Speaking…I mean Texting Their Language
Melissa Taylor

"Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)

"I'm not joining Facebook and I'm not texting you. Don't text message me either. If you want to tell me something, you'll have to speak to me! You kids don't know how to have conversations anymore," said the grandfather.

His granddaughter replied, "But Grandpa, you are missing out on so much in my life." Grandpa said sternly, "I don't care."

This conversation, which I overheard, stuck with me for days. I bet Grandpa did care. He just didn't know how to relate to his granddaughter, and new technology probably scared him. I admit it scares me too. I'm not fond of change, but I have to face the facts: the world is changing, with or without me.

When my children were younger, breakfast time consisted of a meal, devotion, and Bible reading together. I didn't work outside the home like I do now, so I had time in the morning to devote just to my kids. Now my time is much different; not only do I have to make sure the kids are ready, but I have to be ready too. There are six people running around, fighting for two bathrooms, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and racing out the door. I miss the simpler times when we weren't so busy. I especially miss the intentional time spent teaching my children what I consider most important: God's Word. It seemed so much easier to "train up a child" when they were younger.

Watching my son, Hayden, with his lightning speed thumbs typing out text messages on his cell phone one evening, a thought entered my head. Would it make a difference if I text my kids a Bible verse each day? Quickly I dismissed the thought, thinking it silly to send a message to their phones, when they really should be reading God's Word for themselves. Then I thought of Grandpa. His refusal to his granddaughter and her reply about him missing out on her life saddened me. I decided I didn't want to be like Grandpa.

Texting my kids a verse each day may not radically change their lives, but then again it might. I wondered, Would Jesus text if He were here today?

While on earth, Jesus used language His audience understood, depending on where He was and the culture of that area. His purpose and message did not change, but His delivery and presentation sometimes did. He did whatever it took to reach the people. He walked, rode, sailed, and taught at homes, hillsides, banquets, and dinner tables. I bet if it had been possible back then, He would have texted too.

It's been about six months since I started texting Bible verses to my children. Usually I get a response like "thanks" or no response at all, but sometimes I'll receive a verse back. I send them all the same verse so if the opportunity arises, we can all talk about it together. Texting works for us because I am speaking their language. The message hasn't changed, but the delivery has for the purpose of effectiveness. My son, Dylan, even shared with me that sometimes he forwards the verse to a friend or two.

Texting may not be my favorite way to communicate, but if it ministers to my kids, I don't want to refuse it. It's just one more way I can continue to "train up" my children. Is there a way God is calling you to change in order to communicate more effectively with someone in your life?

Dear Lord, change is hard for me, but if there is a way You'd like for me to change for the sake of another, then I will try. With Your help all things are possible. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Melissa’s blog and find out how you can receive Melissa’s “Top 10 Ways to Connect with Your Children.”

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture by Mary E. DeMuth

Family Driven Faith: Doing What it Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God by Voddie Baucham, Jr.

Parenting Your Teen and Loving It: Being the Mom Your Kids Need by Susie Davis
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you! ________________________________________

Application Steps:
Think of one way you can change to better connect with someone in your life.

As a mom, am I doing my best to connect with my kids?

Am I stubborn like Grandpa or willing like Jesus?

Power Verses:
Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (NIV)

Matthew 19:26, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

Proverbs 31:28-29, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'" (NIV)
© 2010 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Cindy said...

When I read this post, it was like God turned a light bulb on in my heart! My sons are older now (19 & 14), and while I spend my days with my youngest (and sometimes my oldest) in home school, I know he's much more "in tune" with his phone than with books. I've encouraged him to download the Bible to his blackberry, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't yet done so. I will most definitely be borrowing your idea of texting Scripture to both of them each day. Thank you SO much for sharing. I haven't felt this inspired in a manner in which to reach my son's hearts in ages!

Blogger Cindy said...

(So as not to give us home educators a bad rep, "son's" should have been "sons'". 'Twas a mere typo.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a mother but this message was for me, since I need to connect more with my family and pray for them more often. So I sent some close family members a verse this morning and followed it with a prayer. I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to start my day this way, knowing that they will be blessed as I've been because the Lord's Word will not go back void!
In a time of a family crisis ONLY prayer and bent knee can change things! I believe GOD will use this along with prayer to bring my family across in victory, to give us a break through!
Blessings your way. As always thanks for your obedience.

Anonymous Melisssa Taylor said...

Dear Cindy and Anonymous,

Your comments have encouraged me this morning!!! I'm so thankful that today's devotion inspired you and gave you a new idea to connect with your kids/family/friends in a new way!

Blessings :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i text a group of "prayer buddies" each morn after i read your devotional. they love it & often forward them to others. but my 2 adult kids...why did i forget them? thx for the reminder that they need god's word daily too! BLESS YA'LL!!!!

Anonymous Lorraine Furtner said...

I love this. I am inspired to try it with my teenager!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotion is God's answer to my prayer. I have been praying for God to show us creative ways of having family devotionals or ways of sharing God's word with each other as a family. My boys are older 21 and 13 and we definitely need new and innovative ways of having sharing and discussing God's word. Im inspired to start texting my sons as both have their hands stuck to their mobile phones all the time. Thank you Lord, what a creative way you have revealed to me. Thanks Mellissa for your obedience to God's instruction to write this devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of texting scripture. I think texting is fine,but I also feel like it is hurting our childrens communication skills. I am 54 and a few weeks ago when I was with a friend she received a text from her son. I commented about her being into the texting thing.She said that her adult children had commented to her that she could talk to them more if she started texting. I know things are changing and actually when my new contract comes up next month on my cell phone I am going to add texting. But I think we should also be sensitve to our older adults and spend time communicating with them on the phone out of respect and love.

Anonymous Dawn said...

Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing! I am going to try doing this!

Blogger Unknown said...

I read several devotions every morning. I am even in the process of publishing a devotional, compiled of stories written by the many fabulous women God has placed in my life. Devos just speak to me---this one, however, jumped out to me. My oldest is 26, very successful in his career, has a sweet, precious wife, who was his high school sweet heart, a new home; he just seems to have it all. All that is except for the most important thing---a personal relationship with Jesus. I did all of your Top Ten when my 2 boys lived at home but when he left for college, he left his faith at home too. I have continued to pray faithfully. I send them inspirational emails, I try to show my unconditional love and be encouraging, and I openly speak of my love for Jesus and my activities at church. I know in God's perfect timing, my son will surrender. I just want him to have that joy and peace sooner than later! He is working 100 hour weeks in a new job with an investment bank and he is so tired. If he would allow God to be in control, he would be so much better equipped to handle whatever comes his way---the good and the bad. I know all too well that life is a constant struggle without Him. Today I sent my son a text of encouragement because of your devo. My text was a leap of faith because I know I wrote things my son isn't comfortable hearing. He responded back, to my surprise, with such a sweet text, thankful for my words and prayer. I am thankful for your words of wisdom I read today.

Blogger Christine said...

Brilliant! I'm so impressed. What a great idea. It is much better to meet your kids where they are then make them live in the world you grew up in. After all, they have to live in the world the way it is now. Much better for us to adapt to that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am forwarding your devotional to my 4 kids and 1 son-in-law, whom I have been texting Scripture daily for a few months now. It's good for them to see they are not alone in the world of moms-who-love-to-text-Scripture-to-their-kids, as I'm sure they previously have thought! It all began with my daughter who is in an accelerated nursing program. She was feeling disconnected one week after her small group at church because all of the others were deep into the Word daily while she was deep in nursing school studies. I told her it is a season she's going through and for this time in life, she could choose to meditate on one verse per day AND I would even send her the one verse to her iphone so she could read it whenever she had a moment to breath! I decided to include her husband and my other three kids in the text, and what a blessing it has been! I have gotten return texts telling me how God timed the text just at a moment when it was needed, or how the particular verse was just what was needed for that day! You are so correct in the statement that Jesus met people where they were at, and today they are AT their phones: so let's meet them there! God Bless!

Anonymous Edna said...

Great Idea! I just sent my daughter a bible verse.

God Bless you,

Anonymous Sharon said...

I agree with slds56. While we should communicate with our children in a way they can relate to, we do them no favors when we do not require them to reach out to the elderly (and others) in a way that shows respect for the way that THEY communicate. It is important to teach children at any age that life isn't all about them! As Christian parents, let's start being part of the solution.

Anonymous Melissa Taylor said...

I thank you ALL for your comments and responses to my devotion today. I appreciate those who agree and disagree with my view. I certainly meant no disrespect to the elderly nor would I ever allow my kids to disrespect the elderly or anyone else! Texting doesn't take the place of face to face relations, it's just another approach to get the Word in front of them.

We all have to choose what works for us and our families. Thank you so much for sharing on the Proverbs 31 Blog today. You all have blessed me. And whether we agree or disagree, I feel certain that there is One thing we agree on: Jesus is our Savior and we love Him like no other. And for that reason we will continue to do our best to serve Him and His people :)

Love and Blessings,
Melissa Taylor

Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not a mom but I enjoyed your post. I thinks it's WONDERFUL that you text your children a Bible verse every day!
I also like what you wrote about your kids on your main blog page:
"We want them to feel good about who God made them to be." It brought tears to my eyes. Not everyone gets this message (or God's 'Message') growing up. I pray God blesses you richly for being a godly mom.

:) Shagufta

Anonymous Xochi Dixon said...

Way to go, sister! : ) I've raised one teen and my youngest is a Freshman in High School. I've also had the privilege of serving in Youth Ministry since 2005.

I started texting verses and prayers to my students in 2006, telling them they didn't have to respond if they didn't want to. Most didn't. LOL!

Each week, I prayed the Lord would help me focus on being obedient, even though at times I wondered if the students even read my texts. I have to admit, the silence became discouraging. I allowed the ministry to phase-out, without a complaint from any of the students. I took this as an affirmation that they didn't care and it wasn't really doing anything.

God moved us to a new church in 2009. It was a difficult transition. Leaving the students I love so much was heartbreaking.

I didn't start the Encouragement Text ministry at our new church until September of this year. I included some of my old students and was surprised, and blessed, to receive a wink from God that totally blew my mind.

Some of my past students texted back, for the first time EVER! They said they were so glad I started doing the Encouragement texts again.

A few new students responded saying the verse and prayer came just when they needed it. Once again, God blessed my socks off! He was working through this simple act of obedience that I thought was useless!

Last week, as I praised Him and asked what verse I should send out, I thought about how I needed to walk in obedience, no matter what the "results" looked like.

I shouldn't be in the measurement business, deciding if His work is beneficial by measuring results according to worldly standards of affirmation and acknowledgement. I asked Him to help me seek His will, plant the seeds and water them as He determines and trust Him to do the growing. : )

What a blessing to receive your post today, as another burst of undeserved affirmation.

When we think our simple acts of obedience in His name are ineffective, I pray we remember 1 Corinthians 15:58. "So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." Amen!

Thank you for sharing!

Blogger Deb said...

This is a very timely post for me. My almost 18 year old son is struggling to hang on to what he's known all his life. Peer pressure (and a girlfriend) having him living in the land of gray areas. He knows what the Truth is--but it's so important for him to fit in--anyway, this morning after he texted me to let me know he was safely at work, I felt the drawing of the Spirit to pray over him in text form. No reply from him, but I know my son, and I know it touched his soul. Thanks for allowing God to speak through your writing and confirming to me what He spoke this morning. God bless you, your family and your ministry!

Blogger Judith Hernandez said...

I really enjoy translating this devo, it is so real.

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