10 Beautiful Ways God Speaks to Your Child
As a child, I wanted to be a teacher. After school, I came home, lined up my stuffed animals, and preceded to teach them everything I learned that day. Growing up, I don’t think my parents thought much of it. Neither did I.
However, I grew up to be an elementary school teacher. God made me a teacher, and He set my heart up for teaching from the time I was a child. I didn’t realize this until recently. As I watched my daughters play and their innate interests unfold, I saw God speaking to them in the same way He had spoken to me.
As parents, we become too busy to stop and reflect on how God speaks to our children through their personhood and experiences. He molds them into the unique people He created with a unique plan for their life. Since my revelation, I started looking for ways God is speaking to my children. Of course, I do not mean speaking audibly to them. Instead, teaching them His truths through their experiences. Here are ten of them:
1. Through His Creation
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, ESV)
One of the first verses my children memorized was Genesis 1:1. God’s creation mesmerizes children - from the bark on a tree to the moving clouds. Everything is new and exciting. Through His creation, God whispers to our children, “I am this big! Look at all I have made!" The world's grandeur and detail communicate to our children that God is sovereign and in control.
2. Through His Word
“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NLT)
My experience with the Bible started with flannel boards. Does anyone else remember those from Sunday School? A flannel Moses, a flannel bush, and a flannel fire told the story. Since then engaging children's Bibles have replaced flannel boards. Regardless, God speaks to our children through His Word. Each story, verse, and keyword buries deep into the hearts of our children. To us, it may seem redundant or rudimentary. But in thirty years, the crop will come in and they will be blessed.
3. Through Your Authority
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” (Titus 3:1, NIV)
In the back of mind, there are two questions I seem to ask myself often as a parent - Am I being too strict? Am I being too permissive? We hear the advice to not be our child’s friend. And we hear the stories of parents who exacerbate their children with too high of expectations. However, I learned that my authority is healthy for my children, and this is how God speaks to them. He shows them that healthy authority protects them, is a model of love for them, and that they can trust it.
4. Through Their Obedience
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)
A key sentence I say often to my children is, “Learn to obey me so that you learn to trust me and then you learn to obey and trust God.” The purpose of obedience is for our children to learn trust. It’s through obedience that they begin to understand that rules are not to hurt them but to help and protect them. They obey us because they trust us.
God speaks to our children every time they choose to obey. He builds up their trust muscle as they reap the benefits of obedience. Then, when we are no longer in authority over them, hopefully, they will trust God through their obedience to Him in their lives.
5. Through Their Giftedness
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
As a tween girl, I watched beauty pageants and wondered what I would do for the talent part of the competition. I felt I had no talents. I couldn’t sing, dance, play an instrument or make a ventriloquist doll talk. Giftedness is often limited to obvious skills that get a lot of attention (or maybe a scholarship), but every child is gifted in some way.
For example, my youngest daughter is highly intuitive even at her young age. I observe her read situations and discern them accurately. My oldest daughter is bold and brave. She is not afraid of new people or situations and takes the lead. These are both gifts God has given them.
Through these gifts, God speaks to my children by teaching them that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). These gifts are not by chance. It’s not a stick they drew from the DNA pool. Instead, as God knitted them together, they were hand-picked traits.
6. Through Their Interests
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Like the illustration from my childhood, God speaks to our children through their interests by giving them a glimpse of His plan for their lives. The more I’ve thought about myself as a child and myself now, I see how many interests have continued and turned into the plan God has for me.
Right now, my oldest daughter loves to play with dolls. She takes care of them as if they were real and reprimands anyone who treats them any differently. I told her that she needs to pay attention to her love for children, even though right now she’s a little girl, because I believe God is speaking to her about His future plans for her life. I also told her that we will pray about that as she grows. My hunch is that God is creating in her a lifetime of loving children.
7. Through Their Struggles
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13, NIV)
Struggles benefit us more than any other experience in life, even though we try to run and avoid them. When our children struggle, they learn their depravity and the depravity of our world without the blood of Jesus. The cross becomes real for them.
The Lord speaks to our children through their struggles in several ways. He teaches them that apart from Him they can do nothing (John 15:5). He also shows them that they can rest in His arms no matter the circumstance (Psalm 62:5). Finally, He teaches them that He never leaves them (Deuteronomy 31:8).
8. Through Their Relationships
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13, NIV)
During my daughter’s kindergarten year she began having friendship struggles at school. They were common struggles young children face with their peers, but they taught her the Gospel.
The Gospel tells us that we are all sinners, but that Jesus forgave us through His death and resurrection. This allowed us to have a direct relationship with God. As my daughter struggled to forgive her friends, I was able to point her to the cross. I showed her that Jesus, who was without sin, forgave His enemies. Therefore, she should forgive hers.
9. Through Their Possessions
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1, NIV)
A toddler’s first argument usually includes the word, “Mine!” screamed at another person. The next word comes from an adult breaking up the fight who replies, “Share!” From infancy, our hands are most comfortable squeezed tight instead of held open.
In these moments of control and then surrender, God speaks to our children the truth that our possessions are not really ours. We are simply stewards of what we’ve been given to use for His glory. As the lessons mature, He teaches our children that we cannot put our security in things on earth but that our treasure is in heaven.
10. Through Their Blessings
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, ESV)
The Lord speaks to our children through the blessings He gives them. Whether it be their basic needs, adults who nurture them, or non-material gifts such as hope, joy, and peace, all of these reflect His goodness.
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Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on BrendaRodgers.com and follow her on Twitter.