Vince and I haven't been very consistent with doing devotions as a family. We've tried different scenarios and different devotional books, but for one reason or another we haven't stuck with it...until now. A few weeks ago Vince felt God speak to him during church (you can read about that here on his blog - which by the way has more followers than mine - NOT FAIR! Eh-hem, sorry.) That evening he had an emotional talk with Nick and Vinny, explaining what God had put on his heart and his desire to follow through. The boys received this talk so beautifully - with hugs and "I love you's" later that evening - and every night since then the three of them have sat down and done devotions together. Every night. And what's amazing is that they look forward to it. No more dragging the boys away from the tv or whatever activity they are into and "making" them do devotions. They want to. They pay attention and listen as Vince reads the lesson from the book they are going through, called "Why: 40 Days Pursuing Answers to Life's Biggest Questions" They talk, ask questions, and think. It's awesome!
And things are different around here.
Tempers are tamed - which really weren't all that harsh to begin with - but it's the little things. The boys seem a little more patient, a little more obedient, a little less inclined to argue their point with us, and a little more thoughtful. And since they already were thoughtful, it is just that much better!
And (for the most part) I'm staying out of it. That is hard for me, I'll admit. But I have resisted the urge to tell Vince what book I thought they should go through (I would have picked something else...and been totally off base) or interfere too much in their conversations. I am letting them have this guy time and letting Vince mentor and teach his sons how to walk with the Lord at this very critical time in their young teenage lives when the world is screaming at them from every direction. I am humbled and grateful beyond words to have this man of God in my life...not only for myself, but for my sons.
In the mean time, I have begun having "bible time" with Kyle and Hope every evening. We are going through a book called "101 Questions Children Ask About God". I got the book years ago for my boys, I think from a garage sale, and over the years I have gone through most of it with them (see, the on again/off again devotional times is not a new thing for me or us. Sigh.) It is the best book! I highly recommend it for anyone with elementary age children. It covers everything from "How did God create the world?" to "Why doesn't God just zap the bad people?" to "Why did I have a bad dream if I prayed before I went to sleep?"
Some pretty big questions for a child, huh? The kids love the book and last night (our first night of this...I'm a little slower on the uptake than Mr. Wonderful) they came to the table with their bibles and notebooks and eager hearts. Tonight we decided to climb up on my bed and do our devotions there. It was so cozy I think that is where we will have it from now on.
We have tried all sitting down together and having "family" devotions, and honestly that would be our preference. But when we tried it, either the younger ones were lost or the older ones were bored, not to mention that the chaos-o-meter is usually off the charts when EVERYONE is in the same room at the same time around here. So this is what's working for us. God is blessing it, and I am grateful beyond words.
And now I am asking myself, how in the world have we made it this far as a family without doing this? I don't know...not very well at times, I'm afraid. Like I said, we've tried before, but for one reason or another we didn't stick with it. We let ourselves get too busy, too tired, too distracted, or too lazy. But now we are into it and are already seeing the benefits and reaping the rewards! It's kind of like an exercise program. Except without all the sweating and moving. And pain. And misery. Ok, it's really nothing like an exercise program. I have no idea why I thought of using that as an analogy at all...that's what you get for reading my ramblings :)