I didn’t really grow up in the church, but I didn’t really have an anti-church experience either. In fact, I would say my family had one foot firmly planted on both paths. Imagine how hard it was for us to get anywhere like that.
I was baptized in my mid-twenties. Within a year, I was pregnant with my first child. Perfect timing I thought: I always knew I wanted to have a relationship with Christ before I became a mother. For me, it seemed essential.
I prayed throughout my pregnancy, and once my son was born, I prayed over his crib each night. But eventually life got in the way, and we prayed less. His father and I began to argue more. We had another child a couple of years later; arguing turned to fighting and fighting turned into battle royal. And then we divorced.
Our boys were five and two when the divorce was final. I had already stopped attending church long before this and getting divorced didn’t exactly make me feel more like church material. It was about two-and-a-half years after my divorce before I finally realized what my life was missing. So I bundled up my seven and four-year-olds and off we went to church.
That was the beginning of a real awakening for me, and a source of joy that I had yet to experience. My boys really enjoyed church and seemed to look forward to going. My youngest has a different outlook on life (in general) and a very unique personality. So he turned the worship music portion into his personal concert, and the eight-foot radius around his tiny body into a Jesus-loving mosh pit.
But church wasn’t as comfortable for them as it seemed to be for the kids who had always been there. Just as in any time a child is new to something, it took some adjustment for them to feel like they fit in.
But the reality was that it was an adjustment for me too. I didn’t grow up praying, not even at meals. Bible verses were not framed with doilies and oak. Words like salvation, grace, and even hope were not used in our home. I knew my parents believed in God; they just didn’t express it in a way that reached me.
Nearly eight years have passed since we have become a Christian family. And we have definitely grown a lot over these years and have learned how to grow closer to God, but we are still learning. Here are a few things we have done to help acclimate our children and ourselves to Christian living:
Becoming a Christian family “mid-stream” typically seems a little daunting for parents. There is so much to know and do correctly but we do not need to be experts right away. In fact, we never will be. Just be honest and a little vulnerable with your kids as to why you even want God in your life to begin with. Share what He has done for you, and keep the dialogue open through simple prayers and genuine concern for your kids’ needs.
Give yourselves grace as parents, and be patient with your kids. Accepting God into our daily lives can seem as foreign to children as Martians from Pluto. Keep your answers and your faith simple and approachable and let God do the rest.
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-4)
You do not have to be a wise theologian to be a Christian mom or dad. You just have to start following Christ with the faith of a child. Baby steps with an eternal impact are easily within your reach.
Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. She is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement, writes lessons for small group purposes for churches, and is also a small group coach. Kris has a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University and Seminary and is a listed TN Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator.
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