My son, Oren, is a five-year old, beautiful red-headed boy. (Yes, I know I can’t use beautiful much longer as that term will not sound MANLY enough for him). He is full of compassion for others and is very sensitive to people’s feelings. I refer to him all the time as my peacemaker, because literally he wants to help everyone heal.
Unfortunately, even the best kids make mistakes, and he recently made a few bad choices. (well…really it was the same one over and over). Cole (my hubby) and I were at a loss as to how to creatively make him understand his consequences and how his actions affect others. It was even more complicated because he had already lost everything “important” to him in the first round of his bad choice making. And, it obviously didn’t work. Plus, he’s at that age where “time” makes no sense. So if we say you lose it for a week..he doesn’t realize how long that is he just says, “Okay, a week sounds good, that’s like tomorrow right? or is that yesterday?”
Cole and I just started talking through his bad choices with him and how our(people in general) hearts are affected by sin. We talked about how bad choices not only hurt us, they hurt God and other people. We decided that part of his punishment was to ask forgiveness from those he hurt by his actions. This didn’t just include mom and dad but a friend of his and their parents. So, it was a BIG deal to a five-year old.
For us, part of being good parents is to raise him not just knowing boundaries and making acceptable mature decisions to become an adult, but we want him to follow, love, pursue faith with Jesus as more than just knowing good theology. We want him to put that theology into practice. We’re starting his discipleship process now–because we want him to know that our faith journey is so much more than a prayer of salvation. It’s really about falling in love with a Savior who redeems the worst of people and makes our life beautiful and free. We want him to know that falling in love is a process and continual action, it is not JUST a one time choice. That choice is important, but its the actions following the choice that make love possible.
After our discussion about choices, we started praying together intermittently throughout the day. I pray with him in the morning, and Cole prays for and with him in the evening.
Then, we pray over meals all together as a family. My favorite thing about our dinner prayer is when Addie starts shaking her head yes and starts talking under her breath in her own gibberish, she is “praying”. Then as the family says “Amen” Cadie yells out at the top of her lungs, “A.M”
At first, Oren just wanted to sit and listen. AND THAT was fine-we don’t want to force him to develop a relationship with Jesus.
But, as the praying became routine, he’s been wanting to pray all the time and on his own. He came downstairs the other day and exclaimed, “Mom, mom, mom, I was going potty and I was praying that Jesus would help me not to use too much toilet paper. I used the exact right amount!”
Silly as it is–I LOVE IT.
We’ve always struggled to get him to sleep in his own bed, a few nights ago instead of crawling in our bed he said, “Mom, would you just pray with me so I won’t be afraid?”
After that, he went straight back to his bed. No arguing, no wrestling, no tears. He safely believed his life was valued and cared for.
We’re learning how to pray without ceasing and to turn our anxieties into prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (The MSG)
For a long while now, Cole has been reading nightly from The Jesus Storybook Bible, a beautiful children’s Bible that captivates both Oren and dad. Followed by a discussion.
This week we initiated Oren and Mommy devotions. We pull out “Solo” which is a 365 day devotional using The Message. We’ve been reading each day and answering a few questions together.
I’ve (okay so has Cole) been amazed at his responses.
We’ve also been consistently listening to worship music and talking about what the words mean.
A highlight of our Good Friday bedtime was hearing Oren hum himself to sleep and singing softly “And I surrender ALL to you, all to you. And I surrender all to you…” He knows what those words mean and to whom He is surrendering. That is a beautiful thing to my ears and to my heart. My heart weeps.
This whole process of encouraging him in his faith…is that we are ALL growing together. Mom and Dad are becoming better parents and better Christ followers as we seek to model Jesus to our children. Oren is developing a beautiful faith just by being invited into our faith journey.
Our Frenzied Family is at peace, were not anxious. We know that God has Oren, Cadie, Addie and Judah’s life in his hands, but were helping to teach them what it looks like to be a Christ follower Mon-Sat and not just on Sunday morning. We want them to know what REAL faith looks like over some little simple steps through us modeling our faith. Discipleship really is that easy, it doesn’t have to be forced. It can be simple and profound.
The discipleship process for our son, can and should be part of my process as an adult. Sometimes, I think, “I have to start big–reading 3 chapters of my Bible and praying for 45 min” and I fail every time because I try too much too soon. I fail to let the small building of consistency build up into a routine.
Colossians 3:15-17 says, “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ–the Message–have run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way” (The Message)
What are some ways that you infuse your house with love and modeling the Christian life?