Book Review: How to Raise Children for Christ

As the title of the book implies, Andrew Murray submerges readers into the biblical perspective of raising children. The book, which is divided into 52 short chapters, is designed in a devotional-format with each chapter ending with a prayer.

The basic theme which runs through the book is the important role of parenting, what the Bible says about it and how that can be practiced.  This covenant, according to the author, was established during creation (Genesis 1:27) and each chapter in the book introduces a new bible verse to emphasise that.

How to Raise Children for Christ is heavily centred on scriptures and it’s quite difficult to digest immediately, particularly, if you love the novel-style of writing. Reading this book requires a lot of concentration to decipher the author’s revelation on parenting. Even though the book is divided into 52 short chapters and each chapter having an average of five pages, it requires more time to fully digest the content.

Nonetheless, How to raise Children for Christ qualifies as the manual or guide that every Christian parent needs. It is not the kind of book, you can borrow, read and return; it is one you require on your shelf for reference purposes. It is almost impossible to raise children for Christ when you hardly know what the scriptures highlight on the subject, hence, the need to own and read this book.

Some of the powerful quotes in this book include:

Parents are more than friends and advisers; they have been clothed by God with a
holy authority to be exercised in leading their children in the way of the Lord.

Let the impression our receive when they hear us speak of others – friends or enemies, the low, the vulgar, the wicked – be the love of we seek to show.

Let parents be what they want their to be.

Important notes to take away from Andrew Murray’s How to Raise Children for Christ include:

  • Parenting is an important role bestowed unto man by GOD – whether you planned to be one or it was handed to you by default, you need to be deliberate about training your children, particularly, if you want to raise Godly ones.
  • A parent needs to practise what they preach because children imitate them. You have more influence on your child with your actions than your words.
  • You need to love your children just as God loves us, therefore, if you do not know how the love of God manifests, how would you show that to your children? This is the reason a parent must be in Christ first in order to raise children for Him.

How to Raise Children for Christ can be downloaded for free here.

Motherhood – My Story

When I was ‘diagnosed’ of pregnancy in 2016:

  1. I was surprised.😯  I didn’t realise getting pregnant could come that easy for me. I could count the number of times I had had sex since I got married in December 2015 and I was certain it was not up to 50 times, so how did I get pregnant so quickly?
  2. I was disappointed. 😞I had planned out my year and that included going back to school and combining that with my job. Secondly, I had assured my friends I wasn’t going to get pregnant in my first year of marriage so how come?
  3. I was scared.😩 Who am I to be a mother? What are the theories of motherhood? What were the characteristics of good mothers? I had a lot of questions but no answers, initially. I was unprepared.

“Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain—your life will never be the same.” – Catherine Jones

My husband was at his supportive best, answered most of the questions I had medically, and referred me to one of the best (in opinion) gynaecologists. During our first meeting, the gynaecologist encouraged me to be happy because I had no idea of what other women had to endure just to have babies. That statement got me reflecting, I felt I had been ungrateful for something as beautiful as the opportunity to bring life into the world. I started seeing my pregnancy in a new light and considered the best ways to make the most out of the situation.

I began reading and researching and of course, Pinterest (my favourite social media platform) and Baby Centre (app) were very resourceful and they cleared most of the misconceptions I had about childbearing. I spoke to other young mothers and there was a similar theme running through their conversations – Yes, delivering the baby was painful but an experience every woman needs to go through. Probably, the nine-month gestation period was designed by God for us to accept our new state and make preparations for the new addition. I made some adjustments to my career in order to combine schooling with motherhood (blog post for another day) and God has been faithful.

By God’s grace, my pregnancy experience was problem-free. No weight gain, no sicknesses, small tummy size and I could walk very well. Fast-forward to the delivery day, I had read so much about the process and I was certain I was going to sail through. I knew labour was painful but breathing through it gave you relief and that was going to be my strategy. When the labour started, my strategy was working perfectly until the process was augmented. That was when the pains switched from first to fifth gear. It was P-A-I-N-F-U-L and U-N-B-E-A-R-A-B-L-E. 😂 That level of pain is simply out of this world and for 12 hours, my body had to go through that to bring a 3KG baby girl into the world. There is a popular notion that when you see your baby, you forget about the pain. Well, my body didn’t forget about the pain. I felt traumatised and abused after going through that experience and I could barely sit up to touch my little girl. Before my delivery day, I had planned to dress my baby in a white dress, swaddle her nicely and take selfies when she was handed to me but, after what my body went through, I could hardly remember any of those plans. I’m not even certain who went into the suitcase to give the stuff for the baby to the midwives. When I saw my baby, she was already dressed in orange ‘welcome’ clothes (probably selected by her father)😁. Thank God for her father who was present throughout the delivery process and offered all the help.

When women get pregnant, we probably believe we’ll be free after the delivery process but, that is one of the biggest misconceptions ever. The delivery process is actually the baptism into the ‘new’ life. There is absolutely no rest even if you have help, you still have to breastfeed and adjust your sleep pattern to accommodate the little ones who want nothing but comfort (blog post for another day).

Before I became a mum myself, I thought Mothers Day was overhyped but after I experienced what I experienced and I’m still experiencing, I feel mothers are not even celebrated enough. In fact, every day should be mothers’ day because the job is tough and the sleepless nights, numerous. The job description includes being a cleaner, a nutritionist, an entertainer, a clown, a cook, teacher and any other role prescribed by the baby.

 “Birth is a mystery. Words are not enough.” – Marie O’Connor

Let me take this opportunity to celebrate all mothers because the role is a challenging one. To women who do not have biological children but sacrifice to make others comfortable, we say Ayekoo. And to mothers who have children with special needs, you are also doing brilliant jobs and we celebrate you today.

As a society, is it possible to ask us to stop questioning married couples on when they intend to have children? Childbearing is a choice, therefore, please stop putting people in uncomfortable situations when they have to keep explaining themselves to you. You have no idea of what their plans entail nor are you aware of what they are going through. The pressure you give may push them to do stuff in their power just to have babies and that could be deadly.

Motherhood is an amazing journey which never ends and to all the women giving lives and hope to people, we say a big thank you.

 

”Congratulations! You are going to be Parents!”

This announcement is greeted with a myriad of emotions depending on the circumstances surrounding the conception. It could be one of extreme excitement, for example, when the couple has had issues conceiving and suddenly, they receive this announcement. It could also be one of relief when the couple just got married and God blesses them with the fruit of the womb. It could be one of confusion and even disappointment in instances where the couple has vowed not to have children or are unprepared, and POOF 💥💥💥💥 one of them pops up.

This reminds me of a trending video on Facebook, where the husband was livid when his wife announced her pregnancy test result was positive. In the video, the couple already had three children, hence, the man’s reaction to the news.😄🤣 He ranted about his age, the number of children they had already, insurance, diapers, childcare and almost everything that comes with childbearing.

And his concerns are legitimate. Children come at a cost and if you aren’t ready for them, you may hit your head against the wall when one suddenly shows up and you are unprepared. Aside from the money involved, children take up your time, space and may even take a toll on your relationship as a couple. Babies understand nothing and all they want is to be comfortable. They don’t know how to manage any emotions or care if their parents are broke and can’t afford certain things. When a baby wants something, they need it immediately or they will shout and make you uncomfortable. 😂😂😂 Not to talk about how they can alter every aspect of your life, including your intimacy as a couple. It’s almost as if children can sense it when you slip out of your bed to be with daddy. 😂😂😂No wonder counselors warn new couples to give themselves some grace period before bringing these young ones into the world.

Being blessed with a child comes with a responsibility and what is most glaring is our level of preparedness to nurture these little ones to become responsible adults. How equipped are you for this new role? How wide-read are you on the subject of parenting? Do you intend to use your instincts or the parenting style your mum and dad used on you (even though times have changed)?🤨🙄

Like every other subject or course, the art of Godly parenting needs to be studied. There is the need to read around this subject even before we bring these little ones into the world. At every stage, we must know what is important to them and by reading, we’ll be properly equipped with the right tools to ensure they turn out fine. When we hear of seminars being organised on parenting, we should be quick to attend to seek some knowledge from the resource persons. There are several programmes which are run on radio and TV on the subject of marriage and Godly parenting. Examples include Famlife on Citi 97.3 FM on Saturdays at 7 am, Home Affairs on Joy 99.7FM on Saturdays at 6:15 am and Helpers of our Joy on Sweet Melodies 94.3 FM on weekdays from 9 pm – 10 pm. Apart from educating ourselves on the subject of parenting, there is also the need to pray constantly for these little ones. We need to be directed by the Holy Spirit when it comes to the subject of bringing up these children. At all times, we must lay hands on them and speak some good words into their lives. We must also walk our talk, in other words, portray what we want these little ones to emulate in our daily interactions as parents.

quote

Parenting is not just being labeled mummy and daddy, it’s a calling, a responsibility which has been bestowed on us by God and we need to get it right!

Like a Child

Babies are beautiful, delicate and adorable. Their process of formation through to their growth could simply be described as a miracle. Observing their growth process is a way of appreciating the perfect God that we serve. They also exhibit other traits which Christians must adopt.

This attractive feature about babies is their trusting nature, particularly in interacting, with their parents or caregivers. They tend to believe so much in the abilities of their parents or caregivers. In the presence of their caregivers/parents, they will not go hungry or thirsty or cold or experience any form of discomfort.  Even when they are treading dangerously by moving on the edge of a couch or bed, they have smiles on their faces because they know with their parents or caregivers would protect them from any form of danger. They simply trust in the abilities of their caregivers making it possible to liken their behaviour to what Jesus Christ wants believers to portray in Matthew 6:25-30:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Have you seen a baby getting worried about when or where their next meal is going to come from? They only think of the present – I am hungry, just feed me. After they are fed, they start to smile and jump about, not caring about what is going to happen to them in the next few hours.

This level of trust or faith that babies have in their parents/caregivers is what every believer should have in God. The point where we totally rely on Him for all our needs and supply. When we have no cause to fear or worry. When we know our daily bread would be provided by Him.

As we grow, life seemingly does a number of things to us and our level of trust in God simply depreciates. We begin to look everywhere for assistance except God. A situation which keeps filling us with more fear, worry and anxiety.

Worrying has never added anything to anyone’s life. Praying and listening to the Holy Ghost is the best way to battle everything. Is it barrenness, a disease or poverty – what are you battling with? Is anything too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14)?

Let’s take this simple exercise – find a child, preferably below two years and spend a full day with him/her in the presence of their caregivers. It would be a lesson which would greatly impact on your faith.

Do you have questions bothering on your Christian walk or are in need of someone to speak? Are you looking for prayer partners, reach out to us via our email christianblogghana@gmail.com or on any of our social media channels. We’ll be glad to assist.