Today I want to share ways our family focuses on God every day.
I might be crying.
I need you to know that I’m writing this from a place of hardship and humility. Anything good that has come from our parenting has been because God is constantly pursuing us and our kids. He makes up for all of our shortcomings and this humbles me to lay down flat on the floor because we.can.not.do.this.alone.
We don’t read our Bibles and pray and go to church because “it’s the right thing to do.”
We spend so much time in the Word and in prayer personally and with our kids because we desperately need it. We do it because life is hard. We can’t do life without Jesus.
Most of the time I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I can try to parent through my own strength, but all I have to offer my kids is my weak but willing, loving heart with a side of scrambled eggs. When I parent with Jesus, everything is different. I’m different. I’m better.
And I still fail, which makes me mad. I want love to be enough. I want to be enough. And of course, it is and I am – when I parent through God’s love.
My human love is weak. My flesh fails. Sin wages war against us and I have to be in constant prayer to stand firm and help my kids stand firm.
So I’m sharing what we try to do in our home because I know that we aren’t alone in our struggle. Raising kids is a challenge and we have to do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Raising kids and teens is incredibly difficult. Satan wants to win them and he works hard and I hate him. So now you know.
As I shared yesterday:
Our Kids Need So Much More Than Church.
If we expect our kids to grow up loving God and embracing Jesus and living life through the guidance of the Holy Spirit – but all we give them is an hour of church on a Sunday morning – we might be disappointed with the outcome.
First, our kids need parents who love Jesus and spend time constantly growing a relationship with the Father. So we grown-ups need to be intentionally focused on digging into the Word and letting God teach us His plans for us.
Then, as we grow, our kids grow. We talk about God in our homes constantly. We bring Truth into every situation. We read the Bible together, sing praises together, pray together, discuss Truth together.
Make no mistake: Church is good.
We very much value our church life. We love all that our kids are learning about God and His people when we join our church family on Sunday morning.
- We worship together in song and in prayer as a body of believers.
- We grow our relationships with other Christians through fellowship.
- Our kids get to take part in Bible lessons in their classes.
Our kids learn a lot at church and have formed deep, life-long friendships with Christian peers. They have been mentored and loved by caring adults. Church life is huge!
But it isn’t all that our kids need. It’s not all that any of us need.
We all need 24-7 Jesus. All week Bible. Constant Holy Spirit guidance. A mind and heart that is always in prayer.
How Our Family Focuses on God All Week Long
Our practices at home have evolved through the years and through different seasons. Through each season, our Bible study, prayer life, and Jesus-teaching have been ever-evolving to meet the needs of everyone in our home.
I shared yesterday that one of our biggest challenges now is trying to teach so many little ones without watering it down so much that our 16-year old misses out on deeper study and deeper God-truths that he’s ready for. So we try to be intentional about giving him what he needs while teaching little ones too.
Here’s a gentle rundown of the practices we do daily in our home if possible:
- We talk about God and His work in our lives all throughout the day. We make a real effort to make Him a part of everything and every conversation. We praise Him out loud for the nature we see around us, for the food we have on the table, and we bring Him into the discussion as we discipline or correct our kids. (i.e. “Jesus wants us to love each other and be kind. Are you being kind and loving to your sister right now?”)
- We use mealtime to learn scripture with a tradition that has come to be known as “Repeat Afters.” Each of us takes turns saying a phrase of scripture and everyone else repeats the scripture phrase. It looks something like this:
Dad: As far as it depends on you…
Everyone Else: As far as it depends on you
Dad: …live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Everyone else: …live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
After everyone has taken a turn being the leader, we have worked our way through five or more verses, depending on who is home at the time.
- We have family “Singing and Prayer Time” as part of our little one’s bedtime routine. After the kids are jammied and brushed and pottied or diapered, we gather around the living room. We sing about six songs because we are a family who loves singing! Then everyone, from toddlers to parents, takes a turn saying a prayer.
- Next, it’s Bible time. The little ones gather around Dad as he reads from our Jesus Storybook Bible before we head upstairs to tuck everyone in.
- As we tuck in the little ones, we do what the kids have started to call “Jesus Loves!” We make a big deal of nighttime kisses saying to each one, “Jesus…loves…BRAYDEN!!!” “Jesus…loves…KEITH!!” and so on. The kids love this and usually giggle when it’s their turn!!!! And what a great reminder to each of them that Jesus loves them.
- Finally, we read the entire chapter of Psalm 91 over them as a prayer of protection just before our final goodnight.
Beyond this, during the little one’s naptime many days, Malachi and I dig into the Word together so we can have more in-depth discussion about scripture and applying it to his/our lives. Matt tries to take him (and our college boys) to lunch from time to time so they can visit more individually about godly manhood.
Any college students who happen to be at our house during Singing and Prayer Time get to join us. The singing is amazing, the prayer time is rich. We love this so much!
Throughout the day or evening, we try to make the most of our video time or reading time. There’s a fun video series on Amazon Prime that we pull up every week. The kids have fun watching the animated version of a Bible story, then we all talk about it to make sure they understand the Truth they just watched.
Since I got the Christian Living Bundle, our 7, 5, and 2-year-olds are enjoying the videos and lessons in the Walking with God eCourse. I’ve also printed off some of the activities from other books in the bundle that are geared toward little ones. They give us a great opportunity to talk about God’s Word and His plans for us.
Malachi and I are enjoying the 30 Day Retreat with God eBook. We’ve been working through it as part of his school day during the toddler’s naptime.
I’ll share more tomorrow about our favorites from the bundle. They’ve been such great resources to add to our daily routines.
Maybe I should have started the post with this, seeing as do everything I can to start my day in the Word. This has become harder again now that we have a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. But I crave this time in the morning with Jesus and need it so I find that it’s worth it to make myself crawl out of bed, sneak downstairs before the littles get up, fix a cup of coffee, and sit in my chair with Jesus for even a few minutes before starting the day.
God is faithful. He knows what we need. He knows our circumstances. He provides.
Before we started over with new little ones, I had hours of time every week to spend in the Word. Now, my time is more limited, but He sustains and brings scripture to mind even when I am not able to open the Book. I love Him. He is so good.
We are weak. He is strong!
The enemy attacks any way he can, and we find that we have to constantly stand firm in Truth, remembering that Jesus already won the battle. We fight against weaknesses and find that we have to especially be intentional with our teens. They fight raging battles and need us to fight alongside them.
But at the end of the day, we know that spending time in the Word and in prayer with our children as much as possible is incredibly beneficial to all of us.
- When we hear our 5 and 7-year-olds praying at night, it is evident that they are hearing and digesting the Truths they are learning.
- When we have hard discussions with our 16-year old, we hear that his heart is seeking good. His relationship with God is growing and we get to grow with him.
- When our college kids come home from their dorm/apartment to throw in a load of laundry and they grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a chat, it is evident that God is so much more to them than a Sunday morning “thing we do.” Their relationship with their Father, their recognition of their need for Jesus as their Savior, and their reliance on the Holy Spirit as guide are beautiful to witness.
- When our oldest makes his way west from his home in Lincoln to spend a few hours with us, and we hear all that he’s doing and all the ways God is working in his life – we marvel at our Savior and at the growth He gives.
THIS IS GOD AT WORK!!!
We realize how important it is and has been to be intentional about growing their relationship with God at home, from age 0 to age forever. No matter what we do and what it looks like, we must be intentional to do something. Our kids need church, but they need much more than church.
Resources to Help
The Bible, alone, is enough. We can open it and have all the help we need as we guide our families through life in Him.
But there are also great resources for us to use! Why reinvent the wheel when we can use so many great books, videos, classes, and printables available to us that have been created by people who have learned much and can teach us from what they have learned? I’m loving the resources from the Christian Living Bundle being offered this week, and want you to have it too. Truly, these books and courses are so practical and helpful. Get this and let it help you in your walk and as you guide your family!
QUICK FACTS about the Christian Living Bundle
- Dates: Monday March 22nd at 8am EST to Thursday March 25th 11:59pm EST
- Price: $29.99 + $10.00 cheat sheets
- Value: 50 resources worth $1,182.78
- Contents: 17 eCourses & 13 printable packs, 11 workbooks & 9 eBooks
- Bonuses: $58
After you purchase, send me your receipt and I’ll send you a file with these free bonuses!
I’d love to hear about ways you and your family fill your home with God’s Truth! How do you spend time in the Word in the quiet? How do you teach your kids? What are some of your routines and traditions?