Thursday, December 21, 2017

Keeping Things Simple With Little Children

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The other morning I asked the Lord for an idea of what to write about on this blog. Lately, I've sensed the Lord urging me to write more so I came to Him for wisdom.

That same morning I had a conversation that sparked the idea for this blog post. I believe that He answered my prayer for a topic to write about and so I want to share what was placed upon my heart with you. 

I was talking with my Mom about a subject that led her to encourage me as a mother to keep things very simple with my children. Her words really struck me, encouraged me, and convicted me to wholeheartedly pursue what I believe the Lord has called me to as the focus of my life right now--to be present with my young children physically, spiritually, and emotionally. My calling right now is to raise my little ones up in the ways of the Lord. Sometimes I feel that calling like a burning in my bones and sometimes I pursue the calling out of a desire to obey and then the feelings come, but regardless, I pursue it. 

My Mom encouraged me that morning to "keep things simple" with my little children. She reminded me not to get caught up in the rush of activity or the pursuit of things other than what the Lord has called me to do at this time. Her gentle words of wisdom stuck with me and I found myself thinking about them during the day. We are surrounded by distractions, things that are not necessarily wrong, but may keep us from fulfilling the Lord's will for our individual lives with all of our heart. The world that we live in with its fast-paced rush of activity, the distractions of social media, the ins and outs of day-to-day life, among other things often try to rob our focus away from what is vitally important and what will truly and deeply nourish our souls and the souls of our children. We are better off living a simple life in the light of His presence than a fast-paced, distracted, stressful daily existence in the pursuit of things apart from the Lord. We can begin that kind of Christ-focused life with our children . . . What does it mean to keep things simple? Here are some thoughts that I had that I'd like to share with you.

How do we "keep things simple" with little children?

~Pray about what you take on. Not everything is ours to do. As we prayerfully bring ideas before the Lord, wait upon Him for an answer of whether He wants us to take on an extra responsibility or not. Or even a business venture, as small as it may be--because it will probably, in some way, take away from the precious time that the Lord has given you with young children. Make sure that the idea is from Him before you pursue it. As a stay-at-home mother, I am often looking for ideas to bring in extra income for our family. To be bluntly honest, I often worry about ways to bring in extra income for our family. And even through that worry, I always see how the Lord provides for us, even at the last minute. He has always been faithful to provide for our family as we have taken steps of living by faith here in the Midwest. I know at this time that the main focus that the Lord has called me to is to be present with my children in every way while they are little. If something distracts me from that focus, I believe that the Lord wants me to lay it aside for a time. Maybe in the future He will give me the "go-ahead" to do it--but not now while my kids are very little. It is not worth it in the long run no matter how appealing it may seem at the time. It is better to do a few things well, things that He has called you to, and let the other things fall to the wayside. You will be thankful in the long run that you did. Live for Him and don't let anything distract you from your main calling, whatever that may be at any given time in your life.

And I want to add here that it is certainly not wrong to have a small business or a hobby or another outlet or enterprise when one has little children. What I am saying is that we have to ask ourselves if these things are distracting us from our primary calling or if they are supporting our calling and enriching it. My Mom often took on part-time work once we were school-aged, at times bringing us with her. But it was always very evident that her heart was anchored in her home and that the part-time work was done in support of what she believed to be her primary calling. The important thing to ask ourselves is when we pray about it, sincerely and honestly before the Lord whether His pleasure is upon us or not. And if it is, then take joy and pursue whatever it is that He has called you to in accordance with His will. If not, surrender it to the Lord in submission and trust.

~Connect everything back to the Lord. In my life with my children (they are ages 3 and 5 right now) I have tried very imperfectly to connect all of life back to the Lord. What do I mean by that? I mean that as I walk and talk and go throughout the day, I bring the Lord into the conversation, even in trivial matters. We begin our day with Him and we end our day by kneeling beside our bed at night. I play hymns on a CD at times during the day. We are very careful with what movies we watch--I try to protect them from the deluge of sarcasm and triviality in the media that I truly believe is killing our children spiritually and causing them to think lightly of the things of God. When we talk about different subjects during the day, I try to connect them back to the Lord Jesus. For example when it snows out I try to point out that the Lord gave us snow today; how beautiful it is! He is present with us all the time and so I try to bring that reality into focus with my children. The more I am distracted or if we are too busy as a family, it is a lot harder to consistently do that. And so I try, by the grace of God, to keep our activities simple and limit the time that we spend "out." I really believe that children benefit deeply from a home-focused life and that it is within the sphere of the home that they experience the workings of the Lord through every aspect of daily activities and through a mother (and father when he is home from work) talking all along the wayside with their children and bringing the Lord consistently into the conversation, not in a way that is forced but as the outflow of a Christ-focused life. 

~Have (even) young children help you with daily tasks. This will slow everything down (believe me :-)) but it is worth it.  Having your children learn alongside you to sweep or vacuum or load a washing machine and dryer helps them--and you in the long run. Doing simple things together helps build a relationship of closeness with one another and fosters an attitude of hard work and helping. This has been an area in my life that I have fallen short of many times as I try to clean things up "quickly" without interference. I love to clean and sometimes it becomes a fetish with me. I am working on allowing and requiring my little ones to help me in day to day tasks. It is worth it to slow down and include your kids rather than always just letting them play or read while you work or clean. I am not suggesting that you always do it (there are times when you just need to get something done quickly and can give your kids something constructive to do while you work) but do endeavor to bring them alongside you at times throughout the day to build closeness in a simple way.

~Get out of those stores and stay at home more. 
Don't get caught in the trap of always running in and out of stores. Be organized and focused in your shopping so that you are not always constantly dragging your kids into stores (they will get sick less, too! :-)). Keep meals simple when kids are young.  Keep toys simple. Keep holidays simple, beautiful, and Christ-focused. A child is content with very little if they are trained from when they are little to be content. Use the outdoors as a school to train your kids up in the ways of the Lord. Be outside with them in the Lord's world. There are myriads of simple, wonderful things to do outdoors with your kids. Grow a garden, walk in the woods, play in a field, draw and read outside. And do these things at times with your kids--don't always just unleash them into the backyard with barely any interaction with you. Be present in and out with your kids; talk to them along the wayside as you do your work. This is an area that I am working on in my life with my kids. One of the things that has helped me in this area tremendously and I am grateful to the Lord for it is having to share our minivan with my husband. It just keeps me home more and eliminates some distractions for me at this point in my life. 

~Stop worrying about money--trust in God
I write this one especially for myself. Make sure that you are doing what He has called you to do and then trust Him to provide for your family. Has He called you to stay at home with young children? Then do it with all of your heart and He will provide for your family; I promise you that. You may have to eat simply, live simply, and make sacrifices, but it is all worth it. Or maybe your children are school-aged and He will provide a way for you to make money doing part-time or other work. Whatever your situation, pursue the Lord. Don't chase after money or financial stability in a way that takes matters into your own hands apart from His counsel to your heart in the best interest of your family and children. Make sure you are doing His will and then trust Him. He will faithfully provide for your family, even in unexpected ways. I have seen this time and time again in my life. George Mueller has long been one of my examples in the faith and I have sought (again very imperfectly) to walk by faith as he did with finances. I cannot begin to tell you how the Lord has miraculously provided for our family many times as we have waited upon Him.  He is faithful to provide. We have this false idea in our minds that we always need more--kids are very happy with very simple things. My kids are fascinated with packages of rubber bands for example and can be occupied for vast amounts of time with simple thing like this! (rubber bands are very cheap, you know :-)) They also love to bake with me and as my Mom says, how expensive is a little flour and sugar? :-). Again, hours of wholesome fun. Use free resources like libraries, parks, and nature trails. Keep things simple, creative, and fun. The Lord will bless you and enrich your lives through them. 

And I would add here, just as a side note--be generous. Give in the ways that the Lord shows you you can. We are so afraid with parting with our money when we have little. Do the best you can with what you have, don't go into debt, and give as you are able. George Mueller used to pray that the Lord would provide him with funds so that he could give them away to support other believers. His mindset was a heavenly one and this showed in the way that he was able to easily part with the things of this life. He lived simply and generously for the Father's glory. Our lives become simpler when we leave provision in the Lord's hands, do what is ours to do, give generously, and wait upon Him. . . 

These are just a few of the ways that you may encourage a simple, Christ-focused life with your kids. There are many other ways as well--the Holy Spirit will direct your heart as you pursue Him and seek to please Him in raising your children. Remember, Satan wants us to be distracted, to live undisciplined, self-focused lives so that we don't accomplish anything for the Lord's kingdom. Our own flesh craves busy-ness and distraction. Seek the Lord. Follow Him. You will never regret pursuing a simple, Christ-focused life with your children. And they will bless you for it in years to come. You have one opportunity to build a legacy for your children. Don't waste it, but take His grace day by day and He will teach you how to live for Him with your children; I promise you that. 

Two Resources that you might find helpful and that have encouraged me:

Edith Schaeffer: The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Elisabeth Elliot: The Shaping of a Christian Family 

You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday


  1. Such a wonderful, wise post friend! This is my heart, completely. It can make me look odd among other friends, but that is okay! A thing that made a big difference - staying home (away from shops) and having only one playdate a week. This meant that sometimes I was pre-booked for playdates week's in advance, but that is okay. It means my kids really enjoy the friends they play with that week. As for shops, I struggle less with materialism and so do my kids! Obviously, not all weeks are perfect, but that is my general goal.

  2. Such beautiful ways to minister to your children and wise advise from your Mom and your Lord.

  3. Great advice here! It's easy to overcomplicate it and try to do it all. Keeping or focus on what really matters is important! Your neighbour at Holley Gerth's.

  4. You speak to my heart, Rebekah. Thank you for this post.
    "keep things simple" - excellent advice from your mother, for not only when your children are small but as they grow as well.
    "her hearts was anchored in her home" - what a wonderful role model you have in your mother! That is a great blessing, a beautiful gift.
    I'm so glad I stopped by today from Simple Homestead Blog Hop!