Monday, April 8, 2013

Raising My Girls to Have a Heart for Missions ~ Checking My Own Heart

As I've been thinking about raising my girls with a heart for missions, I keep coming back to the same thought....
If missions isn't important to me, then it won't be important to my kiddos.
It seems simple enough, but so often I think that I can just "hope" ideas into their heads.
Ideas like, "Missions are really important so they should think they are important even if I'm not doing anything to teach them or show them that."
Kinda like the old phrase, "Do as I say, not as I do."
It doesn't work.

If the equation starts with me, then what must be going on in my heart?
First, I must have a heart that seeks the God of missions.
A heart that does not burn for God will never burn for others.
How can it?
I'm a fallen human being that cares only for myself.
I can't "work up" enough good feelings to live selflessly for other people.
Even if I could, my good feelings aren't going to get anyone anywhere.
The only thing that can change a person is Christ.
And if He is not important to me, then He'll never be important to those I'm trying to reach.

And how do I gain this heart for God?
I tend to over-complicate this one.
The idea itself isn't difficult, but the carrying out of it takes work.
I gain a heart for God by getting to know Him,
and the way I can get to know Him is His words.

I've got to be in my Bible.
Before I had kiddos this one wasn't too hard.
I had plenty of time for Bible reading, study, and prayer.
And then I had kids, and it got a lot more difficult than I'd ever imagined.
I'd make excuses.
I'd rationalize.
I'd forget.
I'd fall asleep.
And after a while, I just felt horribly guilty until I'd break down crying.
Finally a wise woman made the point that walking with God doesn't look the same in every season of life.
As a young mother I will not have a three hour block of time to sit quietly and read and study and pray.
So I learn to grab time when I have it ~ whether that means snatching a few minutes when I'm supposed to be scrubbing stains or hiding in the bathroom a few extra minutes.
This is also the season of life that the memorized Word is so very important.
As I'm busy about my work, I should be meditating, chewing on the portions of Scripture I've memorized.
And if I didn't memorize much when I had the time?
I write verses on cards and I post them wherever I am the most ~ above the kitchen sink, the kitchen counter where I do most of my food prep, the door frame I walk past all day long, above the washing machine, at my desk.
They can be fancy or plain, but the important thing is that I can be taking in His Words and learning His heart.

How else do I cultivate a heart for missions?
Secondly, I must be reminded of His words about missions regularly.
I'm a word thinker, so I decorate specifically with words that remind me of my life's purpose.
Maybe you are a picture thinker.
If so, then decorate with pictures that remind you of His commission to us.

I use a chalkboard I made from a broken mirror as my reminder.
It can be anything really ~ a sampler hanging on your wall, framed art, a globe, a photo, a piece of jewelry.
Just find something that serves as your daily, hourly reminder of why God put you on this earth.

Last for today, I must be very specific about what I fill my mind with.
If I fill my mind with vain things, then I'll usually think worthless thoughts.
If I fill my time reading romance stories, then I'll probably be thinking about how I wish my life was like that story book.
If I fill my ears with news of a fallen world, then I'll definitely be thinking fearfully.
But if I fill my mind with stories of God's working in the world?
Then I'll likely be thinking about how God can work right where I am at.

I am not saying that the only thing you should personally read is missionary stories and biographies, but I am saying that the more you read those kinds of things, the more you'll think about them.
And isn't the whole point of this post supposed to be how to develop our own heart for missions?
What I put in, comes out.

So I must ask myself, what am I putting into my mind?
Does it make my heart yearn for God and to be a part of His work in this world.....
or not?

I'll be writing about this topic for the next 40 days.
I'd love to have you join, and I'd love to hear what you do personally to have a heart for missions!

Would you like to read the entire series?
Start here.


  1. A few years ago I came to the same conclusion about reading and missions. I do occasionally read other books, but there are so many great missionary biographies out there that I have yet read. So why waste time on books whose stories are fairytales, when I can read about adventure in real people's lives!

  2. One of the things I want to start doing is posting scripture to memorize around the house. It's been on my mind, now it just needs to happen. I've got me some post-its, so that's as good an item to start with as anything. :) Maybe I'll ask the kiddos to do it with me, and see if the hubs wants to join in (I can't see him saying no). He can help me pick the verses, and we'll do a new one a month or sooner if we get good at it. :) Sounds like a just to pray I don't make excuses about putting it into action!!!

  3. Jackie's JournalApril 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Getting your kids involved into the ministry they see the need for people to be saved. It's not just dads job, it's all of our job. We have a sign at church above the door that says "You Are Now Entering The Mission Field." We had some guest's from the States and they kind of snickered, because this was the mission field, but the Ghanaians have the same responsibility to reach the lost. You are right on, it all begins with teaching!

  4. What encouraging ideas! Love this post even thought I have no children, it is good for adults too.

  5. My Mom used to do that - post verses all around the house so she could memorize them. I'm a picture thinker, so I use pictures with verses on them - taped everywhere!

    Thank you so much for writing this series. I found it this week, and have enjoyed every bit of it so far. I needed the reminder to live out missions, practically, right here. Looking forward to the rest of this series!