Raising Kids with a Heart for God

Thumbs Up“Oh, Lord, I pray that you’ll open the door for mom to get this job. Lord, actually, I claim this job for her. You know her heart and how hard she’s worked to attain this goal. I thank you for your blessings to her, Amen. ” I keep my head bowed when the rest of the group stirs, savoring the prayer. I’m not dwelling on the request or the answer, I’m overcome by the dawning realization that our 18-year-old daughter is becoming a spiritual giant. Yesterday, I was training her, today, she’s teaching me. The transition is miraculous, fabulous and breathtaking. Raising kids is much like baking a cake: we don’t know how good a job we’ve done until we see the end results. Even the finest ingredients won’t guarantee perfection. There are too many variables — someone walking heavily through the kitchen or an anxious hand opening the oven door to take a peek — can each affect the outcome. Preacher’s kids are so normal and yet unique. For years the stereotypical PK was a bad boy who seemed to aggressively react against parents involved too much in church and too little in his life. Thankfully, I don’t see as many rebellious PK’s today. Many of us who were raised in the tumultuous ’60s, and who watched peer after peer walk away from the church and God, seek to pass on our love and commitment to God in a way that doesn’t sacrifice our family. While I can’t offer a formula for raising PK’s (remember the variables?), there must be ways I have contributed to this abundant spiritual harvest in my daughter’s life (and the tender shoots in the two siblings right behind her). Maybe it was faith. Faith is believing without seeing. In the same way I plant flat, hard seeds in the cold, rainy spring because I believe it will produce an exuberant riot of brilliant color as the blossoms climb up and over my fence, spilling into the neighbor’s yard, enchanting them with their beauty, so do I listen to horrendous piano practicing and wobbly-voiced solos, believing there will come a future day I’ll sit in the pew and listen to her confidently leading worship. It’s reading the Bible and praying with them every night before bed, believing that I’ll pass their doorway in a few years and see them reading their Bible without being told. Maybe it’s diligence. Diligence is sitting down for the umpteenth time today to speak to my son about his manners, believing that in a few years this handsome young man will hold the door for me without being reminded and introduce his friends easily and confidently. It’s insisting they attend Sunday school (even when they vow they’re the last living teen who still has to go) because I want the habit so ingrained it won’t allow them to slip away when they leave home. Maybe it’s hope. The hope of salvation passed on to the next generation. I’ve been pondering lately the immeasurable wealth I inherited because I was raised by parents who introduced me, as a child, to Jesus and raised me in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Just as the Children of Israel piled stones of remembrance in the middle of the Jordan River as a visual reminder of God’s deliverance, so do we need to share with our kids the ways God meets our needs. We need to live a life that prays for everything from dead goldfish to friends whose parents die — a living demonstration that while life is sometimes hard, God is always good. Seize the day! Today, heap spiritual coals upon your children’s lives in order that in later years you can warm your hands on the blaze of their love for God.

~Janice

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