The heart-and-soul of our home is Jesus.
Our children are our beautiful mission field.
We want to build our daily habits, conversations, problem solving, and traditions on His gift of love and forgiveness yet so many days, I wonder if I’ve even spoken His name to our children. I find that I need to be proactive to worship and prioritize Him with my children.
I thought maybe you and I could share some ideas about how to be intentional about teaching children about Jesus from day to day. This month, here are a few ways that I am pursuing this beautifully calling of motherhood.
Enjoying my own relationship with Jesus.
Now that our baby is sleeping through the night, I can set my alarm an hour early and enjoy some time praying, reading Scripture, and exercising. After a full year of being in survival-mode, this extra hour is a luxurious blessing! My readiness in remembering and worshiping Jesus throughout the day is fueled by this hour with Him in the morning.
I love The Diary of Private Prayer by John Baille. (Guess who recommended this one? Keith Getty – as in the guy who wrote “In Christ Alone” and so many encouraging hymns for the modern day church! I figured he must know something. Turns out he does. This is a beautiful prayer book that has enriched and strengthened my prayer life more than words can say.)I also use – and LOVE – the The One-Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids by Nancy Guthrie.
Some days, I pray through the Psalm of the Day. I’m also slowly working through Jen Wilkins’ study of the book of Hebrews. After years of feeling guilty – or like “devotions didn’t count” – if I did not check every box every day (prayer, Bible study, journaling, encouragement, etc.), I’m learning to discern the sweet spot between faithful consistency and what I need to do with my heart on any given day. Some days, I use all of the time in prayer. Other days, I begin with prayer and feel compelled to write an encouraging note to someone. Still other days, I invest most of the time in Bible Study.
Most days, I’m simply seeking my daily bread, light for my next step.
I find that when I approach my time with God with honesty – coming to Him as a real person with real burdens and real hungers – my devotional time is sweeter and more fruitful.
Singing Hymns and Memorizing Scripture together.
Every school day, from 10 – 11 a.m., I gather the older children together for Morning Time. The baby is napping and our 3-year old is happy to play with Model Magic, scribble in her own little notebook, and eat a little snack.
(Important side note: The fact that we have had 7 peaceful – and complete – Morning Times so far this school year is is an amazing, amazing miracle. Many, many, many, many of my idillic dreams of Morning Time have been squashed by screaming babies, tantrum-throwing toddlers, tired pre-teens, and distracted little boys. For example, one year I was teaching all of the children the sweetest Children’s Christmas Carole of all time so they could sing it in the children’s choir on Christmas Eve. We’d gather around the piano to practice and invariably be a chaos of tears, melt-downs, and terror.
After a few days of this disappointing choir practice, I decided to play right through it, hollering over the din, “This is exactly why we need this song, my dear children!”
As it turns out, the 24-month old who was causing MOST of the terror was listening the entire time. She ended up knowing that song word-for-word and singing it daily through the rest of the year. Every evening before bed, we meant it in a whole new way when we sang, “Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven…” I learned a lot from that experience. I was encouraged to endure on the hardest days.)
Anyway, about Morning Time: for the first 15 minutes, we use our 12-12-12 Binders and sing the same hymn every school day for a month. We work on the same passage of Scripture and memorize one poem each month. Every year, we cycle back through and work on the same set of songs, scriptures, and poems. This month, we are singing “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” memorizing The Roman’s Road, and The Apostle’s Creed.
Reading Scripture and a devotional together.
This is the part of Morning Time when the children eat a snack so peace prevails. They munch on blueberries or crackers while I read from either Scripture or a devotional. I alternate day by day. This year, we are reading through our well-loved Read-N-Grow Picture Bible and the Clarkson’s Our 24 Family Ways.
Looking for opportunities to connect our daily personal lives with Jesus.
I’m a firm believer in looking for the questions, concerns, weaknesses, and celebrations that occur in each child’s heart as they learn about God’s character, hear His Word, and walk through life. Although many opportunities whizz right by me, God gives me the grace to make the most of one opportunity at a time. When I do, I grow – one step at a time – in my ability to see Jesus in all things and to talk about Him with my children all the time and everywhere, just as He wants us to.
Recently, one child was struggling with nightmares, so we all sketched giant lightbulbs on large sheets of paper and wrote the aspects of Philippians 4:8. We matched each word with a sticker that illustrated its meaning. “Noble” is a knight. “Lovely” is a rose. We hung them next to each pillow to guide our thoughts at night. Whatever is pure, whatever is true, whatever is right…
If another child is struggling with obedience, we dust off our songs about the blessing of obedience and how Jesus tells us to obey our parents because He loves us. I take that child on my lap and teach him or her to confess and to receive God’s quick and powerful forgiveness. I remind both of us that Jesus paid it all.
Whatever today’s questions are, I look for a way to answer them through Christ.
Whatever today’s celebrations are, I look for ways to rejoice with Christ.
Whatever today’s sorrows are, I look for ways to cast our cares upon Christ.
Whatever today’s sins are, I look for ways to receive forgiveness from Christ.
This is my aim, anyway. Many days I flounder. Many days I forget. But by God’s grace I will continue to learn how to fill our home with “all precious and pleasant riches”, which, of course, are Jesus Christ our Lord.
By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
4by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
What are you teaching your children about Jesus this month?