It's no secret that our world is groaning.
Politically, economically, and internationally we are seeing a shift and shaking. This should not bring fear to followers of Jesus. But it should bring a soberness to tune our ears to the cadence of the spirit to get in step.
We as parents must be more intentional than ever to make sure our children know Jesus personally and know that they have a part to play in standing strong for Him. No matter their age, start now.
What is happening in Israel right now is a HUGE sign of the times. It's like the water breaking before a baby is born. There still are many steps, it could come fast or slow, but it's coming... He is coming.
Jesus is coming. His return should be on the forefront of our hearts! But with His return, we know from scripture, comes a shaking.
I, as a mother, am intentionally raising my children with this truth in mind.
I prepare them when we go to a new city or vacation.
I rehearse with them what will happen at a dentist appointment.
I go over the steps of the day when we are headed to a play date.
How much MORE should I ready their hearts in the days to come.
This is not a specific "class" we teach. This is not a daily checklist. But overall we are incorporating this lens into our home and into their hearts in efforts to prepare them as strong followers of Jesus who will be ready for the days ahead.
1.Introduce them to Jesus early.
Most importantly we are introducing them to Jesus. We aren't just teaching them about Him, we are time and time again, inviting them into our friendship with the Lord and pray the Holy Spirit would draw their hearts to Him as well.
We want them to know Jesus not just as a story in a book, not just as the baby in the manager, or the broken man on the cross, but as the risen glorious King. The Jewish man who rules and reigns. I had a mentor tell me you can gauge a child's theooogy by asking them to draw a picture of Jesus. My 4 year old always draws Jesus with a fire sword and a smile and I love that! I love that He knows there is not fragility in the power of His God.
I've found my children's eyes light up most when they catch me worshiping by myself, and I invite them in. When I say at breakfast "Do you want to know the coolest dream Jesus gave me last night?!" and their excited "Yes!" explodes. Or when they hear me exclaim "Thank you Jesus!" and share a miracle of sort. It's my friendship with the Lord, but I invite them into the conversation.
We do have Bible lessons and stories, we do have lists of theology we want to instill, but it's really important that they know Jesus is a real person, with real friendship.
2. Pray Psalm 91 and Psalm 23 aloud
These two passages are wonderful anchors for your home. You could set a special day and time to read them, print them out for your home, make it a part of your school drop off routine, or bedtime ritual. But getting the truth in their heads before the fear of culture does will bolster their faith and prepare them with power.
3. Teach them of the hope of glory not just the dread of darkness
I know this is a little far fetched for some, but we talk about the new heaven and new earth constantly. It honestly was never a part of the "parenting plan" but somehow it just always pops up in conversation.
This has been so helpful in building their eyes for eternity and helping them see the big picture. We do discus persecution and war and evil, but more so we discus the gift of glory we have to look forward to! The reality of angels and heaven! The truth of how much power Jesus has! The fruit, the gems, the gold, the jobs we will have! This children's book helped spark things.
4. Practice courage
We read stories of courage from the Bible like Daniel, and David and Abigail. We act out stories of bravery like Corrie Ten Boom and George Muller.
And we play games like "darkness defeater" where I inevitably get casted as darkness, evil, or a demon, and when I pop out of hiding spots my kids YELL "in the name of Jesus!" and I dramatically shrink and flop away like the melting wicked witch in "Wizard of Oz". They giggle and glee with delight. We talk about the authority they have as a child of God and the POWER found in the name and blood of Jesus.
We pretend to be in underground churches acting our Bible stories silently.
We practice laying hands on stuffed animals and praying for others in faith and compassion.
Again, this is just integrated into our lives with legos and playdough, and "normal things".
We want our kids to be very comfortable and confident that as carriers of the light, darkness doesn't have a chance. Where they go, shalom goes. They bring light to dark places, they bring calm to chaos, they bring restoration to brokenness.
5. Remind them "You are never alone"
My husband is exceptionally good at this. As we drop them off or tuck them in, we make sure they know they are never ever ever alone. Jesus is always with them with His Spirit. We train them to call out to the Lord when they are scared in their bed at night, or if they are lonely in a playground.
Because the truth is I don't know what their future holds and I can't hold their hand through it all. But I know if they live with a conviction of "Christ in me hope of glory" they will live a laid down life well.
Our list could go on and on but I'll stop there.
I know this is all a parenting paradigm that may seem radical, but I believe the Lord is leading a generation of parents to do things now to prepare a generation of Disciples for an unprecedented time ahead.
I don't want this to read like I'm a drill sergeant, prepping my kids for war. I still spend my time and thoughts on "normal" parenting things like birthday presents, and seasonal sign ups, and goofy giggles and delicious meals. But I also recognize that woven within those daily narratives also must be a reality of preparation for the glory, the persecution, and the mystery of the days to come.
I want them to know, we serve one God, and we bow to no other name.
I want them to know we do not walk holding hands with the hand of fear, but we have the spirit of love, power, and a sound mind.
I want them to know that thousands of courageous Christians have come before them and their life and their story is not just about them.
I believe all of these things are positive preparation for any shaking they may encounter.
May we listen to His voice, May we trust scripture, and May we train our children to stand firm and courageous in joy not fear the days ahead.
In His Joy,