Through the years, David and I have seen the Lord do amazing things in the lives of our children, and by His grace, they all love Him and are making decisions that show that He has their heart. We praise Him every day for that.
I want to share 3 simple things that I believe God has used both to secure our children’s hearts and to make David and I more like Him at the same time.
Because God is faithful, I believe that He led us to start implementing these things into our home as a direct answer to our prayers for our children. We certainly weren’t smart enough to plan all this out when we were young parents, but God was at work. It wasn’t until we had the benefit of hindsight that we realized just how powerful these very natural things were.
1. Share What God Is Teaching You
The first thing that we have always done since the kids were very young is share what God is teaching us each day in our devotions and through our experiences. I started each morning telling them what I learned that day and how God was teaching me. As soon as they were old enough to talk, they started sharing their own devotional “experiences.” Now that they’re older, they all have the habit of starting each day in God’s Word and sharing what they are learning, for I was unwittingly whetting their appetite for that and modeling for them what they assumed all Christians did– get up early and get in God’s Word before they start the day. That has profoundly changed their lives and made them mature believers even in their teen and young adult years.
2. Be Intentional In Conversations
The second thing we have always done is to be very intentional in our conversations with our children. The Bible tells us all to “teach them diligently” as we walk, talk, go about our day, etc., and David and I took that command very seriously. We would pray each day that God would give us great, natural opportunities to teach the kids not only about God and His character, but about how to get along with and love their fellow man. It has been incredible through the years to see how He has answered that prayer, giving us countless opportunities and ideas and then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, giving us the wisdom and words to say when the time was right.
3. Learn To Enjoy What They Love
As I look back over the years, it’s pretty clear how God used our commitment to enjoy and love what our children loved to strengthen our relationship with them, to make them know they are seen and heard, and to enrich our lives all at the same time. Starting when they were little, we listened to their stories or we sat and built with Legos, had tea parties, or jumped on the trampoline with them. As they got older, we found them enjoying sports more, so we learned and played those sports with them, watched games together, and got involved in what they were doing. Now that they’re in college, we’re still doing all those things, but we also get to interact with them about what they’re learning in their classes and listen as they recount what they found interesting there. We get to build relationships with their friends and enjoy watching all of them grow into the godly men and ladies they were created to be. God used the attention we gave to the passions of our little ones to build a rock solid foundation for the relationships we have with our now grown up ones. Because they knew as children that we valued what they said or what they loved, they continued bringing those things to us—and we have gotten to do them together all along the way. What a blessing!
I encourage you to start implementing these 3 things into your home even today. If you are not already in God’s Word each day, I have written a family devotional series that will give you a personal or family reading plan as well as some notes and discipleship conversation ideas to help you build the habit. As you practice the discipline of studying God’s Word and praying each day, you’ll find that the overflow of what He is teaching you will drive most of your discipleship efforts with your children. Click here if you would like that free devotional resource. I pray it’s a huge help to you!
I pray that you will take time to really focus on intentional conversations and sharing what God is teaching you as you seek His face each day. God loves your family, and He wants you all to walk closely with Him. I’m finding that there is nothing more exciting and joyful than having Christ-centered conversations with my older children—often while we’re doing things together that we all have grown to love.