Foundation Laying NOT house building ~ Tara Cole

Mar 4, 2015

This week I started to feel really overwhelmed and as if I had failed as a mom because I have had very little time lately to teach my boys about God this year. I had good intentions as the New Year began. I was going to do better. We would have devotions, memory verses, and prayer time daily. I sat my devotion books close to the breakfast table and printed out the memory verses for the first few months, one for every two weeks.
It is now March and we have completed one memory verse. Granted, they know it very well since we’ve been working on it intermittently over the last two months, but out of the four I had hoped to get to by this time, we’ve done one.
Daily devotions aren’t fairing much better. If we have time as they are rushing through breakfast, then I’ll pull a devotional book off the counter and read from it, but many mornings we’re so short on time that it doesn’t happen. Night? I’m so exhausted by then that we’re lucky to read books at all.
Now praying has been going a little bit better thanks to a suggestion from my friend Kate. In a post a few months ago, she mentioned how she prays with her daughter on the way to school. Now that was something I could remember! But even then, I struggle to make it more of a conversation with God instead a rote prayer repeated the same way each day.
When I was struggling with all of this yesterday, it was like God dropped a realization in my lap. He reminded me that I’m not building my sons’ whole spiritual house. Instead, I’m beginning to lay the foundation and equip them with the tools they will use in the years to come.
With this realization, a burden was lifted. I realized it’s better that they get one verse over two months really well and understand it as best they can at 5 and 3 1/2, than to get 4 verses sort of memorized. What I perceived as a fail was really a win. I want to give them the tool of memorization so they will know how to hide God’s word in their hearts as they grow. I don’t need to have them memorize the whole Bible.
The same is true for devotions and prayer. Yes, it’s important to aim for these daily, but my stressing out will not accomplish much. Instead, I need to lead first through the example of my own daily quiet time and prayer, and then by teaching them how to use the tools of Bible study and prayer themselves. I don’t need to teach them everything they will ever need to know.
So as I begin today, I’m going to focus on foundation building and tool equipping. I’m not going to stress over what didn’t get done, but instead do what I can do in this day to help my children begin to grasp these all important tools. If I have time for a quick devo during breakfast, great! If not that’s okay. If I remember to pray with my kids on the way to school, great! It’s the practice itself not always the exact words that will matter most. If I forget to have them say their verse today, that’s okay. We’ll sit on it a few months until we all know it by heart.
If you’re stressing about not getting enough God into your days, too, begin by sitting your tools in an easy to reach place. By the table, by the bed, wherever you’re used them the most. Find a time that works best for your family to focus on God in these specific ways: Bible study, memorization, and prayer. Then aim for those times. If you forget, don’t hassle yourself. Instead, give yourself grace to do better tomorrow. If we never prepare and find a time, we’ll never even have a chance to start.
But if we prepare and set time aside, then we will be ready to begin to lay the spiritual foundation in our children and teach them how to use these important tools to grow in their relationship with God. Then on the days when we forget (or even the weeks), we can remind ourselves that this is foundation laying and not house building. We are equipping with tools, not doing all the work ourselves. We have years to work, not just days. And on the days we miss, we can give ourselves grace and aim again tomorrow.
Some of my favorite Bible Study devotionals and Bible for children can be found here on our Resources page. Look under specifically under “children” and “bible study.”
Memorization is so important to equipping our children to fight Satan’s lies and to hold to God’s promises later on in life. Right now the boys are I are working through 100 Bible Heroes 100 Bible Songs by Steve Elkins.   I reviewed it in this post. I also have posted the memory verse charts I have made for my boys using the verses in the book. I’ll keep adding more as I make them for us. 
Photo credit: “Raft-slab”. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikipedia –

Do you find it hard to study the Bible?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me help you learn a technique for studying that makes it simple. Join me as we study one chapter each week and memorize two verses of scripture each month.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

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