By Bethany Lashbrook
This Week’s Verse: Proverb 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)
When I was growing up, my parents were firm believers in the church, and I grew up in a small country church right outside of Marshall. There I learned what every child learns in church. I grew up rich in the Methodist faith and confirmed my belief by accepting God into my life at age nine at church camp.
By age twelve, I became vastly aware of the world around me. I was interested in boys and what boys thought of me. I liked to wear makeup to change my appearance. Already church and religion were taking a back seat in my life.
By age fourteen, religion was practically gone. I started maturing, therefore, started making my own decisions. I decided God was not needed. By fifteen, I didn’t believe in a godly lifestyle at all. I decided that life was more “fun” without God in my life and I didn’t need a list of rules to follow in order to make it in this world.
The rest of the story is pretty easy to fill in. I went through lots of trials and tribulations the next ten years, and started wanting LIFE again when I fell in love with my future husband and had my first daughter Savannah. After having my second daughter, Gabrielle, in 2005, I decided it was time for a permanent change in my life. Not only was I responsible for my own life now, but for my two children’s lives as well. I was baptized in 2007 to confirm my faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ, and have since strived to be a Christian woman and mother strong in faith.
I used to think I had failed my parents because they had “trained me” to live in faith and I did not follow it. Recently, I heard a sermon I found online. This man proclaimed a new way to look at this week's verse, Proverbs 22:6. He said not to think of it as raising a child in church and she will not depart from it, but raising a child to understand fully and wholly whom she is and she will not turn from herself. WOW! So, these personality characteristics of mine that my parents and I really didn’t appreciate are what actually eased my way through those ten years of constant struggle in my life.
I am strong-willed. I am independent. I tell a person how it really is. I can take a beating and get right back up. I don’t get my feelings hurt too often, yet am sensitive to how others feel. My parents raised me to use these characteristics of mine, no matter what situation in life I had gotten myself into. Not only did these characteristics help me stay strong through some of the worst years of my life, but they also led me back to Christ.
They continue to direct me today into such things as having a strong Christian faith, trusting other believers with some of “my story”, asking God to help me heal from situations from my past, writing devotions, and praying with other women for my children in our Mother’s Prayer Group.
My oldest daughter (who is six) and I are already arguers. We have the same personality. I used to think that this would inhibit our growth. Instead, my other praying mama’s and I have used this to enhance our growth. By praying that God uses these traits of hers to His best ability, then she will surely know who she is and who He has intended for her to be. I also pray that I will not get upset at her for having these traits. She is God-made and he did make her in His image and I cannot get mad that He wanted her to be this way. Therefore, even if she goes through a period in her life like I did, she will not turn from herself, but find herself and come back all for the Glory of God.
Lord, Thank you for making me “ me”. Thank you for making my children to better compliment my life. Help me to remember that you have made each of your children in your likeness. You have formed us completely to be whole and to worship you. Guide and direct each one of us. Amen.
*Don’t worry about praying the “right” prayer. Remember, the Lord knows what you are trying to say. Let the Holy Spirit guide your words. If you are having a tough time in your prayer life, try changing your routine!
*Use a list that has the things you would like to pray for daily, weekly, and has room for additional prayer requests during the week
*Find a prayer partner. Start by praying for a half hour a week and see where it leads.
*Set aside time every day for prayer. Prayer does not have to be with your eyes shut, it can be in the shower, on your drive to work, while exercising, or while waiting for your children at soccer practice!
Deuteronomy 14:1, “You are the children of the Lord your God.” (NIV)
Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (NIV)
Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” (NLT)