Since Mother’s Day is Sunday, I wanted to dedicate this special treat to all the wonderful mothers out there. Being a mother is an important, beautiful, 24/7 job, and I commend all of the ladies who do it with grace and humility! My mother played a huge role in my relationship with Jesus Christ, and if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be so invested in my faith. This is something I will always be eternally grateful for so I wanted to highlight three other mothers who I see raising beautiful children who also have great relationships with Christ. Mothers like this are so encouraging and inspirational to me and I hope if you are a mom or even if you aren’t, you will pick up some great tips for raising kids who love Jesus. I know I did!
Jenni Hufford – Mother to Jonah, 10 and Jordan, 8
Ten years ago, I gave birth to my first child. I vividly remember those early days of being a new mom to my newborn son, Jonah. My heart was full of so many dreams and hopes for him, but my utmost desire was that he would grow to love and follow Jesus. My husband and I knew that as his parents we would play a major role in nurturing his love for the Lord. And as his mother, I recognized I had a very specific role in his upbringing.
Even as I was up for the challenge, I remember feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the responsibility ahead of me. I immediately began to think of my many faults (isn’t that so much like the Enemy to do this?). But God has been so faithful in leading my husband and I as parents to Jonah and our 8-year-old daughter Jordan. I want to share with you a few things we have learned along the way in our journey as parents who desire for their children to follow Jesus.
Expose the Word to your children. This is something so basic that every Christian parent “knows” they should do with their children. However, the days become long, and really, how often do families open the Bible together? One thing we do as a family sometimes is “home church”. This is where we pretty much have a church service, just the four of us. Full with a time of worship to music and then both of the kids read from their children’s Bible. We started doing this right around the time both of the kids learned to read, and it was very exciting for them to read the Bible on their own.They have now progressed to reading their Student Bibles – it’s teaching them to be familiar with the Word and being familiar with their own Bibles. We also love to expose our children to the Word through music. We have been long time fans of Slugs and Bugs music. Slugs and Bugs have several CDs that puts verses to song (and it’s NOT annoying for the parents to listen to! Praise God!). There is something about putting a verse to music that allows us to memorize it quickly!
Explain the World to your Children. Just as I want to expose my children to the Word, I need to explain the world to my children. When Jonah and Jordan were very little, it was easy for me to shelter them from the world and the terrible things you see on the news. But now they are in 3rd and 2nd grade. They have come home from their (very wonderful Christian) school asking me questions about things they have heard from other kids that made me want to fall out of my chair. Even in the best environments you can’t protect them from being exposed to sin and “things of the world”. They have seen things on the news, and have asked me why is this happening. While I strive to protect them from anything harmful or scary, I MUST be willing to answer their questions (in an age appropriate manner) and offer a solution that points back to Jesus and His promises. We have so many examples all around us that will prove to our children that our world is fallen and we are in need of a Savior!
Pray. Just as being in the Word is integral for building a foundation in a child that loves Jesus, our children need to see us pray. As any typical Christian family, we pray before every meal, and at bedtime, however we also have a daily prayer time on the way to school. I have a very short drive to school each morning so as soon as we get in the car I ask the kids what their prayer requests are for the day. We pray together and give our day to Jesus. If I ever forget to ask them about their requests they ALWAYS remind me! I love that it is an established routine for us!
Admit your mistakes. I find it so important as a parent to admit when we have made a mistake to our children. Whether we talk in an angry voice, get frustrated, or respond to situations in a way we regret, it is important to say we are sorry to our children. When they see us admitting our mistakes, they have the opportunity to realize our humanity (and that yes, we still sin!) and experience life-giving forgiveness. I remember as a child my parents would ask for forgiveness from time to time and it was shocking to me to watch my heroes admit mistakes. It left a lasting impressing and it still encourages me today now that I am a parent, that yes, we will make mistakes. And it won’t ruin my children.
I hope the few things I shared today will encourage new parents or other Christian parents along in their parenting journey!
Allison Sukurs – mother to Charlotte, 13 Jack, 10 and Natalie, 8
I have a dear friend who writes a blog on this very topic, called God Centered Mom. Although her kids are a little bit younger than mine, she gives such an honest picture of what it looks like in the trenches of motherhood. Here are a few thoughts of things I’ve learned along the way… I’m in no way an expert!
Lindsey Myers – mother to Hunter, 5 Shaleigh, 3 and Jacob, 1
Being a parent of three young children has proven to be more of a challenge than I ever could have imagined. Many days I feel like I’m just in survival mode trying to make it to the end of the day with everyone still breathing and most body parts still intact!
But it has also given me some of the sweetest moments in my life. At the end of the day, I know that the most important thing is that my children know they are loved and that they know who God is and what Christ has done for them. As soon as my oldest two children could sit through a short story we began reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to them. It was such a delight to see them process through each story and start to ask questions about God and Jesus and other people in the Bible. My oldest son is very inquisitive so it’s amazing to hear some of the questions he comes up with and the resulting opportunities we have had to share the gospel with him.
My mom and my sister passed away when my oldest two children were only two and one years old. God has worked through that hardship to provide many occasions to talk to the kids about heaven and hell and what happens when a person dies. Something that I’ve tried to do my best with is not shying away from their difficult questions but instead using it as an opportunity to speak truth to them. As parents, God has given us the task of guiding our children and shaping their worldview with the truth of His Word. I want to tackle the tough things of life with my children and teach them the way of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 tell us to know God’s Word well and teach it to our children at all times. By seeing opportunities to talk about God in the every day things of life, we can teach our kids to love God and make him the most important person of our life.