My husband and I have always wanted to be parents. One of our earliest conversations when we were dating was expressing our mutual desire to adopt children one day. We both always desired a family. By God’s grace we have been blessed with 5 amazing children–3 adopted and 2 biological. We truly love being parents. However, within the last few years we both have felt a deeper desire to disciple and be more intentional with our time with our kids. There is such an extreme importance and yet heaviness to raising Godly children in this wicked world.
We, of course, have always taken parenting seriously but recently there just seems to be a deeper level of urgency in loving and discipling our children well. I don’t know if it’s just that we are getting older and realizing how quickly time is passing. I don’t know if it was when our oldest became a teenager. I don’t know if it was the pandemic or the crazy policies and wicked ideologies that seem to be popping up everywhere, but whatever it was; we have felt a call more intense than ever before to be diligent in discipling and equipping our children.
Worldly View of Children:
It definitely feels like children are constantly laid on the altar of selfishness and wickedness. Sadly, It is so common for children to bear the burden of the adults, instead of the adults protecting the children. We can look around the wicked world and see countless atrocities that are actively stealing the innocence and even the lives of the next generation. Abortion, corrupt gender ideology, and the sexualization of children are only a few of the atrocities that we seen running rampant in our culture. May we, as God’s children, rise up and seek to protect our children. May we claim them and fight for them. May we live putting them before us.
Everyday, we are striving to love and serve our children well. Everyday we fail. Everyday we mess up. But, God is so gracious and with each new sunrise is yet another opportunity to love them well and point them to Jesus.
Within the past year, we have made two huge changes in the hopes of better discipling our children:
Changing our address:
As my husband and I were planning our move, one of the things that was in the forefront of our mind was moving to a place that would provide a better future for our children. A place that was more affordable and that had more conservative policies. We wanted to raise our children in a place, where they were not being suffocated by insane taxes and horrible policies. We wanted them to be able to hopefully thrive in their adult lives. We knew that moving to a red state would help support these desires.
There are people who dislike the Texas Heartbeat bill and the TexasTrans bill, however if you actually look into what these bills say and not the propaganda or misinformation that is spread about them, you will see that they clearly protect children. We are thankful to live in a state that has bills like this in place. Now, Texas is in no way perfect and full of sinners just like anywhere else, but it is very true that policies affect people, which is why we should care so much about the politics that create these policies–to very loosely quote Allie Stuckey, one of my favorite podcast hosts. (https://alliebethstuckey.com/) Moving to Texas has blessed us in many ways. One of the main ways is to hopefully be able to provide a better life (physically and spiritually) for our children here.
Changing our mindset about schooling:
When we were in California, our kids attended a private Christian school. We loved and still love that school. It was honestly like a family to us and one of the hardest things to leave when we moved. I am a former special education teacher, but before this year I had zero desire to homeschool our children. In fact, I would have adamantly told you “No!” if you would have asked me if I would want to homeschool my children. However, when we moved to Texas my heart started to soften.
When we first moved to Texas, my kids were attending a charter school and everyday when I dropped them off, I felt so sad. I missed them. I barely knew their teachers. One of my kids was constantly getting in trouble because he’s so active. Another one of my kids was having inappropriate comments and gestures directed at her. All of my kids were overloaded with homework and were coming home exhausted and grumpy. Finally my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Why are we sending them away from us everyday? We have the authority as their parents to change this.” So we did. We pulled them out mid-year and started researching all kinds of schooling options. We landed on a homeschool/private school hybrid model. It has been a great opportunity to get our toes wet in the homeschool world.
I can honestly say that I have absolutely loved having my children home more with me. The Lord has truly softened my heart. I am enjoying my time with them in a much deeper way. I can also honestly say that the last few months I have had some of my hardest days as a parent. Many days have ended in tears, as I have collapsed on my bed feeling like a failure after butting heads all day with one or more of my children. This has in no way been an easy transition. But the good outweighs the bad. I am so thankful for the blessing and opportunity to have my kids home more with me.
We still haven’t 100% decided what our schooling will look like next year, but my husband and I are definitely feeling more and more of a pull to homeschool. And thankfully, Texas has amazing homeschool laws! Homeschool is definitely not for every family. However, being mindful of what your children are learning and who is influencing them and their worldview, is an important calling for all Christian parents. As Voddie Baucham says, “We can’t continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” https://www.voddiebaucham.org/
Fun/Practical Ideas to be Intentional with your children:
Every family culture will look different. Every family has rhythms that work for them and their lifestyle. But here is a sampling of a few fun and practical things that we try to do to be more intentional as a family:
Family dinners every night
Family catechism with dessert
Devotions at breakfast
Family memory verses
Church and going out to eat lunch after
Friday movie nights
Lots of family outings and exploring together
Lots of being active together: hikes, walks, bike rides, swimming etc
Trying to invest in our kids’ interests
Celebrating the big and little things
Making a big deal of birthdays, holidays and adoption anniversaries
We still have so many ways we can improve and grow in discipling our children, but we are praying that the Lord will use our humble efforts. We are praying that the seeds we plant will eventually bring forth fruit. We are praying that the Lord will continue to refine us and use us in shaping these eternal souls for His glory.
May Christian parents all over the country take back their God given authority to raise, educate and disciple their children however they see fit.