“…and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10b
I read this verse the other day during my quiet time, and it broke my heart. How sad is it that an entire generation did not know the Lord?! How sad that they did not know of the great works that the Lord did in delivering their fathers out of Egypt?! How sad that they did not know how the Lord delivered enemy nations into their hands so that they could dwell in the land that He had promised their fathers (the land that they were currently living in)?! How sad that they did not know His Laws, His promises, His statues?! How sad…
Parents, we’ve got big jobs. I so often look at my sweet boys while they’re playing and feel the weight of this. They’ve been entrusted to us to disciple. It’s humbling, and I don’t know about you, but there are many times where I feel so under-qualified. I’m so thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and God’s Word. These are the best tools that we could have for raising our children.
Between this Scripture, a youth parent meeting, and the Getty Sing conference, the Lord has been pressing on my heart so much lately how important the Gospel must be in our homes. My prayer is that what was said of the generation in Judges 2:10b would not be said of my children, and their children, and their children. This world needs Jesus desperately, and our mission field starts in our homes. Our mission field is right at our feet, chasing us as we try to sneak away to use the restroom in peace, asking for a snack, and needing their sippy cup refilled for the tenth time. Parents of teens, your mission field may not be right at your feet any longer, but your mission field is there too, checking their social media, coming home tired from practice, and trying to figure out exactly who they are.
We have got to do more than just take our kids to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. Is church important? Yes. SO VERY IMPORANT! But Deuteronomy 6 commands us to tell our children of the Lord “as we go”. This means that we must be intentional with having Jesus-centered conversations with our children. And by no means does this mean that we have to have a fancy family devo every night or do something super complicated (if you do that, that’s wonderful!). But what I’m talking about is taking every day moments, and turning them to Jesus. For example, our 3 year old loves to point out the moon. When he sees it , it’s a chance to talk with Him about our Creator who created that moon and everything else. Or maybe it’s not always a conversation, but it’s your children seeing you live out your faith. Let your kids see you serve (and let them serve with you). Let your kids see you reading your Bible. Let your kids see you practice hospitality by welcoming guests into your home. Let your kids hear you apologize to them when you’ve failed.
Mamas of littles, our kids are soaking up so much right now, more than we probably realize. Right now is when we’re setting the “norm” in our families. My prayer for my kids is that they’re learning that church is a top priority, and that it’s a place that we love serving in and being a part of. My prayer for my kids is that Gospel conversations wouldn’t be uncommon in our house, but that they would be the norm. When it comes time to have those heavy conversations, I don’t want the mention of Jesus to be awkward. I want my kids to know that “…as for me and (our) house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b.
Mamas of not so littles, I look at what you’re dealing with and my heart is so burdened for you. There are tough things about having a 3 year old, but I also know that we have much heavier problems coming our way than potty training. You have an endless supply of opportunities to point your kids to Jesus. Teach them that He is their comforter when they are hurting. Teach them that He is their protector, and those boundaries are actually for their good. Teach them that He is Lord and should be the King of their hearts. Teach them that their identity is in the Savior of the universe, not in their sports, academics, or social status. Teach them to love Jesus and pursue Him with everything that they have. Teach them to be holy because Jesus is holy.
This mission field that we’ve been given as parents is an exhausting one. It’s a mission field that I fail in daily. Parenting has made me realize how much more I need Jesus. We have to allow Jesus to pour into us to be able to pour out to our kids. Let’s show our kids grace like the Lord has shown us. Let’s show them gentleness. Let’s show them how the Gospel affects every single part of our daily life. Let’s show them that we discipline them because we love them, just as the Father disciplines those that He loves. Let’s show them that we too are sinners that are only saved by the grace of God. Let’s show them Jesus. Let’s not raise a generation that does not know of the Lord and His sweet, sweet goodness.