Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood: Chp 5-6

How is your reading going?  I'm loving this one.  I've read a lot of parenting books, but I love Clarkson's format.  I love how she starts each section with a solid chapter of Scripture and analyzing Christ's example before diving into the application.  This is really a fantastic book and I'm really glad we're reading it.

Chapter 5: On the Mountain--A Model for Inspiration

In this chapter, Clarkson makes the argument that our greatest goal is to equip our children to make the Lord know and raise up disciples.  As moms we have deep insight into our children's personality.  And it's up to us to seek the Lord's wisdom in how to guide that.  As Clarkson puts it, "We have the hearts and the trust of our children from the earliest moments of their lives... they long for a special place to belong, a place to feel their worth,  and they need us to help them find it" (pg 67).    She also encourages us that as we encourage our children in pursuing their significance in Christ, we will find ourselves traveling down that road as well.

*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.
  Noah--very loving, strong leader, thorough, very intelligent, 
  Lydia--super organized, lover of dance, sings to Jesus, very imaginative,

*Referring to the 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 you 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.

Chapter 6: Inspiring a Sense of Purpose

Clarkson takes us through the understanding that this purpose is different from what the world tells us.  As his disciples would often still find themselves returning to fishing and trade work, their lives would never again be "normal" (pg 72).  That purpose God's best may mean giving up very worthwhile goals in order to pursue God's best, even in ways we don't understand.  Following Christ means giving it all up: understanding, control, everything.  

Even as we wonder why Christ would choose to use sinful humanity... us... to fulfill his purposes in the world.  Leading our children into this reality completely changes their worldview.  It may not change their career or their family choices.  But it does change the way they will approach life.  

And this is scary as a mom.  It requires growth on our part as well.  Are we willing to trust the Lord with our children?  Are we willing to trust the Lord with our hopes and dreams for our kids?   Can we do it?  Can I do it?

*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 your 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?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  (NIV)

I gotta say, a mother's first priority has to be the Lord.  Seeking God first, seeking to make him known, seeking his kingdom, that's the priority.  If we're seeking God first, it will be his wisdom that directs us in discipling our children.  We can raise beautiful, healthy children, but if we haven't submitted to Christ first, it's all for not.

So what did you get out of reading these two chapters?

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