Please welcome fellow author and blogger Jessie Mattis. She is a homeschool mom of three and has a passion for encouraging kids to pursue God. This passion shows up in her Middle Grade Christian book Power Up. I read this wonderful book last year and I highly recommend it. Jessie is currently working on a historical fiction novel. I can’t wait to read it.
We connected as authors and Christians, now I call her friend. I have joked that we should do a book tour together. I can dream. Maybe one day. Jessie blessed us with a fantastic article on practical ways we can lead our kids to follow God. Enjoy this wonderful encouragement. Thank you Jessie!
RAISING EMPOWERED KIDS
Sometimes, it seems, kids don’t get the credit they deserve. As parents and caregivers, we don’t always understand the capabilities and potential of our children, bubbling under the surface, just waiting for guidance and encouragement to rise to the occasion.
Did you know that 70% of Christians chose to follow Jesus when they were between the ages of four and fourteen? Seventy percent! That means the ages of 4-14 are pretty crucial for our kiddos.
Not that we need more pressure as parents. Parenting is hard and we’re doing our best, right? But even as busy as we are, I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more important than leading our kids to Jesus while they’re young.
Kids who follow Jesus are not only capable, but empowered through the Holy Spirit. Like adults, they can:
- Speak to God
- Hear from God
- Pray for others
- Use the gifts and leading of the Spirit in various ways
It’s incredible to see kids living boldly in this empowerment. When my youngest daughter was just a toddler, she had (and still has) deep compassion for those around her. If one of her big siblings hurt themselves (which was all.the.time.), it wasn’t uncommon for her to reach her chubby little hand out and pray a simple, Dear God, please help my brother/sister feel better.
Of course there are no guarantees, and every child has free will (hello daughter of mine who just gave all her dolls ‘baths’ in a bowl and ended up with soaked carpet…oops), but there are a couple simple things we can do to inspire our kids while they’re still fairly moldable. (And thankfully there are bucketloads of grace for those whose kids are older now, and still plenty of time and opportunity for us to model Jesus for them!)
Let’s explore three basic ways we can lead our kids closer to the living God.
1. Model what walking with God looks like. Children do as they’re shown, not always as they’re told. Unfortunately, lots of churches, parents, and teachers are doing far more telling than showing. Focusing solely on Bible stories and facts (which are incredibly important, don’t get me wrong) misses a big piece of the puzzle. Relationship.
Kids need both—to learn about God, and to be shown how to live alongside an active God. Understandably, this type of teaching doesn’t always come naturally to adults. We’re all at different places on our spiritual journey, but what our kids need most is to see us living as if we believe God is not only real, but also truly good, and involved.
Obviously we can’t lead someone down a path we’ve never traveled. If you follow God but find it difficult to believe he’s truly good and involved in our daily lives, it may be time to explore your understanding of who God is, so that you’ll be able to effectively lead your child toward him.
2. Surround them with Godly community. Good or bad, kids pick up the habits of those around them. Be aware of who they’re surrounded by. Be intentional to involve them in Christian groups, classes, or events. If they’re still young enough, guide them toward Godly friends. Being proactive about their community while they’re young will have lifelong payoffs.
3. Pray. Sometimes prayer is seen as a last resort, but that should be the furthest thing from the truth. Pray for your children and those around the world to meet, know, and experience God. Pray that the Holy Spirit fills them with his presence and power, so that they can live boldly for him every day. Don’t doubt that your prayers have power. God can’t wait to hear from you.
No matter how long a parent has been following God or how well they feel they’re modeling Jesus for their kids, supplementation can be a game-changer, too. Do you remember reading any certain book during your grade-school years that left a mark on you? I do. One in particular stuck with me and inspired me. I want that for my kids, and for yours. Books have a way of encouraging us on levels parents and teachers can’t reach.
That said, I want to quickly recommend a book for anyone age eight and up. Power Up is a novel that demonstrates to children that following God and listening to the Holy Spirit aren’t just for adults—these things are accessible to everyone, regardless of age, and it’s an adventure, not a bore! Power Up shows kids what it looks like to be filled with hope and to live a naturally supernatural life empowered by the Holy Spirit. This book might just be one of the next right steps for you or your child in coming into a fuller understanding of God’s power and goodness. That was my prayer as I wrote it and remains so today.
Show the kids in your life there’s more to following God than showing up for church on Sundays. There’s a living, breathing God who wants to show us his goodness and empower us to dish out his love and encouragement to the world around us. Don’t let those fertile years between ages four and fourteen slip away, and don’t forget how capable and hungry for spiritual truths our kids are. Be intentional. And don’t forget to rest in the grace and comfort of our awesome God in the process.
Thanks so much for reading, and I would love to connect with you before you go! Just head over to https://www.jessiemattis.com/ where you can find my blog, connect through social media, and download a free printable of my top ten favorite inspirational quotes! Or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon!