As a mom my thoughts are just about always on my kids, in some way. It is just the way it works I think once you are a mom, no? There are thoughts that race through my mind daily: am I setting strong boundaries and enforcing them? did I pick the right battles when disciplining? did I ignore too many little behavior issues? can I find things to do that will engage my boys with each other? can we do something today to serve others?
There are many more thoughts that pour through depending on the moment. However most really boil down to how can I best reach my littles hearts in order to disciple them to the best of my abilities, or how can I minister to them. As a Christian mom, my first prayer and hope is that my boys will hear God calling each of them individually and run into His loving arms.
The hang up I find myself in on a daily, if not hourly basis, is feeling overwhelmed by the job of truly ministering all the way to my little boys’ hearts. To truly minister to someone, you must care for the needs of someone else, usually at a loss to your own human needs. Of course as a Christian that includes physical needs, emotional needs and spiritual needs, right? And that sounds like a huge, practically impossible job.
Recently a truth has started to sink into my heart: God is the only one who can call people to Himself.
That means that I cannot, in my ability, will someone to have a heart change. I can pray, I can rest in my Savior’s arms, I can draw strength from Him, but I cannot actually do any saving or changing. So there is no need to be overwhelmed.
Since this is such a huge point for me, I want to say it one more time
God is the only one who can call people to Himself.
As that truth sinks in deep, I can step forward, and so can you, to minister to your littles.
Look at your call to minister to your kids as a blessing, because it is! As moms we are able to minister to, and teach them to minister at very young ages. We will also be the ones they watch as they grow up to see how to serve others at different life stages. It is an awesome privilege, do not allow it to become a job or a stressor.
Right now, as I focus on serving and teaching my kids to serve, I want them to see that in receive my strength daily from my Lord. So I strive to carve out time to spend with God in prayer and reading and resting at a time in which they can see that. Granted it usually only lasts a few minutes.
Yes it could be more simple to minister to my kids, simply serve them in my power, require them to be with me as a serve others and set a ton of rules for them to act well. But that doesn’t grow a need for Jesus, and only through Jesus can I minister well. And so I pray. I pray for the hearts of my boys. Might I suggest you pray for the hearts of your kids? Let them hear your prayers, when applicable, but pray for them!
If you are comfortable with your prayer life, and looking for some more practical steps to minister to and with your kids, here are my current go to’s (my boys are 4 and 2…).
- The Child Training Bible
- Neighborhood trash hunts (each boys gets a plastic grocery bag and we walk through our neighborhood and pick up the litter – wearing gloves. The point is to discuss the importance of caring for God’s creation and serving our neighbors.)
- Cookie gifts (baking cookies together in order to give them away: to teachers, to new moms, to neighbors, etc. All in order to show how fun it is to simply give to others.)
- Preparing family meals that are specific to each kids palate that are served at the dining room table (meaning I allow them to help me plan out one meal a week so that they will enjoy every aspect of it)
- Teaching them to contribute to the family by serving inside our house (setting the table isn’t a chore, but a chance to serve the family)
This list changes often as life changes and that is okay because the ways to minister to my family and boys are endless. I simply have to first focus on the truth of what God does and then what I can do.
What are some ways you serve your kids? Do you make them minister to others? Has the truth that only God can call people to Himself given you new energy to minister to your kids?