I wonder what resources I could use for a family devotional – you know – one that might work for four kids under six. We have tried ones in the past that leave us reprimanding the kids to pay attention more than instilling in them Biblical truths. We need one that is consistent, that we don’t try a few times and then cast aside in the busyness.
I look for more verses for the kids to memorize – which ones will remind them how we expect them to behave? Or how about them memorizing ones on obeying, complaining, fighting – the ones that most often address the things I am disciplining them for. Wouldn’t that make my life easier?
Which Bible would be best to read to the kids? Is it this one or that one? – Should I question them about what they are learning, or are they too young for that? Should I suggest that my oldest child, just beginning to read well, read her own Bible?
They could memorize events in the Bible. We could study people in the Bible. We could talk about creation. We could make crafts about Bible characters or events. We could draw pictures. We could color pages, sing songs, and chant hymns. We could…….
The fact is, I have tried many of these things, and struggle to keep some consistency to them. But somewhere, I hear a whisper that focusing on these things just gets us acting like Christians. It gives us head knowledge, and gives me false comfort that the kids will somehow become closer to God through study.
While study is important, the real factor that will change them is a loving momma who is fully, clearly, devoted to Christ. If I individually focus on Christ instead of these things, knowing and trusting in Him more each day, I will be modeling that which is required of God.
Don’t get me wrong – disciplined study and intentionality in pursuing God as a family is crucial. It teaches children to be more disciplined and gives them a curiosity to learn more about who God is. But more important, is a heart filled with love for Him – that which will give us life, pour out into our families, build and sustain relationships, have eternal meaning. It should be an intricate knitting of God to our children as they become woven into the fabric of our walk with Christ.
That’s Great, but How?
It always comes back to surrendering, doesn’t it? The pain of the nail pounding through the flesh, breathing when it is hard to breathe, submitting when my will seems so strong – I hesitate. Sometimes surrender hurts.
And yet full surrender is what God calls us to. Not to bring us pain, but to free us to experience true joy. Where we can say with the apostle Paul – “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV)
When we take each moment – and show gratitude for it. When we look at the responsibilities placed before us and lift them up to God as a work of service for Him. When we choose to recite the truth of scripture rather than have anger-building, fear-attacking, resentment-growing conversations in our minds. When we realize that our children are people, given to us for a short time to train to be adults, not possessions to mold. When we trust in His word and fall on His grace, and we give that same grace to others.
So I do this in the best way I know how – one day at a time – falling, tripping, running, crawling, rejoicing and sobbing at the feet of Jesus in all circumstances….and looking up.
Matthew 17:8 “When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.”
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”