How to Say YES to Your Family

I need a big picture right now. I need to better prioritize in our home and school.  Why are there so many times I have to say no, when as the keeper of our home it should be a place pleasing to God.  It should be a home that is full of things to inspire and encourage my children. It took some time for me to really see it.  In fact, I realized this even more when I heard these powerful words today from Anne Dillard. She said:  “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

How to Say Yes to Your Family

A few simple words, and yet they really left a mark on me. Made me wonder . . . what am I neglecting? What am I treasuring?

Today matters. Tomorrow is not promised, therefore we must choose today, and we must do today.

The apostle Paul offers us great wisdom when he says:

See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so- called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ. (Colossians 2:8).

We are responsible for ensuring that this is true for our children as well. Are we careful with what is before their eyes? Are we teaching them what truly matters?

I think of Martha’s question and command to Jesus and His simple answer to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 )

There is only one thing that is necessary really. Just one. That should give us such great relief. That should bring us to a place where we can ensure that our children hear us encourage and inspire them more and more, saying “yes.”  Younger or older, we must help them see how they can get to where they ought to be. We need to know where we are and then map out the course that will get us there.  Then we need to stick to it.

For us, this has meant a great cleansing of our home. For us this has inspired a time of purging and minimizing the “stuff” in our home. What books and videos, games and toys, are before them? Is the environment they are in one that encourages them to create, that puts good things before their eyes? Are there things present in our home that are do not inspire (twaddle, if you will)? We want to nourish their souls.  It all matters.

I do not want to be distracted by other things. I do not want to be more concerned with a clean kitchen than with spending time drawing or reading with my children.  I want to have that balance in our life and in our home, as things really are, so that going for a walk or biking along the trails are things that I joyfully and eagerly say “YES!” to.  And most importantly I want my children to see the value that is present, and greater still, sitting and learning at the feet of Jesus. Mary and Martha have really moved me and helped me to see and understand how I can (and need to) “see to it” within my own home. I need to be that example to my children.

I wonder, perhaps I need to reflect more often. Maybe I need to firm up my own foundation. What takes my time as my children see it? Are my children and I so busy with their studies that this seems to them more important than learning at the feet of Jesus? What matters eternally?

It presses upon me so heavily as of late that I need to be sure I show and share the importance and the value of not just reading the Word but knowing the Lord.  My children need their own experience with Him. They need to feel His presence, encounter and grow with Him.  It is His word and power and Spirit that will truly grow them; certainly I must lead them in the way but I must trust in Him and His move in their lives as well.

Yes we need boundaries. Yes we need to have priorities. And yes, we need to see and experience the power of His presence in our lives. Every one of us.  More than anything else. If all we accomplish today is time sitting at the feet of Jesus, the day is truly a success. After all, Jesus said, “one thing is necessary.” The word, necessary, when used literally means “necessity.”

Consider this powerful statement with me for a moment: “All truth is God’s truth.”

I am guilty of spending much time with Homer, Shakespeare, and so many other greats – sometimes I fear more than time spent at the feet of Jesus. I love those great books. Those classics are dear friends of mine. I grew up with them. I grew in them. But we must know and appreciate the difference between the “great books” and The Greatest Book of all  because there is no substitute for who THE truth is.  We can learn much from those who sought after truth, but without the one who IS the truth I fear we shall lose our way. We shall not be confident and sure when we say “yes”.  Let us embrace the one necessity — time at the feet of the One who truly matters.

When our home is in order, when we are truly seeking that ONE who really matters, it opens up so many more opportunities to simply respond “yes”

Let us search our hearts and homes to ensure they are always prepared and focused on the ONE who truly matters in this journey.

Jennifer is a wife, mother of three wonderful, sweet and very busy children, and a daughter of Christ. Follow her homeschool journey at A “Peace” of Mind.

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