what if we allowed our kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

Robbos08_1When I first had kids my introverted self had a mild panic attack. It seemed like all my quiet moments had been hoovered up in an instant by one incredibly small person. I found myself clambering for quiet and especially for solitude with God. I needed those moments to reflect. Those moments to pray, to read my bible. Those moments just to have s..p..a..c..e.. Alone. With God.

Slowly I began to adapt and to grab those moments when I could. And I’ve written about this before. But over the years I’ve been asking, and seeking to answer the question “What if we allowed our kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle in the way that we relate to God?” An obstacle is something we either have to remove or find a way round to get to our destination whereas a channel can be a conduit, a gateway – a point of access and grace.

It strikes me that our culture, and specifically our western Christian culture is individualistic. We place great emphasis on my individual relationship with God, my individual intimacy with him. So is there any wonder when small people enter our world that our relationship with God feels a little challenged, or even a little impossible.

Often our response as new parents is to look to find the ways to have our time alone with God. That is good and right. But what does it look like to relate to God with our children, and even through our children instead of despite or away from our children.

Today in church as we sang songs of worship with our kids I was teaching my daughter the words to the songs and then trying to explain the meaning. I don’t always do this. Sometimes we just sing together and that’s both good for us as parents to connect with God in this way, and good also for our kids to see that modelled. But as I read and explained the words to my daughter I believe it was as much part of my worship as if I had been “uninterrupted”. I was sharing with her what God has poured into me. As disciples of Jesus we’re called to make disciples: the overflow of our covenant relationship with God is to disciple others, and our kids are God-given disciples. If you’ve ever discipled somebody you’ll know that as you give and share your life with that person you receive far more than you give. It’s just the way it works. And it’s no different with our kids. So as we choose to disciple our kids what would happen if we started seeing it an opportunity to draw closer to God. Together. Rather than feeling like it’s another place where we’re “giving out” which then requires that we “fill up” elsewhere, aside from our kids.

There are some verses in the bible where some little kids try and make their way to see Jesus and the disciples try and fob them off, pushing them away. Jesus cottoned on to what was happening and called the kids over. He then told his disciples “No matter how big you grow, never grow up so much that you lose your child’s heart: full of trust in God. Be like these children. They are the most important in my Kingdom.”

Be like these children. They are the most important in my Kingdom.

As parents, that means Jesus says we should be like our kids. So if we’re blessed enough to have these experts in trust, these people that are most important in God’s kingdom- these children – living in our homes then maybe we might have something to learn from them.

So, what would happen if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than  an obstacle?

Well, when we read our bible stories together at night, those times can be my devotional time as well as theirs. Those can be times when we all hear God’s word to us. There have been many times where I’ve welled up as I’ve read bible stories to my kids . As they express their simple faith, their simple trust and their insightful observations it can be a time when my faith is challenged and stretched. If I allow it.

What if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

Every night, when I snuggle up with my oldest boy and we pray for each other, can be an opportunity to grow in prayer with our Heavenly dad. They’re not complicated prayers. They don’t need to be. These are straight-from-the-heart- beautiful-prayers. In those precious times we’re both learning how to pray, and growing closer together to our Father.

What if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

Well, when they’re fighting with each other they can teach me again how to lay down my life. If I allow it they can usher me towards Jesus as I recognise my own limitations, my own inadequacies, my own short-comings. And in that place, as I lay a little bit more of me down, I can pick up a little bit more of Him.

What if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

When they spontaneously decide to give a friend one of their favourite toys I can allow myself to be challenged to give away the possessions that I love too. I can be challenged to share what’s been given to me; something that costs me to give away, not just my “reject toys”.

What if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

As I parent my kids and and try to love them as unconditionally as possible it gives me an access point to receive and understand the unconditional love the Father has for me. Kids just naturally know how to receive gifts. As I watch how freely my kids receive God’s love it’s a reminder to me of how He wants me to receive his gift of free love too:

God’s love is a gift and, as anyone will tell you, the whole thing about a gift is, it’s free. All you have to do is reach out your hands and take it. Some people who knew all about getting gifts – in fact, you might say they were gift-experts – had come to see Jesus. Who were they? They were little children.

(“The Friend of Little Children” from the Storybook Bible)

I know we have so far to travel on this journey but I want to keep asking and seeking to answer the question:

What would it look like if I allowed my kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

What about you?

What would it look like if you allowed your kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

10 thoughts on “what if we allowed our kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle?

  1. Pingback: what if we allowed our kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle? | insightsintomywhirlwindlife

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