“What dis?” my son asked, pointing to the ultrasound picture of our baby, due next month.
“Baby brother!” I said, pointing to the picture and pointing to my tummy. Then I dug around in a special wooden box we keep in my son’s room and found his ultrasound picture from two years ago to show him too.
“What dis?” he asked again.
“This is Ben!” I said, pointing from the picture to him, giving him a little tickle for good measure.
God Gives the Growth
There’s nothing quite as miraculous as looking back at pictures and watching little ones grow. From the first peeks we get into their life in the womb to their newborn photos, their first tooth, their first steps, their first day of preschool . . . looking back on a child’s growth makes you say, “Wow, look how little you were! Look how much you’ve grown!” And we can praise God, the Creator, for that growth!
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
Just as God helps our bodies grow and develop, He also provides the growth in our faith life—and in the faith lives of our little ones as well. Remember, He is the one who knit them together in their mother’s womb. He is the one whose Word combined with simple water gave them saving faith in the waters of Baptism, making them His child. And He is the one who, day by day, uses you as their parent to point them to Jesus.
And that’s important to remember when spiritual growth seems small in our daily lives with children—when church seems like a battle with a restless toddler who just wants to run laps in the back of the sanctuary, when the baby cries through family devotions after supper, when we forget to pray before bedtime (again) because we were just so exhausted.
“Am I Doing Enough?”
In these sometimes long and frustrating days when we wonder if we’re “doing enough” as Christian parents to point our children to Jesus, remember the encouragement from Paul: God gives the growth. Our children are in God’s almighty hands, and He keeps them growing in the faith, even when we can’t see the growth. He simply asks us to trust Him and keep on watering, keep on nurturing that faith in our children, and keep on modeling forgiveness and trust in Christ in our homes.
We won’t do it perfectly. In fact, we will always sin in our roles as parents, as husbands and wives, and as brothers and sisters in Christ. But remember that good news of Jesus in your everyday life: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
And that’s how we know our faith is growing. God continually shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior, so we confess to Him and are continually forgiven at the foot of the cross. Then we are strengthened in our faith to turn around and teach our children that they need Jesus too.
This Summer, Celebrate the Growth
Look for simple opportunities this summer to talk to your children about all the things growing around them, reminding them that God gives the growth.
- If you have a garden, remind them how those big red tomatoes started out as teeny tiny seeds.
- “God made this tiny seed grow into a big tomato! How cool!”
- On a rainy afternoon, find some old pictures of them to show them how much they’ve grown.
- “That little peanut is a picture of you when you were in my belly. And now look how big you are! God is so good.”
- Point to items from their Baptism like a banner or a photo or a special cross and answer their questions of “What dis?”
- “Here’s your baptismal banner. God did something big that day: He made you His child! He gave you faith and grows that faith in your heart every day.”
This month, download the Everyday Faith Calendar to grow in God’s Word as a family. Each day, there is a short Bible reading focusing on spiritual growth and a prayer prompt.