Elijah turned 8 today. It may not seem too old if you have a teenager, but for a mom like myself who still has young kids, 8 seems so grown up! When Edric and I went shopping for his birthday gift yesterday, I kind of wasn’t sure what “cool” toy to get an 8 year old.
I was looking at playdough, board games, science kits and Edric said, “What?! Are you serious? Playdough? He’s not a little kid anymore. And he already has too many science kits and things that keep him indoors. I’m going to get him Nerf guns so we can run around and play together.” I objected for a bit, but then I realized Elijah will like whatever Edric gets him so I relaxed. Sure enough, as soon as he opened the Nerf guns, the boys all started shooting each other. It looked pretty fun, so I joined in, too!
Elijah doesn’t realize it but he gave me a gift on his birthday. When Elijah woke up this morning and saw me setting up balloons, the first thing he said was, “I’m going to get my Bible and read it.” I didn’t say, “Elijah, you need to put God first on your birthday, so get your Bible and read it before we do anything else.” He took the initiative to start his special day out with his quiet time. Afterward, he said, “Mom, can you help me summarize what I read so I can write it down in my journal?”
This made my day because I realized that Elijah is becoming a young man with his own convictions about faith. His example encouraged me to write him a personal letter. Edric wanted to do this, too. We both decided that we would start a family tradition of giving meaningful letters to our children on their birthdays.
We had a lot of fun with Elijah today – breakfast together to pray, read letters, and open presents, then off we went to Time Zone and lunch at High Street with his cousins, and in the afternoon, we all took a road trip to Cavite. But, the most memorable moment for me as a mom was seeing him on the couch holding his Bible and reading it.
I thought back to the time when we first shared the gospel to him as a three year old. This marked the beginning of his faith journey. And since then, it has been the Lord working in his heart, helping him to mature and gain wisdom. Watching him put God first this morning was a beautiful reminder of the verse that says, “He who began a good work in you will complete it” (Philippians 1:6).
Praise God it is He who will complete the work in the lives of our children! I don’t have to be worried or panic about whether they will turn out okay. I certainly need to do my part by making sure that my children understand the gospel and learn about who God is. But, I don’t have to force them to love God. That desire will come from the Lord as he works in their hearts. Their personal relationship with him will develop personal conviction.