When we had Emma, there were certain things we knew we wanted to instill in her and ways we wanted to raise her. We have certain values that we share that we wanted to raise her to have as well. At the end of the day, she decides everything she believes but we definitely guide her in making these decisions.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
The biggest thing we are raising in Emma is that we want her to learn about Jesus now. We want to teach her NOW about who He is and what He has done for us. Our desire is that one day she will accept Him into her heart and choose to follow Him. I think it would be wrong for us to simply hope for these things without working towards this goal with her. It is our job as parents to raise her up how we want her to be and pray that God takes care of the rest.
One thing that we do to teach Emma is reading her Bible stories. We try to sit down with her every night with her awesome Bible and read her one story at a time. That’s truthfully about all she can take from any book. She really enjoys looking at the pictures while we read and the stories are short enough that they keep her attention. This is something that we find very important in how we raise Emma. By reading God’s word, she will come to know who He is and be able to make a decision about her relationship with Him.
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 NLT
Another thing that we do is make God a part of her life regularly. One way we did this is something as small as her toys. We were at a friend’s house checking out their new beautiful baby girl, also named Emma, and her big sister had a Little People’s Noah’s Ark Set. Emma was on cloud nine playing with this thing. Apparently, she has a fetish with Little People so we went ahead and bought this. This way as she grows, we can continue to tell her the wonderful stories of the Bible and use her toy to do so. Will we do it every time she plays with it? No. But once she knows the story it will stick with her. We pray that Noah and his crew will be more than a toy to her- it will be a wonderful story of God and an example of His love for us.
The last thing I want to talk about that we do with Emma is probably one of the most important things that we do. We have Emma involved in church. Not to knock anyone down because each person has to make their own decision, but I think coming to church once or twice a year isn’t enough. It’s not enough for God to be a habit in your child’s life. Your child needs to hear about God just as much, if not more, than they’re hearing about everything else. We are starting Emma out young. She goes to church every Sunday morning and in the nursery/infant stage, it’s really just about being loved on and cared for by her teachers. Believe me when I say she is. She is in love with one of her teachers, Jeremy, and I’m not sure she’ll ever agree to move up to the one year old room. Ha! As she grows, they will share more and more about God’s word with her but continue to love on her. She will also be able to develop friendships with believers. It is so important to find people who share your values and are there to walk through life beside you. I don’t say this to say I don’t want Emma to be friends with other people. I want Emma to be friends with everyone whether they attend church or not. Whether they are believers or could care less. What I’m saying here is that it’s good for Emma to have her core friendships based around people who share the same beliefs and values she does.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 MSG
These are just a few ways that we are raising Emma up in hopes that she will come to know Christ in the process. We pray for her regularly and her salvation. I think it’s the most important thing you can do as a parent and we take it very seriously. Our child’s eternity is the most important thing to us here our this earth.
What are you doing and how are your raising your child?