“We will not hide these truths from our children;
We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord
About his power and his mighty wonders…
He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children
So the next generation might know them–even the children not yet born–
and they will in turn teach their own children
So each generation should set its hope anew on God” Ps. 78:4, 5b-7a NLT
The other day, I had the opportunity to share with some children the miracle that is new life; something coming to life in unexpected ways, much like our Savior. We talked about how a seed falls into the ground, and dies, but then brings forth new life. Much to my surprise, my object lesson was sitting beside my kitchen sink; a popcorn kernel had fallen into a potted plant and had begun to grow and sprout a new seedling.
When I was talking to the kids, we talked about the fact that the seed was “hiding” in the soil but it wasn’t “hidden” from God. It was still doing all the things the seed was supposed to do; it was bringing about new life.
Psalm 119:9-11 says, ” How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me stray from Your commandments. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” In much the same way, God’s Word is “hidden” in the heart of a child (young man) but it is not dormant; rather, it is doing what the Word came to do – bring forth new life.
As a parent, I can at times become discouraged when I don’t see the fruit of discipleship evident in my children’s lives. Like most Christian parents, I wonder, “Have a done this thing right? Have I shared the right things? Have I been a good disciplemaker? What about all the times I’ve messed up? What about all of my mistakes?”
It can be…exhausting and defeating.
But as I read these Scriptures a few things come into focus for me; things that help me to remember whose they are and who I am actually called to be. I hope these reminders can be a wells of God’s grace and truth to any others who have said, “I’m not sure I’m cut out for this ‘discipling’ thing.”
Talk About God
Just do it. Talk about what He’s done for you, for us, for others, for the world. Talk about the miracles. Talk about the mundane. Talk about His love. Talk about His Grace. Talk about it when we sit at home and when we drive along the road; talk about Him when we lie down and when we get up (Dt. 6:7).
Don’t hide Jesus from them; hide Him inside of them. And trust that the Word (Jesus) will do the work of transformation that will bring about new life, in His time.
See a Bigger Picture
Moments pass; they do not last. Doubts are part of life and a healthy faith; they do not define one’s path. Emotions and feelings are real but they are not reality. Even if our words seem to have no impact or little impact or negative impact, the bigger picture is that we hold the greatest influence over our children’s faith and, according to the Psalm above, not only our children’s faith but the faith of those who are to come; our grandchildren who are not even born yet.
If we can look with eyes of faith beyond today, we will continue to speak with faith and hope about this Jesus who loves us and them so much, He reaches beyond today and into tomorrow with His grace.
Trust the Process
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell myself this about other stuff; work stuff and medical stuff and school stuff. And it usually pans out; if we just trust the process, the work usually gets done. But here’s the biggest difference with God: There is no “usually.” With God, His promises are “Yes” and “Amen.” And while our children will always have their free will, we can rest in the fact that God will do all that He said He will do.
- His Word will not return void (Is. 55:11).
- He goes after his sheep (Luke 11, John 10).
- He made sure our children are always being prayed for continually (Mt. 18:10).
- He calls them to come (Luke 18:16).
- He loves them; oh, how He loves them (Mt. 18:2-6).
The Word is at work in our children’s hearts. I believe that much as I believe a seed I bury in the ground doesn’t just die but it dies to new life. What we have hidden in their hearts, through our words, our prayers, our actions, and our lives, remains there. Jesus tells us that if He is lifted high, he will draw all to Himself (Jn. 12:32); our job is to lift Him high, He will do the drawing.
Right now, I am the mom of a high schooler, a middle schooler, and an elementary student. Every day, new scenarios arise that make me question my adequacy as a parent, let alone a person called to form faith and raise disciples. But every day, when I look to the Lord, I remember I’m called to one thing: Lift Jesus high – talk about Him, talk about His word, talk about His love, talk about His goodness and grace, talk about His approach-ability and His incarnate humanity, and talk about His eternal promises.
I am called to plant endless seeds. He alone can make them grow.
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About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed
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