Note from the Editors: When a reader named Chasity wrote us an email asking questions about pointing preschoolers to Jesus, we tapped a few ladies to help answer her questions in a series of posts. Please read the introductory post here.
Chasity’s questions were these:
“I recently found your blog and have been greatly encouraged. I have a question regarding the mundane-ness of days at home. I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and when we have full days at home, we all seem to be bored and I seem to lack vision. What do you ‘do’ with your children during the days?
Sometimes I try to do little crafts or play games, but it seems there must be more to pointing my children to Christ. Would you mind sharing some ideas on how to fruitfully and purposefully fill the day?”
Jessica Thompson (@Jesslou) shares her thoughts…
When Gloria asked me to guest post on the Domestic Kingdom blog, I was pretty stoked. Then I saw what she wanted me to write on. My ecstasy immediately turned to despair.
The question that the reader asked exposes a weak point in my life. To me, sharing Christ with preschoolers is a daunting task. The words crafts and activities make me really nervous. I knew I had to be honest; I had to admit my shortcoming.
I had to tell the truth—that I would actually rather read in the sun, than engage my kids in some gospel-activity. The truth that I have bought art projects only to hide them from my kids so that they won’t ask to do them. The truth that my oldest son has officially asked me to give up on any art lessons during the school year because every single one we do together is a giant failure. I am not sure why I can’t glue that flower where it is supposed to go. I must have an undeveloped area of my brain. That has to be it.
The gross truth is my deficiency in creativity is not my biggest problem. My biggest problem is that I don’t want to be deficient at anything, but I really am deficient at everything. I long for perfection and I want to earn it. Ironically, there is perfection that is already mine, and not because of anything I have done. The hard work of my life comes in as I believe that this perfection—Christ’s perfection—is all that really matters about me.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.” Titus 3:5
When who I am as a woman is tied up in awesome meals I make, or the beautiful art projects my kids have painted, or even I how well I can proclaim the gospel to my kids everyday, I am done. I have failed.
The truth of my identity– the truth of who I am– must be completely and unalterably tied to all that He has done. I have to rest in the good work of another. The lovely part is he has already clothed me in his righteousness. His work of mercy changes the way he sees me. When I think on these truths I almost can’t help but talk to my kids about him. I can freely admit my failures and rejoice in my Savior. And because I love my kids I won’t make them do any art project with me.
Those years when your kids don’t know enough to have a real conversation, but are old enough to vent their full anger are difficult. I remember how long every day seemed, and how I had two times during the day I pushed for: (1) Nap time, (2) Bed time. I remember being exhausted and bored at the same time– a strange combination. I know some moms excel at this time of life. If God has graced you with this love, that is awesome—soak it all in.
If not, and you find your days wearisome and difficult, I have hope for you. It is not a hope that comes from the fact that very soon they will sleep past 10 am and you will have to wake them up. Or from knowing that someday they will brush their teeth without you standing there watching. Or even in the expectation that date nights and time alone with your husband will be a reality in a few years, because they will actually be able to be home without you. (This one is my favourite part about having a teenager!)
Your hope rests solely in the fact that you have a Sovereign God who promises to sustain you. He gathers you in his arms, carries you close to his heart and gently leads you (Isaiah 40:11). Your hope is not in a change of circumstance but in the One who rules all circumstance with love, kindness, gentleness, and power. In your exhaustion you can lay at the foot of the cross, assured of the fact that your Risen Savoir cares for you and loves you with an unquenchable love. With that truth as your fuel, you can go through your days trusting him to use you in your children’s lives to share his beauty—this beautiful Messiah that has captured your heart forever.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jessica Thompson (@Jesslou) grew up in SoCal, has a degree in theology, and is married to her sweetheart, Cody. The Lord has blessed them with three children who she homeschools. She co-authored Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Christ with her mom, Elyse Fitzpatrick. Jess is writing a forthcoming devotional for children and parents to enjoy the gospel together (Crossway 2013) and blogs at Give Them Grace.
Other posts in the Pointing Preschoolers to Jesus series:
Practicing Hospitality Reminds Me of Jesus, Gloria Furman