From These Ashes

Beauty. In the midst of suffering, brokenness, devastation.

Is it possible?

Dictionary.com defines beauty as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).” 

Our world sees beauty as flawless, perfection, an outward appearance. What if there’s more to beauty than what the eye can see? 

We seem to know the things that are not beautiful very well. Brokenness. Destruction. Devastation. Division. Lies. Accusations. Bitterness. Anger. Hurt. Some of us have experienced one of these things. Maybe more. Some of us go through seasons with these things. Some of us live there or at least camp out there for a while. 

What if there was beauty in the midst of it all? What if there was purpose to our suffering. 

That’s our story.

My husband and I have served in the ministry since before we were married. I felt called to be a minister’s wife and he was called to be a pastor. We got married and started serving together and once our kids came along we continued to serve, but as a family. We recently went through a season in His church that was present with lies, accusations, and division. We were fulfilling our calling and in the midst of it were being torn down. I think for so long we had tried to hold the walls together with whatever we could. We tried to pick up the pieces and glue them together. When that didn’t work, we stood, holding brick by brick up so the walls wouldn’t come tumbling down. As we stood, we watched as what we had built became rubble. We sat in the midst of the rubble, clinging to what remained, clinging to the hope that the walls could be rebuilt, but mourning the loss of what once was. We sat wondering what happens now?

As we wept over the past, we sat holding each other, waiting to see what God had next for us and dealing with the feelings of bitterness and hurt that had enveloped us. What once held beauty had been turned to ashes. What once had brought deep satisfaction now brought hurt, fear and brokenness. 

We spent months living in our hurt, our brokenness, and fighting our bitterness. All the while He was leading us, giving us hope little by little. Assuring us He was rescuing us out of our desperation.  

The words of Isaiah 61 were never as evident in our lives as they were in the midst of our brokenness and suffering. 

He had called us “to bring good news to the poor; to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives (vs.1); to comfort all who mourn (vs.2)” and now we were the ones needing comfort, needing to be reminded of our freedom as the devil, our enemy, had tried to whisper lies in our hearts. 

In the midst of this season, we began to see how our story was affecting others, pointing people to the gospel, changing lives; we began to see the beauty from our ashes, from the rubble. He was giving us a “beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit (vs.3).” We had sat in the rubble, looked up and cried for Him to rescue us, and He did. Oh how He did. He set our feet on a new path and only asked that we follow.

From the ashes, the rubble, there was a white flag. A white flag where we stood on the rubble and said, “We surrender to your will. Your path. Your new beginnings.” In our new beginnings, we are looking back at what was, looking back at the ashes, the rubble, and now we see the beauty in the midst of it all. The brokenness that made us cling to Him. The desperation that made us depend on Him. The new life that grew because of Him. He is planting us, “that we may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified (vs.3).”

See, when we surrender to His will and refuse to camp out in our devastation, we will “build up the ancient ruins; raise up the former devastations; repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations (vs.4).” 

Many will choose to remain in the midst of their devastation, the ashes. As for me, I will choose to pick up the rubble and build an alter. This is where He clothed us with a beautiful headdress. This is where He picked up the pieces and started again. This is where we began again. This is where He showed us beauty from the ashes.

Please check out this video by Nicole Nordeman called “The Unmaking.” This song is my anthem right now. It was the inspiration for this blog:

The Unmaking- Nicole Nordeman

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A Room Full of Mothers, a Meeting, a Ministry

A group of women sat in a living room together. They each had a different story, a different journey. Some had been on the journey of motherhood for a long time, some a short time, and some would begin this journey soon. Some were grandmothers and some were still children themselves. Every one of those women had one thing in common, though; they were all mothers. This was what would be the first of many meetings between these moms. 

A few years prior, God had given one of the women a vision. What if there was a ministry for young teenage moms? That was one ministry that didn’t seem to exist. There were ministries for recovering drug addicts, alcoholics, singles, senior adults, children, women, men, married couples, but where were the ministries for the young teen moms and dads? 

What if the community came together and took young moms and dads under their wings? Taught them how to provide and love their children with a godly kind of love that the world could not offer them? Lives would be forever changed. So a vision formed in her heart that she questioned, but clung to, nonetheless, for many years. 

How would this ministry ever form? 

Who would be apart of this ministry? 

How would she find these young moms and dads in the small, rural community in which she lived? 

This vision stayed with her for many years. She knew that it would have to be something that God would birth and grow. If He began it, He would bring the workers and the harvest. She just had to trust and believe. 

During this time, she met every week with some sweet women to study and grow in the Word. The more they studied the Word, the more their hearts were burdened over their community and the lost and dying world. They would spend hours pouring into the Word and praying for others; their hearts longed to pour themselves as a drink offering into the community. So they began praying a simple prayer, asking God to show them where they were needed and how they could be His hands and feet. 

He was gathering his workers. The women discovered this vision to save a lost generation. Many of them had been young moms themselves and knew the hardships that came along with that. But where was the harvest? 
That’s when God revealed His purpose. One by one he began introducing these women to teen moms in their community. It became very evident that God was placing the harvest in their hands. He was weaving these women’s lives with the lives of a few young moms in the community.

And so a ministry was born. The women started investing in the lives of these young moms. They never needed to pursue one; God always brought them in their path. He was the orchestrator and the heart of the ministry. The women saw a purpose in the burdens they had born for so long. 

This was not an easy or a pretty ministry and the women knew that. Many people around them began raising questions:

“Aren’t you endorsing sex before marriage?” 

“Are you really equipped to help these young moms and dads?” After all, they had made their own beds; they needed to sleep in them. 

The church had turned a blind eye to pregnant teens for so long. The enemy had breathed lies to God’s people, and so they focused on the sin instead of the sinner and His mercy. Meanwhile, the enemy used the world to entice teens to abort their babies by telling them lies:

“You’re too young to be a parent.”

“You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

“A baby would only hinder your dreams.” 
So the purpose of this women’s ministry was very clear: share the love of Christ and save lives. 

The bond that formed between these women and the young moms was unbreakable. Even after coming under fire, the women continued to minister. They continued to carry out the vision God had placed in their hearts. Lives were forever changed. The ministry was for the young teen moms, but He was changing the lives of the women too. He was showing them the need for the gospel and that He has a purpose for each life.

A group of women sat in a living room together. They had been meeting for some time now. They shared testimonies, they helped each other, they leaned on another for support, they didn’t see the sin that had been apart of the journey, but the grace and mercy that God had bestowed upon each of their lives. They saw each other as equals, as mothers. Each woman knew the hardship that often came with motherhood, and as an individual, as one, this could be overwhelming, but as many joined together, as one accord, they could face the hardships together. Nothing was impossible with God.

What if we as women, as moms, as friends, as Christians, as churches loved others in the way that these women loved the young moms? The way that Christ loves sinners, the way He loves His church? This is what “doing life” together is all about. This is God’s command to believers. We were all like these young moms at one time: alone, fearful, ashamed. But then He rescued us as we drew near to the throne of grace and poured out His mercy and grace over our lives in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). 

So because we have been given this mercy, it is our job to show others mercy no matter what their situation in life. It is our job to come alongside them, teach them what we have learned and show them the love of Christ. Who knows. It might just save a life.

When the rain comes…

Rain. For some reason I love the rain. It seems to bring peace. As a kid, when I would spend time with my grandparents, one of our favorite things to do when it would rain was to sip coffee on the front porch as a storm would roll in. It’s still one of my favorite things. The sound of the drops on the ground brings comfort to my soul. I can’t explain it. When others see dreariness and depression, I see hope. Maybe because I know that means God has not forgotten the ground, the plants, the earth. Maybe because after weeks of a drought, his rain brings healing to the earth. Maybe because rain brings relief from the relentless heat of the summer sun. Maybe because after the rain, the plants seem to look up to the sky as if to say, “thank you,” to their maker. 

I have felt the scorching heat on my back for several months, my drought. I have been silent. Every time I’ve tried to “pick up the pen” I’ve not had the strength or the words to say. I’ve been so broken-hearted. We’ve poured our lives into ministry and people and we were torn apart. We saw the ugliness of ministry and the hard hearts of those who claimed His name. And when we didn’t think it could get any worse, it did. That’s when I fell into a depression and a state I had never really known. Some might call it “situational depression.” God has more for you, they said. God has different plans for you, they said. How are you? They asked, and for the first time I couldn’t bring myself to say, “good.” I longed for the day I could say good and mean it or at least lie and maybe convince myself. 

The days and nights seemed to blur and life became something completely different than what I knew. For the first time in my life my servant heart was broken. I was angry. I was bitter. How could life go on and people move on while we were still in this state? Still in pieces? Discarded? I’ve always told people after they’ve experienced a loss that “the rest of the world will move on before you’re ready,” and now we were experiencing that ourselves and it made me angry, made me broken, and just made me want to cry out, “why God?” 

I tried to just hide, blend in, go unnoticed. But that was impossible. Everywhere I went people asked questions. I was faced with my anger and bitterness on a daily basis. Ever felt like there was an elephant in the room? An uncomfortable silence? Everyone staring at you? I had these feelings everywhere I went. Wanting to tell the truth, wanting to cry out from brokenness but always hiding…always protecting others from hurt, but who was protecting me?

Then came the rain, the relief, the healing. He was always there, protecting me, saving me, healing me. Letting me know that I was going to be okay. We were going to be okay. I always knew that. When you stand for truth and follow His will, you could lose all in this life and still gain everything, gain Him. He is worth it every time. 

Maybe that’s why I love the rain. God’s promise that he never forgets, always gives hope, restores what’s been broken. What else would explain how a plant can begin to wilt, but when drinks the rain, is restored to life?  

So it’s time to sit back and allow the healing power of the rain to soothe my weary soul; it’s time to pick up the pen and not be silent anymore…about His story of restoration. Please understand that I am not anywhere near fixed; for right now I’m just drinking the rain and looking to the sky.

“When the rain comes it seems that everyone has gone away—When the night falls you wonder if you shouldn’t find  someplace to run and hide, Escape the pain—But hiding’s such a lonely thing to do.” Third Day: When the Rain Comes

Depression: My Reality…Jesus: My Life

It’s been a while…months…my pen has run dry…I’ve had no words. I still struggle with the words. I have been broken down until nothing was left. But I know that I must pick this pen up. I must pick up and keep going, keep living, keep writing. So here are my thoughts, lessons learned, and my new realities.

Depression…a word I never thought would become part of my vocabulary, my journey. A word that I thought others struggled with, but not me, at least not until last summer. I have a beautiful marriage, 2 children that bring me joy, the best job, and I get to serve in the ministry alongside my husband. So why is this word now a part of my world?

I’ve always said that I would share my journey through this life with others. If my life can be a testimony, can minister to someone, can give someone hope, then it is worth it. When I went through my miscarriage a number of years ago, I shared my story. I was amazed at how many people opened up and shared their story because I had been open and vulnerable, some for the first time. This is no different. Depression is not a pretty part of my story, but it is part of it, nonetheless. May it bring hope and comfort to those walking this same road, and may it give hope to those that love someone walking this part of the journey.

Last summer I experienced some things that were beyond my control. I began to fall into depression and before I knew it, a month had gone by and I was drowning. I was forcing myself to be part of the world around me. I had the most amazing support from my husband and children; I knew that my God had not forsaken me, yet I still felt myself spiraling. There were times that the pain was more than I could bear, and all I could do was close my eyes. Maybe then the pain wouldn’t continue to suffocate me. I began to feel guilty. How could I say that I trust Jesus but allow this pain into my heart, my life? What would others think of me? A Christian, a pastor’s wife, and yet I couldn’t climb out of this pit? I think that was just it. I couldn’t climb out of the pit. There was nothing I could do. I soon sought medical help and joined many others that I know on antidepressants. I felt like I was betraying Him. Betraying the one that created me, that loves me and continues to carry me. But I knew that I needed help.

This was the beginning of a nine-month journey that I am still walking, still fighting, still learning. As difficult as this journey has been, I wouldn’t trade the lessons that the Lord has taught me for the world. My prayer is that by sharing my story and my thoughts, my journey can be a testimony and an encouragement to those who are walking this journey.

For those of you walking this journey:

1. Know that you are NOT alone! You have a Heavenly Father that thinks the world of you and loves you because you are HIS creation. He bought you with the blood of the lamb. You are HIS! There are so many others out there walking the same road, fighting the same fight. That is probably one of the most important things I’ve discovered. When you make yourself vulnerable, others will too. You are NOT alone!

2. Live ONE day at a time. Survive today. Get through today. The Bible says not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has its own worries. Give today to the One who holds today AND tomorrow. My spirit is overwhelmed when I begin to think of all the worries tomorrow holds, but when I focus on today, this moment, His presence in this moment, then I have the strength to make it through today.

3. Know that you were fearfully and wonderfully MADE. He created you in HIS image and His image is PERFECT! Right now we can only see in part- dimly as in a mirror, but some day we will see face to face. Now we only know in part, but someday we will know in full just as we are fully known by Him!

4. Get up. Some days all I could do was celebrate the fact that I had gotten up and out of bed. Do the things you can do. Celebrate life. Jesus came to bring LIFE and life more abundantly. I look back at the times I’ve been in the valley this past year, and the times I regret are the times I’ve missed celebrating life with my husband, my children, my family and friends.

5. Know that what you are going through is OKAY. It is okay if you need help and can’t do it on your own. Be honest- tell someone you need help. You were not made to go through this alone. God doesn’t want you to go through it alone. He wants you to cry out- He is in the HELPING and RESCUING business!

For those of you walking beside someone on this journey:

1. Reach out- your loved one needs you. They need to know that they are not alone. They’re still going to go through this season. It may not fix it for them, but they’ll know they aren’t walking alone.

2. Pray. Some days it feels like the only thing you can do, but it is the BEST thing you could do. Intercede for them- cry out for them. The Bible says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

3. Love. LOVE with an unconditional love- let them know that no matter what, you love who they are and will walk with them. Show them love- show them what it means to love and be loved.

4. Be a SAFE place. This journey is so difficult and can be so lonely. Be someone they can open up to without feeling like they’re being judged.

5. Did I say pray? PRAY daily and sometimes hourly for them. Cry out on their belief. One of the hardest things for me has just been knowing what to say- finding the words on my own. Pray for them when it is difficult for them to pray.

Above all else, run to the One who knows. Knows your heart, your situation, and your being. There is One who is trustworthy. There is One who cares about you- He knows your thoughts and longs to lead you and guide you. Some days I have to convince my soul to rise and praise Him. The amazing thing about our Father is that He never leaves us- it doesn’t matter what state of life we are in. Whether we are walking on the mountain or through the valley. So I will praise Him- He is life, He is hope, and He is my all.

Psalm 139:

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Love Wins

Love wins. This slogan has been in the mainstream media a lot this summer. God began to lay on my heart a message of love that has been taking shape for the last few months and I knew that I had to write and share it with the world. As I started to see #lovewins everywhere, my heart broke. Not for the decision the supreme court made, but for the many people who have never experienced what true love is…the love of Christ. See, the world has cheapened what love is. Follow your heart, they say. God says your heart is deceitful above all things. It’s about what makes you happy, they say. God says let the joy of the Lord be our strength. The world offers a temporary, conditional love that will eventually pass away. The Lord offers an eternal, unconditional love that will last forever. The world’s version of love is about pleasing self; it’s about what you want and your desires. God’s word says the world and its desires will pass away. The Lord’s version of love is about pleasing Him; it’s about offering yourself and sacrificing your desires to bring about peace and love in the hearts of many. His word declares that the man that does the will of God lives forever, and this is His will, that we show the world His love so that many that are perishing will come to know this great love. So please understand that there are two versions of love out there and we must choose how we will love people: with a worldly love or with a godly love.

If we profess to know Christ, if we profess to have been rescued from the world by His death that lives in us, if we claim His salvation in our hearts and have been reconciled to Him, then love is a command. And not the worldly love that tells us to only love those that we deem worthy or that we think deserve our love, but everyone, and His Word says especially those of the faith. 1 John 4:16 tells us that if we live in love, then we live in God and He lives in us. Verse 19 tells us that we only know how to love because He first manifested His love in us. If we have no love in us, then His Word makes us out to be a liar (verse 20) and tells us that if we cannot love our brother or sister who we can see in the flesh, then how can we love God who we cannot see. You see, our proof or evidence that God exists and has come to rescue the souls of many is in the way we love and show His love to the world. Who will believe us if they can’t see His love in our hearts?

Love. Seems like such a simple command, then how come it is so difficult? Even though we have experienced the love of Christ when He died on the cross for our wretched souls, showed us mercy by rescuing us from the punishment of our sins, and continues to show us His grace everyday by lavishing His love and riches, that we do not deserve, in our lives, we continue to experience worldly, fleshly desires because we live in these human bodies. Love is a choice. We choose whether we will love our neighbor. We wrestle everyday with that choice. The struggle is real! Our fleshly desires are constantly battling our spiritual desires and will continue to battle them until we see Him face to face and know Him fully, with every part of our being. Some days, loving like He loves seems impossible and to the world, it is. That’s why they settle for a cheap version of His love. His love seems like it will cost too much.

His Word gives us a picture of what His love is and what His love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (verses 4-8). The world cannot love like this because it does not know God. You who have Christ in your heart, in your life, can. You can love like this because He first loved you like this. When you’ve been wronged, when you’ve been hurt, when you’ve lost everything, when you have nothing or no one, when you feel as though a relationship is beyond repair, you can love like this. Love is what binds everything together in perfect unity. Love is what holds everything together. Love does not cost us anything. It cost Him everything, His life, so that we might know that kind of love in our hearts and love others with that kind of love. It IS possible. But it takes a daily submission to His will. It takes a choice: choosing to love every single day. Some days will be harder, but He has overcome the world and in that, we can have hope.

So love wins. His love wins. Every single time. How can we show Him how much we love Him? By loving His people. And bringing a message of love and hope to a lost and dying world that thinks #lovewins means having desires for whoever you want. Offering the real thing in place of a cheap version. How we love others will declare His message and truth in our hearts. So the next time you are given a choice of whether to love like the world loves or how God loves, know that how we love others will be the evidence of how we love God. Choose His love. Every single day. The world needs to see and experience God’s love.

One Word

One word.

That’s all it takes.

One word to hurt or to heal. To destroy or to build up. To isolate or to comfort. To change lives forever. 

One word is it.

What power we’ve been given with just a simple word. One word. One word can change everything. In your life. In the lives of others. Just. One. Word.

Life.

With that word there is hope. We are alive. There is blood running through our veins, breath in our lungs. A new life brings new beginnings. The start of life. Wrapped in a tiny bundle of joy. 

Death.

With that word comes sorrow. An ending. Life is gone. Blood and breath are gone. Death is final. For the saved, death brings hope and comfort. Knowing your loved one is in the arms of our Savior. For those who don’t know Him, death brings damnation. Eternal separation.

Hate.

This word destroys. This word is a cancer to the soul. It can begin with a thought, which turns into a mindset, which invades every part of our being. Hate destroys relationships. Hearts. Lives.

Love.

WIth that word comes happiness. Love ties everything together. Love gives hope that tomorrow will be okay. Love heals all wounds. God’s love brings about an ending joy. His love shows grace and mercy to the undeserving sinner.

Salvation.

Life, death, hate, and love all wrapped up in one word. Life. New life beginning with Jesus Christ. His love and hope running through our veins. His breath in our lungs. Death. Death of our former life, our former selves. Death of the ugly sin that once held us hostage. An ending. A final death of our own desires. Hate. A hatred for my sin nature that still tries to take control somedays. A hatred for the thoughts I sometimes still entertain. A hatred for the sin and the enemy that still controls those I love. A hatred for the words, the actions, the sin that has destroyed relationships, hearts, and lives. Love. A newfound love for those who don’t know Him. A love for new life. A love that gives new mercies everyday. A love that heals all wounds, that mends what’s been broken. A love for the grace and mercy he has shown me, an undeserving sinner. A love for this One that calls me His. A love for Him who picked up my broken pieces and put them back together. 

With one word we can put to death the things of the flesh and show others this new life.

With one word we can love with the kind of love that erases all hate.

Jesus.

The only one word that truly matters.

The only word that can heal and rescue lives for all eternity.

The Day of Salvation: A Mother’s Greatest Joy

“This is the day.” I have prayed for the salvation of my children since before they were born. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter over 8 years ago; I immediately covered my belly with my hands and prayed with tears of joy. I prayed for her future, but most of all, her salvation.

As the years went on, my heart would plea for my children to know and walk in the Lord. Every conversation, every moment spent with my oldest would leave me wondering, is this the moment? Is this the day? When will it come? Like a kid before Christmas, I awaited these things.

As a parent, there is no greater joy than watching your children grow in their understanding of spiritual things. In the beginning they have such a simple understanding. God is real because He is. Their prayers are simple and they talk to God so easily. As they grow in understanding, their prayers and beliefs grow deeper, but they never lose the simplicity of “God’s real because He is.” My 4 year old son’s prayers have changed from thanking God for every toy in his room, to thanking Jesus for dying on the cross to take away our sin and praying for God to help him be kind to others.

So my heart was overjoyed when my daugher began asking questions over a year ago about death, salvation, the resurrection, heaven and hell, and what being a Christian really meant. While we were so excited since we had been waiting for this moment for years, we were extremely cautious. We didn’t want her to make a decision based on what we wanted, what her friends had done, or fear of hell. We wanted her to come to Jesus because in her little heart, that was the only place to turn to. Over the next year, we watched, waited, and continued conversations about salvation with her. She’d say, “I’ll make the decision when I’m 7,” and then it became, “when I’m eight.” We tried to be patient and understanding because we wanted it to be her decision, not ours. An eternal decision that would last the rest of her life.

Finally, that day had come. My husband’s grandmother had just passed away a few days before after a long battle with Alziehmer’s. At the visitation, we let our children view the body. We felt like it was important for closure. We talked with her about how Granny was in heaven because of a decision she had made long ago to follow Christ. My daughter and a couple of her cousins began talking about this and came to view the body over and over again. We knew she was pondering all of these things. Over the next few days, she asked many questions and we opened the Word and talked through them with her. One night during Kidstreet (our children’s ministry), my daughter kept asking her daddy, who leads the ministry, to talk to her. She could hardly contain herself until we got home. As soon as he walked in the door, she said she was ready to talk about salvation. I watched as my husband took our daughter in his lap, opened the Word, and walked her through the story of Christ, starting with the beginning. Over the next hour, she listened intently, like she had never listened before, and finally she prayed and told God how thankful she was for his sacrifice at the cross and how she wanted to follow him. She had originally wanted to wait until she turned eight, but that night she said she just couldn’t wait! I told her with tears of joy how long I had prayed for this day, and she responded with, “This is the day.” Yes, my sweet one, this is the day of salvation.

There were so many things that led to this day, so many people who played a part in her journey to this moment. However, what we have found is that we are the most important people. We are the ones who shape our children’s understanding of who He is. Since being a parent and being in the ministry,these are some things that we have found over the years that will help lead children to follow the Lord.

1. Live out your faith

You are your child’s best teacher. They will watch you, mimic you, and learn from you, so you must decide what you want to teach them. If you desire your children’s salvation, live out your own faith. A friend of mine has a son who became interested in the Lord at 4 years old. She realized that she couldn’t really talk to him about spiritual things because she didn’t know much about the Lord. This began a lifelong journey of seeking the Lord for herself and learning about him for herself first, and as she grew, her famiy grew as well. Her son’s faith was so important to her, that she sought after the Lord so she coud grow and teach her son.

2. Speak openly about your walk with Christ.

As a Christian society, we have become so focused on our children “asking Jesus into their hearts” that sometimes we forget to share the reality of what a relationsip with Christ means and looks like. They are on a seeking journey and the best thing we can do is be real with them. Share about your heartaches, your weaknesses, your stuggless (they will see them anyway), but also share about your Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer, Restorer. No, you don’t have to share everything, as they may not be ready to handle certain things, but be real about your walk with Him. You might find that as you share, you will grow too. One of the most difficult conversations I had with my daughter was about 9/11. She had watched part of a documentary with her daddy and that sparked questions she had about heaven and hell. Even though there were some difficult truths that needed to be discussed, I did not shrink back. This was part of her seking and she needed to know the truth about righteousness and evil.

3. Let them ask questions. If you dont know the answer, ask someone who does or search for it until you do.

It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to the questions they ask. They can ask some pretty tough questions as their little mind is searching for truth! Like my friend who wanted to be able to answer these questions her son was asking, seek out answers and talk to poeple who may know the answers. It is so important to take an active role in your child’s journey for truth. Your faith will grow along the way!

4. Take your child to church and children’s programs regularly and attend them yourself! Show them where your priorities are!

If your child desires to play a sport, you teach them and sign them up to play on a team where they can learn. So if they desire to learn about the Lord, bring them to a place where they can learn and grow. Show them that their growth is important and that you value their desire to know the Lord. But even more important, attend yourself; remember, you are your child’s greatest teacher and even if you think others know more than you, they will look to you first. My friend didn’t just start dropping her son off at church so he could learn, she became an active participant and came herself!

5. Pray for their salvation.

Above  all, never cease to pray for their journey as they seek the Lord and for that sweet day of salvation as it draws near. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (‭3 John‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬ ESV).” That day will be one of the best moments. It was the greatest moment in this momma’s heart. And may you treasure and ponder these spiritual things as Mary did, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬ ESV).”