Spiritual Communication at Home
What is blooming outside your window? Or inside your home? Any parent who loves the Lord personally should consider how to communicate spiritually with their child. Many stories in the Scriptures recall the failure of this transfer. Think of Samuel in the Old Testament and how he was unsuccessful in reproducing children who loved God with the same intensity that he loved God. Think through the kings in the Old Testament. Some of them choose not to follow God. Others honored God like Josiah even though they had no guidance in the adults who came before them. In the New Testament, Paul mentions the spiritual guidance of his young friend, Timothy, who had been spiritually matured by his mother and grandmother. This story always begs the question, “Where was Timothy’s dad?” Throughout the Bible, we read of fathers and mothers training their children. While the ideal is a mother and father leaning into training their children together as a team, a child can still be strongly directed even from one parent or a grandparent. Whatever role you find yourself in as a parent, your potential influence as a spiritual model should be in the forefront of your intentional decisions every day.
The Story is not yet written
While a parent may pour into a child who rejects Christ, God will reward the effort. In struggling with a child who is not following Christ, a God-fearing faithful mother may comfort herself in knowing that her child’s story is not fully written yet. God’s plan and timing are perfect. A wayward child who was nurturing diligently as a youngster surely frequently remembers the scriptures lovingly poured into their memory. Certainly, many of the God-filled memories are fresh in their remembering of childhood.
Don’t leave spiritual parenting to the church
Many parents leave the responsibility of raising a child spiritually to activities at church. This promises limited exposure to pertinent growing experienced needed for spiritual maturity. If a child is to be spiritually ripened, he must practice worshiping, praying and growing daily on a personal basis. This is best taught be example and together with mom and/or dad. My point being that each of us should intentionally teach our children to read the Scripture and prayed daily. Create a journal with favorite verses. Growing ourselves and our children spiritually requires reliable discipline. It is just plain work. Such activity doesn’t easily flow in and out of our days. In cultivating spiritual flourishing, a parent might teach the Scripture by singing the words. Teach them to sing spiritual songs worship songs, songs of today and hymns of yesterday.
Imagine your child in the Church as an adult
As you direct your child’s spiritual maturity, imagine your child as an adult in the body of Christ years from now. What training or experience will your child need to participate successfully in her church. Consider his/her gifts. Provide experiences…
- to work with children,
- to lead music,
- to serve meals,
- to clean up rooms,
- to take out the trash,
- to set up for services,
- to learn puppets,
- to be a clown,
- to help this VBS,
- to organize recreational games,
- to serve as a reception,
- to learn a sound board,
- to take pictures,
- to make posters,
- to collect to for someone who has lost their job,
- to mow a lawn for a widow
The ideas are endless.
Access training in teaching children such as Child Evangelism Fellowship. Practice story telling. Direct your child to read a Bible story from the scripture and then retell it. You can practice this anytime. Ask your child to retell what he is reading or what he heard in his Sunday school class. Practice enthusiasm yourself about serving. If you have a heart of kindness toward others, your children will mimic your eagerness. Children are like spiritual sponges.
Start Story Telling Early
Sadly, many adults are nervous when asked to teach a Bible story to children or adults. What an advantage a child would have if given this experience as a young person. What joy they experience at the delight of a child who enjoys the story they are telling. How a teenager will rise with maturity when placed in leadership. Knowing young ones will keep an eye on your decisions will motivate wiser choices. Some personalities may not gravitate toward teaching children or leading music in any venue. However, they may be wildly talented with a camera or behind the scenes in hospitality. Pray for God to reveal your child’s gifts. Develop these gifts in the body of Christ as well as at home.
Pursue opportunities for your child to serve. Serving at home, at church, in the community, and possibly on a mission trip will instill in your child innumerable values. Serving others encourages us to pursue the needs of others versus our own needs. Serving regularly encourages creative thinking and problem-solving. Some find it’s easier to pursue mission trips rather than weekly serving opportunities. Both are beneficial.
Home Service First
Serving in your own home to your own family builds a child in an even deeper way. Serving outside home is usually easier than serving in our home. I’ve heard it said, “You are who you really are at home.” Commonly, people struggle to get along with their family members, but are easier to serve others outside the walls of their home. Nurturing the within the family unit is truly more important then serving outside the home if one has to choose. My home is certainly no perfect example of serving and selfless living, but is our ongoing intention to instill these values in our children and have them lived out at home.
Eternal Job of Cultivating Faith
As I think of the daily work involved in growing myself spiritually, I also contemplate my eternal job of cultivating faith in my children. One of my most favorite songs is “For Your Splendor” by Christy Nockels. Contemplate these words as you think about the growing your child.
For Your Splendor
by Christy Nockels
I’m so concerned with what I look like from the outside
And will I blossom into what You hope I’ll be?
If you’re so patient, Judge, to help me see
The blooms come from the deeper seed that You’ve planted in me
Sometimes it’s hard to grow when everybody’s watching
To have your heart pruned by the One who knows best
And though I’m bare and cold, I know my season’s coming
And I’ll spring up in your endless faithfulness
With my roots deep in you, I’ll grow the branch that bears the fruit
And though I’m small, I’ll still be standing in the storm
‘Cause I am planted by the river, by your streams of living water
And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for your splendor, Lord
So with my arms stretched out, I’m swaying to your heartbeat
I’m growing with the sound of your voice calling
You’re bringing out the beauty that you have put in me
For your joy and for your glory falling
As you look out the window and take in the pleasure of Spring with its budding things, reflect on the children germinating in your care. Are they “planted by the river”? Are their “roots deep in Him?” Are they “blooming from the deeper seed” that is planted in them by a loving intentional parent?
How Are Your Spiritual Blooms?
Join a conversation with my husband and me at Embrace Your Everyday podcast.