I grew up with dinnertime conversations about theology. My Dad was a pastor and many evenings as we sat around the table he would talk about his sermon studies, asking us questions and sharing what he was learning. I am one of five children, so I’m sure dinnertime was chaotic and loud, but that’s not what I remember. What I remember is that my dad was passionate about what he was learning about God and his Word and he was excited to share it with us.
Now, as a mother with two little girls of my own, the seats at the table have changed. I am no longer the one listening, absorbing and learning. I’m supposed to be the one leading, sharing, and encouraging. What a responsibility! In my moments of doubt, I need to remember that I can’t create change in the hearts of my girls. I can’t make them love God’s word. My role is to show them what it looks like to love and follow Jesus and pray that God will work through me (Phil. 2:13).
Here are three principles that are helping me in my journey.
1. It starts with me
Showing my children how to love God’s Word must start with me. I need to prioritize my time in the Word so I can hear from my heavenly Father. As I fill my heart with God’s Word, His truth will permeate my speech and my actions. We share what we love. If I have not cultivated my love of the Word, I cannot share that love with my children (Matt. 12:34).
2. Set the example
I am a morning person. I love sitting in a quiet house, long before the sun comes up, with a cup of coffee and my Bible. It is tempting, and admittedly easier, to spend time in my Bible when my children are asleep. However, how will they know that I love to spend time with God and his Word if they never see it? This has looked like doing Bible studies with my colored pencils while children sit next to me coloring with theirs. It has been children waking up, coming downstairs and cuddling with me on the couch while I finish reading my Bible or praying. It has been taking 20 minutes to read a few verses, peppered with constant reminders that, “Mommy is reading her Bible right now. You need to play by yourself until I am finished.” Seek out quiet time that doesn’t include your children, but also show them that you delight in your time in the Word.
3. Try and try again
It’s easy to feel defeated and be tempted to quit when family devotional time is not peaceful, or easy, or even regular. Persevere, friends! The aim is not perfection, but communicating to your children that you love and value the Bible. Find something that helps your family get into the Word and keep at it, remembering there is freedom in Christ do what works for your children in your stage of life. We will fail in our endeavors and feel weak and unprepared, but thanks be to God that in our weakness the power of Christ rests upon us (2 Cor. 12:9).
God is the one at work in your and your children. God is the one that brings light and life. Take joy in showing your little ones how to delight in his Word, and take heart that he who began the good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).