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How To Have a HEART for Your Kids

This week in the How To Have a Heart For Your Kids Book Club, Chapter 2: Enrich Your Marriage

Yes. I meant 30.3444 or maybe 29? All I know is when I hear people talking about being a Proverbs 31 wife, I always think about how marvelous that would be, and how hard it is to really attain that.

It is interesting to me that in this book club, about how to have a heart for your kids, the author gets right down to business with what can really make or break a family. The first chapter is to put God first. And, next, your marriage. How do you protect your marriage? How do you get a great marriage? Well, I agree with the author that honoring your husband, serving him, and treating him like your best friend and ally, not just a work partner, is a good way to go.

Easier said than done! I think the sweeter your husband is, the easier it is maybe to take him for granted. I say that because my husband is very sweet and sometimes I take him for granted. Around here, I spend a lot of time with the few children who make the most noise. Anyone else have this dynamic?

And, when I am not being mommy, and not exhausted, I tend to try to find ways to be me. Maybe do something creative, or blog or even clean. Something not kid related. I don’t immediately go try to do for my husband.

This is funny to me, because when I was younger, I was a single, working mom of two boys. I always though once I had a good husband life would be so much easier…so magical. I saw married women treating their husbands poorly or ignoring them and I thought they were foolish. I would never be like that! Haha. Fast forward 10 years and I see that I am taking my husband for granted sometimes. But, there are only so many hours in the day.

  • So, how do you decide how to use your hours? Should I write a blog post, or sit and watch a football game with my husband?
  • Should I go get a new shirt I kind of need…or stay home and complete a project that I have been whining about?
  • Should I put a ton of effort into getting the children to bed so I can pay attention to some story from my husband’s day?

Well, when you really think about it, yes, yes and yes.

I should make my husband my number one priority. Still, I squirm about that, I mean, he’s not complaining and I have loads of things I want to do to make my life, my home nice. Right?

And, on top of all that, there’s the question of who is really the leader. I married a laid back guy who takes his time making decisions, and wouldn’t force anyone to follow anyway. I, on the other hand, love the idea of being the leader. I move fast! I have ideas! I get people on the boat and moving…sometimes, in spite of how anyone feels.

So which is right? Well, neither in every situation, which is probably why God has opposites attracting so often! But, if I truly believe the Bible and trust God, then I know that I am supposed to let my husband lead.

And that will make my home nice.

I know that, because when I am not stubborn and do that, it always end up lovely. No joke. Still hard to do!

So, how can I take this idea of serving my husband and make it real for him this week?

  • Well, I can try to not be stubborn when I think I am right about something this week
  • I can offer to do something for him ~ and mean it.
  • I can pray that God will help me to be the Proverbs 31 woman of our dreams. Because only God can do that.

*this post is loosely based on chapter 2. Really, get this book!

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How To Have a HEART for Your Kids

Book Club, Chapter 1: Have a Heart for the Things of God

So what is one fantastic way to Have a Heart For Your Kids? Do your own heart check. Where is your heart? In this chapter, Rachael shares on how having a heart for the things of God is the only place to start…

As I was reading this chapter, I thought about how my life, including my prayer life has changed and evolved over time. I would like to say I always get up at 6 a.m., make my family breakfast and then spend an hour or so poring over the bible. But, I am horribly undisciplined! Especially during the winter, I find it awful to get out of bed. Anyway, my little gets to sleep in as she’s not catching the yellow bus.

I do enjoy my prayer time that I have right now. I wake up with my husband and he makes coffee and gets ready for his day. He will bring me a cup of coffee in bed (I know, I am lucky) and then I’ll read my Bible, my devotional and pray for the days needs after he goes to work, before I wake up my youngest.

This seems to really work for me. Sometimes my youngest wakes early, but now, she’ll read her Bible as well until I am done. When I do this before my feet hit the floor, I do not get sidetracked by other needs. I used to have my big prayer time at night before I went to sleep, but between paying attention to my husband or being exhausted, that doesn’t work anymore!

Over time, I have done lots of reading plans and bible studies. Some I was very faithful with, while others I didn’t finish. A while ago, I did a Bible Study where I read a book called Stepping Heavenward, while reading through the Psalms and Proverbs and that has been one of my absolute favorites. It taught me to just slow down and really pore over a little bit at a time.

I used the Stepping Heavenward as a devotional for over a year and read through it slowly again while I read my Bible. I have read the Upper Room devotionals, and lots of others but what I always come back to is just plain reading my Bible.  I feel like I am missing the important thing if I just read a book or devotional and run out of time to really get into the Bible in the morning.

For the past six months or so, I have been reading through the Bible, just as much as I want, each morning. I began reading at the beginning of Genesis and also at the beginning of the New Testament. I would just read a bit each day. Right now, I have finished the New Testament and started that over and am almost finished through Job in the Old Testament. After reading, I will pray for the day and often also write in my prayer journal, a pretty leather book I got. Sometimes, I will also read a devotional as well. Right now I am reading a devotional a friend gave me that I think is marvelous called, “Jesus Calling”, by Sarah Young. I also have one I am reviewing called “Mornings with Jesus 2012”.

I do tend to thank God during my prayer time, and make my requests known to him. I do feel I need to spend more time praising him as well. As far as the children, I pray for them individually each day and try to pray for specific things I feel are important, although lately, as most of them are teens, I feel the need to just let God lead my prayers and show me what he is trying to do in their lives.

Just the other day, I heard something “through the grapevine” about one of my children and I just sat right down and prayed that God would protect them and use the situation, however it turned out, for their good. I felt very peaceful and I think I was a better mom in this particular scenario because God did lend me a peace about my child.

While I do believe in discipline for one’s children, I also know that they have free will and I want them to choose to be light and salt in the world because they want to and they see God working in all our lives, not because I have great plans and schedules…and control. (Of course, I do not!)

Anyway, I wanted to share this personal stuff with you as I go through answering the chapter questions in the How to Have a Heart For Your Kids book. The book is fascinating and has really helped me clarify in my own mind what I really expect from my children and myself. I loved chapter 2!

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How To Have a HEART for Your Kids
Do you love your kids? Do you value them above yourself? Well, yes, you might say, of course I would give up my life for them… But, then again, it is one thing to throw yourself in harm’s way to take their place, a whole other thing to make choices to love them through the minutes of the day. The long drawn out, “I don’t want to do that, I want candy minutes…”
How do you really know what is best for them? What is your Foundation? If sometimes you sit and ponder these things, this book about how to love your children is perfect for you.
I am excited to be joining in this book club for the next several weeks. I have read the book, How To Have  a Heart for Your Kids before, and I think it is a fabulous little book. You can actually read my earlier review of the book🙂
I chose to join in the bookclub because when I first read this book, I felt like I should spend more time thinking about the concepts in the book and even doing some of the end of the chapter activities. But, I was busy. Busy, busy…you know!
As this new year begins, I want to focus more on the things that are REALLY important to me. And having a heart for my kids is one thing that is super important to me. Yet, it is not always urgent, and so gets lost in the shuffle of urgent, immediate things. I hate that!
Anyway, for this week, we were to read the introduction. A few things really jumped out at me from the introduction and I’d love to share those portions.
The author, Rachael Carman, is now a mom of seven. But, when her Mama journey began, she never anticipated having so many children or homeschooling. In fact, she confesses on page 9,
“I had lived most of my life principally concerned about myself and all in all, I had been rather successful.”
She also mentions that after the birth of her first child, she tended to be living for “Someday.” The day when she would “get her life back” and return to teaching.
I won’t tell you all the details, because this is a must read book~ but suffice it to say that she ended up being the teacher she and her husband had prayed their little boy would have.
I love all her stories about becoming a homeschooling mommy.
But, honestly, this book is not about homeschooling. This book is about keeping your heart open to God’s leading and listening to God’s plans for your life…and homeschooling.
When I began homeschooling, it was a funny and crazy time. (Here is a bit of the story) But I was very excited. I had already been a professional working woman, and the glamour of that had long worn off. I had already been a stay at home mom for a few years and homeschooling seemed like a logical choice. Looking back, I see that God had been preparing me for a long time and I probably missed many opportunities to begin earlier!
Anyway, on page 29, Rachael says,
“I had bought into the world’s lie that I had to harden my heart to find happiness as a modern women, when, in fact, that joy can come only by keeping the heart tender.”
So, for me, thinking about the introduction, I think this is the most important part. To make yourself vulnerable by being tender. To see what each of your children really needs. Beyond shoes or toys. Now, noticing what they really need should also not feel like a chore, but a joy–the world is so caught up in material needs that sometimes our children are spoiled and it is difficult to just be with them. Sometime this is their personality (they more needy ones) or sometimes it is our (the parent’s) fault.
Either way, to really love your children, these needs should be addressed. Sometimes this is so hard! And, when it is hard, go through God! Being with your babies should be a joy whether they are 2 or 22. This is God’s Gift to us, having our children!
okay. I better go get stuff done. I can’t wait to go read what my book club friends have written. I purposefully didn’t read anyone else’s yet — hope I followed directions:)
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