"Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you." Isaiah 42:9 (NAS)
Have you ever had that feeling that God was doing a new thing but He hadn't revealed what it was yet? You just knew something was coming. And while you waited you sensed that He wanted you to seek Him, listen for direction and be willing to follow one step at a time?
Over the past few months God's given me that sense. At first, I thought it was our adoption. That alone will bring LOTS of "new" to our lives for sure, but we're stilling waiting. Although it's hard, over the past few weeks I've had this incredible peace about waiting. Perhaps it's because God has been turning the eyes of my heart to look deeply into the hearts of two sons we already have. As I shared last week, Joshua and Andrew have been asking so many new questions having to do with God and the Bible.
At the same time, God's been nudging JJ and me both to carve out space in our thoughts and in our schedules to connect in new ways with our boys on a spiritual level. It's not that we weren't doing anything already. We have been, but it's not the same as it used to be when they were toddlers or early elementary school age. It's much harder to feel like they are interested than when we played games and did fun family devos with M&Ms and blindfolds. Their age difference of 2.5 years is more noticeable now, and makes it challenging to connect with them both at the same time on the same level since they are at two different places in their faith journey. And, they are two very different children who process information in two very different ways: one by reading and thinking, the other by seeing and feeling.
Also, as they've gotten older we felt like we needed to stop pushing and planning it all ourselves. We've tried to leave room for their faith to become their own - not just an act of pleasing us. But now God is showing us that it's time to press in again, not back off, not even a little. He wants us to be more aware of where they are in life, and look for ways to bring Jesus into the picture on an intellectual and relational level. Encouraging and equipping them to follow Him with all their hearts, minds, and souls - outside of the walls of church and youth group.
The holiday break gave us time to share our thoughts and desires with the boys, get their feedback, set some goals and make some decisions. It's a starting place. It seems like a lot. But we've tried it for a few days and it's gone well. So, I'm going public with the "new things" we're committing to as a family 2009:
- Read the Chronological Bible together for 15-20 mins each night and take turns facilitating talk-time. Update 1/7/09 - we just got started on this goal tonight. Great time reading with the kids but it's much harder now that they are back in school and we're back to work. We've been focused more on our next goal and giving ourselves lots of grace.
- Do a short devotion in the morning and or evening with a verse and a prayer
- Memorize a verse each week or so and pray it together.
- Talk more about whatever we (all four of us) are going through at meal times, in the car, after school, before bed.
- Look up verses that apply to our felt needs (which we'll know more about when we talk more about the) - like fear, anxiety, studying for tests, working through rejection with friends, balancing work and family, etc. - and making those our devo topics as we go along.
- Play games and connect in fun ways as a family more regularly.
- Cut back on watching tv, being on the computer and playing video games as much as we have been.
- Find resources like DVDs and books that bring Biblical truths and history to life.
- Run together and exercise our bodies and our minds while weaving in these things as they fit during recreational time, not just sit-down-and-talk time.
- Claim Romans 10:17 as our family life verse: "Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God." (NKJV)
If you don't have kids - I'd love to know what you are asking for or giving to God this year? For Christmas, I gave Him the commitment to not turn on my computer at all until I have opened my Bible and let God speak to my heart before anything or anyone else. I'm asking Him for a deeper hunger and understanding of His Word.
It's a new year, the perfect time for a new thing. What do you think yours will be?