Saturday, December 03, 2011

Waiting for Worship: Raising Kids to Worship with their Hearts

This from Lena:

This morning we enjoyed a family time of worship together.  These days it is harder to assemble, with sleepovers and busy teen social schedules, but we still manage to squeak out some time many Saturday mornings to worship together.  We started this custom years ago with a promising vocalist of 12 years and novice drummer on a Costa Rican bongo.  It was stop and start, especially with two toddlers, but we have been richly rewarded with Hannah showing great promise as a lead vocalist in worship, with a couple of instruments budding, and Colton is now an intrepid percussionist.

But the heart of this--the desire we had--was to nurture a heart of worship in our children.  We raised Hannah and Colton in a constant environment of communal worship in Chi Alpha campus ministries, and when we switched ministry focus, we didn't want to lose that focus.  I see a natural progression in the lives of Hannah and Colton, that now it is THEM who desire to worship and adore, and their own relationships with the Lord now drives their worship.

But I remember the squiggly days--especially because I see it lived out in Abi and Will.  They struggle to stay with us.  Many of the songs aren't familiar, as Sunday mornings are done in Spanish and apart from the parents, so they are learning other songs.  We try to let the little ones do their thing.  They can hit a drum, shake a shaker, dance a dance, or whatever, but they have to invest.  Every Saturday that we manage to gather them up for worship, it is so similar.  I see the little ones slip away in their minds, and have to call them back, and it is not exactly fun or worship-rewarding on my end, but I look at my two big ones, and praise God that they found their way to Him in the middle of this environment, and I keep setting them on the right track, waiting for worship to spill out of their little hearts.  Some children are like open spiritual magnets, and draw the Lord into their hearts like sponges.  They easily slip into His presence, and it is a breeze.  Others are more cerebral, and require more patience, but that doesn't mean they aren't right there in worship.  Just different.

But when worship arrives, and time stops, and they slip into that timeless place where God touches their hearts and they are talking to Him and walking with Him---that is the gold of parenting.  Sometimes it feels like I am serving them carrots and peas for the umpteenth time, following that old principle that if you expose them to a vegetable enough, they will eventually like it and get used to the taste.  Repeated exposure.  But the moment that they find out that worship is like a fresh orange of life and refreshment, and not a rutabaga, there is celebration in the house.  Don't give up. Wait for worship.  It is worth it.

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