Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 6

Overflowing Goodness
My Thoughts:
"Be Good!"
What mother hasn't uttered these words to her children?  Teaching our children appropriate behavior and self control is an important part of our role as a parent.  Teaching them right from wrong, even more so.
Really, though, what is the point of all of this hard work we do if were not getting to their hearts - if we're not cultivating goodness in their hearts to match the good appearance?
As Terri Lynne said, it's much easier to focus on outward behaviors than to check motives and desires and learn to cultivate not just good behavior, that attracts admiring smiles from old ladies in the grocery store, but genuine goodness that puts a smile on God's face.
The way I see it, we do a huge disservice to our child's spiritual life if we do not get this, and give this to them, while they are young.  They learn a system of works when we constantly demand an outward appearance of good behavior and reward them for that, when in their hearts they may be resisting or resenting.  They may learn to  be people pleasers, as they constantly try to get parents approval instead of learning to do things in order to bless the heart of God.

"Any and all goodness is divine in nature."

We have to remember that our children, our precious treasured, children, are born in a state of sin and guilt.  Being "good" does not come naturally to them.  And goodness is cultivated through teaching them God's word... reading the Bible to them, even at a young age and discussing it with them.  A great book   on this topic, that I want to share with you, is called, "Together, Growing Appetites for God" by Carrie Ward.

I love Ephesians 2:10 - We are CREATED in Christ Jesus FOR good works!  Good works that God had planned for us... we have PURPOSE in Christ Jesus!  How important is this, to teach our children this truth, and help them learn to live by it!

Terri Lynne touches on two truths to apply in regard to goodness.  First, goodness is active - we have to model it and live it out.  Second, it is ready - we can't just pick and choose when we feel like acting in goodness.

She also asks a tough question: "How can we manifest that overflowing goodness in the lives of our children?"  As I thought on this, I feel that for me its in all the million little things throughout the day, and so much, again, in the way I respond to my daughters.

Not long ago, the Lord really convicted my heart concerning my attitude toward our children at bedtime.  The end of the day just always feel tough for me.  My patience has usually been expended and it takes real mental effort for me to hold it together sometimes.  So often I am looking for that preverbal "finish line" when I switch out the light, and shut the door on 3 little angels, all tucked in their beds.  I almost always let out a big sigh of relief. "Done! - now I can spend some time with my husband or just get some things done without interruption."  So when I would hear that door crack, and little footsteps coming down the hall, the mommy of the angels I had just tucked in, would sometimes turn into a fire breathing dragon.  But one night, when this happened, and my middle little asked for a drink of water, I heard the Lord's voice say, "Will you offer a cup of cold water to this little one in my name?" - Jesus said this was a mark of a disciple.  What was I teaching my children by hollering at them, "You should have done that before lights out!  Get back in bed!"  I was teaching them selfishness.  I was teaching them that I wasn't willing to give up my "me" time.  I wasn't teaching them Christ's sacrificial love.

I want to see my daughters grow up to be Christ-like because they saw that their Mama lived like Christ, and of anyone, that they saw me live that way toward them.

Don't grow weary Mamas!  Remember that you have the Holy Spirit to help you.  Draw up on HIS goodness. <3  Dwell on Christ's goodness to you. Remember that you serve a good and loving God.

Just for Moms:   

In Titus 2: 3-5 the older women are instructed to teach the younger women to “be good” (KJV). We must exhibit these characteristics of goodness in our homes and in front of other women. How can you be intentional about encouraging other women to practice goodness?     

I need to be intentional about encouraging other women, especially my daughters, goodness, by first and foremost, encouraging them with scripture, and teaching them about Jesus and His goodness.  But very importantly, making sure that I am setting an example of it in my life as well.  Making sure that my attitude matches my actions.

There are several examples of women in Scripture who exhibited goodness. Take time to read their stories and note what you learn from them about a heart that pursues goodness.   

Dorcas (Acts 9: 36-43) - Dorcas was known for her good works, acts of charity, which included making clothing for the widows.

The Shunammite Woman (2 Kings 4: 8-37) - The Shunammite Woman displayed hospitality and generosity.

Rebekah (Genesis 24: 15-20) - Rebekah also displayed hospitality and generosity.

Lydia (Acts 16: 11-15) - Lydia displayed faithfulness and hospitality as well.

Oh how I hope I leave a legacy of goodness by my life! 

Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 34).  . Kindle Edition. 

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.
<3 Johnna

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