One of my greatest concerns as a parent has always been, “What can I do to guarantee that my children grow up to have a relationship with God?” Not just any relationship, but one that is a deep, trusting, and spiritual relationship—A relationship that places what God wants at the center of EVERY decision and life choice that each of my children will make.
Almost all of my parenting decisions and prayers have been centered on this one concern. What can I do, practice, pray that will guarantee that my children never rebel against the Lord and always commit to a life of service? After all, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his very soul?”
And here’s where my fear comes in–we’ve all known parents who have raised their children in church just like I have– sent them to Sunday school, youth group, church camp, and a mission trip once a year. But years later, if you met these kids on the street or at work, you would never know that they were raised “in church.” Their weekends are for sports or clubs, they make decisions of which God would never approve, or they adopt lifestyle choices and patterns that don’t reflect the image of Jesus that you thought you taught them.
I don’t list these things out of judgment or condemnation. Seriously, my mind is just always praying and asking, GOD, WHAT IS MY ROLE IN LEADING MY CHILDREN TO FOLLOW YOU?? PLEASE DON’T LET ME FAIL!”
And like an answer from heaven (because it was,) I ran across this verse in my reading plan: After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served [idols.] ”
That seemed to be my first clue- not an end-all, one step process for raising Godly children, but a starting place. I have to tell my children what God has personally done for me—all the stories, all the answered prayers. I’ve just assumed that because my children were in my house (albeit they might have been 9 months old) that the stories of what God has done for me were instantly transferred into their soul and mind– I have believed that because God provided for me miraculously when they were children in my home that they would automatically know the story and the power of God.
However, it doesn’t work that way. After reading that passage, I had to ask myself, “do my children know about the check that came in the mail for exactly the amount of the furnace repair (plus enough left over for a fountain drink to celebrate)?” Or about moving to Springfield where a slew of people helped us move in and filled our pantry? Or about the Coffman’s moving us into our apartment (like actually unpacking boxes and putting things away) when I was 8 ½ months pregnant? Or about the moving truck pulling into our driveway in California at the exact time that my mom called to say that she had found a perfect apartment for us to rent in Missouri?
These stories aren’t to replace reading the inspired Word of God with my children, but to give current-day proof that God still moves in mighty ways. He still moves stones, He still heals, and He still provides money in the mouth of a fish.
It might seem over-simplistic, but that’s our first job as a parent—we must tell our children what God has done for us personally. If we want our children to know the Lord and what he has done, we must tell them.
So now the question is: What is the first miraculous story that you are going to tell YOUR children?