This week my one of my daughters shared her testimony at her mid-week Bible study which got me to thinking about the benefit of parents sharing their testimonies or God stories with their children.  Listen in as I share some of my reflections this week.

Do you talk about your Faith and Share your Testimonies with your kids

I’ve been thinking about the idea of sharing our “testimony”. It is a Christianese word to label your salvation story – how you met Jesus.  But the dictionary gives a fuller meaning of the word:

  • It is a statement or declaration made by a witness, under oath, usually in court
  • It is evidence or proof of a fact or statement
  • An open declaration or profession (as of faith)
  • The precepts of God – the tablets where God wrote the law

So really it is much bigger than one type of story.

As a Christian I think there are three aspects to consider as we look at this dictionary definition.

  • First – that those who see me, who are witness to my life, have a testimony about what they see. So I ask myself – Do the people around me see Jesus? I’m challenged with something I heard as a teenager, written about the New Testament church- they turned the world upside down. (This is said in the intro in the Phillips translation).  Through their love for each other and for other people they had a testimony. People were their witness to God in their lives..
  • Secondly, can I articulate (not necessarily to a crowd, but at least to my children) what God has done – can we be God’s witness. Can I tell others – and in particular my children – what God has done, what I have seen God do.
  • And thirdly, can we declare that we trust God, that we put our faith in Him?   Psalm 71:15-16 says:  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.   

When we label our God stories as a Testimony it tends to take away the naturalness of it. We think there is a proper and right structure and delivery. The New Testament church, didn’t have Google to tell them how to put together a testimony – they simply shared from their overflowing love for Jesus. They were changed people and they lived a different way – they no longer were constrained by the constraints of society, but rather directed and motivated by the love of Jesus. They could both live a different life and talk about their faith and trust in Jesus.

I don’t want to elevate the New Testament church to an ideal – because we only have the stories (the testimonies) of a handful of Christians. There were a lot of Marys, Ruths, Rebeccas, Peters, Marks, Jacobs who we don’t know about – people whose lives were turned around by meeting Jesus. I am sure, 100% sure, that there was a large proportion of those people who didn’t like public speaking, who never had an opportunity to speak to a crowd (and were probably very thankful for that!!) 

My point isn’t that we all need to be like Paul who was able to articulate his journey, we don’t all need to be like Stephen who preached up a storm but we do all need to recognise that we have a testimony.

  • God has done something for each of us.
  • We have a faith and trust in Jesus.

Regardless of who else we meet during our week, our children are our ready audience – and our responsibility. They are the ones we live with day in and day out. Do we share what God has done for us, in us, with us, for us, with our kids? 

I certainly tried to do this when my kids were young – I’d talk about an answer to prayer, I’d talk about how God showed me wisdom when I read his word.  But as my kids have got older and they ask questions I think I’ve left a lot unsaid as well.  

As I reflect on my faith walk – from when I was a little girl till now I have seen God’s hand in my life many times.

The first time that I remember is when I was about 8 we were on holidays and I got very sick.  I had two tests that said I had hepatitis, and if confirmed by the 3rd test, I would be the 3rd person sick in the town and the whole community and area would have had to go into quarantine.  This one night, I went to bed after my family had prayed for me, even my 2 year old brother,  middle of the night I woke up and insisted that dad come and pray with me, like NOW.   Then we went back to sleep – I woke up that morning well.  And very very sure that God had healed me – I felt great and as the blood test would later show there is no trace of any hepatitis.

I wonder if my kids know that story?  I’ll have to check with them.

As I think about my life and some of the God stories I want to tell my kids I have a list to share with you of the types of stories to tell.  I’m using this list to prompt Peter’s and my memories as I want us to share more with our kids.  There is still time for us to be sharing these stories.

 

Different Types of God Stories (Testimonies)

My list includes:

  • My understanding of my salvation; and key moments of commitment to God
  • Pivotal lessons I’ve learnt that have shaped my relationship with God
  • Times where I’ve seen God’s intervention in my life
  • Times where God has answered my prayers – and times where he hasn’t
  • Stories of hard times and how I’ve walked through those with God
  • Specific scriptures that are important to me – they’ve shaped me, guided me, helped me

As you can see – it’ll be a while till I run out of stories to talk about. 

But as I thought about all this, there is one other challenge that pricked my heart: Do I have something to share about my relationship with God – today. Not yesterday, though that is an important part of my relationship and story – but today.

Our testimony is not simply a history lesson – back in the day – it is to be that, but it is also to be a sharing of our relationship with God today. What is he doing, today? What is he saying, today? What’s my response, today? We need to share these things with our kids as well.

 

Heart-focused Action Step

What about you – do you share what God has done in your life, both yesterday and today, with your kids?

For starters – do they know how you became a Christian?

One of the fun things getting to know new people (and that happens a lot up here as our community is very transient)  is that we share our stories.  I know for Peter and I we share how we got together, we talk about our church journey and how we came to Kununurra. We share our highs and lows – and how God and his provision, how his love and grace has always been with us.

Our children need to hear these stories too – not while we tell other people – but as we sit down, look them in the eye, and say – let me tell you story – a true story!

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