A New Thing

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare newthings; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” Isaiah 42:9 (NAS)

Have you ever had that feeling that God was doing a new thing but He hadn’t revealed what it was yet? You just knew something was coming. And while you waited you sensed that He wanted you to seek Him, listen for direction and be willing to follow one step at a time?

Over the past few months God’s given me that sense. At first, I thought it was our adoption. That alone will bring LOTS of “new” to our lives for sure, but we’re stilling waiting. Although it’s hard, over the past few weeks I’ve had this incredible peace about waiting. Perhaps it’s because God has been turning the eyes of my heart to look deeply into the hearts of two sons we already have. As I shared last week, Joshua and Andrew have been asking so many new questions having to do with God and the Bible.

At the same time, God’s been nudging JJ and me both to carve out space in our thoughts and in our schedules to connect in new ways with our boys on a spiritual level. It’s not that we weren’t doing anything already. We have been, but it’s not the same as it used to be when they were toddlers or early elementary school age. It’s much harder to feel like they are interested than when we played games and did fun family devos with M&Ms and blindfolds. Their age difference of 2.5 years is more noticeable now, and makes it challenging to connect with them both at the same time on the same level since they are at two different places in their faith journey. And, they are two very different children who process information in two very different ways: one by reading and thinking, the other by seeing and feeling.

Also, as they’ve gotten older we felt like we needed to stop pushing and planning it all ourselves. We’ve tried to leave room for their faith to become their own – not just an act of pleasing us. But now God is showing us that it’s time to press in again, not back off, not even a little. He wants us to be more aware of where they are in life, and look for ways to bring Jesus into the picture on an intellectual and relational level. Encouraging and equipping them to follow Him with all their hearts, minds, and souls – outside of the walls of church and youth group.

The holiday break gave us time to share our thoughts and desires with the boys, get their feedback, set some goals and make some decisions. It’s a starting place. It seems like a lot. But we’ve tried it for a few days and it’s gone well. So, I’m going public with the “new things” we’re committing to as a family 2009:

  • Read the Chronological Bible together for 15-20 mins each night and take turns facilitating talk-time. Update 1/7/09 – we just got started on this goal tonight. Great time reading with the kids but it’s much harder now that they are back in school and we’re back to work. We’ve been focused more on our next goal and giving ourselves lots of grace.
  • Do a short devotion in the morning and or evening with a verse and a prayer
  • Memorize a verse each week or so and pray it together.
  • Talk more about whatever we (all four of us) are going through at meal times, in the car, after school, before bed.
  • Look up verses that apply to our felt needs (which we’ll know more about when we talk more about the) – like fear, anxiety, studying for tests, working through rejection with friends, balancing work and family, etc. – and making those our devo topics as we go along.
  • Play games and connect in fun ways as a family more regularly.
  • Cut back on watching tv, being on the computer and playing video games as much as we have been.
  • Find resources like DVDs and books that bring Biblical truths and history to life.
  • Run together and exercise our bodies and our minds while weaving in these things as they fit during recreational time, not just sit-down-and-talk time.
  • Claim Romans 10:17 as our family life verse: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God.” (NKJV)

Would you like to join our family and commit to connecting with your kids spiritually in some new and fun ways? I’ll be sharing what we’re doing here. We’d love for you to join us!

If you don’t have kids – I’d love to know what you are asking for or giving to God this year? For Christmas, I gave Him the commitment to not turn on my computer at all until I have opened my Bible and let God speak to my heart before anything or anyone else. I’m asking Him for a deeper hunger and understanding of His Word.

It’s a new year, the perfect time for a new thing. What do you think yours will be?

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Renee, My husband and I were discussing a similar subject this evening. Some good friends are really struggling with their teenage daughter and we were discussing how we can prepare our children and ourselves for the years ahead. Thanks for sharing soem of your ideas. Our’s are still young (almost 2, 4 and 6), but it’s amazing what they soak up and our oldest is already asking some challenging questions. Always good to be reminded that regardless of what we do or who we serve the ones in our home are priority. Thanks for doing just that. Blessings to you in the new year, Jill

  2. Renee, My husband and I were discussing a similar subject this evening. Some good friends are really struggling with their teenage daughter and we were discussing how we can prepare our children and ourselves for the years ahead. Thanks for sharing soem of your ideas. Our’s are still young (almost 2, 4 and 6), but it’s amazing what they soak up and our oldest is already asking some challenging questions. Always good to be reminded that regardless of what we do or who we serve the ones in our home are priority. Thanks for doing just that. Blessings to you in the new year, Jill

  3. Wow Renee, you have some wonderful goals here! You're right, we have to be purposeful and intentional. I never thought of reading the chronological Bible WITH my family – great idea. Also love your committment not to turn on your computer until AFTER you spend time with the Lord. Praying the Lord will help you with the follow-through, as I know the enemy will be doing all he can to distract you from God's plans for your family.

    Happy New Year!
    Love & prayers,
    Joy

  4. Runner Mom says:

    These are wonderful, Renee! Thanks for sharing! I think that we will discuss some goals at breakfast in the morning. I really love the family verse.I got a new Chronological Bible for Christmas, and I am ready to use it with the boys!

    May God bless you and your family in 2009.

    Blessings,
    susan

  5. Hi Renee,
    I am leaving this comment with the din of small children who want my attention in the background. So at the risk of feeling like a hypocrite, let me quickly share what is on my heart. This year, each morning, I will read a page from Jesus Wants All of Me, an Utmost for His Highest for kids. I am looking forward to hearing it in simpler terms myself. I think God gave us a family verse, Hosea 10:12, about breaking up the unplowed ground. Being more intentional is definitely unplowed ground for us as a family. My husband signed up for a How to Read your Bible class at church, and even told his boss he would be unavailable during those times. Imagine, all that without me nagging at him…

    Thank you for your ideas and transparency on your journey. I pray that you and your family be blessed through a more intentional year.

    Welcome 2009!
    Debbie

  6. Hi Renee,
    I am leaving this comment with the din of small children who want my attention in the background. So at the risk of feeling like a hypocrite, let me quickly share what is on my heart. This year, each morning, I will read a page from Jesus Wants All of Me, an Utmost for His Highest for kids. I am looking forward to hearing it in simpler terms myself. I think God gave us a family verse, Hosea 10:12, about breaking up the unplowed ground. Being more intentional is definitely unplowed ground for us as a family. My husband signed up for a How to Read your Bible class at church, and even told his boss he would be unavailable during those times. Imagine, all that without me nagging at him…

    Thank you for your ideas and transparency on your journey. I pray that you and your family be blessed through a more intentional year.

    Welcome 2009!
    Debbie

  7. Digging for Pearls says:

    Hi Renee,
    One of the things we are doing with our boys is we each have a read through the Bible in a year that we each will be going through. Our boys will be 18 and 15 this year. It seems hard to believe how quickly the years have flown by. Ever since they were babies we have had devotions together each evening before bed.

    Blessings this New Year,
    Pearls

  8. Melissa Milbourn says:

    I’m so glad you shared this, both things you’ve mentioned I’ve felt God nudging me toward as well…one, going deeper spiritually with our kids, and not getting onto the computer ’til after quiet time!

    We have a 15 year old boy, an 11 year old girl and a 7 year old boy…since there’s such an age gap, we’ve decided to do something that fits each individually.

  9. Hi Renee, I’ve started a book entitled Through the Bible, Through the Year. It’s a daily reflection from Genesis to Revelation. Also, my family will be dedicating Tuesday evening to family time. Activities will include scripture reading (some type of bible reading plan, haven’t decided which one yet), discussion, prayer, and just spending quality time together. No television, computer, telephone.
    Many blessings to you in 2009.

  10. tiggerdaisy says:

    Thanks, Renee! I’m going to have Romans 10:17 as my first scripture memory verse of the year! 🙂

    Blessings sweet one!

    Rebecca

  11. Lisa's Place says:

    Hi Renee, I’ve started a book entitled Through the Bible, Through the Year. It’s a daily reflection from Genesis to Revelation. Also, my family will be dedicating Tuesday evening to family time. Activities will include scripture reading (some type of bible reading plan, haven’t decided which one yet), discussion, prayer, and just spending quality time together. No television, computer, telephone.
    Many blessings to you in 2009.

  12. Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog says:

    Renee,
    This verse I love so much! I have learned to embrace those season’s of wait. God is so good to lead and guide but in His timing so until He shows another step sitting at His feet is great! Soaking Him in is such pleasure and blessing. He is good.

    I have decided to read the novels from C.S. Lewis to my little ones who are 5 and 7 for 15 minutes a day. Then we will discuss how it relates to Jesus at their level. I also am going to start using the Children’s Bible I picked up at LIfeway to help my oldest with her reading.

    Thanks for spurning my heart to do more good works for the King even in a season of wait. It is never wait in a family with kids!
    Much love,
    Angela

  13. KimAmburn says:

    What a timely topic for me! I think God nudged me to read your blog today – I don't usually read blogs on weekends b/c that's family time. I really want to work with my children (ages 5 &7) about God and His love but I'm pretty new at this so I can't wait to hear about your journey. I'm already going to write down your ideas and talk to my husband about how we can incorporate similar ones. Thank you so much!

  14. Wendy Blight says:

    Renee,

    What great ideas you shared to do with your kids! We are doing a new thing that I found in a prayer journal I received as a gift. It is put out by Billy Graham.

    We pray for a different country each week (this week is Armenia, last week was Argentina). The journal gives a summary of the country’s vital statistics and then suggests how to pray for the country based on its religious makeup. It is a cool way to learn about other countries and at the same time pray for the people of the countries to come to know Christ and for the missionaries serving in those countries. I put the name of the country on our Scripture plate in the kitchen. I look forward to following your family’s journey!

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  15. I think this is a great idea too. I have a son who is a 7th grader and I want him to have a closer relationship with God. We do nightly devos together but he seems to be in a hurry to get it over with so he can get on with what he wants to do. I have talked with him about giving some of his time to God because he has blessed us so much. He goes to church with his dad ( we are newly divorced) because he says he likes his church better. There are other family members there from his dad’s side. That is okay with me, as long as he is in church. I am always praying for him that he will grow up to be a Godly man and follow the path that God wants him to take in life. If anyone has any ideas of devo ideas that might appeal to a 13 year old boy, please share! Thanks for this uplifting site. I look forward to reading the daily devotional as I want to spend more time getting to know Him better this year.

  16. I just referred to Romans 10:17 to my Mom yesterday in an email referring to whether or not we would continue doing our home nativity play with teenaged niece/nephew that seems not interested – we had decided that we WOULD. So seeing this blog made me feel that God knew about the decision and was encouraging!
    Nothing we can do as a parent (or grandparent) is as important as providing our children with a foundation in Christ, and we have to LIVE it, not just teach it. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder!! ~TJ/Mom to 2

  17. Anonymous says:

    I decided to start the new year with a devotional aimed at my girl’s ages. They are 5 and 7. We were doing them as a family a while back, once a week and they really enjoyed them. We got busy and the devotionals went by the wayside. I came to the realization during this Christmas season that I have a great opportunity to give them biblical training and discipleship each and every day. If we aren’t able to do it as a family, I can still make it an important time for the girls and I and make an investment that will benefit them the rest of their lives. The devotionals have a bible verse, story and an activity to do with them. Now I just need to find them, as they haven’t been unpacked yet since we moved and it is already January 7th!

    Mary

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