Guest Post: Lisa of Susanna’s Apron Talks About Fostering Faith in Our Kids


Acropolium

“Why do we have to go to church?”

One of my girls has asked this. More than once. Did she know daddy was a Religious Studies minor in college? Blasphemous at it sounds, I’ve asked the same question. I wonder if a Sunday morning is better spent doing good than mumbling through Psalms and Old Testament lessons.

Ultimately, I think there’s good to be found in going to church, mostly in fellowship and stewardship.

Our church was recently closed. The diocese called the congregation together on a Wednesday night, told us we were troubled and in debt and not able to be saved, not even as a mission, and locked the doors for Sunday service. We’ve mostly found new church homes in places that have accepted us. But, how “good” are the people who take away someone’s church?

It’s a disputed quote, but Abraham Lincoln’s take on religion sums it up for me pretty well:

lincoln quote

Today’s guest-poster, Lisa, from Susanna’s Apron, caught my attention with a post called “4 on-the-go ways to teach our kids about God.” She’s sharing the knowledge today. I know I don’t have the answers, but I’m learning to get closer. Blogs like Lisa’s are such an asset.

# # #

Few parenting concerns are more important than our children’s faith. Yet it’s impossible to instill faith in a child. Only God can convict the human heart of its need for salvation and a faith relationship with him.

A couple in the Old Testament learned this truth. The angel of the Lord visited Manoah and his wife, promising them a son. Their child, they were told, would save Israel from her violent oppressors, the Philistines.

Manoah apparently worried that he and his wife couldn’t raise a superhero. “So Manoah asked him, ‘Can you give us any special instructions about how we should raise the baby after he is born?’ (I love how he takes the initiative for his family.)

And the Angel replied, ‘Be sure that your wife follows the instructions I gave her. She must not eat grapes or raisins, or drink any wine or beer, or eat anything that isn’t kosher’” (Judges 13:12-14 TLB).

That was it. No insights on discipline, no rules about church attendance. Just a command for the baby’s mom to eat a special diet.

Michelangelo's "God", from "the Creation of Adam"

A kosher diet was an outward sign of inner consecration. Basically, the mandate for raising a faith-filled child was to live a God-focused life. God would see to the rest.

A parent’s example is foundational to fostering faith in kids. So, we just need to be perfect, and our kids will follow. The end.

Um… right.

Fortunately, we don’t demonstrate faith to our kids by pretending to be perfect. Faith is about dynamic, interactive dependence on God. Our kids see our faith as we accept grace and seek God’s help when we fail. They need to see us struggle, pray, and work through real life issues and problems with God.

They need to learn that God befriends and accepts regular, imperfect people, and calls them to grow in faith. A parent who continually reaches for God leaves a profound legacy. Children never forget the victories they witness through a surrendered, faith-filled parent.

Of course, it’s important to read the Bible to our kids, take them to church, and teach them to live by the Bible’s principles. They learn by practice. Yet our example of receiving grace and depending on God validates what we say.

Manoah and his wife raised their superhero; but he wasn’t perfect.

Mighty Samson’s tragic downfall, wrought by his vulnerability to Delilah’s trickery, shows there are no guarantees with kids. They make their own choices. In the end, though, Samson regained his faith, dying a heroic death that broke the Philistines’ power.

Rooted in his parents’ example of faith, he accomplished his life’s purpose. We offer our kids the same powerful gift when we surrender to God daily, by faith.

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16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Lisa of Susanna’s Apron Talks About Fostering Faith in Our Kids

  1. I had to come back to this page three times before my kids would let me comment! How rude.
    The Abraham Lincoln quote is really spot-on.
    I struggle a lot in our mixed religion house, with our mixed feelings, but one thing my husband and I agree on is that we need to focus on God for our kids. My parents did that for me, and I do think it made a world of difference.

  2. It is so refreshing to read about parents dedicated to teaching their children about God. He loves us and wants us to feel that love. Some of my most sacred moments have been when I was teaching my children about their Heavenly Father and then I was taught by them.

  3. No matter what your religious background, affiliation, or lack thereof, it’s critical parents set a good example through their actions. None of us are perfect, but we can always strive to be good, kind, and compassionate towards others. If our children grow up with that as the benchmark, the world will be a better place.

  4. I agree with you, Lisa. So much of parenting is leading by example. Faith is no different; we can’t simply say “Do as I say not as I do.” Eli – I’m sorry your church closed its doors – our temple struggles financially and I pray that we can find the means to stay afloat.

  5. Excellent post and insight. We parents, are the first Bible our children SEE. “see” meaning action – since they cannot read yet, they Watch.
    As soon as my eldest could read, I provided him with a list of bible verses according to specific emotions, feelings, struggles, joys — what have you. Now, when I notice him struggling or having a “human” moment; I refer him back to that list. First, it helps him identify exactly what it is he is feeling in that moment (since 9 year olds just tend to express it all as drama, and it is all rather confusing to them still), and secondly he has right there in front of him where he can turn in the word of God for help, guidance, solace, comfort, wisdom – or a firm gentle reminder. Hopefully it teaches him that he can go to God with anything – and that no matter what, he will always find Love and Grace at the root.
    Which is exactly what he should find with me as his parent if our home reflects the divine intention.

    • That is an excellent way to connect your son to God’s word! It really is uplifting to hear how other parents are doing this. I had my kids memorize a few passages when they were younger. I also read the psalms to them when they were just babies. I think it spoke to their hearts.

    • I love what you said about us being the first bible our kids see – what good does it do to wake them up early on Sunday, bring them to church if we have road rage on the ride home and speed?

      Love and grace … if we can instill that … or at least help …

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