Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Mother's Heart Cry for Her Children, and God's Answer

This blog has turned out to be such a source for making precious friends across the miles, that I am ever astounded by how dearly I have come to love so many people whom I've never laid eyes on.

If you're reading this, and have wanted to "meet", I invite you to send me an email at the address listed in the sidebar. I'd love to know you, and know how I can be praying for you.

Shelly, a Precept leader in South Carolina whom I mentioned in this post, is one of the precious friends I'm referring to. She's become like a sister to me, and we talk weekly. I love to hear her pray, for when she does, the Word of God pours off of her lips as one who truly knows the Lord, because she has disciplined herself to study His Word, and therefore knows His heart.

Shelly is a woman who is deeply in love with the Lord. Her desire is to be the best mom she can be, yet she has a redheaded 4 year old little boy, Ben, who likes to really test her!

She also has Sam who is 6...not a redhead. :)

She called me shortly after having written the 1st prayer journal entry, which you'll see below, and was at her wit's end with Ben. Haven't we all been there!

It was during that conversation that I challenged her to the call of leading her boys through studying the Bible inductively. I shared my heart with her, which is that we as parents cannot expect our kids to learn all they need to know about the Lord, just by putting them in Sunday School and Wednesday night classes at church.

What if we were to disciple our children at home, and then trust that what they get at church would be the icing on the cake? The cake that we had been faithful to bake at home!

I fully believe that we will stand before the Throne one day and will answer to God for what we did (and did not do) with His command to us to teach the Word to our children!

That very night, Shelly answered the call, even though neither of her boys are fluent readers. She started teaching them by using one of the Discover 4 Yourself books by Precept Ministries, "Wrong Way Jonah!"

The common misconception that I hear is this...people think they can't use the D4Y books because their kids aren't readers.

Please hear me on this...each of the D4Y books is written as a story within a story. There are a few leading characters, Max and Molly, and with each of the studies, they are learning a new career... they become archaeologists, comic book writers, advice columnists, superheroes, etc, and all the while they (and your kids) are learning to observe, interpret, and apply God's Word!

So, even if the children in your life are not reading yet, you can still use these books!

You'd just need to read the story aloud, and then verbally walk them through how to use the 5Ws and an H to reason through the Scriptures listed. It's all laid out for you in the book, so it's very easy for the teacher.

You will be QUICKLY BLOWN AWAY by how much very young kids can learn about the Word of God, if you'll just take the time to go though a Discover 4 Yourself book with them. And, they'll LOVE it!

OK, back to Shelly....

She was gracious enough to share the entries from her prayer journal, chronicling her journey with her son Ben's behavior, and how being willing to seek counsel, apply some new ideas, and spend daily time teaching he and Sam how to reason through the Word of God, has helped her whole family.

Her hope is that you will be encouraged, edified, and exhorted to begin leading your own children, or those in your church, through inductive Bible study, too!

Here's what she wrote in her prayer journal...

Saturday, May 9, 2009 (the before entry)

Dear Almighty and Most Holy Lord,

My heart is so heavy today! My load and burden seems too difficult to carry.

Immediately I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that “sheep” are not burden bearing animals.

That’s what you call and refer to Your people as…one of Your sheep and You Jesus are the Great Shepherd.

I have come to lay my burden on You.

I am so glad that I can pour out my heart like water before You and You welcome it.

How wonderful! How grateful I am!

So, here goes…

I need Your help with Ben! His screaming is driving me crazy. I beg of You to make him stop!

Teach me how to teach him to control his temper and anger. Teach me how to control mine as well. You have helped me with this already but I’m not all the way there yet.

I greatly desire peace and serenity for my home. A place where order and contentment exist.

A place where mommy doesn’t have an attitude, where mommy doesn’t resent her children’s misdeeds.

I beg for You to fix me to be the mother/nurturer/trainer of these kids.

I want to go to bed each night without regret that I said or did the wrong thing!

Here's the "after" entry....

A dear friend of mine, Jesica, spoke words of wisdom to my heart today.

She challenged me to be in the Word daily with Sam and Ben. I said “really?” “daily?”

I know I should and I have the “want” to but I hesitate – anticipating their response. I feared their lack of attention and lack of excitement.

So, Heavenly Father I bring this to You. I want to want to teach them more than I want to teach adult ladies.

Give to Sam and Ben a deep desire and enthusiasm for Your Word. May they initiate our time of Bible study.

Give me the ability to teach them at 4 and 6 years of age.

I realize that I don’t take teaching them seriously enough. I am more concerned and excited and consumed with teaching others rather than my own children.

Why is that, Lord?

I ask for you to forgive me and change my heart. I am pleading with You Father to truly change my heart and attitude regarding them and turn my heart back to my first ministry.


We started Bible study last night and it was GREAT!

I read the first chapter of Jonah out loud and asked the 5 W’s and an H.

I used a small dry erase board and drew pictures of the events. I had them draw in their notebooks pictures as well.

They participated and even Sam said the best prayer that “we wouldn’t be like Jonah who when told to go to Nineveh went to Tarshish instead and disobeyed God.” (Sam is 6!)

I showed a map that showed Tarshish was in the opposite direction of Nineveh.

I asked them “Can you really run from the presence of the Lord?” and they said “NO! He sees you all the time and everywhere!”

We also discussed how Jonah’s disobedience was and is SIN and his sin affected other people (the sailors).

We discussed how we are often like Jonah and Sam gave me an example.

Ben tried but had some trouble (he’s four).

Our time together far exceeded my expectation and was so fulfilling!

Oh, my heart is so full of thankfulness to my dearest Father. He answered the cry of this mama’s heart beautifully!

Don't you just want to meet this Momma, who so transparently poured her heart out before the Lord? Doesn't her story make you want to start studying with your own children or grandchildren? What about the children in your church?

Oh that we would all cry out to God for the hearts of our children, as Shelly did!

Here she is...with Sam and Ben, in front of the library on the grounds of Billy Graham's ministry.

I love you, Shelly! Thanks for sharing your story with us, and keep up the great work!


Stephanie said...

What a gift you gave this mom and then what a gift she is "re-gifting" to her children! God is so amazing in how he connects us all, even online. ;) xoxo

Anonymous said...

This story really blessed me and was inspiring to say the least.This mother's story and your helpful answer in wisdom and truth was and is well-worth sharing and THANK YOU.
This has been my heartcry for my children through the 38 years and still is.Mine are now adultsThey had church and Christian School,but the best influence does come from the home and modeling and teaching from there.
It is interesting that this story you have posted is in close keeping with the comments on Kay's page in re:Ritchie Johnson's article.All stress the need for parents to follow Deut.6:6-9 as God instructed.
I would not have thought that one could try to teach inductively at the age of Shellie's children,but I sure will be inspired to try and to share with those in my class.Several in my class are now using the books and loving them.I will now tell them they don't have to wait til their children can read.
Thank you so much.
Love from Seattle,
Susan Atwell