Guest Post: On how to teach our children about Jesus

I am deeply honored today to share with you a post from my friend Emily Wierenga. Emily’s writing is at times ethereal and at times heartbreaking, but always true, and it serves to nudge the reader toward a quiet heart, eyes open to the subtle beauty around us. She is among the most honest writers and tender souls I know. Today she shares with us about showing our children the love of Jesus.


We’re sitting at the dinner table, his food untouched and him asking “down,” our two-year-old son and we haven’t read the Bible yet.

He wants down from the table and we haven’t read the Bible but no amount of forcing him to sit on a hard wooden chair is going to make him believe, and so we let him down. We let him down to play while we read the story anyway, the story about Jesus, and all I can hope is that the beauty reaches him down where he’s playing on the hardwood floor.

The beauty of a God who desperately loves, who loves ridiculously, who runs the driveway to meet a son who insulted him, who dies for a world that mocks him, who abandons the 99 sheep for the one, and none of it makes sense. Because it’s grace.

And so, I try to parent in a way that doesn’t make sense. I try to choose gentleness when anger would be easier. I try to hug my boys a thousand times a day and to tell them they’re special even after they’ve spilled beet juice across the kitchen floor, and I keep
applauding, keep apologizing, keep adoring, even though the Backyardigans are stuck in my head as I try to sleep.

Because it’s grace, in the end, that prays over our children when we can’t find the words. It’s grace that speaks the story of Jesus to the boy on the floor playing toys. It’s grace that will find our children on their death bed and convince them of the truth as they’re
longing for heaven. And it’s grace that helps me to breathe when I’m afraid I will break, for the heavy of it all. For the needing my son to know Jesus more than anything else on earth.


Thanks, Em.

Please check out Emily’s blog and her gorgeous art.

And be sure to stop by tomorrow to hear more from Melanie about the birth of her first child and preparing to place her in the arms of adoptive parents.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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26 Responses to Guest Post: On how to teach our children about Jesus

  1. thank you for having me here, david. it’s an honor.

  2. HopeUnbroken says:

    “And it’s grace that helps me to breathe when I’m afraid I will break, for the heavy of it all.” loved it all, em, but this comment grabbed me the most. so many “heavies” through the journey of parenthood. and just when i pass through one, i find another awaiting. thank God his grace is sufficient.

  3. Emily and Ann Voskamp, they are the word artists I enjoy most.

  4. brian miller says:

    and he will…he will know a god that loves us in spite of ourselves…that we dont have to pretend we are not broken but that he makes beautiful things of it…he heard the story, at the table or otherwise..

  5. This will resonate with every Mama out there. It’s beautiful and true, Emily. This grace doesn’t make sense. None at all. What a gift, and it’s not just for me and you, but for the ones on the floor, too.

  6. ljbmom says:

    Oh, yes. It’s how we be Him to them that preaches and teaches. So beautiful, Emily. Thank you. I needed this reminder today.

  7. Allison says:

    Ember, I am so encouraged seeing God’s grace flow through you as my sister & as a mom too!
    thanks for sharing your thoughts, your hopes.

    this passage came to mind, and Bible Gateway brought it up for me :) ~ First Corinthians 3:6-9 ~

    6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase.

    7 So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater.
    (He’s working in Aiden & Kasher even beneath the visible soil) :o)

    8 (S)He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor.

    9 For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s [b]garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

    I think God loves it when we partner with Him & plant, water, and nurture these seeds of faith & love… and that His grace – like Steph said – is sufficient even when our wheelbarrow or watering can feel empty. New every morning is His mercy :) He is faithful…

    “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, AMP).

    PS even more than saying “Grace” at a meal is showing (and receiving) it throughout the day =)
    Thanks for your example, Em. I love you!

  8. Beautiful, Emily, and you’re doing all the right things. In the little church where I grew up, there was no nursery. The children made a lot of noise, sometimes, even during the preaching, because we all know: parents can do only so much, for so long, to wrangle their children. So sometimes the children played cars under the pews; sometimes one would escape and run, wild, down the center aisle; and sometimes a child would shout out: “Amen!” And everyone was fine with it, because there was a belief that the children were all the time absorbing something being sung or preached.

    These days, in a different church, I put my babies in nursery. There’s an expectation: that’s where they need to be, lest they distract others, and me. But I’m not sure I’m not doing my children a dis-service.

  9. So glad God has trusted you with your boys… is a battle i face daily, happy vs holy children, but his grace gives me hope and strength. love to you!

  10. becky says:

    Beautiful imagery Em. He’ll know. He will. You will teach him. Love thinking on grace. Thank you for that.

  11. Don’t worry Em–somewhere down the road he will let you see the lessons he’s learned about God and grace and longsuffering he has learned from you, sometimes when you weren’t even aware it was happening . . . he will, I promise.

  12. Courtney says:

    This is just gorgeous, as usual from Emily. It is all about grace, isn’t it? That is one word I need to remember over and over as a parent – just grace.

    So glad she directed me over here, too. Nice to meet you, David.

  13. It’s lovely to meet you here, David — thanks for hosting Emily, one of my absolute favorites. And Emily, true words here friend — love the image of God words reaching down to little ones on the hardwood floor.

  14. Amy Sullivan says:

    Thanks for leading me back here. It’s been awhile since my last visit, and I forgot how much I like The Screaming Kettle at Home.

  15. redorgray2 says:

    happy to be visiting here today …parenting ..the hardest best calling in the world …

  16. Jen says:

    I often forget about grace. When I am down on my knees asking for forgiveness, I remember, but when I’m in the moment falling short, I forget how much grace covers. So thankful…

  17. Pingback: Guest posts from this year | The Screaming Kettle

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