This is a guest post by the fabulous Alicia from Alicia’s Homemaking.
My 15 month old has started frequently copying what I say and do.
I smile at his silly antics and half-formed words, but part of me is sobered at having a little someone watching everything I do. Learning from my every action, response, and attitude.
I’m sure I’m right there with the rest of you when I say that my deepest heart desire for my children is that they grow up as Jesus-followers. I want to train them in Biblical truth using every resource I can–but I know that who I am and how I act speaks the loudest. Every day my son watches what it looks like as mommy “walks with Jesus.” Am I the gospel in action to him?
My parents, I’m sure, asked themselves the same question when I was little. Now I know that their love for God has been the single most influencing factor in my life. How did I see the truth of Jesus most clearly portrayed in their lives as a child?
A few key memories:
Prayer. Honest, repentant, needy prayers. My mom prayed with my siblings and I daily as part of our homeschool routine, and my dad would randomly pray out loud as we went about our activities (which is very in keeping with his personality!). I watched my parents reach out to God for perspective and wisdom in the mundane and stressful parts of daily life. My mind also pictures my mom, dancing in the living room in worship to God…something only our child eyes saw.
They apologized. This was huge. Kids can sense when you have a bad attitude! The point of correction can be lost if it’s loaded with frustration. I remember multiple times when my mom would apologize for her attitude or for hurting us. It cleared the air and caused resentment to dissipate. Children are well-acquainted with their parent’s faults, so it spoke volumes when my wonderful, imperfect parents were genuine about their shortcomings. Jesus shone in their weakness (isn’t that encouraging?)!
They let themselves be inconvenienced to love others. We were watching and saw the behind the scenes sacrifices. As kids, we were oblivious to some of the cost, but not all of it was lost on us.
They loved each other. I always felt safe in the fact that my parents were together for always. Marriage is the living picture of God’s love!
My parents were not perfect. But it’s impossible for me to look at their lives and deny the reality of Jesus that they lived out in front of me.
Most people see the polished side of your life, but your children see the exposed underside. Because they know you so well, your life lived honestly in joy and in struggle for God can be one of the most powerful truths they witness.
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Alicia is a tea-drinking, book-reading, sushi-eating, bread-baking, Jesus-serving gal who loves her family and all things domestic. She is a stay-at-home-mom to one squishy little boy, wife to her sweet Andrew, and she blogs regularly at Alicia’s Homemaking.
photo by Alicia