Na, How do you and Simon help your children to grow spiritually? Life is busy and there are so many demands and interruptions. What has worked for your family?
It’s funny that I am asked this question because this is my number one area of insecurity and guilt as a parent. I feel guilty when I yell too much because I’m not reflecting a loving God to my children. I feel ashamed when I say hurtful things to them in my anger. I often think to myself, “Why would the boys want to follow Jesus when they’re not seeing their mom be very Christ-like?” Simon and I both have the best of intentions when it comes to helping our children nurture their faith in Jesus. We both see the need and benefits of reading the Word with them, reading out of a daily devotional, having family worship time, and all the other spiritual disciplines on the list of things that help people grow spiritually. But life happens and sometimes we don’t have the time to check off the items on that all too important “to do” list. And so, we often feel like we are failing in being spiritual mentors to our children.
At least this is how I felt until a conversation I had with a wise (and captivating) sister not too long ago about the biggest concern in my life. She encouraged and reassured me that it’s not so much about checking off the items on a list (although all those spiritual disciplines are very important) but it’s more about living the life we were called to live and reminding my children that Jesus is relevant in our lives every day. Simon and I demonstrate to our children how we love God by serving our church with joy and passion (have you seen Simon folding up those chairs after service?! PASSION!). We make sure to thank Jesus in times of great blessing and remember His comfort and peace in times of sadness. We make it a priority to participate in events that will feed our children’s souls for eternity, like the recent Metro Memory Verse Challenge (MVC). One of my proudest mommy moment was when my oldest son who was studying so diligently for the MVC said “Mommy, it’s ok if I don’t win first place. At least I’m learning God’s Word.” Even just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes and reassures me that I must be doing some things right.
Simon and I are still learning and navigating through this calling of being spiritual mentors to our children. We know we will make many mistakes (and we do every day) but even in making mistakes we try to teach our children how gracious and forgiving our God is and that they should not fear making mistakes in their walk with Christ, but instead, embrace who God is and who God made them to be and press forward. Simon and I know we are partners in this calling of discipling our children and we are committed to bringing them up to love Jesus and to have a relationship with Him that is not inherited but personal to each of them. And best of all, we know that God desires this too and He will guide and help us through every step!