Have you ever heard “The more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know”? Well, that’s kind of how I feel about parenting; the more I’m a parent, the more I realize I don’t know what I’m doing. So when I was asked to write on the topic of parenting and faith, I didn’t feel qualified at all! I don’t feel like I know how to lead my kids spiritually, much less tell someone else how to lead their kids. However, God is qualified, so we must stay in His Word so He can raise our kids through us.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
Clearly, we, the parents, are supposed to teach our kids and talk to them, but before that can happen we ought to take the time to engrave the Word of God on our hearts. All too often I’ve read this verse in Deuteronomy and focused on the to-do list: teach them, talk to them, etc. What I failed to recognize, however, is in verse 6: “these words that I command you today shall be onyour heart.” Before I can ever pass on faith to my family, God’s word must be written on my heart.
So how do we do this? How do we put “these words on our heart”?
This might not be what anyone wants to hear (including myself), but it takes HARD WORK. It might not feel good to get up before the kids in the early morning hours, but that may be the only chance we have to read God’s Word. Etching God’s words on our hearts might mean turning off our favorite Pandora station and turning on worship and praise music instead. Whatever it takes to put God’s Word in our hearts, we must do it!
One day last week, I felt emotionally frantic. I read the Bible as usual but I must have flown through it without much thought. I guess my feelings occupied my mind. I prayed, “God, help me.” I heard Him whisper in my spirit, “Stand firm.” I scanned my concordance. Exodus 14:13 was the first passage: "…Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today." God was speaking to me. Then I thought, ”What chapter did I just read this morning in the Bible?” I looked at my reading schedule and laughed out loud. It dawned on me that just minutes ago I had read this exact passage in Exodus 14, but I had somehow skipped over the part God wanted me to hear. Thank goodness He didn’t give up. He patiently repeated Himself. Instantly, His Word carved peace into my heart and I was able to face the day in His strength. Instead of carrying my negative emotions into the life of my family, I was able to stand on His Word and remain steady and calm.
So how do we lead our family to faith, love, and service? We don’t, but God does when His Word is engraved on our hearts and as a result, it is reflected into the lives around us. So let’s make sure we stay in God’s Word so that He can use it to raise our children through us.