’Tis the season of pumpkin spice and apple pie. As the epitome of this cozy and delightfully smelling season approaches, some of you may be looking forward to a day of glorious eating. Of course, others of you may stress about the preparation of the meal. Or you may find yourself in a different place this year, not able to enjoy the traditional American festivities of turkey, potatoes, and pie. For this moment, however, see if you can push aside any stress or hard feelings toward this holiday and let your imagination dwell in the comfort of a delicious meal enjoyed with someone you love. It’s on days like this that our eyes often seem too big for our stomachs as we are overwhelmed with the number of options on the table available to fill our tummies. How can we possibly give all of the foods proper justice?
As a DCE, preschool teacher, and mother, I often relate to this question on a spiritual level. I ask myself, “How can I possibly pass on everything there is to know and understand about the Bible?” When I look at the whole table of options, I find myself staring at the table, frozen with the feeling of being overwhelmed and stuck, not knowing where to even begin. The responsibility of passing on the faith, as a professional or a parent, can at times be overwhelming.
While I was in the midst of this struggle several years ago, God sent a kind, wise friend to remind me of something. He said to me, “Not every meal needs to be Thanksgiving dinner.”
Huh. Turns out, you don’t have to serve corn, potatoes, turkey, rolls, cranberries, stuffing, and everything at every meal. Some meals might just contain a little corn. Others, a few potatoes or slices of turkey. And sometimes it’s just a peanut butter sandwich. But all of these meals nourish the body and give it what it needs when it needs it. Not every meal even needs to be memorable, but it does need to be eaten.
God at Work
When it comes to passing on the faith, the same concept applies. I know I’m not the only one who has at times gotten stuck at where to start when it comes to teaching the faith. What I’m learning over time is to do what I can, and then trust God when He says that “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven … so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10–11).
You can start teaching your child faith literally from anywhere in the Bible. You get to just pick a place and go for it. God promises to be at work, using that regular exposure and teaching to grow faith in both you and your child. He also works through your daily caring conversations that offer the truth of His Word in the form of comfort, guidance, and love.
If you’re still struggling with how to get started, here are a couple of suggestions.
First, join a Bible study, even if it’s full of people that you don’t know. Just be bold and do it. You need to be nourished if you are going to nourish your child. Second, pick a children’s Bible and read a story a day together. Although the number of Bible options can again be overwhelming, just pick one, try it, and let God work. Third, worship God together. The weekly Bible readings shared in the worship service are also a good option for when you can’t decide where to start.
The relieving comfort of God is that He will always be at work where His Word is spoken. That includes both literal quotations and paraphrases in children’s Bibles or your own words. The important part is that it is spoken, passed on. In those regular readings and conversations that you have, God provides opportunity to offer comfort, guidance, and wisdom from His Word. No child is too young for any of those things.
God be with you as you raise and nurture your children in faith, one spiritual meal at a time.