Desiring to be an intentional, invested and involved mom in the lives of my children... I share a glimpse of my triumphs and failures on my quest to capture their hearts ♥♥♥
by Tini Tadeo-Castillo
In the pursuit of trying to understand what makes my kids tick, how to raise them as responsible and godly adults, to get inspiration on how to become a better and godly wife and mother and to be encouraged through God’s words and promises, I download Christian books. Tons of them! Christian book hoarding is my game. Voraciously reading, highlighting, bookmarking and rewriting important notes on my journal just so I could learn it by heart. As I immersed myself in those books and counter-checking them with Scripture, I found myself checking my moral inventory and assessing my own spiritual health. After all, you cannot give what you do not have, right?
One of the topics covered in the marriage retreat we attended a couple of summers ago, was leaving a Godly legacy to our children. In my journey of faith in the last months, I had a slow awakening to the magnitude of my responsibility as a parent to the future of my children. Several Sunday worship sermons of different pastors, watching the Counterflow and Dr Ravi’s talk during the Unshakable event some three years ago--all helped me come to terms with this. I have been a mother for almost 18 years and in all those years I really thought that feeding them, raising them to be decent and respectful kids and sending them to good schools was all it took to be called a good parent. How wrong was I! I never realized how much accountability I had to the Lord as a mother/parent when it came to raising my children. I found myself lacking for the most part during their growing years and it hit me really hard realizing all these. Was it too late? Had I unwittingly damaged my kids? Did I stunt their spiritual growth? Do I have the heart of Jam? Am I in the heart of Cicc? All these questions hovered around my head and as a neurotic mother and a control-freak, this drove me crazy big time. I found myself weeping many days as I retraced my steps and recognized all of what I did wrong.
In one of my quiet times sometime ago, I realized that what I had been doing—obsessing about the past and the mistakes I made—I was looking at the rearview mirror, when I should be focusing on the windshield, the here and now and the thereafter. My eyes ought to be fixed on the road ahead, hands firmly gripped on the steering wheel to avoid a collision course. There is a purpose for the rearview mirror and that is for glancing at it just to check what’s behind me and help me get where I was going. It is the past. I was supposed to just glance, to just look for a second to make sure I will make better decisions. I am not supposed to obsess and live in it or I will never make it forward.
Having thought of this, I promised myself that I would focus on the current situation and keep in mind that it is through my example that my kids will learn the most. This much I know, because I see my kids and watch how they act, think and speak. Truth be told, sometimes I don’t like what I see. Why? I see myself. So, to be a better influence to them, I vowed to educate myself and take a stab at anything to nourish myself from a spiritual standpoint. As my children see me and their Dad grow in the knowledge and confidence in Christ, how we overcome battles and triumph over life’s challenges with the Lord as a source of strength, I know they will be empowered and encouraged to be spiritually intimate with the Lord and with Jesus Christ, too. I know I am a fledgling in the faith so I must intentionally soak in His words, immerse myself in more reading materials, and grow in relationship among godly mentors and friends and more importantly to with the Lord and with Jesus Christ. In the words of Barney Stinson, Paul and I must “SUIT UP!” I cannot help our children put on the armor of God unless I am wearing the same armor myself.
As I came across one reading material, my eyes were opened to the reality of a Spiritual Warfare. As a parent, it shook my nerves to know that Satan—the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy—is at work in my children. I did not realize that the conflict between parents and children is one of the tactics of this ruthless foe. I look back at the spats between me and Jam, the disputes I had with Cicc and our daily clashes about small and big things—they were all attacks. Ingraining doubts, disbelief and discouragement, guilt shame and rebellion are also among the schemes of the evil one. Having learned this, I knew right away how imperative it was that my husband and I recognize it each time it happens. The urgency to teach my children to know how to battle these attacks is now pressing more than ever.
Reading and having great knowledge about the word of God is important during such times. I am reminded how Jesus fought Satan in the wilderness through God’s word. The Scripture admonishes us to stand and fight the works of the evil one on our children. When you stand on the word of God, you stand on a rock solid foundation. I intend to be equipped on this battle therefore, I read the Bible. In this light, I now assume responsibility to teach them the word of God. It is indeed powerful but without knowledge of it and how to use it, it is useless. I pray that I along with my husband and children may thirst and hunger always for His word.
On the note of prayer, I do my utmost to intentionally teach and encourage my children to pray. I learned that it opens a channel of communication between the Lord and His children. In this case between God, me, Paul, Jam and Cicc. Soldiers must stay in constant communication with their commanders during battles and as we pray as a family, I am assured that we as God’s warriors are getting the direction and encouragement straight from the one true Commander.
I am a work in progress and sometimes falter in my walk. I still find myself at a loss when it came to understanding the wiring of my children’s head and heart. I get frustrated when it happens and feel discouraged many times. The difference however, is this time I am in the same page with my husband. I now have full comprehension of my accountability. I am surrounded by friends in Christ who I turn to when I lose my grip. I have people who pray with and for me when the going gets tough. And I am assured that I serve a faithful, sovereign, powerful, loving, forgiving and ageless God. Oh and I am saved and redeemed by His Son, Jesus Christ. In this journey as a mother, I am truly in good hands :)
~~ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6