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One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Category Archives: Sweet T.

Last night, as I was finishing up our nightly Bible reading, Sweet T. asked me {for probably the hundredth time} when she could become a Christian. For about a year now I have been avoiding this question. Not because I don’t want her to become a Christian, or because I am not comfortable with leading her. Neither of those two scenarios are the case. This is my prayer, for all my kids, that they would receive salvation through Jesus and love Him with all their heart. Also, on a weekly basis, I share with kids at our church about what becoming a Christian means.

I take my philosophy about child evangelism {i.e. leading a child to pray to God asking for salvation from their sin} from a statement that Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:

Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14

During Jesus’ life and ministry, people wanted to see and touch him. They would come from far places. Some came to be healed; while others simply wanted to see them for himself. On this occasion, small kids were being brought to him so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples and closest friends must have become annoyed at this. Jesus was a great person, he probably had little time, especially for kids to be blessed over. And so we find this rebuke to the disciples.

Let the little children come to me

Jesus made it very clear that he loved all people. Young and old. Sick and well. Dead, alive, rich, poor, religious, demon-possessed, ugly, attractive, women, men, Jewish, pagan, Gentile, popular, alone, afraid, brave, the wise and the foolish. He loved his enemies and even the ones that planned his death and hated who he was.

His love was the kind that broke all social barriers of his time. His love was more than just as acceptance of all people from all walks of life. It was a love that pierced through the barriers that separated people from the larger social world. When Jesus gave the command for his disciples to let the children come, it was to say “they are important”. This was during a time when a male wasn’t respected as an adult until the age of 30. Children mattered to Jesus.

I like to focus on the word “let” specifically when discussing child evangelism. Jesus makes it clear, we are not to hinder children from wanting this intimate relationship. Discouraging children from becoming a Christian is wrong. It is very clear that we are to allow for them to ask questions and learn what it is to develop faith in their own lives.

However, on the flip side of that, children should not be forced to believe. I think equally important is the word “come”.  We are never to push a child to become a Christian. This is a careful thing to balance. Kids want what they see other kids do or have. If one child is baptized in their church, other children will often want to do it too without understanding what it means. Salvation is so much more than this.

“Let” encourages us to provide opportunities to discuss what it means to be a Christian. Provide opportunities to talk about the need and what sin is. Explain how Jesus provided salvation, by dying on the cross and rising again. Also share what salvation does not mean.

“Come” reminds us to not push children when they aren’t ready. I, personally, do not think a call to commitment is appropriate to children services. Help your child develop their own spiritual understandings. This can only occur when you make an effort to talk to them about your own faith. Don’t shy away from questions that you don’t know the answer to. Children are far more understanding than we give them credit. Being honest that you don’t have an answer to their question is perfectly acceptable. Showing your child how you seek out answers is a natural part of their own spiritual development and discipline.

Do not hinder them

I have already discussed this briefly above. Children want to know about God. They believe in Jesus and what God can do far more easily than we can. I find myself often correcting our youngest daughter. To her, if something is not working all you need to do is pray. God will fix it. On the one hand- yes I agree, I don’t think God helps me open a jar of jelly or other daily tasks. I have to be careful, though, because I also know that God does work intimately in our lives even today. Provide opportunities for teachable moments. Encourage the faith of your child. Prepare their hearts to accept the seed of faith. Pray over them. Read the Bible with them. Teach them about love and taking care of those around you.  Practice your own faith, show them what it means to be a Christian in how you do life everyday. Even practice admitting when you mess up (GULP!) It is hard to admit, but it shows your children the need for a Savior.

At our church this weekend, we had our Family Dedication, often known as Baby dedication. Part of what we gave the parents was the picture below with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 written. It is a command to impress the Word of God into the lives of your children in everything you do. Developing the opportunity for your children to believe and follow God comes from what they see at home. Talk about what you have read in your quiet time. Display the word of God in your home. I love how Proverbs 6:20-23 echoes Deuteronomy.

20 My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,

For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these

Jesus would often teach about the kingdom of heaven. (32 times in the book of Matthew, this phrase is mentioned) Usually he would use a simple, daily picture to compare what heaven was like. Here, Jesus tell us why children are so important. They are an example. Could Jesus be referring to their simple faith? Or maybe their innocence? Perhaps it’s a childlike meekness and frailty that he is referring, or even a combination of all the above.

As I mentioned above, Sweet T had been asking Alan and I for about a year, “when can I become a Christian?” Each time she asked, I didn’t just avoid the question. We would talk about what it means. Sometimes I would ask why she wanted to. Other times I would explain what it didn’t mean. And, if I was being honest, a few times I changed the subject. I figured if I could distract her, then she wasn’t serious about it.

So what was my hesitancy? Why am I so careful when it comes to child evangelism?

I think it stems back to the fact that kids believe easily. Almost every child that I have encountered wants to be a Christian. They want to go to heaven. They believe Jesus died on the cross. They know he came back to life again. They repeat prayers. They get baptized. We have all the right words, but I strongly believe that none if this is important until a person, no matter the age, understand what SIN is. We can teach our kids what sin is, how it separates us from God, but without understanding SIN, children (or adults) can never be saved from it. This can only be done by the work of the Holy Spirit.

And this is what I pray for my kids. That the Holy Spirit will move in their hearts. This is what I saw in Sweet T. last night. A true brokeness over her SIN. She came to the end of herself and found she needed more- a Savior.
It’s not the prayer in words that we say, or the time we go to church that saves us. No matter how we are baptized, what church we go to, or the kind of music in church we listen to. The Bible translation we read, or the type of Lord’s Supper we take doesn’t save us. Our salvation begins at brokeness over sin. Not just knowing in your head that you break God’s law, but understanding in your heart and wanting to fill that need with the saving power of faith in Jesus.

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Left over Halloween accessories = another great photo-op.:

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This is what I heard this afternoon when I picked up Sweet T. from school.

She had it all worked out. She didn’t have to go to school tomorrow, because “sometimes people miss school if they are sick or away on a trip.” Last I checked there were no trips planned, and hopefully she will NOT be ill tomorrow morning.

Caboose picture taken in January after an ice storm

I popped her bubble.

As we were driving home, try as I might, I needed to find out why. No mother wants her child to dislike school. Not in Kindergarten at least. They are supposed to hate school when it’s hard. Sweet T. had made up her mind. She would not be deterred.

“Okay, I need to know why you don’t like school,” I said.

“Today I was the line leader,” she explained nearly in tears. “So tomorrow I have to be the caboose. If my friend is the line leader then I can’t stand next to her.”

The Caboose.

It is funny that teachers use this term for the child who is last in line. I remember how exciting it was to watch a train pass when I was little. I would look anxiously towards the end of the train. Waiting for my chance to wave at the conductor in the back of the caboose. However, now a-days, the only time you see a caboose is at a museum.

Essentially, they are worthless.

I don’t blame her. It’s hard to be last. It’s hard to feel like everyone gets to go first but you. Especially when your friends are part of “everyone”.

Sure, I could have used it as an opportunity to teach about putting others first (which we do talk about all the time.) Instead I used it as a time to just love her. Sometimes that’s all we really need. To know that we are loved, even on really bad days. Even when we have to be a caboose.

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Today I had a house full of princesses. We were celebrating Sweet T.’s birthday. Last night as I was making her cake I remembered that every year for the past three years we had moved just before her day, so she never had any friends to celebrate with. One year I did, at the last-minute, throw a quick party together. I made cupcakes and friends brought presents.

Of course I think that until they are 5, all the party children really need could be small- with family. Unless you have a large family. Which I do, but they live all over the place. The child won’t remember it most likely, and they don’t really have friends until that maturity level either.

It was time for my Sweet T. to have her first BIG birthday party.

The guest of honor, other than the birthday girl is always the cake.

I’m too much of a slacker mom to be really great at making cakes, but am very pleased with how this turned out.

That’s probably why I took so many pictures of it.

Every Princess party needs to have certain things to make it complete. I made sure that . . .

we danced. . .

we dressed up. . .

and then after all that hard work we ate (my beautiful) cake.

I didn’t exactly know where to put the candles.

It worked.

As a bonus Barbie’s hair didn’t catch on fire.

Happy Birthday Princess

We love you VERY much!

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I remember four years ago laying in bed counting in my head how old everyone would be when my Baby finally went to school.

Funny isn’t it?

Funny how life changes. It’s funny where I thought I would be four years ago, and where I am now.

Four years ago I would have laughed at you for telling me that I would be a homeschool mom. Or that my family would be living in the mid-west.

On Thursday my two girls had their first day of school. (well, so I thought. I’ll explain further down.) Sweet T. is starting Kindergarten and The Baby is starting preschool. Okay technically preschool is not school, but in our little town it is. Our town offers a school that is for only Kindergartners and also half-day preschool.

It has all been a hassle with getting birth certificates and shots. (we’ve moved around a lot.) Then we were out-of-town when the school had their registration day. After much running around, finally I was able to get both girls registered for school. We were set for the first day of school.

Generally speaking I am the biggest slacker when it comes to doing extra special things. I think it’s super sweet when moms (and dads) do special things with their kids for school and holidays. Oh sure, I hit all the major holidays, but when it comes to “extra” days I am seriously lacking. For me to even remember to take pictures of the girls’ first day of school is a major accomplishment. Probably seeing all my friends post pictures of their kids of Facebook inspired me.

While the girls were eating their breakfast at school I couldn’t help but to look around and watch all the people around us on their first day too. Everyone was busy and excited. or crying.

Like protective mother birds, we stand over our children. Some are excited at the freedom and relief that comes with sending a child to school. Others are torn to pieces at the thought of letting their baby grow free and independent. Other perhaps have a fair mix of both. That is not even considering how the kids are feeling.

There is just something about the first day of school.

After taking Sweet T. to her class I went to the office to find out where my late-registered preschooler would be going. After filling out the long enrollment forms (which you would think in these technological times there would be an easier way to enroll without filling out the same info. 10 times on 10 different forms.) I found out that NO the baby would not start until Monday.

So much for the first day of school together.

As we were leaving the school I noticed that PTA had a special breakfast for the parents:

The spoons are not part of the breakfast. Those are so that no one swipes the pens.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful first day of school. May your school year be filled with sweet memories and wonderful friendships.

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