Here’s the honest truth when it comes to guiding my kids in their spirituality: I’m pretty often terrified I’m screwing it up. With Margaret, I wonder, did I choose to show her love today, or did I grow impatient too soon? And with Bonnie, lately, no matter how I try to explain prayer as a way for us to talk to God, she ends her prayers with “Love, God” like she is writing little love letters to herself from the creator of the universe. I kind of love that, actually. Really, Bonnie would rather sing her lunch-time blessing song she learned at preschool when it’s time to pray, than take time to think of her own words at all, and for now that’s just where we are. She’s just three, and that’s ok.
Some nights, like last night, Bonnie tells me she is afraid of ___ monsters (insert a silly, made up name) in her closet, and I relish in a moment to teach her that when she is afraid, God is always with her.
“He’s in MY ROOM?”
“Yes, baby, God is everywhere.”
“IN MY ROOM?!”
“Yes, and He is bigger than any monster in your closet.”
The girls were baptized in our tiny Anglican chapel last summer, and I celebrated the fact that God will fill in the gaps when I fail and am left wordless and clueless on how to help them understand spiritual things. There’s so much I don’t even understand. Ultimately they are under His wings of safety, and loved so well by a community committed to doing life with us at our church. For me, their baptism was an exercise in letting go of control and finding peace in this truth – an exercise in growing my faith, a starting place for theirs.
I did not grow up Anglican, or even in a liturgical denomination, so I am still learning and exploring these new traditions of my faith, all while trying to dig in enough to give my kids rich, deep roots of their own spiritual formation. I am coming to love the rhythm and direction the church calendar gives us, marking our lives by the life of Christ… and I’ve been looking for ways to bring that into our daily home life.
During Advent, we did daily (ok most days…) readings from the beautiful children’s Advent cards created by She Reads Truth. I loved the illustrations on each card, and the questions that offered different age-appropriate options to reflect on each scripture reading. I stumbled across Good Dirt looking for something similar we could do as a family to participate in Lent this year, and hopefully in years to come. Good Dirt has three volumes – one for each season of the year-long church calendar. Each daily devotional presents scripture readings, paired with ideas for activities, application, and questions to reflect on as a family. The model each day follows the way we care for a garden: till, plant, water, weed – check out this excerpt from the book for today’s devotion (Ash Wednesday).
I’m looking forward to reading this as a family through Lent and practicing some of the spiritual disciplines together as best we can. If you’d like to join us, you can download a copy of the devotional from Scribd for free(!!!) here or you can order a physical copy from Amazon here. And if you do decide to follow along, let me know in the comments what you think, and how it’s going for your family. I know with such little ones, we will probably be doing some modifications on activities some days, in order to make it more three and under friendly.
Check out some other book resources for Lent here