As I thought on Philippians 1:25-26, I found my mom's heart being tugged:
"Since I (Paul) am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again."
While I do not know how many days the Lord has "written in His book" that I should live here on this earth, I do know that every day I wake up is a new day that I am "remaining and continuing" on with my family. Paul's purpose, in these verse, focused on three specific desires he had for his "spiritual children" and they are three pursuits that I want to focus on, as well, in regards to my own children:
1) Seek the advancement of their faith
2) Seek to encourage their joy in the faith
3) Seek their growth of confidence in Christ Jesus
Bryan nor I can save our children, but we are called to train them up in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). We are called to love the Lord and to teach our children Who He is and what He has done (Deut. 6). We have a great responsibility of pointing them to Christ, the only source of salvation, hope and eternal life, through times of formal teaching (family worship) and informal times (everyday talk). Our greatest "weapon" in our pursuit to "advance their faith", though, is prayer. Challies has a GREAT article on 18 ways to pray for unbelievers (and that would include our unbelieving children)!
Another way I can follow Paul's example is by my own personal pursuit of joy. That my own heart would overflow with the joy of the Lord in such a way that my kids see and savor Christ and find their treasure in Him. As Bryan puts it, "Christ is the treasure that turns all other treasures to trash." I love Habakkuk 3:17-18:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."
This rejoicing, this joy springs from a truth that we must believe by faith and cling to in hope: that God is enough. That He is all I need no matter what may befall my day, my week, my year. And what He has ordained is good because He is good and therefore I can rejoice! May I live that way before my children and may my example encourage and advance their own joy in the faith!
Lastly, I was reminded that I must live in such a way that my own confidence in Christ grows my kids confidence in Christ. As they see me trust in the character of our great God, proclaim the work that Christ has done on the cross on our behalf and, through the Holy Spirit, wait with hopeful expectation for the return of our King; my prayer is that it will cause them to persevere and grow strong in their own faith, confident that God will complete every good work He has begun. May my lips echo the words of Hebrews 10:35-39:
"So don't throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God's will, you may receive what was promised. For in yet a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain faith."
How long the Lord has my feet walking upon this earth, I do not know...but I want to be found faithful in each of those steps, by God's grace. May we moms be those who "do not focus on what is seen, but what is unseen" (2 Cor. 4:18a) and may we realize the beautiful stewardship we have of pointing our kids to Christ, modeling for them that there is no greater joy than to know the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and encouraging them in the character of our great God so that they may approach Him with full confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help in every time of need (Hebrews 4:16)!