Friday, March 20, 2009

SMB Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood - Inspiration

Edited Saturday morning to add video at the end. Enjoy!

This week the SMB Book Club reading
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson focused on Part Two: The Gift of Inspiration.

Part Two is divided into 4 chapters:

On the Mountain - A Model for Inspiration
Inspiring a Sense of Purpose
Inspiring a Sense of God's Powerful Presence
Inspiring a New Kind of Love

As I cooked supper last night William came into the kitchen and looked out the window. He immediately exclaimed, "Look! Look out the window!"

Naturally we all came running to see what had him so excited. As I looked out the window Will continued, "I see pinks, and blues and purples! It's a beautiful sunset! God sure made a beautiful sunset."

I agreed with Will and smiled to myself thinking of Sally's admonition for us to say "Come, look!" as we "inspire our children to look for God's glory and purposes in their lives."

In case you didn't notice, last week's section on The Gift of Grace left me feeling VERY convicted and VERY aware of areas I need to work on as a mom.

This week's reading on The Gift of Inspiration has me feeling hopeful and encouraged. Using quotes from the book, here is a brief summary of the section:
"Often, I think, we get lost in [the] multitudinous tasks that rule our lives, and we lose sight of the underlying purpose behind all these tasks, which is to prepare our children to go into the world and make disciples for our Lord."

"Giving our children the gift of inspiration - helping them understand their spiritual purpose, which is to glorify God and to make him known - is one of the most crucial tasks of Christian parenting."

"Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God's purpose for his or her life. It is our privilege and responsibility as parents to help our children understand their particular fit in God's plan."

"As mothers, we have the hearts and the trust of our children from the earliest moments of their lives, and they need us for so many reasons... Deep in their hearts, however, they also long for a special place to belong, a place to feel their worth, and they need us to help them find it... They were designed to be [God's] hand, His voice, His heart and mind through the various kinds of work they undertake in His world."

"I wonder how God will use you in the world?"
As I read this section, my thoughts applied it not only to my children, but also to me. For example, the following question is just as important for me, a 34 year old sahm as it is a teenage boy considering his future vocation. "With all the skills, background, and personality the Lord has given me, how can I best serve him and tell others about his kingdom? What job should I pursue so that I may serve him best in all that I do?"

While I don't think God has a job outside my home lined up for me, He has certainly surprised me with a ministry via this blog. You just never know what God will call you to do next. For me it's blogging. For you it may be serving a meal at a shelter for abused women. Each has a place in ministry for Jesus.

I think that's Sally's point in this section. When we love Jesus with all our hearts we will be aware of His constant presence and on the lookout for ways to tell and show Him to other people.

As moms it's our joy to cultivate that love and awareness in our children as we inspire them to seek ways to use their God-given talents.

I'll leave you this week with an assignment from the study guide. I have not yet done these things, partly because my children are still young and just beginning to develop their personalities, but I hope to.
  1. For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc.) that you believe God can use for his purposes.
  2. Referring to the lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don't forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God's kingdom.
I would love to hear how you creatively use this idea. Maybe a cross-stitch or collage instead of a letter?

As always, feel free to share your thoughts on The Gift of Inspiration in the comments or on your blog and leave the link in the comments.

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