Repeat

Every parent knows this concept, yet it almost always catches us off guard when it proves true.

Kids repeat what their parents say.

My five-year-old son is notorious for this, repeating with flourish what we’ve explained to him (or he has overheard) to Sunday School teachers, friends and random people at Walmart.

Usually it’s not embarrassing material, and I often am amazed at the detailed accuracy of his retelling.

Tonight, I realized even further how important every conversation is that I have in his presence, especially my talks with God in prayer.

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Jackson and Lauren

Jackson’s cousin has been very sick today, and so we have prayed for him several times this evening. As we were going through our bedtime routine, Jackson urged me to pray for his cousin, so I did before we tucked in my daughter for the night.

Then we went into Jackson’s room and he prayed with me. The first person on his heart as he began his personal conversation with God was his cousin. Jackson prayed that God’s arms would be wrapped around him and keep him safe and heal him. He prayed that God would give his mommy and daddy wisdom to know how to help him. After he was done praying, Jackson told me he prayed those things because that’s what I had prayed (almost verbatim). I affirmed him and told him it’s so important to ask God for what we need and to praise God for what He has already done.

Every word we say matters and shapes our children spiritually. I needed this reminder tonight. It’s hard to keep perspective when your two-year-old is stomping away in the opposite direction you told her to go and your other child who should know better is goading her on with each step. I too often yield to a raised voice and rash words.

My children’s first memories and understanding of God and His great love will be tremendously influenced by my words and actions.

I know I have much to pray about before drifting off to sleep tonight! And I am thankful God knows my heart and my concern as I struggle to be the parent He has called me to be. After all, He is my Father, and He longs for me to repeat everything He says, living out His message of love and truth, especially to my children.

Attitude adjustments

Days come in parenting when every decision and request is met with whining, complaining and defiance. Instead of responding with gentleness and a godly spirit, I often meet my children head-to-head with an equally bad attitude.

That’s why this passage in Philippians encouraged me so much this week.

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.

For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

– Philippians 2:5-11

I am called to make my attitude like that of Jesus. I cannot make anyone else’s attitude change, only my own. God has called me, as his child and as a mom to the children He has entrusted to me.

So how do I do it? How do I adjust my attitude and become who Christ Jesus intends?

1. Recognize God’s authority and position (v. 6).
Jesus, being equal to God the Father, didn’t take advantage of His standing. Even more so, as His daughter I should not seek preference or expect to get what I want. God is in charge. He is the ultimate authority of my life, whom I owe my very life, and God deserves my respect in every way. He is my God, not the other way around.

2. Empty myself of every form of selfishness and embrace God’s plan (v. 7).
Jesus left heaven and gave up His rightful standing as King of Kings to become a slave of the flesh and walk with us on Earth. He left His home to secure mine. He willingly emptied Himself for my sake. In response, God calls me to separate myself from the selfishness that too often rules my life. He wants to fill my life with purpose and meaning, but I must first empty myself of what I think is good so that God can give me His very best. God’s plan is worth giving all of me.

3. Obey God no matter the cost (v. 8).
Obedience proves devotion. Jesus laid down His life in obedience to His Father. He carried that cross to Golgotha, not because of the soldiers who were cruelly forcing him forward, but because He chose to humble Himself and follow God’s redemptive plan. He was obedient to death. I need to get over myself and do what God says. Christ deserves my everything, and I need to live in the reality and power of His sacrificial obedience.

4. Worship the Exalted Savior (v. 9-10)!
God has given Jesus the name above all names! At the name of Jesus every knee will bow. All people of the Earth will one day recognize the Lordship of Christ. Praises will ring from every nation, tribe and tongue in worship of our Savior! I want to start now! I was made to worship Jesus, and doing so will transform my attitude.

5. Share the message that Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11).
Just as every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord and bring glory to God in doing so. When I share God’s love and sacrifice, pointing people to a relationship with Jesus, I honor and glorify God. Telling others about Jesus reminds me of when He rescued me. It puts my life in perspective.

I know I have work to do in each of these areas! Often, my struggles come in #2 as I lay down my wants, and do what God wants. It’s easy to be selfish, but God calls me to live selflessly.

Where do you need an attitude adjustment?