It seems like every day I find myself in a slightly different theological place than I was the day before. I feel like a pendulum. Where I'm anchored doesn't change, it's Christ that is holding my feet. But on every other level I'm shifting, sliding, stretching, trying to find the right balance. Honestly, it's exhausting. But when I look at my children, it's frightening. What will I teach them? Will I teach them to believe what I believe in, will I teach them that this is the way that it is, period. Or, will I teach them to use that wonderful gift from God that sits atop their little shoulder.
Last night I had the privilege of meeting with the ministry team from a nearby church. The simplest way to describe them would be unconventional. They have truly grasped what it means to meet people where they are, and to become all things to all men. That translates into grace. Not cheap grace that says live however you want, Jesus is cool with everybody. But real, authentic, bold grace. Grace that says (cliche as it may be) Jesus loves you where you are, but he loves you too much to leave you there. Amongst those that I met were two former atheists who are now passionate followers of Christ. The whole meeting touched my heart, and it sparked a fire under my feet. (I'm going to tell you more about them in another post, but until then check out their website here. Seriously, greatest church name ever!)
When I look back on my own journey from unbelief to faith, I see that the process didn't stop when I surrendered my life to Christ, it just changed focus. I have always been seeking Truth. From an early age, I have been on this journey. And it's funny, the only time along the way that I have been content with what was fed to me, rather than what I came up with on my own, was in the early years of being a Christian. I gave my life to Christ and for a time my pursuit of knowledge and understanding ceased, and I relied more on what others had come up with than what I was finding on my own. Incidentally, I have had to unlearn a lot of stuff. I got a lot of wisdom from others, but I got a good deal of crap, too.
So now, back to my children. Their journeys haven't even begun. At this point they believe anything I tell them, and the concept of their mother's fallibility is totally foreign. They don't yet know to question me. They don't know that there are far more questions I don't have the answer to than ones that I do. Do you see where I'm going with this? It is my job, to teach my children, that I am fallible. It is my job to convince them that I did not hang the moon, I do not know everything, and I am just as much a screw up as the next person. Why would I tell them this? Because I want them to get it.
I want them to seek God on their own. More than anything in the world I want these guys to know Christ, and to surrender their lives to Him. I don't even want to consider the alternative being a possibility for my sweet babies. But I cannot expect them to seek Him and find Him, and to develop a genuine faith that is truly their own, if what I actually encourage them to do is acquiesce to my faith. If all I ever do is tell them what they should believe, I leave no room for them to discover what they actually, personally believe.
So there are a few things I'm going to do. First, I'm going to raise my children to be thinkers. I want them to question. That's right, I want them to question, and to feel safe in that. I want them to know that questioning and even doubting is a natural part of this "making your faith your own" process. Sure, it will scare me when they start asking the big questions and leaning away from me on them, and it will frustrate me when I want them to grasp something that they're inches away from and just won't. But if I teach them to seek for themselves, and to pursue other avenues of thinking without feeling guilty about it, I absolutely believe God will step in and draw them.
So, secondly, I will pray with reckless abandon that God will woo my children. I will pray that in His sovereign will he has chosen them to have seeing eyes and hearing ears. I will pray that His spirit will be with them, and that they will be spared the years of waywardness that their mother went through.
Thirdly, I will ask God to prepare their mother and father. Prepare us with wisdom and discernment to guide these kids. On the day one of them comes home covered in holes and ink, prepare their father to not have a heart attack. On the day that one of them comes home in a suit and tie and says he wants to go to business school, prepare their mother to not have a heart attack. Prepare us to love these kids through every phase of life. The weird phase. The scary phase. The doubting phase. The wayward phase. The climbing phase. The surrender phase. And, the follow through.
Oh, sweet child of mine, I know you'll get there. I know you'll get it. Seek, and you'll find. Seek, with your whole heart, and you will find Truth. You will find the love and hope and saving grace of Christ. And when you do, surrender! Don't be afraid to let yourself fall for Him. Give him your life, and pursue him with it. But, continue to seek. Never stop learning about him. Explore who He is, who you are in Him, and what it all means in this life. Seek, Child.
Seek. Surrender. Seek.