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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tools to Help Keep the Focus on God in our Home

Growing up I was raised Catholic. We attended mass pretty regularly and were pretty involved with our church family. I didn't know all of the Bible stories or have a very strong relationship with God though and didn't fully understand that the Bible is truly God's Word until I met Zach when I was 19. I was baptized a few months after starting to attend church with him and am now a Christian. 

My #1 priority as a parent is to teach my children about God, help them form a personal relationship with Him, and send them down a path of righteousness so we will all live for eternity in Heaven together.



I do my best to incorporate God in all aspects of parenting and try to teach my children about Him. We have them in church services and Bible class and are as involved with church activities as we can be right now with little ones. We pray together. We pray for others. We have several children's bibles we read from. I wake them up each morning singing "rise and shine and give God the glory glory!"

However, it's still an area that I'm pretty insecure about. I think it's because I wasn't raised with a Godly centered family so it's very new to me. We attended church and said grace but I don't remember a whole lot of "God talk" otherwise in our home. It's not something that comes naturally to me and really it's such a new perspective to filter everything in my life through God. Seeing the blessings I have that are from HIM. Leaning on HIM in times of trouble. Praising HIM when good things happen. I'm so thankful for the relationship I now have and appreciate it on such a deep level because I didn't always have it. But I want my children to have that personal bond with our savior from childhood. I don't want them to have the same struggles I have had or the insecurities I still have regarding bringing others to Christ. 

We have been blessed with an awesome church family and they do an incredible job with our children in Bible Class. We were further blessed when we enrolled Kye in a Christian preschool at age 2 ½. He attended that school through kindergarten (and Britt now goes there). He went for half a day 3-5 days a week and it was awesome. Their entire curriculum is God centered. They pray together. They have chapel once a week. They learn memory verses and Bible stories and are around children with similar values. 

When it came time to decide where Kye would attend school for 1st grade we had a REALLY hard time making the decision (you can read more about that here). We were debating between a Christian, private school or our local public one. Our biggest reason for wanting to go the private school route was that we wanted Kye to be surrounded by as much Godly influence as possible in his day. The more we talked about it and went back and forth about it the more we realized that this decision was an opportunity for our family. Rather than spending $6,000+ per year (per child) for our kids to attend a private, Christian school we could instead send them to the free public school and use it as a springboard to look for ways to incorporate God in our home even more than we already do. 

We both felt like this was a great thing for our family. I'm thankful for the tough decision we faced as it helped us both realize just how BIG of a responsibly we have to lead our children to Christ. I had some money set aside that I'd been saving just in case we did go the private school route so Zach and I agreed to spend it on materials to use at home to help guide us in our Bible teachings for our kids.

My first goal was to find something to help us teach Kye on a daily basis. We have many Bibles but I wanted something that was more of a topic driven study and would give us a nightly routine to do with him. I was not wanting something for the younger kids to be involved in, I think it's important as the kids grow up to have that one on one time with us and to have scripture studies geared towards their specific age group. Robyn told me about Be: Kids Ministry. It is seriously AWESOME. We signed up for their monthly subscription box. They also offer FREE materials on their site (here). We started doing the free devotions while we waited on our first box to arrive and Zach mentioned that if we were getting the devos for free...why pay for the monthly subscription? Valid point haha But we talked about it and ya know what? Sometimes it's WORTH the money to support a business with a mission. Plus if everyone just gets the devos for free then how will they possibly stay in business? Right?

We have been truly LOVING the boxes the past couple of months. The studies are geared towards ages 6 and up so Kye is the perfect age. We don't currently do them with Britt as she's for sure too young (clearly Tess is too). 



Each month has a certain theme and each week has a mini-theme that relates back to the main one. It's SUPER well organized and well planned which y'all know I appreciate :) Each week comes with the nightly devotionals (enough for 5 nights per week), lunch box notes, and an activity that goes along with the theme! This is an example of what arrived in our September box:





Zach usually starts the study with Kye while I'm tucking Britt in but I like to hear it as much as I can as I get a lot out of it too! I also do the study with Kye when Zach isn't able to. We have Kye use his own Bible to look up the location of the verses and have him read the verse to us. We talk about it and follow the guide for that night. We also pray at the end of the study and will talk about our personal walks and how the verses speak to us on a personal level. I also leave the study sitting with Kye's clothes for the next day. I LOVE the idea of him starting each morning off reading a verse from God's word! What a powerful way to start the day! 

On top of doing the Be:Box we also decided to invest in a DVD series. I found the What's in the Bible series awhile back and have been considering it and debating which to purchase from their huge collection of DVDS. They are by the same people who make Veggie Tales so you know they are well done!

I decided to get all of the DVDs they sell that cover the entire Bible. Yup. From Genesis to Revelations! I also went ahead any got a few extra dvds that answer some questions most people have about God as well as one with some fun God-centered songs :) 

The awesome thing about the What's in the Bible series is that it legit covers the Bible. There are 13 dvds each with 2 half hour segments on them. Each segment talks about what's IN the Bible, it goes in depth explaining terminology and includes history and even will talk about how everything is connected back to Christ. We decided we'd try to watch one a week as a family, which means that's 26 weeks worth. In half a year we'd cover the whole Bible! My plan is to simply start over at the beginning when we finish the series. 

These dvds are def geared towards an older audience. 1st grade and up! We do watch as a family but I can tell that Britt is much too young to fully grasp the topics at hand. She does love the songs though ;) Kye is just old enough to understand a lot of what they cover and even for him it's a bit advanced. I'm sure as we cycle through them again and again he will understand more and more. 

I think out of everyone these DVDs have been a BIG blessing to ME. Since I wasn't raised in the church I don't have a very good understanding of a LOT of what the Bible covers. I've gotten a TON out of just the first 3 dvds we've watched. Like a TON y'all. They may be puppets and kid songs but I'm left in awe at each episode. It is GOOD. I know I tend to feel insecure in Bible classes at church. My amount of Bible knowledge is sooooo much less than most of the other people in my classes. Most of them are my same age but were raised in the church their entire lives. They are all getting deep into the word and I'm like "let me use my tabs to find the right book!" haha I feel like this series is giving ME a deeper understanding and helping me feel more confident in my knowledge base. 

Each DVD comes with family discussion questions and they have a lot of free printables on their site! Plus make sure to watch the bonus features on each DVD as they have some great stuff there too. You can purchase the DVDs individually or at a discount as a set (clearly I went for the discounted set option!). I believe my total was between $160-$200 which may sound like a lot but I got 15 DVDs that will help our family grow closer to God through a better understanding of His Word. Totally worth it!


Learning about What's in the Bible as a family!


While having God at the center of our home is my top priority it's still an area of concern for me. I constantly worry if I'm doing enough. Am I a Godly mother? Am I training my children up in the ways of the Lord? Am I leading by example? I constantly feel like I could DO MORE and I'm thankful for the PUSH the big school decision gave us to really focus more on incorporating God into everything we do with our children. I'm farrrrr from perfect but I'm thankful for God's Grace and that He knows my heart and that I am truly striving to raise my children in Him. I pray that they do have those Godly hearts and that our influences will translate to lives lead by Christ. 

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