2.09.2014

My daughters, my sisters

Photo by Molly Viglione Photography, 2013
Before we had children, I read Tedd Tripp's book "Shepherding a Child's Heart". It revolutionized my idea of what parenting is by conforming it to God's idea for what parenting should be, and has shaped most of my decisions and interactions as a mom.

My daughters were given to my husband and I, not so we could have temporary lordship over them, and get a kick out of telling them what to do and how to live - it was because the Lord was pleased to let us work alongside Him in raising up world-changing disciples for Jesus who are capable of thriving and growing after we are gone. 

One of the relationships that a believer has with other believers is that of a sibling relationship. Over and over in the New Testament, we are reminded that we are to treat fellow believers as brothers and sisters (or, better, if you have had a crummy relationship with your actual siblings!).

Romans 8:29 - Jesus is the firstborn (the rightful heir) among many siblings! Anyone who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ has been adopted into the family of God - we are all spiritual brothers & sisters. 
1 Timothy 5:1-2 - Paul's instructions to Timothy on how the believers are to treat one another! Treat...'the younger women as sisters, with all purity'.
1 Peter 3:8-9 - treat the brethren (believers) with a tender heart and courtesy, returning blessing for evil. When my girls are rude, disrespectful, wretched...I am to be a blessing to them, not mean toward them.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 - I included this because Paul is speaking to his brethren (believers). I try to keep this passage in my mind when dealing with my girls: so that they may know that I am not parenting in human wisdom but that their faith should be solely in God's wisdom and power. Parenting is not a power play; it is a guiding role.

My daughters, if I am raising them in the truths of Scripture and covering them with prayers {and they are made alive in Christ by the Spirit!}, will be my sisters in the Lord - equals, as far as the Lord is concerned. I am not a better Christian than they are; I am to act toward them like an older, wiser, loving sister. The relationship I have to them as sisters will extend beyond the years as the authority figure/mom; I must plan for and parent in light of that.

Now, as their mom, I need to remember that in addition, the Lord has called me to train them to obey, trust, and grow in character. I am not their 'sister' in the sense that I'm their best friend and can let them get away with whatever. No, God's calling for parents is clear. I do not train my girls to obey Will and I because we are worthy to be obeyed in our own right; I train them to obey because if they will not obey us, they are not likely to obey the Lord when He speaks to them. I don't train my girls in good character qualities so my life will be easier and I can take them out in public with confidence; I train them in good character so that no matter what the Lord calls them to later on, they will have a foundation of character on which to build, so that His name will be honored.

But how does my knowledge that these are my younger sisters in the faith change our day-to-day relationship?
-It means that I will think twice before berating them for making my life more difficult when they mess up as they are learning. It is a sacred responsibility and joy to take the time to teach my 'little sisters' everything from studying the Word, to cooking, to dusting, to managing conflict among themselves. 
-It means that I take the time to share with them what I'm learning from my own quiet time - in an age-appropriate way. For my preschooler, that might look like "God is showing me that He is always faithful!"; for my older girls it might be "see this verse here that I read? It means that no matter what is happening, even if I think it's bad, that He can be trusted to do the right thing!"
-It means that sometimes, I am just goofy with them instead of hounding them to be quiet/stop making messes/sit down/etc. Rather than seeing the girls as a management project, I delight in their company, because  they are each created in the image of God, born for an eternal purpose! 
-It means that I purpose to speak to them with the same respect I would extend to any other adult.
-It means that when they start talking about their dreams, I put everything down ASAP and listen. I want to let them know that I will do whatever I can to help them find out what God has planned for them, and that I am behind them all the way.
-It means that when I see a glaring character flaw or sin issue in one of my girls, I don't complain about how much it affects me and makes my job harder. I swiftly go to battle on my knees on her behalf, and I find a way to point her to Jesus and what His word has to say for her specific need.
-It means that when my girls take the time to minister to me, I don't just flippantly respond, 'oh, that's so cute!'. I thank them earnestly for their encouragement, and I praise the Lord for speaking to me through their lives.

I am not just trying to limp my way through managing children day in and day out for the next 15 years, until all the girls are 18 and "no longer my responsibility!". With the Lord's help, vision, and direction, I am investing my days to disciple a new generation of passionate women for Christ; and when they are grown, my goal is to walk alongside them through joys and sorrows, and offer counsel as a dear friend and sister.

They'll always be my little girls :)
Photo by Molly Viglione Photography, 2013.
Elizabeth, Abby, & Hannah will always be my little girls. They are, as the Psalmist says, 'a heritage' and 'a reward' {Psalm 127:3}. I will cherish the little years for my lifetime - it is a terrific calling to shepherd little hearts and watch them grow in grace and knowledge. But my years in the hands-on mothering role are fleeting. From now, and for eternity, they will be my sisters in Christ, and I want to parent with that in mind always.

How does the truth that your children will someday be your siblings in the Lord change how you treat them?

Shepherding my daughters,
loving my sisters,
for His glory!
~Lisha

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13 comments:

  1. This is a truth I often tend to forget, so thanks for the reminder! :) I do enjoy sharing what I've gleaned in my quiet time, to encourage my daughters in their growth, as well as to lead them in establishing their own quiet time.

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    1. I'm thankful this was a blessing to you, Tracey! It is so precious to share with our daughters what God is doing in our hearts and showing them what it means to be a daughter of the Almighty!

      I'm so glad you stopped by!
      ~Lisha :)

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  2. Wow!!! Those sculptures are impressive. Thanks for sharing the pictures. We don't have enough snow to do anything like that here so it was fun to see.

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  3. What beautiful words you shared today! I'm over from Cornerstone Confessions and oh so thank for that! I wasn't in the Lord when I had children, so I fear of the wrong decisions I've made along the way of parenting - however, I am thankful for lessons and guidance from the Holy Spirit that I may change those ways and be the shepherd He intended me to be. http://vintagehousewife.org/2014/02/11/spread-the-love-mercy-house-kenya/

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    1. Thank you, Shannon. Remember when that fear rises up that He can make up for those years (Joel 2:25) and do exceeding abundantly above all that you could imagine (Ephesians 3:20) in the hearts of your children when they see what He has done in you!

      I am so thankful that you stopped by! I hope you have a blessed day :)
      ~Lisha

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  4. Um wow… By the Grace of GOD, this post was amazing. I’m a wife and mamma in training right now, which means I can apply this post not only to my future children, but also TO MY PRESENT 6 YOUNGER BROTHERS AND SISTERS! Applied in THAT manner?!?!!? OUCH OUCH OUCH!!!!!

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    1. This is a sweet encouragement :) Yes, your younger brothers and sisters are your spiritual brothers & sisters, too - and that can be hard to remember & live out sometimes!

      I appreciate how Titus doesn't break things down too much: older men and women, treat as you would parents; younger men and women, as brothers and sisters. Honor & respect the elder, be tender and respectful to the younger.

      I am so thankful you've stopped by!
      ~Lisha :)

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  5. Beautiful words, Lisha, and you did make me tear up. It's an incredible responsibility. My takeaway is that I need to be praying more for the sins I see in my babies.

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    1. Thanks, Gabby!

      I think as a mom of littles it's so easy to forget to battle in the spiritual realm because we're so busy battling exhaustion, fussiness, sass, stress - all in the physical realm! But that praying for the sin struggles now, while they are little, could release them from a lifetime of dealing with that sin. I have one daughter who has a quick and violent temper, and once I started investing time in praying specifically for that area, her heart was open to dealing with it. It still rears its ugly head at times, but I would say it no longer has a hold on her, by God's grace!

      Blessings,
      ~Lisha

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  6. Beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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    1. Thank you for always being an encourager, Mel! :)

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  7. I love how you have a vision for your daughters. With the help of the Holy Spirit guiding you and your daughters, you are on the right track. Thanks for linking up with me last week.

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    1. :) Thank you for your sweet words!

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