There’s a woman that goes to my church and she is as sweet as she can be. Every time she sees me she makes a point to say hello and hug me or at least smile. She is growing as Christian and still getting to know her place in the Lord. The other night after service, she said to me, “You’re going to think this is strange, but I always watch you. You may have noticed me looking at you, but I look at you and see that you are everything I wish I could’ve been. I really look up to you.”
My reactions? Number one, I told her she can still be everything she wants to be! Number two, I told her how much what she said meant to me. I never would have dreamed that my life meant that much to someone else. Number three, I started to question my every move! Until she told me that, I had no idea that was how she felt. I had no idea that she looked up to me. I began to think to myself, “I’m just little old me. Why in the world would she want to watch me as an example. I’m not anything special. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes.” Then my thinking turned into panicking. “I make mistakes!!! She’s watching me and I make mistakes! I’m not perfect!! What if I lead her astray?? What if I don’t do her justice?!”
Our conversation has been in my mind all week. I’ve always known that I should set an example because the world is watching, the little ones are watching, etc., but when someone came to me and told me that personally, it became real. I want to be the best example I can possibly be. I want to be the ultimate reflection of Jesus. If people watch me, but only see me, then I’m doing a horrible job. However, if they watch me and see the light and love of Jesus, then I’m on the right track.
Oh, I definitely have my moments, and the devil loves it whenever I fail. That’s what he wants. It’s the desire of the enemy to knock us down and keep us there. Yet, if we have Jesus within us, it’s easier to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back in the race He has called us to run. Even when you’re oblivious to it like I was, people everywhere are watching. The thing is, there are two different kinds of people. There are the ones who are watching and waiting for you to fall, so they can say, “I told you so,” especially if you stay down. Then there are the ones who see you fall and are standing there waiting to help you back up, saying, “I knew you could make it!” And that latter group is far more important.
Always be aware of everything you do or say (Hey, I’m preaching to myself here!) because whether it’s little eyes or someone that’s older wanting a second chance, someone is always watching.
I remember when my oldest niece, Josie, was in the fourth grade and came home one evening to let Karen (her mom/my awesome sister!) go through the papers in her backpack. Apparently her teacher had them do a composition write up each week and they were given a prompt. This particular week the directions were as follows, “Write a composition in which you tell about your favorite activity and explain how to do it. Give step-by-step instructions.”
Once Karen read what Josie had written and then let me read it, I asked to keep it because I knew I wanted to write about it one day. I was amazed that it was from a child. Her response to the prompt was this,
“My favorite activity is worshiping God. Do you know what this means? You
have asked God into your heart. All you have to do is, first, you repent. Next, you
go to church and give a praise report that you have done this. Then, you lift your
hand and pray. Finally, you ask for forgiveness every night and love Him like He
Wow! See how simple it is? When a fourth grader (she is now in junior high and believes much the same way) can so easily grasp the concept, it should put us adults to shame. My favorite part of her response is the very last phrase- “Love Him like He loves you.” Now that right there says it all. Yes, we may love God, but do we really love Him like He loves us? More than likely, we’ll find that the answer is no. And quite frankly, I believe we’ll never be able to love Him like He loves us because His love NEVER fails. However, we can most definitely spend our lives striving to love Him like He loves us.
Are we teaching our kids the proper way to love God? Are we setting a proper example? Maybe we should examine ourselves and change the way we approach God, our Heavenly Father. Jesus even says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) It’s that plain and simple and Josie GOT it. I think we should try to look at it from Josie’s point of view. Maybe then, we might just get it, too.
Some of you may be wondering:
How can I have a legacy that carries on when I have such an un-Godly past behind me? Doesn’t that leave me marred somehow?
We’ve all done things. Some of us more so than others. But then we came to know Jesus, and he washed all of those sins away.
Now that you’re on your new found path, you stress. But why?
Um, maybe because my past is troubling me…
I’ve struggled with this myself before. I used to always worried that I was unworthy or incapable of teaching my children the ways of the Lord because I was not always pure. But there are a few things I want to point out to you that helped me…
Nothing in your past has anything to do with the legacy you will pass down unless you allow it to. So stand tall, hold your head high, and teach your children the way they need to be taught. Never hold back or feel insecure. Tell them all about our Father and be confident.
After all, if you’re not confident, why would they want what you have? Be the example!
OMGosh! It never fails to behoove me, to see the kids in our school and observe the way they treat each other. They are so pre-occupied with impressing each other than doing the “right” thing. It doesn’t matter what they say because it doesn’t matter who’s feelings they hurt. This type of behavior begins at home. When the kids see their parents acting in this childish behavior, it plants a seed for others to come by and water, and then a root system begins to grow.
I tell my kids all of the time that they are responsible for themselves. No one is going to make them live a life for Christ. I can lead them and guide them in the way that they should go, but I can’t be with them every second of the day. That is why I teach them to hide the Word of God in their heart, so that they can draw on it in times of need.
Popularity doesn’t do anything for you in life. It will not get you to Heaven, and you truly don’t have any REAL friends. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for popularity. But if given the choice, always choose integrity. Choose what’s right over pleasing others because it’s what they want you to do.
As mothers, or people who have a strong influence over the life of children, it is not too late to set a good example. To teach others integrity.
It’s really easy to get an idea of what we would LIKE for our legacy to be. Living that legacy, well, that can be another story, right? Just like everything else in parenting, easier said than done.
So how can we set those examples before our children and others?
Well, first of all, we must strive daily to NOT be a “Do as I say, not as I do” parent. Telling our children to live one way while we live another is obviously not the way to achieve a Godly legacy.
Second, if we want our children to grow up and have meaningful relationships we must show them that by our example also. Being a true friend, a loving wife, a good daughter, etc are all ways for them to learn how to interact with others on their own. If we talk trash behind others backs, hold grudges, allow our husbands to put us down or abuse us emotionally or physically, disrespect our husbands, and argue consistently with our families then our children will believe that these actions are acceptable. Plain and simple. When your kids are grown and they shine in their relationships, I guarantee someone is going to say “They must have had a really fantastic mother.” Seriously.
I have to remind myself of these things EVERY day. I am human, and sometimes I have to stop myself and say “Hey! Don’t be a hypocrite! Little eyes are watching you, as are those of others who expect you to be what you say, a Christian. Shape up!”
Thankfully, with diligent prayer and discipline, we can do our best and bring up our children to know the Lord and live his ways… I’m going to try my hardest. Will you?
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
Definition of PATRON3: one who buys the goods or uses the services offered especially by an establishment
Ever been in a line at the store or sitting in a restaurant when suddenly you hear a customer being down right rude and mean to the employee helping them, or worse, another customer?
What about not even really acknowledging the person helping you, but just treating them as a gateway to get the stuff you want/need NOW?
Maybe you’re on a phone call with a customer service representative and they anger you, so you rip into them?
Sadly, it happens. We’re human, so naturally we make mistakes. We get sensitive or angry about something and we want to blame someone and throw a tantrum until it is fixed. But what kind of message are we sending out as Christians when we do this?
Think about it, what is the person on the other side going through that day? What if it’s a new job and they are just learning? What if it’s a single Mom working 3 jobs just to support her children and ill parents? I mean, yeah, sometimes the other person is just a jerk and could care less… But shouldn’t we show even them our love? And what about those who are with us when we act this way… We are humiliating our friends, family, & setting a poor example for our children. For some, we are the only Bible they will ever read. What if their idea of a Christian is skewed because of our bad temper?
So, how exactly can we minister? How can being a patron be a calling? Well, it’s actually not difficult at all. Here are a few tips:
I won’t lie, this was hard for me to write. I, myself, have a problem with this from time to time. I’m GUILTY! YES! I said it! And if I’m the only one that learns from this, that’s okay… Because I needed to be reminded.
Thank you for reading! God bless! 😉
Every few months or so we have what we call a “Young at Heart” night at church where anyone that wants to come can show up to eat, fellowship, and play games. Our last event doubled as a surprise 40th birthday party for my sister-in-law, who got to celebrate with a cake that had black icing. This black icing was extremely messy. So my mother-in-law, also known as my pastor’s wife, decided to have fun with it. She smeared the black icing around her lips and began to let everyone see. As she headed toward our table, Naomi (my 3-year-old) said to her nana, “What the hell is that on your face?!”
We were all in shock. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I was torn between the two thoughts of “Oh my gosh, I cannot believe my daughter just said that,” and “OH. MY. GOSH. I canNOT believe my daughter just said that!!!!!” Naomi, however, had no idea that what she said was in any way wrong.
I kept thinking, “Where in the world did she hear that??” No one in our family uses that kind of language. No one she is around uses that kind of language. Then I thought to myself, “Surely she hasn’t heard it from tv enough to say it….surely not.”
A week or so later brought along another curse word. I was flabbergasted. I finally realized that she had to have heard it from tv because NO one in our family uses those words. Then I kept thinking, “Are the shows we watch really that bad?” Many of times I watch entire episodes of shows and never hear anything bad. Why? Because I don’t pay attention. After Naomi’s own two “episodes,” I became very aware of every word said on whatever we were watching- especially when she was in the room. I found myself saying, “Naomi, don’t say that,” or “You can’t say that word,” or just turning the channel because it was all just inappropriate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking tv. But I’ve learned from experience and chatter with other moms that we tend to overlook things of this world and let them in our home without realizing it. It then interferes with the upbringing of our children and we’ll more than likely pay for it in a later situation. I decided I was going to start paying close attention to the things in my everyday life and since then, I’ve noticed a closer relationship with God…..and less tv. Not only has it made a difference in my life, but also in the lives of my kids. And let me just say, I do not miss it as much as I thought I would.