I want to gather every parent I know and yell, “YOU GUYS! THIS IS HUGE!” A particular passage of Deuteronomy hit me like a steel baseball bat the other day, and I want to share it. At just 6:30 a.m., my mind was already racing and my heart stirred. Scripture, God’s word, can do that even in the early morning.
Backstory: I committed to daily morning prayer, so most days I rise at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and, with a pat for the dog and a cup of coffee in my hand, head to my prayer chair in the living room. After hearing how great Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast from Ascension is, I decided to add it to my daily routine. It was day 52 and we’d just completed the slog through Exodus and Leviticus. Leviticus is where many of us stop reading — it’s dry and filled with detailed instructions. We were beginning Numbers and Deuteronomy, and Fr. Mike, along with Jeff Cavins, brought our attention to Deuteronomy 6:4-7. Moses is prepping the children of those who wandered the desert for 40 years because they were the ones who would be entering the promised land and it was a land opposed to God.
Moses tells them:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”
And here I wrote “This is huge” in capital letters in my Bible because he told them (us) two very simple and important things: love God and diligently teach your children about him. And I want to stand on the roof of my house and yell this to my neighborhood with a bullhorn.
“Love God, and teach your children about him!” because our culture is literally going to hell. I know — every generation laments the state of things but we have strayed so far from the truth that we are now teaching our children that it’s OK to kill an unborn or just born baby; it’s OK to have sexual relations with whomever you want whenever you want; it’s OK to surgically alter yourself to conform to how you feel.
We aren’t teaching our children that they are children of God beautifully and intentionally created.
We aren’t teaching our children that God has a plan for them for goodness and joy.
We aren’t teaching our children that they are loved beyond measure.
We aren’t teaching them about truth, beauty and goodness.
Perhaps it’s because no one taught us, or perhaps it’s because the ways of God run so opposite to our current cultural narrative that we risk being ostracized and criticized or worse. Ironically, the Christian value system that used to be the norm is now countercultural. Never did I think I’d ever be countercultural, but now I am radically so.
It doesn’t matter the reason. When I look at the history of civilization, there are dark times in our past, but I believe God has it under control. I believe there are some sad and scary things going on now, but I have faith that God is going to raise up a generation that will effect change, that will keep their gaze on him and will, with God’s grace, steer us from the lies we are being told.
And I believe that we, as parents, play a part in that by loving God and teaching our children about him. Our role is critical, and even when our children become teenagers and young adults, we aren’t yet done. So, I’m asking you to pray for yourself, your children and our world. I’m asking you to ask God to help you raise good human beings who are confident in their being beloved and courageous in their faith, and I’m asking you to be courageous as well.
This is my clarion call: do as Moses said — Love God with your heart, soul and might, and teach your children to do the same. Pray hard and pray often. God’s got this, but I think he’s asking for our participation as mothers.
Stepping down from my soapbox now.