(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the website Raising Godly Children, where it was published on March 19,2017. To read the article in its entirety, click the link here.)
My seventh grade son has a unique set of friends. A few “kind of” believe in a generic god out there, a few flat out don’t believe in God at all, a few aren’t sure what they believe, and then there’s my son. He’s grown up in the church, attended parochial schools until 5th grade, goes regularly to Sunday School, midweek (church) school, and confirmation class, and hears Bible stories and devotions at home as well. And thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, he believes those biblical accounts. He has faith in Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, even when all his friends are arguing against him. And argue they do. Religion is a regular topic of discussion at their lunch table. Yet despite the wide variety of views among them, they have a close bond and manage to stay friends even after a lively discussion. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier that he’s fighting in school, because it’s already preparing him for life as an adult. (Continue reading.)
One of the most tragic verses in the Bible is Judges 2:10. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” What?? How is that even possible? Think about this. Joshua led the Israelites after the death of Moses, and through Joshua’s direction, this band of nomads conquered the Promised Land, defeating strongholds like Jericho simply by marching around the city and blowing trumpets. They had seen God’s hand powerfully at work in their lives, and had witnessed what their forefathers only dreamed of- entering the Promised Land of Canaan. But then that generation died and their children grew up, not knowing the Lord. Why? I hate to say it, but it was because of the parents.
Happy Holidays! Season’s Greetings!
Our society is so exceedingly polite nowadays that we dare not offend anyone. As a result, we tame down our felicitations so they mean next to nothing. “Happy Holidays” could refer to Halloween and Thanksgiving. “Season’s Greetings” could be referring to spring or summer. So I’ll be blunt. We’re coming up to Christmas. And honestly, what’s the point of Christmas without Christ?
Recently I finished a book about a smuggler. Not just any smuggler, mind you. A man who smuggled Bibles into Communist countries to get them to struggling churches and Christians. In some cases, the government had issued “state Bibles,” which were watered down and heavily edited to reflect state ideology. In other words, not Bibles at all. In other cases, congregations shared between them one single Bible, or even part of a Bible. They hungered desperately for the Word of God in their own hands. Hard to comprehend for me personally, when I look at my bookshelf and see half a dozen different translations of the Bible. The book was God’s Smuggler, and the man was named simply “Brother Andrew.” His experiences were fascinating to read, and each communist country tried to stamp out Christianity in their own way. But one particular ideology scares me more than the others. It’s about the children.
I’m convicted. Yesterday we sang a hymn in church that really stuck out at me. How Clear is our Vocation, Lord is #853 in Lutheran Service Book, and verse 3 says the following:
We marvel how Your saints become in hindrances more sure;
Whose joyful virtues put to shame the casual way we wear Your name
And by our faults obscure Your power to cleanse and cure.
The phrase that really hit me was “the casual way we wear Your name.” I don’t know about you, but most of the time that describes me all too well. I’m a casual Christian.
I don’t know why I even bother. Trying to corral five children in church by one’s self is not for the faint of heart. And truth be told, by the time I’m halfway through the service I’m usually mad at one or more of said children. I generally hear about half of the sermon, if I’m lucky. I usually have to take out the baby and/or toddler at some point. And to what end? Is it even worth it? Do they even get anything out of the service? Do I? Like I said, I often wonder why I even bother. And yesterday was no exception until something amazing happened.
Well, it could happen any day now. My due date looms less than a week away, and I live with the constant expectation that any moment my water could break or I could start contractions. And as such, I plan accordingly. I don’t venture more than a half mile radius from the house for walks. I don’t plan any road trips or shopping expeditions that would take me further from the hospital and my OB. My suitcase is packed for the hospital and I have the baby’s clothes neatly tucked into the diaper bag. The infant car seat is in the van. I make mostly Crock Pot meals in case I have to leave while the kids are in school and the babysitter needs to feed them supper. I know that the baby is coming, I just don’t know when. And even though my body is the one that will determine the time for labor and delivery, I have no control over the timing at all. Now all I can do is wait in expectation. It’s the final countdown.
Author’s Note: I wrote this article originally for the blog Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife, and it was posted on October 28, 2014.
One thing that weighs heavily on my mind as a Christian parent is the question of how to equip my children for sharing their faith in this fallen world. My husband and I try very hard to make our home a safe environment for discussing our faith openly. We have devotions and read the Bible together. Our kids know a lot of Bible stories, Bible verses, hymn stanzas, sections of the Catechism, and prayers. But will they be able to share their faith with others outside the home?
Believe it or not, our kids are already sharing their faith, sometimes more boldly than I am. Continue reading
I hope people cry at my funeral. Now, before you go thinking I’m completely self absorbed, let me explain that. It’s not what you think at all.
My son has a one-track mind. When he focuses on something, he cannot get it out of his head until it’s resolved. Each weekend he seems to have something else on which to dwell. Sometimes it’s a certain book or movie he just has to have from the library. Sometimes it’s something he desperately wants to order from Amazon. Last weekend he was harping on finding an instrument to use for band. This past weekend suddenly a new bike (which in all truthfulness he needed) was of utmost importance, and he didn’t want to wait. He wanted it now. The thing is that he won’t rest until whatever he’s been focusing on has come to a proper conclusion in his own mind. He harps on the subject at hand over and over, which can honestly get wearisome after a while. In time I have hopes that this can become a favorable trait and work for his good. But he just can’t give up or forget whatever it is that’s on his mind. It’s that important to him.