"You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
The Table ~ Our Family Altar
I am taking a great idea from Beth Moore and putting my own twist on it. (Taking an idea from Beth Moore...that's big of me, isn't it? I am sure Beth appreciates it.)
In her book "Feathers From My Nest", Beth reflects on motherhood and shares many memories and spiritual applications from raising her children. It is an easy and meaningful read, and it is a book I will enjoy reading again and again. Beth takes you from laughter to tears as you turn the pages of her honest, funny and humble memoir.
Though Beth is far ahead of me in mothering, I can relate to much of what Beth shares as a Christian mom...the highs and the lows of parenting...and our utter dependence on our God who loves perfectly. I gleaned many parenting treasures from her experience, her commitment to God's Word and her prayerful parenting. I am grateful for what I learned through reading Feathers From My Nest.
In Chapter Six "The Index Cards", Beth shares how the Lord put on her heart an idea for her family and a "family altar". Beth used index cards, which were great. I am not much of an index card person unless I am helping my kids study for a test. So I am using a journal instead - Our Family Scripture Journal (seen on the table above).
Our kids have their own personal devotion time each morning now. And I usually go to bed before the rest of my family most nights now, so our family devotion time at night has waned. But my heart ached for us to still connect together in God's Word...literally on the same page...so I loved this idea of Beth's and have made it our own, with Jim's enthusiastic approval and participation.
"The older children get, the bigger their world grows. The bigger their world grows, the more there is for their minds to grab. Let me explain how the scripture cards happened. By the time my children reached middle school, life grew far more complicated. Many other peers and adults had the opportunity to program information into our children's minds. We can't raise our children in a vacuum. Sooner or later, they have to discover life in the big world. I believe our primary task is to train them to constantly discover the God of life in the big world by slowly, carefully and progressively broadening the boundaries.
The increasing ages of my children brought many surprises! Suddenly we had tons more homework and tons more activities. Although our family prayed together many times, I had a difficult time managing a daily 'family altar time'.
I felt strongly that something 'daily' needed to happen. But how? Our days all began and ended at different times. God heard my cry for help and started to unfold the plan. Everyone of us could seek God first thing in the morning, even if our firsts were at different times.
I awakened first. I had my own personal time with God before the family arose so I could be prepared for the day. I asked God every single morning to supply me with a Scripture for the day for our family. One that each of us could in some way comprehend. He never failed to be faithful since there are few things He wants to do more than equip His people with His Word.
I wrote Scripture on an index card then placed it on our hearth with an open and currently dated prayer journal where they could record any requests. We would each sign our name to the index card as having [read the Scripture].Did they absorb any of it? You bet they did...some of it stuck! That I know!" ~ Beth Moore
So we have begun our Family Altar and the Family Scripture Journal. Each morning I ask the Lord for a specific Scripture that would minister to each of us individually and together as a family. I write the scripture in the journal and place the journal on the table in the living room. As each family awakens and has their own devotion time, they then come downstairs and take a few minutes at the Family Altar. They read the Scripture and sign their name. I try to take time at some point during the day to talk to the kids about the Scripture and how it applies to them specifically in their life right now and how it can encourage and challenge our family.
Some days one or two forget to go the Family Altar, so they have to be reminded. And truth be told, a few times one of our children has had to remind me that I forgot to write the Scripture for the day in the Family Scripture Journal! (I love accountability and am thankful for reminders!!) But most days, we all remember.
Does some of it stick? I sure pray it does! As Beth said, "...there are few things He wants to do more than equip His people with His Word." I need His Word daily. My family needs His Word daily. I am praying and trusting His faithfulness to accomplish all He desires in and through us through His Word.
How do you and your family get the Word together? Do share! We would love to hear your ideas!
"So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth;
it shall not return to Me void,
but it shall accomplish what I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."