"I need to be alone, Mama, okay?"
Normally I'm fine if one of my kiddos need a few minutes to themself. But this one caught me off guard. We were doing school on the porch, cruising a long with math, and one of the boys needed something from his school drawer.
Ten seconds later I heard that weak little voice and the request for alone time. Not good, I thought. I had the others stay at the porch, where I could hear them, and went inside. One look told me something was wrong...
I glanced over at the school things and saw his Bible sitting with the devo workbook a friend had given us. So I told him that if he wanted to go be alone, he needed to tell me why.
Reluctantly, he started to tell me what a failure he is because he had forgotten a whole week of devotions.
I stopped him cold.
Creating a New Habit is Hard!
See, my young man had recently really decided to own his own quiet time. He really wanted to make it an everyday habit. But good habits rarely make themselves. You have to work to find ways to remind yourself to do the new thing! We had started by putting his Bible on top of his school work, to help him remember, but we had a crazy week last week, and it just didn't happen.
My son had just remembered the devo book, and now he felt terrible.
We talked about grace.
I took him in the kitchen and made a cup of cocoa for him. He didn't want it, because he felt he didn't deserve it.
We had a good talk. We talked about grace. We talked about how Jesus came to save us while we were still sinners. I told him that my own quiet times had been both deep and shallow.
I told him how I had two years of wimpy quiet times while our toddler was smaller. God knew I wanted more, but I had a baby that was waking up 4 to 6 times a night, and at that point, it was a big achievement to read one verse.
God knew all that. And He loved me anyway. My weary brain clung to Him and those single verses, and He carried me on. He heard my prayers. He sent me blessing after blessing, grace upon grace.
We talked about how we have our family God times in the morning, and how Jesus promised to be right there in the midst of us when two or three gather together in His name. We talked about how God knows he is working on a new habit, and we have to find a way that works for him (my son). I told him God wants him to look forward to spending time with Him, not beat himself up when he forgets.
And then I handed him that cocoa and told him to take this little blessing. I told him that we would figure this out together. And I told my boy that he could have five minutes of alone time in that kitchen, but when it was over, he was going to drink that gift of chocolaty goodness in a cup and leave his failures with Jesus. I also told him if he didn't take that little blessing, I would keep piling up more of them and dumping them on him until he couldn't move for all the pizza and good things until he understood! He laughed at the image, had his five minutes and his cocoa, and then joined me for the rest of school.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, kids are all just so different. Each of my kids were given fun, daily devotional workbooks. The other two kids take it in stride if they miss a day (or three). But some kids (or some phases they go through) just don't take it that way.
Some kids see all the pages they did, and some see the pages they didn't do. Our jobs as Mamas are to encourage them and build them up. You can encourage the one kind to strive for a little more next time! But the others are a little trickier. We have to help them see the roses when they are looking at the thorns.
Grace upon Grace
I'm also sharing this because I am 100% certain that I am not the only Mama out there trying to help her kids develop a daily habit of spending time with God.
You can find post after brilliant post about how Most-Wonderful-Method works brilliantly on the internet. And man, it sure is tempting to quit when life doesn't work out Pinterest Perfect (at least it is for me)!
I want to remind you (and me) that different things work for different people. That one kid loves that devotional and another sees it as something they just can't do right.
The important thing is not to give up. Find what works. Build small habits.
One day he'll be strong enough to run with the Shepherd. But today, it's okay to walk. It's even okay to be carried.
Remember that, dear Mama. Cause that goes for us, too.
Copyright 2017 by Anna Travis. All rights reserved.
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