Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What I Want My Kids to Know

Last night I sat with my kids out in the hallway - like we do every night before bed.
We waited for this one to get a blanket, that one to get a drink, and the other one to get comfortable - like we do every night before bed.
I read to them from the Bible - like we do every night before bed.
During the reading one child kicked another, one interrupted with unrelated comments a few times, and the other inserted odd noises here and there - like they do every night before bed.
I had finished reading and was about to pray - like we do every night before bed. But instead I leaned back against the wall and closed my eyes. I was "this close" to both yelling and crying.
Yelling, because we go through this routine every night and my kids know how I expect them to behave. I get tired of telling them to not look at one another, that this isn't "goof off" time, and they can wait for another drink until we're finished. The fact that Brian was gone didn't help matters at all. (Anyone else dislike "doing" bedtime alone???)
And crying, because I was feeling like the kids aren't "getting" these devotions we're doing. I felt like I'm not getting this part of spiritual training right and I was discouraged.
So I sat there with my eyes closed and I prayed, Lord, please help my kids understand. Though our family prayer time never seems to go well in my eyes, please help my children grow in their faith and knowledge of You - in spite of my failures and failed expectations.
And then I had the sense I just needed to talk openly with my children about my desires for them - about what I want them to know.
So I said, "Ya know, guys, when I was a kid my mom and dad didn't read the Bible with me. I didn't know God's Word. I didn't know God was interested in me or that He knew every detail of my life. I believed in Him, but I didn't know Him.
"The reason Daddy and I read the Bible and pray with you every night is because we want you to know God and His Word. We want you to know He loves you, He knows everything about you, and He wants to be a part of every moment of your lives.
"I don't want this family prayer time to just be something we do after you brush your teeth and before you go to bed. I want it to be a time when you learn God's Word more, and when you get to know Him better.
"He loves you so much, and I just want you to know that!"

Then I prayed for my kids - individually. I thanked God for loving them and for knowing everything about them. I prayed for their present and their future, for who they are and who they will be.
And though my eyes were closed, I could tell they were sitting perfectly still as they listened to my words on their behalf.
Even now I pray my children will grow in their relationship with our Father through family prayer times which are, at times, crazy. I pray they will grow up convinced of the love and goodness of our God, Who knows every hair on their heads and Who loves them with an everlasting love. I pray the seed of God's Word is being planted in their hearts now and that it will flourish and grow, as in good soil, that it may produce an abundant crop for the glory of God. And I pray they my learn to love His Word, that in it they may find life and hope for all their days.

Yes. This is what I want my kids to know.

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luvmy4sons said...

I have found that doing something never is qutie the same as how the idea seemed in your head or how you envisioned it goes for other families. We have done family devotions for years and years and years. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes not so good. Sometimes I struggle to keep the attention. Sometimes I feel like it falls on deaf ears. In the ned I figure it is still better than if I DIDN'T do them. As they are all older now, men really most of them, I know that they have to find their own walk with the Lrod and it will likely take something painful to make it "REAL". I still see that our devotional time has planted seeds...but God and not me will make it grow. Keep up the good work!

JanMary said...

Another really encouraging posts - thanks :)

We too have prayers here, and by that time of the night I am so tired, I don't know I could have responded so graciously. Thanks for the challenge!

Rachel said...

So good, and yes I despise doing bedtime alone...my man is gone at least two nights a week, so I can routinely identify with this. In fact, just Sunday night, I had a very similar experience....I wanted to cry at their behavior....when are they going to get this???? I then told them about the book called, "Miss Nelson is Missing" that we read ALL the time. If you've read it, I told them VIOLA SWAMP was coming if they couldn't behave during prayer time. Now, you'll have to read that book.
I think your response was much better....I'm encouraged!

KarenW said...

It's that time of day when all you want is a quiet moment and that is what they dread most- because they just might fall asleep if they're still. Thanks for your example! Your posts are always so encouraging.

km said...

Thanks for the encouragement. It definitely means more since you were "ready to yell/cry". That's right were I feel so many days. I really want my kids to know that God loves them...and that M & I love too.

OK...and my son came in while I was reading this. His comment: Mom...you have that book in your room. How did you get a picture of it on the computer? They notice the littlest details!

Jody said...

Thanks for sharing your night with us. This post is very touching. I think most of us have been there...I know that I have! This was a very personal, intimate time with your kids and you chose to share it with us. Thank you for that.

Kristy said...

You have so encouraged me as this is so our family scenario and it almost makes you want to give up! Thank you for being so open!