Special Guest Blog
A few weeks back I mentioned that I was going to a young mother's Bible Study. It has been going very well. I can see God's hand at work in this situation already :o)
A gal named Jane asked (in my blog comments section) if I would post my talk. Well, I didn't give a talk. But my sister Janet has shared with me a talk she gave at church about being a Titus 2 woman and the role of a mother. Janet said I could post it. Enjoy her gentleness and wisdom.
Titus 2:3-5 "The older women likewise, that they be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things- that they admonish the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
What does it mean in Titus when it says to love their children? Does it mean a natural love? Does it mean we give them things they want? That we provide for their needs? Loving children does not only involve the natural feeling of your heart, it involves teaching, caring, nurturing and disciplining. Sometimes it seems natural and easy, and some days are just plain HARD WORK!
I would like to focus on six important ways we can love our children.
1. TEACH THEM ABOUT GOD. Duet. 6:6-8. "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart: and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." These verses are commands of the Lord. They are not suggestions. We are to be teaching our children all the time. It is not the churches responsibility and it is not the schools responsibility to teach our children.
There will be times of formal teaching, like during family devotions. You should teach them to read the scriptures, teach them about sin and its consequences, tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work for our salvation and tell them of the work of the Holy Spirit. But like Duet. says we should be teaching them continually. I will take time to talk to them while we are driving in the car or if we see a disobedient child in the grocery store I will teach to that and praise their behavior. Bedtime is a special time and very often our children will open up to Dave or I and it will be a great time of teaching right before they fall off to sleep.
J. C. Ryle, in his book, The Duties of Parents, says, "we are to think of their souls often. This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind." What could be more important than the soul of your child? The time is short! A parent who loves his children will train them for heaven.
2. TEACH THEM TO PRAY. Loving our children means teaching Godly behaviors and habits. Prayer can be taught extremely early. Our one-year-old can fold her hands and say "men". She is learning at an early age that prayer is important to our family and we are to give thanks for all things. Ryle says, "prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God. It is within reach of all, all can pray. Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies in your power to trains them up in the habit of prayer." Show them how to begin and tell them what to say.
3. PRAY FOR THEM. Elizabeth George in her book, A Women's High Calling, puts it simply "love prays". Are you, am I, a praying mother? Monica was a praying mother. One of her children was Augustine, St. Augustine, a wayward son who became a man of fiery temper and immoral habits. He spurned the Christian teachings of his mother, choosing to move deeply into sin. Nevertheless, Augustine's saintly mother patiently persevered in prayer for her debauched son. Augustine even left his mother behind and went to Rome without her. Her persistent prayers were answered when at 33 years old Augustine trusted Christ. Monica prayed for 33 years. Would you pray for 33 years if your child were wayward, cruel, demeaning and corrupt? Remember, love prays.
4. TRAIN THEM UNTO OBEDIENCE. Ryle says "train them in the way they should go and not in the way they would." Our children, yes our precious babies, are born depraved. Proverbs 22:15 "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" We must train our children to obey what the scriptures teach; to obey God and to obey your Father and Mother. Ryle continues "Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may cost you much trouble, and cost you many tears. Let there be no questioning and reasoning, and disputing and delaying, and answering again. When you give them a command, let them see plainly that you will have it done. Cheerfully, willingly and at once".
The training must start very early and it must be consistent and firm. Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it". Our ultimate goal in training our children is for them to develop the inner discipline that allows them to do what is right when no one it watching, Eph. 6:6 "doing the will of God from their hearts" and glorifying God with their lives.
5. BE A GODLY EXAMPLE OF LOVE. All of the instruction thus far will not mean much unless it is backed up with our Godly actions. Our children watch us closely and they are always smarter than you think. Ryle states "Imitation is a far stronger principle with children than memory. What they see has a much stronger affect on their minds than what they are told." Obviously they must be told but they must also see it lived out in the lives of their parents. Be an example of the fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
We must show them how to forgive others by forgiving them when necessary and we must teach them about confession of sin by confessing our sin to God and them when we sin against them. Work hard at these things and ask God to help you be a Godly example to your children. With God's grace they will see God in your life and desire His holy ways.
6. BE TENDER, AFFECTIONATE AND PATIENT. Psalm 127:3-5. "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate."
Children truly are blessings, so sweet, so dear to us. Let your children see that you only want what's best for them. That you do all things, even discipline them because you love them.
Enjoy you children. I get a lot of advice when I am out, and most of it is bad, however the advice I hear often from older ladies is to enjoy your children now because before you know it they'll be gone, it goes so quickly. I am thankful for that advice and I do heed it.
Play with your children, hug them, be silly with them, and talk to them. Get to know how each child needs to be loved. Each child's love needs will be slightly different. One child may like hugs; another may like little gifts, yet another appreciates notes of love and encouragement. Study your children, figure out how to love each one and work hard to do those special things.
Just as it is written in Titus, older women are to teach the younger women to love their children. I hope I have given you biblical and practical ways you can love your children. Remember you are older than someone, whether it is a sister, a neighbor, or perhaps a new believer. Please encourage them to love their children. And remember our ultimate goal in loving our children should be to honor the word of God.
-Janet Walworth is the devoted wife of Dave, and loving mother of FIVE darling, bright, busy children, all 11 and under. She loves the Lord and enjoys serving Him.
Don't you think she needs her own blog :o)
Thank you, Janet, for letting me share your wise words with the blog-sistahs.
Encourage one another,
Janet and her big sister Donna