October 15, 2018
This weekend we had the honor and privilege of coming alongside several Cornerstone families as they dedicated their young children and babies back to God. When parents dedicate their children, they are making a commitment to do all they can to raise their children in a way that points them to Jesus. As their church family, we recognize, honor, and support that commitment by coming alongside them in their parenting journey.
This all sounds great, right? However, any parent would tell you that parenting is not an easy task. It can be filled with incredible laughter and joy one moment, and all the negative emotions in the next. It can be a fun adventure one day, and an exhausting challenge the next month. So, in the midst of all of the good and hard days, how do we raise our kids in a way that points them to Jesus? In the middle of the mess, the freezing nights at the ball park, the carpool, and the homework, what are some ways that we can help them to understand God’s love and grace and forgiveness towards them?
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 gives us a practical starting point when it tells us “you must love the LORD your God with all of your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Remember that as parents you have the privilege of being the primary spiritual influence in your children’s lives. You can do this well, even if you are new to your faith journey. Teaching your children about God’s love will always flow out of your experience of God’s love. As you continue to put practices in place that allow you to learn and grow, you will naturally reflect God more and more to your children. This can be as simple as attending church as a family and then discussing what you learned that day. This is one of the ways that the church partners with you. We are committed to creating safe and fun environments for your children to learn stories from the Bible that point them to Jesus.
Another way we can point our children to Jesus is to make conversations about faith a natural and normal part of our family discussions. When we create safe spaces for our children to ask questions, share doubts, and talk about their experience of God, we are helping to shape their faith in a positive way. This can play out in a super simple and practical way at bed time. You can start when your children are young by praying out loud over them, even before they are old enough to have a conversation. As they grow, begin to ask them how you can pray for them. Ask them who they would like to pray for, and then you can pray together. When they share that they are struggling at school, or afraid at night, pray together and ask God for peace and help. This helps them to learn how to invite God into their everyday life, and helps them to understand that God cares about the things they care about.
Most importantly, know that you are not supposed to be perfect or know all of the answers in order to point them to Jesus. Some of the best lessons our children will learn about God’s unconditional love, grace, and forgiveness will grow out of watching us mess up. This is true when they’re toddlers and it’s true when they’re grown. As we respond to God’s gentle correction, ask for forgiveness, and make changes, we are creating an environment where it’s safe for our children to do the same.
Karissa Harrison serves as an associate pastor at Cornerstone. When she’s not leading or teaching at Cornerstone, she can be found at home with her nose in a book, on a date with her husband Ryan, or on the ballfield chasing her three kids, Claire, Landon, and Abby.
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