I’ve been pondering lately about how to raise my children in a Christian home in a way that will enable them to live a life of faith.
I don’t feel like I had a very good example of this, despite both my parents being Christians, neither of my siblings have faith, and mine was formed by striding off on my own. Yes, there was a Christian foundation of sorts there, I remember well all the stories of Bible characters from Sunday School, but how to actually live out your faith wasn’t there. We got morals, but not a trust in God. My parents do the corporate bit well, and really enjoy being involved in a faith community, but they keep anything else very private.
I want to find some way of showing my daughters what living a life of faith looks like,
for them to have memories of God being involved in our lives as a family, ones that cannot be explained any other way,
to give them a safe place to practice this life of faith, with the support those first wobbly steps need.
I was talking to my husband last night about music. He was reminiscing and searching YouTube for the music he used to listen to as a child, those songs still engrained in his mind and giving solid blocks for his faith to grow from.
His parents became Christians when he was six and were told that non-Christian music was evil, so the only music played in their house for years was Christian. His mother used to worship while doing the housework, music turned up loud to be heard all through the house.
In contrast, my childhood doesn’t have a backing track; my parents hardly played music, and when they did it was things from their young-adulthood and, despite having been Christian born and raised, was often secular music. I recall artists like The Seekers and Cilla Black. Not music to point young hearts and minds towards God.
My husband, even now, commonly has music on, our house has a constant background melody and rhythm. If the music suddenly stops, even if it’s just buffering for a moment, our girls come rushing over demanding it gets turned on again, more, more.
I can see how my husband being soaked in music pointing towards God helped his young faith to grow, to gain a solid foundation. Not all of the music was aimed at kids, much of it tackled adult questions of faith, but it all pointed towards God, teaching, glorifying.
The songs that play on repeat in your head, the ones that you just can’t shake because they’ve been in there forever, the messages they give keep shaping us down the years. And for my husband, they helped point back to God, whatever life brought, reminding him that God, like the songs, was always there.
My parents used to try (in vain) to sing me to sleep, and I can remember my Dad’s deep voice singing of God in those times, sharing with me God’s majesty and glory. Even today when I can’t get to sleep, I find that turning my mind to God and praying or listening to worship music helps me drift off. At first I felt guilty that I was falling asleep in the middle of trying to do a “God-thing”, but over time I have come to realise that maybe my falling asleep is praise enough. It is in God’s embrace that I feel safe and at peace. My ability to rest and sleep there shows my trust, even when my mind doesn’t want to agree.
At the moment I spend 15+ minutes every night singing my youngest to sleep, while my eldest reads across the room, and I choose to sing worship songs, to spend that time focusing on God. Some days I can’t think of songs to sing, and I just sing in tongues, singing my prayers for my daughters, singing my wonder at what God has made and gifted to me.
I’m hoping that somehow, somewhere, some small part of it is sinking in, that somehow through my meeting with God in their room, they can too.