Four a.m. I awake. The year has been tough. I have experienced a great deal of loss, and sleeping doesn’t come easily. My heart aches with sadness. This crisp and cold morning, however, it wasn’t the inability to sleep that woke me — it was a voice. It clearly said, “Come, let me show you what I have been teaching you.”
Sadness and sorrow bring the question Why? to the beginning of many thoughts.
The Source of Comfort
As a Christian, it is one thing to know and remind ourselves the truths we are taught in Scripture: all things are of Him, by Him, and through Him. All things are for His glory. But the heart still aches.
We are also blessed to have Genesis 3:15, for this answers so many of the why questions. Sin has entered the world, and through it, so has the pain and suffering that we will all experience.
For me, the comfort for that painful year came through a voice. What I heard next on that sorrowful morning calmed my spirit, made me realize the vast love of our God, and brought fresh understanding while renewing my faith.
I have taught you to number your days.
I quickly bolted out of bed to grab my Bible. You see, I have heard these words before — number your days. After a quick Google search, I came to Psalms 90:12:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
That morning, the Lord, through the Spirit, used the Scriptures to minister to my aching soul. In the days that followed, I thought often of my children and how I should prepare them to hear from God. You see, this was not the first time I had heard from the Lord — with Scripture memory, journaling, copying verses, and daily reading, the words of God are etched in my mind. No, I cannot recall each verse by memory, but when the Spirit speaks a memory ignites and grace is experienced.
So how can we help our children ready themselves to hear from God?
Starting Out & Getting Excited
When my kids were wee little ones, I was a new Christian. I would read aloud for about fifteen minutes each day from the Scriptures. I was always amazed at how much these little five- and seven-year-old girls retained and understood.
In the area of phonics and reading, the Bible was their practice book. Sitting by their side, I could help them both decipher the words and understand the meaning. For handwriting and copywork, Bible verses were an inexpensive alternative! We could barely afford schooling material in our young married lives, and little did I know how much this would influence these kids.
Beginning to Understand
By the middle school years, the kids began to understand that in the early morning, Mom was up to something. She had her coffee, Bible, and journaling book on the table. Sometimes there were used tissues, and sometimes mom sat looking heavenward, in awe of learning a little bit more about the great God of heaven!
I began teaching the kids the importance of reading the Bible for themselves and memorizing Scripture. We were involved in church programs that rewarded Scripture memory, and we would hold contests to see who could memorize entire chapters of the Bible.
At some point in their middle school years, they began to journal. Simply taught, they would begin by copying a few Scripture verses (we taught them to read through a book a few verses at a time). Then they would journal their thoughts and ideas, coupled with a prayer list.
Learning to Reason
I am going to be completely honest here. I could continue this article by giving you the perfect recipe for instilling Bible into your high school student, but if my girls read this, they would know that mom did not do those things with them.
You see, great pain and sorrow came to our home several years ago, and instead of going to the one who calls you at four a.m., I coped by throwing myself into other things. Yes, we still went to church, but Bible reading and journaling seemed to fall away. Our girls were in high school, and I wasn’t diligent to continue what we had started in their earlier years.
However, the Lord will leave the ninety-nine to find the one sheep that has gone astray! The Lord found me and now, instead of instilling a routine in high school with my children, I talk openly about what I wished I had done and what I would love to see them do. It is, after all, their own relationship with Jesus that they must develop.
I sometimes wonder if I have failed my three eldest girls by not being a better example of faith, but then the Lord graciously reminds me that the shortcomings they see in me and the love of God in rescuing me is oftentimes more powerful than that perfect recipe.
Continuing to Learn and Train
Now then, I have only have my two high school boys at home, and what I have learned (disclaimer: just because I am writing this article does not mean I have this all figured out!) is that high school is a season to begin conversations with your children that create interest. I share my four a.m. moments, and I share new insights through reading of the Scriptures. They have seen me cry uncontrollably at the loss of a loved one and yet say, “I will yet praise Him!”
High school is where it becomes real, and the way for our children to hear from God is to see it become familiar firsthand!
Each of us has a different story, and we are on a unique journey with our children.
That is where the power and providence of God is our support and starting place. Perhaps you’re just starting out, and you can implement a plan to teach your children from an early age. Maybe your children are older, and you haven’t thought about this aspect of life. Regardless of where you are, it’s never, never, never too late to start showing our children a way of life that leads to peace.