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.
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.