One of my favorite stories when my kids were little was when we were driving in the car and my quietest, most serious child got my attention.
Kid: “Mom, what is God’s favorite insect?”
Me: “Well . . .” (proceeds to launch into a soliloquy about how God loves all of His creation but He loves people the most. And then when it comes to insects, well, I can only imagine He loves them all the same. Does that make sense?)
Kid: “Praying mantis.”
Me: “Oh, good one.”
Oops. I tried.
In fact, I was trying. I remember so desperately wanting to do this motherhood thing right. I was reading God’s word. I joined a group of moms at church for Bible Study. I wanted to point my kids to Jesus and help them know they were cared for and loved. I also wanted them to know early on that because God loves us, we are called to love others. It’s no small task, this job of raising little humans who will hopefully become followers of Christ.
Sometimes we get it right. And sometimes we mess up our kid’s epic insect jokes.
You’re Already Doing It Right
I was so encouraged one day when a wise and experienced friend of mine told me I was already doing this motherhood thing right. What do you mean, I questioned, as I recalled about 647 ways I had already messed up that day. Have you met me? I thought. She said, “You’re already living your life for Jesus. Just tell your kids about it as you go.”
So when I took meals to friends who were sick, I started talking to my kids about it. I explained why we were doing it and my heart behind taking care of people who needed support. When our pastor at church was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t shy away from sharing the news with my kids. We talked about it. We prayed for him. My 3-year-old drew so many pictures for our beloved pastor, his wife told me they were considering buying a second refrigerator in order to display all of them properly. When something good happened at work, I told my kids about it and we said thank you prayers. When our friends’ dog died, we took donuts. Because of course we would. We love people because God loves us.
The Bible says, “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NLT)
Talk about God. As we go. Got it! I can do that!
As You Go
I began really being intentional about explaining to my kids what I saw God doing in my life—and in our lives. As I pursued a life of following after Jesus, I got to tell my kids about His goodness, His mercy, His presence . . . in the minivan . . . at the playground . . . in the drive-thru line . . . in the bathtub . . . in the messy moments . . . in the beautiful ones.
I believe every mom feels the guilt of never doing enough, doing some things too much, not knowing what we’re doing, etc. I’ve never met anyone who thinks they’re doing it right. But . . . maybe we are. Maybe we can take a collective breath, say a prayer, and go on talking to our kids about this great, big, amazing world we live in. His creation—and His love for us—is worth talking about.
Especially when it comes to discussing God’s favorite insects.