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Today, please welcome guest author Sarah Francis Martin from Live it Out, as she shares about God’s plans and purposes for your children and how to help them walk in it.
Gearing myself up for a good parenting moment at the steering wheel driving home from school, I inquired about this great idea.
My six year old: When I grow up I’m moving to New York City. Yeah. That’s what I’m going to do.
Me: Oh yeah? Well, you know that’s a big city and you have to work hard to be able to live there.
My six year old: Ok! I will do what Daddy does, you know, make money. I’m gonna work hard and make money and buy legos!
Me: Well, sounds like you have it all figured out.
My six year old: Yep, pretty much.
As I recount this conversation I remember that my initial inclination upon receiving this “big news” was to guide my son along in this “big” life decision with a real, honest look at it.
I was tempted to almost squelch this dream with questions of practicalities:
What job will you have?
Will you make enough money?
Will you thrive in a big city?
We live in a small town, and I know the allure of a big city with exciting tall skyscrapers drove this declared life path of my six year old.
Over the past year I’ve been marinating on the topics of dreaming, life paths, and purposes. The idea of seeking after God and His presence in my life parallels with the topic of purpose and dreaming. How do we marry the two in order to make a difference with our lives and find satisfaction in God and His agenda? How does taking our place in God’s kingdom allow us to find this ultimate satisfaction?
As I’ve taken more of an adult perspective on this weighty topic, the “big idea” conversation with my son caused me to look at it from a different angle.
Facilitate God’s Dreams And Purposes In The Lives Of Your Children
The following excerpt from my book Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous speaks to our interactions with our kids about their dreams and purpose. It takes a perspective of the individual, adult nature. But, as I’m circling back to this material myself, I find that it applies to my interaction with my six year old dreamer as well.
There’s a verse that I’ve read in passing before and probably even doodled on a note to a friend as a means of encouragement to her. God reminds us of His Word at just the right times for encouragement. I’ve got this heaviness on my heart in my own journey to rise up, as I want to be used by God. He has planted dreams in my heart, but doors have yet to open to allow me to fully walk through and live these dreams out. I hide ideas and plans in my heart, often checking to make sure they came from the Lord and not from my own fancies. If you don’t quite identify with this, know that it is okay. But if the idea of joining God in His kingdom work and making Him famous gets your heart pumping, that means the Lord is working in you and through you.
Here’s that verse: I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (Philippians 1:6 THE VOICE)
This great work God is doing in our lives starts with the work God does inside our hearts and minds. The word work is appropriate in my opinion as I imagine Jesus using His gardening tools while digging up roots of pride and jealousy in my heart, patting down fresh soil of trust and peace, watering my God-given talents. And if we believe Scripture, He will continue to toil, root out, plant afresh, and grow beautiful blooms in my life and yours—blooms that will RISE UP! and flourish. Even a novice gardener like me knows that before a plant comes to full bloom time, care, pruning, watering, and sunlight are in order.
Excerpt from Just Rise Up! by Sarah Francis Martin. Download a FREE Chapter from all three new Inscribed Studies Here. (No email required)
We have the privilege of working alongside the Lord to care, prune, and water our children’s life purpose. Just as we take care to nourish their bodies and minds, we can start today to nourish their souls and guide them to seek after God in all aspects of their lives.
As it is a process in our own lives, this endeavor won’t come to full bloom for some years in our child’s life. But there are a few key things to keep in mind along the journey.
Model An Attitude of Kingdom Perspective
We all know that our children are like sponges, soaking in even minute details from their environments.
My husband and I have started to become more intentional in sharing details of what we do as a family and as individuals to serve the Lord. We have learned the importance of taking time to explain on a six year old level why our family gives money to this ministry, or why mommy wrote that book about Jesus. Life gets busy and it is tempting to gloss over details like this during the rush to basketball practice!
Depending on your child’s maturity level, help them work through their own calling from God within their world. Explain how God uses them to be a sweet friend to the new girl at school. Or how they share the love of Jesus when they stand up to a bully on the playground on behalf of another kid. It’s neat to think and pray together about how God works in their lives at such a young age.
Nurture Your Child’s God-Given Talents
I love exploring my child’s gifts and talents and characteristics. It’s important that we spend time in prayer asking God for wisdom to best facilitate these gifts and talents.
How do we accentuate them and draw them out?
How do we express to our child that God blesses them with unique and individual gifts and talents that only they can fulfill?
Be The Soft Place To Land
This is one that I constantly have to remember: to allow space for dreaming and planning. I think this is best achieved when we help our child work through these dreams and plans in their own prayer lives.
If our child trusts us with their “big ideas” knowing that we won’t let practicalities squelch their passion, they will see that their Father God is the ultimate safe place as well. When we seek after the Lord, knowing we can trust Him, we become more in tune to where He is moving in our lives. Our hearts become open to following that path which will be fruitful and fulfilling. Walking with our children in this lifelong process can be exciting.
Several weeks after my six year old made his big city declaration, we sat together as a family watching the popular show American Ninja Warrior––a favorite in many households with boys. As we cheered on the men and women and heard their stories of hard work to get where they are in this physical competition, I could almost see the little cogs turning in my son’s mind. Another declaration burst out from his mouth, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m moving THERE.”
Before I could explain that he would have to train hard and sacrifice much physically to attain this goal, I let that practicality go for the moment. In the lives of our children, dreams and fancies transform and bloom. But it is God’s plan and His kingdom that never changes.
As long as our children take a stand on this firm foundation, they can not go wrong in their life purpose.
Sarah Francis Martin is a wife, mother, friend, mentor, author and wanna be artist. She has a passion to ignite this generation to get up off the couch of complacency and do life differently for God’s kingdom. When she is not typing away at her laptop, you can often find Sarah on date nights with her husband, rough housing with her young son, or getting her hands messy with craft paint. She is the author of Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous