Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Radical with Children...how?

(I am participating in Marla's online book club, reading Radical by David Platt. Now for Chapter two...)
Radical with children....how?
Ann Voskamp's words on Radical echo in my mind: "How do mother's...say yes to that?"
She was reading Radical as well as Palmer Chinchen's True Religion.
I am reading Radical and Francis Chan's Crazy Love.
And all the time I am reading these...my heart is thinking, but what about my children? But in more than one way.
First, I am a single mom...raising these four children that God saw fit to bless me with. I cannot walk off to wild worlds and leave my children behind. Can I? And everyone thinks, well He would never ask you to do that, right? And everyone might probably be right. But still, it is on my mind...to pick up my cross and follow Him...wherever, whatever....that is what I want. But HOW do I do that with my four children? I am praying, as I continue reading both books, He will show me that. (And it maybe a baby step at a time. But lukewarm-never-knew-you Christianity is NOT what I want for me....OR FOR THEM!) Which brings me to the second concern about my children.
I have been focusing on instructing their heart, leading them to their need for Jesus. Bringing them to the word and praying his alive and active breath will light a fire in their souls. I will admit, I have often, daily, jumped into the behavior space. Correcting. Often. Dispairing.
And I read, from Radical: "In the Gospel God reveals the depth of our need for him. He shows us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to come to him. We can't manufacture salvation. We can't program it. We can't produce it. We can't initiate it. God has to open our eyes, set us free, overcome our evil and appease his wrath. He has to come to us." p. 32
Our salvation, my children's salvation is a "gift of God-not by works...We are saved from our sins by a free gift of grace, something that only God can do in us...But that gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New longings. For the first time, we want God." P. 39
THAT is what I want for my children. See, they have prayed the "sinners prayer", all of them, at one moment in their lives, driving along the way in our little mini-van. I have each of the dates written down. But, if, as David said, praying the sinner's prayer is not their step into salvation, but only "immediate and total surrender."...
HOW do you explain that to kids? Some perhaps, old enough to understand, but some not. And I think, with the great commission, to go out and DISCIPLE all nations... How do I disciple the little ones in my house, when I do not know yet, if they are a disciple? If they have a new heart?
How do you share concepts as complex as this to little children that are growing up in Christianity? With the word at the table in the morning, and chapel at school on Fridays, and prayer each day at class and each night at bed, and Sunday school and youth group and...
So that is what I am grappling with as I read Crazy Love and chapter two of Radical. How this works being a mom with children.
Abba, Father,
You do not lead us to something that you do not plan to be with us in. There is a reason for these two books in my life, in my momma life. I want what you are doing. I want to be crazy for you, radical for you and disciple my children that way. I do not know how. Where to start. I pray first that you would open my eyes to see, and open their eyes to see and desire you. That you would woo them. That, if you have not already, you would give them your gift of grace and give them a new heart. I do not know, any longer, if I know how to lead them to you. How, Lord does a child totally surrender? I surrender them to you. Lead this momma, please. I do not want to be fooled. Lead me to truth. Lead them to truth.

9 Things Others Said:

Alicia and Lou said...

Thank you for this post! As a mom of a preschooler and a toddler, I am struggling with the same thing. How can I try to explain what it means to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, mind, soul, and strength when He has just started showing me how completely I miss the mark? At what point are they accountable for deciding to follow Christ and at what point am I accountable for not "teaching them diligently" and "talking of them when I sit in my house and when I walk by the way and when I lie down and when I rise up"?


Dorian said...

Thank you for your post. I am encouraged by it. I think the moment each of your children prayed that prayer is absolutely essential and wonderful. I think back to when I prayed at 15. That was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus and it was precious. I was surrendered then and I am surrendered now, but as a 46 yr old mother of 4 it looks a lot different than when I was 15. It's the same way with kids. Just as each disciple had a decision to make and a beginning to their relationship, we all have that same experience.

valerie in TX said...

Visitng from the read-along...I am so right there with you on this. Wondering HOW do I teach my children, if really my teaching has no effect in bringing them to God?? I love your prayer at the end, and am going to start praying these same things for myself and my own kids. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Natalie said...

Oh, Sandee, I can so relate to your heart on this! As you know from visiting my blog (thank you :), I wrestled too with the implication that salvation is more than just a moment in time. Yes, I want to be radical for Jesus and I want my kids to be this, too. The way I see it a sincere profession of faith is the moment of salvation and the rest of our lives are spent in learning how to surrender and become His disciple. Looking froward to journeying with you, sister!

Missy said...

I'm a single mother, too! There don't seem to be too many of us out here in "Christian blog world."

One of the things I'm trying to instill into my little ones is that we all have a "boss" and God is our ultimate boss.

Also, that our hearts are dirty and we can't wash them (like we wash our hands), only God can wash our heart and we need Him to do it.

I was saved at a very early age, and I genuinely believe that I really No, I didn't understand all the theology behind my decision to live my life for Jesus, nor what that would cost me one day. But as I have matured physically, emotionally and spiritually, I have begun to "work out" my salvation and all that means...I'm sure I still have much work to do.

I just wanted to thank you for sharing. In fact, all we can do is what we know to do according to scripture, as you quoted.

Julie said...

Mmm, yes. I was thinking these thoughts (the question ones, didn't get so richly far as you in the answer thoughts - so thank you!)
Your first ideas about "what about my kids while I go off to the wilds" made me think of Hudson Taylor's story. When I read about how his family suffered while he obeyed God's call to be present and gospel-sharing in Asia, it broke my heart. But I think that we can trust God with our children - and that doesn't mean that they will stay "safe" - it just means that He is their ultimate provider and protector and the lover of their souls. Maybe God will call you or me to a wild and scary world, or use us newly here in this wild and scary local world - either way, He will surely give direction as to our dear little ones. This is radical stuff.

Anonymous said...

I love your thoughts and that you are seeking out the answers in God's word. I think the phrases you used from David's book are the same exact ones I used! We have a son who prayed "the prayer" but, there is absolutely no fruit in his life. I think kid's are almost pushed to pray "the prayer". I don't know if there is one big huge moment or prayer. I think it's repenting of our sin and turning from it...then surrendering our lives to Him! I know it's hard to teach kid's surrender. I was once told to treat your kids like they are saved..and like they are not! Teach them to same way. Pour scripture into their lives. Discipline and instruct them with the word.

You are called as their mama to teach and instruct them in God's word. That is your calling! You don't necessarily have to a foreign country to be radical. God blessed you and put you over those four kiddos. You asks you now to train them up for Him! You just do your part and pour on the word...the teaching. It is up to God to call someone unto salvation.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! I found a link for you!! Excellent book and here's the link to read it online!


Here is one quote from this great book!

"Without the blessing of the Lord, your best endeavors will do no good. He has the hearts of all men in His hands, and except He touch the hearts of your children by His Spirit, you will weary yourself to no purpose. Water, therefore, the seed you sow on their minds with unceasing prayer." - J. C. Ryle

I hope this will help!

Melanie said...

I bieleve (I don't know if that is saying much) that as parents we plant the seed. We walk and talk the faith. And even if they have "accepted Christ" at a young age at some point they will have to make it their own. Someday they will stand on their own two feet and decide if their childhood faith really is theirs. This just makes me want to pray and pray for them.