Okay, can I confess something? I’ve always struggled when Bible Study leaders or pastors tell us how good it is for us to journal; to regularly write down our thoughts on a passage or write out our prayers or feelings in our current life circumstances. I. Do. Not. Journal.
Actually, I love sticky notes. A thought comes to mind, I jot it down on the closest sticky note, and stick it somewhere. Done. Of course, each time I am hopeful I have posted it somewhere that I will actually come across it again!
I have progressed a little recently though. I now have a notebook where I can place my sticky notes in to keep track of them. I even have a notebook for each of the main areas I’m responsible for in life – Photography Business, Church/Youth Ministry, and Home Life – so my sticky notes can be placed in the correct notebook and sorted or if I have an idea, I can jot it down quickly in the pertinent notebook. No, I am not a journal-er by nature – does that make it odd that I write a weekly blog?
Last week I talked about how often I feel a lack of words when it comes to teaching my children about God, His Glory and Grace, sin, the truth of the Gospel, and so much more. Just this week, my son wanted me to explain how God and Jesus can both be God. I definitely don’t have the right words to explain the Holy Trinity to a six-year-old! Yet, in our lack God is faithful to supply what we need – abundantly. We can pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to make up for our deficit.
I’ve also been working on adding a new Spirit-inspired discipline into my life, because the reality is, part of raising our children to follow Christ depends on us being intentional. And being intentional can take some discipline. Yes, perhaps even some journaling. Ugh.
So, I’ve started setting aside time once a month to prayerfully write down the answers to these questions for each of my children:
• What verse can I pray over them for the month?
• Where have I seen the Image of God displayed in their personalities or abilities? How can I help my child see this and encourage them to grow more in these areas?
• What areas are they struggling with – perhaps an area of sin, weakness, habits, etc.? How can I help them see their need in this area while sharing God’s forgiving grace and willingness to help them? Are they practical ways I can help them work on this area of struggle?
• Is there a phrase God might want me to speak to them repeatedly this month – perhaps to go along with something they are learning at church that month or the memory verse they are working on?
For the rest of the month, I want to keep this near me during my Bible Study time and pray over these things for my kids. It’s pretty simple, but for me, taking the time to write it down forces me to think it through – to consider my children, their strengths and their weaknesses, and the ways that I can pray and help them in these areas. And the truth is, life is busy. If I don’t intentionally make time to think through these things, this seasons of life will pass me by and I will have missed my opportunity to an instrument of change and growth in these areas of their lives.
(It can also be helpful to write out aspects of your faith that your children ask you about or you struggle to have the right words for at the right moment. This helps you think through what you believe so that the words are ready when you need them).
So, Mom and Dad, what intentional things do you do to help you be prepared with the words you feel you lack? I’d love to hear them!
Father God, you fill up our lack. You are abundantly more than adequate to meet our needs – every single one of them. Fill us up. Supply our need. Pour your great, overwhelming love on us. Give us strength and determination to do what we need to in order to help our children know who you really are. And today, would you help us and our children to experience your presence in a new and profound way? Show us your glory. That is what we long for! Amen.