Each of my three children were saved when very young. I had the joy of leading my daughter, and first son to the Lord, and they had a big fight with their very strong-willed younger brother one day that led to them all sitting down with my husband – he helped the older two lead the youngest to the Lord (I was away). Each was saved just before age 4, so it pays to be diligent about prayer and teaching even with toddlers. Amazing that you can see spiritual fruit and a changed life even with such innocent children.
My daughter Cindra is 23, and married to a good Christian who takes his commitment as the spiritual leader seriously, and loves her deeply. Jamin, my 20 year old, is in college and although not walking with the Lord as closely as he has in the past, he does love Jesus and often talks with his friends about God. He’s led many to faith in Jesus. Last weekend, Joel, my youngest, had a divine appt with a former student while in the parking lot after the Homecoming game.
This young man two years earlier had a brief conversation with Joel about how could Joel possibly know that a certain sophomore girl would be queen of Homecoming her senior year. Joel told him he felt certain the Lord had revealed it to him, and the guy laughed. He was an unbeliever who wasn’t even sure God existed. He later dropped out of school. However, Joel’s comment stuck with him, and he drove back here from out of town to attend the game, just to see if the girl had been elected queen. When she had, he looked everywhere for Joel to ask him about God. Right there in the parking lot, he prayed to receive Christ. Joel was thrilled and amazed that such a simple comment was used by the Lord to bring someone to Himself. He told me that he was so glad he’d been faithful to give God the glory about his knowledge, because if he had claimed to have a hunch, the young man would still be lost. Joel never knew his name, and didn’t think to get it then because he was so excited. The Lord will follow up even though Joel can’t. The guy lives in South Georgia on a farm.
In our family, we have some wonderful conversations about the Lord, and it was often surprising to see how much insight our children had even as youngsters. Both Cindra and Joel’s primary spiritual gift is exhortation, and Jamin’s is mercy (for which I’m thankful considering the other two – wow – can spiritual toes get flattened in a house with two who have that gift!).
Talking about some things was a struggle for me and for my husband. So we just confessed to our kids that our parents never talked to us about that stuff (sex, drugs, drinking, you name it…) and that it made us uncomfortable sometimes; but – that we wanted to talk to them about these things and for them to just ask anyway, and that we would deal with our problem and try to answer them as clearly as we could. And boy have they asked !
Parenting small children is like trying to keep 15 ping pong balls under water at the same time. Parenting teens is like juggling water balloons – you know it’s gonna get you eventually, but you do it anyway because it’s fun and you really want to see what happens. You know you’ll have a mess but it will *be okay*. Now I’m parenting adults. More of a challenge than the toddlers I think. I knew just what was expected then – simple chores repeatedly endlessly. Now, it’s more by the seat of my pants. Each day is new. Each day I’m learning to respect their independence, and to cherish them for the wonderful adult people they are becoming. A joy at every stage – a job that challenges me to the depth of my being – and one I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.