Edy Sutherland shares how to walk your children through the process of trusting God everyday.
She sat and listened, intently.
A week later, while snuggled with me at bedtime, my almost 6-year-old daughter asked, “Mommy, does God really answer prayers like that?”
From the stage, I addressed an audience of outdoor enthusiasts, specifically mountain climbers and those that rescue them. I told of a time I peddled my mountain bike 23 miles across the same mountainous terrain the Army’s 10th Mountain Division once used to prepare for battle.
I pleaded, “God reveal yourself so powerfully, I will have a testimony to share with others of who you are.” My appeal poured out of my heart on the gentle ascent, on the chilling descent, up the menacing switchbacks, across the lush alpine meadow and down through the frightening thunderstorm. I repeated my desire to God even as the trail narrowed to become treacherous and uninviting.
I spoke of my resolve to trust God.
I explained to her, “God shows us who He is through His many names in the Bible.” I went on to clarify to her, “I learned on that adventure I can truly trust WHO God says He is and believe WHAT He says He can do.”
It was several years after my bike ride that I studied, God is Yahweh-Jireh (Genesis 22:14), the Lord will provide.
As a trained and certified snow sports instructor, I know if you want someone to really have ownership of a skillset there is a progression to move a student through. You can trick them into thinking they know how to snowboard or you can give them real experience on how to.
As a mommy and disciple maker, the same steps apply to helping my daughter learn how to be a true follower of Jesus.
- Start by explaining how and why the equipment works. Do not cheat them out of the facts. God reveals to you and me WHO He is and WHAT He will do through His many names in the Bible. These are the facts.
- Be real. Demonstrate how one moves to engage the equipment. Prayer is the key to open the door to God’s glory. Pray for God’s goodness to be shown and His will to be done (Matthew 7:7, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:5-15).
- Ask them to try it out. As a snowboarder learns a new skill or a disciple discovers a new attribute of God, ask them to affirm what they have learned experientially (James 1:6).
- As they have success, give them many opportunities to practice with you guiding the way and cheering them on. Remind the student of God’s strength (Philippians 4:13). Reassure them God is good and faithful to show He is a true and living God (Romans 8:28, 2 Timothy 2:13).
- Send them off without you. At this point the student should be well practiced and have knowledge of how and why the board turns or have many authentic encounters with God. His Word is living and active in their life (Hebrews 4:12).
- Check to see how they are doing. As my daughter grows in grace and her knowledge of her Lord and savior (2 Peter 3:18), I can help her to see if she has a fullness of Christ dwelling in her (Ephesians 3:16-17).
Summer is over, my daughter has started kindergarten and another amazing encounter at vacation Bible school has passed. I am thankful for vacation Bible school. The leaders make step 1 clear and fun. But, I cannot stop at step 1. I must walk my daughter through the process of trusting God in everyday life. The thrilling moments of experiencing God will invoke elation she is already very familiar with, “Wheeee!”
Written by Edy Sutherland