I can clearly remember the day my 14-year-old daughter can home from youth camp. She’d gone as a junior counselor, but she came home a changed girl. Leslie grew up in church, she loved God, and she tried to be obedient to her father and me, but at that camp she repented of her sin and accepted Christ for herself. When she returned home, she was hungry to know God more and to read His Word. She asked her dad and me hard questions about the Bible (we had great conversations!) . . . and she shared God’s truth with her friends.
Luke 15:8-10 talks about the woman who lost one of her silver coins and then rejoiced when it was found. I love verse 10. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
You can bet there was much rejoicing with my husband John and me to see the transformation in our daughter! And the truth is, although God used the camp as the moment of my daughter’s repentance and salvation, that moment came after years of John and me modeling a relationship with Christ to her. It came after years of teaching her the Bible and explaining God’s plan for His people. It came after prayers for my daughter—too many to count—that started from the day I found out I was pregnant with her.
Do you pray that your child will someday turn to God?
Yes, we can hope and pray our children will have their own relationship with Christ, but we also must strive to be intentional about sharing our faith and about modeling abiding in Him in our daily lives. My co-authors and I talk about this in our book, Lead Your Family Like Jesus:
Time to Follow the Leader
Jesus was a model for “being in the moment.” I don’t think training His disciples was a hit-and-miss thing. Since Jesus was intentional about all He did on earth, the leading of the men closest to Him was no doubt done with thoughtfulness and an understanding that can only come from a heaven-sent vision. As He walked together with His disciples on the journey of life, Jesus observed them in the moment, listened to them, and answered their questions.
I’d like to think that the time Jesus spent walking to and from work alongside his earthly father, Joseph, resting in the midday for a meal with him, and asking him questions helped to prepare Jesus to offer the same kind of relaxed fellowship to His disciples. Like father, like son—in more ways than one.
That doesn’t just apply then, but also now. Remember what Jesus said:
For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them. (Matthew 18:20)
The grace of Jesus’ presence can be with us today. Two thousand years after He walked on earth, His beckoning voice still calls, saying, “Come to Me,” and “Abide in Me.”
Young children live fully in the moment. They aren’t thinking of the past or looking toward the future. Crying, skipping, or jumping up and down, they live in a real-time world and hunger for you to be there with them.
One of my favorite images of a parent in the moment with a child is my sister-in-law, Susanne, talking with her children when they were young. Because of a hearing loss, it’s a challenge for her to understand what people are saying unless they’re faced directly toward her.
So whenever her little ones wanted to speak with her, Suzanne would kneel down, lovingly hold their face with both hands, and listen with her eyes and ears to what they had to say. It’s a beautiful picture of listening that we can incorporate into our parenting.
I also like to think of Jesus doing the same thing as we turn to Him for help. Can you picture the tenderness in His eyes? Can you imagine His desire to lead you with tender care?
Sometimes as moms we may feel weak when we have to turn to God over and over and over again, but He wants to be there for us. He wants us to come to Him for help. We only do our role as leaders well, as parents well, when we are following Jesus. It’s then we walk in a way that is worthy of our children following.
Hoping that our children will turn to God is not enough, we must put feet to our prayers. We must live in the moment with our children and turn to God in the moment to gain the help He is more than willing to give.
More about Lead Your Family Like Jesus
Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee? Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders. Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light—as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book’s practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.