How to spiritually Guide our kids

This has been such a weird season because of the pandemic. So many of our weekly activities have stopped including being able to go to church regularly. For many of us, church has been an important lifeline and a vital part of our spiritual lives. But, due to Covid, for all practical purposes, churches have been shut down leaving a void for us and for our kids. So how do we spiritually guide our kids?  
Regular contributor, Marissa joins us to talk about this very thing. Many parents don’t feel equipped to spiritually guide their kids and Marissa feels the same way. None of us feel like experts in God. As single parents, we may even feel like it’s not our job to teach our kids about God, but God sees it differently. Not only is it important but it’s crucial we pour into our kids spiritually. Researcher George Barna says that what kids believe by the age of thirteen is very much what they will continue to believe and take with them into adulthood. That information is scary, but while our kids are still in our homes, the cement is still wet. It’s so important that we live in a culture where parents don’t feel able to teach our kids spiritually. Parents don’t see themselves as experts. Instead, they leave discipleship of their kids to the local church. And the church is an important avenue for spiritual formation. But it’s not the only one and it may not even be the most significant one. The church is often viewed as the primary avenue but what kids learn at home is incredibly influential.
This can be hard to talk about because single parents don’t need one more thing to shame themselves about or one more thing to feel like you are not doing adequately. So, we wanted to dig into this more and talk about ways we can spiritually God our kids when we don’t feel like the experts.
Marissa shares practical ways she brings God into her parenting with her kids. After becoming a single parent and parenting alone after the loss of her husband to death, Marissa felt like she was starting over in many ways. Life wasn’t easy and she felt like she was dropping the ball in many ways. She began to sense she was doing a disservice to her kids by not making sure that they knew who their Father is. She started with prayer. She began to ask God to give her resources to walk through with her children. She asked God to show her how and what to teach them. As she prayed, God begin to provide resources. A friend recommended The Bible Project’s video-based animated series about the Bible, so she started to watch those with her kids. But even as she prayed, Marissa felt afraid that she just wasn’t enough, especially when reading statistics about how kids need a father figure. God convicted her though and reminded her that she just needed to bring her boys to Him and that He would father them. Marissa decided she would do that, and she started a nightly habit with her boys where she would read to them from a Bible commentary. She was surprised to discover her sons, especially her fourteen-year-old, soaked it up like a sponge! Even when they planned a trip out of town, her son made sure that book came along even when Marissa hadn’t packed it. That commitment to bring her kids to God through reading His word every night wasn’t easy. Marissa experienced a side effect of a medication that affected her vision. She couldn’t read, and the boys had to take over. Work became hectic and the evenings left little time for anything except dinner, that time of reading, and then bedtime. That time in the evenings has become one of the times they crave as a family. Not only do they read but it’s become an incredible time of connection as a family.
In addition to reading with her kids, Marissa prays with them and brings them into her own walk with God. She shares stories about God’s work in her life with her sons and they love it. She began to see that her journey with God is the very thing that her kids need to hear and to know. The third thing she introduced into her kids’ lives was service. Recently, she set up visits with her sons at a local nursing home. The residents had already been vaccinated and were so ready for visitors.
In starting to guide our kids spiritually, we can start with honest prayer, letting God know we aren’t sure what to do or how to do it. Then, we can watch for the opportunities He provides. This is an important part of our job as parents, and we won’t “get it right” and that’s okay. We just need to ask God, follow through, and to get back up and keep going even when we stumble.
Kimberley Mitchell shares things she did with her kids to guide them spiritually. She admits they never read a Bible commentary or through the book of Genesis! But bedtime with her kids was important. They would pray together, sing songs, and read with them, sometimes together and sometimes individually. They also served together often. Kim emphasizes how important this is…giving back is what we are called to do. As single parents, our situations feel hard but there is always something we can give to someone else who may be worse off with our time, our efforts, and our love.
As kids get older it can be more difficult so laying a foundation when they are young really matters. Robert shares that he always pulled his daughters into his experiences with the faithfulness of God. He wasn’t in teaching mode, but he was deliberate about it. Even when watching TV, he would use nature shows as an opportunity to talk about how big God is and the beauty of His creation. It doesn’t have to be about “spiritual disciplines” or conversations about doctrine. Guiding our kids spiritually looks different for each of us and varies depending on the ages of our kids. The point is we do need to be intentional about making spiritual conversations a part of our everyday life.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.” 
We can talk to our kids about God when we are baking in the kitchen with our kids or when we are driving in the car. The point is to do it because we are training our kids where to look for God. Marissa shared, “being able to find God when we need him is so important”.
We are training our kids how to view life. If our kids are looking at life from the perspective of finding God in creation, in relationship, or in family, that alone is setting a trajectory for their lives and how they view the world. These early perspectives and how we frame things spiritually will permeate their lives.  
The other thing is our presence. Guiding our kids spiritually is not an intellectual transfer of information. This is an experiential and relational transfer of faith and that cannot happen if we are not present with our kids. Like praying for our kids, we can’t do that without there being some connection that takes place with their hearts. Robert shares that he prayed with his daughters every night and every night they would pray for their mom. This kind of spiritual discipline becomes a family habit and creates a bedrock of faith in your life with your kids.
Robert reminds single parents, even while he was doing these things some of the time, he didn’t always get it right. And we won’t! But the point is we must continually come back to the truth that it is our job, as parents, to disciple our kids. And Kimberley says this also doesn’t mean we are going to have perfect kids or be without challenges. But our consistency in seeing Jesus in everything will speak volumes to our kids. As they get older, our role shifts, and we just pray for them! We can pray that the things we talked about and prayed about will come back to them.
Even if we do many things right, our kids may still make choices and go down paths we never want them to go down. When that happens, we can feel so much guilt, shame, and fear. But even in really challenging times, Robert says he can see the thread of faith as his kids come back to him and ask for prayer.
An important thing to remember as single parents is that we are not the sower of the seed and the harvester. We are trying to set up the spiritual foundation for our kids because, ultimately, it’s God’s job to woo them. And He will. He is pursuing them. We have to create the inclination in our kids to pay attention to those things. We must teach them  what they are listening to.
And as we do, it’s okay not to have the answers to all their questions, but to welcome them anyway. We may feel intimidated if we don’t know what to say to some of their deep questions. We can say we don’t know and go on a quest with our kids to find the answers. We don’t have to be everything to our kids, but we do have to introduce those thoughts Yes, we will fail and yes, our kids will fail. And society is making it even more difficult for us to stay plugged into God and for our kids to stay on His path. Your children are going to get pulled in other directions just like we are. We are prone to wander but God looks for us when we do. When we know His voice, we can hear Him calling us back. And He can do the same for our kids.
So many times, as single parents we feel like we don’t have the answers but that may be the perfect time to say to our kids, “I don’t know, let’s explore the mysteries of God together”. We don’t have to be a lexicon of spiritual matters. And our kids have so much to teach us!
Finally, pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. We can do everything in our power and sometimes we will do things right and sometimes we will do things wrong, but God in His wisdom, trusted us to be the parents to our kids. He knows what He’s doing and it’s His job to bring them into the fold. First, we can’t give what we don’t have so we need to maintain our spiritual health. We need to spend time focusing on what God is doing in our lives. Second, we need to commit everything we do to prayer and commit our kids to prayer. And this is a choice not a feeling. We must make the choice to be deliberate in walking with our children to experience God. If we wait to feel like doing it, it may not ever come, but it is always, always, always worth it. Guiding our kids spiritually is something we are entrusted with and something God says He will equip us to do.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------
Every month we focus on a theme important to single parents and this month our focus is on parenting. Each week in our online Solo Parent Society groups, we talk further about our podcast topics. Single parents, we invite you to join any one of our groups, meeting 6 days a week. Check out our game nights too for casual fun and a time of sharing afterward.
As you walk the journey of single parenting, we want you to know you are not alone! Solo Parent Society’s mission is to offer encouragement and hope through our weekly groups,  our communities on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety), and our weekly podcast. Subscribe here on AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts. You can access all of this and more using the free Solo Parent app. Don’t miss “Sound Mind Set”, the daily reflection tool we created to connect single parents to God in just ten minutes every day.
We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. We want to help single parents raise healthy kids. To learn more or to donate, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.


No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2021

Categories

Tags

AFRAID ARMY BRAVE Chip Dodd Chris Hogan Control Core Community Financial peace Forgiveness God in our struggles God with us Grief Hope during holidays John Delony John Eldredge Kristi McClelland Lament Letting go Parenting with heart SUICIDE V.I.P. Voice of The Heart acceptance alone anger annvoskamp anxiety apathy backpack belong benefits to forgiveness bitterness boundaries broken trust broke budgeting budget chaos children community children church co-parent codpendency community confession confidence conflict contentment coparenting courageous courage createafamilymissionstatement creating space custody dating debt depression desire destress detachment different but better disciplingourkids discovering purpose divorce dream again emmanuel emotions family community familymanifesto familymissionstatement family fear feelings finances financial stability financial freedom friendships for our kids friends generosity giving glad godourprovider gratitude grief as normal growth guilt healing healthy community healthycoparenting healthyparenting holiday grief holiday loneliness home hook-up hope howtobeconfident hurting hurt identity intentionalparenting intimacy isolation joy in parenting kid's community kids forgiveness kids self-worth kids lacking courage lacking trust lacking lingering loneliness lonely loved matter mental healthdatingtips mind mistrust modeling money needing courage new normal newness no courage no money no peace not be a codependent numb optimal our past parenting alone parenting peace in forgiveness peaceful peace perfection physical pleasure purity purpose rage rebuilding recovery from codependency redefining family community redefining redemption reframing rejection relationships relyingonGod replace resentment restore sad safe environment self-care self-love self-worth serve serving community serving sexting sex shame sharing showing affection single moms singleparentfamilymissionstatement singleparenting soloparentfamilymanifesto soloparenting sound speaking affirmation spiritual abuse spiritual community spiritualformation stability steps to forgiveness stress stretching struggles teaching our kids teachingourkidsaboutGod teching our kids toxic shame trauma trusting God trust unacceptance uncovering identity unhealthy connections unloved unworthy value vengenance volunteer vulnerabiltiy walking wisdom worry worthy worth