It Starts with Me
She opened the package with excitement in her eyes.
Any child is excited to receive good old fashioned snail-mail, but a package — and from great grandma? This promised to be special.
Tearing open the paper, she found no disappointment. Pink, sparkles, a princess crown! But this was no ordinary princess gift — this was her first devotional, one of her very own.
Knowing her tender heart, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I couldn’t believe how she cherished this new book. The sparkles on the cover were pretty, but the content was what held her heart —her very own devotional, a tool to help her spend time with Jesus on her own — just like mom.
That’s what she said —
Now I can spend time with Jesus, just like you, Mom —
and I thought I would cry.
All those mornings I snuck downstairs in the dark to savor a few minutes of quiet with Jesus.
All those days I spent trying to train the kids to read on their own for a few minutes so I could squeeze in even 10 minutes in the Word after a sleepless night.
All of those moments I turned to Jesus first… She was watching. She noticed. She saw — she sees — how life-giving it is to spend time with Jesus.
Will you wake me up early when you do your devotions so I can do mine too? she asked timidly, eager to begin.
What else could I say but yes? With all my heart, little Girl, yes, yes, yes!
Because yes, I want my quiet, uninterrupted time with Jesus but isn’t this, too, what I want? Don’t I want my kids to long for Jesus and seek after Him? For them to seek Him? For our children to have their own faith and grow in their own relationship with the Lord? Not just because I tell them, not just because they have to, but because the Holy Spirit is at work within them, doing the work of transformation for which we pray?
Praying together as a family and having family devotions is important. We are cultivating habits and setting examples and growing together, but discipling our children goes far beyond our structures, planned gatherings, and intentional talks.
Discipling our kids is done in the example we set — in the lives we live. It is how we demonstrate our need for a Savior and give freely of the grace we’ve so freely been given.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 HCSB)
Discipling our kids doesn’t just happen at the breakfast table or in reading a Bible story at bedtime. Discipling our kids is all the time — in the big and the little moments, when we sit and when we rise, when we come in and when we go out. It’s how we love others and in the tones we speak, it’s when we apologize and ask forgiveness and when we give and forgive and care for others and obey the Word of God with our lives!
We are called to be the spiritual parents of our children and one of the greatest ways we do this is through the lives we live.
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
Questions for Reflection:
- What would change in my family if I loved the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? How would my life be different than it is now? Would I live differently?
- If I had God’s commands on my heart, and lived them out myself before ever demanding my spouse or my kids to live them, how would that change my thinking and my living?
Just for You:
Looking for a way to meet with Jesus together as a family? Clean on the Inside: A Family Devotional for Holy Week was written just for you!
Flickr Creative Commons Photo Credit: Rita Robalinho