We just finished celebrating our dear friend's daughter's birthday party. I was so blessed as they chose to use her birthday as an opportunity to give to those in need. Each child there was able to make a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Rather than presents, everyone brought gifts that could be put in shoeboxes. It was hard not to cry because I was just so touched, mainly because her sweet daughter seemed so excited to use her birthday for others.
I so want my children to be that way. I want my children to want to use what they have to encourage others, help them to be able to live, and to share the Gospel with them. Some days, it just seems like that will never happen. When we were talking about this birthday party and what we would be doing, E's response was, "What are we going to do for my birthday? What presents do you think I will get." He just missed it. Sophie is much the same way. They both seem so stuck in thinking more of themselves than they think of others. Oh, how I want to pass it off on their ages or just that it's a phase and when they'll get older they'll "get it". I just can't really believe that's true. They can know better now. They can choose better now. They can love others better now.
So, where's the block? What's holding them back from loving others more than themselves? I know that a huge part of it is that they are lost and I can't expect them to act like they aren't. But, I have seen plenty of children who aren't saved put others first time and time again. I have seen them love the least of these more than many adults who claim to be Christians. I can only come to the humiliating and humbling conclusion that a big part of the problem is that they aren't seeing me model this for them enough. I must find a way to make it more real for me so that it can be more real for them. Right now I just want to pack them up take them around the world to see how people really live, to see the physical need that is just missing here in the US. I know this is not feasible right now. So, what do I do? I am choosing to battle through prayer for the hearts and souls of my children.
Starting in Oct. (on a small scale) we'll be doing 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor as we seek to better understand the way people live here in the US and around the world. It will also help us to see the many blessings the Lord has lavished upon us. I am praying that as we do this, God will show us other ways that we can pouring out more of ourselves in order to serve others and share Christ with them...including ways that I can do more of that for my children and husband.
In Oct. I will be fasting from lunch and using that time to pray for my children (which is not what was originally planned), specifically that God will soften their hearts to their need for Him and need to put self last. Selfishness is a huge battle in our house, and not just for the kids (yeah, it's a pretty big battle for me, too!) I want it to leave and not return! Only Christ in us can make it happen! So, if you think of us in Oct., say a prayer that God will make some lasting changes in us and in our house!
Lord, use the month of October to show our family how much we need You. Use this time to show us that You are worthy to be praised simply because You are God. Open our eyes and our hearts to our need for You in our lives, every day, in every area. Pour Your spirit of conviction on us in areas where we are not yielding to You, even Sophie and Ethan. Show them their need for Your salvation and redemption in their young lives. Use the scriptures we are memorizing from James to show all 4 of us that we can turn to You for anything and You will give generously that Your name might be known. Use those verses to remind us that if we love You and want to follow You, then we will leave our comfort zone and love on those You have created, whether physically, financially, or spiritually. We will love others sacrificially so that they may see Your love for them through Your death on the cross. Break the fear that so often catches me in its grip. Help me to be Your hands and feet to my children and husband that our family might be Your hands and feet to our community and world. Lord, make permanent changes in all of us over the next month that we might trust You more, love You more, declare You more, and look more like You to all who see us.