Isn’t it exciting to watch how the Lord is growing in your children? I love to see God work in each of my kids’ lives. Recently I was able to watch Him work in Brienne.
Brienne, our precious firstborn, has such a big heart. And that heart, overflowing with love and compassion, was broken when she walked through the Compassion Experience hosted by our church and as she learned about a little girl named Julian. It was an emotional journey for her as she saw the needs of millions of children around the world who are dying from malnutrition and lack of medical care. And most importantly, children who had never heard about Jesus.
After finishing the Compassion tour with her friends from church, Brienne texted me asking if we could sponsor another child. My first instinct was to say no. I mean, we already sponsor three children through various organizations. Plus, I’m the one responsible for writing to these children on a regular basis and I wasn’t sure I could add another “thing” to my plate. But as she begged me and promised me that she would take care of the correspondence with this new child, my heart began to change. I realized that there are worse things Brienne could beg me for. Here she was, trying to help save the life of a child by providing education, food, and Christ-centered care. How could I say no to that? This was her chance to put her faith into practice.
My desire for Brienne, and for all my children, is that their faith becomes real to them. I want Jesus to be real to Brienne. I don’t want her to have faith just because Peter and I do. I don’t want our beliefs to carry her through, because that’s not how true faith in Christ works. She must experience Him – His goodness, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness – for herself. And I pray that she does.
She and I are doing a Bible study together right now called Seamless by Angie Smith. It takes the reader all the way from Genesis through Revelation and even I, who have been in church my entire life, am finding it interesting and captivating. As we have been studying passages of Scripture, the author asks many questions about how the Bible can relate to our own lives. One question was this:
Can you think of an instance where God has pulled you out of the muck?
Well, of course I can think of a ton of times when He has saved me from harm, saved me from myself, rescued me out of my selfishness and sin. But Brienne couldn’t think of one single instance when God had been her rescuer. Now I do realize that I’m forty years old and she’s twelve, so I’ve experienced a lot more life than she has. However, I know that there have been situations in her life where God has been at work. But it’s just so hard to understand His immense goodness and mercy when you don’t see Him working in your life every day.
My prayer for Brienne is that Jesus would come alive for her. That she would develop a deep love for Him and His Word. And that is my prayer every single day for all of my children. But as parents, how do we help our kids develop this deep love for Jesus?
I think it boils down to 3 things:
- We need to encourage our children to read and study God’s Word. Beginning when they are small, we should tell them stories from the Bible, encourage them to memorize scripture, and we need to talk about God’s Word with them each day. We must also help them apply His teachings to their daily lives.
- We must live out our faith. As parents, we should set an example to our children by being kind to those around us, being faithful in serving others, and being bold in telling others about Jesus. We must also show them how to live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Our children are watching to see if we are able to maintain self-control when what we really want to do is get angry. They are observing how we love others who are mean to us. Being a godly example is not always easy, but we are called to live out our faith in front of our children.
- We must pray for our kids. Pray that they would develop a heart that chases after God. Pray that they would grow in wisdom and favor, and that they would develop a deep love for Christ. Earnestly seek the Lord on behalf of your children.
Yesterday, after Brienne completed her daily Bible study, she came to me and told me how amazing it was that Isaiah had prophesied about Jesus. She told me how she had even written notes about what she had learned in the margin of her new journaling Bible.
This is what I’m talking about. Brienne was excited about learning something new. Seeing God’s Word come alive right before her eyes was rewarding for me as a mom.
Keep praying for your children and teaching them God’s truths. Be diligent, my friends. Don’t give up. Christ is pursuing your children with a fierce and everlasting love.