Our children will learn real faith through real life.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14 ESV
I was bent over my phone, fully absorbed in a text message when I heard my nine-year-old son behind me, “Moooom, are you coming?” Shoot. I forgot he was waiting for me. We were going to play a game, but then I got this message and I was distracted.
It’s hard sometimes, isn’t it, discerning the urgent from the important?
But this wasn’t just any text message. This wasn’t a group message with another thumbs up or my mom just checking in. This message was from a friend whose marriage was broken, a friend who had been knee-deep in real hurt, a friend I had been praying for desperately. And she was texting to let me know God was answering prayers in ways she never would have imagined.
Tears filled my eyes instantly as I read the palpable hope and healing in her words. I was in awe of God all over again. And I also quietly wondered at my own surprise. I never expected Him to move so big, so fast.
But yes, I was distracted and had forgotten all about the game I was supposed to be playing.
I looked my son in the eye and decided to just tell him the truth. “I’m sorry, buddy,” I began. “But I just got a message from a friend of mine. Her marriage has been really difficult. I thought she may get a divorce and I have been praying for God to restore her marriage. Anyhow, she just messaged me to say that God is answering our prayers and healing her marriage.”
For the record, I don’t always talk to my 9-year-old this way. My teenagers, maybe, but when my kids are in single digits I tend to soften the blow and leave out far more than I tell.
I second-guessed myself while I was giving it to him straight, fresh tears still brimming. This likely means nothing to him. He has no idea who or possibly even what I’m really talking about. I could have stopped at “Sorry, buddy.” And moved right along to the game. But here we are with perhaps a little TMI from the teary mama.
My son was quiet in response. I couldn’t quite tell if he was processing or I just made it too awkward. I let the quiet be for a few long seconds before he cut in.
“Mom?” He found his voice with a question. “this kind of reminds me of that part in the Grinch where Cindy Lou tells her friend that all she wants for Christmas is for Santa to help her mom because she works so hard and she is tired. And her friend says, ‘Wow, and all I asked for was a turtle.’”
And just like that, I knew I had walked into a teaching opportunity far greater than I had even realized. We talked about turtle-like prayers and trusting God with the things we care about most deeply. We talked about interceding for our friends and what it means to bear burdens. And then we went and played a much-awaited game of Monopoly.
Friend, sometimes we search long and hard for solid devotionals to communicate truth succinctly and help us pass our faith on to our children. Sometimes we make memorization charts and try to think of all the ways we can motivate them to know God. And don’t get me wrong, every one of those can serve a purpose. But this little unplanned and distracted conversation reminded me of the power of the little moments right in front of us.
As we live out our faith daily, putting skin on what it means to love God and love others, the opportunities to process this with our children will naturally arise. Don’t miss them. Don’t rush them. Don’t be afraid to be awkward or admit your own weaknesses. And trust that the Holy Spirit can work in the little hearts around you, just as He does in your own.
In His Word
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.” 2 Timothy 1:5 I love that Paul made mention of Timothy’s family’s lineage of faith. What a beautiful thing for us to pray for!
In Your Life
How do you share your faith with your children on a daily basis? Do they see you seek God through His word? Do they hear you pray for others? How might you intentionally share your personal faith with your children?
I Choose Brave: Embracing Holy Courage and Understanding Godly Fear – This is straight talk about the very faith we want to pass on!