Tag Archives: faith-filled moments

Your (intimidating, awesome) Mama-job

Hey, Mom! You’re doing a great job — do you know that? It can be SOOOOOO rewarding to be a mom at times. And it can also be SOOOOOO tiring and intimidating and guilt-inducing if we try to live up to some outrageously unrealistic standard and perpetually feel like we’re failing. So let me ask you: Do you love your kids? Are you doing your best? Did you answer yes and yes? Then you’re doing great!

OK… glad to get that out of the way. I needed to hear that and to say that and I hope you took it to heart. Now on to this week’s topic . . . which can, unfortunately, actually BE a source of said frustration and sense of failure. Let’s talk about the faith we impart to our kids.

b.w. girls playing bike

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 charges us with the weightiest of responsibilities and the most amazing of opportunities: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

So, let’s be candid. Do I literally do all this? No. If we understand this as an exact literal directive, it’s impossible to achieve. (And, to be honest, it would make my kids very annoyed. We don’t want our non-stop God-talk to end up sounding like Charlie-Brown adults, bwah-bwah-bwah, bwah-bwah-bwah…) But if we understand it as casting a vision for us — making plain a principle — it’s so inviting and exciting and invigorating. It’s about weaving discussions of faith in and through everyday life. It’s pulling God-talk out of the van-on-the-way-home-from-church box and sprinkling it into all those other moments of living. It’s turning plain-moments into God-moments with a bit of intentionality. And one crucial ingredient to cultivating such moments? Adding FUN!

And so, without further ado, here are 12 ideas for you of ways you can transform fun experiences with your kids into meaningful faith-metaphors: Continue reading

For the Kids: Never, Ever Alone

My book Faith-Filled Moments is a collection of all sorts of ways parents can use games, recipes, outdoor experiences, crafts, science experiments, and more to help your child connect with God and love him more.

Faith-Filled.Moments.coverSo in the spirit of our theme be presentI want to share an idea you can do with your kids that’s similar to the activities in Faith-Filled Moments. (If you like this, you’ll love the 80+ unique moments that you’ll only find in the book!)

Never, Ever Alone

Use the card game Old Maid to help your child understand that she always has a partner in life: God.

Supplies: children’s deck of Old Maid playing cards

Experience

The classic card game Old Maid can be played by kids as young as 3 or 4 years old…and it’s lots of fun! The basic idea of the game is to find a matching partner for each of your cards; there will always be one card left over at the end of the game—the Old Maid—and she doesn’t have a partner. (See the printed rules on your card deck for specific play instructions.)

Connection

In this game, each card has a partner, but the Old Maid is left alone. A very simple an obvious spiritual point can be made using this game: We are never like the Old Maid…we are never, ever alone! Share with your children the crucial truth that, when we have a relationship with Jesus, he is always with us. We are never alone in life; we always have a partner. You might say something like, “Even during times when you may feel lonely, you actually aren’t alone. God is with you!” You may want to share Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always.”

Also, take the opportunity to make this real to your child by calling attention to the present moment. Continue reading

Invite Kids Into God’s Presence

children playingYour kids can connect with God and experience his faithful presence in their life. My passion to help you facilitate this kind of connection is what motivated me to write Faith-Filled Moments: Helping Kids See God in Everyday Life. This book is packed full of tons of fun, unique, active, imaginative, hands-on ways you can help your children practice God’s Presence.

Here’s one idea from the book — and you can click here to find several more hands-on, creative ways to help your kids encounter God!

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Faith-Filled.Moments.coverConnected

Magnetize nails and paper clips to discover how being connected to Jesus changes us.  

Supplies: 1 or more strong magnets (a bar or ring magnet is preferred); 1 or more iron nails; 15 or more metal paper clips; a few other metal objects like coins and piece of jewelry

Experience

Enjoy some magnet play with your child by trying these various experiments:

1. See what your magnet can pick up. Nails? Paper clips? Coins? Jewelry? Now see what a plain old nail or a paper clip can pick up just by touching it. (The answer? Nothing.)

2. Make a magnetized paper clip chain. As she holds the magnet up high, have your child gently connect one paper clip to your magnet. Prompt her to then gently touch another paper clip to the one already hanging; it should attach. Continue to carefully add paper clips to the magnet, seeing how long of a chain you can create. Next separate the very top clip from the magnet to see what happens. (All the paper clips will fall down.)

3. Turn a nail or paper clip into a magnet. If you’ve got a bar magnet, have your child stroke the paper clip or nail in the same direction along one half (one pole) of the bar 100 or more times. If you have a ring magnet, have your child rub the paper clip or nail around the ring in 100 circles in the same direction. Your nail or clip should now be a temporary magnet. Attempt to pick up other nails and paper clips together. (Be careful not to flip over or turn the nail or paper clip over during the magnetization process and don’t to drop or strike your new magnet.)

Connection

We can learn a lot from magnetization! In the first experiment, it quickly becomes obvious that only the magnet has the power to attract and pick up objects; the nails and paper clips are powerless. Invite your child to imagine that the magnet is God—only God is all-powerful, and we are not.

In the second experiment, the paper clips become temporary magnets as the power of the true magnet flows through them. What a picture of the essence of Christian spirituality! Talk about this experiment and say something like, “Just as the paper clips acted like magnets, when we are connected to God, we become more like him.” Invite your child to share ideas about how people can be connected with God as well as ways people can become godly.

In the last experiment, the same point is made even more clear. With every stroke on the magnet, your nail or paper clip becomes even more powerfully magnetized. Similarly, the more we spend time in contact with God, the more like him we become.

There are many ways we can be connected with God, but with your child be sure to zero in on spiritual growth practices that she can do, such as talking to God (prayer), singing to God (worship), learning Bible stories (listening to Scripture), and learning Bible verses and thinking about them (memorization and meditation). Help your child to see that these ways of being connected to God that actually change her in amazing ways.

Exploration

You may want to ask your child questions like…

  • What do you think about the way your nail (or paper clip) changed? Were you surprised? Why or why not?
  • What are some ways we can “connect” with God?
  • How do you think God may be changing you to be more like him?
(Excerpted from Faith-Filled Moments, copyright Kelli B. Trujillo, Wesleyan Publishing House)

 

Anchors and Alphabets

“In our confrontations with obstacles or opponents today, we would do well not to focus on the troubles lined up against us,” writes Jim Cymbala in You Were Made For More. “Instead, we need to celebrate the God who has already demonstrated his power and provision in our past. We don’t need to be fretful or anxious. We need to anchor our hearts and minds in God’s overwhelming track record.”

Expressing gratitude — the intentional expression of thanks — is that anchor. Ruth Graham expresses a similar sentiment in Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There: “[O]ne thing that makes it easier for me to trust God is cultivating a habit of remembering what He has already done. I tap into that track record. Remembering is a God-given prescription.”

Have you filled that prescription? Do you actively and regularly choose to remember in gratitude what God has done and is doing in your life?

Years back, on the spur of the moment one bedtime, I came up with a thanksgiving prayer experience to share with my young children. Ironically, though it’s meant for kids, this alphabet prayer habit has woven it’s way into my own spiritual life in order to anchor my soul — as a means of taking that God-given prescription of grateful remembrance.

I describe this practice in my book for parents Faith-Filled Moments. Here’s an excerpt for you to check out . . . and try with your kids (or without!). Continue reading