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I am in the middle of life, the middle of parenting, the middle of ministry—I’m just plain in the middle of it all. I can only talk about the half of the middle that I know about because the other half of the middle, well, I don’t know about it yet.
But I remember a day a long time ago when my temper had not been mastered but had mastered me. It happened one snowy morning when I was trying to get three preschoolers into snowsuits by myself. I was under the clock, and it didn’t go well for all four of us.
It was then that I came to the stark realization that I could not do everything. I was just entering my 30s—sigh—I was young and thought there was nothing I couldn’t do. However, that is never true of us as people no matter what stage of life we are in. We just can’t do everything. I had social obligations, home obligations, and missionary training that came with homework!
Years later, I still can’t do everything. I can only do some things. I have to filter the options of what I can do and what I can’t do, based on purpose. My purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him. I glorify God by living in the role he has placed me. I am a mom and a wife and a friend. We, as women, can get easily overwhelmed, and maybe it is because we tend to be good at multi-tasking. We can teach phonics while our kids are in the bathtub and dinner is simmering in a crockpot. At some point though, we add too many things and our crockpot meal burns!
I have been working on a project that took me back to study Genesis. I was reading about the Fall, reflecting on how far mankind fell and how quickly it all unraveled.
Eve was deceived, and her deception was prompted by Satan’s desire to destroy mankind.
As I keep making my way through those first accounts in Genesis, something really stands out. Even at the beginning, Adam, Eve, Cain, and his descendants are wanting more, something outside of God’s will for them. These choices would take them down a path they didn’t initially want to go; in fact, the path led to destruction. How sad that Eve couldn’t be content with a perfect world, an unbroken, perfect relationship with her Creator, and all the food she could ever want.
As moms and dads, we are given the responsibility of raising little people to love and obey the Lord. We as moms want to learn from Eve. We want to learn from our own mistakes and pass down to our children what will keep them from making mistakes. The Word of God is the only thing that will do this!
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11)
God’s Word has to be placed in our hearts. Children that have the blessing of Christian parents can have the Word placed in their hearts by their parents from an early age. As they hear us praying it over them and teaching it to them, God’s Word promises that it won’t return void. God’s Word is what Eve wasn’t confident about. God’s Word is what Cain didn’t want to follow. God’s Word is the shield we can give to our children so that they can wield it and avoid being deceived and following a path of destruction.
So teaching our children God’s Word, loving God’s Word for ourselves, finding time to apply God’s Word in our everyday situations, and praying for God’s wisdom with our children is what should be at the top of our to-do list. It should be done before the crockpot gets turned on.
As I sit here in the middle and reflect on friends that are at the beginning of the middle, those that are in the middle with me, and even those in the last half of the middle, I wonder if we get confused with what really should cause our contentment. I wonder if we aren’t all a bit like Eve, if we all are tempted to want something out there that isn’t for us. The fruit that Satan tempted Eve with was created by God; it was good fruit, perfect fruit, there wasn’t anything wrong with the fruit. Her wrongdoing came from taking something that wasn’t for her. God said it wasn’t hers and that she wasn’t supposed to eat from it, but she took it anyway.
What if all the good things that we see—the church events, the play dates, the home renovation, the sports, the clubs, the ministry opportunities—are all taking precedent over the one thing that will keep our children shielded from deception. What if the busyness of good things in life is keeping us from opening the Word and sharing it with our children as they have their snack, lie down for a nap, before they go to school, or when we are all sitting around the dinner table.
It is Satan’s desire to destroy them. Peter says he is like a roaring lion waiting for whom he can destroy. It is his primary goal; he isn’t lazy in seeing it accomplished. What if at the end of the day we make it our goal to say, “I imparted God’s Word to my children today in our reading, in our conversations, and in how we ministered to those around us,” and let that be the most important check we mark on our day planners. Because in the end, when our children are walking with the Lord, there isn’t anything that can compare to the peace that it brings.
I have only seen this slightly in my view from the middle, but it has made me want to keep striving for this. Studying about Eve has made me want to make sure my guard is up, that my filter is ready, and that my crockpot doesn’t boil over. I want to make sure that even as my teenagers are busy about their day that I am not letting down my guard on what is most important. Mike and I want to make sure they are hearing God’s Word in our conversations, applying it to culture events, encouraging them to use it as they interact with others, and reading it to them as a comfort to their souls because it is truly the only thing that can bring us hope in this life!
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