I love the tiles floors in our classroom. They have proved so useful this year! I use them in many ways but one way is to teach the kids to be still. For some time I taught English to students in China virtually. One of my students (11 years old) told me a technique her father used to teach her to study. He would have her sit quietly for a time appropriate to her age. When the time was up she got a treat. I started doing this with my kids at the beginning of the day.
My children are instructed to sit in the square. No hands or feet outside the square, no talking, no playing, be a statue. SJ closes her eyes during this time to tune out her brother and will often face away from him. KJ is wiggly (which is appropriate for 4) however, he can go the entire time without talking. The time is between 2 and 4 minutes depending on our morning.
After meditation the receive a prize.
The objective is to teach them to be still on demand. As homeschoolers most of our day is spent up and about they are all over the classroom, the house and eventually outside. Compared to their counterparts in public school they move a lot. On Sundays at church they are in children’s church so they are able to sit still for the lesson and pay attention without any problems.
Meditation is a good practice the Bible tells us to “Meditate on the Word of God day and night.” Joshua 1:8 it also says to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
As I am visiting with a friend I hear the water running outside
I yell out the screen door. “KJ turn off that water!” “Okay mom!” He replies and I hear the faucet is being shut off. A few minutes later I hear the water running again.
“Is that water back on?”
“Yes.” He sighs knowing he is in big trouble.
“Come inside and go get in the bed until I come talk to you.”
“I was just trying to water the grass,” he mumbles as he comes in and goes to his room.
I turn to my friend an explain to her KJ’s position.
“I was just trying to water the grass, after all in the heat of summer the grass is now in patches in the backyard. The grass needed water. What was the big deal? I was being helpful. I was doing what needed to be done. I took initiative and now I am being punished for it. I don’t understand.”
As I went on and on she stopped me and said, “Okay, okay I get it.”
See this is how we are when it comes to things that God tells us not to do. We hear it all the time, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” In fact that is one of my favorite quotes. The problem wasn’t that he was watering the grass. He was being disobedient. He thought he could see and understand things I couldn’t. He was mistaken. Isn’t this how we are with God. We see an opportunity and though God tells us to stop, wait, or move we decide on our own. We know He is older than us, wiser than us, stronger than us but we still want to do what we feel is right based on the information we have on hand. Isaiah 55:8-9
My sweet boy had forgotten that just a few days earlier as soon as the sprinklers were turned off a very large snake crossed the yard. He does not realize that our state is in a drought and he has absolutely no idea that the water he is frivolously using is a utility that needs to be paid for. In his mind he was doing the right thing.
It blesses me so much when God allows me to see myself in my children, because once I see myself in them I am better able to respond to them as close as I can to the way God responds to me.
Today my little KJ got in trouble about 30 minutes before nap time. His consequence was that he was no longer allowed to play and had to go to bed. He cried and screamed, calming down only to hear my decision and apologize. Then he asked me for cuddles.
Cuddles?! Little boy don’t you know you are in trouble? Don’t you know what you did was wrong and you made me mad? Though it was just a moment, it was at this moment I had a choice to discipline or to punish my son.
See he already was informed about the consequence of his actions and he was experiencing that hurt but would me withholding my physical affection be to further add to the lesson or would it be in retaliation. A response based out of my anger rather than my love. So I caved…..
As I held him in my arms I began to think of how familiar this situation is in my life. I’ve made decisions and suffered consequences but God has never withdrawn his affection for me. Two scriptures whispered in my heart as I held this sweet, growing boy in my arms.
“I will never, leave you or forsake you…” Heb. 13:5
Even when I mess up, even as I am experiencing the results of my decisions?
“I will never, leave you or forsake you…”
Even when I scream and yell with my life, or when I throw a tantrum with my actions?
“I will never, leave you or forsake you…”
The other scripture I was reminded of was Romans 8:1 “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”
To condemn someone means to sentence them to punishment. My boy who has not yet decided to live his life in Christ sees first my example of God’s love. Through his 2 year old eyes, he cannot discern discipline from punishment. So, I must teach him. Though his actions may cause some unpleasant reactions God’s love wont fail, and this must be demonstrated through both my action and reactions.
Before getting pregnant I had a plan. I knew exactly how things would go. My husband and I had just gotten married. We would wait three years, two if I could reach my goal sooner. During that time I would work my butt off and get to the point in my career where I could work from home. I would finish my MBA and be done with school all before my first trimester of pregnancy. We would have two incomes and be financially stable so we could raise our children without much worry. Sounds good right?
Well God revealed to me that my plan had nothing to do with Him. It did not require much faith, or any room to grow closer to Him. Sure I could have penciled that into my plan but God did not want to be penciled in to my life He wanted to consume my life. Proverbs 19:21(NIV) says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose which prevails.”
My having a plan wasn’t the problem, the problem was I did not make sure my plan lined up with God’s purpose for my life. As the word of God says His purpose prevailed in my life. Six months into being married, I got pregnant and my whole world changed. I was working as a temp for an HVAC company, working on my MBA and learning the ropes on being a wife.
When I was 5 months along with my daughter, Summer, I was placed on bed rest and my husband became the sole provider for our family. It was unexpected, and it was a stretch of faith. Even then, God was using this precious baby girl to teach me to rest in Him. Being pregnant and on bed rest was one of the hardest things for me to do.
I felt fine, I looked fine but there was something going on inside of me that required me to be still. Have you ever felt God stilling you when all you want to do is run? I wanted to be out and about, I wanted to work, I had a plan, but God told me to rest and wait.
With my next pregnancy it wasn’t as hard to trust God. My husband’s job moved us to a new state, my blood work during pregnancy showed early signs of cancer and I was far away from my friends. This time I knew to trust God and rest. I could see this child, my son, was teaching me early. God blessed me with good friends, after much prayer and months of testing it was found that I did not have cancer, and my son Kristian II was born perfectly healthy.
Since then we have added third child. AJ and she is just the sweetest little baby girl. Life is still crazy, fun, and so full of joy. I see myself in my kids all the time. Not so much in their features as in their actions. I thought I was older spiritually but God is revealing to me that, at times, I don’t act much older than the children I am raising. While trying to raise children for a purpose, God is yet still raising me.