The Power of Doing Daily Devotions with Your Children

Children need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. ~Christin Slade

What is a devotional? We view this as a book that takes us through a daily reading and teaching about God's word. While this is true, real devotion is much more than sitting down to read a daily passage and a few notes to go with it. The very word devotion means profound dedication. To break this down further, profound dedication means the deep penetration of one's thoughts and actions to be wholly committed to something.

Your devotion isn't found in doing a devotion. It's found in your dedication to the Lord. The devotional is simply a tool to help you understand how to live out God's Word.

So what does this mean for your children? Where do devotions fit in here?

First, let's look at what it means to live a life of devotion.

Your children need to see you living a devoted life for Christ. They will see your example and mimic it--whether you're living for Christ or not.

However, children also need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. Just as we need to be in the Word and learn what it means, so do our children.

Something I have learned about doing devotions with my children is that when they learn about something, they are more apt to apply it.

For example, when we talk about obedience, my children are more likely to obey and remember to obey, when we have talked about it, therefore, it is in the forefront of their mind. When we talk about why it's important to obey and who their authorities are, they begin to see reason for living out this attribute. They begin to understand the role God has given them.

I want to share 5 elements of a devotional life with you. I have found them to be necessary aspects to living out a life of devotion to God and they will help you as you teach your children the same. They are not exhaustive.

5 Elements of a Devotional Life

  1. Perspective - when it comes to devotion we need a perspective shift. Devotion is not something we merely try to squeeze into our lives and hope there will be room. When we live a devoted life, what we are devoted to will get the most attention. Our words are not enough of us to be considered devoted.  We can say we're devoted, but if our lives don't mirror that, our words render useless. God wants us: heart, soul, and mind.  
     
  2. Prayer - there are so many things that seek to derail us, this is a crucial part of a devoted life.  Satan seeks to debunk that in any way he can. He uses distractions, life circumstances, fatigue, excuse after excuse. Anything can stand in the way of simply sitting down to train our children. We must pray for a clear path and to resist temptation.
     
  3. Patience - As our children learn and grow, they will make mistakes. They will give in to temptation and "forget" what we have taught them. Training children requires heaps of patience. Anger and frustrations will not help us here. If anything, they hurt what we are trying to accomplish.  This is a good time for us to remember that a gentle answer is more productive than a harsh word.
     
  4. Persistence - There will be times we will want to give up because it gets hard. It is so easy to find excuses on why we didn't get around to it today.  Our excuses run endless. But isn't this also training our children? It teaches them we are inconsistent. Do not give up making this time to train in devotion. Be persistent. Do not give up when it gets hard. Push through.
     
  5. Practice - We need to practice what we are teaching and remind our children to do the same. When moments arise that allow for training, most often, it will be something you have taught them about. Now is the time to help them put what they learned into action. Practice living a devoted life. Good behavior and good character are not the only ways to practice devoted living. Sing praises! Pray together. Serve one another and others outside your family. Practice love.

It is not merely the acts that make us devoted. It's a heart of devotion to Christ that makes us devoted. When our hearts are turned toward Him, we will want to devote our time and efforts to Him. But, even those wants can be stifled by excuses and hardships. Don't allow yourself to become complacent. Be active and intentional about living for Christ and training your children in the same.

Some devotionals I recommend:

Our 24 Family Ways (Ages 7+)

Big Thoughts for Little People (Ages 2-5)

Growing Together in Gratitude - and others in this series (Ages 8+)

 

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

How to Support Your Child When They Have a Bad Day

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.  They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. ~Christin Slade

It seems whenever I have a really difficult day, I don’t have a hard time making it known. True, I pray for help and strength to get through whatever the obstacle might be. But the last thing I need is for someone to snap at me or push me through the day without the encouragement of some sort.

Typically what we expect from loved ones is encouragement and patience through a hard day, rather than the opposite.

But, do we do this for our children when they have difficult days? Or do we dismiss their feelings of struggle and generally expect them to handle such situations as an adult would (or should)? I will be the first to admit, the Holy Spirit smacked me in the head with this one.

This is exactly what I was expecting of my [then] 7-year old daughter, and I then wondered why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. When she has a hard day, even for seemingly unknown reasons (even to her), I just tend to push her through it with little or no encouragement. I automatically expect her to “deal with it” or “get passed it” with little help or guidance. Looking back now it’s really quite absurd that I handled it that way!

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.

They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. That’s where we come in. We need to come alongside our children and assure them we are there for them and make it known they can count on us to guide them.

Before applying these suggestions, be sure your child isn’t having a discipline issue that needs attention. Sometimes our children go through a season of testing us to see if the rules still apply. It’s our job to make that season a short one!

Here are some constructive responses to help our children through difficult days:

1. Take a time-out to pray and explore God’s Word together

There is no better way to spend time then searching the Word for help and encouragement as well as praying for guidance and perseverance with our children. On those hard days, they may need that extra dose to carry them through. This points them to their number one Source of comfort, help, and encouragement. Seek to help them with their problem here.

2. Take time later to pray and explore God’s Word alone

This will give you an opportunity to seek God for help, wisdom, and direction in what might be the problem. God says He will give wisdom, without reservation, to all who ask. (James 1:5)

3. Reevaluate the schedule

If you recognize this type of occurrence becoming frequent, you may need to make changes to the daily schedule, such as an earlier bed time. Perhaps something needs to be removed from the schedule or a subject may need to be moved to earlier or later in the day. Still, maybe a subject is given more time then the child can handle. Observe your child and look for clues.

4. Reevaluate the method

Is the method of homeschooling I’m using really working for my child? Or do I use it simply because it’s what I like? This can be a tough one. This may require some serious observations and notes in order to capture the best way our child learns so we can better speak their language.

These are only a few suggestions to what may help some recurring bad attitudes or bad days. I can speak for myself and say that I have been guilty of not doing anything to help my child during a hard day or through a bad attitude. Our children’s “bad days” can be seen as an opportunity to teach them how to cope with stress and handle situations that are less than ideal in their eyes. These are skills they will need as adults and should be treated as important as (if not more than) academics.

I know I need to keep in mind that bad attitudes and bad days are going to happen…even when we do “all the right things.”

The important thing to remember is to guide my children to the Cross. I can use this as an opportunity to show them God’s grace and help them problem solve. After all, even I haven’t perfected how to avoid bad days and bad attitudes!

For His Glory,

Christin

How Can I Find Delight in Motherhood?

Motherhood is hard and requires we recognize our responsibilities and obligations, not only to our children but to God. Yep, we have responsibilities under God. They are prevalent throughout scripture.

Basing our joy on our own performance will leave us shortchanged every single time. Joy doesn't last on the performance of people or the circumstances of our lives. ~Christin Slade

The Delight of Motherhood

But there is a delight in fulfilling that duty. And our ultimate delight in motherhood comes from our delight in the Lord. If you desire to be a delightful mother, you must delight in Him first!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

There is so much joy in motherhood. And honestly, I am writing this after a rather trying day of being a mother. But I'm learning that where we find our joy is the key to making it an ongoing blessing in our lives.

Finding joy in my children's behavior alone is only going to take me on a roller coaster ride...where there will most likely be way more downs than ups.

Our children are going through a growing and maturing process just like we are. They will never be perfect and basing our joy on their outward behavior will only leave us empty and without joy. In addition, what kind of weight do we put on our children to have joy only when they are well-behaved or doing all-the-things-right?

Basing our joy on our own performance will leave us shortchanged every single time. Joy doesn't last on the performance of people or the circumstances of our lives.

More specifically, our delight as mothers should never be found in our understanding of our own perfection.

So where can I find this lasting joy? This joy that doesn't rest on my children's behavior or my performance?

Delight in the Lord

Joy is from the Lord when we have our eyes fixed on Him. Joy is found when we recognize our purpose is from Him and not our own personal endeavors or desires.

He doesn't just give it -- joy is in Him. When we seek Him and understand our great need for Him due to our own sin, we recognize the greatest gift we could ever receive is life with God. We will never find lasting joy if we don't see it in God our Father.

Job raises some great questions,

Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times? -Job 27:10

Delight in motherhood can come from that deep understanding, embracing, and walking out of the role God has given to us, but only after recognizing our life is in Him. 

I know that my joy can easily be stolen when I depend on it from the wrong places.

I delight in motherhood when I delight in Him, first.

For His Glory,

Christin