7 Creative Ways Your Child Can Reflect On The Weekly Sermon

7 Creative Ways Your Child Can Reflect On The Weekly Sermon

  

Reading Time: 4 min 4 sec

 

Have you ever bemoaned the fact that your kids attend church on Sunday, only to forget what they learned by Monday? Have you ever desired to work with the church in the spiritual development of your kids but you don’t know how?  

 

Parents are the primary spiritual influence in the lives of their children. Children learn experientially, and your living example teaches them (better than any sermon) what real relationship with God looks like. 

 

However, we can’t raise them to know and love God in isolation. God created us to live in community with one another.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

Participating in the greater church community is foundational to the spiritual development of our children. However, it can be challenging (if not impossible) in a large group setting, with a limited amount of time to provide enough space for children to respond to the lesson.  

 

At home, each kid has time to respond and reflect in a way that fits their personality without feeling rushed. This is crucial because it gives our children time to wrestle with the stories and ideas taught at church. And it allows room for the Holy Spirit to transform our child’s heart

 

It is so important that both the church and parents work together as a team in raising children who know and love God.   They each have critical roles to play in order for our children to grow in their walk with God.  We are truly better together.

 

So how do we partner with the church in raising children who know and love God?

 

Here are 7 creative ways to interact, reflect, and reinforce what was taught at church on Sunday morning.

1. Reflective Conversations

2. Time With God 

3. Act Out the Story 

4. Take A Breath

5. Talk To God 

6. Re-tell And Play

7. Art Experience 

 

 

1. Reflective Conversations 

 

Use the car ride home from church every week to talk about what was discussed at church. This is a great way to interact with what was taught while it is still fresh. 

 

The point of this conversation is to allow your child space to listen and respond to God’s still, soft voice. Pose a question and give your child time to respond and don’t interrupt. This is all creating elbow room for the Holy Spirit to transform your child’s heart.

 

You can receive your own copy of 7 Reflection Questions to Ask Your Kids After Church below! These questions are a great jumping off place to help you have deep conversations with your kids (with zero prep). 🙂

 

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2.  Time With God 

 

I would encourage you to sink into the story with your child. Don’t feel rushed. If led, spend an entire week on the passage. You can do this by reading the passage of scripture several times.

 

1st Time) Read the entire passage.

2nd Time) Pay attention to new perspectives

3rd Time) Ask God to highlight a word or phrase.

4th Time) Reflect on the word or phrase and ask the Father to speak to you.

 

Ask: What is the Lord inviting me into?  How can I respond?  

 

3. Act Out The Story

Read the story through once, then act out the story together. This is an amazing way for children to not just read but actually interact with the story.  Any props that you find from around your house always make a fun addition.

 

Ask Questions Like:

 a. What jumps out at you in this story

b. What do you think the main character was feeling?

c. Where do you see God at work in this situation?

4. Read and Imagine 

 

This is a great way for children who are easily distracted to enter into a Biblical story. When they interact with the story in a new way it reminds them that this isn’t a fairy tale but that it actually happened. By engaging with the story, as it is read aloud, children are free to engage their senses and imagine what it was like to actually be in the story. 

 

Read the Bible passage to them slowly. Encourage your child to close their eyes and imagine that they are a part of the story.

Ask:

a. What can they see

b. What do they feel?

c. What do they hear?

d. What can they smell?

e. What do they taste?

5. Talk To God 

Find a place in your day when you are not rushed. Invite God’s presence and ask him to help you be present to him during this time.  Spend some time in silence (start with one to two minutes) just hanging out with God.

Tip: Set an alarm on your phone so you can also be present to God during this time instead of monitoring the time.

Close out your time of silence by praying for anyone the Holy Spirit brings to mind.

 

6. Re-tell And Play

 

Invite your child to re-tell the story in their own words using puppets, and dolls.  You can even have your children use popsicle sticks or paper bags and make their own puppets. This is another wonderful way to experience God at work in their own hearts and in the Bible.

 

7. Art Expression

This is a wonderful activity that can be used with children of all ages.  Invite God’s presence and ask him to highlight a word or picture in the passage.  Encourage your children to close their eyes (limits distractions) and listen to you read the passage slowly, twice.

Invite your child to draw, paint, or color whatever or image was highlighted for them. After they are finished spend some time talking about their creations.  

 

 

Grab your FREE Deeper Guide to The Beginners Life and join our community of moms who are hungry for more of Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their children.

 

What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to helping your children experience a life with God?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

 

How to Stop Abdicating Your Spiritual Role as A Parent

How to Stop Abdicating Your Spiritual Role as A Parent

  

Reading Time: 5 min 40 sec

 

As Christian parents we all want our children to grow up to know and love God. We want them to behave well, get good grades, and live a moral life. We believe that if we can only keep them in a church, they will develop a faith that will keep them from drugs, teenage pregnancy, and overall bad decisions.

 

We quickly fall into the trap of believing that it is the primary role of churches to develop the spiritual lives of our kids. Our feelings of inadequacy and perceived lack of time and energy drive us to make sure our children are being taught about God from the professionals.   

 

So we jump from church to church desperately trying to find a children’s program or youth group where our child can truly connect.  We find safety in the belief that our role begins and ends with a ride to church and money for summer camp.

 

This mindset is doing a great disservice to our families.  Studies have shown year after year that parents, (not youth pastors) are the number one influence in the lives of their children.

 

As a former youth pastor, let me be completely honest with you, it is impossible for pastors to raise children to know and love God because we only have them for an one maybe two hours a week.

 

There is a reason why God encourages us as parents to take a primary role in the spiritual life of our children. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6  A life with God is modeled for kids by their parents, who live life with them.  

 

The church still plays a crucial role in the spiritual development of your child. However, it was not meant to serve as the primary spiritual influence in their lives.

 

So how with all of our misgivings, inadequacies, failures, and humanness do we raise our children to know and love God? 

We are going to be talking about three ways that we parents can serve as the primary spiritual influence in the lives of our children.

1. A With God Life

 

2. You Are Not Alone

 

 

3. Take A Breath

 

 

1. A With God Life  

 

I was engaged in small talk at a birthday party, when another mother interjected, “Oh, my. Now I know where your children get it.” I looked at her puzzled, “Get what?” I ask. “Their manner of speech. They sound just like you.

 

As parents, whether we like it or not, our children pick up not only our mannerisms, but our outlook on life. When we make our relationship with God a priority it sends the message (louder than all our rants) that God is to be taken seriously. 

 

Your actions literally speak louder than your words. When you make the choice to spend time with God, to pray, to wrestle with real-life problems with God in front of your children, you are helping to set the foundation for their spiritual development.

 

In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Moses tells the Israelites to, “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

 

When a life with God is a priority, not an afterthought, not something we work in into the margins of our lives, our children sit up and take notice.  When you live your relationship with God in front of them, you are giving them tools for the rest of their lives.

 

This can be as simple as natural conversations about God. Apologizing when you have blown it. And treating your spouse with respect.  Our children need us to care and invest in our own spiritual development.  Our life with God speaks louder than all the sermons in the world. Trust me, I should know. smile

 

2.  You Are Not Alone

 

Okay, before those feelings of discouragement and pressure threaten to overwhelm you know that you are not alone in this parenting journey. You don’t have to have all the answers (it’s better if you don’t). Woohoo!

 

God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t even know that our child is struggling, he does. He knows exactly what our children need and when they need it. Our job is to partner with the Holy Spirit in inviting our children into a life with God. He is the one who works in their hearts as they come to know God.

 

“As they are ready, children construct or form their understandings for themselves, with the gracious presence, encouragement, and guidance of God’s Spirit.” Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May, Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey.

 

So how do we partner with God? We can do this by creating elbow room for the Holy Spirit to move. We can create opportunities by slowing down and inviting Gods to speak to our hearts, through prayer, quiet, conversation, and reflection.

  

3. Take A Breath

As parents, we need to understand that children learn by experience, not data. As much as we would like to fill their head with all these facts about God, they need to experience the lavish love of the Father, in order to have a living breathing relationship with him.

And so, the phrase, “Just because I said so” doesn’t work in the spiritual formation of your child. We need to allow them to wrestle with real-life issues. Information about God and the Bible is an important part of our faith. However, at this stage in their spiritual journey, experience is how they encounter a relationship with God.

 

Children are most like adults in their feelings. They are least like adults in their thinking. More information does not make them think like us.” Catherine Stonehouse

 

When children have an actual relationship with God, they make decisions of faith. Here are some practical tips to create elbow room for the Holy Spirit to speak to your child. 

 

 1. When reading a Bible story or passage do not be quick to point out the moral. Allow your child space to think about the story. Trust that the Holy Spirit is planting seeds.

 

2. Model talking to God like a friend. Trusting him with the little and big stuff of life. All throughout the day. No deep voice required. smile 

 

3. Spend some time in silence.  Tell your child that you are going to spend some time being quiet and just spend time with God. Remind the children that he is present with them right now.

Pray and Invite God’s presence and allow for a short period of silence (start with a minute). Close with a short prayer.

Talk to your child about their experience. If they didn’t experience anything, let them know that it happens. Tell them that they brought God great joy by showing up to spend time with him.

 

4. Allow your child to interact with the story in a variety of ways. You can use toys, puppets, food, drama, books, and art etc.

If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 


 

12 Kid Approved Gifts that Focus on the True Meaning of Easter

12 Kid Approved Gifts that Focus on the True Meaning of Easter

  

Reading Time: 4 min 56 sec

One of my most favorite memories growing up is visiting my grandparents’ house and participating in a massive scavenger hunt to find my very own Easter basket. Even though the basket was pretty much always hidden in the dryer, it was an amazing time of fun, excitement, and it ended with a basketful of chocolate!  

 

As a follower of Jesus’ the celebration of Easter is the most important day of the year. Jesus death and resurrection are foundational to our faith.   If Easter is so important, what are we communicating to our children when we condense it down to fancy outfits, beautiful eggs, and tons of candy?

 

I am not saying banish your Easter traditions. Instead, what I am saying is that what if we intentionally moved the focus from candy to Jesus? Can you imagine our children experiencing Jesus’ over the top love for them as they come to appreciate his sacrifice on the cross in a whole new way?  

 

Children go deeper in their faith, and own their faith through experiential learning. By watching you, experiencing life in a family and church context, they are being told each day what is really important.  Easter is a huge opportunity to pour into the spiritual lives of our children. So how do we do that?

 

Intentionally invite Jesus into what you are already doing. Instead of giving an Easter basket or gift, full to the brim with chocolate, what if you included some items that would turn your child’s eyes towards Jesus?  Instead of hurrying past Lent without much of a thought, what if you took some time to journey through an Easter devotional or watched a video of Jesus’ death and resurrection together as a family?  These small steps make a POWERFUL impact on the lives of your children.

 

Today, we are going to be talking about twelve amazing resources that you can use to help turn your family’s eyes towards the true meaning of Easter this year!

 

  1. Devotionals 

2. Toys 

3. Books 

4. Journals

5. Art 

6. DVD’s

 

 

1. Easter Devotional

   Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week & Eastertide

This is the BEST devotional I have found yet for kids during Easter. The devotional is very doable for each day (it’s about a half a page). The devotional covers Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide and is written from an evangelical perspective.

I really appreciate how each devotional is broken into four sections:

Till (Prayer)

Plant (Meditate on Scripture)

Water (Reflect)

Weed (Examine)

As you travel through lent, this is a great resource to serve as the foundational piece of your day.

2. Jesus Doll 

My Friend Jesus Stuffed Doll

My children LOVE this doll! They sleep with it every night and it serves as a tangible reminder that Jesus is always with them. One of my children told me, “I know I don’t have to be afraid (of the dark) because I hold my Jesus doll and remember that Jesus is in the room with me.”  This doll is perfect for a young-elementary child because it is not huge and will be easy to carry around.

 

3. Bible 

  The Jesus Storybook Bible

This is a phenomenal paraphrased Bible for kids. The text is age appropriate, the illustrations are captivating, and the overarching story focuses on God’s never ending, never giving up, always and forever love for his kids.  I have read what feels like HUNDREDS of Bibles (okay, a little overdramatic here) and I haven’t found one yet that comes close.

 

4. A Picture of Jesus

This is huge!  When you place a special picture of Jesus with a child or a lamb in your child’s room it is a daily reminder that Jesus is always with them. It is also a huge reinforcement that Jesus is priority in the life of your family.  For years, we have asked our children, Who is that that lamb that Jesus is holding? And they shout out, that’s me!

 

 

5. Book

  The Boy and the Ocean   By Max Lucado 

“God’s love is like the ocean, my little boy,” she said. “It’s always here. It’s always deep. It never ends. God’s love is special.”

Oh my word, hands down, probably my favorite Christian picture book. The illustrations are beautiful, the words are life-changing, and what an amazing book to pull out at bedtime.   The story draws parallels between Gods creation and his vast love for his children. I love how Max Lucado, portrays parents who include God in everyday life. Both boys and girls will love this book.

 

6. Book

 God’s Great Love For You   By Rick Warren

This book is all about Gods overwhelming love for his kids told in such an imaginative way. Written by Rick Warren, the book shows a young girl on different adventures discovering God lavish love. The illustrations are adorable and though the book can be read to girls and boys, the book is specifically geared towards young girls. 

 

7. Journal 

 

  Writing to God: Kid’s Edition      By Rachel G. Hackenberg 

This book is an amazing and creative resource full of journal prompts that guide children in learning how to talk to God.  This book has 35 different prayer journal exercises and it covers prayer topics on events that happen during the day, emotions, praise, thanks, pain, and using their five senses.  Your child comes to find out that you can speak to God about EVERYTHING, and has actually practiced doing just that throughout the book. Love it!

 

8. Journal 

  Praying in Color-Kids Edition                By  Sybil Macbeth

Have you ever heard “But I don’t want to pray? I don’t know what to say? I’m embarrassed to pray out loud?” This is a revolutionary resource for children (and adults) who want to try another way to spend time with God.  The author, Sybil Macbeth gently leads children in understanding what prayer is, common prayer problems, how to pray, and step by step of how to pray using art. This has been an amazing resource for children and students who have felt inadequate or have had a hard time concentrating when it comes to prayer. Love it!

9. Journal

  The Bible Doodle Book

This doodle book has 100 unfinished drawings and stickers for children to complete.  I love it because the children can use the prompts to help them complete the drawings. You can use the drawings/prompts as a complement to your daily family devotions. A creative way to engage with the Bible!

10. Journal

Choose a journal (with no lines) for your child to write or draw prayers that can be especially for this Lenten season.  After a lot of searching, the best journals seem to be found at your local craft store. Let me know if you find a great journal somewhere else!

11. DVD

  The Animated Passion Trilogy DVD

This is a great visual retelling of the Easter story for preschool-elementary age kids. Something about a video allows the children to really experience the life of Jesus in a whole new way.

 

12. DVD

  Matthew: Visual Bible DVD

This is a wonderful movie for older elementary children who are emotionally ready to watch the crucifixion and resurrection. It is not as graphic as the Messiah but I would still preview it ahead of time to make sure your kids are ready for it.

Give your Easter season a strong foundation by grabbing your own copy of the Good Dirt-Lent, Holy Week & Eastertide Devotional. You can get it here!  I am excited to travel through it with my own family this year!

 

 

 

What about you? What are your favorite ways to encourage a love of Jesus in your child during Easter? Feel free to leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

How to Help Your Child Experience Jesus this Easter

How to Help Your Child Experience Jesus this Easter

  

Reading Time: 5 min 31 sec

Have you ever had a year where you are so busy that one minute its Christmas and the next, it’s the Saturday before Easter and you are scrambling trying to cobble together outfits and stuff a million Easter eggs with chocolate bunnies?  

 

Do you wish that there was a way to really help your children understand that Easter is more than eggs, candy, with some Jesus thrown in?  ME TOO!

 

In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to pass over the importance of the lent season with nothing more than a thought or a good intention to stop eating chocolate.

 

But Lent is more than giving something up; it is a time of reflection, of preparing our hearts, of remembering Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and a concentrated time of refocusing on Jesus. A forty day (not including Sundays) fast, interwoven with prayer and giving that culminates on Easter Sunday.

 

We do not celebrate Lent or Easter as a way to earn more brownie points with God or as another task to complete. There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less than he does right now.  We participate in Lent and Easter as a way to actively participate with the Holy Spirit in the transforming of our hearts.

 

I love how life as a follower of Jesus, is an ACTIVE, experiential life. We don’t just get to hear about God, we get to EXPERIENCE a relationship WITH God.  Children learn experientially, and active participation is formational in their spiritual growth. Lent and Easter is a time rich with experiences and a perfect way for children to actively engage in their faith.   

 

We are going to be talking about 13 meaningful experiences that you can have with your child as you learn to walk through this Easter season with intention. 

 

These are just suggestions. You do not need to do everything on the list but choose one or two activities that are speaking to you.   I pray that the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of your family in powerful ways this Easter season.

 

  1. Art

  2. Devotional

  3. Drama

  4. Events

  5. Decorations

  6. Music

  7. Practices

 

A Couple of Tips: Your active participation with your child in the activity is HUGE. Do not to rush through these activities. It is not about getting them “done” and giving your child an Easter experience. This is not about being productive but about moving slowly, savoring, and giving the Holy Spirit elbow room to speak with your child. Allow for silence, (yes, this can work even with preschool children) in and around the activity.  

1.Use a Lent-Easter Family Devotional

 This is the BEST devotional, (Good Dirt Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide Devotional)  I have found yet for kids during Easter. The devotional is very doable for each day(it’s about a half a page).

 The devotional covers Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide and is written from an evangelical perspective. I really appreciate how each devotional is broken into four sections: Till (Prayer) Plant (Meditate on Scripture) Water (Reflect) Weed (Examine).  The book includes 14 weeks of devotionals.  You can grab your copy here!

2. Decorate Your Home

 Allow the decorations in your home to serve as a daily reminder of the importance of the Lenten season. The color purple serves as the traditional reminder of Easter. It symbolizes not only the pain of the cross but it is also the color of royalty, and it celebrates Jesus’s resurrection.  Decorate a table or space (or throughout the house) with the color purple, you could add a cross, a Bible and or a candle.  

 

3. Observe Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday serves as the start to the lenten season. It is important for your child to witness the community of God gathered together to worship him. Carving out time to attend serves speaks louder than words to your child about your family’s priorities.

 

4. Light a Candle 

 Every morning, start your day, by lighting a candle each day to as a reminder of Jesus’ shining light in the world. You can follow the lighting of the candle with prayer inviting him into your day.

 

5. Look at Art

 

Visit a church, or museum, in books, or print some pictures off the internet depicting the crucifixion and resurrection.  

 Start by inviting Jesus into this time. Find a piece that speaks to you or your child. Spend some time just enjoying the art.

Ask God what he is saying to you through this piece.  Remember, this is for you as much as it is for your child. It is powerful for your children to watch you engage with the Holy Spirit through art.

 

After a couple of minutes ask your child:

a) How does this piece make you feel?  

b.) What do you love about it?

c) What do you think the Father is saying to you through this piece?

 

Tip: Don’t rush. The goal is quality over quality. You are there to create elbow room for the Holy Spirit to speak to them through art. You are not there to teach your kids something (though they will learn). Also, don’t feel like you have to be there an hour to make it worthwhile.

6. Listen to an Easter Playlist

It is important to place a special emphasis on creating an environment that draws their hearts towards Jesus during this Lenten season.

Tip-I am loving the Lent and Easter Worship Songs Playlists by Salt of the Sound on Spotify

 

7. Act out the Easter Story

This can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. 🙂  This is great for allowing the children to really engage in the story of Easter. Remember this is not about getting it “right” but about engaging in the story of Jesus’ resurrection. 

Tip: Your children can also do this with stuffed animals or dolls.  

 

8. Draw Prayers to Jesus 

Layout art supplies, plain paper, and have your Easter playlist playing quietly in the background. Encourage your child to write or draw prayers to Jesus.

 Tip: This should not feel like a homework assignment. There is no correct way of doing this. This is their personal prayer to God. Let them know that they can but don’t have to share their prayers with you when they are done.

9. Watch a Video of the Easter Story

 

Here are two suggestions for younger and older children:

  1. Preschool-Elementary- The Animated Passion Trilogy
  2. Middle School-High School- Matthew:Visual Bible 

10. Use Playdough to Recreate the Empty Tomb

This is a GREAT, hands-on, simple activity to allow children to engage in the Easter story.

 

11. Draw or Paint an Easter Scene

Read through the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Encourage your children to draw or paint a picture of a scene from the Easter story that grabs their attention.  

Tip: I typically put on instrumental music in the background to help focus their attention on listening to Jesus.

12. Look for Ways to Serve Others

Pray with your children. And ask God what way he wants you to focus on serving others during this Lenten season. 

13. Attend a Good Friday and Easter Service

If appropriate allow your children to join you for all or part of the service. The death and resurrection of Jesus are foundational to our faith and allowing your child to witness that at a young age is HUGE!  Also, Easter sunrise services are amazing (especially for elementary age children).

 

14. Plan a Special Meal for Easter Sunday

 

The goal is to plan and prepare WITH your children a special meal celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. Invite over family and friends to celebrate.

 

Give your Easter season a strong foundation by grabbing your own copy of the Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week & Eastertide Devotional. I am excited to travel through it with my own family this year!  You can get it here! 

 

What about you? What are your favorite ways to encourage a love of Jesus in your child during Easter? 

If you try any of these activities, let me know! Leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!

How to Raise Passionate Thoroughgoing Followers of Jesus

How to Raise Passionate Thoroughgoing Followers of Jesus

  

Reading Time: 4 min 48 sec

I have served in a variety of children’s and youth ministry roles over the years and every fall, I would look forward to that new group of incoming students. Every year, you would have 1 or two students who would just knock your socks off. Not with their magnetic personality (though some of them did) but with their desire to know Jesus.

 

 They were young men and women who were unabashed by their hunger for Jesus, they served others with a humble heart, spoke life over the people around them, and were never content with their current experience of Jesus.

 

They were in a word… Inspiring.

 

The crazy thing is that those same students are now grown, starting their own families, and are still pursuing a life WITH Jesus.

 

What made them so different from their peers?   

 

I believe there are four practical steps YOU can take to influence the spiritual life of your child.

  1. Experience God 

2. Focus on Heart Transformation    

3. Trust in the Holy Spirit

4. You can’t Lead where You Haven’t

   Been

 

 

1. Experience God 

 

Children learn primarily from their experiences.  Think about it, how did your children get to know you? Did they ask other people questions, did they study your family tree, did they spend time talking to others about you?  OR did they experience you from before they were born; the sound of your voice in the womb, the touch of your skin as they entered the world, the snuggles, the safety of your presence, the hugs?  They know you by EXPERIENCE, not by words.

 

A life of faith is not school but a real, breathing, organic relationship with Jesus. Your child needs to experience it, not just hear about it. I am not downplaying the crucial role of the Bible in our lives but we need to marry experience and knowledge together to grow as a thoroughgoing follower of Christ.  You can do this by intentionally including God into your everyday life.  

 

Light a candle to remind you of God’s presence, use art to help you listen to God’s voice, take a walk in God’s creation, observe Sabbath, use play to help focus your child on Jesus words, etc. (See this post for more practical ideas).  Experience is critical for children to establish a strong relationship with Jesus.   

 

2. Focus on Heart Transformation

 

Who doesn’t want your child to behave a civilized member of society? It’s an obvious question, but as parents (myself included) we can quickly move to focus on behavior modification (You do this and you will get x, y, and z) and completely miss the opportunity of heart transformation.

 

The heart can be a tricky place as it is where our thoughts and feelings originate. As parents, we can manage behaviors but the heart is harder to control.   So what can we do to encourage our children to make Godly decisions even when we aren’t around?

 

We cannot by-pass heart work.  We need to look deeper than external behaviors and notice the movement of their hearts.

 

In the book Parenting is Heart Work, the author says it this way; “Motivating Heart change isn’t easy. You can force a child to change behavior, but you can’t force a change of heart. Its deeper work. Helping children change their hearts requires a lot of thought, planning, and prayer. More and more parents are relearning discipline so that they can have a lasting impact on their children.”

 

Prayer is a great and crucial first step in parenting for heart transformation.  We can miss out on a beautiful opportunity if we fall into the trap of praying for our kids only when there is a crisis.  Covering our children in consistent prayer not only teaches us to be sensitive to the movements of their heart, but also gives room for the Holy Spirit to bring about our own heart transformation.   

Prayer is a two-way street, take some time to be silent before God, listening for his voice and being present to him. God is faithful to highlight the issues that you need to be focusing on.

If you are interested in going deeper you can grab the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

3. Trust in the Holy Spirit 

 

As parents, we have to have trust in the Holy Spirit. We can try to do everything right and still blow it.  We have to remember that parenting works well only when we are utterly dependent upon God and our huge need for grace.

 

We need to realize (believe, not just say) that on our own we can do nothing, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit, can we make a difference in the spiritual lives of our children. As children are observing the lives of their parents, soaking in their family values, and experiencing Jesus in real ways, they are internalizing all of that information.

 

 “As they are ready, children construct or form their understandings for themselves, with the gracious presence, encouragement, and guidance of God’s Spirit.” Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May, Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey.

 

It does not come down to what you say (though that’s still important) but how you model your life WITH God, and through the work of the Holy Spirit that determines how your child views and interacts with God.

 

We need to remember that we are working with the Holy Spirit, not the Holy Spirit working with us. We don’t have to have all the answers or be Super Mom.  What we have to do is place our children before God, and be continually dependent upon the Holy Spirit to shape our parenting. We can rest in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will be with our child long after they have grown up.

 

4. You Can’t Lead Where You Haven’t Been 

 

Seriously, if you want your child to have a living, breathing, transformational relationship with Jesus, it starts with you. Multiple studies have shown that parents are the primary influencers in the lives of their children. You and your relationship with God set the tone for the culture of your home.  

 

The greatest parenting tip we could share with you is this: Maintain a strong connection to your Heavenly Father. He offers spiritual guidance and direction to help you work through your own heart issues so you can be more effective with your children.” -Parenting is Heart Work

 

Investing in your relationship with God is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, let alone your children.  When they see you turning to God all throughout the day, when they see you on your knees, when they see serving others, you are a modeling a life lived WITH God.   

 

Grab your FREE Deeper Life Beginners Guide and join our community of moms who are hungry for more of Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their children.

 

 

What about you? What is your #1 concern when it comes to raising Godly children? 

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