Cultivating a Heart of Respect

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How does a mother cultivate respect in her little girls’ hearts?

I used to think that teaching my daughters to serve Daddy first at the meal table, fold his clean socks, put away his shoes without complaining, and say “Yes, sir” and “No, sir”, this was respect.

Slowly, the Lord began to show me that the cultivation probes so much deeper. It must take root at the heart level.

And God started in MY heart.

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respect: an act of giving particular attention; high or special regard

Meriam-Webster.com

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Respect can never be reduced to a set of taught habits. Words, actions, gestures… all these are a necessary part of virtue. They are the fruit, however, not the root.

Any gardener will tell you there will never be fruit production without a root. And there can never be a root without the planting of a seed.

The seed of respect is taking God at His Word. It is when I believe in my heart that it is my God-given mandate as a woman to fuction in this role, to respond in this way, to choose to honor and defer even when I don’t feel it, even when he doesn’t “deserve” it.

Respect is a heart issue.

It is not a feeling, not a habit. It is a decision based upon a belief.

Unless respect has taken hold in my heart, forced habits and words are shallow at best. In the crux of life, they will wither and fall by the wayside.

Little girl in garden

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I will never sucessfully teach my daughters respect if I harbor in my heart bitterness toward others, resentment toward my husband, or disregard for authority.

What I am in secret, they will be in public. My unspoken frustrations will eventually vent into their lives. Why? Because a spirit of bitterness and rebellion can never be white washed into virtue. It will manifest someday, somehow. The fruit will come forth.

Dear mothers, our daughters are daily being shaped by our attitudes more than our words. We cannot live one way and teach our daughters to live another.

What kind of fruit is your life producing? Is it worthy of your calling as a woman of God? Will it yield a bitter or blessed harvest in the lives of your daughters?

When I take an honest look at my own life, I see much need for uprooting, for seed sowing, for cultivation. I want this fruit to grow abundantly in my heart so that I can impart the seeds of truth to my daughters.

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If this repentant, stubborn heart can be transformed…

If my faultering hands can build a foundation of truth for young feet…

If, by God’s grace, I can leave a legacy of Biblical womanhood for the precious girls coming behind me…

Then I will rejoice in the precious harvest- fruit only God can give.

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“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

John 15:3 & 4

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Kristy is a believer in Jesus Christ, a pastor’s wife, and homeschooling mother of four.

She is passionate about living simply, naturally, and Biblically for the glory of God.

Kristy is the author of The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide, The Cottage Mama Plans Her Menu, and other natural living ebooks.

As the editor and owner of LittleNaturalCottage.com, Kristy furiously writes about her loves during nap time. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Networked Blogs.