Character Counts

ScanLast week our church held Vacation Bible Camp. I had a blast co-leading the Games Station outside. It was tremendously fun being a child with the children. I think all the adult volunteers had fun playing those four days. We were pirates…aargh!

It was most fascinating to witness character growth among the children from one morning to the next. The first day everyone wants to be first, but by the second day children made effort to work as a team. They shared,encouraged, and helped each other. Across our small campus sweet character moments inspired all the leaders throughout the short week.

Character. Traits or qualities unique to us and influenced by the state of our heart. Our child experiences ours. We experience each child’s. That is, we experience each other’s current character.

Thankfully, our character is a work in progress, and the same is true for each of our children.  Do you believe this? It’s true! God molds our character all our life. God is our Maker and Molder.

Scan (1)All sorts of settings influence our child and us and contribute to our development. The primary setting God desires to use to shape our child’s character is our home. Home is headquarters for love and learning, stretching and growing. It’s the child’s beginning place, his safe place to be himself, her place to return to after being somewhere that’s hard or confusing, and it’s the place that he knows that no-matter-what he is loved. 

It’s hard to be mom and provide that setting every day. We need God. We need his love. We need him to mold our character. We need him to teach us how to participate with him as he molds our child’s character.

The videos that I’ve been posting here center on the theme of the will – which impacts our character development and the child’s character development. So far, I’ve posted nine. Here is Video #10! I hope it’s helpful and encouraging to you. On the website, go to Audio or Video to catch the other ones. I’d love to hear your impressions and please pass on to your friends.

The Greatest Inspiration to Obedience

DSC00150Love is the greatest inspiration to obedience.

I look over my life and see plenty of disobedience – toward my parents and then also toward God. I loved my parents and I knew they loved me. I love God and know he loves me. So, why did I disobey as a child and why do I still struggle to obey God as an adult?

My heart is deceitful above all things. When I read that in Jeremiah 17.9 for the first time, I thought, Wow, that’s a strong statement. I didn’t want to accept it – but my heart proves it over and over again.  I don’t know how a hurt, offense, disappointment, or personal desire will influence my heart and my decisions. I don’t know today what personal struggle of obedience I may have next week.

God knows. He knows the hurdles ahead and the hardships of our past. Through all of it, he works. We need God’s love to stand on, to be wrapped in, to hold on to, and to call us to obedience.

DSC00153We are being made. From the inside out, God shapes you, me, and our children. His work is in our heart. Our heart bends toward who or what we love most. Our decisions reflects who or what captivates our heart. The same is true for our child.

“And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3.18b)

Each opportunity of obedience provides practice for us to respond to God’s foremost command: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6.5)

God knows this ONE submission will inspire us to GREAT OBEDIENCE.

DSC00157It’s just so hard for us.
But, it’s not too hard. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you…” (Deuteronomy 30.11) God commands what he knows we can do – with his help. The more we know him and embrace his love for us, the more we love him and want to obey him.

As we experience God’s great love and practice obeying him, we learn how to love and discipline our child.

Video #8 is about discipline – and how we can be God’s vessels to help our child learn to obey. Will you join me for 13 minutes?

Peeking in Prayer, Glimpsing Glory

IMG_0747Images of all sorts provide memory of the days surrounding Terrell’s heart attack. Thankfully, powerful evidences of God going before us all along the way eclipse the scary images.

One beautiful picture imprints my heart. Before our kids left the hospital for the night, we gathered around Terrell to pray for him. Kneeling and standing, we held Terrell and each prayed for him, thanking and praising God. Briefly, I opened my eyes. To see our kids bowed to their heavenly Father, asking and trusting him to complete the work of Terrell’s healing overwhelmed my heart. O God, what you’ve done… O God, what you’ve given us.

My weary heart soared with quiet joy. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1.4)

God has done it. Grown and shaped their hearts.

Over a lot of years, I’ve had the privilege to partner with God to follow his leading to raise them with Terrell. You have this privilege, too. In each parent-child relationship, God is always at work in both of us. He grows 2 hearts and shapes 2 wills. As he refines us, he guides us in shaping our children.

In Video #4 we consider how God gets our attention when we’re willful and how we can mirror his example with our children. I hope you’ll invite a friend or two to watch with you! Thank you for sharing the videos to your Facebook and Twitter friends, too.