March 30, 2010

Guest Post: Kicking Off Lesson Three: As We Walk Along the Way

Today we had the pleasure of hosting our monthly "Sonflower Sisters" meeting at our house. This is our fourth year participating with Sonflower Sisters - a group of elementary aged girls and moms mentoring group, created by Deb @ As We Walk .

The theme verse this month is "You shall teach them to your children, speaking of you walk by the way". Deut. 11:19 We talked about how the women in the bible days walked to the well to retrieve the water for their families, and wondered what kinds of things they encountered, what mothers and daughters talked about and what they might have talked about with the other women. We compared that to what it looks like for a modern women today to "walk by the way". For most of us it looks like driving in our cars - grocery shopping, after school activities, appointments... we tend to be very much "on the run".

What are our girls hearing "as we walk"? What are we teaching them? Are we complaining? Are we commiserating with other mothers about our challenges? Are we gossiping? What are we showing our girls that a woman does when in company with other women? Our girls are watching our every moves - they are forming in their minds what it means to be a wife and a mother one day. I pray that we show them to listen to each other's hearts, to encourage one another, to speak wisdom into others lives, to give hope. I know I am guilty myself of not always doing that.

We also talked about how in our rushed lives we often overlook those who might be in need of our help or our companionship. We should strive to teach our daughters to look outside of themselves, and to put aside their own activities of pleasure and to see what they can do to help others. Including them in serving others teaches them the joy of giving over receiving, and how to "love our neighbors as ourselves".

A few of the girls made some cards to send some encouragement to others who were in need.

Some of the busy mommies helping with our flip-flop craft - we made cute flip-flops as a reminder of what they should think and talk about as they "walk along the way". (Hey - your feet can be cute as you walk!!)

And the girls traced their feet, and their moms feet and wrote out the verses on them that they plan to memorize over the next month until we meet again.

I so much enjoy the fellowship of these other moms as we together walk through this journey of what it means to mother our daughters in the way the Lord calls us to.

Originally posted by Heather at Timeless and Treasured. Check out her amazing work on her photography blog.

March 28, 2010

Lesson Three: As We Walk

Hearts Drawn Close

Lesson Three: As We Walk

“You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them…as you walk by the way.” Deut. 11:19

Imagine a catastrophe takes out your town’s water supply and roads and you must walk thirty minutes each day to collect water for bathing and cooking. You set out early to avoid the crowds and take your daughter with you—the more hands the more water you can carry. As you walk along the way, you run into your neighbor and her daughter; you gladly greet one another, grateful for some good company, and the girls fall into step behind you. They giggle as they imitate your movements, pretending to be grown up. Then they listen to your conversation—after all, they wonder what women talk about, since they’ll be women someday soon.

Dear mothers, what do they hear? Is your conversation full of grumbling about the storm and the inconveniences it has created? Do you pine for things to be back to “normal?” Do you fall into gossip about neighbors? Do you complain about what you are lacking? Or is your conversation seasoned with love and wisdom? Are you taking time to encourage one another? Do you think to check on your elderly neighbor and take her water jugs along with you?

What your daughter hears from your mouth tells her what is important in life.

More, Faster Walking

It might be far-fetched to pretend you have to carry water, but that is the way the women travelled “by the way” when God gave the command in Deuteronomy 11. In 2010, we “walk” differently. We drive, in our cars, traveling faster and longer than those women of old. We grocery shop, attend school, visit the doctor and the dentist, take our cars to the mechanic, and purchase household essentials—all miles (and minutes) from our homes. It seems these days we are more “on the run” than ever. So, the big question what do our girls hear from our mouths as we take care of the business of life?

Are we complaining about poor customer service? Joining right in with griping about the cost of the dance costumes? Do we focus our conversations on what life will be like when we’re not running our children to all their activities? Or do we remember our girls are listening, and speak of what is really important?

I tell you I’ve been guilty of spending far too much time and energy commiserating with other mothers about our challenges and difficulties. I am ashamed to say I’ve taught my daughter that sharing our struggles (more like complaining, if I’m honest) is what a woman does when in the company of friends. Oh, that I could take back years of idle talk. Oh, that God will grant me the grace to change my ways. I want to teach my daughters that it is important to hear others’ hearts and encourage them; it is vital to speak life-giving words to them; it is necessary to give hope to friends, not burden them with mindless chatter.

Walking With Others in a New Way

It’s important to be aware of where we’re walking. Often we are isolated in our own cars, not thinking much about who we pass along the way. Sometimes we forget that leaving the house isn’t easy for some. Or in our haste to get where we’re going, we don’t think about who along the way might need our help or companionship. I want to challenge you this month to think about ways you can serve others “as you walk by the way.” Is there someone stuck in the house you can run an errand for? Can you stop by to see a lonely neighbor on your way home? Could you offer to take your neighbor who doesn’t drive with you on your next trip to the grocery store?

While we may not be able to provide the “walking to the well” scenario for our daughters—which seems rich in opportunities for service and fellowship—we can, with a little forethought, incorporate serving and fellowship with others in our plans. In doing this we teach our daughters to look outside themselves, to look past the activities that bring them pleasure and make their lives easier. We invite them to look to the needs of others, as God calls us to do when he says to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” When we include them in serving and allow them to see the joy on others’ faces, we help their hearts to grow bigger.

Martha’s Oven

One way you can serve others as you “walk by the way” is to participate together in a ministry like Martha’s Oven. This ministry of Mountain Christian Church provides meals for parents of newborns and newly adopted children during their first week at home. You and your daughter can spend time together making the meal and maybe even decorating cards for the families. Then you can arrange a time within your travels to drop off the meal. What a privilege and joyful way for you both to meet the needs of a “neighbor.”

If you would like to participate in Martha’s Oven, email me at sonflower sisters at comcast dot net and I will put you in touch with the Sister who heads our team.

[a few questions to mull over in your own heart]

What is the biggest chunk of regular “walking” time you share with your daughter? (A time that occurs on a regular basis?) How can you prepare for this time together? How can you incorporate spiritual lessons into this time?

Do you recognize when your daughter is following in your footsteps? How do you react? How can you include her when appropriate? Brooke likes to sit with me and my friends like one of the “big girls.” I try to be generous, allowing her to stay with us as our conversation permits, even inviting her to join in as she can. I have noticed that she will assume my posture and ask the same types of questions I do when she is with her girlfriends now. This time with me is allowing her to become a young lady. But it wasn’t so long ago that I would shoo her away immediately, protective of my “adult” time.

What is your attitude toward “walking?” Are you grateful for the opportunities you have, or do you grumble and complain about your responsibilities? If you do grumble, to whom and how? Can you come up with ways to stop yourself? For instance, if you generally take calls while on the road and end up frustrated, can you turn your cell phone off while you drive?

Are there ways you and your daughter can serve others as you walk along the way? Think about the folks you see and pass on a regular basis. How can you help to meet their needs and show them they are important to you and to God?

[storing God’s Word in your heart and soul]

Ask God to help you choose your memory verse for the month. Craft it, post it and memorize it. You will be asked to recite it with your daughter at the next group gathering.

[ideas for your mother-daughter journal]

Idea: Share with your daughter how you traveled as a child. Tell her about your car, the places you went, and who was there. Girls love hearing stories about their moms as children.

Idea: Ask your daughter what kind of transportation device she would invent and why. Share your own idea.

Idea: Ask your daughter is there is anyone on her heart to serve. Come up with ways to incorporate other people into your daily “walk” and write them in your journal.

Idea: Ask your daughter to tell you honestly what she hears you say when you “walk” together. Give her multiple choice questions with words such as “honest,” “loving,” “complaining,” and the like. Share some words that describe her interactions with others as she “walks.”

[ideas for special time with your daughter]

Idea: Read a book about olden-times (like Little House on the Prairie) and talk about the difference in how people traveled. How are our journeys different and similar?

Idea: Write your Scripture memory verse on cutouts of your footprints. Laminate them and tape them to the floor. Walk on them as you memorize your verse.

Idea: Together look at your daughter’s baby footprints. Talk about how we “walk” differently as we grown. Ask her what she thinks her “walk” will look like when she’s a grown woman. (This would also be a fun journal entry.)

Idea: Choose a way to serve someone else as you go about your daily business and do it. Talk with your daughter afterward about how it made her feel. Share Scriptures that show God’s heart for caring for the widows, orphans and poor.

Idea: Purchase some audio cd’s of Christian songs and/or Bible stories to listen to in the car.

[what comes next]

After you read the teaching and choose your memory verse, use the questions, ideas for journaling, and ideas for carving out special time with your daughter as God leads. Remember, discipling is not checking off a list, it’s developing a relationship. If you are hosting the next group gathering, make sure to schedule your planning session for about two weeks from now. Your leader will email the next Participant Guide and Hostess Guide to you.

Lord, in our culture we move so much, but sometimes we forget we are teaching our daughters to move during it. Please keep Your hand over our mouths when we are tempted to speak in ways that do not honor You. Please fill our mouths with words that praise You and bring Your life to those You have placed in our lives. And remind us of those You have put in our “way” to serve. Your Word says you have created us for good works which you prepared ahead of time for us to do (Ephesians 2:10); show us Your plans. We want to be a part of what You deem important. Thank You for allowing us to see ourselves clearly through the study of Your Word, and for the hope You offer in Your Son Jesus. It’s in His name we pray, Amen.

March 16, 2010

Guest Post: Making Our Scripture Cuffs

After Deb gave us the challenge of wearing scripture bracelets, I spent quite a bit of time looking online for ones that would fit my style and six-year old Emma’s little wrist. When my attempts were unsuccessful, I decided to sew our own scripture cuffs.

I have three children (and another on the way), and once I sewed the first cuff, they all wanted one of their own. My youngest, and future Sonflower Sister, loved her cuff so much that for weeks she had to have her cuff in order to go to bed!

Since the cuffs are easy to make, we plan on sewing new ones each month with our memory verse on them. Recently, we went to the fabric store and purchased some seasonal fabric that we love. Emma is learning to sew, and she is able to help cut the fabric and sew her own cuff.

The scripture cuffs are a wonderful way for us to memorize scripture and to spend time together. We look forward to having several different ones in our jewelry collection!

Thanks to Tiffany for sharing her Sonflower Sister story with us. If you have a Sonflower Sister story or photos you'd like to share, please email me at sonflower sisters at comcast dot net.