I recently added Psalm 78:5-7 to my memory verse rotation. It says:
He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation— children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands.
From a biblical perspective, as far as I can tell, the role of a parent is to teach their children about God’s work in the world, what He expects of us and what we can expect from Him. That’s it.
But if you are like me, you might feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought – perhaps a little bit lost in where to begin. There is no better way to help our children come to know God like this than through stories. (Incidentally, this is why at camp this summer we are telling stories for chapel!) You might not think you are much of a story teller, and you may be right! You may not be super creative or clever (like Jesus in His parables), but there is a story that you know better than anyone else; your own.
To tell your story to your children is possibly one of the richest things you can share with them. It will draw them closer to you, their parent, and it will teach them on how God’s story and your story have intersected.
The key to telling your story is to be yourself and honest. Honest like Job! It won’t help our kids to flower up the details or keep them guessing about our doubts when God didn’t show up. We don’t need to share the nitty gritty details of our sordid youth, but to act as if we were as godly back then as we are now [insert muted laughter here], also won’t give them a picture of their parent as a human.
Life is messy. Your kids probably know that. And the number one legacy you can leave them is a legacy of faith in the filth. Confidence in the confusion. Bold although broken! In other words, teach them what it means to be a broken human with a magnificent God.
We often do a writing exercise called “preparing your testimony” while thinking about baptism or in an evangelism course, but if you think about it, your children are your Number One subject for evangelism! And if that is the case, then why not prepare your testimony for them! So how does one go about it? Simple.
A testimony has three parts.
1) What your life was like before Jesus.
2) How you came to submit your life to Jesus.
3) How your life has changed since meeting Jesus.
You can insert favourite verses and especially significant moments when you perhaps planted another “flag” in the ground on your spiritual journey. The more details you can remember the better, particularly the emotional ones.
The truth is your testimony is your best tool to teach your children about Jesus. Even Gideon, when confronted with the profound injustices of an ancient enemy cried out to the angel of the Lord, “…Please Sir, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about?…” Judges 6:13 (HCSB)
Even when the Lord is silent and seems so far away in their life, your testimony will help them cry out to God. That’s pretty powerful.
This summer I will share with you my testimony as I would tell it to my children. But in the weeks between these posts, prepare your own story to tell your kids so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands.
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