I’ve been married for 13 years this August. I’ve been a mom for over 11 years. These are very important roles for me – loving my husband and children, taking care of them, providing for them, etc. But sadly, they have often taken a back seat to my career and the busyness of life. Several years ago God started to put on my heart that they are more than just my family. They are my mission field.
In August 2014 I was sitting in a Bible study on Gideon (by Priscilla Shirer) at the Gretna United Methodist Church and I was praying for God to reveal his grand purpose for my life (and I was convinced it was grand) and it suddenly hit me: My purpose was to be a missionary. In my house. To the man I married and the two children I love.
And I’m embarrassed to say, since then I’ve had a million excuses not take that mission seriously. But God keeps bringing me back. I keep looking for my grand purpose in my career. Or a grand purpose through other “mission” work – service projects, church volunteering, humanitarian organizations, christian ministries, etc. And while all that is important and good, God keeps bringing me back to that calling I heard several years ago. He closed the door to my old life as a political fundraiser, so I took another full-time job in a non-profit organization. He closed that door. He is telling me over and over that my mission field is right here. In this house.
My number one priority is to spend time with him every day and follow him.
My number two priority is to minister to my husband and children.
I get it. I finally get it and accept it, but it is still a struggle. I’m learning what it means to be a missionary; usually by way more trial and error than success. I’m learning to resist the daily temptation to start chasing a “mission” that looks a lot more exciting than Mom/Wife. But I feel at peace that I am finally in the place God wants me. And I know he’ll give me the strength to run this race and will guide me to the end.
P.S. I’m reading through the Bible in a Year – using the YouVersion or Bible.com app. My reading today was a good reminder on my keeping my priorities straight, following God’s direction, and the importance of observing the greatness of God and passing on that message to the next generation. Psalm 48:12-14: Walk around Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (NIV)
This blog post is for all the moms of tween girls who are hoping to instill a habit of daily time with Jesus. I have two girls ages 9 and 11. I’ll be honest with you; most of the time I feel like I am barely pulling off this “mom” thing.
- We rarely eat a meal at the kitchen table. Usually we’re eating Taco Bell in the car or processed chicken nuggets on the couch while watching The Middle re-runs on the Hallmark channel.
- After I’ve asked my youngest to clean her room 50 times without a response I end up yelling at her and threatening to ground her from screen time for a month. #MomFail
- I put up job charts and forget about them.
- I read lots of parenting books and blogs and the concepts sound great, but usually my implementation falls flat.
- While I completely believe in the importance of consistent discipline, I don’t do it. Half the time I don’t discipline and half the time I’m overly strict. So I guess I am consistently 50/50. Does that count?
But there is one thing I think I have done a good job of and that is having a pretty consistent nightly devotional time with my girls. (And “pretty consistent” in my house is about 70% of the time. I call that a huge accomplishment!) I started with they were little and some months we’ve done it almost every night. Some stages of life I’ve been lazy and had my priorities out of whack and we’d go months without reading and praying before bed. But we always come back to it. My girls are the ones who usually remind me when I’ve fallen into bed exhausted.
Here are my top recommendations on devotional books for girls ages 7-12, in no particular order:
- The One Year Mother Daughter Devo by Dannah Gresh and Janet Mylin
- 3-Minute Devotions for Girls by Janice Hannah Thompson
- You’re God’s Girl by Wynter Pitts
- A Girl After God’s Own Heart Devotional by Elizabeth George
- The One Year Be-Tween You & God Devotions for Girls by Sandra Byrd
When my girls were a little younger sometimes I’d run across a topic that I thought was too mature, and we’d go to a different devotion, but most of them have been great for their ages. Some examples of topics:
- Happiness vs. Joy (A Girl After God’s Own Heart)
- How Do I Speak Love? (You’re God’s Girl)
- Me? Stuck up? (3-Minute Devotions for Girls)
- The Beatitudes: Peacemakers (The One Year Mother Daughter Devo)
- I’m Not Popular at School (Be-Tween You & God)
This devotional time has not only been a great opportunity to build a habit of daily time with God, but it has also opened up opportunities for discussion about what my girls are dealing with in their lives. And when it comes down to it, that is what is the most important thing to me: teaching my girls to be more like “Mary” by spending time on what matters most.
Even if they don’t always eat healthy, have messy rooms, and unfinished job charts . . . if they are spending daily time with Jesus everything else pales in comparison.
This year we did resolutions following this tip I had seen on CNBC: A career coach suggested drawing/mapping your goals rather than writing a list.
My children, husband and I sat day on New Year’s day with big sheets of paper, markers, crayons and pens and went to work.
It was a fun project – especially to see what our kids said. Everything from improving grades to making new friends to being nice. And our youngest had some great artwork to add as well.
Some of my resolutions:
- Put our House on the Market (Minimize and Cut Spending)
- Monthly Date Night (Marriage)
- Read a Nightly Devotional with my Girls (Parenting)
- Explore Guest Blogging
- Read Through the Bible in 2017 (Time with Jesus)
What are you resolutions? Or do you have any creative ways to creating goals and tracking them?