Over the years of blogging, I’ve become more reticent to share how-to-do-it-right parenting advice. I mean, who wants to be critiqued to death for suggesting an idea or giving advice that, in someone else’s home, might end up being the straw that breaks the mama’s back. So, I guess I try to give advice or encouragement from time to time that will not add to the load of cares or be another burden to bear, but rather to lighten the load and brighten the day. Even if, in the beginning, what I suggest or share seems to add to the already heavy load. Now, I know blog entries on lots of things, including the emergent church or the dialectic, just might be seen as too heavy-handed or critical and that articles on political or economy or food or whatever seem to be too much. If that’s the case for you, then just click on that little red X in the upper right corner… maybe another day the serving will be a better dish for you. I’m not a light thinker – I’m not just here for entertainment or, rather, to be entertained. Life’s too long and too short for all that – but even still, I pray that the joy comes through.
But today I’d like to share a couple of things I will never regret doing as a mother or that we, my husband and I, will never regret implementing in our home. The first is daily Bible study and prayer. We have never had a day that we thought was a waste of time or worthless or whatever other negative. In all candidness, though, we have had days that were a struggle to finish. Now, that’s not a negative, but a reality. And the reality is this: from time to time we will be studying through a passage and what can only be understood as ‘spiritual warfare’ seemed to descend upon our dining room like a dark cloud. It is on those days that Wes has had to stop and pray and ask the Lord to redirect or rededicate the thoughts and attention to His Word. It’s rare, but it happens. But, I digress. What happens most of the time is a meeting with the Lord and the illumination of His Word. And bcz we’ve done this through so many years, we’ve seen His hand, we’ve seen His way over and over again.
Whether we spend months reading 5 Psalms and a Proverb each day or whether we take a book and go through it or whether we just read through from beginning to end, each day we meet at the table and open the Word and take turns reading around. We do this even if we have ‘guests’ at the table or if we’re away from home. Truly, this is when we see that ‘home’ really is where the heart is.
The reading of the 5 Psalms and a Proverb goes like this: on the first day of the month (or whatever day it happens to be that you start), you read Psalm 1, then 31, thne 61, then 91, and finally, 121 and then Proverbs 1. On the second day: 2, 32, 62, 92, 122 and Proverbs 2 and so on, in this manner every day, through the month. On the 29th of the month you would skip Psalm 119 and save that reading for the months with 31 days – you would then, on the 31st of the month: read Psalm 119 and Proverbs 31. Doing this, you will read all the Psalms and all the Proverbs every month – five and one a day. The reading through will likely take quite a while… years, maybe… because of the springboard for discussions, family values, ways of doing things, traditions, etc., etc.
So I said I had a couple of things or pieces of advice or encouragement I think everyone should do. Lots of things that people are convicted to do are things that make some other people cringe or react negatively or defensively. See, that’s why I refrain sometimes. So… in those cases — when I’m just pretty sure that might happen, I just write or locate a pertinent article and put it somewhere on the website in the particular category it fits and then I just trust the Lord to lead a sister or brother to read and heed whatever He leads.
But for today, this is the kind of advice that can be given to all people in all places for all time – it’s not just a personal conviction – the daily reading of the Word – but is commanded by the Lord throughout His Word.
Okay, so here the other of the ‘couple of things.’ And these go hand in hand. We’ve had some of our greatest teaching times or springboards or greatest times of clarity and understanding come from having our children take notes or draw pictures of whatever is being read that day. The clarity comes from correcting a misunderstood word or phrase – such as Amelia’s, “Moses standing in the ‘Presents’ of God” pictures. She had that so clear in her mind and her drawing was so sincere – but it wasn’t accurate. Same as her “ark of the Covenant” pictures that needed to be corrected to show her that the “Ark of the Covenant” wasn’t filled with animals and stone tables… the animals were in *Noah’s* ark. However – the pictures stay in our minds as a very clear picture of standing in God’s presenCe – or the animals in the ark and the tables in an entirely different ark.
And that is a very clear demonstration to us all that we all need correction when we read something and come to an inaccurate conclusion. This might be done through using the concordance or the Bible Dictionary or the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary or Strong’s or whatever. But whatever the case, we have found that great teaching and learning happens in little bits, snippets of time, around the table. The youngers have pictures to remember and the olders have notes in their own hand at different ages… both are wonderful mementos of days gone by. I think they also serve as reminders that we have been this way before… even if we forget what we’ve read or let slip what we’ve learned – I think that’s one of the most damaging tools of the enemy – the nudging that maybe we’ve never read something or never heard something before. The notes and pics serve as reminders of what God has said.
The only reservation or word of caution I must give you in suggesting these two (what I consider to be) parenting ‘imperatives’ is this: be prepared to bite your cheeks when pics are drawn by imaginative children and you have to sit quietly listening to the interpretation you’re hearing (and then formulate an thoughtful reply and/or subtle correction to the understanding). Just so’s ya know.
Yep… it’s one of those days. Bcz… last week was… long.