Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Using Scripture in Parenting

[A quick edit: I put this in response to one of the comments on this post, but thought it might be more helpful if included in the post. First of all, I believe I got the idea for the scripture notebook from the Shepherding book, and secondly, a GREAT resource for parents wanting to incorporate scripture into parenting is Ginger Plowman's Wise Words for Moms Chart. It includes a list of offenses, then a "put off" and "put on" (as in, which attitudes to get rid of, which ones to strive for in place of the sinful ones) column, including applicable Bible verses, along with heart probing questions]

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

I prayed about what to post today...there was so much from church on Sunday that encouraged me and set my thinking straight that I didn't know what would be best to share here. Maybe I will write about some of that soon, but what seems most important today is yet more on shepherding/parenting.

Obviously, God is at work in big ways at our house in this realm of responsibility. One area in which I'd grown lazy was in using scripture during moments of correction with the children. God has made it quite clear to me that the lazy-days can be no more. The Shepherding book and study are playing a big part in spurring me on to working harder to incorporate God's Word into our disciplinary episodes.

In the past, I've used Bible verses to point out to the children how it's GOD who has said that this or that behavior isn't right. But my focus was always more on the offense itself. For instance, I give Daughter#3 some raisins and cheese for a snack and she complains about it. I whip out "Do everything without complaining or arguing..." from Philippians 2:14 (and no, I'm not good at remembering references at all and don't tend try in these moments...it's the Truth I'm after. But maybe I'll get better at that over time, so that we all know where the truth-nugget of the moment came from exactly!).

What God is urging me to do now, though is to think a little harder myself and engage more with the child to explore together (with His help...oh, how I need His help!) what's going on in her heart. Is she aware of God's great mercy toward her, in providing her with food for a snack? Is her heart humble and thankful toward her generous God? Or is there pride there that says, "This isn't good enough! I deserve and want better/more/different!" Is she content, resting in God's provision? The change in approach is subtle, but the point is to help the child (and me) to see the true state of the heart, and then to go to the Lord with it, always aiming to turn their thoughts and minds toward their Savior. And let me just say this for the record: THIS IS HARD. It's exhausting right now. And it is right. And I'm not handling it all just right, nor am I giving the kids a "sermon" at every single misbehavior and sin I observe. By His grace, I'm just trying to persevere!

I've started keeping a notebook, and as I come across verses that are particularly applicable to parenting and correction, I'm writing them there, under some loose headings I've chosen, such as peacemaking, or generosity, or receiving instruction/correction. There's also an encouragements section that I need to be careful to use, also, so that we don't lose heart in the journey! So, now, I'm still using (or getting back into the habit of using) Bible verses during correction. But I'm discussing them with the girls from a slightly different, yet really important, perspective. In other words: Here's what God says to us about this, now where is your heart in it all, and where does your heart need to be?

God bless you as you parent, if you find yourself at that stage of life! If you are no longer guiding little ones/teenagers, whatever the case may be, know that God is never through using an available heart and life for His glory!


Here is the hiking/exploring portion of our Big Day. I hope you enjoy!

Heading up the path to explore the base of the rock. It was lots of fun to check out new areas we'd never seen before. There were patches of flowers tucked in amongst the boulders and cactus. Beautiful surprises!

This was something we'd never seen during a day at this park! A big doe zipped past us through the brush, then stood eyeing me for a good while. Exciting!

Mean old cacti make some of the most shockingly gorgeous blossoms. MK stumbled into cactus twice and I had to pull the teeny sharp needles out of her skin. Ouch! Thankfully, none got stuck and she was on her way pretty quickly afterward.

The ultimate find when you're exploring the base of a huge granite hill: a cave! Not sure if it qualifies as an actual cave, but we sure had fun discovering it and clambering around inside. Well, I didn't clamber, but I did sit at the opening and enjoy the shady coolness of it. It was neat to imagine how people probably used this spot in times past, as it was very sheltered from weather and sun.

Looking out the mouth of our cave...lovely view...

Pretty, nameless wildflower

There are many very steep faces to climb on the Rock.

Yeah, me too, CA...oh my we were so, so tired after our exploring! But it was definitely worth it. And the day wasn't over...

There are books that could be written on all the possible symbolic meanings here....

And here...from cactus, with love. Seriously, though, ever know anyone whose heart seems like this? I do. You know they have a heart, of course, but it's all protected and prickly? Keep loving them...keep trying...it matters...

Keeping it Real.


  1. Thank you for this post and your phone call. I really needed the encouragement. I am going to have to steal your idea on the notebook-great idea! Oh and love the "real" photo, so nice to see my kitchen is not the only one that can get a little unruly!

  2. Yes, it is a "little" unruly. I'm always amazed at how fast the cleanup is relative to the size of the mess... :-)

  3. I love the picture of the kitchen, too. All the nature and hiking shots followed by the messy kitchen! Very humorous!!

  4. S and I were just discussing these same thoughts over the weekend... searching deeper to the heart issue behind behaviors and choices that our children make. I love your idea of the notebook, so practical and simple. I love the photos too. My boys would love to clamber around in a "cave" just like that.

  5. I think the idea for the notebook is actually suggested in the Shepherding book.

    A GREAT resource that would give parents a head start on using scripture in parenting is the chart, Wise Words for Moms, by Ginger Plowman. It has a list of "offenses" and then columns telling which behaviors to "put off" and to "put on" in place of the sinful ones, and includes scriptures and probing questions for each.