by Mrs. Steve Castleberry
(continued from part 1)
Teach your child the things of Christ. Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs us,
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Many of us have that verse memorized, either by purpose or by simply hearing it so many times. But we must do more than recite it, we must live it. Talk with your children, read the Word of God to them, use Scripture in explaining the reasons for how we are to live. And pray with them. We can solve so many of life’s issues by praying together first. If you truly love the Lord yourself, and you are wholeheartedly trying to follow Him in all of life, your children will know it. You can’t fool them. You will fail sometimes, but they will still know you are His if you daily live for Him in sincerity
Forgiveness. What a beautiful way to demonstrate God’s love to our children. The truth that a broken and contrite heart He will not despise, is waiting for you to teach your child when he is disobedient or disrespectful. Point the way to the broken and contrite heart, and then forgive fully. Demonstrate daily “be ye kind, one to another, forgiving one another, just as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Forgiveness can never begin with us, because we are fallen and sinful creatures. It must begin and end with Christ’s atoning blood. Your children will sin against you, and you will sin against them. We are together at the foot of the cross, needing forgiveness from the Lord and from each other, and you must lead the way. My children have heard me say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me,” many more times than I wish they had to hear it. But it will need to be said, whether you want to admit it or not. They will know you need to say it, and if you refuse to ask their forgiveness out of pride, how will they have the strength to admit their own sin?
As mothers, we also have the duty to chastise, to correct, to rebuke.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 2:15)
God has put us in our homes, in a place in our children’s lives where we continually see and hear and know so much about them. My mother, who is eighty-eight and has not lived with me for thirty-two years, still knows me so well! Parents know their children. We know what that tone of voice, that toss of the head, that slight hesitation in answer, most likely means. And we are to follow God’s commands to bring our children into subjection and teach them what is right. So many times you will weary of it, you will wish to ignore it, because it is work and it is not fun.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
You will not regret that you addressed that issue, instead of hoping it would go away. You will not regret the years you pour into your children — and it is a continuous pouring out. There is a day coming when they will rise up and call you blessed if you are faithful. That day may be quite awhile in coming. But God is faithful and His Word is true, and if you are faithful to what He has called you to do, that day will come. Praise the Lord, I can testify to that!
And last, have you seen that billboard with a picture of Winston Churchill on it? Below his picture is a quote from him: “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” Although that quote came from the time of World War II, it is also for you and every other parent. Never give up. No matter what. You know, there are times when I have thought to myself, “Oh, if only I could have been the perfect mother! If only I weren’t so sinful myself. If only I hadn’t made mistakes. Then my children would have been perfect.” Never let yourself fall into that trap. That thought is not from the Lord. Reality check: Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
There are no perfect parents. None. There are no perfect children. Many times I have met some mom that I thought was perfect, only to find over time that she, too, had feet of clay. Every last one of them. Every parent, every child, is much less than perfect. That is why we need a Saviour. Pride has no place in us when we continually remember just how much we and our children need Jesus the Saviour. Your children will remind you many times over the years, in many ways, that you are less than perfect. Let that knowledge pull you to the foot of the cross, taking your children with you. And never, never, never give up.
Susie Castleberry, the mother of eight, raises kids and cows on a Wisconsin farm.