I’m convinced this is one of those things in life one simply never really understands until experienced firsthand.
I thought I was walking into parenting with my eyes wide open. My husband and I had studied, sought advice, made thousands of observations, and were “ready” (whatever that means). We knew all the things we were never going to do (like let them sleep in our bed) and all the things we were always going to do (like intentional spiritual nurturing). This was going to be easy.
Then came two (at the same time) completely unique and independent personalities, followed by a third not enough months later. As all our personalities started bumping up against each other in the day-in day-out heartbeats of life, everything changed. In no time at all, the things we swore we would never do; we did regularly. The things we swore we would always do; we did infrequently at best. It wasn’t because we were bad or lazy parents; we were simply overwhelmed–if you’re a parent, you know of what I speak.
Our hearts were always in the right place. We never truly abandoned our high and lofty ideals, but the overwhelm began to sound like this: once they start walking, then things will be different. Once they start talking, then things will be different. Once they start going to school, then things will be different.
The future always looked brighter, but in the present…parenting through the basics was overwhelming enough. Creating ways to engage in my kid’s spiritual growth without redlining my mental capacity for the day is, quite frankly, next to impossible some days. I get hives just thinking about trying to be that crafty, Pinterest-perfect mom creating Bible games and activities to engage with my kids spiritually. I’m just not that kind of mom.
But then one day, I realized something: I’m overcomplicating this issue.
These 3 easy ways to spiritually nurture your child without the overwhelm may sound simple—and they are—but don’t underestimate their effectiveness. Engaging in your children’s (and even your own) spiritual growth doesn’t have to be complex. It just needs to be consistent and doable within your busy lifestyle.
1. Listen to worship music with your kids.
In the morning when everyone is getting ready. In the car heading to their soccer game. While you’re cooking dinner with your kids playing in the background. Don’t underestimate the value of singing songs of praise to God WITH your children present. As the lyrics of these songs filter into their heart and yours, you will find yourself less stressed and more focused on the promises of God’s Word which says, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6) as you cast your cares to Him through the melody of the everyday moments.
2. Pray, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Are your kids stressing you out? Pray with them. Feeling overwhelmed by the demands against you as a parent? Pray out loud with your child present. You just got a raise at work? Pray with them as you praise Jesus for this good thing! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a simple, “Lord, I need your help and peace” or “God, I thank you for this amazing gift” is perfectly acceptable. Remember, prayer is simply a conversation with God. By praying together with your kids regularly during car rides, when you are stressed, or when you’re feeling thankful, It will encourage spiritual growth in an easy, low-key way!
3. Scripture-based coloring.
Therapeutic coloring for adults is all the rage. Scientific research on the brain demonstrates there’s more to coloring to de-stress than meets the eye. But did you know there’s a book that encompasses both adults and children into stress-relief coloring while encouraging spiritual growth? The Big and Little Coloring Devotional has devotionals plus stress-relief designs for the adult while providing Scripture verses and simple illustrations for the child. It is set up so you sit face-to-face with your child to encourage eye-contact and spiritual conversation. I especially love what @momstrugglingwell had to say about this book with her daughter:
@momstrugglingwellMy Coloring Devotional by this week’s guest Rachel came today! Me and the girl colored for three hours. THREE HOURS! I don’t even know what happened. We were in the zone! We had the best conversations and laughed a ton.
Listen. I’m sold on this product especially if you need some extra quality time with a particular child. This type of connection is something my daughter and I really need and the conversations that came out of the short devotionals on each page were awesome.
Encouraging children in spiritual growth activities when in the throes of parenthood doesn’t have to be so difficult. These 3 things—listening to worship music, prayer, and scripture-based coloring—are simple and effective activities suited for busy families.