Research shows that more than half of Christian kids are walking away from the faith once they are college age. I don’t know about you, but I am unwilling that even one of my three kid’s hearts would be lost. The encouraging news is that experts say that what makes the difference is cultivating their faith little by little, day by day. Or as Deuteronomy 6:7 puts it, “Talk about [God’s commandments] when you sit at home and when you walk [or drive] along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Thankfully, elaborate lesson plans and Pinterest perfect crafts aren’t listed in Deuteronomy. Can I get an “AMEN”?!
Even though it’s the day by day that really matters, it’s so easy to let the daily things of life crowd out the meaningful. Early wake up calls from little feet, seemingly never ending to do lists, literally NEVER ENDING bedtime routines, you get it. You live it too.
That’s why I’m so grateful for seasons and times of the year that call us out beyond what we’ve settled into. Lent, or the 40 or so days leading up to Easter have been a part of the church calendar for centuries. For centuries Christians have taken the days leading up to Easter to refocus their eyes on what matters, to be intentional about weeding out distractions.
This season is a great time to think about how I can go a little bit deeper and take my kids with me into that. It not only challenges me to evaluate the way I am teaching them but also helps me focus the posture of my own heart. I can’t lead my kids to places I have never been. I want them to know Christ deeply, so I must go deeper still.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to set up monuments. When life was routine, these monuments would remind them of God’s faithfulness. In the same way, I hope to build traditions into different seasons of our life. Not to neglect the daily discipleship, but to deepen it.
I have a 6 year old, 3 year old and a 10 month old so I know how hard it is to fit in daily time with the Lord, let alone go above and beyond. But here are some traditions I have found work for us.
1. Read the Word everyday from now until Easter.
No other book carries the promises of God’s Word. Your time spent in it will not return void. Honestly, I was struggling with this BIG TIME. I have found that waking up 30 minutes before my kids is the best time for me. Sometimes little feet make their way into
the dining room where I am reading. I made sure to set up expectations beforehand that Mommy is not available to meet your needs while I am spending time with God. Instead I read out loud to them or keep a children’s Bible beside me that they can look at quietly.
More than anything, I want them to grow up with the memories of their Mom pouring over the Word. Two practical ways that have made it easy to stay the course are: (1) the She Reads Truth App (2) Leaving a Bible in a place that is accessible, for me that is on the far end of our dining room table where I usually do my quiet time.
2. Give up something for Lent.
Even though Lent already started you can still make a commitment to put away a distraction from now until Easter. Last year I gave up TV/scrolling my phone in the evenings. It has stuck and instead of doing something that wasn’t feeding my soul (in fact, I found it was life-sucking for me) I started reading character forming books (I could write an entire blog post on how LIFE GIVING this has been for me).
This year I gave up sleep. Just 30 minutes in the morning like I mentioned above. The key is not just giving something up but filling that space with something that is life-giving and draws you closer to Jesus.
3. Find one Easter tradition that will be meaningful to your family.
We have actually found two that we REALLY love. The first is a resurrection garden. I love how we can not only talk about the empty tomb but also how God takes dead things (seeds) and causes new life. You can see what you’ll need to make one over on my blog. The second is an Easter Tree. I didn’t anticipate the big hit this one would be. My kids LOVE learning more about what each egg represents. We have had some fun discussions that we would have never had otherwise. I also love that it can grow with my kids. The older and more mature they become the deeper we can dive into the meaning of each egg.
To cultivate means to foster growth. Gardens don’t grow just by planting alone. They need the loving care of the gardener who studies what each individual plant needs in her care. While praying that God will bring the sunshine and rain, the gardener must study the best times to plant, the best ways to fertilize and protect her crops and when to reap the harvest.
Some seasons call for hard work, some for rest and others still for study and prayer. In the same way, we must be diligent to teach our children the Word and trust God to do what we cannot and cause faith to take root in their hearts. The season of Lent is a great time to put in some extra hard work, all for the sake of growing God’s kingdom in our children’s hearts.
What are some ways that you’re cultivating faith into the hearts of your children?
About Katie Bowman
Katie Bowman has been married to her best friend, Adam, for ten years. She graduated from Liberty University and Dallas Seminary.
She loves being able to stay home with her three kids. Second only to passing on her faith, she hopes to pass on her love of books to her children. For fun she likes to take naps and go to the bathroom alone. She leads this glamorous life in Dallas, Tx.