Yesterday, I shared with my dad a story about homeschooling one of my sons, and he asked me to share it during his message today to illustrate what it means to rest in Gods presence, from a parent’s perspective.
As a homeschooling mom of four children, my patience gets tried pretty often. My kids are between the ages of 2 and 9 and God gave me a mix of different personalities to train my character. One of the challenges of teaching my own kids is remaining spirit-filled when they are unmotivated about studying. Perhaps all parents can relate when I say that there are many occasions when I am tempted to give in to irritation and frustration by reacting negatively and harshly. But, by God’s grace, when I practice the presence of God, he gives me victory in this area. He gives me his rest to replace my distress.
For example, some time ago, I assigned one of my sons an activity. He had to write and draw about the life cycle of a fern for science. Mid-way through his assignment, he dropped his pencil in a dramatic manner, slumped back into the chair and said, “I can’t do this! I don’t want to write anymore.” I struggled to respond positively to him because he had this reoccurring issue with writing. He would become negative and demotivated when I assigned him writing tasks.
But God reminded me, “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
I prayed, “What is the right response, Lord?” because I felt the heat rising to my neck and head, and I wanted to lecture him on the importance of writing and perseverance. But instead of doing so, I asked him, “Is there any way I can improve as your teacher to help you develop a love for writing?” He said, “I don’t know” and he started going on and on about how he just did not like to write. According to him, he wasn’t a good writer. So I tried to say very calmly, “Why don’t we pray together, why don’t you pray about it?”
“I don’t know what to pray! You pray, mom!” and he sounded agitated and discouraged. Wow, this was a serious issue for him! This was my one thought and the other thought I had was “This is ridiculous! Get over your dramatics, snap out of it and just finish your work!” But again, the Lord reminded me, be an encourager, be positive. So I didn’t say those things.
Instead, I prayed with him, “Lord, please help my son to develop a love for writing, to understand that it is important to learn this skill, and to change his attitude.” Afterwards, I asked him again, “Are you ready now?”
“No I still don’t want to write.” And he slumped further back into his chair and started to tear. I felt my anger start to rise again because in my mind, I was trying every spirit-filled tactic, but it was not working. I was at the tipping point.
Yet once again God spoke to me and gave me another idea. “Your son belongs to me, remember? So turn him over and let me deal with him. Don’t make this writing assignment more important than your relationship with him. Let him speak to me about it.”
That was a great idea! I told my son, “I am not going to force you to write right now. But I want you to go to your room and spend time alone with God. I know that Jesus is in your heart and he will tell you how you should change your attitude and what you should do about this writing assignment.” My son looked at me and he was kind of shocked, but I insisted that he go and have alone time with God to pray.
In five minutes, my son came back to me and said, “I am ready, mom.” “For what?” I prodded and he responded, “To write.” Really? Why? “God spoke to me and told me to.” By then, his tone and his posture had changed. He went back to his desk and finished his work and even did so while singing, too! God had changed his attitude completely.
Years ago my husband and I shared the gospel with this son of ours and he made Jesus his Lord and Savior. And so this experience was not just about experiencing rest in Gods presence as a parent, but about teaching my son to do the same. I learned that the responses we have towards our children must be redemptive in nature, restoring them to the Lord, causing them to draw closer to him instead of pushing them away because of our temper, anger, irritation, or ungodliness. I still struggle with patience as a homeschool mom but God is my source of strength, joy, grace, and peace when I teach my kids. He is my rest! All glory goes to him!
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)
If you are interested in viewing the message during today’s service here it is…