One thing I did want to share--as a reminder for myself more than anything--is the idea that our children are our TREASURE.
In a culture where children are often thought of as a burden-just one more expense, one more thing to add to the "to-do" list, one more mouth to feed, one more person in the carpool.....it's nice to be reminded that they are no such thing, but instead precious gifts.
Treasure is defined as anything or person greatly valued or highly prized.
When I think of my children in that way, it really changes things. One of the speakers encouraged us to think of our children as who they are in Christ--dearly loved and highly valued.
This, of course, is easier said than done when they've just tattle tailed-again, talked back or colored on yet another piece of furniture (not that any of my children ever do those things :-)
I'm challenging myself to start thinking of my kids in this way-as a precious and valuable gift that is to be guarded and well cared for--like a prized possession.
We were also cautioned not to think anything about our children that God doesn't think. This is crucial. One of the speakers said, "You can not afford to have thoughts about your kids that God does not have." If we think of them according to their actions, their weaknesses or how well they perform, we run the risk of having thoughts that start to shape our feelings towards them in a negative way.
We were encouraged to speak words of truth over our kids and to pray scripture over each of them. This gives them positive words to think about themselves and in turn helps shape them into kids that possess those qualities (for as a man thinks in his heart, so he is-Proverbs 23:7).
I've selected verses to pray for my children and to encourage them in an area that they may be struggling in like wisdom, confidence, kindness, self-control... and we're memorizing them and using them to help shape their character and hopefully instill these qualities in them over time.
Let me just say, this is hard work. Our first reaction is often to focus on the negative. But, when you read a verse like Psalm 127:3 -
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
you can start to believe that it is worth it, because it is true--children are a gift and a reward!