God is a Big idea, He is even too big for most adults to completely understand. I think we can all agree that the sooner we are introduced to Him, the easier and more natural it will be to desire and know how to have a relationship with Him. That means learning from an early age, but how do we as adults explain? How do we help little ones understand something so big even we have trouble fathoming?
It can be a daunting task, one you might as a parent hope church alone can help accomplish. Two combined forces though are always better than one. So, breathe, take a moment and pray, then keep reading.
Let’s look together how you can break down and simplify The Great I Am to your great little one.
First things first, the simpler the approach the better. One thing I must be super careful of as a Christian children’s book author is to not put my issues into how I represent God to my young readers. As an adult you no doubt have a past filled with some pain, regret, guilt, and more. God has no doubtedly brought you through things that heightened your feelings and thoughts towards Him. You have been set on fire to show others how He can see them through too.
When speaking to children or young teens however, we must be mindful of their young experiences. Yes, there are children who have already seen or been through more than their fair share, and that would require a little more in the explanation department. For our time together here, we are going to go under the assumption of an average child needing to still know how much they are loved by their great God. So, start small, it’s not about repairing damage so much as it’s to hopefully keep the damage at bay. Giving them a firm foundation from the beginning so when they are approached by the world, they are already armed with Gods word.
Think back to when you can first remember how it felt to be loved by someone, the safety you felt there. The warm feelings that left you feeling light as a feather. Maybe you are visioning a parent, grandparent, or aunt or uncle. That moment you can remember and still feel to this day, has nothing on the feeling we get once we know we are loved by a great and mighty God.
That’s the focus, helping your child know that no matter how much you love them, it can never measure up to Gods love for them. Start there. Start by introducing them to the knowledge that God hand created them and loves them as His own masterpiece. Read with them Psalm 139 23-14 “You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.”
Keep this simple, using examples your little one will understand. Say to them, “You know how proud you feel after you draw a picture or make mommy/daddy something? That’s how God feels about you. He looks at you with so much pride and love because He made you special.” I can see your sweet little one’s eyes lighting up with pure joy.
I love the idea of fingerprints, Gods fingerprints being all over us. As a teacher of little ones I teach them at ages 4 and 5 how their prints make them unique. One thing we do is look at their fingerprints under a microscope or magnifying lens.
An easy way to do this is to have them touch something with their hand. Have them touch a glass or anything clear, then let them look at what they left behind. As they look, tell them how they left their fingerprints behind because they used their hands to touch something. Then read with them Isaiah 64:8 icb “But Lord, you are our father. We are like clay, and you are the potter. Your hands made us all.”
Since Gods hands made your little one, His fingerprints are all over them. This makes them very special to Him. They are who He says they are because He made them.
Now that they know how loved and special they are, it’s a great time to move on to living life for God. Giving them early on an eternal view over a world view. Knowing how loved they are by God first, sets the foundation for them wanting and choosing to live their life with and for God. Not for the approval of the world. One of the things you can use to illustrate this to them, is how you love them and do things to show them that love. You know exactly what those things are so share them with your child. Maybe it’s something like, I love you so I let you eat my food even though I’m hungry. Or, “You know how mama or daddy still plays with you even when we are tired?” That’s called sacrifice. We do for you because we love you. Then let them take a turn to share. Ask them things they do for you to show you they love you too. After that, come up with fun and practical ways you and them can show God you love Him together. In this list include a way or two to include helping others. This sets a great example to them early on that loving God also means showing love to others. Make a God love chart and they can put stickers on the suggestions as they do them.
Lastly prayer. I believe it’s vital to teach young ones to pray from the beginning. We are not looking for well-crafted prayers, only a soul that knows God is listening. Maybe your child has a grandparent or aunt or uncle they call. Use this example to help them see how God loves them and wants them to call on Him too. As excited as others are to hear from them, so is God, even more! Let this prayer be all theirs. Asking them at the end of the night what they want to talk to God about. Then if needed guide them a little. They may not know on their own to thank God for loving them and blessing them.
A simple prayer might be, “Hey God, it’s me! Thank you so much for the sun today! It sure made playing fun! Thank you for my mom and dad, for all my family. Thank you God for loving me too! Please watch over us tonight as we sleep. See you in the morning! Amen.”
This of course will need to be tweaked to fit your child and the day, but it’s an illustration of a simple but heartfelt prayer of a little one.
Talking to your child about God does not have to be a scary thing, or a big thing. These things can be broken down as they present themselves. Imagine driving down the road with your little one, it’s sunny out, and your heart is full. This is an awesome opportunity to point out Gods beauty and how the same God that created this also made them. That as much as God loves His earthly creations, He loves His people more.
Or maybe it’s raining one day. They are looking out the window sad wishing they could play outside. This could be a great time to talk about God loving us so much that He gives us what we need more than what we want. The flowers, trees, and grass need the rain to grow. We need them to grow as we depend on them. Go as “science” as you want to here. It’s an opportunity to show them once again How God knows and cares about what they need. (Matthew 6:26-33 ICB)
Daily conversations through their life will set them up for a firm foundation of Who God is. That way when hard times do come, they are already wrapped in His loving arms. They are already in the habit of talking to Him, trusting Him. This is one of the best gifts we can ever give to children. A solid start at life knowing their full worth.
And finally, don’t be scared to reach out to others for help. One of the biggest lies the enemy will try to tell you at times is that you are the only parent or caregiver that struggles with “this”. If you are in a church already, connect with other moms. I’m sure they need someone to talk to as well who understands. If you aren’t in a church yet or in between one, look for mommy support groups in your area. Who knows one might even be at a church God is leading you to.
The point here is to be connected, sharing the load of raising your little one with others. There is no more precious gift to me than being one to help young minds and hearts know how truly wonderful they are from the beginning. Yes, they can drive you crazy, push you to a point you didn’t know existed, but they are your babies. They are looking to you to show them how spectacular they are, just the way they are. As I’m sure you would already agree. Well most the time. 🤗Know that you are not alone, pray for the way to show God and He will help you. He’s a good Father that way.