A post I read over at Dad-Blogs.com regarding faith and parenting, along with an “episode” tonight with our children and their AWANA homework are on my mind at the moment. So much so that I thought I would sit down here at the keyboard and work it through. It all started with a comment that a Pastor friend of mine made a few years ago. Not only is he a Pastor, he is a Dad. He spoke about how he and his wife made the decision early in their parenting that they wanted their kids to have “their own faith” and not “their Mom and Dad’s faith”. Something in that stuck out to me. Our kids were really young at the time so I tucked it away for further reference.
Well, now would be “further reference”. I am so blessed to say that all three of our children have asked Jesus to be in their heart. There is no greater gift that I can think of for my wife I to know that our children are walking with Jesus. But here is what I want more than anything, I want them to have (to quote Depeche Mode) their own personal Jesus. I don’t want them to have my Jesus. My relationship with my Jesus is different. My needs, struggles, failures and grace quota are experienced, shared and discussed with My Jesus. Our relationship is personal, private and unique.
I want my son to have his own personal relationship too. When he is struggling in school, sports, relationships and with sin, I want him to call out to his Jesus. I want him to walk with Him, lean on Him, discern from Him, grow with Him. When my girls are searching for identity and struggling with pressure, I want them to rely on Jesus. Their Jesus. I want them to find beauty in their relationship with their Jesus and identity in the gifts He has given them.
Don’t get me wrong, as their Dad I have to provide love, identity, validation and support too. Yet I am human. I fail. I will fail them no matter how hard I have tried not to. That is why they need their Jesus. That is why it must be their relationship and not Mom and Dads.
And so we go through the delicate balance of teaching, guiding, providing places and opportunities for them to meet with Him while not making it “Religion”. Lord grant us the wisdom to know how to make space for you, for them and for personal relationships to grow and be their own.