EEEK! This is an exciting blog post for me. First, because it’s by my long time friend of almost 25 years. Second, because I am excited to share with you her neat little “screen time rules” chart at the end (Don’t forget to look for the downloadable pdf after the author bio.). And finally, because its just really, really good!!
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10:38-42
I’m a Martha. There. I said it. I often get caught up in things that need to be done. It is typical of me to quickly jump in and take charge of a task in an effort to just make things happen when nobody else is doing so. I like my house well-kept. My kids each have daily and weekly chores, and we do those chores religiously because heaven forbid we get behind, especially on laundry. I also often feel overwhelmed and way too busy, mostly when I feel like I’m missing out on the sweeter moments in life. I want to be more like my mom friends who can leave things undone for the sake of making memories. It’s just not in my DNA. I’d rather get up early to get things done when there’s something fun to do later in the day.
This scripture screams in my head when my kids run out the door to play after dinner before they clear the table and load the dishwasher. But where do you draw the line? Raising children, homeschooling, keeping a home, serving at church, and being a wife takes a lot of work. It takes discipline.
There are many trails I could run on regarding this topic. The primary passage that comes to mind regarding what I would consider discipline in my life is Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” I know that the roles that I fill right now are exactly where the Lord has placed me. Therefore, as a wife and mom, I will fulfill those roles to the best of my ability, with the Lord’s hand to guide and direct, and thank Him every single day for His grace that fills my gaps. I am no supermom. He is mighty in our home.
There are 2 other very important trails I want to approach regarding discipline and making sure we don’t miss the mark, or His presence and the other divine moments in our lives. Our marriage and our children. It’s fitting, right? If I’m being honest, I’m not great at this order. I have 5 children. Keeping up with all of their needs and wants can quickly creep it’s way to the number 1 spot. But let me run these trails anyway, starting with my marriage, because I already covered the first.
I’ve been married for nearly 15 years to a wonderful man who the Lord greatly equipped to minister to people. He loves so well. The Lord has given him an incredible gift to care for His people in any scenario that he is given. He amazes me. As I said, together we have 5 children. They are 12, 8, 6, 3, and 8 months old. They take a lot of work, which we will discuss in a bit. Ministry and raising children leaves us little time for each other. In the past months, I have enjoyed the results of rising early to have breakfast with him before he leaves for work. The kids are usually still in bed, so we are able to read a couples devotion together, discuss how we can be better for each other today, and pray for each other. Having the Lord’s hand over our day as a couple has made a marked difference in our relationship. In the book that we’ve been reading together, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, we recently read that the majority of Christian couples say that “praying and growing spiritually together is the least developed part of their life as a couple.” And “only 4% of Christian couples pray together.”
Moment of truth: there are 52 devotions in this book and it has taken over a decade for us to finish. That doesn’t mean we haven’t prayed together during that time. We definitely have, usually during the major ups and downs in our lives – loss of a baby, making big decisions, or when one of us openly admits a struggle. However, since we’ve recently been more intentional and disciplined about it, the Lord’s presence in our marriage has been made evident in many ways. It requires our discipline, though.
Now for the children. The Bible says a lot about disciplining your children, but I want to focus in on this: “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” Proverbs 29:17 I want to enjoy my children! Y’all, I have 6 years left with my oldest. 6 short years. I don’t want to spend those 6 years missing out on the memories because I’m fighting to keep my head above the water raising all of them.
Just like I try to stay on top of the housework so that I don’t get behind, I must, as a mom, stay on top of the discipline for the sake of my children. I’m not just talking about their physical well-being, or even how they behave, but for their spiritual well-being. This is another area where my walk with the Lord must be in the correct position as I help them learn what it means to walk with the Lord daily. In Luke, Jesus tells us, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”( 9:23) If I want this to be important to them, I must exhibit this in my own life.
For the sake of wrapping it up and getting straight to the point, let me share with you the expectations I’ve laid out for my kids for this summer. They LOVE to play video games. They would play them for every single waking hour if I let them. But I don’t. I get so tired of hearing the words, “can I play video games?” There are several things I require of them in order for them to have any time at all on the video games, so I created a list for them to look at every day. The list includes reading their bible, getting dressed and doing chores, and obeying mom and dad and being kind to their siblings. These are all disciplines that matter in our home, and if they want to reap the reward of having their beloved game time, they must meet the expectations laid out before them, and they typically do a great job!
As important as discipline is in all areas of our lives, let me wrap this up and bring it back to where the first passage does – Jesus. Being a follower requires discipline. We must be in His word and praying so that we know when the Lord is speaking to us. These are the most important discipline.
On the other hand, my prayer for my own life is that I don’t get so caught up in the rules and expectations to miss the divine moments, the memories with my kids. My prayer is that I never miss Jesus. What I really want at the end of the day is for my kids to know Jesus, and for those I encounter to see Jesus in me. I could go on and on, but let’s not miss the mark. “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Free Downloadable, “Can I play video games?” chart: