This is a special interview, because today I am interviewing my mom! She is joined me in the latest podcast to unpack the subject of how to know when your child is ready to accept Jesus. And then once that’s established, what do you do next? Answering these questions and more on today!
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Let’s get started and introduce my mom, of course that’s what I call her, but she has a real name too: Myra Carter, and she is the best! Her and my dad have been married for 36 years and for 20 of those years, she was in full-time children’s ministry in the church, and now she’s the director of counseling and development at a Christian school in Alabama. I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to share on this subject about how to know when your child is ready to accept Jesus and what that means for us as parents.
My first question is for the moms today with young kids, like myself, that are not all to the point where they fully understand their full need for the gospel — What would you encourage them to do to prepare in this stage, to get kids ready to learn right from wrong and be prepared in the next few years to be ready to accept Jesus? How would you encourage those moms with the toddlers and young children right now?
Myra: (my mom)
Moms, this is such a special time in your life. The first thing that I would start with is, get comfortable with your own personal testimony and write it down.. How is your walk with the Lord? The most natural thing that you could do to point your kids to Jesus, would be share how you came to know the Lord. Throughout the week, throughout the years, throughout the months, etc. you can share with them what God has done in your life, and use your testimony to spark questions in your kids.
Mom, you always read Bible stories to us growing up and made sure that we had a foundation of Biblical songs and the Bible stories. Most moms reading along today, probably already know the importance of taking their family to church, but it’s SO important to be doing that at home as well, laying that foundation. It starts at home for sure!
So once we as moms have worked on laying that foundation and kids are growing older and moving into the elementary years, which is kind of where I’m at right now, I have one child that has accepted Jesus and one that hasn’t. So for myself and the mom reading, what are some signs to look for to know a child is getting closer to being ready to accept Jesus?
Many times when a child’s friend asks Christ into their life, or they are in a church service and someone they know gets baptized, that sparks a lot of questions. But just simple questions that they might ask about heaven, about sin, something they learn about in a lesson at school or church, might spark a question for them. Asking questions is a big indicator that they are really paying attention and curious about the things of the Lord.
Would you say that we should look for an attitude shift also? Contrasting the 3-4 yr. old years of tantrums and learning to obey, and looking for an attitude growing in kindness, obedience and maturity?
Yes, you can just sense that the Lord’s working on them, in both their compassion and kindness. So as they ask questions, be sure to answer those…and KNOW that they’re going to ask you a question at some point, where you don’t know the answer. Don’t let that scare you or deter you from working through this. If they ask you something you don’t know, just say, “You know what? I don’t know the answer to that, but I will find it out and I will let you know.”
I think that’s honest and kids will, like Pastor Adrian Rogers always says, “Kids can spot a phony from a mile away,” and they can! So if we are being genuine and honest, our kids will see that and know you really thought about it when you come back to them.
Mom, when you and I were talking, we discussed how different each child is. For example, my two are completely different! Jake, my oldest was quoting scripture early and accepted Jesus at a very young age. We knew he was ready and had a complete understanding of the Gospel and ability to really focus. However, James, my youngest, we always knew would take a bit longer. This is normal, with no two children being the same, so don’t worry if something works for one and then not the other. Ask God to give you wisdom for each of your children individually.
Mom, do you have any advice for a mom that is reading this and answering yes, yes and yes to all of these things we have mentioned. The Biblical foundation has been laid, they are seeing positive attitude changes, they are asking spiritual questions, they’re learning right from wrong, but they’re not there yet. What would be your advice? What should we do?
Don’t push, mom. When you’re tempted to do that or move forward too quickly, just slow down and encourage them and continue to pray for them. Ask God to give you opportunities to be able to share more with your kids. Put them in circumstances that they can hear more about the gospel. Let them set the pace though. If they are asking questions at bedtime…you might be reading a Bible story, let them answer and don’t add to them. Let them continue to ask the questions on their own, so you know it’s genuine in their heart that the Lord is moving.
Can you share what you and Dad did with me when I was a child wanting to accept Jesus? I’ll give you permission to share that story! 🙂
Yes. Mallory was asking questions at a very young age of 5 about asking Jesus into her heart. We thought that was young, so we took our time and answered those questions at home, as we continued to carry her to church. We prayed for God to give us wisdom and direction. Fast forward, she did keep asking questions and more questions…Weeks and months went by, and it was in June when we were visiting my parents in Alabama, that Mallory looked at my mom and I and said, “I want to get saved and if y’all don’t help me, I’ll find somebody that will.” We were truthfully quite taken aback by that, but it was then and there in her grandparents living room that she prayed to ask Jesus to forgive her sins and come into her life.
Yes, I was stubborn from the beginning! 🙂 But I did was ready! I felt like I had asked all the questions that I could need to ask. Something to look for, is when your child reaches a point where their attention span is not quickly distracted. For now, for example, James will ask me a deep spiritual question and then two seconds later he’s onto something else or playing with Hot Wheels cars. But when you see that a child’s focus is staying the course and they’re not getting off topic, they want to know the answers to these spiritual things or they are really understanding the gospel and not easily distracted, I think that’s a good sign that they’re really ready.
That’s where I was at that day at the age of 6, and thought that would be a fun and telling story for a firstborn child, like myself. Another story you shared with me mom, when we were talking through this topic, was about praying to ask God for discernment and wisdom on how to eliminate distractions from your child, as you see Jesus Drawing them. Will you share the story about Kenzie?
Yes. Mallory has a younger sister named Kenzie, and a few years later, my husband and I knew she was asking questions, and we were seeing lear signs that God was really moving in her life. We had a special service at our church in Florence, Alabama one evening, and when we arrived and got a seat, in what we thought at the time was a great spot for Kenzie to hear the gospel message. But right before the service started, at least six teenage girls and guys came in and sat right in front of us. They were on their phones, their phone, laughing and cutting up, so I looked over at my husband and I said, “Get up, we got to move.” And he was like, “Why? I like this seat!” And I’m like, “Trust me, get up!” So we did get up and we moved to the center section about the third row in the middle with less distractions.
And God did work in Kenzie’s life that night, and she accepted Jesus at that service. So be tuned in that there could be distractions all around your child. You say what kind of distractions? It may be a busy schedule, that you are so distracted with getting them to activities that they’re involved with or different things going on in your own home, that you miss an opportunity to see God is working in their lives. Don’t beat yourself up about that if you feel this has happened in your home. Just say, “Lord, I’m sorry. Help me. Give me wisdom. Give me eyes to see when those things are happening.” And just confess it and go on Mom, don’t beat yourself up, Trust me!
Yeah, absolutely. Look out for worldly distractions, especially with all the technology that our kids are consuming. It’s so easy for when we’re busy and we’re going along with our busy schedules, to get home and everybody’s tired to turn to technology to babysit. I do it. You do it. We all do it! Yes there is always so much to do at home for us as moms, like laundry, or cooking dinner, so sometimes technology is needed and that’s fine. Technology is not a bad thing, but you want to make sure that you know what they’re watching, what they’re playing, what they’re doing!
Because as clear as you can see the Lord working in your child’s life, you can also see the devil trying to combat that, and he can get in very easily through those portals of technology or through the friends they have. Know who their friends are, know who their families are. Just know what’s going on, having a discerning spirit about what your kids are doing and what is taking their time, what is distracting them, because that can keep them from furthering their spiritual growth.
I like that Mallory, this morning my devotion was out of Proverbs about guarding your heart. And that is so important, moms, to guard your children’s heart. Because I’m just going to be honest, there’s nobody standing in line to do it for you. So be diligent in making sure that you are, as Mallory was saying, guarding what their eyes and their heart and their life is coming across.
So we’ve covered laying the foundation. We’ve covered signs to look for. We’ve covered having a discerning spirit and knowing what our kids are into and what they’re doing, and distractions that could come up.
So when a child is ready and they understand the gospel fully. They know they need Jesus, and they’re not getting distracted easily in conversations about things like we’ve been talking about. How can a mom lead their child to the Lord? I know this is a very intimidating subject. This is the drum roll question of the day, because I think that it’s something that scares us as moms sometimes. We don’t feel like we can do it without a pastor or someone else. So will you talk to us about that?
Moms, I get that question so often and have had many texts and phone calls with families asking for help with this in my years of ministry. I absolutely love having the opportunity to lead a child to the Lord, but I also love equipping the family to be able to do that. So if they come see me, and I see that a child is getting ready to accept Jesus…without my words or their parents words. That they, alone, are ready, then I begin to walk the mom and dad or the family’s that is there, how to do this.
I ALWAYS tell the parents that we have to MAKE SURE that the child understands by themself what sin is and their need for forgiveness. This can be hard moms, especially because as a 5, 6, 7, 8, or however old your child is, they have not had any “major sins.” They haven’t given up a drug habit or robbed a bank yesterday and now ready to turn their life over to Christ. So it’s very hard to see a major change or as Mallory said earlier, a shift. But when they fully understand what sin is, not that they know somebody else that’s sinned, but they say, “Yes, I have sinned,” then that is a signal that they are ready. That God has been working in their heart and life. And you could say, give me an example of that.
So next I always encourage a change of posture when meeting with a family. We all get off the sofa or wherever you’re at and get on your knees because kids will remember that more as they look back. They will remember that they were on their knees. Then I lead the parent through a prayer and have the child repeat and add to where they feel led. The booklet that Mallory and I have rewritten, that I have been using for years, is a great tool for this for you to use at home or wherever you may be. GO HERE TO GET THAT ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
The booklet is just a guide to offer more confidence. This is so important, and I get your heart today that you have prayed for this since you brought them home from the hospital. This moment is so special and you don’t want to foul it up in some way, be encouraged! You’re not going to mom, God’s going to lead you through this and it’s going to be a blessing!
That’s so encouraging! Thank you for sharing that. What she’s referring to is a booklet that she shared hundreds of times, she’s being modest. She actually wrote the booklet herself in the 1990s. So we actually took it here at Faithful 31 Moms and Love Worth Finding, and we updated the imagery and things, but her words are still the same. It’s called “How to Become a Christian,” and it will walk you through how to walk your child through becoming a Christian, just like what it says. It also covers baptism and what comes after that, which is also very important! You don’t just want to leave not knowing what to do next. GO HERE TO GET THAT ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
And lastly, once a child accepts Jesus and they become a Christian, what would you say that that your advice would be going forward?
Once you’ve written down the date, have family to come to the baptism and really celebrate it! I think that’s so special, like a birthday party kind of big celebration, to let them know that this is important and what they did is a BIG DEAL!
And then as time goes on, and the newness wears off, one thing I like to look for, especially when a child is saved at a younger age, is to affirm them. Galatians 5 talks about the fruits of the Spirit, and I always tried to tell my girls how I saw God working in their lives and the fruits of the Spirit that I saw in them.
For example, when we made a move and we were buying a new house, we went to look at the house and Mallory was with us. We went through the house and there were some very interesting, I’ll just call it evil things, inside the house that we personally were not comfortable with.
When we got outside by the mailbox, Mallory said, “I did not like that house. It made me feel very weird!” My husband and I looked at her and said, “That is the Holy Spirit showing you Mallory, that you belong to him. Because there were some very uncomfortable things inside that house.” So we would take Galatians 5 and use that to disciple Mallory and to call out gifts and abilities that we saw in her that God was doing or had given her.
That’s just a great example of a way to affirm your kids walk with Jesus. Because it’s their story, but you have to keep it in front of them and help them to understand as it unfolds. I also like to let a child, once they have accepted Christ, help them write out their testimony and then maybe tell it to a friend. That makes it more comfortable, because so many times, even as adults, we are uncomfortable telling our own testimonies. So once again as the very first point that we talked about, Mom, get comfortable with your testimony and interact it with your family.
That’s a great word. Anything else that you want to leave us with?
I want to encourage the mom that maybe did not grow up in a Christian home or wasn’t saved at a young age, but they were saved later…Don’t let Satan rob you moving forward. Learn those Bible stories with your child. Tell them, “No, I did not get to grow up in church, that’s why I’m so happy that you get to do that. I did not have the spiritual influences in my life.” Be honest and don’t let what’s in your rear view mirror, mess up what’s in your windshield. Look ahead mom. Be thankful for what God is doing in your heart right now!
Amen. That’s a great word. Thank you so much for joining me today, Mom. This was fun!
Please be sure to grab a copy of our free booklet for kids on “How to Become a Christian.” GO HERE TO GET THAT ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
On December 1st, I’m starting a 25 day online Bible study called The 25 Days of Anticipation. It’s short enough to handle even for a busy mom. It is not a lot. It’ll just be a daily scripture, a couple of paragraphs. You can do it with your child if you would like to, but it’s just a great way to keep the Christmas season the focus on Jesus!
To Join the 25 Day study for December: Go to faithful31moms.com homepage or Message me directly on social media: https://www.instagram.com/faithful31moms/
In addition, our hosting ministry, Love Worth Finding, is offering a premium this month of a set of NAMES OF GOD ORNAMENTS for Christmas…one for everyday to hang up until Christmas! CLICK HERE and give a donation of ANY amount to the ministry, and they will send you this great set of ornaments! This would be great to do as an advent activity with your family, and you won’t find it for this deal after this month is over. You can hang them on your Christmas tree, on your mantle and let your kids get involved with it! So that’s just another way to have a fun visual to keep the focus on Jesus for the holidays.
And if you haven’t subscribed to our podcast, so you can get updated when new episodes come out, please do that today and follow me to catch all the latest @faithful31moms!