when you have just one hope for your children

September 10, 2015

I was asked a thought-provoking question in our parenting class last year, and as the new school year gets fully underway, it keeps coming back to me.

What is your one hope for your child/children? You only get one thing. Nothing more.

My first thought was, ‘to go to heaven.’ So, on one side of a note card we all wrote down that one wish. On the back side of the note card we wrote all of the things we and our kids are involved in on a daily or weekly basis.

I am quite certain that my list looked much like many of yours would. Work. School. Church. Baseball. Lake. College football. Homework. Orthodontist appointments. Haircuts. Grocery shopping. Laundry. You get the picture.

Now, this is where the front and back of the card connect. And, it really gets interesting.

How are the things you are doing every day, impacting that hope, wish or desire for your children’s life? Wow.

Often times the two don’t even connect. In fact, many times they conflict with one another. Ugh.

If only every day I could keep my mind focused on the ultimate goal rather than the momentary desires.

If every day I could focus on the end result rather than the immediate result.

If only I could keep my perspective on things eternal.

What was your first thought when you read the question? Think about it.

Some might say success. Some might say popularity. Some might say good health. Some might say adventure. The list goes on and on.

The one thing I realized is that there is nothing on this earth that we could wish for our children that is lasting.

All of those things are just that. Things.

They can come and go. They might only last for a brief season of life. They might even eventually bring disappointment. They might come with a cost.

Eternal things are just that. Everlasting. Forever.

As we all attempt to settle in the normal of the school year with all of its many activities, can we try to encourage each other to focus on things eternal?

Maybe this means adding prayer time every morning to our hectic routine. Maybe it means setting aside just one night a week that as a family we sit down together and read a few verses in His word for encouragement. Or, perhaps we could come up with a fun game with prizes to encourage our kiddos to memorize a verse each week. Better yet, having some conversations about the tough subjects and sad situations our country is facing.

Whatever it is, intentionally try to put God’s plan into our every day lives. Not just on Sunday. Or, when there are no other conflicts. Ask God to provide the plan and sit back and watch Him work. I know He can do more than we ask or imagine if we just ask.

“It is the same with my word, I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace.” Isaiah 55:11,12a NLT

Did you read that? When we take the time to share His word with our families, it always produces fruit. It will accomplish what He wants and it will prosper. I love the final part – you will live in joy and peace. Isn’t that what most of us are searching for in our day-to-day lives? Joy & Peace.

Yes, by being intentional and having a plan, we may need to say no to some other things. And, that is okay. Saying no to make more time for God and your family is always a good thing. It’s an eternal thing. And, yes, your children will be blessed by spending more time in His presence.

Can we really sit back and take the time to consider how each plan and appointment will impact our eternal goals for our family or children?

Will we miss our family night in His word if we say yes to dinner with friends? If so, we might need to ask them to plan for another night.

Prioritizing and planning is what is necessary for all of us. We all lead busy lives, and I confess, most days my eternal plans for the day don’t make the hand-written-to-do list. If they did, I would probably be more apt to remember.

Maybe that is really the key ~ putting our eternal checklist for our families at the top of our to-do list every day!

I long to be intentional with my time and my family. I am tired of chasing rabbits just because everyone else is. I want to chase Jesus instead.

I am tired of chasing rabbits just because everyone else is. I want to chase Jesus instead.

I want my family to know that He is all that matters. And, yes, if He is all that matters, then His people have to matter. All of them. Every. Single. One.

All my activities are for naught if my family doesn’t come to know Him and love Him more because of me.

One sweet friend said today, “Time is a resource we can’t get back.”

Does the way we spend our time really impact our lives and the lives of those we love for eternity?

Is the front of our card with our one hope for our child/children really in line with our day-to-day activities?

Maybe you don’t have children, or your children are grown, if so, what is your one hope for your life and the lives of those you love? Does the front and back of your card line up with that hope?

If not today, all is not lost. Just remember, sweet friends, He is able to change all of our plans and priorities to bring Him glory. All we need to do is ask for His guidance and help. He loves to give wisdom. And, gives it generously to all. Thank goodness!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” ~ James 1:5

And, yes, we can trust, if we add Him to the top of our to-do list, He will do just that!

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  • Reply Kelli Gilliam September 11, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Well said! I love your heart and enthusiasm Jennifer!!!

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward September 14, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Thank you, Kelli. I am grateful for you and your husband! Both of you are great examples to so many.

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