As Christians, we’re called to make disciples and as moms, it starts at home. But how exactly do we do that?
“We’ve all been there. We’ve all given our children instructions, they’ve asked why, and we’ve responded with neither grace nor eloquence, ‘Because I said so!’
We’re tired, exasperated, and in search of a quick fix.
But if time paused and we were given a moment to really think about the answer to their question of why, what would we come up with? Why do we want them to do what we’ve asked them to do? What are the motives behind our commands? What’s driving us?
In the Bible, Paul answers the question why over and over. In every letter he wrote to the early churches, he didn’t merely give them instructions for godly living and say, “Because I said so!” He gave them—and us—a foundation, a motivation, a robust reason for doing what God asks us to do.
When we read Colossians, we can almost hear Paul’s words getting faster and faster, culminating in a crescendo of praise. And then he says, ‘Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.’
The praise comes first, then the pivot, and then the instruction for godly living. This order is crucial.
First, we understand the nature and character of our God. We remember his goodness and kindness to us. We recall how he gave himself over to us. We acknowledge that we were in darkness before him and he brought us into the kingdom of light. We say out loud that he’s a gift we do not deserve.
Then, after those rehearsals and proclamations, we set out to obey our good God. It’s from a heart full of remembrance and praise, which is how we received Christ Jesus the Lord, that we walk in him.
First we remember the gospel, and then we walk in it.
Christian parenting is discipleship. As Christian moms, we want our homes, our language, our actions, our thoughts to be distinctly Christian. So our answer to why must have the substance of our Savior.
May they bear the aroma of Christ.
It was his grace that saved us. May it also be his grace that propels us. God’s grace is the answer to why.”
The most effective parents I know are those who communicate a vision to their kids—those who say, ‘This is who we are. This is who we follow. And this is where we’re going.’
These are parents who take into account the unique giftings, talents, and challenges within their family and work together toward God’s purpose for their family.
In Matthew 28, Jesus gives his disciples one last important charge before he went back to heaven: ‘Make disciples.’
Now, sometimes we read this charge with overseas missionaries in mind—they have gone out into all the world and are making disciples in other lands. But did you know that as a parent, you also have a wide-open mission field right in your own home?
Although the reality of faithfully and daily discipling our kids can be hard, discipleship is simply helping our children see what their faith in Jesus means in the day-to-day.
When we craft a family vision, we’re asking our kids to take this journey of discipleship along with us.
We tell them who we are and where we’re going as a family.
We teach our kids the characteristics of the Christian life that we value most.
We help them see that living a life of following Jesus is the most fulfilling and exciting way to live.
How do we begin to figure out a vision for our family?
I spent much of my high school and college years intentionally building relationships with unbelievers, sharing the gospel with strangers, and passing out tracts. I even wanted to bring this message to other nations as a missionary.
But God was leading me to a different season than I imagined for myself. A season that didn’t look like typical missions work or much of an evangelistic opportunity. I was to become a wife and mother.
My interactions with the outside world were mainly the cashier at the grocery store, the children’s librarian, and people at the park. My limited interactions were fraught with countless interruptions, distractions, and little moments of crises.
I didn’t understand how this desire to evangelize matched up with motherhood, especially the part of motherhood that involved changing diapers and cleaning spit up. And I would feel guilty for not actively sharing the gospel with someone else.
But I was thinking about motherhood and evangelism wrong.
When Jesus walked this earth, he made disciples. He called them to come and follow him. He didn’t share a brief three point sermon, knock on a door, pass out a tract, and then walk away. He walked the same roads as his followers and traveled in their shoes. Jesus went the distance.
Because making a disciple takes time.
I can change the baby’s diaper as an expression of a type of sacrificial love that reflects Jesus. I can teach both my boys that the gospel is their only hope for change and right living, while I reach out to the mom next door. I can love my children and the mom from story time. They are both my neighbor.
When I offer my children grace, love, and acceptance in their failures I’m pointing them to a greater version of these things in Christ. Just the same, when I extend an invitation for a playdate with an unbeliever I’m reflecting a greater invitation from the Savior.
I’m being faithful where God has me.
I can trust God with the new seeds I plant now.