For the last 10 years I have been a stay at home mom. On more than one occasion I have been asked what I do all day. Um-mm let me see how to phrase this… I train all day. Not the kind of training you may be thinking about, allow me to explain. Scripture tells us to train our children in the way they should go, the God way, the truth way, the blood bought way. Training is not an option. Because of our inherited sin nature EVERY child, no matter how cute is born with a desire to do wrong. Everyday I am training and quite frankly it is hard work. My job is not to tame my children’s sin, instead I have been entrusted with the job of encouraging them to nail it to the cross through submission to Christ. Training begins with teaching them the word of God, this is the manual. The end goal is beyond nice behaved children. I want them to live knowing that death and judgment is certain for everyone. So through my training I am encouraging them to have a right relationship with God so that eternity can be spent with Him.
I train them not only through speaking the word but by living the word through my actions.
I train not just concerning the spiritual but the natural, but wait… the two are very much connected.
Yes, this training thing is hard work. The struggle is real but so is God’s love, His grace and His wisdom. I don’t always do it perfectly. I continue to learn that God gave us our children to train but certainly is not expecting us to do it on our own. We can do this…because of Christ!
Reading is fundamental; not an original thought I know, but it is true. I want my children to cultivate a love for reading at an early age and it all begins with knowing the alphabet. Today I am sharing a simple activity that accomplishes two objectives, learning the alphabet and the word of God. This activity kept my four year old occupied for at least 30 minutes while I washed the dishes. I loved that I didn’t have to stop and sit with him but we still had “together” time as I gave him different directives. It was a win for the both of us. The steps are below.
Below is an example of applying the above steps for the Letter “A”
If you decide to try this, please leave a comment and let me know how it works out. Happy Friday to you!
I am all for educating children. As a matter of fact, I went to school to be a teacher. But I recognize that beyond ABC’s and 123’s the most important thing I need to live and teach my children is the word of God. This is the ultimate key to a successful life. PERIOD. If nothing else, this economy has taught us that you can have enough degrees to bake a cake but it does not guarantee success. I could not resist. I had to use the degrees to bake a cake joke. Funny?…no…ok. Before I make another attempt at a joke, I will try share the tips.
Take time to read stories of young children in scripture.
Suggestions for helping children memorize scripture (works for young and old, repetition is key).
Have daily confessions with your children including scriptures.
Finally, below is a list of scriptures A-Z that I received when my oldest was in preschool. I ABSOLUTELY love it and still use it today, even for my now 10 year old. I tend to review this when we are in the car or on the weekends when we have an extended devotion. Start with the letter A and work your way through the alphabet. I also like to discuss what each scripture means with my children; going beyond memorizing to comprehending which I pray will lead to applying it. Print it out and put on your refrigerator. I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know!
A-Z Memory Verse
A-All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
B-Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! Acts 16:31
C-children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
D-Depart from evil do good seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
E– Enter by the narrow gate. Mathew 7:13
F-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
G-Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mathew 28:19
H-Honor your father and mother Exodus 20:12
I-I am the way the truth and the life John 14:6
J-The just shall live by. Romans 1:17
K-keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
L-Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
M-Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Psalm 100:1
N– No servant can serve two masters. Mathew 6:24
O– Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8
P-pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Q-Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
R-Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth. Ecclesiastes 12
S-Submit to God. Resist the devil and He will flee from you. James 14:7
T– “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
U-Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1
V-Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
W-Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Mathew 25:13
X-eXalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy. Psalm 99:5
Y– Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Z-Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments, O LORD. Psalm 97:8
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I was so annoyed. I needed to to get some work done and wanted them to leave me alone. BUT. THEY. DID. NOT. They won. I pushed my cleaning agenda to the side and sat on the room floor with them. It was ONLY 9:30am and we had already had multiple meltdowns, wiping runny noses, toilet breaks that interrupted my cleaning flow…WE ALL NEEDED a word. I must say I did not start off with a willing heart, my mind was on all that had to be accomplished. BUT I KNEW it was needed. I grabbed for an old kids bible song book and was flooded with a lot of pleasant memories. It was the same song book that I used 10 years ago when I began my journey as a stay at home mom. I had no clue what I was in for. I had much zeal back then as a new mother, often striving for an illusive perfection. But from a sincere heart, I wanted more than ever for my sweet little girl to grow to love My Jesus. I desired for her to make a choice to serve him at a young age and stick with that choice; avoiding some of the mistakes of her mother. So my journey began with teaching her the word of God through song.
I have changed a lot since then but the desire for all of my children to know Jesus remains. So with dirty dishes in the sink, and clothes that needed to be ironed, I sat on the floor with the younger three, opening the song book and began to sing “Jesus loves me.” Well, let me rephrase that. We all sat on the floor. I began to sing Jesus loves me (off key if I may add) while Faith climbed all over me. Isaiah and Elijah were everything BUT attentive. They were too busy fighting over another book. But I wasn’t the least bit deterred. I kept on singing. Elijah realized I wasn’t going to stop so he decided to join in and I suspect with time Isaiah and Faith will get the clue. After our mini praise and worship I read a short bible story with half of a captive audience. That 15 minute “interruption” changed the course of our day. There was a noticeable shift in attitudes. I especially had to take note of Elijah’s willingness to help clean up. Let me tell you, that was a major miracle because this boy becomes an instant attorney/politician when work is required of him. He can tell you every reason why he is not able to clean.
Parents often become discouraged when sharing the word of God with younger children. We feel like they are not attentive enough and aren’t really “getting” it. The temptation is there to wait until they can sit long enough to really pay attention and ask deep theological questions. But I want to encourage you with this truth today, more is registering than you realize. Changes are being made in their spirits. Start sharing the word of God today even if it is just in song. God knows how to take our efforts and do a work in our children beyond what we can see. They are never too young.
I invite you to visit my site again because I will be posting some practical ways to share the word of God with young children. In the mean time, I would love to hear the strategies you use to share the word of God with your children. Please leave a comment below.
After 14 days on bed rest, I began to have contractions. I called my husband late that night letting him know it was show time. They gave me a shot to stop the contractions. It worked for a little while. However by the next morning the contractions increased and there was no denying that our baby girl was ready to enter the world. They quickly rushed me to the labor and delivery room. The nurses ran down the hall as they pushed my hospital bed with my husband right behind them. It was like a scene from a movie. They didnt want to take any chances considering all the unknown factors. I was given a shot to prevent bleeding on the baby’s brain because she was going to be 10 weeks premature. The shot made me sick to my stomach. I was dizzy, had a pounding headache and felt disoriented. After waiting a while, the contractions slowed down again. They however decided to keep me in labor and delivery because everything was so unpredictable.
Tyrone went home to take care of some things hoping that we had bought more time. I was famished, I begged to eat something because I had not eaten from the night before when all the action began. I was placed on a liquid diet, and let me tell you jello and flavored ice never tasted so good. Later that evening the contractions started again. Tyrone was called again, and this time we knew that it was actually going to happen. In addition to my doctor, nurse, and husband my room was filled with staff from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) getting the incubator ready. It was such a surreal moment. My husband and I tried to be “normal” and carry on conversations between contractions but we both knew that our current predicament was everything but normal. In a few hours we would know if God had answered the way we desired concerning Faith. I believe the anticipation surrounding Faith’s health distracted me from the pain I was feeling with the contractions. All along I was praying that all would be well.
The contractions became more intense and closer together and after two pushes on May 14th at 10:29pm, Faith Serenity Jones made her debut into the world. Tyrone did not cut her umbilical cord like he had done for our other 5 children. Neither of us got to hold her or see what she looked liked. She was immediately rushed to the NICU. So after 30 weeks of uncertainty, numerous visits to different doctors, 15 days on bed rest, I had no tiny feet or sweet cheeks to kiss. No baby to nurse. I had given birth but no crying baby in my arms to prove it. I felt absolutely numb and empty. No words can truly express what I was feeling.
My husband and I sat in that room and waited for over two hours with so many unanswered questions about our baby girl. What did she look like? Was she struggling for life? Were all the possible diagnosis true? We tried to carry on normal conversation but we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. I sent a text out to all those praying with us and waiting to hear news, and the only news I could share was her name. No weight or height, no pictures attached, just that she was here. It was as if time stopped for me.
After a very long wait, we received news that we could go down to the NICU to see baby Faith. I was very happy to see Faith, but it was also kind of a scary sight. She was literally skin and bone, she was so small ( weighing only 2p 6 oz 15 inches long). She had so many cords over her tiny body and a tube over her mouth for oxygen. Her facial features weren’t very noticeable because of all the equipment on her face. But I needed someone, anyone to answer the nagging questions, was my baby ok, did she have any heart defects, was their bleeding on her brain, did she have a chromosomal abnormality?
We were told that Faith had a tiny hole in her heart but it was expected to close on its own. As the days went on, more test were done. No bleeding on her brain, no chromosomal abnormality, no heart defect. Praise God, other than her low birth weight Faith was fine. Faith was healed!
She however had to remain in the NICU for 1 month to grow. That proved to be another adventure. The hospital was 30 minutes from our home and we struggled with maintaining some sense of normalcy with the other five children at home, while trying to go and see Faith. The children always looked forward to visiting their baby sister in the NICU but we were all ready for her to come home. It was a very tiring season but we thank God for his grace. After a month, we were given the news we had been praying for, our baby girl could come home!
So here we are, a little over a year later and we have celebrated Faith’s 1st birthday. She is petite and healthy. For this we are thankful, God is indeed faithful!
If you havent done so already, you may want to read part 1 of Faith’s story.
All five children had a dentist appointment. The plan was for me to take them to the dentist and then go and pick Tyrone up from work and head to Costco (the highlight of my day). It was a very long dentist visit and as I was sitting in the waiting room for the last child to finish her cleaning, I knew something was wrong. Right there in the dentist office my amniotic sac broke and began to leak, how about that for an adventure? I remained calm, left the dentist office with all five children in tow. I went to pick Tyrone up from work and as he was entering the van, he could hear me speaking on the phone with my doctor. She instructed me to go to the hospital right away so that I could be examined. Believe it or not, I was trying to see if we could make the trip to Costco before going to the hospital. My very wise husband decided against it.
Tyrone let me out at the hospital so I could go and get examined and he went to park the van. By the time he made it in with all five kids, I had been examined. I kindly asked the nurse to tell him what she had just shared with me. She looked at my husband and informed him that my water did break and I had to be admitted to the hospital and would remain UNTIL I DELIVERED THE BABY. I really wish I had a camera at that moment to capture the look on both of our faces. WHAT?!!! NO!!!!! We have five children. I have things to do. I have end of the year papers to sign and special programs to attend at the kids school. I have things at home to prepare before the baby arrives. I STILL HAVE TO GO TO COSTCO!
There was no negotiating, I had to remain in the hospital on bed rest. They were concerned about infections and they wanted the baby to stay in as long as possible considering I was only 28 weeks gestation. So the papers were signed, and there I was just like that on on bed rest. They gave me steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop quickly, the shot was more effective 48 hours after it was given. So another layer was added to the wait and see game. Not only did the baby remain in my womb for that initial 48 hours but she remained for a total of 15 days. This was a huge blessings because every extra day was beneficial.
The nurses in the hospital were absolutely amazing and did their best to make me feel comfortable. We received so much support,help, prayer, meals and words of encouragement from various individuals. We were certainly grateful for the help. Tyrone was doing double duty, his job and mine. However I must confess that it was extremely difficult for me to not be the one doing it all, after all I am THE wife and mother. Perhaps there was some pride mixed in there…who am I kidding? Yes! It was pride. I had no choice but to relinquish control because we desperately needed help.
People kept on asking me if I was bored and the answer was always no. I really missed being at home with my husband and children, that was the most difficult part. It was definitely a challenge being still. But the Lord really used this time to minister to me in some profound ways and he also opened the door for me to minister to some of the individuals that came to my room. For those that know me, I am rarely at a loss for words. This personality trait came in handy while on bed rest. I had lots of conversation with the nurses and different visitors.
For the 15 days that I was on bed rest, there was not a day that went by that I did not think about my baby’s health. What would be the outcome? As I was in that hospital room, I would lay hands on my womb and decree that the baby was well. But there were moments where fear crept in and whispered, “what if?” God told me to trust him and what I had learned is that putting my trust in God didn’t always mean the story would play out the way it was scripted in my mind. A greater level of trust required me to believe that no matter how the story ended, it was all going to be for my good.
So after 15 long days, on May 14, 2013 Our baby girl began to show signs that she was ready to enter the world. Click here part three to read what happened next.