The terrifying truth about the gift of grace
“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7
I want a lot for my kids. I want them to be happy and successful. I want them to follow their passions, make a difference, and experience peace. But more than anything I want my kids to grow up knowing Jesus because it's from him that all great things flow. But in order to do that, they need to accept God’s gift of grace...
....and that can be a really scary thought.
It's possible my kids could choose to not live by grace
Like everyone else, my kids have a choice in whether or not they accept the gift that God has offered them. Regardless of what I want for them, they could decide not to live by grace. They could grow up to abandon their faith, and unfortunately, many kids do.
As someone who's struggled with faith, I know firsthand how hard life can be when you lose touch with the Father, when you decide to live in the world rather than by grace. As a parent, I wish there was something I could do to ensure that my children follow Jesus…that they don’t pull away like I did. I thought a lot about this when my kids were small. I can remember putting a lot of pressure on myself to make sure that they prayed, and went to Sunday school and Christian preschools. I read Bible stories and watched VeggieTales. I did everything I could think of, and yet at the age of eight my son came home and questioned me about God being real.
The simple-yet-hard advice I received when my son was doubting his faith
After talking with my son to address his concern, I called my grandmother to ask for advice. Once again I was left standing with my jaw on the floor. Rather than being sidetracked and scared about my son’s doubts like I was, she took a moment to congratulate me on raising such a thoughtful child. She explained that as parents, our job is to guide--not to push--our children into a relationship with Christ, and trust that they are in God’s hands.
“How do I do that?” I asked earnestly. I couldn’t think of anything I hadn’t tried already.
“It’s simple, but it’s hard,” she said, “The best thing you can do is trust in God’s plan for them. Know that God is in control, and let your kids witness your faith. We get to thinking that we need to do so much when in reality all we need to do is trust God. He led you to faith, didn’t he?”
She was right. In all my worry and stress, I’d forgotten that even though I walked away, God still pursued me. He not only welcomed me, he embraced me and offered the gift of grace all over again. Of course, practices like prayer and reading Bible stories were still good and helpful, but when I was forcing them, they tended to be less effective in growing real faith. Deciding that night to trust God to reach out to my kids made my conversations and readings with them much more fun and engaging. My kids can see now that the design to trust and follow God, and to accept his grace, has made a real difference in my life.