Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
So, I don’t know how many Sunday’s I have struggled to get in the Spirit because of these beautiful little blessings that sit next to me. Children will test the limits of our patience at every turn, not because they necessarily know they are but, frequently the Lord uses them to refine and to teach us lessons. My husband and I have had serious talks with them, try to reason with them, pray with and over them, threaten to discipline them but, still they seem to find every little way to irritate and distract ESPECIALLY on Sunday morning. I’m certain it’s not just their idea to be this way, Satan has a way of playing a big role too.
This past Sunday was no exception, I help with the worship team and my husband is up there praying and I get up to play the keyboard to set the atmosphere for worshipping the Lord. Meanwhile, my children are choosing at this point not to participate in the prayer time or worship, instead they choose to take this time to see how much they can get away with while Mom & Dad are busy. The giggling, the hitting, turning around and staring at people, the overly loud whisper, “I was sitting there, get out of my seat!” Goodness I want to trust them but, trust is built over time, not overnight.
Being in the ministry with young children places us in an extremely visual and sometimes precarious situations. Children truly are a treasure and blessing from the Lord, I AM VERY grateful for my children. Sometimes though, I feel like all my efforts of training them up in the Lord and teaching them are for naught. Often times it seems like we ministry folk need a special handbook for successfully training up our kids in church without psychologically messing them up. How about a class in seminary for when you have kids in ministry?
The last thing any one of us want is one of our children to become that rebellious or wayward child that was deeply scarred from a bad church experience. How many times I’ve heard or seen the preacher’s kid become some rock n’ roll star or chosen to walk away from God, no turning back…not if that’s what following Jesus looks like.
That’s just the point…what does it look like to follow Jesus. What example of the Lord are our children witnessing? It’s not just making sure our kids are saved (important as that is), it’s modeling an authentic walk with the Lord. It’s a relationship, not a religion.
I believe this is across the board for all parents. How important to live in such a way like we don’t have tomorrow with our kids. To help them experience Jesus right now so it impacts them in a positive way, for them to grasp the love of Jesus, so they come to understand that Jesus IS real, God IS good and he loves us dearly.
One thing my husband and I have learned over the years is to practice humility in front of our children. Admit when we were wrong in the way we acted, be open and honest with our kids about our failures (more specifically where they are involved). They need to see that it’s ok to fail, mistakes are gonna happen, life is messy sometimes and we need to lead them well through the messy parts.
It’s the example of living that we set that they will follow…live well. Put those devices down, stop making it about you and spend time with your kids now, you may not have tomorrow with them. Don’t miss those important milestones in your family life for a phone call, a meeting, or a counseling appointment. Nothing in ministry is more important than your family.
Children need to know they are loved, secure, and important to you and your spouse. Ask them if they feel loved by you? What makes them feel the most loved by you? They constantly ask for your attention…pay attention before they stop asking. Be sure to have days for just you and your family and don’t bend for ministry stuff on those days. Ask the Lord for guidance in the areas you struggle to know what’s most important in your daily life situations.
Dear Lord, I am so flawed and weak. I need your help to parent these precious children you have entrusted to me. Help me to model you to them in every situation each day. Amen.