Last week I wrote about Sunday Christians. I had an important reason for doing so: my own “Sunday Christian” upbringing makes me feel like my hands are really tied in raising my own kids.
That is to say, I didn’t grow up with the example of the kind of mom I want to be. It’s not that I didn’t have a good mom, who did her best. But she is unapologetically “not-so-religious.” Because I didn’t grow up in a home where prayer was constant, reading the Bible was frequent, and discussions of faith occurred as a thread in the fabric of our everyday lives, I…don’t know where to start now.
I know, to some extent, how I want to be: I want my kids to always make choices based on what Jesus would have them do. I want their hearts to be full of love and to know they are special and saved by Jesus. I want them, especially in hard times, to turn to Jesus first. I want to have a home full of love and prayer.
What this looks on a day-to-day basis…I’m still struggling to figure out.
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to start these things. And sometimes I feel like an imposter when I try, because I know I’m not measuring up to the standard I’d like to meet. I want to be a mom who is always patient and happy and generous, who shepherds her children’s hearts and always remembers that developing a relationship with the child is more important than anything else.
But I’m not that patient. I’m not sure how to always shepherd a child’s heart. And I forget sometimes that the relationship is paramount…until it’s too late.
The other day I got out eggs to make breakfast, started heating the pan, and stepped out of the kitchen for less than a minute. When I came back, half a dozen eggs were all over the floor and my son was in the middle of the mess. We (obviously) hadn’t eaten yet, they’d been on the whiny side that morning…and I lost it. “Out of my kitchen! Do you see that mess you’ve made? You don’t touch the eggs!” He pouted, he cried, he looked so very sad. Then I remembered that although it is very annoying, it is only eggs and he is only a little boy, and that I ought to worry more about loving him than the broken eggs on the floor….
There are happy moments though, too. Recently my daughter decided we would pray, several times a day (I think she learned some of these prayers at church, although she sometimes speaks in gibberish and I am not sure what she is praying for). She gets out a chair and stands on it, folds her hands, and starts praying: “Dear God, thank you for…thank you Jesus for saving us, thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Nana and Papa and Grandma and Grandpa and playgrounds and kitties and our friends…” this goes on for a minute or so, then she says, “AMEN!” and claps and cheers.
My son loves this. He always asks for more (so this activity can go on for quite awhile!). I don’t think he fully understands exactly what we are doing, but he is associating prayer with a happy and exciting activity, and for now, I am okay with that.
Recently, my daughter even asked to be the one to pray before we ate. That was exciting! When we first started to pray regularly at meals a year or so ago (yes, very late, I know…) she’d throw a fit about it, not understanding why she needed to wait to eat. But now she’s very into it. Sometimes she directs us to fold our hands instead of holding hands. We let her lead this.
So we have bright spots. But we don’t pray enough. We don’t listen to enough uplifting music (mostly just in the car, but it’s usually turned down then so we can talk — I teach my daughter a lot during car rides).
I’ve heard of families who sing a little song about the day the Lord has made each morning, and I love it. I wish we did it, but I don’t know how to start.
I’ve heard about all these “Proverbs 31 wives” (one of my contributors is working towards this) and it sounds insurmountable to me.
For awhile we prayed whenever we disciplined…and sometimes we still do. But sometimes I am, unfortunately, too annoyed.
I feel like in my head I could do it perfectly. In my heart I have a strong desire to do more. In my actions…there’s a lot yet to be desired.
Now, I’m trying to see into the lives of more Christian families. I’m trying to surround myself with those who are truly on fire for the Lord. I want to be completely enveloped in the culture, to see how other families do it. Then maybe I can let them teach me…and maybe I can come home and implement parts of what I see. I may not have had the example growing up, but perhaps I can learn from examples now.
That’s why it’s so important to me, now, to discern the “Sunday Christians” from those sold-out Christians in my own life: I don’t want to be a Sunday Christian. I don’t want to fall into the ways of the world. I don’t want to lose my path when the tragedy (my children not knowing the Lord) could be great. It led me to ponder that many of those I see around me are probably Sunday Christians, and to wonder about the phenomenon in general.
So I am seeking those sold-out Christians now, and simplifying my life so that I have time for what is truly important. It is so vitally important that my entire family is surrounded by those like us, who can help us when we are still finding our way. Who can lead us while we humble ourselves.
If anyone would like to share how their families work, and how they shepherd their children…I’d love to hear it.
Have you ever struggled to find your way as a Christian mom?