Years ago, I visited a very sick, pregnant woman in a Catholic hospital. There were verses all over the walls and a crucifix hanging above the bed. She wanted me to pray for her healing so she could go home and be with her family. Her mother was happy I had come as a friend from church to encourage her daughter. When I asked her if she wanted to join us in prayer, she backed away horrified that I would pray publicly. (As public as a private hospital room can be that is.) She told me she did not approve of forcing faith on others. What if the nurse walked in and overheard us? I looked again at the verses on the walls and the cross over the bed and told her the nurse was likely not going to be shocked, may even be encouraged by it. Besides, if we really did believe what we claimed, why wouldn’t we be bold for Christ? There she stood in front of me, wringing her hands terrified to pray in front of someone much less speak of her faith.
“Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” A common quote people reference to St. Francis of Assisi. Problem is, Francis of Assisi never said anything like these words. However, society has used them to train Christians to silence. We do not want to “push” our faith so we quietly live our lives hoping our family absorbs the truth through a process similar to osmosis.
Kids are quick. They pick up on far more than we give them credit for. However, wrestling through a matter of faith tends to be a private affair and kids do not get to see the whole picture, are not privy to the process. While observant they miss out on vital information and lack the ability to connect the dots. They need to know about about that process if they are to have Hope. Your testimony is their inheritance. Your ceiling, their floor.
I encourage you to talk to them about it. Tell them what wrestling through a hard season looks like for you. What it looks like for others. Your family needs to hear these words if Hope is to have a firm foundation in their hearts. Today, kids are drowning in hopelessness and its time we love them well by giving them a faith and hope to cling to.
You do not need to have “arrived” before you can speak to your kids about your hope in God. Neither do you need a Masters of Divinity from a seminary. As a parent, God ordained you and gave you the authority and the commission to teach your kids all about Him. He does his best work through average people like you and I. The prayers of a parent are precious to Him and he will guide you in what to say. Raising your family to have Hope goes beyond taking them to church and silently modeling a life of Christlike living. It takes a lot of intentional teaching and training.
Read: Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Proverbs 1:8, 3:1 and pray Psalm 78:5-7.
Father, give me the wisdom to teach boldly my children your testimony, “that the next generation might know [Your power], the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in [You].”
What about you? Do you have a story about sharing your faith with your family? Family can sometimes be the more scary than a stranger because they see our every move.