One of my favorite things to do with my girls when they were toddlers was teach them scripture. A toddler is so receptive to any time with Mom, which creates a wonderful opportunity to instill the most important thing they'll ever learn ~ God's Word.
A toddler also thrives on praise, so as a verse was memorized, the cheering and clapping only made them crave more.
My oldest daughter is a performer. She loves the spotlight. I still remember her as a toddler spouting off verses to anyone who would listen … a grandparent, our Pastor, a lady in line at the grocery store ... "I can do ALLLLLLL fings fru Christ who give me strenf!"
What a sweet, sweet sound coming from my baby's lips.
I believe instilling God's Word in our children's hearts is so important at the earliest age possible. We're commanded to do so as parents:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
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.
But, why? What’s the purpose? When do these words they learn as small, teachable toddlers become more than just ‘memory work’? How soon will those words truly become a lamp unto their feet and a light to their paths?
What I’ve come to know as truth, now that my girls are 6 and 10, is that those words are just words if I never teach them how to apply those verses to their everyday lives. When situations arise within their relationships or their environments that are difficult, that's when they have to dig deep to a place within themselves and find a courage that wouldn't otherwise exist without the Word of God.
One of the joys of being a mother is watching that Word take root in their hearts, so that the Holy Spirit can remind them of it time after time. I can’t be near as effective as the Spirit of God, no matter how much I try to correct and comfort them.
** When my oldest daughter is gripped by fear at night, my job is to reassure her everything is okay and she is safe. I think she believes me, though she tells me she falls asleep reciting Psalm 121 and she remembers that she truly is safe.
** When my youngest daughter is on the playground and is hurt by another child, I tell her it’s okay and that the most important thing is that she is treating others respectfully. She tells me Jesus wants her to pray for those that hurt her and she’s suppose to show others Christ.
** When my girls argue with one another (help me, Lord!), I’m amazed as I watch the conviction over their actions. One says “I’m sorry” while the other responds with “You’re forgiven”. (I would love more of this one!)
** When the world tries to tell my oldest one she is less than or bad, I watch her work that out in her mind and remember Psalm 139 and she believes the truth over a lie.
All are examples of God’s Word taking root in their lives early so they have something substantial to draw from when needed.
God’s Word fills in the gaps and makes the difference in their lives. I see the fruit it brings and it only makes me want to instill it in their hearts that much more.
Now I am much more intentional about what they memorize. I also memorize with them hoping to make them see God’s Word is important for all of us. Because of some things my oldest daughter was facing last Summer, we memorized all of Psalm 139. In other words, we prepare for a season by learning applicable verses.
What’s even more interesting is watching my girls search out their own scriptures that speak to their hearts. I have found if it means something to them, they’re more likely to spend the time to truly know it.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me,
and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Seeing the fruits of their work is so rewarding and inspires me as a Mom to keep going, keep relating all we do to the Word. Apart from it, we are nothing.
Deidre is a stay-at-home mom to two precious girls and a wife to a hilarious, thoughtful husband. She loves teaching God's Word, as well as working with the Women's Ministry at her church. She blogs about her very full, everyday life at Raising Future Esthers, a place where she gets to talk about her family, share lessons God is teaching her through His Word and hopefully show what it looks like daily to be raising girls that will serve a Holy God at all costs! Follow her
on Twitter (@deidrelail) and her personal blog, Raising Future Esthers!