Written by: Sarah Oates
“Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we derive our hearts of wonder.” –Donald Miller
When I first became a mom, the thought of teaching my kids about God was overwhelming. There is no greater call for me than to guide and direct my children towards Jesus! We desire for them to go further than we have, and for their lives to be better, and easier than ours. We want our kids to pray, serve, and worship Jesus. We long to see them have a strong relationship with him. We pray and hope to see them doing greater things than we can even imagine.
Then the question arises, “How do ‘I’ get them there?”
The pressure to create perfect little people is too overwhelming! My children will, of course, never be perfect. It would be amazing if my kids always followed every rule and guideline I set for them, but I am constantly reinforcing rules, and reminding them of what’s acceptable, and what is not.
Thankfully, it is not my biblical job to control everything my children say and do!
Our children look to us for guidance. They watch us very closely, and take note. They are very clever, and don’t fall for the instruction, “Do as I say, and not as I do.”
It is my job to demonstrate a life devoted to Christ, to show my children that I put Him first in all that I do. That reading my Bible is a priority, that I take time to pray, and show them the importance of seeking God throughout each day as we need His wisdom, forgiveness, and strength. To let my kids know that we all make mistakes, that no one is perfect, and we all need His grace and mercy daily.
I’m not saying that it isn’t my job to show my children right from wrong, teach them from scripture, and to correct inappropriate behaviour, but I cannot change their hearts. That is a job that only the Holy Spirit can do.
“What you believe and where you aim your heart determines the direction and outcome of your entire life for eternity.”-Michelle Anthony
If the condition of our hearts truly directs our steps, I want my children to genuinely experience the Holy Spirit. I don’t just want the acts of attending church, following the rules, and trying really hard to be “perfect” to be the way that they view their relationship with God. They need to learn how to hear His still small voice, to feel and see his presence working within their lives, and to know how to respond to him as he leads them.
Knowing that my children need an inner transformation from the Holy Spirit in order to truly live God’s way takes away the pressure that “I” need to get them there. It does raise the stakes for me in some ways, as my part of my job becomes helping them connect with his presence. My own walk with God needs to be strong and steady as an example. I need to be constantly in my bible and in prayer waiting for direction as to the right ways to direct my children that will allow the Holy Spirit to fill and speak into their hearts.
My greatest hope is that my children will lead a faith-filled life that is built not only on our example, but on their own genuine experiences and understanding of our great God.
“I pray that you out his glorious riches he may strengthen you with the power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you maybe filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-18)