There are so many pressures and expectations on parenting today. I could list the ones that weigh me down, but that would make this post waaaaay too long! One of the pressures I put on myself for years was: “My kids need to read the Bible. We don’t read the Bible to them enough. They aren’t going to know about God’s love if they don’t read the Bible.” Well, I gave it the old college try, but it just didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would. You see friends, I have three very high energy, rambunctious, precious little boys. They don’t sit well or listen well. There was this picture of the Waltons, sitting by the fire reading the word of God that I had in my brain. That mental image was trampled on nightly during our in-effective Bible reading time. What was a Mom to do?
The past 6 months we have made a shift out here on Ferrell Farms. We have become incorporators. We didn’t do it on purpose — I don’t really know how it happened, but it did and it’s good. I’m going to claim God’s grace over it all. We now incorporate God into our days with our kids. Instead of wrangling them and sitting on them to get them to listen to a Bible story, we incorporate the love of God into all that we can. Let me give you 3 examples:
1. Light It Up!
This year at Christmas my kiddos (10, 4 and 2) loved driving around to look at the beautiful lights around town. I had the opportunity to use this time to tell my kids about how Jesus is the light of the world and that the lights at Christmas time will always remind us that he came into the darkness to fill our world and us with the light of his love. This sunk in and my kids now associate Christmas lights with Jesus being the light of the world. This was not planned, it literally just came out of my mouth one night! (I’m going to say Holy Spirit led) Look for opportunities to infuse God stories into the activities or conversations you have. It can be something as simple as turning on the light!
2. Music Matters
Being an early childhood educator, I know very much that music is a great way to get children to learn or connect with a topic. Think of all the important concepts you learn in childhood with songs (Old Mac Donald, ABC’s, Hokie Pokie). We have incorporated songs about God into our days in two ways. We listen to Christian music, and our kids now know and love the songs on Air 1. Instead of my son signing an inappropriate Pop song in the grocery line, making me want to crawl into myself and slink away, he now can belt a Blanca song at the top of his lungs. (There is no judging here, I like a good pit-bull dance song to jam to every once in a while, but I don’t know that I want my 4-year-old to sing those songs…) Hearing your children sing songs about God’s love is good for the soul, it’s the sweetest song you will hear all day! We also have been singing worship songs while putting them to bed and they now sing with us. Granted, they sing them as loud as they can in order to out-do each other in volume, but hey whatcha gonna do? Songs that we use that are simple: Jesus loves me, I love You Lord, At the Cross (hymn) and How Great is our God. We are not legalistic about these things, but they are helping us each day to introduce our children to the love of the Lord.
3. Knowing the word of God
This seems and feels impossible at times. To have your kids memorize scripture can feel daunting. Guess what, it’s not as hard as you think. We complicate things as adults, but this can really be so simple. I have been using the Etch Alphabet Scripture cards which are easy to use and beautiful to hang in your home. Cole (2-year-old) has the C for Created one down and we are working on the next card this week. I also write a scripture verse on the side of our black refrigerator each week in chalk. We do our best to point things back to scripture when addressing issues with the boys as well. I am not perfect at this, you will not be either. But baby steps. Including scripture in your days will not only help you, it will help them! I literally have scripture all over my home!
These are 3 simple things we are doing here with our boys to try to point them to Jesus. We are not legalistic about any of them. It’s not perfect; it’s not always pretty or easy to do. I included the picture of my half-erased refrigerator to show you — my 4-year-old is always erasing half of the verse, but that’s ok because he’s seeing it first. I just re-write it when I have time!
Here’s the key: doing these things in your own life (pointing yourself to Jesus through music, scripture, etc.) will help you to overflow these things into the lives of your children. It doesn’t have to look like this and it doesn’t have to be a well thought out plan. Just pray for God to help you incorporate him into your parenting life and the lives of your kiddos. He will lead you in this if you let him!
Proverbs 7 reads:
Keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; Keep my commandments and live, keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, only a perfect Savior. Let’s get back to the basics and live out these things with our kids! He has created you to do just that, for you are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY made in his loving image.
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