A few weeks ago, I got a text from some friends that included a photo of their daughters with hands full of cash.
The girls had spent an entire day making bracelets, selling them, and raising extra donations for our work fund here in Asia. They set up the entire little entrepreneurship themselves, and even named their product Pinkston Bands.
I was dying from all the cuteness. And I was of course humbled by the generosity.
But as a mother, being discipled by her more experienced momma friends, I felt there was also a huge lesson to be learned.
The reason MK and NC were so eager to help fund my family’s efforts on the field is because their parents have intentionally invited them into our lives here.
My friends Kelly and Aletha have shared all the news about our work with their children. Their husbands have led their families spiritually by encouraging prayers for us daily.
At Aletha’s house, the kids pray out loud on the way to school, often mentioning each member of our family by name…even down to Baby Pinkston #2.
At Kelly’s house, the girls have marked a globe with our current location and the location of our adoption-in-progress, and they lift up the specific people we have on our hearts in each of these places.
There’s no mistaking that these children understand the importance of the Kingdom, and they are witnessing the magnitude of its power as it is working before their eyes.
The Kingdom is alive in the eyes of kindergarteners in both of these families.
Oh, how I would love to see the perspective of these little ones as they pray to a God who cannot be contained by even their wildest dreams.
There’s a popular quote by Andy Stanley moving through parenting circles now that reads: Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.
These are beautiful words, and I agree with the sentiment behind them.
Don’t we all want our children to follow a high calling? Don’t we all want to see them walk in the footsteps of Jesus on some grand adventure?
We want God to convict the hearts of our kids, and we want them to answer with an affirmative Yes, Lord to anything He asks of them.
But I fear so many Christian parents are punting Kingdom lifestyle to the next generation instead of living for Jesus in the present.
I hope Mr. Stanley’s words aren’t leading us to simply hope for something good to come from our children in the future. I hope they motivate and challenge us to dig deeper into the role of shepherding our children’s hearts right now.
I can sit at home all day with my children. I can be present. I can love them well. I can pray over them and read them Bible stories and never speak a harsh word.
I can cross my fingers and cross my chest and do a whole lot of wishing that my kids will one day learn to walk with God.
Or, I can allow them to walk beside me as I daily walk with God.
I can be a steadfast model of Kingdom lifestyle for my children.
I take them with me to
visit the lonely,
care for the needy,
pray for the Harvest,
travel to the hurting, and
be a part of the work of the Master.
If the Father has called me to a particular work, then He has also called my children. He called us as a family; we are a package deal.
I don’t want to neglect my children for the sake of my ministry. I also don’t want my children to shoulder an unnecessary burden for my ministry.
But I do want to invite my children to be as much a part of my ministry as they wish. And I want that experience to give them a taste of the sweet Jesus that I love more than life.
My children deserve more than Bible memorization and VBS crafts. They deserve to experience the Kingdom right alongside my husband and me.
So I will take them for a ride of the highs and lows that come with a journey of surrender to the Cross.
I will welcome them to celebrate in the joy of a person receiving faith for the first time. I will allow them to experience the disappointment of a person’s sin reaching far and wide.
I want my kids to know the height and depth of God’s love, not just on a storybook page, but from the indescribable bond that forms between a desperate heart and a Good Word.
I want the Gospel to be alive for my children.
I want them to see it, feel it, and breathe it.
I want my kids to correlate the Gospel with faces—of people who have recovered from addictions, been rescued from slavery, and have redeemed broken relationships.
Heaven forbid I spend the next 18+ years simply hoping my children will be a contribution to the Kingdom.
No, not when they could be a contribution to the Kingdom right now.
After all, when the adults were crowding in, it was the little children Christ wanted on his knee.
If I’m going to crowd around Jesus, may it be so that my children can see him face-to-face.
Alive and well, bringing Heaven to Earth. Right now.
For you, Jen Deshler. I love watching you take your precious girl on the ride of her life
through this crazy thing called discipleship.