Monday, December 3, 2012


"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-9

My husband and I have been blessed with two daughters who are eight and six, and twin boys who are two and a half. Now that we're confident we're done having children (unless God would move our hearts to have another), we're starting to view parenting a little differently. All of a sudden there is a time limit.

Our boys will be eighteen in fifteen and a half years, or, in other words, in fifteen and a half years, we will be empty nesters. I know that sounds like a long time to some people, but our oldest is already eight and those eight years flew by in a blink of an eye. Before we know it, she'll be graduating from high school and ready to take the next step in life and her sister and brothers will follow quickly behind her.

I don't know about you, but that makes me pause and really think about what we're doing today to prepare our children for the day they move on.

The time to lay the foundation for the rest of their lives is now.

Dave and I have been very purposeful about what we want to teach our children, and as Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us, we believe the most important thing we can impress upon them is our faith. To impress means "to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory, as ideas or facts."

We don't want our children to simply know about our faith, we want to fix it deeply into their minds and hearts. We want them to be confident in what we believe, and our prayer is that they will choose to follow in our foot steps someday. We want the legacy that we leave for our children, and our children's children, to be one of faith and hope.

So how do we impress upon them our faith? I believe that the answer is found in the second half of this verse. We are to impress it upon them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up - at all times.

No matter what we are doing we are modeling our faith for our children. Not just on Sunday morning at church. Not just on Wednesday night at AWANA. Not just when we say our nightly prayers. We are showing our children what faith is at all times, in all ways. Our faith doesn't simply exist in a church building or in an organization. It doesn't exist on one particular day a week. Our faith exists in our hearts when we sit at home, when we leave the house, when we sleep and when we're awake. It's a living breathing thing that never ends.

Impressing our faith on our children is not only something we're instructed to do in the Bible, it's something we need to do to lay the foundation that our children will rely on for the rest of their lives. Without a foundation, the building cannot stand. Without a solid grasp on faith, their lives will be shaky and unstable. Through the strength God offers, we want to make sure we do everything we can to give them a solid start.

Before we know it, our children will be grown up. Now is the time to make a difference.

What about you? Is it easy to model your faith in front of your children? What kind of models did you have as a child?


  1. Sooo needed to read this post, Gabrielle. Thank you. This is something I need to be constantly reminded of. I didn't have many models of true faith as a child, but I want to start a new legacy with my children.

    Constantly praying for wisdom and the gift of watching my tongue as I impress my children. Thanks again.

  2. I think one of the best ways to do this is willingness to say sorry and be real before them. At church yesterday the pastor spoke about influence. I like these words--impress and influence. That's how I believe others spoke faith to me before I understood.
    ~ Wendy

  3. I'm right there with you on this one, Gabrielle! The longer I walk with the Lord, the easier it is to be more intentional about how I model my faith to my kids. Though my own parents weren't perfect, they did show me a good example of what it means to be present in their kids' lives. They were there in one way or another for most of my major accomplishments in life. I'm big on being faithful to those I love, so their example and the truths I read in Scripture about God's unconditional love are two things I can draw from when helping my boys to build the foundation in Christ they will need in their lives.

    As always, it's great to hear from your heart. I hope everything is going well with your writing journey!

  4. Gabrielle, I so sincerely agree. Your children are blessed to have you and your husband guiding and leading them to have a love of Christ, not simply just know about him. That is our goal for our children and as we all sat around last night playing tea party with the scones we baked and reading a chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, I thought how thankful I am to have these years of true fellowship with them.

  5. I don't have kids at the moment :), BUT I know the day I do that I want to parent like my mom and dad. They modeled faith for me in so many ways. I was just thinking this morning, literally like half an hour ago, that I want to learn to love sacrificially like my parents do. They just model that so well...not just loving in easy ways, but in ways that actually mean sacrifice on their part. That's amazing to me. And I want to model that to my kids someday.

    I love hearing about your and Dave's love and dream for your kids. I have no doubt you're showing them what it looks like to live a Christ-filled life. And that's awesome.

  6. Heidi - watching our tongues is so huge. Just the other day I had to apologize to my six year old for something I said too quickly out of frustration. I apologized almost immediately, but later I was still feeling bad about it and addressed it again before bed. After we talked I said: "Just forget I even said that." To which she replied: "I had forgotten, until you brought it up again." :) I love how quick children are to forgive. I believe the words we speak are just as powerful as the behavior we model - and they are even more powerful if they go hand in hand.

    Wendy - yes, saying we're sorry and being real before our children is vital to impressing our faith on them (see my reply to Heather). Whether we like it or not, our children are watching our every move and we need to show them that we make mistakes, just like everyone else, but demonstrating how to apologize and forgive is a key to our faith.

    Suzanne - I love it. Another great example of impressing our faith - being available and present in our children's live, just as Christ is available and present in ours. We are the first example of Christ to our children and that's a huge responsibility, but God gives us the grace to do it. It's not always easy, but when we're intentional about it God shows us the way. Thank you for stopping by to chat today! I love sharing my heart and hearing the heart of others. It's one of my favorite things about blogging.

    Joanne - you're children are also blessed in big ways. I love how your faith and joy for life spill out in all you do. You've given another great example of impressing our faith and that's sharing valuable time together, something God craves with us. As I said to Suzanne, we're our children's first glimpse of God and that makes everything we do so much more important. We want our children to know God by seeing us know Him and by mirroring His attributes and character.

    Melissa - you've also touched on another great impression and that's sacrificial love - quite possibly the greatest example of our faith. Christ's sacrifice to us is one of the foundational pieces to our faith and it's something I want our children to know. The best way to do that is to offer it to them. You're so blessed to have the parents you do and it's evident in the way you live your life. I have no doubt that you will one day continue the legacy of faith they handed down to you.

  7. My parents were always modeling faith for me, and for that I'm so grateful. Even things that didn't sink in right away came back to me later. I still remember my mom telling me to be nice to everyone, to love them like Jesus did.

    When I have kids, I want to be that way for them. I sometimes get afraid, because I know I won't be perfect, but God is strong when we are I know I just need to lean on Him.

  8. I had wonderful role models as a child. As a PK, my parents always let me know that while they weren't perfect, they loved the Lord, and they demonstrated that fact in their daily lives and in the rearing of their family.

    Our children are 10 years apart so it's an interesting season of life for my husband and I. It's so important to own our mistakes and ask for forgiveness because that's what sets the model for them, too. Laying a firm foundation doesn't mean we'll always get it right; it just means that with Christ at the helm, he'll direct the building process.

  9. Hubby and I lived in the world for so long, we knew we wanted to raise our kids different. I pray we've done that as my kids range from 17 to 10. How did we model it? We lived our faith, They have watched us have victories, they have watched us deal with hurt and betrayal but most of all, they've watched us try to live out the faith in Christ to always do what was right instead of what we felt. Not an easy task ;0)

    We now have three teenagers in the house and one pre-teen. We have been blessed with zero fights on dress, or friends or late nights escapades.

    You are so right, there is a time limit with our children. My kids will probably stay through at least two years of college (or so I think) even with that, I only have ten more years with them at home.


  10. Great post!! Even though I don't have children yet, I think it's super important to instill in them a faith that will last. But I think we also have to keep in mind that when they get older, we need to emphasize that it needs to be their faith, not their parent's. I'm leaving for college next summer and I'm so glad my parents pushed me to have a relationship with Jesus!!

  11. A few years ago, after my 2nd trip to Bolivia, my #2 son told me, rather shyly, that he had to do an essay on a hero.
    "So Mom? Because you went to Bolivia and took radios to the poor people? I picked you. You're my hero."

    1. And because that sounded like I have a PhD in dad modelled his faith under intense scrutiny. He is from a part of the world that has almost never known peace, yet h is the most gentle person I know, simply because Jesus was a gentle man.

  12. AMEN!!! I realized my baby girl will be 16 in just thirteen short years (the same amount of years I've been married and it's gone so fast!!) I pray for her and my little baby boy every day!

  13. I am very passionate about God and His Word, and I am raising Micah to be the same. But at the same time, I am scared, because I no longer live in a house where me and my husband are the only adults that Micah is watching, and some are bad influences.


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