Imagine Your Kids as Grownups

pan-xiaozhen-423533-unsplash

Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.

James Dobson

Begin With the End in Mind

This is advice I swiped from a book on blogging, but it really really applies to parenting as a Christian parent.
You’ve gotta begin with the end in mind.

When you think about your kids as grownups what words pop into your head?

Successful. Happy. Kind. Loved and loving.
Nothing wrong with any of those, but do they capture your deepest aspirations for your kids?
Do they describe your biggest dreams for them?

How about this, a friend of God?

I’ve been thinking and teaching about Christian parenting for over 30 years and this idea captures the highest goal any parent can reach for with their children, to raise a child that grows up to be a friend of God.

The phrase describes Abraham and we find it in James 2:23

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

James 2:23

Is there any higher loftier more spiritual ambition than to be a friend of God?
I don’t think so. I can’t come up with one.

So was Abraham perfect?
No.
He was a flawed human who began as an idol worshipper.

But, when God spoke to him, he listened and responded.

He believed God. And we know he believed because he responded.

That’s a big significant step. Don’t rush past it. Instead, let’s turn it into a question.

How do we to get from that beautiful bundle of baby in our arms to a growing child that’s emotionally and spiritually prepared to listen and respond to God?
A child who wants to be a friend of God.

Create A Roadmap to Relationship

Know where you want to go!

Before the days of iPhones and apps like Waze, before the days of Garmin there were roadmaps. Large printed maps that showed highways and small roads so that you could figure out how to get to where you wanted to go. You could plan a route.

Your route as a Christian parent is something like this:

Point A—————————————————————————–PointB
Baby in your arms—————————–A child who wants to be God’s friend

In the coming weeks we’ll build out our roadmap.

We’ll take it step by step and travel in short spurts so the little ones can enjoy the journey as it unfolds.

Our starting point is God Himself.
Let’s begin to introduce God to your kids.
You’re gonna be surprised at how easy this is.

Let me ask you how would you introduce God to someone?
What would you say about Him?

We all overthink this!!! We don’t have to figure this out on our own. We just need to see how God did it.

How does God introduce Himself? I mean, He wrote us a big old book full of letters. How does it start?

In the beginning God made everything.

Genesis 1:1 (my own paraphrase for kids)

Genius Introduction.

Short and sweet. To the point. No wasted words. No big theological explanation.

AND—it is in fact the very first thing we all need to know about God if we’re gonna want to be His friend. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with the One who created everything?

Here’s the companion truth from the New Testament.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Whisper it to that babe in your arms.
“God made everything. It’s all good. It’s all perfect. It’s all a gift from God to you and to all of us.”

Point back to God constantly as the Creator and the giver of good things. This is the first thing you want your child to ever remember knowing about God.

He created everything.
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from Him.
And He never changes.
The soft cotton of baby’s blanket is a gift. The strawberries of summer are a gift. A squirmy puppy covered in warm fur is a gift. Daddy’s strong arms are a gift. Mommy’s soft kisses are a gift.
Every good gift.
Every perfect gift is from God.

Do you want to lead your children into a lifelong meaningful relationship with the true and living God?

Then start with this truth. Begin today and keep bringing God into the conversation.
Introduce God as He introduces Himself, the Creator and the giver of every good and every perfect gift.

This week start the introduction by talking about God as Creator. You could wrap up your child’s favorite fruit or a favorite toy and talk about the gifts God has given to us to richly enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
I’m praying that God will help you and begin to reveal Himself to your kids.

This is exciting!!! 🙂

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.

Psalm145:4-7


Why I’m writing this series on an old blog I kind of forgot I even had.

If you look at this blog you’ll discover that I haven’t added a post in about 3 years.

Yikes!!!
So why start this up again?
The short answer is that I have a broken heart and I’m on a mission.

Here’s what’s broken my heart: Pew Research came out with a study that found between 82%-88% of kids raised in church attending Christian homes never go back to church once they leave home at 18 for school or work.

That’s crushing.
What it means is that we haven’t been able to lead our children into a meaningful relationship with God. They didn’t fall in love with Him. They weren’t captivated by Who He is and what He’s done. They aren’t excited to be part of His plan and purposes.
Plainly put, we dropped the ball. We let them down. We failed in our God appointed mission to help our kids forge a lasting relationship with God Almighty.
I know that sounds harsh or depressing, or both.

But I believe in grace.
I believe in God working continually to redeem the lost. I believe He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, I believe it’s never too late to start again.

For the past three years I’ve been praying about this problem, studying the subject and interacting with young Christian parents who are in the middle of raising their kids.

And I’m on a mission to do whatever I can to help them be successful in leading their kids into a vibrant faith and a lifelong friendship with God.
Parenting is a big job made up of a million little jobs. Some of those jobs are far more crucial to a child’s faith and friendship with God. Those are the things we’re gonna focus on.

Years ago when I started this blog I called it ‘A Really Full Life’.
The name comes from John 10:10 where Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
That’s A Really Full Life. It’s a quality of life that flows from knowing God. It’s what I pray for every child, that they’ll come to know God and find in Him abundant life ~ A Really Full Life.

If you’re a Christian parent I want you to know I’m pulling for you.
The challenges you face are different and probably more difficult than the ones I faced while raising my kids.

But, God never changes. His word is always true and powerful and the Holy Spirit is still dwelling in every child of God and leading us into truth, empowering us to live it out in our everyday lives and if God is for us, who can be against us.

Today we talked about Introducing God as Creator and the giver of every good and every perfect gift.

Next week we’re exploring how we can ‘Trigger the WOW’ in a child’s heart and plant the seeds of true worship that will bind his heart to God in an outpouring of love and thanksgiving.

Now I want to hear from you.
Does any of this resonate with you? Are you already worried about a Tween or Teen? Are you wondering how you’re gonna fit anything else into your day? Do you think your kids are still too young for this?

What anxiety or concerns surface when you think about your kids growing up in the world today? What have you found that’s opened the door to a spiritual conversation with your kids?

In His love,

Kelly







7 Comments on “Imagine Your Kids as Grownups

  1. It’s good to see an email in my inbox from you again Kelly. It has been a long time. I look forward to this series, but I would add that there are ways to reach out to adult children, to set an example, to point out the benefits. It’s not easy, but raising children has never been easy.

    • Hello Dan! Yes, it’s been a long time and I’ve got some catching up to do with faithful bloggers like you. I’ll have to get a fresh cup of coffee and see what you’ve been up to at No Facilities.
      You’re so right about remaining hopeful and engaged with our adult children. What they see over the course of years, how we face our trials and tribulations, if we really live out what we say we believe, I know God uses that to speak to them. Totally agree that raising kids has never been easy, but then most worthwhile endeavors are never easy 🙂

      • When my mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 93, people were saying that she was “handling it very well.” I said, “that’s because she knows what lies ahead, and she’s ready.”

  2. There’s a lot of comfort in the knowing. She sounds like a wonderful woman and I expect an introduction when we’re all together up there.

  3. Kelly,
    What joy filled my heart when I discovered your message on raising children who want to be friends of God!
    You may not remember but I was in your Women’s Bible Study at the little Calvary Gary pastored in Lodi. Your love for God and faithfulness to minister His Word, your heart to mentor us young moms and your words of wisdom & encouragement have had a deep & lasting impact in my life and thus in my children’s lives.
    Forward twenty-five or so years….God continues to annoint you, at this time, to share this burden in powerful words of wisdom & truth which is even more desperately needed in this generation than the last. (I am reminded of your teaching on Proverbs 22:17-21)
    Please be encouraged to continue sharing this message He has given you on raising children who grow up to be friends of God. May multitudes of parents heed the message and be burdened & equiped to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that they, like Abraham, may be called the friends of God.
    In the Love of our Savior,
    Karin Pfannenstiel

    • Karen I’m so blessed to hear from you!!! What kind words and strong encouragement. Will you do me a favor and share this on your Facebook or Instagram? I’ve always blogged for fun, but I really feel that young parents are facing greater resistance than we did. I’m going to connect a gmail account to this website and I’d love to catch up with you. Thanks again for the encouragement.
      Much love,
      Kelly

  4. Hi Kelly,

    Glad to see you back online😃. With the suicide rates climbing and kids floundering for something to hang onto, this will help and encourage parents to take steps to build up the inner man in the spirit. And it’s a great reminder for all of us to keep our focus on the true and living God and that He is interested in a relationship with each of us, no matter our age! Looking forward to this series👍.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: