“For it is You who blessed the righteous, O Lord. You surround them with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12
Help for the Hero
If I do say so myself, I am a sweet wife and hero momma when I am well-rested, when the kids and I are not sick, when I have zero aches or pains, when the kids are not fighting, and when I am not emotionally drained. In other words, I’m a grouch. I am kidding, to a degree, because I think (and hope) my family would describe me as a very loving mom, but I definitely have my bad moments, when I have allowed circumstances to control my mood and find myself acting grouchy or sinful in other ways. I feel bad about this truly, but I am so thankful that as a Christian who is striving to be more Christ-like each day, I have freedom in Christ, and no condemnation even when I fail to live perfectly (Romans 8:1). I hope you also take an inner sigh of relief when you remember God’s grace in your life, since He died for our sins, past, present, and future.
Feeling relief that God can turn any of our failings back into something for His glory, we still don’t want to make hero history that way. We wouldn’t want to be mistaken for villains in the grand story, so what gives, when it comes to the struggle with sin? Our weekly verse gives us added motivation for doing our best not to sin. We are told that we are offered more blessings if we live righteously. The Psalmist goes on to say that we will be shown favor for our righteous or good efforts! I love favor. Sometimes I don’t feel like a homeschool mom gets much favor naturally from her world. The verse above not only encourages us to do the right thing, but it also resonates deeply within our spirits. I don’t know about you but I find that when I am walking in Him, evidenced by being godly in my relationships, avoiding temptations, and serving my family with all I have, as well as reading the Bible, I feel and live so much more joyfully, even during trials.
If during your school days this week, you get an unexpected bill, find an ache or pain overwhelming, are treating a sick or whiny child, or hear a nasty tone from a spouse, sibling or friend, try to remember that righteousness or “right living” will help you out of the situation far better than anything else. Pause, and remember God’s favor surrounds you as a shield when you act rightly. Don’t try to handle it in your own strength. Instead, ask God what He would have you do? Then look for His protection and blessing as you resolve it. The result will be a great reminder and testimony! It will be wonderful to see what His favor will reveal to you and your family as a result of your obedience!
Kids Can Too!!
People who don’t know children very well may think that they don’t get in bad moods, have stress, or struggle with sin. They obviously have a short memory, too, from their own childhood days! As a homeschooling mother, you know your children need help daily in the struggle against sin. If and when your children struggle with obvious sin this week, let them know the consequences of their behavior (time-outs, taking away of toys, or whatever else works for your child(ren). After that, make it a habit to remind them frequently that by their good behaviors they will also be given a consequence, in this case, a reward. Talk to them about how you are watching and noticing when they overcome a bad habit, act wisely when mistreated by a sibling or friend, or comply with the rules. Offer them praise or even a more tangible reward, if appropriate, to show them your favor.
I also recommend charting kids’ outstanding behaviors with a simple, hand drawn “star” charts. When your kids do something stellar that seems unmotivated by a direct reciprocity, sort of “I’ll scratch your back, type of thing,” speak praise over them and then draw in a star (or use a sticker) on a blank chart you create. After the entire chart is full (about twenty stars for each child), have a very special celebration. The children will really enjoy looking forward to the time of favor, and will feel prized when each star is awarded by the mother who saw their righteous living.
Never withhold love and affection, even in the struggle, under any circumstances. This is when they need you the most! Remind them also that God sees even the good things you don’t notice, and will also be showing them favor now and in Heaven when they act well. The world will not always reward them for doing the right thing, nor does favor always (or even usually) come in the form of popularity or riches, but it’s important that our children see the pattern of positive reward for righteous living begin at home with their parents, so they will one day more naturally choose to do right when they are on their own.
There will probably come a time this week when your husband annoys you. If or when that happens, reflect on the fact that if you do the right thing despite feeling misunderstood, God will show favor towards you and your family. Sometimes we think that if we don’t tell our spouses to get it together, that no one will. Don’t forget that God loves your husband even more than you and is not done working with him. Then pray, take a deep breath, and get out of the way. In other words, let God do His work and you do yours! It doesn’t mean you should never argue, or that you should feel condemned when you make a marital mistake, but only choose your battles wisely so you can master small annoyances rather than becoming a contentious wife, dripping with complaints! I don’t think any hero wants that kind of bad rap, at least not this one!
Thank you for the reward of Your especial protection and favor when I am walking steadfastly in You. Thank You for Your grace when I fail You. Give me the courage and wisdom to live rightly despite my circumstances and others’ choices. Please help my children and husband to see the blessings You offer for obedience, so they do not grow discouraged. May our family’s faith grow, trusting that You indeed see our efforts. Thank you, Father, Amen.