About a decade ago, I attended a masterfully staged production of the Greek classic Antigone. As the blind prophet Tiresias forcefully delivered his monologue, he walked with closed eyes around a high platform with nothing but the feel of his feet to keep him from plummeting off the stage. I could hardly attend to his words as my eyes riveted on his steps.
I remember this powerful performance every time I read Jesus’ metaphor in Matthew 15: “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
As Christian parents, we are called to partner with the Holy Spirit to “lead the blind” – to aid our little ones in opening their eyes to the gospel and confidently walk in the way of life.
The question is, are we leading them as blind Tiresias, tentatively feeling our own way along the perilous edge of death and destruction? Or as those with eyes wide open, feet confidently stepping toward Christ?
Like all humans, children learn what they live, not what they’re told. Our children watch us intently to discover what it looks like to follow Jesus (or not). As their guides, we are called to lead them away from the pit and instead model faithful living. We do this daily in how we pray, read scripture, ask for forgiveness, orient ourselves to Christ, prioritize worship, and in what we watch, read, listen to, and say.
As such, we cannot possibly care for the spiritual well-being of our children unless we care for the spiritual health of our own souls. This health comes from regularly engaging in
- conversation with God through reading and studying his Word
- communion with God in prayer
- community with the body of Christ in weekly worship and fellowship
It is through consistent conversation, communion, and community that we experience sanctification, becoming attuned to the work of God in our lives and rooted in Christ such that we bear the fruit of the Spirit.
But Danielle! You say, Most days simply showering is a victory! How can I attend to my soul when my heart and body are so persistently worn out with the demands of parenting?
I hear you. I am you. Two things though:
1 – Remind yourself that the word of the Lord does not return void (Isaiah 55:11) – you have never wasted your time by spending a few minutes in scripture and prayer. These moments always till the soil of your heart to bear the fruit of righteousness.
2 – If you’re struggling to make any one of these things a regular part of your life, I challenge you to brainstorm ways to make it easier.
If you struggle with feeling like you don’t have time to adequately study scripture, give yourself permission to read and meditate on just one verse for just one minute, say a short prayer of gratitude, and see how God uses this small faithfulness in your life.
If pulling out all your study materials is a mental obstacle, put your bible and journal (plus assorted pens, highlighters, and commentary material!) on your nightstand or dining table the night before so it’s ready when you wake.
If your quiet time would benefit from more structure, find a podcast or written liturgy to guide your time with the Lord.
If you need reminders to pray, link prayer to a daily task (like dishes, laundry, or commuting) so that every time you do that thing, you remember to pray while you do it.
If getting out the door on Sunday mornings is challenging, prepare for Sunday morning on Saturday night (prepack the diaper and snack bag(s), pull out everyone’s outfits the night before, and/or put lunch in the crockpot so it’s ready when you get home from the service).
Prioritizing our faith life in these practical ways is not only an investment in our own souls, but in the long-term spiritual health of our children. They learn what they live, so we have to live what we want them to learn. By the grace of God may we each become the guides our children need to develop an eyes-wide-open-and-fixed-on-Jesus faith.
Danielle Hitchen is the author of the Baby Believer series of board books for little ones. These unique and stylish books teach kids basics like numbers, letters, and colors while introducing them to the central tenants of the Christian faith. These make great baby shower gifts or to add to your own library.
Psalm 23, the latest release from the Baby Believer series, introduces little ones to one of the most comforting and beloved passages of Scripture from the Bible.