How to Sow Spiritual Seeds at the Table
Moms, time flies and we have to make the most of it. Today I welcome my friend, Sandra Bretschneider, to The Better Mom to share how to sow spiritual seeds at our tables, one moment at a time. -XO, Ruth
“Pray, Mommy. Pray,” my youngest insists. At two years of age, my daughter already knows how meals begin at our table. I smile as I glance over at her. Her short locks of wispy, blonde hair and sweet, tender disposition are a delight to behold. With hands tightly clasped, she squints her eyes closed. Then, she glances up at me with a half squint. “I want to pray,” she insists again. “Okay,” I reply. I say a prayer, and she echos short phrases after me.
Another day, my middle daughter volunteers to pray for the evening meal. She's four years old and embodies enough energy for the entire family. Oftentimes, she's quick to mumble a prayer, but today, my husband reminds her, “Now, before you pray, let's think of what you're thankful for.” Enthusiastically, she chatters about all the day's events and closes her eyes to pray.
Shortly after we begin our meal, my husband casually brings up a few things mentioned in her prayer. He asks her questions, with genuine interest, and she replies with an eagerness to share. Going a bit further, he engages her and our oldest with a thought-provoking question. He says, “Think about the things you thanked God for in your prayer. What can we learn about God from these blessings?” With some help, they respond, “He's kind. He gives us good things. He loves us.” Though a simple process, our children are learning more of who God is at our dinner table. We're not just sharing a meal and conversation, we're sharing our Lord and planting seeds of the gospel in their young lives.
Other days, when the morning light shines through the dining room window, we share a Psalm at the breakfast table. Family devotions are not something we do perfectly, but we attempt them whenever we can. (As we all know, mornings do not always unfold as beautifully as we hope for them to.) Even on days of less than ideal circumstances, with grumpy or distracted children, God's Word remains living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It never returns void (Isaiah 55:10-11). We trust the Spirit is at work. Who are we to judge how the Bible will impact the little ears receiving it?
And so, we read a verse or chapter from the book of Psalm. Our approach is nothing fancy. It's simply modeling how to study the Bible with our children. For our younger daughters, they develop the attention for listening and acquire an ear for hearing the Word. Our oldest daughter, an avid reader at six years old, is the one who appears to glean the most from our morning devotion time. She reminds me of myself when I was young, joyfully escaping with a book in the comfort of my bedroom. When we read the Bible, she prides herself in being able to follow along, correcting us if we misread a word. As we read a verse or passage, she's usually the one who asks questions about unfamiliar words and phrases. Other times, all our children remain silent, and we direct conversation around certain verses. We make observations by thinking aloud or asking simple questions, and model the process of Bible study.
Day after day, we sow spiritual seeds at our dining table, one moment at a time. My husband and I make our best attempts, on very imperfect days, and entrust even the weakest attempts to the Lord. Surely we are imperfect people, but his Spirit is at work, leading us as we go. And maybe one day, we'll experience the joy in seeing the fruit of our labor, as our children live a life in holy surrender to God.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6, ESV
Sandra Bretschneider enjoys pursuing outdoor adventures with her husband of twelve years. Everyday she lives out the blessed life as “Mommy” to her three daughters and also works per diem as a speech-language pathologist. She founded the online ministry, He Gently Leads You, which aims to equip moms with free Bible studies. Her passion is to encourage women to spend consistent time in God's Word. When she's not writing in her spare time, you can find her in the kitchen baking or out on a long run. Connect with her at www.hegentlyleadsyou.com and on facebook.com/hegentlyleadsyou.
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