“How does your family deepen its relationship with Jesus at home?” That’s the question I’ve asked several parents like you. This month, I’d like to share Christine Schneider’s reflections. She’s my sister-in-law, the mother of two children, and lives in San Jose, California. Okay Christine, tell us about your family’s faith life at home.
SONG: Our really small beginning started three years ago when all we did was sing “Jesus Loves Me” to entertain our daughter, Rebecca, during her diaper changes and to keep her from crying in the car. We were so encouraged when it became apparent that this simple tune about Jesus great love had become a comfort to her as she attempted to calm her screaming infant brother by singing it.
PRAYER: The habit of regular conversation with God has been another simple and fun way to connect spiritually. It started out with me praying over Rebecca during the middle-of-the-night feedings – for physical and spiritual growth, future endeavors, future spouse, etc. When she started to eat meals with us we included her in our prayers, folding her hands until she was able to do it herself. She now says the prayer, and our son Caleb, now 16 months, loves to fold his own hands spontaneously and encourage us to pray again and again throughout the meal.
DEVOTIONS: Our bedtime devotion routine has evolved and is short and sweet. We pile into Rebecca’s bed, read a couple books including the Little Golden Book Bible (which has sparked many neat thoughts and conversations with Rebecca), say a standard bedtime prayer (“Now I lay me…”). Then my husband or I add on a free-form prayer at the end—thanking God for our day, particular blessings, the lessons learned, and/or special prayer requests. We ask Rebecca if she would like to say a prayer (she hasn’t yet). Then we turn off the lamp and sing a hymn or Bible song (often “Jesus Loves Me” with an added verse: “Yes, Mommy loves you; Yes, Daddy loves you; Yes, Caleb loves you; and Heidi (our dog) loves you too”).
TRAINING IN GODLY CHARACTER: We simply try to continue to learn and practice Godly character in our interactions with each other and with others. One way we’ve started to train our children in Godly character is to use the names as we correct and encourage them: “You were so patient as you waited for your snack.” “It is being selfish when you take all of the trains for yourself. Can you find a way to share?” “That was very generous!” “Thank you for saying sorry, I forgive you.” (or “Will you forgive me?”)
And that’s how Christine and her family deepen their relationship with Jesus at home. There’s no one way to do it. You’ve got lots of options. And while it may seem daunting at first, Jesus promises that when you gather in his name, he’s always present.