When children are young, often the goal is to protect our kids from getting “owies” or to teach them to read, or be respectful. As the child grows, so do those goals. The goal may be to survive hormone changes or keep out of trouble. And, as the children are highschool and beyond, the goals still change. Clark kids are required to learn household chores. They each learn to drive, and are required to get a job. Each of those “requirements” is to intentionally help guide our children into adulthood.
While those goals are valid and good, we can’t lose sight of the eternal, even when we are in the fog of daily parenting challenges. I offer that it is even more important to keep our focus on the passing on of faith to our kids. I’ve often thought that we could accomplish that through family faith stories. We would often tell our kids about God’s faithfulness to our family through sparing my husband’s life in a couple near accidents while working. We’ve shared of God providing us food or clothing unexpectedly, yet right when we needed it most. Over and over my kids have heard about how God provided scripture and peace to me while I was pregnant with my now teenage son. I was so fearful I would lose him while pregnant that I angrily told my husband there was NOTHING in the Bible about faith, and then fell fast asleep. God woke me early the next morning with Luke 7:9 – a verse I was not familiar with. That verse was clear evidence that God DID hear my prayer and responded.
While each of those God moments are parts of the Clark faith story, and each can hopefully help lead someone to seek more answers about His Truths, when speaking about my children, those stories will not lock in their faith nearly as much as a faith story of their own answered prayers.
During a Bible study over the last few days on Genesis, our teacher began a discussion on Noah’s sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth. The discussion led to how the sins of the father are passed down three to four generations. The class ended with each of us being urged to talk with our kids about the way God answers their own prayers. That statement rang so true to me.
Take a quick journey back with me of maybe twelve years. Our young daughter would pray with us at bedtime. We would also pray during the day when she had struggles or needs. Sometimes those prayers ended up handwritten on a tiny piece of paper and folded up and secretly tucked in to her bedpost.
Recently we were rearranging a bedroom and removed the bottom bedpost caps, for the 1st time in many years. What fell to the ground were a dozen little girl’s prayers that we were able to read for the first time ever. The sweetness of those prayers was made even sweeter by the fact that God has answered each and every one of those prayers. I remember praying some of those prayers with her. I remember, too, praising God for answering them. Now, she has written reminders of God’s answer to prayer.
Some of the same prayers that we found written from years ago, are ones that I am currently praying with one of her younger sisters. God is moving in this younger sister’s life, too. It is a joy to be able to share these papers with the younger sister, as evidence of their similar prayers. And, it is a wonderful reminder of how God hears our prayers and responds.
What is the goal of parenting? There a many valid answers. I challenge you, as a I challenge myself, not to miss the goal of passing on faith. Owning your faith is such a priceless commodity. Seeing how God moves definitely can lead a person to seek more. When we see how God has worked in our OWN lives though, that is when we OWN our faith.