Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

3 Ways to Encourage Our Kids’ Faith

38 Comments

3 Ways to Encourage Our Kids' Faith

I’m looking ahead to the day all parents lament and look forward to: my oldest son Andres will leave for college in August.  Doubts pop up in my mind: Will he clean his dorm room? Will he live on pizza and popcorn all year? Will he wash his sheets? These nagging worries pale in comparison with the biggest question:

Will He continue choosing the faith that his father and I have taught him?

Will he live by the principles and practices we’ve sought to instill: honesty, integrity, daily scripture reading, going to church, and choosing to preserve the sanctity of sex by waiting until marriage?

It’s sobering to realize we only have six months left to prepare our son to stand on his own. Of course coaching our kids is a process that starts when they’re little. Day by day choices we make to invest in them add up to years of preparation.

How Can We Encourage Life-Long Faith in Our Kids?

After 17 years, I’m still a mother-in-training, but this is what I’m learning:

Model it

We can’t pass on what we’re not living ourselves. Our example speaks louder than a thousand words. Are we doing our utmost to put God first?

Here’s where the enemy attacks us. Because we blow it. We blow our stack and respond harshly. Satan whispers, “What kind of parent are you? You’re messing this kid up.”

God says, “Today is a new start. You blew it yesterday. Ask your child for forgiveness, and start over.” Acknowledging our failure sends a loud message to our kids. Transparency and humility make our faith authentic.

Pass on the Word of God

Deuteronomy 6

The most valuable legacy we can leave our children is a love for God’s Word and a commitment to living it out.

Starting from when our kids were small, my husband and I began reading scripture with them daily. We started with a toddler’s Bible. Each page had a picture and two sentences. They could sit still about 3 minutes for Bible time and a quick prayer before they’d start hitting or tickling each other!

Later we graduated to the Beginner’s Bible, longer Bible story books, and the NIV version. Now everyone reads scripture on their own each morning, and we discuss it over breakfast. Sometimes my kids’ insight surprises me.

Cultivate Relationship

Spending time together creates relationship and provides opportunities to talk about our values and what God is teaching us. I’m no expert, but I hope to have an open, listening attitude, so that my kids can talk to me about anything.

Nevertheless, parenting is exhausting. It’s easy to shut down and park ourselves in front of the TV or computer. Whether they want to engage in a game of Candy Land or a dialogue about gay rights, being available and responsive creates connection with our kids. A mother I admire used to take one child a week on a mom date.

As my husband and I think about Andres leaving home, we choose to trust our All-Powerful God. He cares for our son more than we do. Ultimately, praying is the most important thing we can do. Join me next Tuesday for “Seven Ways to Pray for Your Children.”

Now it’s your turn. What thoughts do you have about encouraging our kids’ faith?

Linking up today with Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesdayKelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Meredith Bernard’s Woman2Woman, and Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart, and Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory Join us for more encouragement.

 

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

38 thoughts on “3 Ways to Encourage Our Kids’ Faith

  1. We really do have such a short time with them at home to teach them and prepare them, don’t we? The days seem so long when they’re little, but they do grow up so fast. Love hearing your advice from someone on the other end of parenting. The importance of starting early and cultivating the relationships now – and how it will pay off when they grow up. I’m sure you’ve prepared your son well!

  2. I will be praying for you as this transition happens in August and a new normal takes its place. I want to share that as a parent you know when you have modeled and taught well because your kids turn and do the same for you. It is such an amazing thing the first time, one of your kids minsters to you and teaches you because God has taught them. Your ideas are perfect and cultivating love, relationship and God in our children’s lives will carry them forward. Blessings!

    • Thank you, Mary. I do wonder what the “new normal” will look like it, but I will be glad to have only one home school student left. I pray for my daughter, who will be left at home without her brother! Yes, it’s great to receive spiritual encouragement from your own kids!

  3. Betsy, the time passes so quickly. May I just encourage your heart in this — our God is so faithful to take all that we have done & seal it into the hearts of our kids. I am seeing it in my own, now married, children. I stand amazed & KNOW that it was not by my efforts but His. May He keep His hand on your son & continue to draw him to Himself so that he pursues our God with all his might. Blessings! XO

  4. Such an exciting time for your son…and his parents! I’ll be lifting your family in prayer over this next year. It’s a big transition! I’m not sure I’ll ever stop feeling like a mom-in-training. There’s always a new age or stage of life around the corner. My oldest is 21 and I’m still learning and trying to pass on my faith in these three ways. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to keep making those day to day choices to invest in my kiddos. It’s so worth it.

  5. This is such an encouraging post, Betsy. The first part about the pizza and sheets made me laugh. I worry so much about messing up my kids, but you are right; that is what Satan wants! Thank you for these practical ways I can raise my kids with a faith that lasts. You bless me, friend.

    • And ya know, we moms…we all mess up at times, hurt our kids, make poor choices that impact them BUT GOD…and He can use even our mess-ups to help them look up and find Him. Blessings, Abby 🙂

    • Thanks for your encouragement today, Abby. Yes, the pizza and the sheets might be a reality. Although when my son read it, he huffed, “You think I’m not gonna change my sheets!?” But he laughed too.

  6. Relationship. Key component of discipling our children. NOT being their friends, but truly relating to their hearts. AND modeling. Living what we teach. And never stopping. Not even when our babies our big. Our lives become our legacies that hopefully pass on the greatest thing…love! Thanks, Betsy. #RaRA

  7. Betsy, wow, our posts really compliment each other this week, don’t they! Love it. : ) And I also love how you suggest that we tell our kids we are sorry when we mess up, rather than listening to the devil’s whispers. There is nothing faster than the forgiveness of a child. It blows my mind sometimes, and inspires me to forgive more completely myself. Thank you for your insights. I really like the idea of a mom-date with the kids. I think we are going to try that one out. God Bless!
    Jenni

    • My husband takes my son out for breakfast about every 3 weeks, and I try to take my daughter out as well. I like the idea of mom-dates too. Need to do that with my son as well! And yes, our posts did complement each other.

  8. Betsy,
    When my kids were younger they used to jokingly call me the “Bible Lady” because I often quoted scripture that pertained to certain situations. I know some of it stuck with them…and some went in one ear and out the other lol. The important thing is that we try. Love what you have to share here!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • That’s pretty funny, Bev: the Bible Lady! My kids haven’t thought of that. But they roll their eyes quote along with me everytime I say, “It is to a man’s glory to OVERLOOK an offense!” and “listening adds to a man’s learning.” But yes, I think some of it must stick!

  9. Hello Betsy, we had this conversation in Bible study this morning. One of our ladies said the very same thing…she hopes her daughter will stay true to what she has been taught. Your three tips for encouraging life-long faith were spot on. Thanks for sharing. Stopped by from #RaRalinkup.

  10. You have carried out all three of the above examples so well within your family, I’m sure Andres will do very well at college! Thanks for another inspiring post.

  11. Hi Betsy, stopping by from Meredith’s Woman2Woman link up. Having two grown children who long ago left our home, I share what you describe as your greatest concern. We’ve had trying times which push me deeper into relying on God. Thanks for sharing solid foundations.

  12. Betsy, This is so what I needed to hear today. Such encouragement to keep going through the tediousness of every day with a sense of purpose. I loved – “Transparency and humility make our faith authentic.” Oh so true – and so very true in the middle of my kitchen where life happens and faith needs to show up. What joy this motherhood thing is, may these next 6 months simply be some of the best in your household!

    • Yes, Brandi! Knowing there’s just 6 months before he leaves makes me more apt to be a “yes” parent: yes to a game, yes to a movie, yes, to just hanging out and talking! May the Lord encourage you this week as a mother, give you all the patience you need.

  13. Welcome (almost) to the beginnings of the empty nest! It’s absolutely scary–but the three things you’ve mentioned will certainly help! The hardest part for me has been acknowledging that my job is over. If I’ve done it right, the relationship will remain and I’ll be a good friend standing by when they ask for advice. It’s not easy letting go of that parenting and coaching mindset (my tongue has scars from all the biting down on it I had to do at certain stages 😉 ). But I know that I am one of my oldest daughter’s best friends (her sister is her other bestie)–and both she and her husband love hanging out with my husband and I (and we love hanging out with them). Our youngest has been on a rocky road this year, but things are looking up and she surprises me by quoting myself back at me when she talks about the decisions that she has to make (and here I thought she wasn’t listening all of those years 😉 ). May God be with you as you make the transition!

    • Thank you, Anita! What a lovely testimony and a great thought: my job is over. That is hard! I had a bit of practice when a younger sister that I discipled for years married. I’m not always good at keeping my mouth shut, but I try! Her getting married made me look ahead to letting go of my kids too!

  14. Oh wow Betsy, I can hardly believe you have a son going off to college. I bet you did such a good job as a mom. These words and lessons are so true. I especially like the idea of being authentic. I get anxious and irritated all the time and then the devil comes…just as you said. Thank you for this instruction. I receive it dear wise mom. Love and cheering you from the Purposeful Faith #RaRalinkup Betsy, Kelly

  15. My girls are still in elementary school, but it is going fast! I think you are spot on about modeling how we tell them to be and to teach them the importance of the word of God.
    Your son will be ready!

  16. Such wise and practical encouragement here, Betsy – I wholeheartedly agree. I think the sweetest teachable faith moments I have with my 11 year old son are when we just sit and have honest conversations about God. Maybe I relay a personal experience or he asks a particular question, but we communicate openly and honestly. And not just about the joys of faith, but also the day to day battles. The enemy is vying for our kids and I think it’s so important they know they are engaged in a real battle, but that they do not fight alone. They have us – they have Him! Thanks for the veteran perspective – always a blessing!

  17. Just read your post this morning, Betsy. Such an encouraging word. The topic of our children leaving the nest has come up more frequently at our house lately, so this one truly hit home. (And I found myself getting a titch nervous!) We’re a mere two years behind you, and it feels as though time is spinning away more quickly by the day. All those seeds planted over the years…I look forward to see them grow and blossom. And in the areas where I missed the mark? I’ve asked God to redeem those times, those areas. (Thank God that He is faithful and hears. There’d be peace no other way.)

    I’ll be praying for your family in the upcoming transition. 🙂

  18. Pingback: 5: Of Children, Marriage, & Faith | Days & Thoughts

  19. This is a great post. I too have a son leaving for school and worry about the same things. I am confident that God will watch over our “babies” as he has done all these years.

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