Lainie Montgomery - Celebrating the Biggest Win
We all love to celebrate a good win. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, games and achievements. One of the things that my husband and I committed to do when our children were young was creating family traditions around our celebrations. We love birthday compliments, homemade Christmas gifts, Family camp, movie and nacho night, and even family yard work and grocery shopping. Traditions and routines are an anchor and memory maker.
As Easter is approaching, think about your family traditions. What are those things your children will remember and pass on to their family? For some of you, it means every nook and cranny in your home will look like a picture from a holiday magazine. In our home it means I put a little, white, wooden rabbit on my mantle, add some pastel candies to my candy jars and put a sign in our front yard. For others it is the tradition of Easter baskets, an Easter egg hunt, or color coordinated outfits for the family picture after church.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
As the parent, scripture tells us that we are the chief disciplers of our children. We get to tell His story. We cannot expect our children to simply believe what we say if they don’t see us live what we say. Do we live a life that is contagious or hypocritical? Are we modeling how to love Jesus and love others? Do our traditions and routines help anchor their faith?
Let me tell you a story of when this became a reality for me. I remember going to the grocery store one day with our 5 children. They were probably around the ages of 4-8 years old (they are 14-18 years old now). I want you to image how full my grocery cart was for a family of 7 and how ready I was to be out of that store with 5 active and talking children. As we were getting close to the register, my oldest son looks at me and then at a woman who was in the lane beside us. I glanced over and then turned back to my cart. In that moment, he says to me, “Mom, she may not know about Jesus. I will watch everyone while you go talk to her.” Oh, the excuses that came out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying. When I looked at his disappointed little face, it hit me. I have 10 little eye balls and 5 little hearts watching me to see if what I said lined up with what I did. You see we raised our children to know that people need to hear about Jesus. They were waiting, staring at me, to see if we were a family who do what we say. After being a little perturbed and a whole lot scared, I realized that this was a defining moment. I couldn’t excuse myself out of it. Was Jesus really worth risking my comfort to share His love with someone who may not have heard of Him? This was an anchor moment. My words had to match my actions, so off I went. I left my 8-year-old son in charge of the overstuffed cart and the 4 other kids who were no longer distracted by candy but focused on my conversation. I tell you that story (no she did not make a decision for Christ, but she did hear that he loved her) because when I walked back over to my children, they all ran over to hug me and told me how proud they were of me. They celebrated that the lady in the store heard the name of Jesus. To this day, they remember that moment, that celebration of one person hearing.
What an honor, and responsibility, we have as the gate keepers to our home. We get to keep Jesus as the main thing. He is so much better than any momentary celebration. Have fun developing ways to celebrate and give honor to Him in your home. Here are 5 ideas to help get you started on creating traditions that celebrate “the biggest win:”
1. Help your children learn to read the Bible so they learn about His story
2. Write sticky notes to your children reminding them of how God sees them
3. Talk to lost people about Jesus in front of you children (scary right?)
4. Create family traditions that have you serving others
5. Model Jesus as a lifestyle