I’ll be honest. The past couple of months have been tough. We’ve all had our challenges—the emotional, attitude kind. We haven’t had kind, loving thoughts toward one another, and our actions have followed suit. There have been too many sharp edges around here. It hurts, and I don’t like it. This has been compounded by the fact that for the past five weeks, one, some, or all of us have been sick.
I knew something had to change. And it is. A little bit at a time, I’m seeing a difference.
The answer is simple: God’s Word. I’ve finally begun using the Bible and prayer as the first places I turn when the girls and I are struggling. I am using the Bible as an active player in parenting my children. We do family devotions with my husband every night, and have read huge portions of Scripture together (a chapter at a time), but this is different. Using the Bible as a handbook for living isn’t new to me, and I certainly have used it this way with my children before, but in the past it took me a long time to look up appropriate Scriptures in a concordance, jot down references, look them up, and take them to my children to read and discuss. In the meantime, the kids were sitting in their rooms stewing, wondering what consequence I was plotting for them.
I don’t have to do that anymore. I received a Child Training Bible kit in my goody bag at The 2:1 Conference. After settling back in at home, I found a Bible no one was using that was the right size, purchased the needed office supplies, and decided to set it up.
It took about three hours, but by the time I got finished with the first side, I realized that God was already doing a work in my heart as I read and highlighted each verse.
By the time I completed the entire setup, my husband and I were both excited about having this resource for our family. We now have verses about twenty different things the Bible says should not be part of our lives already highlighted, with cards that list the verses (which are also tabbed), heart and gospel questions, and sample prayers from the Scriptures. In addition, there’s an entire section that shares Scriptures on the Gospel—the Good News—about God, Man, Jesus, and steps to take next. When I got finished, our Bible looked like this:
Now, when a heart issue arises that needs to be dealt with, I get our Child Training Bible out, find the topic we need to discuss, and begin reading Scriptures. I don’t have to lecture, nag, fuss, or yell. The Word of God does all the work. I’ve gone through two sections with my children recently. I read each Scripture to them and asked them questions to help them think about what the Bible says on that topic. I discussed the heart and gospel questions with them, and I prayed with them. Both times, long before I ever got to the heart and gospel questions (much less the prayer!), my girls had tears rolling down their cheeks as they realized how wrong their behavior was. I have ended up crying too because I am touched by their sensitive hearts and because I realize how far short I fall when it comes to living up to God’s standards.
Both times we have ended with prayer, each of us asking for forgiveness, praying for God to help us live the life His Word calls us to live so that others will see the difference in us so we can point them to Jesus and bring Him glory. We have prayed for our entire family, asking God to change each one of us and transform us into the image of Christ.
These have been precious times, so much more important than anything else we have done. This is parenting the way I’ve always wanted to parent: calm, gentle, with God’s Word and His love at the center. I’m so thankful that He provided the Child Training Bible as a tool to help me do that.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV, emphasis added)
As you can tell by my LONG post (thanks for hanging in there!), I love Child Training Bible! They have graciously allowed me to give away one chart kit for one of you to use to put together a Child Training Bible for your family! To enter, please leave one comment telling me why you would like to win. All comments must be posted by 9:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 1, 2012. At that time, I will choose a winner with Random.org and will send a confirmation e-mail. The winner must respond and provide a mailing address within 48 hours, or I will choose another winner.
Update: If you’d like another chance to win, my friend Donna is hosting another giveaway for a Child Training Bible chart kit! Go over to her site and enter too!