Discipleship On The Go

Helping Busy Families Thread Jesus into Every Day

by: Sarah Blount

You know those memes that make light of expectations verse reality? Like the one of Ariel from The Little Mermaid? Wet Hair Expectations: She’s gloriously exiting the water, hair dramatically flowing behind her. Wet Hair Reality: Her locks, which resemble a lifeless mop, are pinned to her head and covering most of her face.

Or there’s the one of Pocahontas’ hair perfectly blowing away from her face as she paints with all the colors of the wind. That’s my windy day hair expectation, but whenever I paint with the colors of the wind, which often happens in Oklahoma where the wind literally comes sweeping down the plain, that’s not at all what my hair looks like.

And then, of course, there’s there “Pinterest Perfect” Queen Elsa Cake where Elsa looks like she stepped right out of the movie screen versus the “Pinterest Fail” Queen Elsa Cake where Elsa looks like she came straight from the prison yard, where she was working on her shoulders.

The reason we smile when we see an expectation versus reality meme is because we can all relate to them in some way or another. I bet if you were to stop and think about it for a second, you would be able to identify an area in your life where your expectations are not lining up with your current reality- only it’s not quite as funny as the Disney Princess memes. It’s actually rather frustrating. That’s where I found myself toward the end of last summer- frustrated.

In 2008 I eagerly entered into my season of motherhood. I had wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. I was determined to steward well every second with my new little guy. I played with him, sang to him, read to him, prayed for him, and consistently presented Jesus to him. It was pretty simple. I worked from home and had a very flexible schedule. So in-between naps, strolls around the neighborhood, re-runs of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, racing Hot-Wheels and reading all of the Elephant and Piggie books, I was doing my best to train my son up in the way he should go. I knew God had called me to make disciples of all the nations, but first, my offspring. In 2011 we added baby number 2, and baby number 3 came along in 2013.

With three little ones, I had to be more strategic when it came to intentional spiritual investments, but we got in a nice flow, and I felt like in the Christian Mom Department I was dotting every and crossing every T.

Fast forward five years and my perfectly crossed T’s and dotted I’s were nowhere to be found. I had a ten-year-old, a seven-year-old, a four-year-old, a miniature schnauzer, and a three-year-old church plant that my husband and I founded and pastor together. Gone were the days of working from home and having countless opportunities to connect with my children. I was officially entering a new season of motherhood. For the first time, the kids would all be in school while I would be at the church offices or a coffee shop writing the manuscript for my first book. After school, we had 2-hour long football practices three times a week, plus small group, guitar lessons, cheerleading, and whatever else ended up on the calendar. We were busier than we’d ever been before, and it was all wonderful except the expectations I had for what discipling my children should look like and what it actually looked like were NOT matching up.

Expectation: I sing out a run of notes a princess would use to gather her forest friends and my kids sit around the table, where we do a family devotional, pray, worship together, and everyone produces the fruit of the spirit.

Reality: 10-year-old reads four-year-old a Bible story before bed.

I was tempted to “give myself grace,” but I knew that wasn’t what this frustration called for. I didn’t want to make excuses. I would not settle into a “we’re in a busy season, and the spiritual discipleship of my children looks good on the back burner” kind of mindset. Instead, I begin to examine my expectations with God’s Word and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened.

I realized that while the discipleship model I used when the kids were tiny was effective- we had outgrown it. The training, Bible stories, worship and prayer- the consistent positive interactions between my kids and the real Jesus used to fit perfectly inside this little block of time on my calendar, but it was time to break that box wide open, toss out the previous expectations, and get excited about the new thing God was about to do.

Deuteronomy 6:7 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about themwherever you aresitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.

Discipleship On The Go became my new expectation. I was so over over-complicating things and trying to find the perfect time and date to water my little sprouts with the word. Instead, I would mist them throughout the day- like the cilantro misters in the produce aisle at Target.

Wherever we are, sitting at home, driving to school (my personal favorite), around the breakfast table, or at bedtime- Discipleship is weaved into every part of our lives. It doesn’t have to look like a once a week Bible study around the table. Really, it should look more like an on-going, never-ending, discussion that you can pick up at any time. With this mindset, there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t talk to our kids about Jesus. It’s all very organic. We thread him into everything. He’s the answer to every problem. He’s the reason for every celebration. He’s our world- which makes renewing our kid’s minds with His Word a very natural part of our day.

We also gifted our two older children with daily devotionals and explained that mom and dad are not the only ones responsible for their relationship with Christ or their spiritual growth. They were mature enough to start taking ownership of their personal walk with God- and they did. What a sweet season it’s been. Seeing your children connect to God personally as they receive their own revelations about who he is is the best!

If your expectations and reality aren’t lining up, let your frustration lead you to God’s Word. Don’t settle. Don’t give yourself grace, because your grace isn’t enough.Meet with God and allow him to give you grace, reveal truth, and free you to walk in the freedom he won for you- in parenting, in marriage, in ministry, in your finances- in LIFE.

Here we are a few months away from the end of the school year, and because I brought my expectation vs. reality frustration to the Lord I not only had an impactful year training my children and leading them toward Christ, but I also produced a resource to help families all over the world do the same. If you’re a parent who is passionate about the discipleship of your children but struggles to find the time, check out my Discipleship On The Go Cards and start looking to weave Jesus into the everyday moments.

Remember, His burden is light! Including the burden to train your one-of-a-kind kiddoes!

Click here to shop Discipleship On the God at Sarah’s site.

Sarah has devoted her life to sharing the story of God’s wonderful goodness. After delivering her son Felix, stillborn, in 2012, she started her blog, 10K Reasons, and God birthed in her a passion for communicating His Word. She has helped many women who have lost babies find comfort in choosing gratitude over grief. In September of 2015, Sarah and her husband, Josh, stepped out in faith, moved to a new land, and pioneered New Song Church in Oklahoma City where they co-pastor and desire to see people come to personally know God. Sarah is also the founder of HIS, a ministry designed for women who prize being found in Christ. Sarah and Josh have been married for sixteen years and have three larger-than-life children—Gus, Beau, and Sunny. Sarah’s first book “Fearless Parenting, Raising Godly Kids in an Ungodly World” will be published in the fall of 2019.

You Might Be A Pharisee If…

Six Signs of Imitation Christianity

No Soup For You

This morning I was reading about Saul. The story reminded me of how even with the best intentions we can slip into legalism. During a battle, he made a rash vow. The soldiers were pursuing victory. Honey was dripping all around to refresh them along the way. The only problem was Saul refused to let anyone eat until their enemies were defeated.

It may sound radical and inspirational at first. Maybe Saul thought this would rally the troops’ commitment. Instead, it left a mess. People were confused and discouraged. This is often the case with immitation Christianity.

So how do we know when this type of thinking creeps into our spiritual life? Here are six signs you might be a Pharisee and don’t even know it.

You do not think you are a Pharisee

Did you hear about the latest Pharisee convention? Me neither. That’s because no one went. No one put it on. Because no one thinks they are a Pharisee. Pharisees are too busy pointing out other people’s fault to take the time to deal with their own.

You subscribe to radical Christianity

I used to be a radical Christian. I took pride in that. Now I realize “radical”  was just a code word for legalism. Radical Christians go to the extreme and believe everyone else is not “really” serving God with all of their heart until they are making the same sacrifices as they are.

You believe you are an elite Christian

If you think there are classes of Christians, then you may subscribe to the false brand of Christianity called legalism. Do you look down on others who do not share your same convictions? Then you misunderstand that convictions are for you and the gospel is for everyone.

You misunderstand holiness

If your priority is outside appearance, then you misunderstand holiness and may be stuck in a Christina performance trap. Jesus called people like this whitewashed tombs. They look good on the outside but are dead on the inside. True holiness begins with grace, is maintained by grace, and works its way from the inside out.

You question other people’s salvation

Do you take snapshots of where people are in the exact moment you see them or do you view yourself and others in a process? Have you ever wondered out loud, “How can they love Jesus and do _________.” Or “If they loved God they would do ________ more.” A Pharisee always questions those who sin differently then they do instead of patiently helping them address the root of the problem.

You serve under a Saul

The thing that made David “David” was he saw Saul as someone worthy of grace and honor.  Instead of focusing on Saul’s faults, he saw himself as the one who needed to become more godly. A Saul sees a Saul in everyone else, while a David is continually looking for the “David” in others, and is aware of the “Saul” in himself.

Only One Good News

In the Book of Galatians Paul warns sternly that anyone twisting the good news would be in danger of judgment. It is one of the harshest warnings in the New Testament. He says, “It pretends to be good news, but is not good news at all.”   

Still, High-Performance Christianity has a way of slipping into the lives of the most well-meaning people. We must keep our eyes, hopes, and security in a love relationship with Jesus and continue to humbly extend the same grace that was given to us to others if we are to avoid this trap.