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Giving Your Children the Gift of Inspiration

10 Jul
**I’ve been so busy this weekend that this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down long enough to type clearly. Although I did manage to read and highlight 1.5 chapters of Faith while we were at the eye doctors earlier this afternoon. 🙂 My goal is still to be completely caught up by the end of the weekend, so expect another post on Faith sometime later tomorrow night. **


Inspire means:
  • to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.
  • to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.).
  • to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.
Jesus inspired his disciples so much they gladly left everything and everyone behind in order to be with him. He inspired people to have faith that even the simplest of his touches would cure all illnesses and raise the dead. His last instructions to them was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” He wanted them to teach everyone in the world about him and to love him and follow him, and because he’d inspired his disciples so greatly, they did what he asked and became inspiration to thousands, perhaps millions, of others during their time.
In her book, Sally writes:

Giving our children the gift of inspiration – helping them understand their spiritual purpose, which is to glorify God and to make him known – is one of the most crutical tasks of Christian parenting. … Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God’s purpose for his or her life. It is our privilege and responsibility as parents to help our children understand their particular fit in God’s plans. … In other words, we are to help them see themselves and their potential and then to inspire them for God’s purposes.

I desire to inspire my children, and to inspire them to live their life in God’s will, and for the most part I feel I’m successful in this task at least.
It’s easy with Andy. He’s a gifted musician, a natural comedian, a social bug to the utmost extreme. He thrives when he’s surrounded by people and his heart for God has been obvious from a very young age. He’s indicated time and time again his desire to go to a Bible college, and he’s received visions from the Lord for his life and sometimes for things for people around him. The Lord has even gifted me with glimpses of the things He has planned for Andy – wonderful, life changing things. It pains me though to see the spiritual battle – so strong it’s often physically visible – he’s going through to reach where God wants him to be. I know this is something he has to go through on his own. I can provide help, support, encouragement, inspiration, hugs, and prayers, but I can’t fix it.
It’s harder with Alex. I missed out on having a close relationship with Alex, and now it’s difficult to develop one as he grows closer and closer to adulthood. Alex perplexes me; he always has. I’ve never been able to get inside his brain and understand his way of thinking, his way of looking at the world and I think that’s always been a big part of the why we’re not as close as I’d like. He’s an extremely talented artist with a desire to use his skills in the media world. I know God has plans for Alex, but He hasn’t chosen to share them with me. My prayers for Alex are often that he’ll grow closer to the Lord, that he’ll desire to know Him more intimately and stretch himself to use his skills however God directs him to use them. I pray that he’ll be a Godly husband, the spiritual head of his household, a strong prayer warrior for his children. God has reassured me that this will be so, but I still struggle to inspire Alex spiritually.
1. 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.
2. 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 your 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.
3. 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?
Jesus clearly tells us that we must first seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. In light of that, our children should not be our first priority; to make them that would contradict God’s word. I think our children should actually be our third priority – God first, husband second, children third.
This is really an issue that is close to my heart. I spent a lot of time where God was not my first priority – my computer was, or my books were, or {insert name of worldly object here} was. It took some major shakeups in my life and some serious time spent alone with God and his sledgehammer for me to realize just how messed up my priorities were and the impact it was making to my life.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make God my first priority, although I’ll admit I don’t always succeed. Some nights it’s so much easier to just vegetate in front of a movie or a video game instead of having to try to think about that particular bit of scripture. At the same time though, I know that it’s when I really don’t want to delve into His word that I need it the most. I’m still working on it. 😉
4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 19:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the works of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be on the alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder – and point out God’s wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, “Come, look!” at least once a day.
Honestly, if I started telling my kids to “Come, look!” at something every day they’d probably think I’d lost my mind. LOL We do point things out when we see them, but since we don’t live anywhere spectacular, I think we miss a lot of opportunities because we don’t expect them to happen here.
5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find it hard to care about? What might help you overcome these attitudes?
I’m ashamed to admit it, but homeless people give me the creeps. I’m getting a lot better about it though. Even though I don’t always make eye contact with the person standing on the corner looking for handouts (and really, when said person is wearing expensive clothes or accessories, it’s hard to consider that they may truly be homeless, especially in a big city like Houston). I’ve learn to just let the Spirit lead me. If He puts someone on my heart then I’ll respond as I’m able, but I’m not going to go out of my way. Yes, I know that’s the wrong attitude to have, but I haven’t gotten past the flesh yet so it is what it is.

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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Faith

 

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