A Home Full of Life
Educating the WholeHearted Child: Chapter 3
“A home can be filled with praiseworthy Christian things and activities and yet still seem lifeless. It just doesn’t seem as though the Spirit of Christ is alive there.”
“…your first responsibility as a parent is to lead your children to the life-giving presence and reality of Christ in your heart and home.”
“You are to be the primary life-giving presence of Christ to your children, through his Spirit living and working in your life as a Christian parent and through his Word, just as Christ imparted life to those who came in contact with him…”
“Children who grow up in a home that is alive with the Spirit of God and whose spirits are nurtures and fed will be coming life-living and life-giving adults.”
When I finished page 45 I realized that every passage I had highlighted contained the word “life.” I’ve shared over the past few weeks that I find “home nurture” more challenging than “home discipleship” and “home education” (the Clarksons three “biblical priorities” that define a Christian home) (page 20). However, as I read through these first few pages of Chapter 3 I felt a sense of relief. (As in, I’m not screwing up my kids quite so much as I thought!)
I do think our home is full of life. There are a lot of Christian “things and activities,” but there is definitely more than that. The Clarksons look at Ephesians 6 and talk about Paul’s instructions to bring children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (To “bring them up” could also be translated as “to nourish” or “to nurture” them). As I read through their descriptions of what that nurturing looks like, I realized that there is a lot of that going on in our home.
We try to address things on a heart level. We practice grace. We talk to our kids and speak life-giving words into them. We pray with them. We ask for forgiveness when we’re wrong. We regularly have other families over for times of fellowship, prayer, worship, encouraging one another, etc. We are trying to walk out a life of faith in front of them.
I’m not saying we’re perfect or we’ve got it all together, but I’m not beating myself up quite so much either. I think reading through this book is helping me to take more notice of what I do and how I do it. It’s showing me not only my weaknesses but also my strengths, and I can see more clearly things I want to work on and areas in which I need to pray that God will help me to grow. For instance, I loved the Clarksons encouragement about the Word of God: “When you read the Bible, let them know it is God speaking to you as a family” (page 47). It would be easy to bring this into conversation, but sometimes I forget and Bible time just becomes part of our routine. I want to make sure my children know that I believe God’s Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
I love that we never stop learning and growing. I am so thankful for God’s grace in my life. I look back at the growth He has brought about in me over the years that I have followed Him, and I know that He is going to continue to help me become the parent He wants me to be. And when I mess up, at least I know my children have a Savior they can turn to. After all, if they had a perfect mother who could make all things right in their life, why would they need Him? All I can do is turn to Him to fill me with His life, and then let that life pour out of me into my children. And someday they will learn to go right to the source of true life because they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
Each Mentoring Monday I share my reflections on what I’ve been learning from my “paper mentors.” I am currently joining in a book discussion of Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson). If you want to join in, visit our Facebook discussion group page.