“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 1John 1:4
Here we go again. My kids floor me with their thoughts on faith, race, contradictions in humanity, and today…Marshmallows. Don’t get me started on the argument about batman and Jesus both needing to wear underpants. In the words of my 3 year old, “DIST-GUSTIG!”
Today’s insights on what makes a Christian, come from my 8 year old…
“Mommy not all the kids at my school are Christian.”
“No baby. They wouldn’t be. A kid doesn’t become a Christian just because their parents are. They have to choose it for themselves.”
“Yes. But you made me a Christian.”
“No, you don’t have to be one. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean you have to be one.”
“Yes it does.”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Yes it does”
“No it doesn’t”
“But you made me one. So now I’m one.”
“Baby, another person can’t force someone else to have faith. You have to decide if you believe Christianity is the truth.”
“But I do… because you made me a Christian.”
“Do you want to be a Christian?”
“Yes. Of course. But that’s because you made me one. You took me to Church. You pray with me.”
“Yes, I will always pray. I will always hope you see Christianity as the truth. But I will love you no matter what. I can’t force you to love God. Love is not forced. Not if it’s a true relationship. And Christianity is a relationship with God. A love relationship.”
“Yes, but if you didn’t take me to church, I’d not become a Christian.”
“Well, like Keith Green said, ‘Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.’ ”
“But what about Marshmallows?”
“What if I want to be a Marshmallow? I could eat a lot of marshmallows.”
And there you have it.
Children raised in a Christian home 101. What about Marshmallows?
It’s the ultimate church kid question. What about…?
To be honest, it’s the ultimate human question. What if I were to do this? What would have happened if I had been raised in a different home? A different country? With different parents? Could I have become a Marshmallow? Just M A Y B E?
Even the child of an Atheist will ask these types of questions ( maybe not the marshmallow part, that kind of crazy is reserved for me) and we have to be ok with it. No matter our belief system, our children will one day do their own soul searching. Yes, we provide our own wisdom along the way. Mostly, I pray I don’t provide her with dogma and legalism, but a soul searching heart that digs deep, is sometimes confused, but also comes back around to find her peace in God. I don’t want her to have her mama’s relationship with God. But her own.
She doesn’t have the same relationship as I do with her father. That would be just plain weird. She has her own relationship with her dad. Based on her interaction with him. So I hope it is with her God.
So as her mama, all I can really do for her spiritually is pray for her, “God speak to her soul. Be near to her. Let her know you in a deeper way than I ever have. Help her to love truth and search hard after it.”
And I rest in that…maybe a few protection prayers after she eats all those Marshmallows too!
But yes, I want her to think about Marshmallows! I want her to think about her Atheist friend and her Muslim friend and anything else. As all good parents do, I will teach her according to what I have learn to be true. In the end though, I want her to know why she doesn’t believe in certain things, as much as she knows why she does believe. Covering all her beliefs, like a candy shell, I pray will be love…even to those who don’t want to be Marshmallows.
And if one day, she walks up to me and says, “Mama, I am going to be a Christian And a Marshmallow!”
I will love her just as much and say, “Ok Babe.”