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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Response Training

This week, as we continue to study Sally Clarkson’s “The Ministry of Motherhood”, we are learning about the gift of Training.

As mothers we spend a lot of time training our children… potty training, good manners, social behaviour and skills. We often feel impatient and frustrated in our attempts to teach them since it seems to take a long time for them to learn sometimes.

In the course of my motherhood I have found myself saying things so often that I remember several times being tempted to record my instructions to save my voice! As the children have grown, I have been able to see the ways that my voice was heard though and how perseverance is rewarded in the end. I’m trying to remind myself of that in this season of life with a four year old bundle of mischief and energy barreling through the house again!
free clipart for kids

This is precisely the message that Sally is bringing to us in Chapter 13. She shows us Jesus’ patience with His disciples as He trained them to understand who He was and as He helped to build up their faith and ministry. As she points out, the fruit of all His work didn’t come to fruition until after His death and resurrection.

She says Even as Jesus had to be patient with fully grown but spiritually immature men who seemed slow to respond to his training, so we must practice with our children --and ourselves. The very nature of training is that it usually involves immature individuals, which means it takes a long time to accomplish its goals!”

She goes on to remind us that we are to be “consistent, loving and persistent trainers” of our children and that we must never give up hope because, no matter how futile it may seem at times, training does bear fruit in the future.

Chapter 14 deals with how to train our children’s minds to focus on God in all situations. I call this First Response Training.

I remember a time when we were going through a particular trial. Like all people seeking to serve God, we were also having temptations and spiritual attacks. I kept hearing God whispering to me that my first mode of offence was to get on my knees.

Soldiers, policemen, doctors, firemen… they are all trained to have automatic response to situations, before the brain can kick in, reflex does. Their training helps them to react appropriately to a situation in an instant.

This is how our relationship to God should be as well. We have to learn how to have a prayer reflex that kicks in when our human weaknesses would overtake us. We need to teach our children to turn to God in every situation, especially in times of temptation, frustration or danger.
child and dog at prayer
My daughter once told me about a dream she had…. you know those types of dreams that are just dancing on the edge of our consciousness… the kind where you aren’t really sure if it IS a dream?  She was in the grip of something that held her, something that felt sinister and evil. She could not move, the room was freezing and she was terrified but started to pray loudly, calling on the name of   Jesus. Eventually, she was released and felt safe again.

I, too, have had similar ‘dreams’. I also called on God, praying as loudly as I could. Sometimes I couldn’t speak but struggled until just one word burst from my mouth ‘Jesus!’ and peace would return

The same ‘first response’ is applied to the everyday fears in my life as well... at least I try very hard to do this.. sometimes its not that easy.  How do we pay the bills?  Pray… and trust in God’s provision.  I’m worried about my husband’s health and the stress at his workplace.  Pray… and trust in God’s merciful love. I’m not sure what to do in a situation. Pray … and trust in God’s direction. I’m afraid for the children’s safety when they are out. Pray … and trust in God’s protection.

Let me stress here that this "First Response" reflex did not happen overnight and there are still times when I struggle not to let fear control me. It takes great effort to come to the point where I recognize that I have no control.. only God does. That makes it a little easier to release my fears and trust in Him. 

As Sally says “we have to learn to reject fear and focus on the reality of the Lord’s love and power”Our God is awesome and mighty… there is none like Him. 

Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid" 

Therefore we do not need to submit to fear, but submit our fears to Him.

This is a valuable lesson my husband and I are struggling to teach our children, to let them see us live out in our daily life together.

ogre 2.gifMy four year old at times will say that there are monsters in the room or she would refuse to walk to the bathroom by herself. 
My husband and I are training her to reject those thoughts by telling her that the mighty angel St Michael is always there to defend her. We teach her to say “In the name of Jesus.. Be gone!” This empowers her against fear. She has such a great imagination that she can SEE St Michael with her. He is her favourite angel and she is always asking me to tell her stories about how he threw Lucifer out of Heaven.

This is her First Response Training…. to know that she has protection against evil. I believe this is a solid foundation upon which to build up her faith in God.

It is a solid foundation for all of us. As Sally points out, we cannot protect or shield our children, or ourselves for that matter, from the evil in this world, from danger or from trials.  
We CAN, however, train them how to deal with these things. 

We can train them to rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to give strength, wisdom, counsel and comfort through God’s word. We can train them to turn to Him in prayer, to trust Him in all situations. We can teach them to believe in the promises of God and in His love for us.

...Or to put it in my daughter's words "Jesus is going to chase away all the boogeymans" ... trust like a little child's... that's where I need to be in my faith... that's where I need to train my children to be in theirs!

1 comment:

Kristin Bridgman said...

This was so good! I love that. . .first response reflex, drop to your knees, call out the name Jesus. I was in one of those dreams recently where my unsaved brother was filled with a demon spirit. In my dream I was pointing at my brother and yelled out, "In the name of Jesus, you come out! I actually yelled it out and woke myself up and my husband who was wildly looking at me and said, "come out of where!" :)