Do you find yourself often frustrated as a parent? Do you feel like a failure sometimes or get downright depressed over mistakes you or your child have made? Welcome to the club! It’s not a fun club, but one of which all parents that care about raising children for the Lord have been a part of multiple times over the years.
Why is this true? Because being a parent is a hard job and it takes so much energy to do it well. We can teeter between being the helicopter parent and the parent that tries hard to make them independent and secure human beings. What does that balance look like and where can one find it? These are questions I remember struggling with as my children grew.
I recall learning wonderful lessons from the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:8-28. Recently, I shared with you how I believe we have a responsibility to dedicate our children to God before they are born, while they are growing and even now, in the midst of raising them.
The second lesson from Hannah that I marvel about, is how she taught Samuel to worship the Lord at a young age.1 Samuel 1:28 tells us this, “So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.
So as Hannah left Samuel there to serve the Lord, God’s Word tells us that Samuel worshiped the Lord. He was very young and was already worshiping. This reminds me of two points about raising children that I hope will encourage you:
- Our children can learn at a very young age, so don’t wait until they are older to begin teaching them about God and His Son Jesus.
- No matter what we tell our children to do or not to do they will learn best by what they see us do or not do.
Here are some practical tips you can implement at any time:
- Wake them by singing God’s Word, such as “This is the day the Lord has made”!
- Teach them the importance of beginning their day with God by letting them see you pray and read God’s Word. Or be sure to share with them what you learned or how God spoke to you that morning.
- Tell them you pray for them and allow your children to hear you pray for them!
- Daily devotionals—as soon as they can sit up in a high chair, read them stories from the Bible. Kenneth Taylor’s, The Bible Storybook for Little Eyes is a great one to start with because they can point to the pictures to answer the questions.
- Tell them stories from the Bible. They are never too young to learn God’s Word!
- When my husband was a baby my mother-in-law would change his diaper, and would quote John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” As a result, some of my husband’s first words were straight from God’s Word.
- Teach them why in God’s Word something is wrong. This helps them to understand God’s character and it helps you to be consistent in your discipline.
God is faithful! I truly believe that if we intentionally look for ways to teach our children about God then He will be faithful to answer our prayers. He hears us and He wants our children to know about Him.
So, next time you get discouraged, remember the story of Hannah and how what she taught and apparently modeled for Samuel was caught by him, but only because she relied on God’s power and strength to make it happen. It doesn’t mean that we will all have children that will grow up walking with the Lord all the days of their life, but it does mean that there are things we can do to learn from His Word and partner with God in this journey called parenting.
In His Love,
About Lori Merrill
Lori Merrill is the Founder/Director of Keepers Ministry and author of several Bible studies including—Called to be a Keeper, Jesus, Our Perfect Example and Little Keepers, Curriculum for Girls and their Moms. She is married to Steve and they have three children of their own, but added two more when their only daughter and oldest son married last year. She and Steve are enjoying their new season of life as “not totally empty-nesters” with their golden retrievers Boone and Tucker. Lori’s passion is teaching others the truths of God’s Word, how to live according to it, and how this results in a life of freedom and fulfillment. You can learn all about the ministry at KeepersMinistry.com