November 11, 2011
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9 (NIV)
We don't hold structured family devotions anymore, and I miss them. It was always my favorite night of the week. We called it 'family time.'
We started holding them several years ago when the Lord convicted me to begin family devotions in our home. In addition to church and youth group, I felt led to spend additional quality time with my family once a week to learn about scripture and pray together. It was a good time of connecting with our young teens. During family time we:
Read the Bible.
Marveled at how God answers prayers.
Early on, I noticed my two children weren't grasping the depth and reality of God's love for them. So my husband and I showed, explained and discussed how God's love is all-powerful, and that He is always available to us. We were well aware we weren't perfect parents. But we knew the perfect parent and we wanted our kids to as well.
Despite our efforts of instilling solid truths to live by, we still had to navigate rough waters with our young teens and some of the choices they made. Waters so rough my heart nearly tore in two several times. Storms that raged so strong I begged God on my knees for mercy and answers.
Through each situation we faced, we continued to pray and seek Him together during family time. We never let our kids lose sight that God cared, and they were precious in His sight. He doesn't condemn; He loves, always. It's who He is.
I reiterated that thought often and pointed to Jesus' own words: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" (John 15:9).
God's Word, forgiveness and truth were the powerful bond that held us together during stormy trials.
Our daughter is now 19, works part-time and carries a full-time college course load. She loves the Lord and recently returned from a mission trip to Germany where she served at a youth camp with her dad.
Our 16 year old son is a sophomore in high school, and was recently baptized. He lives out his faith boldly among friends and peers.
Changes in life have altered our weekly family time. We no longer have regular sit down family devotions. But we still gather around our dinner table and openly discuss the world, our faith, struggles, the Bible and the marvels of God. Our structured devotion time morphed into the norm of our life.
Because of the deliberate family devotion times we once had, our kids feel the freedom to ask us to pray with and for them – almost every day. They see the value in seeking God's wisdom, strength and direction in all things.
And regardless of what choices they made as young teens and the circumstances we've been through as a family, we never let them lose sight of the fact that God is real and He loves them. Today they believe it, live it and know it. Praise God.
Dear Lord, thank You for my family. Please continue to show me how to love them and lead them according to Your will. Give me the boldness to show them my love for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
To read other writings from Holly, please click here.
Try to get intentional about having a specific time for your family to pray together. You will see the hand of God move as you seek Him as a family.
Encourage your children to talk to you about their faith and questions they may have.
Create a safe environment for your children to share what is on their hearts.
Devotion time took effort and diligence on our part as parents, but it has molded our children into the teens they are today. They see the value in seeking God's wisdom, strength and direction in all things.
What can you do today to show God's love to your children?
Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (NIV 1984)
Isaiah 54:10, "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace removed,' says the LORD, who has compassion on you." (NIV)
John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (NIV)
© 2011 by Holly Good. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105