Have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Wow, how true is that statement? Let me ask you this: Where is your village? Who is in your village? Do you lean on your village for support? I believe that Jesus wants our villages to be the church!
Jesus wants our villages to be the church!
Think about this, the church should be the place where you can go when you have parenting questions. The place with the door open with welcoming faces and willingness to pray for your children and, of course, you as a parent. How do we do this? Through a partnership. We don’t want you to walk the parenting journey alone. We want to join you as you guide your child to know Jesus and then continue to grow in his/her spiritual walk.
You may be thinking, “Well ok, how do I accomplish this?” No worries, I have a few helpful steps. Oh and, of course, some ways I implement this with my daughter.
1. Attend Church
The first step is attending church. Seriously, go to church! Do you ever get into your car on Sunday morning, look at the clock and say, “Whew! We will actually be on time today!” Or for some that may be a rare occurrence, and they can count it a miracle if they get there before worship ends. In all seriousness, church has to be a priority. Allow your kids to attend Reel Kids or another growing children’s ministry and experience church on their level! At the same time, attend corporate worship for yourself. Your spiritual growth and theirs depends on this.
2. Don't Stop After Sunday Afternoon
Secondly, don't stop after Sunday afternoon. A lot of us go to church on Sunday, then Sunday evening rolls around. We eat Sunday dinner as a family, pray as a family and may even do a devotional as a family. After Sunday, the rush comes in full force. We get busy with work, school, practices and performances, and we lose sight. Now, some of us may have a small group or mid-week church activities at some point during the week, so we get a little church during that time.
We tell ourselves, “Take a deep breath you made it to mid-week!” The struggle is real. There have been nights where my daughter will finally fall asleep...I mean the bedtime routine is something fierce! And I will look at my husband, shocked and say, “We didn’t read a Bible story!” Defeated in that moment, I think, “Should I wake her?” and then laugh,“No! Are you crazy?”
Yes, we should strive daily to do better guiding our child’s spiritual journey. But, we can’t forget that we are human, and we will fall short daily. God gives us grace and mercy every second, and sometimes we need to extend it to ourselves. This is not a free pass. If bedtime is rough like it is at my house, choose a better time for your family to do a Bible reading or devotional. Why not try a time that will work?
3. Be a Model
Thirdly, be a model! Your children need to see you grow! Invest in your personal time with the Lord! Prioritize your daily God time, worship and prayer. Personally, I think it is valuable for your children to see this growth being modeled. Allow them to hear you reading the Word, praying and worshiping our Lord. You may even occasionally invite them in to participate with you during your time with the Lord. At other times find a location with little to no distractions where you can dig into the Word, cry out in prayer and rejoice in song. Magnify the Lord every day, even if the only non-distracting location is your closet. In order to grow in your relationship with the Lord, you must seek Him daily. Make this time a daily priority. Mark it on your calendar if necessary.
Lastly, pray! Pray for your children, pray for your parenting, and pray for your family. Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. Jesus modeled prayer, privately and corporately. If Jesus took the time to model prayer to the disciples, He wants us to take the time to model this as well.
Through prayer you are able to talk to the Lord. When I pray individually or with my family I use the PRAY acronym.
P - Praise the Lord, magnify Him.
R - Repent if needed confess and gain wisdom to change.
A - Ask for needs to be met.
Y - Yield to God’s will.
There will be days when you fail, and there will be days when you win. TAKE THE WIN!! Don’t focus on the struggle, focus on the WIN. Lean on the church as your village and allow us to help you grow.