When you think of people in missions and ministry, what comes to your mind? Adventurers in khaki hats crossing a crocodile-infested river with bags full of Bibles? A pastor in a neatly tailored suit preaching to a few thousand attentive listeners?
While we should give thanks for how pastors and cross-cultural missionaries share God’s love and truth, we can often stop with these celebrated professionals and forget where God’s grace first reached many, if not most, people in the church: at home.
Moms, nobody else will have the opportunity you have to share and show God’s love to your children.
This is exciting.
This is also scary.
How does this shape priorities for motherhood?
The Bible doesn’t specify exactly which shows our kids should watch or how old they should be when they start to read. But it does tell us—again and again—to faithfully teach our kids who God is, what he has done for us, and what it means to live for him.
Consider the persistence that Moses is describing in this familiar passage:
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Telling our kids about the gospel is not something we can check off our lists. It should soak into our daily life.
One way to do this is to build intentional times of teaching into our daily schedules. I recently started reading a couple verses of Scripture with my kiddo while she’s munching on her cheerios in her highchair over breakfast. We then chat about what those verses mean and pray for God to help us understand and apply them today.
The teachable moments can pop up outside of these times as well, giving us an opportunity to help our kids apply the lessons of regular teaching times to daily life. When we were running errands the other day, my two-year-old noticed how pretty the big white clouds were in the perfectly blue sky. That gave me a chance to tell her a little more about who made the clouds and the sky so beautifully.
Love God visibly.
According to a study highlighted in Christianity Today a few years ago, there are three key factors that predict whether children will adopt their parents’ faith. The first is whether the parents are living out their faith. In other words, don’t just send your kids to church or to the Bible or to prayer—bring them.
Don’t be afraid to let your kids see your daily efforts to love God better. Of course, what that means will change as your kids grow up, and you probably shouldn’t tell your kindergartener all about the bumps in your marriage. But you can tell her that Jesus is helping you love Daddy like Jesus has loved you.
Growing up, my best friend’s family went through a long season of trials. Instead of insulating their kids from all the anxieties and sorrows, my friend’s parents read through the Bible with their children and prayed as a family for God’s help and guidance. By the grace of God, that season didn’t just make their family closer—it drew the parents and each of the children closer to God.
Love your family faithfully.
The second factor in that study was the child’s relationship with their parents. Does your kid know that you love him or her?
What could it look like to slow down for a few minutes and enjoy your kid? God has entrusted you with a wonderful little human made in his image.
Being a missional mom isn’t mainly about raising our kids to be nice, to say prayers at the dinner table, and to get good grades. It’s about showing our kids their Savior.
They have a God who loves them—and you—perfectly. They have a God who can forgive their sins and draw them into his glorious kingdom. They have a God who will be with them in every hard time. They have a God who can use their actions and words to build up his kingdom.
Show your kids this God. It’s that simple, but it’s also that demanding, complex, and sacrificial. And, like all missions, it’s impossible without God’s help.
We pray that God strengthens you and reminds you of his love for you as you faithfully love your family. Thank you for the faithful missional work you’re doing—whether you’re feeding your baby, singing praise songs with your toddler, or talking with your teenager.