Discipling Little Ones

May 9, 2017  - By Gretchen Saffles

The greatest responsibility I’ve been given is shepherding a two year old little heart. The day I found out I was pregnant the Lord shifted my calling. In sharing my womb with another human for 9 months, God began to prepare my heart for the sacrificial nature of motherhood. Raising Nolan is a privilege the Lord has given my husband and I, but walking this road of parenthood has been one mingled with challenges as well as celebratory moments. Learning what it means to disciple Nolan at such a young age has been one of trial and error in many ways for us, and a journey that we know we will continue to grow in as he gets older and as we learn from many who have gone ahead of us. 

Putting My “Mom Pants” on

It is no surprise that post birth our bodies change drastically. Along with that physical change comes an added spiritual change. Raising children is no small task. It has been argued that it is by far one of the most important tasks on earth, because we as mothers are shaping the future leaders of the next generation! In my own heart I carry a deep conviction that these days with my little boy are meant for greater purposes – for kingdom purposes. But in order to truly grasp that and live it out, I have to put my “mom pants” on. Let me explain.

Two weeks ago Nolan threw a fit at the outlets malls when we were trying on shoes for him. He loves shoes and fell apart when we took them off his squishy little feet and placed them back in the box. After trying to explain that we weren’t buying those shoes we carried out a screaming child and left the outlets discouraged. That night I sat in our bedroom crying, doubting my ability to be a good mother. I sat in the Psalms, asking God for wisdom, and He met me with His grace. He, as my Father, parents me, is patient when I throw a fit, and has greater means to bringing me closer to His heart. He sees the big picture. I want to live with that bigger picture mentality. But in my human flesh, I would rather just do what is easy than the hard work of discipleship with a long-term vision in mind.

That’s where putting my mom pants on comes into play. My husband made a joke the other day when Nolan wouldn’t give me a spoon that I needed by saying, “Who wears the pants in this relationship?” I realized at that moment that I was allowing a two-year old to govern how I felt and acted. I am the adult, responsible for shepherding his heart. At two years old, he doesn’t know what is best. It is my role to teach him and raise him in the ways of Jesus. Putting on my “mom pants” in our relationship has changed the way I view discipleship. It is a calling, a way I obey my Savior, and an act I do out of deep love for my son. I want Nolan to know Jesus. I want him to fear the Lord. I want him to change the world and go to the ends of the earth sharing the gospel. And in order for him to do that, he has to know it inside out. He needs to see it lived in our marriage, and he needs to experience it through loving discipline, faithful teaching, and fervent love. 

Today, our team is going to share specific ways that we are wearing our “mom pants” and discipling our children for the glory of God. We pray that this post encourages you mamas out there and reminds you that YOU have a mission right now. It is not to survive your children’s younger years, it is to obey Jesus and share the gospel, beginning in your home. 

Amelia’s Little Ones

My 3 year old, Mary Mason, asks lots of questions, sometimes simple other times complex. My husband and I are impressed with how she is able to recall our answers and discussions even weeks later. Children, even toddlers and babies, are such sponges and can absorb so much if we as parents take the time to engage their curiosity. One thing I have especially tried to be intentional with her about is developing an eternal perspective, so that she can grow to “set her mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). I have to be aware of small questions that can usher in that type of mindset. Here is how that looks for us… her little brother, Ford, was stillborn, and we talk openly about him being in Heaven with Jesus. Some days she is fine leaving it at that, but other times she asks questions, giving us the opportunity to briefly talk more about eternity, that the Lord is forever and the best is yet to come.

There are times, after a long day or little sleep, when her seemingly never ending questions tempt me to lose my patience or answer in haste, rather than consider how I can turn her curiosity towards Jesus. Discipling our children requires us to be present at all times and on the lookout for questions and conversations that can point them to Jesus.  

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. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV)

Erin’s Little Ones

My husband and I have a few ways that we like to disciple our children.  My oldest will often join me in the mornings while I’m still having my quiet time, so she’s started asking to read her bible app while I’m reading my bible. It’s called Bible for Kids, and it reads bible stories aloud which is nice because she can’t read yet, so we can both have our quiet time together.  We also like to pray in the car for just a few moments during drop off line.  I’ll ask for her pray requests, and then I’ll pray for them before she gets out.  I want her to know that she can talk to me about prayer needs and feel comfortable asking me to pray for her.  Throughout the day we like to sing songs and listen to music which works great for my youngest who is one and doesn’t sit still to listen to much of anything, but she does enjoy her sister singing to her.  We sing songs that my oldest has learned at church or listen to kids worship like VeggieTales, Seeds of Worship or Hide’em in Your Heart.

At the end of the day, my husband and my oldest will read from her kids bible before she goes to bed.  Those of course are the formal activities, but I feel like the informal activities really provide the opportunity for her to grow such as pointing out positive Christlike behavior or correcting sinful moments in her day.  I want her to see how God is a part of all aspects of her life even in the small things like helping around the house or treating the dog nicely.  It’s these moments that I TRY to stop and point out how God is at work.  I emphasize try because sometimes it just doesn’t happen, but I’ve found that she remembers those moments when I have made the effort. 

Also, I use my low moments to showcase how God works in my life because I’m not perfect nor will I ever be, so as humbling as it is, I’ve used my mess ups to show her how Jesus lives in me.  Especially when my mistake or mess up involves her!  I love the formal things that we do with reading, singing and memorizing scripture, but with the craziness of having little ones, I feel like the informal activities are so important because my children can see God as an active part of their everyday lives.

Whitney’s Little Ones

“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.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

These are the verses that the Lord brings to my mind when I think of the life long commitment of discipling my children. The key to enacting this in my own life and in raising my childr
en is that God’s commands must first be on my heart (vs. 6). If His Word is on my heart and my mind consistently throughout the day, it will be more natural for me to bring up the Gospel in any and every situation. If not, it can be forced and even legalistic at times. Although discipling my children should be very natural, is can and should also be intentional. We have to look for ways to bring the Gospel into every part of our lives. One of the biggest ways I have implemented this in my parenting is through music. These verses teach us to teach our kids the Word throughout our day, whether we are sitting at home or driving on the road, going to bed or getting up.

We spend a lot of time in the car, and we listen to a lot of music. I have been intentional about picking out music that hides God’s word in my kids’ hearts and begins to teach them basics of the Christian faith. A few of our favorites are Seeds Family Worship albums. They set Scripture to music and help with memorization. These songs have actually been useful for me as well! Another favorite is “The Ology” by Sovereign Grace Kids (they have a book to go along with this as well!). The songs teach basic theology to children in a way that is easy for them to understand. The lyrics are rich and laced with Scripture and not super repetitive like most kids’ albums are, so I truly enjoy listening to the songs. We listen to a lot of The Gettys, and the boys love the fun instruments in a lot of their songs. Don’t underestimate their ability to absorb information, even information that you think might be too difficult for them. We have started listening to some sermon podcasts by John MacArthur when we are in the car for longer periods of time, and I have been surprised how much my oldest, who is almost 5, has absorbed. He has asked me a lot of great questions and it has provided opportunities to teach Him God’s Word. 

Gretchen’s Little One

Nolan is just around the corner from turning two and we are entering a new phase of parenthood. In the beginning days and months and the first year we read the Jesus Storybook Bible to him and prayed over him. We seek to bring him into our quiet times when possibly by letting him see us read the Word and journal. When we eat meals together we pray and it is amazing to watch him already learning to bow his head in reverence. I know that much of life is “caught” more than taught and we aim for him to see the gospel lived out in our home, our marriage, our church, and our ministry! We also listen to Seeds Family Worship albums and watch their free youtube videos! As much as we can, we try to speak the Word over Nolan, surround our home with gospel reminders, and live out what we know from Jesus. Discipling our little boy and future children will be a life-long process, and we know that in order to do so we have to be continually in the Word of God, seeking His wisdom and guidance. We know that in the end, choosing to teach Nolan God’s ways and the beauty of the gospel will be the greatest gift we could ever give him!

Below are a few resources that our team loves and recommends:

Seeds Family Worship Albums

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New

The Ology Book

Jesus Storybook Bible

Elora Inspired (They have offered us a coupon for their faith based kids tees! Use the code LLBFRIENDS for 20% off!)

Kids Read Truth

Risen Motherhood Podcast

Crew and Co Scripture Cards

We would love to hear from you! What are some ways you seek to disciple your children and teach them about Jesus? Also, what are some resources that you love? Share them below!

putting my mom pants on,


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  1. Joni24walter@gmail.com says:

    There’s a book I have called shepherding a child’s heart by teddy tripp, and boundaries with children by Henry townsend. I wish I had read when my kids were little.

  2. Andrea says:

    The ministry of Heroic Life Discipleship will launch their Family Discipleship Curriculum in August. It’s meant to be a resource for family devotional time. I’ve been given a peek into it and it’s great! Appropriate for different ages, solid Bible teaching as well as stories from missionaries and prayer requests for different countries around the world. https://heroiclifediscipleship.com/family-discipleship/

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