I have found one of the best windows into my own heart is my children. By observing the things that they say and do, and how they interact with others, I can see some of my own actions and attitudes. I see things that I know they saw or heard me say or do reinacted by them. Some things I have seen them say and do have been encouraging and have ministered to me deeply.
About a week ago I was driving home from the grocery store with the kids in tow. I was feeling down and in need of some encouragement, so I was excited when one of my new favorite songs came on the radio. It is "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong. I had just fallen in love with it and was super excited when we started singing it during the worship service at church. As soon as it came on the radio I turned it up a couple of notches. When the chorus started I could hear Ray clapping in the back seat. I turned around to see her holding her hands outstretched in praise with a huge smile on her face. My heart smiled as I saw my 20 month old daughter worshipping the best she knows how. She was imitating what she has seen from me when we listen to that song. It was the absolutely perfect encouragement. The uplifting that I so badly needed at that moment.
There is other ways that my children bless and encourage me daily. Luke will not go to bed with out family prayer time.
Ray will not eat a meal without covering her eyes and saying "pray". We all bow our heads while Ray mumbles a few sentences and then yells, "Maymen!"(That's "Amen", incase you were wondering.) She is very adament when she wants to pray. Some times we thank God for our food 5 times in one meal. Lately she has wanted to stop and pray at random times during the day. A couple of days ago I was sitting on the floor in the living room and she crawled up in my lap and wanted to pray.
Anytime there is an improtant issue that our family is dealing with Luke tells everyone he sees to pray about it. This past Monday at co-op he went up to a total stranger and asked them to "pray for his Uncle Erik's head because he fell down some stairs and had to get alot of staples in it". When I was pregnant with Treyson he told everyone to pray that God would give our baby some kidneys.
For my birthday Josh gave me a freestanding swing for the yard so that I can sit and swing when the kids are out playing(Which would be all day every day if I would let them.) When Josh gave it to me I was thanked him, but I also semi-scolded him because he spent more than the allotted birthday amont on my gifts. He explained that the day he went to get the swing it had gone on sale. When Luke heard that he blurted out, "Thank you God that the swing was on sale and we got to get it for Mama's birthday! Thank you! Thank you, God!" Not only was he emphatically thankful to God, but that was his first reaction.
Also, Luke tells me almost daily that he loves me SOOO much, but that he loves God more because he loves God more than anything in the whole world.
All of these things are more than just cute and heart warming. It shows me where their hearts are. It shows me that they are devoloping a love for Jesus. As a parent, that is my upmost goal. To teach my children to love the Lord with their whole heart. If they truly do that, then everything else will fall into place. If they fully love Him then they will accept, trust, obey, and follow His will for their lives.
Of course, not every action that they pick up from me is a positive one. Some times the reflection of myself that I see in my children is down right ugly. I've heard Luke from the other room yelling, "Raylen Jayne! I'm not going to tell you one more time to stop touching that!" He sounds just like me, except for the whole five-year-old-boys-voice thing.
Two days ago I walked in the kitchen to find Raylen spanking her baby doll. I have full confidence in Ray that the doll had committed a spank worthy offense, but it still stung a bit that she had choosen that aspect of mothering to reinact with her baby.
Another time, Josh and I were disagreeing about how to do something and Luke piped up, "Daddy, you need to do what Mama says 'cause she is the boss of this family." Ouch! That one put me in my place. Do I really give the apperance of being the boss of the family? I know that I'm the more outspoken one out of the two of us because Josh is just so easy going. But apparently I look like the boss of our house, and that is not at all the way I want my children, or anyone for that matter, to view our home and Josh and I's marriage.
Leave it to your kids to open your eyes about how you really are.
I know that I am FAR from the perfect parent. Some days I feel like a complete failure in that compacity. It is THE most important job that God has entrusted me with and I don't always give it the attention and energy that I should. But it is exciting and encouraging to know that God not only can use me, but that he already is using me to help develope a love for Christ in my children.