Train Up Your Children In The Lord

Oct 25, 2018

Train Up Your Children In The Lord.... by Krissa Tejada

Dear younger me,

Be prepared when you leave home for college. I don’t just mean have your shower caddy, shower shoes and cute robe for the dorm showers. I mean, be prepared for the hard questions from the skeptic, the doubt and the temptation that is sure to come while living on your own for the first time in this hostile culture.
You may think you know Jesus Christ, you even believe that you are saved and a good Christian. However, once the questions begin, such as "why do you believe in Jesus?" and "How do you know there is a heaven?" you will soon realize you could have done more to prepare, should have paid closer attention at church and memorized more scripture. When the popular guy down the hall begins to show interest in you and persuades you to have a drink or to sleep over, you will need to remember your true values and why you have chosen to follow Christ in the first place.
I love you and I want you to succeed in life, and most importantly in your Christ- driven purpose.

Sincerely, Krissa

Where did I go wrong?!?

I was eighteen years young when I first went away to college just ninety miles from home at Colorado State University. It was the fall following the mass shooting at Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado where I graduated in 1999.
I was raised in a Christian home, always knowing Jesus and attending church regularly, and I was a proud Christian when I walked through those university doors for the first time. However, it was during those precious seasons that followed my senior year of high school and first time away from home that I began to realize just how cruel the real world could be.
At the tender age of eighteen, I had not only just experienced the most traumatic event in my life when I survived the hateful mass shooting at my high school, but all of a sudden I was among thousands of other people just like me who were searching for meaning of life and a purpose to live for; but were they really just like me?!?!?

I found myself seeking love and community in all the wrong places. I wanted to be liked and accepted, but rather than go a local church youth group, I found something that seemed more convenient and more intoxicating at the time.

During the next few years I found myself more and more unhappy and further and further from the person I once was doing things I would have never have imagined myself doing. I was no longer the proud Christian I was when I entered those doors at eighteen and I had almost walked away from my faith entirely.

Years passed before I found my way back to church and studying the Bible again. It was almost fifteen years later, now married and raising three young children when I came to the difficult understanding that I had never fully surrendered my life to Christ. After years of complaining about my "less than perfect" circumstances, the Lord brought me to a point in my life and relationship where I fell to my knees and gave it all over to Him. It was at this point that I first experienced what it truly meant to be surrendered and unapologetically me in Christ Jesus.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The
 life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
 gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

The Lord began to work in and through me and it was at this point in time when I heard the distinct calling to "go and make disciples" of our little people, our children. Now that I had come to know Jesus fully, I became aware of how naïve I had been and how unprepared I was leaving home at eighteen. It weighed heavy on my heart that these precious children of mine had been entrusted to me and it was my responsibility to be pro-active and to begin preparing them now for the hostile world that awaited them outside my door. But how?? This can seem like an overwhelming task, but as I began to pray about this and learn more about how to best prepare my children, I realized I was not alone in my experience:

Natasha Crain shared in her book Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side that "61% of kids who were involved in church as recently as their teenage years become spiritually disengaged by their 20s- not actively praying, reading the Bible, or attending church."

"This finding, based on the extensive surveys of researcher George Barna, is the alarm that has sent pastors, youth leaders and young adult ministries searching for answers. Why is this happening? Having studied the various survey results in depth, I think it’s fair to summarize the collective problem in one sentence: A lack of robust spiritual training has resulted in a featherweight faith for many of today’s young adults, and that faith is being blown away by attacks from our secular culture."

The Father promises he "will cause something new to happen" Jeremiah 31: 22

How beautiful is the heart of God toward his rebellious children: "I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him." Jeremiah 31: 20

Just as the Lord displayed great mercy and grace on Israel, who had turned away from the Lord, he longs to do the same with me, the ugly shame and all, and to create something beautiful from it. The Lord has shown great mercy and love to me and now guides me to better prepare the next generation.

Establishing a deep rooted faith:
It has become apparent to me that this issue goes beyond the scope of only MY experience in my home. As I continue to learn and grow myself, allow me to offer what I have come to know and utilize as my resources to support our family on this important parenting topic:

1. One of the most obvious steps my husband and I decided we should take to help prepare our young children was to homeschool. This was not an overnight decision, in fact we had talked about before we ever got married, but we had now come to realize how truly vital it would be to insure they had a deep rooted faith, unlike what I had experienced. I know some people would disagree, but we felt led to homeschool our little people so that we could control who was influencing them the most at this point in their life (since it will be more difficult when they are older). We desired to focus on character building, studying the Bible and truly living the word. As a result of our family-led school schedule we had the opportunities to travel and to experience people and cultures across many countries. This gave us the chance to have constant dialogue about family and faith and how we can apply it daily.

2. In addition to homeschooling, we enrolled other adults to partner with us that shared in our family mission. It had become apparent to us that as parents, we had a lot to learn as well. So, with the help of mentors, unlimited parenting books and most importantly, prayer, we take each step in faith that the Lord will guide us and give us wisdom and strength. 
(My favorite daily devotional called Praying through the Bible for your Kids, by Nancy Guthrie).

3. We partnered with a great local church and enrolled the leadership in a partnership to disciple our little people. You may be reading this feeling you don’t have the knowledge, time or resources to disciple your children, but allow me to encourage you. It is ok to tell your kids that you don’t have the answer and that you can find it together. That is exactly what the Pastor and leadership team exists for at the local church (and you don’t have to be a member or regular attender to ask questions).

4. Reading the Bible together as a family is a crucial part of teaching the love of Jesus to our little people and our family really enjoys the Story Book Bible. I personally love sitting in the hallway reading the scriptures between the kids’ bedrooms as they drift off to sleep. I started doing this as a recommendation from one of my mentors and I have personally grown and learned so much reading the Bible this way.

5. We are committed to intentional parenting and not just winging it. As parents, our intention is to be present and prepared for conversation with our little people. If you have crazy busy schedules, consider drive time or while watching a sibling at ball practice to engage in thought provoking conversation. It is not enough to armor them with the Bible, but we also must present all the opposing views as well so they are not blindsided. Author and speaker Natasha Crain, offers some great resources in her books Keeping your Kids on Gods Side and Talking with Your Kids about God, as well as on her blog Another great resource is the Story Catechism written by Freddy Williams who also authored the Easter Catechism.

6. Finally, and possibly the most important aspect of our family mission, is to lead by example. Our little people will do what we do, so we are actively seeking opportunities to grow and learn in our own faith life. This includes attending church together, reading the Bible and praying together and for one another regularly, and activelyserving in our church and community as we display and live out the love of Jesus.

I have come to realize that the Lord allows us to experience different circumstances in life, as difficult as some can be, to allow us to be used for His Greater Purpose. As a result of my featherweight faith, I believe I had to grow through those hard years and to suffer the consequences of my poor choices so that I would be able to support the next generation better. I believe that it was most crucial for my family’s legacy so that I could better prepare my little people to grow up and be loving, confident, Christ-serving leaders in the world.

God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16

You can follow Krissa Tejada on her Instagram

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