Written by: Sarah Walker
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book…’” (Jeremiah 30:2)
Those who know me know that I am passionate about my children’s spiritual lives! I desire to see them to come to know Jesus at a young age. I want to introduce them to Jesus as a personal encounter, to show them the way that they should go, to teach them how to hear God’s voice, and to encourage them to be brave and step out in their faith.
Although I was raised in the church, I wandered away from God during my high school years. There were a few different reasons why this happened, but one of them was that I started to question, “Is God real to me? This is my parents’ faith, but is this mine too?”
My parents had raised me to know Jesus, and done a great job! I had gone to Sunday school, kids church, mid-week kids programs, jr. high and youth programs. They modeled Jesus for me at home. I knew all the stories, all the lessons, and yet I still wasn’t sure.
I really needed to have my own experiences, to discover if this whole thing was really real.
When my first child was born, I began to stress about the responsibility I carried to teach and model my faith for her. I don’t want her to experience the same hurts that I did in my wandering years. I would read books and articles on spiritual parenting; they had good insight, cool ideas, and lots of wisdom and experience. Even with all of these great resources, I still doubted my ability to take what I had learned and actually walk it out for her in a way that would impact her. If I did everything “right,” could I prevent my kids from questioning who they are in Jesus, as I had when I hit my teen years?
The answer I came to was “no.”
My kids are unique individuals with their own thoughts, personalities, and questions. They are made up of a part of me, but they are not me. As they start the journey into adulthood, they will have to make their own decisions on who they are, what they stand for, and who they will follow. My role is to pray like crazy, show them Jesus, teach them as best I can, and influence them in the way that I think is right, doing all that I can on my end – but ultimately trusting that Jesus is the Saviour, not me.
But I will do everything I can as a mom to help them! As I began to pray for every step of my kids’ lives, God gave me the idea to start journaling on their behalf, keeping a record of their own experiences with Him in their early years. I would write down real-life stories of answered prayer, divine protection, times when they had wisdom beyond their years and times when they felt that they had sensed God’s hand or His leading in their lives.
As they become teenagers, I will give them this journal to read for themselves, to help remind them of their own journey: that their own prayers have been answered, that they have had their own moments with God, and that they have not just blindly been following their parent’s faith. My hope and prayer is that they will see the evidence that, even as young children, God was watching over them and guiding them in their lives, answering their prayers and revealing Himself to them all along!
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.” (Ps 78:4)
Recently, I pulled out my daughter’s journal to record a little story of a cool God-moment that had happened. I took a few minutes to flip through it so far, and as I read through each brief entry, I was surprised at how many amazing little God-stories are recorded over the past short four years of her life. There are stories of answered prayer, amazing protection and unbelievable wisdom from such a little lady!
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Dt 4:9)
My prayer is that as she reads these stories from her life that she can stand firm in knowing that she is a child of God; that her faith will not be shaken when tested, because she knows that God has always been watching over her and directing her steps.