My daughter Ella has had a rough couple of months as we have transitioned to a new place. She has struggled in our new place. No it isn’t anything anyone has done. No I am not going into the second grade and having to beat up some boys and girls for not making her feel welcome. She is just having a hard time not seeing her Mom and Dad as much every day. Transitions can be difficult. Childhood can be difficult.
For the first two months at St. John I had a kid who just cried and cried every time I dropped her off. So about two weeks ago I tried a different tactic. I said Ella if we are going to cry every day I am not going to walk you to class. I also said when we go down to her class I would pray for her right at the door and send her into class if she promised to be brave. It is now the best part of my day. I get down on my knees, hold her forehead to forehead and look her right in the eyes and pray for her out loud. My prayer normally goes like this, “Dear, Jesus help Ella to have a great day. Help Ella to not be scared. Help Ella to not get crushed by a boulder…(She smiles about that one) Help Ella to see Jesus. Amen!” I then give her a kiss, a high five and send her off to class. It has totally changed the daily routine.
It really made me think these last few weeks about praying for my kids. I do it every day. Recently I have seen the power in letting them see me pray for them. It is not for show it is so they know God is watching over them. It is a way for me to speak Jesus into there lives.
As a parent, grandparent, brother or sister I would encourage you to pray for your family. From time to time pray out loud in their presence. It is another way to share Jesus in their lives. It may be one of the most powerful ways to show Jesus and His love to those around you. God bless you as your walk with Jesus this week.
Last week I spent time with 20 high school youth on our annual mission trip. It was my last week really working with them because God has called me to a new place in ministry. It was a week of much joy, crying, and laughter. It was truly a great week of ministry. As the week progressed I spent a lot of time with guys and girls in one on one in conversations. I got many opportunities to talk with my youth group and with other students on my crew. Here is what I learned.
All girls need someone to tell them they are beautiful. They need it desperately. We live in a world that tells them they aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or special enough. Girls who are paper thin and the girls who are not don’t ever need encouragement to loose weight. They feel they are ugly. They feel no one thinks they are pretty. I spent the better part of two nights telling girls they were beautiful. That Jesus finds them beautiful inside and out. God looks upon them through the eyes of Jesus and sees beautiful women of God. Please if you are reading this go and find your daughter and tell her she is the most beautiful person in the world. If you have a friend who is a girl remind her she is beautiful in the eyes of Jesus. I know I just did.
Second lesson for the week is for all the men out there. Show your sons and other men that loving Jesus is manly. I talked to a lot of boys who struggled with this. I am so glad I had a number of male leaders this week who are some of the most manly men I know share with these boys how manly it can be to love Jesus. We as men can be manly and love Jesus. It is manly to worship Jesus. It is manly to be undignified to love Jesus. Jesus isn’t just for women.
So parents, adults, and youth, remember to care for each other, remember Jesus finds you beautiful, and remember to share Jesus’ love with everyone it is the beautiful and manly thing to do.
Recently I have had a few parents come to me after our confirmation classes at St. peters and thank me for making them talk with their children about faith. Parents have the most influence in shaping kids spiritual life. They have 7 times the amount of time with them each week. I know I have missed opportunities to help families do the thing God has called them to do which is pass on faith. We are part of the family team. We should be a part of helping students grow in faith. The more important thing to do is spend far more time with people who can have the most influence on the young people who we are serving.
This week I received one of the best and slightly shocking compliments I have gotten in ministry. A mom came to me this week and said thanks for making her talk with her son about faith. I was a little shocked but almost did the imaginary fist bump in the air. She said they are using the model I taught them in confirmation at home during the week. Not every night but that pattern has been great for them. She said I never really talked with my kids about God in a direct way and she really appreciated the helpful nudge through confirmation.
I was blown away. This year we made a tweak to confirmation, I thought it would be better for all involved I just didn’t know it would have such a profound impact on families. For our confirmation classes we have added and extra 30 minutes for parents to sit with their child and share three things; Highs and lows for the week, questions based on the topic for the week, and most importantly how can we use this information during our daily lives. It is a requirement I thought would be good for families. I just didn’t know how much of an impact.
Parents and kids have been blown away by this simple questions. It has helped parents share about how they see Jesus. It has helped students share with parents all the things they have questions about, and how they are living out their faith. It has truly been profound.
So my question for all of us is how are you helping families pass on faith. How can we share simple things for parents to disciple their children in Christ. This simple thing is having profound effect in my ministry. How about you?