As you know I frequently link up to Anne Conder over at the Antbed during her Friday Pages in Our Heritage of Faith link-up. I’ve been pondering this idea of keeping track of the ways God has worked in our lives for the next generation as an aid to their faith and while I think it is important I think that it is equally important to have relationships with them that make it easy for them to desire faith.
We all know that we should love our children and we do. But how often in the mix of the day and good behavior and naughtiness and all the activities of our lives to we take the time to intentionally let our children know that we like them? Not just that we are pleased by what they have done or are doing but that we like them as people?
For years I have been praying that the people in my life (particularly the ones I have regular contact and connection with) would be the people that God wants in my life for whatever purpose. Even though I have prayed this and do tend to think of non-family members this way – it is much harder to realize that the people I spend hours and hours with each day are also there in my life because God put them there!
I love my children (and husband but that’s another post) but find it hard to let them know what a delight they are to me. And they need to know that. They need to know in their worst possible moments that they are gifts from a good God to us broken (but redeemed) parents in a broken (but being healed) world. It is not just enough to pass on our faith or our worldview or even a clear grasp of theology, we must demonstrate our Father’s love to them a thousand times a day! We will fall short in this of course but we are forming their conceptions of God as much by our actions as our words and we need to make clear that our love for them is not something that has to be bought by their good behavior. They need to know that although they can (and do) disappoint and hurt us and even sin against us (and we against them) that they are still a delight and a gift to us despite all of the history and heartbreak. There will always be a need the grace of repentance and forgiveness, but we should never hold back our love for them in an effort to get them to repent or “toe the line”.
Even as God loves us and calls to us in the midst of our rebellion and running so we must express our love to our children in the midst of their bad attitudes, tantrums and slamming doors. They need us to call them back to us with kindness and delight so that they will desire to walk in the paths we have walked before them. Not seeking to have faith out of fear but rather seeking to walk in God’s delight and love as they have walked in ours.