RELATED VERSE: GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
Finding security in God and being content in Him have a “working relationship.” They are almost one in the same. But, I think you must have security in Him before you will ever be content with Him. Your thought process might be: “I have found Him trustworthy (security); so therefore, I will rest with Him (contentment).” I will focus on the same two areas from my previous letter: do not look for contentment in your self; do not look for contentment in things.
Concerning self: Now, children, let me say to you again how important it is to be satisfied with the way God has made you (your looks, your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses). Right now, I will touch on your “looks”, because this is such a “biggie” in our world today. There is so much focus on physical appearances—it’s incredible! And let me tell you, it is a trap set by the devil himself. Children, he will do anything he can to keep your focus on your outward appearance and not on your heart. Believe me, I have fallen into this snare many times! I think because of my rough red burn scars on my legs, as well as the continual bombardment of what the world considers “beautiful”, I have allowed myself to believe the lies of Satan. There have been times when I would stand in front of the mirror and critique myself to the point where there was nothing “good” left. First of all, dear ones, that’s a complete waste of God’s time; I confess. And secondly, who do you think was standing there with me, putting those words of discontentment into my head? You bet, Satan. And he was doing a mighty fine job in attacking me where he knew I was not completely secure. I would walk away from that place defeated, despondent, and absolutely useless for the sake of God’s kingdom—exactly where Satan wanted me to be!
So, if this ever happens to you, sweet ones—where you start becoming dissatisfied with your looks, (believe me, the devil will try to use it all—too tall, too short, ears too big, nose too long or pudgy, too light- skinned, too pimply, too curvy here, not curvy enough there…)— I want you to say these words immediately: Get behind me, Satan! (Matt. 16:23). This means, “Go away, Satan, you are not welcome here!” Jesus, Himself, used these words. He was always aware and prepared for the lies of Satan. Then, children, you need to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Always replace the lies of Satan with the truths of God! Girls, you say something like, “I am the beautiful bride of Christ. He cherishes me, and He adores me. I am precious in His sight.” And boys, you, also, are referred to as the bride of Christ. But you can even say, “I am a chosen warrior of the Most High King. He has called me by name. He has redeemed me because He loves me. I am His. “ Now, walk away, and serve Him with a contented heart. Don’t let Satan win, dear ones. It is a fight, and you possess the strength of the Victor, so walk away victorious.
You see, children, God asks you to learn to be content in the way He has created you. And your job is to recognize the beauty and good-looks that are uniquely yours, and then praise Him for it! Don’t confuse this issue: God expects us to humbly admit there is “nothing good” in our hearts without the gracious gift of Jesus Christ. But at the same time, He also expects us to joyfully praise Him for His handiwork, our human bodies! Again, children, never “shake your fist” at your Creator concerning a “mistake” you think He made. Instead, thank Him for your uniquely designed body He intended for you alone, and resolve to use “your unique beauty” for His glory only. Your outward appearance should be used only as a lure to show the beauty of your heart. Just like a beautiful voice enhances the meaning of the words to a lovely song, it’s okay to clean up, look nice, and be attractive, in order to draw others to you, so they can learn the meaning of your heart. I think God desires His earthly vessels to be “pretty,” as long as there’s something on the inside! Please remember, inner beauty through Christ is your goal, children. The way you look and dress should always be an attraction for Him, not a distraction from Him! Don’t focus on the shallow surface, just painting and decorating the outside of your “jar of clay.” Children, I have prayed for so long that you will be beautiful on the inside. For man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (I Sam. 16:7).
Before we go on, I want to give you one example of an incredibly beautiful heart. I was sitting by a sweet, sweet lady who was lying on her death-bed at the time, due to a very aggressive cancer. You know her, dear ones, Mrs. Verlie Baker. One of her lungs had already been destroyed by this horrible disease, and the other one was well on its way. She had lost her hair because of the chemotherapy, and she was very pale and weak from the lack of oxygen and blood circulation. But, I tell you what, as I sat there and looked into her eyes and talked with her quietly, I saw true beauty, the kind that Christ sees! Even as she was struggling for breath, she was giving God all honor, and glory, and majesty due His Name. Her sweetness in the midst of struggle spoke to my heart, children. I walked away from that place, saying to myself, “That is the kind of beauty I want.” And I so desire for you to have it too.
Now, concerning things: I am also praying you will learn to be content in the plans God has for you. But again, in the future, the devil is going to try to “rock your boat” of contentment, somehow—whether a position not achieved, or personal goals not reached, or anything else in life you have greatly desired and not yet grasped. For instance, did you know, if it were up to me, sweet ones, you would probably have one or two more siblings right now? But, because of a decision your Daddy and I made right after number four, we are not having any more children. Not too long after this decision was made, however, I really began to regret our choice of not having any more babies. Soon, my heart began filling up with discontent and shame. I felt like I had “wronged” God, and now I was bearing the consequences of our bad choice. But you know, I kept “hearing” God’s faint voice speaking to my clouded heart: “Don’t worry, Chris, you’re alright. Remember, I cause all things to work together for good, even decisions that you might think are bad. Besides, I have something else for you to do.” Well, at the time I didn’t want anything else. I wanted only to hold another baby. (Maternal instincts are very strong, whether you have one, two, or ten children!) I was so discontent, I was having trouble enjoying the gift of you four children. However, in desperation, I decided to “give Him a chance.” Slowly, I began to let go of what I wanted and seek what the “something else” might be. Soon, His voice became clearer, and I found myself in the midst of writing these letters to you, and these prayers for you! Deep down, I knew God wanted me to write; I just had to allow Him to peel off the layers of discontentment from my heart. And now, I have found true contentment in Him through this project—His project. He wanted a pen in my hand in the early morning hours, not another sweet, cuddly baby. Hopefully, through these prayers and letters, I will be able to touch lots and lots of babies’ growing hearts, instead of just one. This has become my desire now. He had (and still has) a plan for me, and He has one for you, too. But, I tell you what, you will not be able to do His will if you’ve got your fingers wrapped around your own. Cease striving after things God obviously doesn’t want you to have right now. He wants you to have Him! Open your hands, sweet ones. Let Him plop His “project,” His will, down into your empty palms. And then do it. Pretty soon, you will marvel that your old desire no longer consumes you, but that your new desire and God’s desire are one in the same. What a wonderful treasure—contentment in Him alone. Learn to be content, sweet ones. First I will pray you will always be secure in His love; and then, contentment in His way will soon follow.
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
1. Get a hand mirror or go to a bathroom mirror with your children (individually).
2. Talk with each of them about what they see: their likes and dislikes. (Notice younger children will not have dislikes! We can learn from them!) Reinforce the Potter/Clay picture with your child. Tell them how pleased the Potter is with His project. They are His handiwork!
Also, learn to replace any negative thoughts with truth. Practice saying who they are in the eyes of Christ:
– The boys, “I am a Victorious Warrior of the Most High King, He has called me by name…”
– The girls, “I am the bride of Christ, and He desires my beauty…”
Tell them this is their true significance. Pray together for a contented heart, one that will rest in the truth of who they are in Christ.
3. Offer a candy bar to your child. Tell him to eat half. After eating the treat, ask him, “Are you thankful for the gift, or are you feeling cheated because you can’t have the whole thing?” Discuss contentment using this illustration.
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the Bread of Life, the only One who can truly satisfy the hollow and empty void of the human heart. Thank You, Jesus, for coming to fill up our emptiness with Your overwhelming love. I pray my children would find this place of contentment in You alone. May they count everything else in this world as “rubbish” in comparison to having and knowing You. And, as they walk through this life, help them in all areas (physical, financial, emotional) to never covet more, or less, than what You have already ordained for them.
Physically, I pray they will be completely content in the way You have made them. Remind them, dear Father, You are their Creator, and You designed every inch of their appearance. And You saw that it was very good (Gen. 1:31)! Help them also to know You are not like the shallow man, who focuses only on outward appearances; instead, Your focus is on what is in the heart. May they understand this is where true beauty lies, and then, may they seek this beauty!
Also, I pray they will be content in the plans You have for each of them. If they have “little” (in any area of life), may they praise and thank You with a grateful heart for what you have given them. Continually awe them by the way You provide for the daily needs. May they view this period of time as a wonderful faith- building opportunity in their lives, finding out that they can truly trust and depend on You alone.
And God, if they have “much,” I pray dear Lord, they will remember You are their sole Provider. Impress this truth upon their hearts: whatever they have, riches or talents, comes from You alone. Continually remind them, their possessions were never theirs to begin with, nor will they ever be! Please guard them from becoming greedy or proud. May they honor and glorify You with what they have, willingly giving to others in need, as You have willingly given to them.
Finally, dear Lord, I pray my children will never fall into the trap of comparing their life to someone else’s, which only leads to anger, frustration, bitterness—a discontented heart. Instead, may they truly believe, You have only the best in store for Your obedient children, no matter how it appears at the moment. Someone else may have all the “riches” (whatever that is to a person) in the world, but help them to realize they have been freely given all riches of Jesus Christ, the blessed King of kings! May they earnestly desire Your riches, dear Lord, not the fading ones of this world. Help them to die to self (their desires, their plans, their goals, their will), even when it seems, to them, that their way is “certainly” the better way. Then, may they live for You, sweet Jesus, in the place You have for them, with a quiet and contented heart.
O Father, I ask You to help [Mac and] me in this same area. Convict us and remind us, our children are watching our every action, our every decision. Help us, as their earthly teachers, to never run after the wind, desperately grasping at nothing.
Rooted, grounded, and satisfied
Perfect, complete, and unfailing
Love of Jesus Christ-
Our Savior, our Master, our Friend.
For only You can fill our cup, and then some!
Scripture references in letter:
Ps. 25:1-2; Zeph. 3:17; Ps. 100:3; Rom. 16:19-20; II Tim. 2:20-21; Rom. 8:28; Ps. 131
Scripture references in prayer:
Phil. 3:7-8; Phil. 4:11-13; Is. 64:8; I Sam. 16:7; Pr. 16:9; Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25; Mark 10:17-22; Ex. 20:17; Col. 2:2-3; Ecc. 2:10-11; Ps. 23:1,5