I’ve got a ‘to do’ list as long as my arm; my daughter wants to help me bake; my son is running the bathroom taps for no legitimate reason; my baby needs a bath and probably some calpol; the dinner’s not ready and I need to ring my mum.
So why am I writing on a blog?
I don’t know if you do this, but after all the stuff on the news about vitamin D deficiency and, despite the surprisingly painful cost, I started buying multivitamin tablets for my 3-yr-old. As soon as she started taking them, I felt relieved. She will not eat vegetables, and my kids do get the pleasure of eating stick-it-on-a-baking-tray-straight-from-the-freezer easy dinners more often than I’d like to admit. But now she has a little orange tablet once a day, and I don’t have to worry about where her vitamins are coming from. (Now, as an aside, let me just say that I know I still need to feed my kids healthy food, but this isn’t a post on healthy eating so please just stay with me!)
Wouldn’t it be much easier to bring up our children in the ‘training and discipline of the Lord’ if there were some kind of spiritual vitamin tablet equivalent? You read your kids a Bible story just before bed, and then the rest of the time you know that they’ve had their spiritual nutrition and it’s doing its work inside their hearts, and one day you can send them off to work or university or marriage, knowing that they’re spiritually healthy and well-rounded. Job done!
Hang on a minute. Hold your Pharisee-horses.
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
God says we should teach our children about him, both formally and informally, both at ‘Bible story time’ and during the all-day chaos of life. And not just that, but we need to live it out too! There’s no use saying ‘And that’s why, children, we should be thankful for all of our toys,’ and then spend the rest of the afternoon complaining that the hoover isn’t good enough/the car is old (or non-existent!)/there’s too much washing to do. We can’t say to our children, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, so you must share with your brother,’ and then never invite anyone into your home to share food or time or your tumble dryer with them. Walk the talk, Mum!
This is wonderful (and difficult), and liberating (and overwhelming), and by far the best way to live! So in short, to recap in a slightly clearer version… ‘Help!’
I need God’s gracious help to do this and I’m just trying to figure stuff out by reading the Bible, praying, asking really wise and wonderful people, and then processing it all by jabbering away to my husband, or writing it down like this. And I thought the written down version might help somebody else – hopefully you.
That is why I am writing this blog. I really hope it encourages you, even if it just reminds you that there is another mum in the world who’s asking the same questions and praying the same prayers as you.