I have been at the Fam­ily Eco­nom­ics Con­fer­ence this past week soak­ing in the words and wis­dom of many godly and gifted speak­ers. As I was lis­ten­ing, I was think­ing, con­nect­ing dots, exam­in­ing our life and the way we do things as a family.

Inte­grate: to bring together or incor­po­rate (parts) into a whole; to unite or com­bine. from the Latin inte­gra­tus to renew, restore

We are a fam­ily of home­school­ers, but more than that. We inte­grate our chil­dren into our daily lives. We inte­grate them into the wor­ship on the Lord’s Day. They sit with us in church, they wor­ship our Lord with us. We don’t farm them off to nurs­eries or children’s church. The thought of them not being right with us dur­ing the wor­ship is hard to even com­pre­hend, much less bear. We also inte­grate our chil­dren into our daily lives. They help run the home, they help keep us orga­nized. After lis­ten­ing to many of the speak­ers, my hus­band has encour­aged me that we really need to inte­grate them more into the fam­ily econ­omy. I have to admit that I have been slow to adopt this vision for our chil­dren. I am very pro­tec­tive of my lit­tle busi­ness. I am “par­tic­u­lar” about the way things need to be done. I desire excel­lence in it, from start to fin­ish. I fear that it may not be as much so with the chil­dren because, well, let’s face it, I don’t see it in their bed­rooms or the dishes just yet. But, is the prob­lem totally with them, or am I to blame some­how in this? I do think I share in this more than I’d like to admit. So, when we get home, our plan is to inte­grate them more into the busi­ness. Pray for me please. That I will be filled with grace and patience, that I will be able to teach them effec­tively, and that we will take great joy in the process of learn­ing together how to make this work.

But, why do we do all of this inte­gra­tion? It really is a lot of work to get there. Yes, there is much joy and grace from the Lord towards our fam­ily in doing it. We really like being together. When I con­sider the thought of them going off to a school, pub­lic or pri­vate, I get teary-eyed think­ing of them being away from me and each other all day. I can’t stand the idea of some­one else get­ting their best all day. But, is there more to it than that?

Then it hit me. The oppo­site of inte­gra­tion is disintegration.

Dis­in­te­grate:  to sep­a­rate into parts or lose intact­ness or solid­ness; break up; dete­ri­o­rate; to decay; to reduce to par­ti­cles, frag­ments, or parts; break up or destroy the cohe­sion of.

Um. No thanks. THAT is what we are try­ing to avoid. We love the cohe­sion of our fam­ily. We believe with all we have that it is what God desires for our fam­ily, for your fam­ily, for all fam­i­lies. It isn’t about con­trol or fear or any­thing else neg­a­tive. It is about glo­ri­fy­ing God, rais­ing our chil­dren in hope, teach­ing them about the One who cre­ated them for His glory and purposes.

We’ve seen dis­in­te­gra­tion long enough in the world. Let’s start build­ing up, breath­ing life into our chil­dren, giv­ing hope. Let’s show them a bet­ter way to live: together, in Christ, for His glory.

What areas can you re-integrate your chil­dren into your life? Surely all of us have an area that we have neglected. None of us have arrived yet, have we? Per­haps some have done a much bet­ter job at see­ing this than we have. Let’s learn from them and stand on their shoul­ders. Let’s redeem the time together. And remem­ber the promise from Joel 2:25, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarm­ing locust has eaten, the crawl­ing locust, the con­sum­ing locust, and the chew­ing locust…” Walk together, inte­grated, in hope and joy, know­ing that it is never too late to reclaim your fam­ily for the Lord’s delight. Embrace these bless­ings that the Lord has given you. Let’s repent where we have failed due to lazi­ness, igno­rance, stiff-neckedness (is that a word?). And embrace our call­ings as moth­ers who carry much respon­si­bil­ity and priv­i­lege. Who’s with me?

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  1. Love this anal­ogy and how that plays out in fam­i­lies. Excel­lent post! It was sad we didn’t have more time to really talk at the conference…I heard you have a dear fam­ily (says our children)!

    • Thank you Jacque­line. I wish we had had more time together also. Your chil­dren truly are a delight. I so enjoyed my time with them!

  2. Won­der­ful post, Tonya! Thank you! Let’s reject fam­ily dis­in­te­gra­tion! I love it!

  3. I’m with you! Great obser­va­tion. One of the things we took away from the week was mak­ing sure our chil­dren are really mak­ing the vision their own. I think the vision helps trans­late the “tasks” into some­thing big­ger and gives the impe­tus to achieve things in more excel­lent ways.

    • Andrea, those are really good things to remem­ber! They have to own the vision to truly embrace it. Thanks for your com­ment. We can just trudge along drag­ging them behind us, or we can walk beside each other, encour­ag­ing one another as we labor together for the glory of God.

  4. We learned about “inte­grat­ing” early on and have some fab­u­lous men­tors who always empha­sized incor­po­rat­ing our chil­dren into what we do. We recently planted a church and our chil­dren were blessed to see it unfold and be with us every step of the way. Also, this sum­mer I am incor­po­rat­ing my daugh­ters into help­ing me out w/my online endeav­ors once again. It is such a bless­ing to have them avail­able and learn­ing along side with me! :)

  5. Linda Vitale says:


  6. Tonya, such a good word! As a fam­ily which has always inte­grated our chil­dren into all aspects of life and busi­ness (dairy farm), we attest to the tremen­dous ben­e­fit of hav­ing done so. Work­ing together has enabled us to forge strong rela­tion­ships, to tie heart­strings, and has given our chil­dren a great sense of sat­is­fac­tion in being impor­tant eco­nomic assets, in con­tribut­ing to the family’s wealth, wealth they also reap the ben­e­fit from.

    I just read your post to Bethany (22) and Bless­ing (13) and Bethany said some­thing which I think many of us as mom’s can read­ily iden­tify with. While not directly busi­ness related, what she’s said applies equally to our busi­ness ven­tures I think.

    Bethany said that it’s often dif­fi­cult for us to step aside, per­haps even take on some of the more mun­dane tasks again, tasks we’ve passed onto the younger ones, and allow them to assume the respon­si­bil­ity for greater things, those things we might enjoy or pre­fer and not want to give up. For Bethany, it’s meal plan­ning, cook­ing, and bak­ing. She loves to do those things, but after read­ing your post and con­sid­er­ing what you’ve said regard­ing your busi­ness, she feels she really ought to give the younger girls more oppor­tu­nity to hone their skills in the kitchen, rather than rel­e­gat­ing them to just peel­ing pota­toes, etc., for her. I think she’s right. I think very often, either because of pref­er­ence or due to time con­straints, we moms pos­si­bly don’t give our chil­dren the oppor­tu­nity to develop more com­plex skills.

    That said, the prin­ci­ple found in Luke 16:10 is applic­a­ble in the run­ning of the home as well as in busi­ness, “He that is faith­ful in that which is least is faith­ful also in much.”. So our chil­dren must also be taught the basics and must prove them­selves capa­ble of assum­ing those tasks/roles of more importance.

    Any­hoo, just wanted to share a few thoughts and com­mend your wise words. Loved how you phrased it all, your hon­esty, your humil­ity. You’re such a blessing!

    • Thank you so much for your words, Deb­bie. I’m so glad you were blessed by this post. And thank you for shar­ing Bethany’s thoughts. She has a really good point about step­ping aside and let­ting the youngers do the more prefer­able jobs. It is easy to give them the “Cin­darella” jobs, isn’t it? And enjoy the more noble of the chores for our­selves. It’s easy to ratio­nal­ize that we are bet­ter at it, etc., but we only are because we have had to learn to be. They can learn also! Thanks for fur­ther­ing the thoughts from the post. Much to con­sider and imple­ment!

  7. Thank you so much, ladies, for your com­ments. I am so thank­ful that this post has encour­aged you. I’m so glad you have stopped by!

  8. I recently vis­ited a church that had a children’s pro­gram that went all the way up through the 5th grade. Which meant there were no chil­dren in the wor­ship ser­vice under mid­dle school age…I looked around and it just felt so odd not to see chil­dren. Once you’ve made the tran­si­tion to inte­grated wor­ship it’s hard to see any­thing else.

  9. This was so good! We were at the con­fer­ence as well and loved it so much! Love your thoughts here! Amen!

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