My daughter sighed dramatically next to me. She is a very dramatic eight year old. I can’t complain too much, she gets it honestly. She was finishing up an assignment, and I took her auditory exasperation as my cue to ask about the problem. “It’s this question” She groaned. “ I’m supposed to write a bumper sticker that describes how I feel about the knowledge of God”.
“Well how do you feel?’
My heart broke just a little bit. My pride took a big hit.
“It’s special?” She added, more of a question seeking approval than an answer.
My heart shattered. My pride followed suit. Wasn’t this the reason why we homeschooled?
Recently, I had noticed that Tig’s prayer life had become hollow. Shortly thereafter, I had built up the courage to ask her if she believed God was real. She looked nervously at me, but spoke honestly. “I don’t know. I guess that’s the sort of thing everyone has to discover for themselves, right Mommy.” She was right. It didn’t stop my heart from breaking. But, she was right. Even more painful, was that the admission was coming from a girl who used to spend hours late at night reading her Bible, long past when her father and I had fallen asleep. This was a little girl who had insisted on being led to salvation at five years old. Here sat a little girl who knew more about the Bible then most adults we knew, and had until recently, expressed more faith and commitment in her faith, as well. Yet, something had happened that had begun to eat away at her faith and her hope in Christ. As I examined our lives I realized it had not happened overnight. We had gone through a lot, as a family.
She was the oldest, and through most of it, she had been there. Watching, taking it all in, quietly questioning how and why our expressed faith didn’t align with our lives.
Ever since that conversation I had become recommitted to discussing the Christian faith, my personal walk of faith, and why I knew that God was real. I begun to actively seek God for wisdom regarding how to reignite her passion, and strengthen her faith. That assignment would prove an awesome opportunity.
We began with a blank concept map, and soon adventured into a journey of a lifetime. When we were done, “nice” and “special” along with 2 other characteristics she had offered to describe the knowledge of God, had transformed into solid indisputable proofs for the truth of the Word of God. As a science lover, her favorites were the archeological, prophetic and scientific evidence that proved the Bible was true. It took us the remainder of the school day. And it was worth every minute. At the end of the lesson, she proudly typed up her bumper sticker “The Bible is HIStory”.
With new and sincere excitement, she announced that she would be getting this bumper sticker created for her car – as soon as she had one.
As I sat there and watched her eyes brightened with increased faith, I was overjoyed to share this experience with her. I was reminded that this is why I homeschool.
In the busyness of life, it is easy to forget that my most important task is to prepare her to be a woman who knows, loves, and endeavors to live for Christ.
In Malachi 2:15, the Lord answers the question regarding why He made man and women, as husband and wife, one. His answer? That we might produce godly offspring.
Godliness is not something that occurs naturally. We are born sinful creatures. And like us, our children are naturally rebellious. Godliness is developed and nurtured, and must be modeled. I cannot fulfill the parenting mandate that God has placed on my life without intentional effort. And if you are anything like me, that means deliberate and thoughtful planning.
It takes prayer, a willingness to conduct honest and regular self-examination, and a commitment to obediently submit our lives, will, hopes and dreams to Christ. As we do this, we begin to walk in godliness, which is the very first, but most important step to parenting in a manner that develops and encourages godliness in our children.
Many years ago, this revelation changed the way that I looked at parenting. While it did not change me into a perfect parent, it did help me to realize that the choices I make in regards to my children should ultimately be rooted in how they affect God’s purpose for giving them to me. These choices include, but are not limited to what they exposed to, how they are educated, how they are disciplined, how I behave, how I speak, how I respond to life and the cares of this world, and how they are shown love by me. Unfortunately, the troubles and distractions of life had caused me to forget this very simple, but vital truth. It’s not the first time it had happened, and unfortunately, it may not be the last. But I pray that God will keep me from forgetting. Because forgetting this mandate has eternal consequences for not only myself, but for the precious angels that God has temporarily entrusted to me.