to share these with my son too!
5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? (What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find hard to care about?) What might help you overcome these attitudes?
I think I fear criminals in our society. I think it is a healthy fear for the safety of myself and family. Other than that, I have learned to reach out and give to people regardless of who they are by watching the example of my generous and friendly husband.