When I first turned my life over to God and accepted Jesus into my life, I thought was faced with a hefty learning curve. I had grown up attending church, I had taken courses on Christianity and had read loads of articles. As an adult I'd attended church sporadically but ultimately I'd never truly lived my life for God. I felt like I had a mountain of change to make before I could actually be a good Christian role model for our daughters.
Soon after making the decision to living as a Christian and praying about it I was feeling overwhelmed. What does a Christian life look like? Will I be good enough? How do I make sure my children are raised in a Christian home? Google had so many answers, so many articles float around the Internet on this topic, I was quickly confused.
Being the researcher I am, I didn't stop with Google. I continued on to ask all of my Christian friends these questions. Thank you to all of you for your patience! I cannot imagine how it felt having me walk up to you on the children's playground and ask you, "How do I teach my girls about God the right way?"
It may seem silly to some of you but I was like a dog chasing its tail. I was very concerned about being a good Christian mother for our girls. I wanted to be someone who shares Jesus with them in a way that they naturally understand his Love for us.
After asking practically every Christian woman I knew, I moved onto researching private Christian schools. We happen to have a fantastic Christian school near us but frankly the tuition is out of our budget. Realizing this I prayed, I asked God to provide a way for our girls to attend because of COURSE it's the place where they'll learn what a Christian life would look like.
Alas, my prayers were answered but not with the outcome I'd wanted: our girls wouldn't be attending anytime in the near future.
This all happened over the course of about six months. In the meantime, we had continued with our daily routine of talking openly about Jesus through the day at home, saying grace at meal time, praying for others at bedtime and attending church.
So life was carrying on but this nagged at me, looking back I can see the dog/tail behavior I was perpetuating, and it makes me a smidge embarrassed.
From the moment I'd made the decision to turn my will and my life over to God I had begun praying, seeking God's guidance in my life with my decisions and choices. I'd made conscious efforts to change my patterns, to accept that I cannot control life and trust that he could and would if I sought a relationship with God.
But somehow I missed this one.
Somehow in all this motherly worry I'd forgotten to turn to God for help. Finally I was exhausted by it all, I had no idea what to do and finally prayed and asked God in a very petulant way what I was supposed to do, demanding he throw me a bone already!
The next evening we were at the dinner table and Chelsea, 6, was telling a story how her good friend had told her she wasn't inviting Chelsea to her birthday party the following week even though many others in their class were going. Immediately, my heart dropped. Expecting her to be devastated, I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the emotional fall-out.
Sydney gasped and said, "Well she can't come to your party then!"
Chelsea replied, "Well, I think I'll invite her. Jesus wasn't mean to the people just because they were mean to him, right Mama?"
I swear I could hear the sound of thunderous applause in my head, my inner psyche was chanting "Chelsea, Chelsea" as I calmly smiled and said "Yup, that's exactly right Chelsea. There's no point having hurt feelings over this."
The conversation didn't end there: Next, Sydney related it to an event I hadn't been invited to recently that she'd happened to notice. We sat as a family connecting the dots in our lives to those we'd learned about in Scripture. It was a lively discussion and often strayed far off-track but in the end we had a great time learning as a group.
That night as I prayed, I laughed at myself and gave God the props he was due.
Once again God's sense of humor had smacked me across the face and I'd learned a lesson I thought I was beyond.
As long as I'm seeking an active relationship with the Lord and openly sharing that with our children ... well, it turns out that we had been living the Christian life I'd been researching all along.
It's not a simple, sudden change when you change your life dramatically but a journey of learning and relationship. As long as I remember to turn to God first, I can learn faster and enjoy the outcome which bleeds down to our children.
I know I'll mess this up again, if the past is any indication I'm a slow-learner but thankfully God has that sense of humor and is happy to redirect me when I ask.
How about yourself: Do you question your faith as a parent?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Follow Julie Elsdon-Height on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SoberJulie