How do you raise kids who love Jesus?

“Fall is the beautiful-est season!” my 4 year old declared from the back of the van. We took the long way to Grandma’s house the other day, past a natural area that comes alive with colour at this time of the year. You wouldn’t believe the fiery oranges, deep reds, dark purples, and shades of bright yellow set against the browns and greens of the hillside and the glorious deep blue of the fall sky above.

Incredible.

My eyes are drinking this in. I can’t get enough! Every year I forget just how amazing it is, and every year I’m stunned by the gorgeous palette around me. Little creeks and hillsides next to freeways go completely unnoticed until Fall, when they shout their presence with incredible beauty. Ditches and groves that were so ordinary just a few weeks ago now catch my eye and amaze me.

I am a “noticer” of nature. In spring, it’s the return of the robins and the buds on the trees. In summer, I wait for our roses to bloom and for thunderstorms to shake the house. In winter, I love the way the snow sometimes falls in huge peaceful flakes, and the way the stars twinkle on a cold, crisp night. Right now, it’s technicolor trees and vivid sunrises and sunsets.

I purposely point them out to the kids.

Last week we happened to be out past bedtime, as the sun was setting. “Look at those colours, girls! That’s amazing! God is such an incredible artist!” I said. I snapped a photo with my phone from the passenger seat.

fall sunset 1

They gasped, eyes wide in wonder.

“Wow!”

“It’s so beautiful!”

“It’s dark outside!” Our 2 year old was worried. “Why’s it so dark?” (We assured her it was alright, and that we were safe.)

They pick pretty rocks from the driveway for their rock collections. They are dazzled by dandelions. And pinecones are perfection.

I can see them becoming “noticers”, and my heart is so full!

I remind them that God made all of this and He made them too.  I tell them that God is the MOST creative of all, and that He gave them their creativity. I want them to see that He is not silent and uninvolved. I want them to know He is real, and that He draws near, even in everyday things.

How do you raise kids who love Jesus? Ultimately, the choice to love and follow Him is up to them, as they grow and discover who He is. But I am learning that they’re watching how their parents interact with God and each other, listening to the things we say and putting the pieces together about Him by their experiences with us.

It really gets me, you know? I think of all the mistakes I’ve made with the kids and I wonder if even those things can be made into something beautiful in our family’s life. But I am trusting that God knows how to untangle my mess and work it into a gorgeous tapestry of His faithfulness for each of my kids.

They need to know that worship is more than Sunday morning songs and stories, and that the beauty of creation is meaningful because of Who it reveals.

We worship God inside AND outside church walls, right smack in the middle of all the ordinary.

 

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