When Peanut was born, my aunt gave me a book called A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother. She considered it a book that had a huge impact on her as a mother. And as the mother of four boys and a precious princess, she would know what a mother needs!
In the chapter "A Call to Mothers," author Jean Fleming explains the importance of a mother's presence in her children's lives.
A mother's presence throughout infancy and the entire preschool stage is important because more learning takes place in the child's first five years than in any comparable period of life. Experts agree that as much as 85% of a child's character is developed by age five, and the way a child is raised in the early years accounts for at least 20 points of his IQ.Wow!
I have also read (I can't remember the source) that most of the child's behavior is set by the end of the preschool years thus making discipline and training imperative in the first few years of life.
As I think about these two points and all that I am reading in our online book study of Shepherding a Child's Heart, I feel overwhelmed.
Immediately I feel the heaping hot coals of regret upon my head. All of the times that I messed up - I really blew it - come to mind.
Many of you shared these same feelings in Friday's discussion question on Facebook (SACH #2).
Beyond the mistakes that I know I have made, how many opportunities have I wasted? Did I do enough in opportunities when I attempted to shepherd my child's heart? What if I would have done more of ____?
By the grace of God, I declare these fears of the enemy.
What I see in my fears is a towering "I." Have I done enough...have I said the correct thing...have I...have I...?
Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) In Acts 1 Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit will give us power to spread the Gospel. Isn't that what we are doing with our children?
We do not have to walk our days alone. We do not have to be ruled by our fears. God invites us to come and sit at His feet to be renewed and refreshed.
Yes, the first five years are so important. But, by His strength we can shepherd our children's hearts, teach them what they need to know, mold their character, and train their minds.
Unsure how to "sit at His feet and be renewed?" You are not alone. I invite you to walk my journey with me as God is teaching me what it means to do things in His strength and not my own.