Today I have a special treat for you. Aimee is a lovely blogging friend. The posts on her blog, A Work of Grace, often empower and motivate me to dive deeper into my relationship with God. I’m excited that she’s here today to share how she incorporates her spiritual journey into building faith with her children. I was so inspired by this post and I can’t wait for you to read it too. So, without further ado, here’s Aimee…
I’m not a morning person – just ask my husband. He often jokes about not speaking to me until I’ve had my first sip of coffee. If I’m honest, there are days where there is just a smidge of truth to his teasing (ok, maybe more than a smidge, since I’m being honest).
I don’t get up at 5 am to do anything, let alone study my Bible and pray. My day is full of teaching the kids, answering emails for work, prepping for my writer’s workshop or weekly co-op, marking student portfolios, working on report cards…the tasks seem endless.
How on earth do I manage to get my own time in God’s word every day? How can I survive my busy day without speaking to God and listening for His voice?
I am sure you are just as busy as I am and you have struggled with the same questions. I’ve realized that much of my time with God does not have to be separate from my kids…in fact, I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be. My kids love when we learn about God together. If it works for you to get that time in alone, that’s great. But if you can’t, then don’t get caught in that guilt trap – that’s not from God! I am going to share 5 of my favourite ways to incorporate this time with God with activities with the kids.
1. Begin each morning with a couple of worship songs. I love to sing worship to my Saviour. So many times, those worship songs turn into prayers for me. Interestingly enough, I see this happening with my youngest. She says she feels so close to God when she sings these songs to Him. She recognizes that these songs have turned into prayers for her as well. You see, she has had long term medical problems that have caused shame, embarrassment and humiliation. Worshipping as a family has helped her to work through this difficult condition. Our worship time as a family draws us closer together and draws each of us closer to God. We use lyric videos on YouTube for our worship time.
2. My children enjoy spending time with God in prayer. Prayer is an especially essential practice in our family. We each have a prayer journal for our time with God. All three of my kids, including my son who resists colouring and writing, delight in adding to their journals. They write words declaring God’s sovereignty in one section – they use various colours and fancy writing. In another section, they write down the sins they are struggling with and ask God to help them live in victory over sin. In a third section, they jot down their requests. Finally, they spend time thanking God for all they have and for prayers that have been answered. They are free to add other special notes, pictures, drawings and doodles into their journals as they see fit. We do this activity every morning and we spend time in prayer using our journals.
3. I love marking up my Bible. I encourage my kids to do the same with theirs. We highlight verses and passages that speak to our hearts. We use little hearts where we read the word ‘love’ or it’s synonyms. We may draw x’s through sins or instructions of things not to do. A tiny cross works well for the name of Jesus. We circle specific words and colour important phrases. We spend time discussing what we’ve learned from our studies.
4. We use scripture to encourage one another. My kids need to feel the love of God from His promises just as much as I do. I reassure them of His truths. I point them to specific scriptures and then I find they are the verses I need to hear myself in that moment. When you are filled with His love and you are confident in His adoration of you, aren’t you much more eager to live a disciplined life? I sure am. Because I have been purposeful in this practice with my children, they are returning this blessing to me. For example, the last week has been very difficult for me, filled with a lot of pain and hurt. My daughter has reminded me that I need to hand my pain over to Jesus. He is able to carry it. I also added a special quote from my daughter at the bottom of this post.
5. After our morning worship and before family study, we each spend about 10-15 minutes doing our own personal study. This gives me the time I need in God’s word and the children observe their mom actively studying scripture. Younger children may spend this time drawing a picture of a favourite Bible story, or you can have family study time before personal studies and the little ones can draw something they have learned that morning. Another idea is for you to copy a line from one of the worship songs sung that morning and the child can draw and colour the page. With younger children, this personal study time may be only for 5 minutes, and that’s ok.
I used to feel guilty for not getting out of bed at 5 am to study my Bible and pray for an hour and a half. I used to feel like a failure as a godly mother because my children didn’t wake up each morning to the sight of me reading my Bible. And then I realized it isn’t when or how long I spend in His word, but the fact that His word penetrates my heart.
I find this method of incorporating my time in with my children much more effective than if I were to get up before the sun rose. And besides, I enjoy my morning cuddles with my husband and with my youngest.
Aimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married for 17 years and still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking and having heart to heart talks with girlfriends. She blogs over at A Work of Grace.
Wonderful tips and I am not a morning person either here, so I appreciate and all help on incorporating this more throughout my day, as well. So, thank you so much!!! :)
Thanks Janine! I like how you said to ‘incorporate more into your day’. I think that’s the key to growing a relationship with God. And enjoying spending time with Him no matter what time of day it is. To be able to commune with God throughout our day is a beautiful thing!
I am not a morning person. I’ve been trying to wake up earlier at 5am every morning to study the Bible and pray for some time and I still trying to do so, so that my morning will be less rushing. We always rushing in the morning so praise and worship take place before bedtime. Thanks for sharing.
I like the idea of worship time before bed! Rushing our time with God would not be a good thing. I am so thankful God meets us where we are at and one way isn’t ‘better’ than the other. I think if my kids went to school, my time with God would be totally different. When my kids are in their teens years and even when they are out of the house, that time will be different. Maybe I will get up at 5 or 6 am then. Different stages and life situations change the way we develop our faith. And seasons, too! I deal with SAD every winter, and that makes it more difficult to get up early. But spring is here!
Although I go to church with the kids I’m always looking for ways to build a bit more faith in their lives. These are all great tips and I will be incorporating a few into our busy days. Thank you for guest posting today.
Thank you Amanda! I am so glad these ideas blessed you and encouraged you. Life is busy and time passes so quickly, doesn’t it? It can be so easy to get caught in the guilt trap of not ‘doing enough’. That’s not how we were meant to live. It really is making a few changes here and there that will help us to grow and not feel so overwhelmed with doing it all and doing it ‘right’.
Oh this is so good! My daughter actually has 3 or 4 Bibles that are all very different, and we read them all. She also loves singing worship songs! I try to encourage her to sing them more often and talk about the songs when we’re done singing.
Thank you Tiffany. We enjoy seeing how our favourite worship songs (that’s a very long list…) help to build our faith. I am hoping that this training will be life long for them. That is my greatest desire, that my children will always walk closely with the Lord.
What a special post! I can NOT wait for the day to teach my kids about Jesus, especially since I didn’t grow up in a Christian home! I Love the ideas, esp starting the day out with worship songs <3
Thank you Caroline. I so enjoy teaching my kids about Jesus. He is my Saviour and my Redeemer. I long for my children to love Him even more than I do. Maybe my daughter’s printing isn’t ‘where it should be’. Or I don’t force my son to write more essays, reports, etc. Or my oldest daughter gets is just not ‘into’ world history. But as long as they are growing in their faith, that is enough.
What a great idea to have your children use a journal too! I’m not an early riser either. My nine month old is my alarm clock! After he was first born I really struggled with getting my quiet time in each day. Now I sit him in his high chair and I read my devotional book out loud to him. I’m looking forward to putting some of your ideas into practice as he gets a little older!
Emily, I think us moms get enough guilt as it is, hey? Let’s just encourage each other regardless of what time we get up – and getting up when your 9 month old gets up is perfect! I just LOVE that you read your devotional to your son! What a great way to bond as mommy and son. You are sharing in the love of Christ together. And that is amazing.
I love this!! I absolutely love this!!!! Great tips and great outlook. What she typed: “When you are filled with His love and you are confident in His adoration of you, aren’t you much more eager to live a disciplined life?…” So very true!! And when we are filled with Jesus and His word, the light from HIM will shine onto our husbands and children as well. As they say, “you are what you eat”, but we are also what we fill out hearts and minds with as well. Such a perfect and true post!!
You have encouraged me so much with your comments, Cindy. I like how you said when we are filled with His word, it shines into the lives of our husbands and children. That is so true. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
These are excellent ideas and such a beautiful post. I love the prayer journal idea and worship as a family!
Thank you Adoring Family. I was surprised – and delighted – that my son really got into his prayer journal. I want this heart of prayer and worship to continue growing in their spiritual lives. That means it has to be developing in my life, too. Good way to keep myself accountable!
Aimee, I love, “it isn’t when or how long I spend in His word, but the fact that it penetrates my heart.” INDEED Sister! Because if the Son has set us free then we are free INDEED!
Thank you Mary. I was just reminding myself of that this morning. I can get up at 5 am every morning and spend hours in His word and praying, but if I am not being taught something or it doesn’t change my heart, then what is the point? I, really, I have been enjoying this time with my kids so much. What it has done for our relationship as parent/child is amazing.
Setting an example and doing things together as a family -these are great suggestions!
Thanks Julie. I have learned just how important it is to be the example for my kids! We enjoy doing things together, too.
I am not a morning person either, so I love how you put examples for how you and your children get in your spiritual time. I like the idea of them doing their own personal study for a few minutes so that you can also get yours in, since I know for me I need that time every morning to feel on top of the day, and that they also get the added benefit of seeing you do something you hope to instill in them. Lovely post!
Thank you Jessica. I am finding that this method works very well for our family. It has truly melded us all together as we do this journey together. We enjoy sharing with each other what we’ve learned. My oldest has watched me work in my journal Bible and has expressed her desire in having her own. She doesn’t ask for much, so seeing a Bible activity being enjoyed means something to her. And, to me, that means so much!
I know that mornings are often touted as being the best time to spend time with God because it sets the tone for our day and because the writer(s) of the Psalms speak a lot about seeking God in the morning. That being said, I can relate to you, Aimee, in that I am not a morning person. I’ve tried, but I am at my best later in the day. I think the important thing is seeking God and listening for His voice as we go about our day more than having an appointed time of day. We need to have a balance better being flexible and being committed, right?
Thanks so much for sharing this post! I know I was blessed by it.
Thanks for having her, Jennifer!
Thank you so much for this. I find myself struggling to keep structure in my life in every aspect. Yet I long for it but if it didn’t work I would give up then feel guilty about it later. Then beat myself up about all my failures. I have to remind myself that God knows my name and not to give up every time the ground shakes. I will be trying these with my family
These are such wonderful tips Aimee! Everything is of great help to every parent out there. Will surely practice this once I have kids. Thanks for sharing!