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Emphasizing Christ To Your Kids

I was recently tagged on the following FaceBook post and asked to respond.

Mamas of older children...How do you wish you would have emphasized Christ more in your home when your kids were younger?

Our family in 2006, just a few years ago.

My initial response was to laugh and think, "Well, my adult kids would probably say THEY wish I would have de-emphasized Christ in the home when they were young," (which might be the topic for a later post after I interview them on the subject).


I jotted some random thoughts in response to the inquiry, but I thought I'd like to take a deeper dive, and reflect on this a bit more for other young moms wondering, "What do I need to do to ensure that my kids have a lasting relationship with Jesus?"


It's a BIG, HAIRY, SCARY question for young moms.


At least it was for me when raising 4 kids as a single mom. Especially because I did NOT want my kids to make the same mistakes I had made as an adolescent and young woman who longed and ached to BE LOVED, trying to find satisfaction and fulfillment in the things the world had to offer.


Why It Mattered To Me

I was 21 and unmarried when I found myself pregnant with my oldest daughter. Her father and I married and had 3 more wonderfully amazing kids over the next 13 years. The years were tumultuous (as I am sure you can imagine) and in 1998, he announced he was done and moving on. Fortunately, I had discovered an authentic relationship with the man Jesus and was developing a solid foundation in His love.


However, I was all too familiar with the chasm that fatherlessness could leave in the heart of a child. I wanted to keep my children from the pain in that chasm. Jesus offered the hope that I needed and I wanted for them. So, he quickly became Husband and Father in our home. But I struggled with what that practically looked like and how to walk it out in the natural.


Four years after the divorce, we moved halfway across the country to be a part of an international ministry that offered community of like-minded people. We became involved in leadership with the children's department of the ministry.


When I say WE, I mean WE. My kids traveled to camps, helped lead worship, spoke and led other children, and facilitated conferences with over 500 kids present.


I loved life, my children, and the emphasis of God in our lives. We were doing the things of God together, as a family. We were serving our Father, meeting amazing people, traveling, laughing, and loving God and others.


My children learned the leadership of the Lord and observed His leadership in me and others. And we adults did it VERY IMPERFECTLY, but we pressed on.


In my daily imperfections (hundreds a day mind you) I found GRACE, which I've written and spoken about in my previous blogs. I HOPED, prayed, and believed that my imperfections would lead them to the Perfect Father.


We hosted, offering hospitality to many over the years. We ate together, played together, fought, and figured it out. We were family, the good, the bad, the messy, and mess-ups. And Jesus was the One we served and the Cornerstone of our lives.


He was EMPHASIZED.

Jesus was THE ONE.

He was emphasized at home, in school, work, and play.


And, with the extravagant emphasis on Jesus, my kids still struggled.

They struggled with each other.

They struggled with me.

They struggled with relationships.

They struggled emotionally, spiritually, mentally.

And so did I.


Even with the emphasis on Jesus, we still live in a fallen world.

Even with the emphasis on Jesus, life-quakes happen, hearts get hurt.

Even with the emphasis on Jesus, there is a real enemy seeking to kill, steal, and destroy.

Even with the emphasis on Jesus, our children become adults and exercise their god-given gift of free choice.

BUT THERE IS HOPE.

Our hope is in Christ, not in everything working out the way we hope.

There are things we can do to guide our Children to the goodness of God.

There are ways that we can bring Christ into our homes and help our children know His voice.

There are promises we can cling to that will help our hearts be at peace. (Stay tuned for that blog, I'm excited to share some of my favorite anchors of hope)


And, I'd love to share a few snippets of ways we can guide, encourage, and lead our children, by example, into the knowledge of God.


Hands on learning

Live Christ, don't just emphasize Him.

Momma, walk in a way, a manner that you can unashamedly say to your kids, "Follow my example." (1 Corinthians 1:11, 4:16, Philippians 3:17) Walk in a way that walks humbly before God and men. Allow your actions to speak louder than your words.


Talk about the Word WITH them.

Our children are bright and forming their own opinions about the world around them.

Unless we have had great discipleship, or understand the coaching philosophy, asking questions and being curious can be an underdeveloped muscle.


If you read the bible, picture bible, watch Veggie Tales, listen to Adventures in Odyssey, make sure you ASK QUESTIONS. Don't assume you know what your children are thinking. Invite them to experience the Word.

Who: "Who is this about?"

What: "What is happening?" "What would you do in that situation?"

Why: "Why do you think they did that?"

Where: "Where did that happen?"

When: "When do you think that will happen?"

How: "How does that make you feel?" "How do you think they felt?"


Help them EXPLORE who God is instead of TELLING them who He is.

When a situation happens, they make a mistake, or are hurt by someone else's mistake, invite them to explore how the Father feels about it.

Children perceive God to be like their parents or other adults in authority. That's so scary! Help them explore the goodness of God, His kindness, His joy and peace.

***Note to momma...it is much easier to help encourage and guide your kids if you have explored and rest in these beautiful attributes of God for your own life.


Invite them to HEAR from God instead of sharing what you think God is saying or doing.

God loves to share His heart with us, He wants to speak to us (and our kids) and tell us how much He loves us. He wants us to be rooted and grounded in His love and to know His voice. As mom, you have the great privilege of helping your children know the Father's voice and the joy of His leadership.


A few exercises to help develop a hearing ear.

Go into your prayer cave.

  • Everyone (mom, this includes you) curls up in a ball on the floor, face down (I think in Yoga it's called the Child's Pose) Tuck your hands in and be alone with Jesus.

  • Let God speak.

    • God wants to speak to our children. It is our privilege to help make a place for Him to speak. We are inviting Him to come and speak to us and our children.

    • Come with expectation.

    • God may show a color, he may release a feeling, He may show a picture, or a sound.

  • THEN SHARE what each of you heard or felt God say, or what God showed you, or what you felt.

    • Your child might say, "I didn't see anything, hear anything, feel anything." You can remind them that God comes in stillness and quiet. Sometimes His silence is what we need to hear because there is so much going on in our minds all the time. Even in the darkness, He is there.

Draw It, Dance It, Say It, Sing It

  • Grab the markers, crayons, watercolors and paper.

  • Read a passage (keep it short) that has a value you want to incorporate into your lives as a family. Try to steer away from passages that have clear imagery like "The Lord is my Shepherd. The goal is to create abstractly.

  • "He uses all things for good." "Be still and know that I am God."

  • Let them draw it, color it, paint it, dance it, make up a song for it.

  • Ask, "What color is stillness?" "What shape is goodness?" "How would you move to God moving and making all things good."

Have fun interacting with the Word and helping your children hear the voice and leadership of the Father.


Let them see you walk with Christ

  • How He forgives you.

  • How He enjoys you.

  • How He loves you.

  • How He cares for you.

RECEIVE from Christ, you cannot give what you do not possess.


In all of this, the goal continues to be to let Christ live through you.

It doesn't matter the age of your children, let your little light shine.

But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18 AMP

Beloved Momma, we are that light, that is shining brighter and brighter.

In every age and stage of our children, we have the joy of knowing God more and displaying His love to those we love most.


If you are struggling on this journey of knowing the love of God, please reach out. We are created to Live, Lead, & Love from the Well-Spring of His abundant love. If you are dealing with regret, perfectionism, trying to do all and be all, the stress of it is not your portion.


Reach out, schedule a Getting To Know You Call, and let's talk about the roadmap into Grace for you and your family.


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