Make Investments In Parenting by Sonya

I truly believe that raising a Godly family brings glory to God.  HE has entrusted us to take care of His children and family. We are to take this job seriously. I know there can be a lot of sacrifices in raising a family but it is definitely worth the investment.  As the Graber Family, we’ve made up five family values that we want to live by:

1.        Honor God with our words and actions.

2.        Love each other.

3.        Honor your parents.

4.        Forgive others.

5.        Always do your best.

We have these values framed to remind us what we stand for as a family and how important God is at the center.  Teaching them in God’s ways will sow seeds into your family and to the next generation and next. “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that.”  (Ecclesiastes 11:6)  There are expectations that we teach our children that help guide them into the future.  For our family we have taught our children first time obedience where they need to listen to us the first time and not waiting to count to three to finally do it.  We expect them to honor us by obeying right away when we ask them to do something.  This is also a form of respect so that when someone else in authority asks them to do something, they will respond in the same way.  Respect and honor is huge in our family and we expect them to treat their siblings in love and respect as well. Treating others, as we would want to be treated is a golden rule that we live by and loving God and others as stated in the greatest commandment, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” These teachings take time and consistency as parents.  It is worth the investment to see your reward of respectful kids.  It is just not respect for people but for property as well.  We have taught our kids not to litter and to pick up someone else’s litter if we see it.  Also we expect them to leave things in order the same way it was when we arrived to a certain place. This could be at a restaurant, friend’s house, the pool, any place it is respectful to leave that place better than how we arrived.  These examples are just a few of our expectations that sow seeds into a Godly character.  Investing the time into parenting is priceless and you will see the reward as you raise up the next generation. Putting forth the hard work and effort towards your family is worth the investment. Don’t grow weary, as you will reap the harvest of Godly children, which is pleasing to God!

Live As If Drianna’s Watching by Kenika

 

I was born into a rather large family. My mother is the oldest of eleven, and my father is one of ten siblings.  In case you didn’t pay attention to the math that is 19 aunts and uncles.  In addition I have great aunts, great uncles, countless cousins, second cousins and so forth.  Surprisingly, with all of this family on both sides, I can only boast one niece.  Her name is Drianna and she was born to my brother, and his then girlfriend, when I was a preteen.  That was one of the happiest days of my life! I felt like I was getting the gift of my very own baby doll.  I absolutely loved dressing her up in her super cute outfits, and doing her hair complete with headbands and bows.  It was such a joy having this little person around, her father and mother never had to press hard for a babysitter as I was always willing.

Ever since she was born, I always had awareness that she was watching me (and my older sister).  Drianna is biracial, but at a very young age would get upset if we referred to her as anything but black like we are.  She has absolutely gorgeous, curly hair, but when she was about five or six years old, she would make statements like, “Auntie, I want my hair to be straight like yours.”  At one point, she took scissors to her head and (tragically as I see it) chopped off all of her beautiful hair.  I hope she’s not embarrassed by this story…too late. Today she is a well-adjusted, college student who is fully aware of who she is and where she comes from, but I have to think that our influence on her led her to pose those questions about identity.  As a middle school student, she was determined that she was going to go to college at Grand Valley State University, study abroad and then move to Florida one day.  My mother, her grandmother, would chuckle when she said this because she knew it was exactly what I had done.

Knowing that she is watching me has been a huge motivation in my own life. It has helped to shape my decisions, the way I conduct myself, and the example that I am attempting to lead by.  When I think of striving, I think of her.  In times when I’ve considered giving up, I think of her.  There have been moments recently when I didn’t want to fight for what I believe in, and all I could think was what would that show her if I gave up?  She’s the easiest girl in the world to love with her bubbly personality, and warm and caring heart.  I never ever want her to be disappointed in me in a way that could have been avoided.  Her eyes have always been watching me, in my book, and they always will. It is a humbling way to live life knowing that your decisions not only affect you, but those around you.  For some it’s your children, or other family members, or even friends.  I always want to live a life that she can be proud of, and if she desires, would be able to model herself after.

Faith Ignited Through Your Kids by Sonya

As a parent I have realized that you have to truly know who you are in Christ.  I speak from experience as I am raising three girls and one boy all under seven. I know God gives you children as a blessing and we get the privilege to raise them, but a lot of times I think they are raising me. My third daughter just asked Jesus into her heart at three years old. My other two girls were young as well when they made that decision. It blows me away how much they have taught me to follow the Lord.  As I see faith in my kid’s eyes, and through their lens, I can’t comprehend the overwhelming love they have for God.  Their faith ignites my faith and causes me to strength my character in HIM.

I have learned what it means to pray and the power of prayer as I watch my girls talk to God like He is right there, and pour their hearts out to Him during the day. My middle daughter has a prayer chain that she made and has blue chains for the boys and pink chains for the girls that we pray for as a family. We break the chains off once the prayer is answered. They lay hands on each other and pray for healing when sick.   My five year old daughter goes to a public school and is not ashamed of her faith!  She got the teacher and class gather together to pray for her brother when he spiked a fever, and prayed for a little boy at recess because he was sad.  I am sharing these things not to brag but to give you a glimpse of how God works through children.  We should not be ashamed of who our God is and we are to tell others about Him.  I get excited and on fire to see God move in our family because I know we have little prayer warriors and evangelists that are not afraid of what the world brings.

So I ask myself, where am I lacking in my faith?  What can my children show me? Our children can certainly show us our weaknesses, but do we see the good and strengthen on those weaknesses?  Are we maturing in our faith as we raise our family?  Our children are looking to us as the models but a lot of times they show us how to be the example. I want to encourage you to fuel that fire and passion in your heart to be all that God has called you to be. As a parent, I challenge you to grow and mature with each trial and allow yourself to view your faith through your child. You must have the faith of a child as Mark states, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God” Mark 10:14-15.

A Proverbs 31 Mother

“Her children stand and bless her” Proverbs 31:28. This verse is powerful because what mom wouldn’t want her children to bless her?  As we look deeper into Proverbs 31 there is a lot to be said about a mother and wife, but particularly the mother role influences the next generation through her children.  Our children are our ministries.  When I became a full-time stay at home mom, I learned how important our role is and even more so now as I have four little ones watching my every move.

Proverbs 31 describes characteristics of a godly mother. “She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.” (Verse 17) I love this passage about hard work because motherhood is a lot of energy and work. To be a godly parent takes hard work, consistency, and strength to stick up for godly principles and not to conform to this world.  Don’t compromise in this area of parenting because if you do you risk losing the blessings.

“She watches for bargains; her light burns late into the night.” (Verse 18) As I read that verse again I have to laugh because here I am typing this at eleven at night. Yes, I firmly know my candle burns late at night because that is when everyone is sleeping and I can get things done. Can I get a witness from any moms out there? Also, the other part of the verse is the bargain and yes I am a second hand shopper and love getting the deal. I think we as women are wired that way because if another woman gives us a compliment, we can’t just simply say “thank you,” we say how much we got that outfit on sale for.

The woman being described in Proverbs is in high regard and is on a level that we, as mothers, should strive for.  “She extends a helping hand to poor and opens her arm to the needy.” (Verse 20) This is one of the first characteristics we need to teach our children about serving others and realizing that it is not about us.  As a mom we learn that quickly in just our motherhood roles that you have to be selfless to be a mom. Take the time to find ways to serve and bless others and you will see the impact it makes on not only your family but your life as well.

As a mother our role is to be the backbone and glue that holds our family together.  Because we are the eyes of our household as verse 27 states, “She carefully watches all that goes on in her household.”  Our household is our safe haven and it is our job to watch what goes on in our family. We want to be women who fear the Lord in every role we have especially as a mom. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised,” verse 30 explains.  At the end of the day I want to hear the blessings from my children and the praise from my heavenly father saying a job well done. GOD is sooo good and He can be sooo good to you by teaching you to be a Ruby Mother.