I’m just wondering if we stopped trying to get it so perfect (their behavior, their experiences, education, and even birthday parties) if we would see it for what it is…. a gift.
This call and gift of parenting is a wonderfully challenging one and for me as a working-business-owning-ministry-serving-mama I am easily plagued with guilt. I hide my work from them, never wanting them to see me on my computer. I sneak away to text a friend, never wanting them to think I am choosing my phone over them. I wake before dawn, never wanting them to think I am choosing my to-do list over them.
Then this weekend at the Influence Conference I was able to sit under the teaching of Lisa Jo Baker and soak in her spirit-filled words on parenting. Her reminders were full of grace and free of shame. (You can purchase the conference videos here and I would highly recommend.)
She showered freedom on my mama soul.
She reminded me that as a believer in Jesus, as His child, it is my job to help teach my children to recognize His voice. We see a beautiful example of this in 1 Samuel 3 as the Lord is speaking to Samuel but he doesn’t know the Lord’s voice yet. It takes Eli teaching him in order for Samuel to understand and respond. It is not my responsibility to save them or rescue their souls or construct a relationship with Jesus for them. But I can graciously teach them what it looks like to experience God, to hear Him, to see Him, to find Him in the every day, and to respond to His voice.
Discipleship, while messy and hard because disciples and apprentices alike are sinners in need of grace, is simple. I have made discipleship into something it was never meant to be, especially in regards to my children. I think I have been saving ‘discipleship’ for those who are older, saving it for the women in my church who I anticipate are ready to hear God’s word and apply it to their lives, saving it for the ones who come to me asking specific questions or with a specific need. All the while I am missing the ones who are right in front of me.
I have unintentionally been looking down on my children, viewing them as incapable of understanding these truths or assuming these truths are just not for them yet.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Discipleship is bringing someone alongside and inviting them to do life with you. And using those every day moments to teach them what it looks like to be pursued by Jesus and His gospel; what it looks like to apply the gospel of grace in the every day; what it looks like to hear His voice and to respond to His call.
To bring them along and invite them into the everyday is what it looks like to disciple my children.
Inviting my children to experience the work that God has called me to with me is an opportunity for me to teach them that work is a gift and that work is good and that work helps to provide for our family. By hiding the work God has called me to I was not allowing my children to experience any of those truths.
Inviting my children to know who mommy is texting and why, is an opportunity for them to see Jesus at work in someone else’s life, a reminder that the Gospel is not just for them and not just for Sundays. By hiding the phone calls or text conversations, and constantly feeling guilty if I was on my phone, I was teaching them that what I was doing was shameful. I was not allowing my children to experience the joy of loving others well and seeing Jesus work in the lives of others
Inviting my children to help serve the family is an opportunity to teach them how good it is to serve one another. Inviting them in to the dirty dishes, laundry folding, room cleaning is an opportunity to teach them what it practically looks like to do everyday life with joy and purpose. By hiding the grocery list making and dishes and laundry, I was unknowingly teaching my littles that there was something unholy about the mundane.
Discipleship is about inviting my children to be a part of the work Jesus is already doing in my life and in the lives of those around me. Teaching them what it looks like to hear Him, to see Him, to experience Him and to rest in the grace He gives so freely… all in the every day.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Let us bring our tiny fishermen along for the ride.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
This is a call to be encouraged as mother’s. While discipleship is messy and awkward it doesn’t have to be complicated or full of pressure (Jesus has already done the work. The pressure is off.) What is your daily rhythm, daily sphere of influence? Simply ask Jesus for the wisdom and grace to communicate the truths you are experiencing to the little people in your life and to invite them in. He is gracious to respond.
What are some ways that you invite your children into your daily life to experience the grace of Jesus? What are some ways moving forward, by His grace, that you could invite your littles into the everyday?