Discipling Our Children in a Pandemic

I’m a planner. I love a good plan. Plans put me at ease and help me feel confident about moving forward. But, if you are like me, in the last 5 months you have wondered if there is even a point in planning anything anymore. Have you found yourself scrambling at times to manage the chaos? Do you feel a sense of defeat any time you make a plan? Because we all know guidelines and restrictions will inevitably change, and our plans go out the window! Planning for parenting? All bets are off!

There are moments where I have tried to make plans. I set up a fun activity for my three year-old; my 6 year-old is set up for school, and I began typing out an email. Then, five minutes later, everyone is hungry and fighting with one another! I have to set work aside to mediate and feed everyone…again. When it comes to discipling my children, sometimes I feel like it’s just another thing I am supposed to do but don’t have time or energy for.

Let’s admit this is hard and, surely, life was not meant to be lived this way. We’re asked to be an employee, parent, spouse, teacher, counselor, cook, and maid all within the same hour! And now we are staring down the tunnel with school just around the corner. How can we persevere in parenting?

Parenting in the Everyday

Jesus said, ““If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23). Following Jesus is about daily self-denial, which includes our parenting. It means pointing our children to the One we follow. What should this look like?

It could look like sitting down at the dinner table and reading a passage of Scripture together, or listening to worship music in the car and singing together, or reading a brief devotional at bedtime. In each instance, look for Christ. Or pick an attribute of Christ for a week and draw attention to it. His gentleness, mercy, compassion, truthfulness, strength. There are tons of resources out there for this. At City Life, we are committed to coming alongside parents in this journey.

It can be easy to let this slip by along with all our other plans. But pointing our children to the One we follow should be the one thing we hold onto. It’s been challenging to do this on Sunday mornings in our home. Asking our kids to sit with us while we listen to the sermon and worship together sometimes feels like too much. They don’t yet see the point, and sometimes it feels like it would just be easier to wait and watch the sermon after they’re in bed, or just eat our dinner and move along, or skip that bedtime devotional. And there’s grace for that, but there’s more grace in seeking Christ. He says, “whoever loses his life for my sake will gain it” (9:24). There is great gain in following Jesus!

Sometimes (or most times) the hard thing is the very thing we need to do. It’s uncomfortable and messy. But let me encourage you that pointing your children to Christ brings a richness to your days and deepens your own relationship with God. I have seen this play out in my own home when conflict arises. Without discipleship, I just look for the quickest way to resolve the problem. Everyone just calm down and be nice. With discipleship in mind, we take time to talk through the Gospel and the deeper reasons why we are upset. This conversation isn’t odd because we have other rhythms in place that also point us to the Gospel.

And the Spirit wants to empower us to do this. More than any tool or resource, the Holy Spirit is there to give strength in our weariness, to equip us in our weakness. He can and will do a work in us and our families if we will lean in to the uncomfortable and inconvenient moments and seek Him.

This Time, This Place

We are living in a moment in history that will stand out for generations to come. And it’s no coincidence that you and I are the ones living through it. It’s no accident that we are raising our children at this time in history. God wants us to join Him in the good works He’s prepared for us in this time and place. We have an opportunity to lean into the uncomfortable moments and allow the Lord to do a work in us, allow Him to form us, and our families, to look more like Christ.

So brothers and sisters, let us not lose heart as we press on. Let us continue to intentionally carve out rhythms and time in our mundane days to point our children to Jesus. Together let’s pray with our children, read scripture with our children, set aside Sunday mornings to worship with our children, and, most importantly, bring our children along with us as we seek the One who is powerful enough to uphold us through this moment in history.

If you have any questions or need any help, please do not hesitate to email me at danielle@austincitylife.org.

Find more resources and information about our Kids Life ministry here.