I’m about to be so real with you. You may not be pleased and you may be surprised. Sometimes our children argue over who HAS to say the prayer. In the past they have thrown fits over going to church. This is something I have prayed about and asked God to help me with.
I never wanted to be the parent that forced God on the kids. I understand what the bible calls me to do as a parent. My fear was always turning them off in a way that made them resent church.
We decided, and it was a tough decision, to find a church with a great youth program. I was arriving at our former church exhausted and drained from trying to coerce little people out of the house. It was a battle to get them dressed and a headache to get them in a good, or even just compliant, mood.
I stopped wanting to go to church. There were months that I watched church at home and had a make-shift Sunday school with the boys. It was important to me to continue that worship and growth, but we had lost all fellowship.
I could only get, but so far when I was the one teaching myself! I am comfortable saying I have so much to learn and I learn best from other people. I do not have all the answers and I certainly did not want to stunt my spiritual growth.
To our former church’s credit, our family made up over half of the youth program, so the children were not very excited or engaged. I guess the children learn best from other, like-minded people too.
I loved our old church. Robert and I would snuggle up to share a hymnal, everyone knew our names, I could tell you what everyone needed prayer for, and we were comfortable there. I felt so much love and so much Jesus there. I loved the sound of the organ and would smile in the choir. We felt a part of.
We took the children to a different church this month. Robert and I missed our old congregation immensely, but the same moody children came out of Sunday school with excitement. It was like nothing I had ever seen. I had tangible evidence that God was moving.
Sadie enjoyed church so much that she returned that evening to another youth event. She even cleaned her room in order to go! Jaxon was so excited that he was karate kicking down the hall. We were told that he would need to bring his Bible to Sunday school in order to get candy like the rest of his class.
The rest of the kids in Jaxon’s class had “grown-up Bibles”. I knew his little boy bible at home was not going to cut it. Sadie had to take my Bible to her youth night. I had never even noticed she did not have her own! This was a need and I was pumped.
We took the three little ones to get Bibles yesterday. They chose the colors they liked and Sadie got a very cute cover for hers. I had to explain to the boys that I would read a few verses from their Bibles, but it was not something I could read in one sitting before bed. Jaxon carried his Bible everywhere as if it were a new toy and even wanted pictures with it during our family photo session.
Our family has always loved God. Our family has always believed His word, but this was certainly new. These children were excited to engage with God and not just through a prayer that had been treated like a game of hot potato. They wanted to know Him.
I have always assumed that my own faith and my own relationship with God may be enough to carry the children at least for now. I prayed about this because I think all Christian mothers hope to raise good, godly children.
What I love about my relationship with God is how personal it is and I am shocked at how big of a disservice I was doing my own family by not encouraging them to have a deep relationship of their own. Can you imagine not having that true connection that belonged to only you?
I look at how different and unique my bonds are with each of the kids. I approach them differently and cater to their personalities and triggers. I know what makes each of them laugh and how they like their dinner.
God has that individualized bond with each of us and the children deserved to know that for themselves. God has staked major claim on these babies and they’re starting to respond, “Yes, I am yours.”
Don’t get me wrong, the efforts were there, but I felt that “attraction rather than promotion” would work for their faith walks the way it eventually did for my own. On the other hand, I did not want the kids to really get to know God at 25 years old. I wanted them to be more advanced than I ever was.
I wanted them to bypass many of the paths I had chosen because of my own lack of God. My heart could burst. I am so proud and so grateful. This is everything I have hoped they would feel. And it’s happening!
I am so moved that God worked this out for us and that God showed the children that loving Him and knowing Him was not only their best choice, it could even be fun! This helps my husband and I enjoy church. It is truly a win-win.
Watching my little people grow a hungry heart for God has fed my own faith and if you are anything like me, I hope that you know that this is possible. Sometimes we have to break out of our own comfort zones and meet our babies right where they are the way God does for us every single day.
Do not be discouraged. Be comforted by your care and, most importantly, reassured by His capability. I truly gave this area of my life to God and He showed up and showed out the way He always does. My heart is so full and I am thankful to have a God that provides.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.