As we explore this month what it means to share our faith, I have been reflecting on what does it look like if we are to do this as families?
It was interesting as I explored this the amount of people who commented on how unique every family is and that each of us encounter God and live faithful lives uniquely as ourselves. Some families have rituals and habits, bible studies and prayer times. Other families explore faith in the journey of life, unpacking themes from media, or life or experiences of life. There is no right or wrong answer it is more of a question about being intentional about sharing our faith, not only in actions, but also in our words. Articulating that we love and forgive the way we do because God first loves us. We support those struggling because that is what God does. It is about sharing our faith together as a family.
Who is part of your Christian community that you can talk honestly with about these things, who you are willing to hear hard things from in love? Who supports you in your faith formation with your kids? Not because they have all the answers but because they are willing to wrestle with the hard questions with you?
It would be an interesting experiment to go and talk to older members of your community to hear what they did and how it impacted their children as adults. What do they wish they had differently? What did they do right in hindsight? As parents sometimes we can feel like we have no idea what we are doing, yet there are those who have gone before us available to bless us! Who are the saints who can give you wisdom?
The second opportunity we have is with the conversations with other families. As a parent I often find myself talking with other parents about our kids about the stresses and the struggles and how we deal with it. How does being a Christian change the way that we parent to someone who say isn’t. Do you try to be more patient? Are you more forgiving? Do you show love differently? Whether we like it or not every person is influenced by the way that they are raised, whether that is good or not so good. So how does our Christian stories challenge us to break the mold of family dysfunction? How has faith, the Christian community re – formed us as people and parents?
These are the opportunities we have to share with those around us, you don’t have to go. “Well as a Christian parent this is what I do so you should do….” but there are opportunities to share podcasts, articles or wisdom that may have helped or given you insights, or verses that you hang on to for dear life in those sleepless nights!! I know that when people are struggling, I remind them that God promises this too shall pass, we wrestle with the unfairness of struggle and grief and loss and remind them it is ok to be mad at God, cause even if we are, God does not leave us.
Being a Christian parent is not about having it perfect but about being raw – fully honest, smashing the social media lie of perfection and sharing the truth of struggle, grace and forgiveness and being held and loved in that. Every day for everyone is an opportunity to do things differently and this is the loving grace that God offers. What a gift we have in God! How do you / can you share that with the people around you?
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.