It felt like just yesterday, when I held her as a newborn in my arms and looked into her inquisitive eyes. It felt like just yesterday, that I swaddled her and rocked her, smiled and nursed her. Maybe it was just a few moments ago, that I heard her cooing and gurgling...and then I blinked and she turned into a pre-teen!
"Life with a pre-teen daughter is like a bed of roses" said no mama ever. We have just embarked on this amazing adventure of doing life with a beautiful 12 year old in our house. My daughter is this witty, hilarious, smart and creative girl who authors a book at one moment and the next she’s in a puddle of tears venting her frustrations about the injustice of how we only give candy and stickers to her four year old brother. Also, she and I are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to being an introvert and an extrovert. She needs her alone time and I need all the people time I can get to feel recharged. So when it comes to parenting her at this stage, I’m still learning the ropes.
A few years ago, I read a book called The Ministry of Motherhood. I started reading it thinking that it was just another book on parenting, but it proved to be so much more than that. I found myself going back to that book many times. Sally Clarkson, the author spoke about a very interesting aspect of parenting. She wrote about how we can disciple our children. She drew from Jesus’ relationship with his disciples and applied it to discipling the children that God has blessed us with, even through the mundane routine of everyday life. For me that was a very fascinating concept. But I realised that she wasn’t the only one who had done that. Our church plant coach spoke about the exact same thing when he began discipling his 14 year old son.
I had been mulling over this idea for quite some time now. Finally, I took time to pray about it and genuinely expressed my desire to God. I told him that I not only wanted to parent her but also wanted to make her a disciple of Jesus. A few short days after praying God gave me the perfect opportunity to start.
Our church was doing a 30 day Bible reading challenge and I asked my daughter if she would like to do it with me. She agreed and so we started our discipleship journey. It began with us doing our morning devotions together. At first we would just read the Bible and pray and then I asked her if she would like to dig into a passage and study it a little more. She readily agreed. So I taught her the A(Adoration), C(Confession), T(Thanksgiving) and S(Supplication) method of studying the Scriptures. We both enjoyed doing it together.
I marvelled at her uncomplicated childlike faith. I loved the fresh perspective she brought to an old passage of Scripture. I was genuinely stumped when she would call out my sin and tell me that I had to confess it. But I realised that she was equally vulnerable and was more willing and open to correction when we were discussing the quiet time passage. The truth of the Bible is a powerful tool when it comes to discipling your kids and I was learning that first hand from this experience.
Our coach had asked us to make a timeline and see where we wanted our kids to be in the next six months, one year or even four years. He suggested that we sit with our kids and find out from them what they would like to learn in this discipleship process. I must confess that I haven’t done that yet. Eventually I will get to making that timeline and eventually I will make a plan for discipleship for my kids. But right now, I’m enjoying this start.
When I look at portions of Scripture that talk about discipleship I look at it in the context of discipling my own daughter. Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Before I start making disciples of all the nations I decided to start with one child at home.
If you are considering this concept then remember that God doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. He gave us a perfect example in the way Jesus worked with his disciples. What I am unable to accomplish, Jesus has already accomplished for me. Not just that, but He has also given us the Holy Spirit to help us with this process. As you embark on your own discipleship journey, may it be a refreshing time of pointing your kids to Jesus.