"Impress them on your children..."

About a year ago, in our small group, we were reading through Shepherding a Child's Heart and were discussing it. I was sharing an illustration from our home- an interaction with my daughter after disciplining her, and one of the other moms was intrigued by some of the things I said. In fact, I think it was in reference to me telling my daughter that her heart was dirty because she had sinned and that she needed to tell Jesus what she had done and then ask him to clean her heart. This friend of mine said, "I've never heard that before." I asked, "Heard what?" And she said, "I've never heard that. About the dirty heart, asking Jesus to clean it." And I said, "Really?" She asked where I'd heard it. And I said, "My mom, I guess. I don't really know. It's just something I know and say." She then said, "Wow. My mom never did that; she never talked that way to us. I never had that." She shared that since she'd never had that example and model she wasn't sure how to be that to her own children; it didn't come naturally to her.

On the way home from small group, I shared with my husband that this had surprised me. I guess I had taken for granted how blessed I am to have had a mom (a stay-at-home-mom) who was home with us all the time and who modeled for me how to be the mom that I am today.

About a week ago a friend of mine (due to have her first baby- a girl, any hour now) emailed me this question: “How do you talk to your children about the Lord? You’re so good at it.” Well. I don’t buy the ‘you’re so good at it’, part, but I will share what I shared with her. I’ll share because some of these things come naturally to me due to the wonderful influence of my mother (and whatever else I’ve gleaned along the way). This is what I replied to my friend:

My encouragement to you is to talk, talk, talk... talk about God a lot. I always talk about Jesus like he's right there next to us, watching us, listening to us, loving us. I'll say to my daughter, "Jesus loves so much to hear you sing to Him! He loves your voice!" I'll tell them how much I love reading the Bible and what I'm reading about.

Sing and listen to praise songs/CD's. We do a lot of singing around here. My children are always 'making a joyful noise', and 9 times out of 10 (the 10th being when they're making up their own song), they are singing praises to God. I love this, and I'm sure this blesses the heart of their Father, too! :)

Pray aloud. We do lots of that: if we’re driving somewhere and bringing someone a meal or gift or going for a visit, I try to remember to pray. I’ll say, “Okay, let’s pray right now that God will use us to bless this person. Let’s pray for them.” And we do. I do, at first. At some point they will chime in, too. We pray for all owies, big and little. We pray for daddy when he’s away from us. We pray that God would help us change our hearts during the day if we are being unkind or impatient or disobedient. (This includes me: my four-year-old daughter will sometimes say, “Mommy, you’re talking crabby to me right now.” And I will say, “You’re right. I am. I’m so sorry. Come sit by mommy for a minute, I’m going to pray and ask God to change my heart.”

I try to take advantage of every opportunity, too. If we see an ambulance or an accident, I’ll say, “Uh oh. That means someone got an owie. Let’s pray for them right now.” Or we’ll see someone in a wheelchair and pray for them, that God would heal them or give them comfort or hope. Or there are times I’ve remembered throughout my day that I had told someone I’d pray for them (but had since forgotten), so I’ll say, “Oh! I told grandma I’d pray for her today… let’s pray right now” and I’ll just pray out loud.

At some point my children pick up the slack for me. Every siren, every accident, every owie, every thing gets prayed for- they initiate this now. They have utter faith that God loves us, that God cares for us, that God hears our prayers; that we can ask anything of him at any time of the day. Isn't that a wonderful thing?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stacy--I thought I would peruse your blog from the beginning and I have to say that it's super wonderful that your mom was this example to you. My mom did a lot of things for us, but not this and she was a stay at home mom. Therefore, it's hard for me to be this to my children. Thanks for writing about this ions ago and giving practical advice on how to "do it."


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