I’ve been struggling for about a year on how to start talking to Salem about Jesus.
I’m pretty firm in my belief that I want my children to understand that having a relationship with God is on them. My faith will not save them. Their dad’s faith will not save them.
It is entirely their responsibility to pursue God. They’re responsible for their own sin, and the consequences, until they give it to God. My job is to teach them, but it is their choice to remain teachable.
I cannot force them to believe what I believe, but it my ongoing prayer that they will experience God’s endless love for them.
They will have seasons of doubt, struggle, and lies. It cannot be avoided. And I want the door to remain open so that they know we can talk about it. They should never feel intimidated by my beliefs nor should they feel they need to feel embarrassed or shy about their intimate thoughts with God, be they love or doubt.
But he’s turning 4 in October. So where do you start? That is a whole lot of deep theology to push onto a 4 year old who simply wants to watch toy story and put his underwear on backwards.
I sat in silence waiting for God to answer my question. “Show me how to teach them to know you.”
I have to admit, I kinda got nervous I was the idiot in that joke, waiting on the roof top in a flood when God has already sent 3 means of rescue and I didn’t understand and I die.
Today, my prayer was answered.
I was feeling really discouraged. Every morning I fail to wake up before them. Every evening I fall asleep waiting for them to sleep. I couldn’t find a spare minute to sit down in silence with God. I was so ready for quiet devotional time.
Well, today I boldly pursued him in the presence of my children. I shared a picture on my Instagram (honorableliving) stating this:
“When I was little, someone told me I should sit down with God in the morning or in the evening. When the world was still quiet. I took that as a Biblical truth, and for the last almost 4 years of motherhood I was discouraged. So discouraged. I was failing. But then, the last few days I realized my quiet time was never coming. It’s now or never. And Jesus gave you all this noise surrounding you and he can sure as heck talk over it. So, amidst the joyful squeals of toddlers playing and occasional cries of babies, I sat down with Jesus. There’s a real possibility quiet time is never coming, and if you keep telling yourself tomorrow you’ll wake up early or tonight you’ll stay up late, you’re making real excuses and missing out on really good truth. So sit down in the commotion and read through the chaos. Because He doesn’t mind interruptions.”
Well, shortly after I posted the photo Salem came to me and said, “you talking to Jesus! You reading Jesus book!” With a proud grin.
At first I thought, “where did he hear that?”
And then I recalled.
Last Monday, Salem was falling asleep and I came in beside him with my new devotional books. He stirred and said “whatcha doin, mama?”
I said, “I’m reading about Jesus, Sal. Sometimes mama needs to talk with Jesus. Do you know Jesus loves you and wants to talk to you? Jesus loves me, too.” And he didn’t say a single word back.
It didn’t even dawn on me that was like the other times I teach him something new. Sometimes, when Salem sees something and says “what’s that!” I answer. His reply is often silence as he processes and learns.
So today, when I felt bold enough to do my devotions with a wild rumpus about, and he said that, I realized, how much better for them. To see their mom actively pursuing God. There is a time and place for intimacy and privacy with God. But I am not finding that in this season of my life. And His goodness can be found by my children if I choose to share those intimate moments in front of them.
Today, God showed me how to teach them about Him. He showed me that the best way to teach is to do. If they cannot see me doing what I tell them to do, why would they ever do it? If they don’t see my struggles and shortcomings and the grace and love God shows me in spite of all that, how will they know to want that, too.
Having a quiet moment with God IS important, and for many, that is the right way to pursue knowing Him. But it’s not the only way. And if you’re like me, making excuses, tomorrow, tonight, later, because you’re simply too worn out to make it happen if those moments come up…
Sit down now and have a moment with Jesus. Wherever you are. Who cares if someone sees you? The best thing that could happen is that they ask,
“What are you doing?”
And you can answer them with the gospel.