If you grew up in the evangelical, North American church, we were probably filled with the same teaching about a wife’s place in the home: second place.
Our husbands were told to make every final decision, and to be responsible for the spiritual lives of their whole family. If they DIDN’T do that, their masculinity was questioned.
Our job as wives was to be meek helpers. If we DIDN’T do that, our femininity was questioned.
Can I say something without you totally freaking out?
I don’t believe that anymore.
And while that thinking was fully embraced in the past because it was culturally enforced, our Western world is changing, and roles are less defined now. If we try too hard to hold onto an old model, we create a new problem:
I think that as moms, we have too often let our families slide far away from God because we are too afraid of stepping on our husband’s toes.
We have submitted to our husbands rather than to God.
Here’s how it went in my marriage: I secretly resented my husband for not taking charge of my spiritual life, and that of my kids. So I tried to manipulate him into doing it, which drove another wedge between us.
The day I realized that our marriage is a PARTNERSHIP instead of a HIERARCHY was the day we both inhaled deeply and found freedom.
Honestly, he was already there. We were having a discussion about the theology of marriage, and I realized that he had been in this partnership model for a while. Here I was, trying to shove him into a model that didn’t fit either of us. So I stopped, and we’re much happier.
Not only that, but it has freed me to be the person God created me to be: passionate about teaching kids about God in a structured (but fun!) way…INCLUDING my own.
Now I can say, “hey guys, let’s do devotions after supper” and not feel like I’m stepping on my amazing husband’s toes. He’s there, sharing his faith with his kids in everyday life, and cheering me on in my gifts. He’s using his gifts the way he has been created, and I’m using mine.
Friends, it’s enough to make a mom weep. You mean, I get to be who God called me to be? ?
But here’s the deal:
I’m not the only mama who is called to be a spiritual leader in her home. You are too.
And if you are without a husband, this includes you.
Would you like to see a New Testament example of how a mom spiritually led her child?
Have you ever heard of a guy named Jesus? (whose mom was widowed.) Or Timothy? Or how about a guy named Mark?
All were young leaders in the church (umm, and one started it). Jesus was, well, the Messiah, and we get a pretty clear idea of how strong his mother’s faith was. Timothy was a pastor, and Mark was a missionary AND the author of one of the gospels.
In Acts 12:12, we read that Mark’s mom was a house church leader! Some scholars think that her house is the one that hosted Jesus and his disciples for the Last Supper. That’s quite a way to spiritually lead your kid!
In Timothy’s story, Grandma gets a supporting role. (shoutout to the grandma’s in the crowd! God uses you!) In 1:5 Timothy Paul tells his young friend this: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
And later, we read “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15)
Who taught Timothy the Holy Scriptures from infancy?
His mom and his grandma.
Moms and grandmas can be spiritual leaders in the home.
So I’m hope you are now asking:
How can I spiritually lead my kids?
I’m so glad you asked! Friend, God has your back. With him, all things are possible and He WANTS you to share your faith with your kids. You can’t go wrong when you lean on Him to give you wisdom. But in case you need some starting points, here are my suggestions:
1. Be an example of a godly woman.
Being a godly woman doesn’t mean you have your stuff altogether. Please don’t think I’m telling you to be a fake or a hypocrite. Honestly seek God. Read the Bible. Pray. Worship in your way. Learn to step out in faith.
Then SHOW THIS TO YOUR KIDS. Don’t keep it hidden from them until you think you’ve arrived at Faith Level 10.0. (Sorry to break it to you, but you’ll never get there.) Tell them what God is teaching you. Ask their forgiveness when you screw up. Have worship dance parties. You get the picture. Live your faith life in front of your kids.
2. Start with a simple habit.
Simple habits rock. They are like low-hanging fruit on an apricot tree: easy to snag and fill up your tummy fast.
My favourite simple habit is to pray the same Bible verse over my kids every night. Seriously. The same one. You would be surprised how much this spiritually leads your kids! (learn more about that in my free course)
If you’re struggling to find some easy ways to connect with God throughout your day, check out my helpful guide: Start LITTLE: 5 quick wins to depend your family’s faith (and how to actually make them a habit).
3. Pray for your kids.
You don’t need flowery words. You can just say, “God, I’m terrible at this right now. Please help me be the mom You made me to be.” or “God, my child has so much anxiety. Please help us learn to get our peace from You.”
God doesn’t care about your words. He cares about your heart. Oh, and while you’re at it, pray that there would be love and respect in your marriage – love AND respect from you to your husband, and love AND respect from your husband toward you!
Click here to get my prayer templates (prayer patterns, journal templates, and specific prayers to pray).
I also have a bunch of other posts on prayer that you might find helpful. I’ll list them here, but finish the article first, k?
Praying with Toddlers
Listening Prayer for Kids
Prayers To Help A Child With Anxiety
Make a Picture Prayer Journal
Ok, are you ready to be a spiritual leader?
Lift you hand and speak this pledge with me:
I, _________, commit to seeking God and obeying Him above all others.
I commit to developing simple habits that make a difference in the culture of my home.
And I commit to praying for my kids. (which I’ll do right now)
God, please help me be a spiritual leader in my home. Help me and my kids to yearn to follow You. May Your kingdom come right into my home and make its place among us. Amen.
Greg Hahn says
Isn’t it freeing to live according to your God-given gifts rather than try to fit the mold of a misguided theological approach? Loved your article.