Knock, knock, knock. Inwardly I cringed just a little. Outside that door, my husband was caring for our kids so I could spend some much-needed time with Jesus before starting the day. I relished the stillness as I quietly sipped my coffee.
But my preschooler knew I was awake, and she missed me. I answered her knock: “Come in.”
All smiles, she opened the door and climbed up on the bed beside me. After a good morning hug and kiss, she said, “Can I stay in here?”
I hesitated, then said, “You’ll have to be quiet. Can you do that?” She promised she would.
Then she noticed the gratefulness journal sitting next to me. She’d seen it before and knew that’s where I record lists of things for which I’m thankful.
“Can I write in it?” she queried.
Perfectionism reared its ugly head. But that’s my journal. I’ve carefully arranged my lists of blessings in orderly columns, each bullet point lining up neatly under the one above. I don’t want four-year-old handwriting to mess it up!
But she wanted to add her own list of blessings and thankfully, the Holy Spirit within me is stronger than my perfectionism. I handed her a pen with instructions on where to write. She immediately set to work creating her own gratitude list. The first item on her list was God Himself.
She’s thankful for God.
Me, too. I’m thankful He patiently teaches me that times with Him don’t have to be interruption-free and gratitude lists don’t have to be perfectly formatted. I’m thankful He set aside heaven’s perfection to enter our untidy, broken world. To walk among us and show us the Father’s heart.
And I’m thankful He’s teaching me to love my kids with His “people over projects” kind of affection.
That quiet time was far from quiet. My journal is no longer perfectly arranged.
But my little one and I remembered to give thanks. Then we knelt by the bed and talked to Jesus together. She caught a glimpse that day of what friendship with God looks like.
At its core, this is what Christian parenting is all about—modeling for our kids the treasure of knowing God and living connected with Him.
As we seek to live out this eternal mission, let’s remember to:
» Invite them in.
When we allow our kids to join our personal prayer times or share with them something God taught us recently, they see God actively involved in the big and small details of daily life.
» Choose humility.
Inevitably, we’re going to fall short, despite our best intentions and well-laid plans. In those moments, we have the opportunity to humble ourselves and ask their forgiveness, expressing confidence that God is still working on us.
Someday, when they’re faced with their own failures and shortcomings, they’ll have our example of how to walk with Jesus through the struggles of life.
» Love Jesus together.
Be intentional about spending time with God together – reading and discussing the Bible, praying for needs as a family, talking about how God’s Word applies to everyday situations we face.
As refreshing as it is to enjoy truly quiet times with God, sometimes He offers the equally beautiful gift of togetherness when our little ones join us in conversing with Him. Eternity exists in those moments. Let’s embrace them and celebrate together the beauty of loving and being loved by God.
Meredith Mills is a wife and mother to three inquisitive, adventurous, fun-loving kids. She loves finding Jesus in the everyday and is passionate about helping others experience Him, too. She blogs at www.DazzledByTheSon.com. Connect with her on Facebook at Dazzled By The Son and on Instagram and Twitter @DazzledByTheSon.
cover photo courtesy of Pixabay.com