"Mom, are you doing bible study now? Can I come! I want to get my bible study out!"
Little pajama feet pitter-patter up the stairs into the kitchen to grab their nearly-dried out container full of markers and well-used notebooks. They find their small bibles, and negotiate whose name is on the front, double-checking by investigating the types of stickers they find inside the cover ("Oh, Thomas the train - that's mine!!"). They spread their materials out beside me, climbing onto stools at the kitchen island.
Honestly, I groan a little bit. I've been quietly working on my own study for only ten minutes when I'm caught, and everyone feels the need to join me. But deep down, my heart is glad that these future-men are still soft to the Word of God and feel compelled to sit down next to me, at least pretending to read it.
With all of them being under five, very little structured activity actually happens. Instead, they grab markers from each other, get caught coloring directly on the counter, drop their notebooks on the floor, and just generally interrupt mommy's "quiet" time of the morning about a hundred times.
My oldest leans over and asks, "What are you doing mom? Why do you get to write in your bible? What are you reading? What are you marking?" And despite my temptation to push him off - because I actually DO want to get through the passage, I explain my method the best I can. He asks me to read the chapter, which he listens to a few sentences of before starting a drawing of himself riding in a boat with Grandma.
I sigh and wonder, "Is all of this even worth it?" just as the toddler in the high chair noisily smacks the counter screaming for his own marker.
But deep down, I know God is faithful and his promises do not return void. I remember that Jesus made disciples by joining people in their everyday lives, engaging the noise, the mess, and the brokenness. He talked with people about himself and his mission all day everyday, not only at special teaching times. He modeled a love for God, and a commitment to his father's word in less-than-ideal circumstances. And a little part of letting Jesus reign in our house is displaying the same type of love in front of my own children. If I don't really love God - and it's just a pious act - someday they will see right through me.
The truth is, when momma loves the Bible, her children notice. Their response is going to be fueled by the Holy Spirit, because there is no habit that can ignite saving faith in another person - but we can (as Matt Chandler says) plant some powerful kindling through our example.
If you're feeling discouraged, momma - like you aren't doing enough to form your children spiritually, start by focusing on your own relationship with God for a while. Sit down and consistently study his Word. Practice prayer and repentance when God prompts you to confess and walk according to your new life. Allow the truth that you are free from the penalty of sin to elicit worship that everyone in your life can see. When you live this way - you will overflow your love of God onto others. It will spill all over the whole house, just like their sippy cups (am I right?!).
From there - by God's grace - your kids will follow. They will hopefully be drawn to the amazing transforming power of the gospel and the living Word that you love so much. And when that happens, don't get frustrated when they ask to join your "quiet" time. Rejoice at the good work God is doing in them and through you.
Want to learn more or get started with a study? Check here for a tutorial for getting started with the Inductive Bible Study Method (for momma), and if you want to be more intentional, instructing your kids with a simple companion card as they learn about scripture alongside you, download it free here.