Finding God's Purpose and Perspective
Renee Swope

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

A few weeks ago, I shared a devotion about the day I wanted to quit being a mom. I spent time that afternoon writing in my journal, processing my emotions with God and asking Him to help me. Later that day I read something in Zig Ziglar's book, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World, that God used to completely change my perspective as a mom and as His child. Here's what I read:

Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America in the early 1900s, so wealthy that he employed over 42 millionaires! One day a reporter who was intrigued by Carnegie's wealth asked how he developed these men to become so valuable that he would pay them that much money. Carnegie explained, "Men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn't go into the mine looking for dirt — one goes in looking for gold. And the more he looks for, the more he finds."

After this story, Ziglar challenged parents to look past their children's mistakes and mine for gold in them. I'd been buried in the dirt that day! My discouragement and feelings of failure as a mom left me so disappointed in myself. I was also convinced God felt the same way about me.
Pity set in and I started wishing I had a gold-miner in my life who could see beyond my mistakes and find the gold in me. That's when God whispered to my heart, "Renee, I am that gold-miner. You are the one who is so critical of yourself. You are the one who focuses on your faults. But I see the gold of My image in your heart, and I want to bring it to the surface so your kids can see Me in you."

As I sat there trying to process what God was whispering to my heart, stories and promises from the Bible started flooding my thoughts helping me believe that God really does see beyond who I am to who I can become. It would take time for those truths to sink in, but that day God used His thoughts to give me a new perspective - of Himself and of myself. Then He challenged me to look for ways to transfer that perspective to my children.

It's easy to get buried in the dirt of discontentment, disobedience and discouragement. You may even be thinking, Where's the gold in it all? I wondered, too. But after reading Carnegie's story and hearing God speak to my heart, I wanted to become a gold-mining mom.

As I thought about the gold I'd like to find in my children, character traits like patience, kindness and contentment came to mind. I decided to make a list of golden attitudes and actions and look up Bible verses we could learn together. I even made gold nuggets by balling up foil and spray-painting them gold. I decided that each time my kids showed a golden attitude or action, I'd reward them. When they saved up enough nuggets, they'd get a special treat.

Each week we'd find a new character trait and Bible verse, write down ideas to live it out and make them part of our family devotions. God's Word became a part of our everyday lives as He taught me to take my eyes off of my children's habits and focus on their hearts. Not only did it change my kids' attitudes and actions, it changed me, too. For the first time in months, I was excited about my role as a parent. God had given me a new perspective, and a whole new sense of purpose as a mom!

Dear Lord, thank You for not focusing on the dirt in my life but seeing beyond who I am to who I can become. Help me believe that, receive that and give it away to my kids, my husband and my friends. Help me look at their hearts and encourage the glimpses of You that I see in them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Renee’s Blog for more practical ways to connect spiritually with your kids. Also, sign up for a chance to win D6 Devotional magazines for parents and children.

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD: Wisdom, encouragement and tools to develop character in your kids. By Renee Swope

Click here to find out how you could win an all-expense paid trip for two to the The D6 Conference.

The Mom I Want to Be, by T.Suzanne Eller

Application Steps:
Encourage character in your kids by noticing and celebrating things they do like sharing a snack (generosity), putting away toys (responsibility), feeding the dog (initiative), concern for a friend (compassion), and saying thank you (kind words).

What character trait and Bible verse can you and your kids learn and demonstrate together this week?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 5:1-2,"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering to God." (NIV)

Colossians 1:28, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ." (NIV)

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Angie said...

Oh...for so long I have lived a life covered with dirt.
This spoke to my heart today because I am finally allowing God to push away that dirt to reveal all the gold He has place in my life.
Satan covered me with that dirt a long time ago and all I have seen have been glances of light from God before Satan would cover that hole.
Well, not any longer. God is starting to remove all the dirt and for once in my life, I feel like I am alive.
I am ready to become a big old nugget for God.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you do it???? everytime i read or hear anything you say it like i'm the only one your talking to. You always seem to speak directly to my heart. How i wish i was closer to you i could really use a counsler and i know you would be the one i could open up to But illinois is a long way from your home base. Please keep up the words and know that you really are touching lives. thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iam still trying to find the gold in myself,which makes it harder to find in my children.I know it is there.It is so hard sometimes.Thank you for your devtional.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this!
Not only does this apply to parents but also to couples... somedays i think i only look at the flaws in my husband...but what i really need to do is look for more Gold. He really is an amazing person and this has really made me realize how lucky i am!
Thank you with tears in my eyes thank you!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are touching lives for sure...God has led you to write this for us as mothers and parents! ohmigosh, just last night we had such an episode with my teenage son, and this was so right on for me that it brought tears to my eyes (easy to flow after the tears last night)! Bless you and your gift for writing...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked and was inspired today by what you wrote. Digging and looking for the gold in my children, husband and others is the way want to approach the relationships God has put into my life. I am blessed that He made the vane of gold in me and has continue to dig and open up the gold daily. Everyone keep digging with the ones you love as God keeps digging into the dirt in your lives. That is my prayer today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again and again, you have hit the nail squarely on the head. Your devotion just made tears well up in my eyes. I saw so much of myself in your words. I too, have committed this error and would so love to correct and rid myself of it. I look forward to putting the wonderful suggestions you made into practice and watching my children reap the "golden" benefits. Thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Today as I sit in my office needing a bit of encouragement.....this devotional is what I find. Discovering the gold that the Lord has allowed in my life has latelybeen covered by fear and discouragement. It is a blessing to be reminded that He gives us nuggets during the day to be thankful for and praise Him for even during the times when you don't see them in yourself.

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