Index card devotionals
By the time my children reached middle school, life grew complicated. I wasn't ready for all the competition that came with my children's broadened boundaries. That's because I didn't really have a crystal-clear paradigm for how I wanted to teach and parent. Suddenly we had tons more homework and tons more activities: sports, clubs at school, student council, and an ever-widening social circle, to name a few.
Although our family prayed together many times, I had a difficult time managing what many Christian family experts call a daily "family altar time." Further complicating matters, I also was challenged to find a delicate balance in my spiritual role in the home. My husband was a church-attending believer who often prayed with us and conversed about God, but he did not share some of the same lifestyle convictions. Nor did he desire to take a strong spiritual role.
What's a woman to do? I began to ask God that very question. He supplied an answer that I'm certainly not suggesting is the answer. It was simply a plan that helped the Moores in our dilemma. Please hear me say that the best possible plan is a consistent family altar time, but I knew that wouldn't happen at our house.
This was the thought process He brought to me: While we were rarely all at home and available at the exactly the same time, every single one of us was home early in the morning. Everyone could seek God "first" in the morning, even if our "firsts" were all at different times.
I awakened first. I had my own personal time with God before the family arose. I asked God every 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 the 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. A family devotional book also lay open for them to read that day's entry.
At first my children said exactly what most would say, "How will we ever have time to do that in the morning?" I joyfully reminded them of a revolutionary truth from Matthew 6:33: "Children, do you realize that God says if we will seek Him first every day, all the other things in our day will fall into place?" I also assured them that I was not asking something unreasonable from them. They could literally accomplish what I was asking in five concentrated minutes.
With God's help I was able to do every single bit of this without undermining my husband's wishes. He certainly wasn't against the plan. He thoroughly approved. He just didn't always participate. Sometimes Keith followed suit and his signature would be the last one on the card. Other times he didn't. That was OK, too. I didn't require it of my husband because I am not his boss. I am, however, one of my children's!
Did they absorb any of it? You bet they did! True, sometimes they would be out of sorts and in a contrary mood, lessening its effectiveness. Other times they may have been too sleepy to take it all in or perhaps one didn't feel well. And certainly there were times they may have been too distracted to pay close attention, but some of it stuck! That I know!
This article was adapted from Beth's book Feathers From My Nest (Broadman and Holman) © 2001. Used by permission.