Fun Fact: Becky and I (and our youngest sister Alisha too) are pastor’s kids. We grew up in a home with parents who taught us, with both words and actions, what following Jesus looks like. The Gospel was woven into every aspect of our lives. It was a home filled with laughter and grace, a home where we were safe to make mistakes and learn from natural consequences, a home where honesty and integrity were valued, and a home full of love and thankfulness.
Now that I’m a mom myself, I find that I’m constantly looking back at my childhood to model the actions of my own parents. After all, they must have done something right since my sisters and I turned out pretty great, right? (Ha!) Seriously though, our parents successfully raised three children who love God and who love others. I would say that’s a win.
Today I have three little people of my own that I am responsible for, and the greatest prayer I have for each of them is that they will stand strong in their own faith. I often feel isolated, even though I have incredible support, when it comes to raising children who love Jesus. We send our kids to public school. They are involved in secular activities. Most of their friends do not attend any kind of church. Dave and I do this by choice because we strongly believe that the only way to bring people to the foot of the cross is to actually interact with people who, well… haven’t yet embraced the cross!
It’s true that we are very involved in our church and have an incredible circle of Christian friends, but these interactions are only a small part of the week. We spend most of our time immersing ourselves in places with people who (probably) wouldn’t call themselves Christ followers. That means it needs to be an absolute priority to instill as much Biblical truth into their little hearts at home as I can – to teach them how to love in grace and in truth. To demonstrate what standing on God’s Word means even when it is the unpopular thing to do. To work on Scripture memorization and sing songs that glorify God, to practice forgiveness and give second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances.
Molding spiritual disciplines in the lives of little people is a daunting and scary task and it’s something I find myself worrying about. I know that my kids will make bad decisions in the years to come. It’s in our sin nature to do sinful things, but thankfully God’s love is bigger and His grace is never out of reach. My desire is to reflect on this post in 20 years and be able to say that I (like my parents) was successful at raising three children who love God and who love others.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7