by Kathryn Day

A few weeks ago I was busy getting ready for school when my four-year-old daughter, Hannah, asked me a question I wasn’t quite ready for:  “Why aren’t you reading your Bible this morning, Mommy?” For the past several months I had been doing pretty well getting up early to read my Bible, and most mornings when my daughter woke up that’s what she found me doing. But then a bad habit developed! We had the stomach bug, I accidently turned off my alarm a few mornings and fell back asleep … and I allowed myself the excuse of “the baby was crying a lot in the night and you’re tired. Just take a break from the Bible this morning.” On and on the excuses went. I had gradually fallen out of the habit of starting my day with the Bible. So Hannah’s very sweet and innocent question stopped me in my tracks. I knew for myself that I had neglected my time with the Lord, but I never expected my four-year-old to have noticed.

Our children notice a lot more than we realize. They make a mental note of where to find us in the house when they wake up in the mornings and where to look for us in the carpool line. They notice how we interact with waiters in restaurants and our attitudes toward having to sit in 5 o’clock traffic. We are being watched ALL THE TIME! In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul tells the Corinthians to, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul wanted the Corinthians to see a Christlike example in him and to desire a heart like that too. Every day Christian parents have sweet opportunities to model a Christlike example for their children. But what happens when our example is less than Christlike? What about those times when our children see us neglecting God’s Word, being critical of others, and losing our patience with our family?

Thankfully the opportunity to model a Christlike attitude doesn’t have to be lost in our failures. In the midst of our many failures, we have been given another way of pointing our children to the Lord by teaching them of God’s faithfulness to unfaithful saints. Our children are watching us, in good moments and in bad, but as Christian parents, we know what is most important is that our children see Jesus, not us. Admitting to our children where we have fallen short, asking for their forgiveness and prayers, and letting them see God’s grace in our own lives allows them to see how much their parents need Jesus too. It’s often in our times of failure that we see our need for Jesus the most.

The Lord definitely used Hannah’s question about my neglect in Bible reading to convict my heart about my laziness in spending time in His Word, but it was also an open door for a conversation with her about God’s grace to His people when we treasure other things more than we treasure Him. In this small instance I am thankful she saw me fail, because through my failure she could see more of Jesus. So be encouraged that the Lord doesn’t let our failures rob Him of glory. We serve a God who gets the glory for Himself even in our failures.