Godly parents don’t always produce godly children. Raising a mighty generation is a God-sized task that we can’t do in our own ability. When I told my mom I was pregnant with our firstborn 25 years ago, her first words of advice were, “If you can channel all the energy God has given you into mothering, you’ll have a mighty generation of godly children.”
The “if” challenged me spiritually. I was a doer and loved the challenge of any job set before me. But foremost, I loved the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind. How could there be any reason to doubt that a loving, godly person would raise anything but godly kids? God used her words to show me I would need help with mothering.
The perplexity of raising godly children isn’t a new dilemma. In the Old Testament book of First Samuel, Eli battled with the same issues we do today. He was a busy parent, a stellar Christian, the chief judge and high priest over the entire house of
Eli’s problem is one we struggle with as well: doing too much at the cost of forgetting the most important things that God has called us to do. Eli’s ambitions were noble and good; his heart truly loved God. There was no evil intent behind anything Eli did. But he was so busy performing noble tasks that he failed to lead his family and the house of
Through the years God has convicted me through stories like Eli’s. God has shown me that to raise a generation that follows Him I must surrender my thoughts, plans, desires and time to seek Him wholeheartedly so that I can lead our children spiritually as my first priority.
My husband and I are self-employed. We work from home, and it’s difficult to keep boundaries in place that protect time with God and family. Keeping family time sacred is a daily choice that’s challenging. In the past 25 years, I have removed as many things as possible from my schedule in order to live what God has called me to live. I don’t volunteer for many things, I don’t answer the phone when the family is together, I don’t watch TV or surf the net. I don’t make cleaning the house a priority; there are often dishes in the sink, dust on the furniture and a ring around the toilet.
I want to make sure that I am available when the kids are home, that I’ve saved my very best energy for sharing what God is laying on my heart that day, and for listening to what God wants to say to each child. I want to make sure that I’m not too worn out to talk to the kids for hours. That’s where poor Eli messed up and that’s where I know I need to check myself daily. I tend to be a workaholic who can easily get caught up in the fast-paced cycle of life.
My husband and I have put effort into creating a home of godly inheritance. Our family spends vast amounts of time in the kitchen having deep spiritual conversations. Talks in the kitchen with the food and dishes all around us will probably be the greatest family memory - and the best spiritual asset - for our children. Not one day passes without us sharing truths from God’s Word and their spiritual analogies to our lives today. We talk about hard questions like: How do we know the Bible is true? How do we know there is only one God? How can we know if a religion is true or false? Why does God let bad things happen? Our kids are being spiritually trained; it is the priority of each day.
I’m so thankful that my mom challenged me 25 years ago to surrender all my “doing” for the cause of raising up a godly generation. I’ve never experienced anything as rewarding as the spiritual strength of our family.
One day our kids will all be gone, the house will be clean, I’ll answer the phone again, and I’ll volunteer for things I always wanted to do. I’ll go on that honeymoon with my husband, go on fun trips with friends and pass on the same advice my mom gave me to our children and their children. And the legacy will continue.