Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where did I go wrong???

On Sunday afternoon at a special youth baptism/confirmation service, Ling was confirmed.  She “confirmed” the baptismal vows we made for her when she was a baby, owning her own faith and commitment to following Jesus. 

It was a great and joyous time.

As part of the process, she wrote a testimony about her faith journey and presented it during Sunday School to all the kids of the church.  Unfortunately, due to a work engagement, I didn’t hear the testimony (something that inspires loads of guilt and regret), but I did read several drafts beforehand.

I show up in her testimony, which is gratifying.  In mostly positive ways, which is even more gratifying. 

She wrote about growing up in the church from the time she was born since her mom is a “pastor of sorts.”  She wrote about Bible stories I told with condiments and vitamins “where Jesus was always the ‘grown-up’ pills and Satan—the sugar bowl.”   

But then she wrote about how she never heard about having a relationship with God  until a youth pastor taught her that concept a couple years ago.

Never heard about having a relationship with God????

In my faith tradition, there’s nothing more important than having a personal relationship with Jesus.  Believing you can have a personal relationship with God is what sets my tradition apart.  When I went to college, many of my friends who “became Christians” had church backgrounds, sometimes even strong ones.  What made them "convert" was discovering that faith involved more than rote religious services or belief in certain doctrines or even exemplary behavior.   God became real and they learned they could have a genuine relationship with Jesus, like He is friend, a brother, yes, even a lover.

So how did my daughter grow up in our household for 15 years and not hear that she could have a personal relationship with God???

I asked her that. 

She said, “I don’t know.  I never heard it.”

“So when I said that God loves you and you can love him back, that didn’t sound like having a relationship with God?”

She shrugged.

I guess not.  

Maybe the problem is that I’ve tried to avoid using a lot of “Christianese” with my kids.  I try to avoid “Christianese” in general, because when you speak it outside of the church, most people have no idea what you’re saying. 

And let’s be honest, there are a lot of people who can talk the talk but not walk the walk. 

Unfortunately, I apparently have trouble doing either.


athanasius said...

Kathy, you know how we teach college students the same things over and over, and they never hear it? And then another staff comes along and says the same thing once and it's a "brilliant new idea"? Take that situation with your own kids and multiply by...a lot!

And certainly be thankful for the community of believers confirming truth along the way. :-)

Ling said...

well maybe you did tell me and i just forgot, or it didn't hit home... and it doesnt mean that ur a bad parent!!!

Roland said...

Ling--I love reading your comments on this blog! Congratulations on your confirmation! :)

Dan said...

I love this blog.

I've been wondering how to talk to my 3-year-old about Jesus. I tell her that Jesus loves her, that he will always be there for her... and I think, "How is my very concrete little girl going to grasp an invisible God who seems so often so abstract?" I am struck (frustrated!) by my powerlessness to create that relationship for her. I wonder if part of it is just that kids need to grow into recognizing the invisible? I don't know. For Kaela, I just pray that when she meets Jesus she'll be able to say, "Oh! You look familiar. Nice to meet you at last!"

Nick Jacobs said...

Kathy, after 7 children of my own, its a mystery. You can lead a horse to water but you can't force him to drink is an old expression. The water is Christ Himself. Until they taste His "coolness" and are refreshed, they never know what they are missing. And only Christ can give that water to them. It is a gift that comes at different moments in one's life. God bless your beautiful family. Marianne Jacobs