Some mornings ago, the youngest took a bath and asked me to help wash her hair. She is learning to do this on her own, but still needs my help sometimes. She must have been washing more on her own lately because her hair was a tangled mess! We ended up sitting on the bathroom floor together and I used every detangler, leave-in conditioner and product I could find to try and remove the tangles. As easy as I combed, it still hurt and a few tears were shed. However, after awhile the tangles were gone and my sweet girl climbed into my lap and gave me a big hug and kiss.
Because I look for moments to teach or where I am taught truth, this seemed perfect. The tangles reminded me of when we try to live life on our own, using our own strength and simply living for ourselves, we end up with a life tangled in sin. It may appear unintentional and not that big of a deal, but I believe it is. And what if we allow our kids to be shaped with this mindset? How will they survive as adults? Will they repeat this same cycle in raising their own children?
When I look in God’s Word, He tells us what He expects and how we are to live. He tells us how we are to teach our kids. Why do we look elsewhere and take “wisdom” from the world? Look with me in the book of Jeremiah. “For I strongly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt until today, warning them time and time again, ‘Obey me’. Yet they would not obey or pay attention; each one followed the stubbornness of his evil heart.” (11:7-8). We have been instructed. We have been warned time and time again, yet we still disobey. We still bow and worship other gods, mainly self. We make excuses for our kids and say “it is just a phase” or “everybody goes through this”. For me, I am not buying into this way of thinking or passing this on to my children. I am going another way.
“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). This is the way I am choosing. It is a choice, make no mistake. I want life and life for my children, don’t you? A life lived apart from the LORD our God, is not life. The world tells you otherwise and it is up to you to decide who you will listen too.
“…The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). With your heart and mind filled with the love of our God, there is no room for what does not belong. This is what I am teaching my kids that I have been entrusted with.
Might I also add, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). With the Spirit of God living inside of us, it is possible to have “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22). This is what I want my children to see lived out. This is the standard we hold up knowing it is possible. The one that sticks out right now is self-control. What if we started teaching our kids to ask the Holy Spirit, living inside them if they are saved, to help them have self-control? Then maybe they won’t have a long list of sin regrets when they get older. I believe with all my heart that this is possible. For those of us that are a bit older, can you honestly say that you are glad you made self serving choices to sin?
If you are like me, the list of sin choices sometimes comes flying through my mind and breaks my heart. Looking back my life seems like a tangled mess. I am so thankful for the grace that God showed me and how He allows me to come to Him. I come with my sins, which are many, and sit with Him. I sit and let His Word untangle the mess I have made. I repent and turn from my sin. He gently untangles it all and I hear words of comfort when it hurts and my tears run down my cheeks. Then the sweetest thing happens. I can turn back into my Father’s loving arms and feel like I have come home and know that I am truly loved. This is what I want for my kids too. May they always know where home is found, in the loving arms of God.
*I took this picture minutes after untangling Vivian’s hair. She fell fast asleep.