Being a parent is hard. I've never heard anyone who has any children say it's easy. So is putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Dump out the box with all it's pieces and it can seem pretty overwhelming. But it's worth it. How do you put together a puzzle? One piece at a time. Here's a good strategy that even my three-year-old girl Jacey knows. (She's really good at puzzles, by the way.) First, find the edges. As soon as we dump the pieces out, we always put aside the pieces with the straight edges because they will provide the framework for the rest of the puzzle.
In my opinion, the edges for the parent puzzle are found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
" 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
This is one of the many authoritative passages in Scripture that makes it clear that parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual leadership of their children. For too long, many of us have dropped the kids off at church to leave this up to the "professionals." This does not work because it's not God's plan. I am Jacey's pastor, not because I work at a church, but because I am her dad.
Sounds good. But how do I make it work? Look to God's Word for how it's supposed to look and put the pieces together! Last night I put down another piece of the puzzle. Vs. 7: "Talk about [these commandments]...when you lie down." Jacey loves stories at bed time. Partially because she gets undivided attention from Daddy. Mainly because she gets to stay up a little later. We have several Preschool Bibles and Bible story books that make it into the rotation. Last night I came onto a preschool devotion book that I used to read her every night when she was a baby. It contains a Bible verse, a practical application for preschoolers, a couple of questions, and a prayer. This is the book she chose last night. But last night was different. When I asked the question this time, she answered it. Then we were able to talk about the verse and thank God that we can always come to Him and ask Him things because He loves us. So last night, we added a new piece to the puzzle and decided that every night we would read a page in our devotional together...and then read another story. (It's all about compromise!)