If you’ve known me in person for any length of time you have heard me say, “There is no such thing as a junior Holy Spirit.” I’ve been saying this for at least thirteen years. It goes back to my children’s ministry days. But I truly believe with all of my heart that the same Holy Spirit that was in the apostle Paul, that is in me, is in children.
A month or two before the anatomy scan to confirm that we were in fact having a girl, God told me that our child would be “a little girl with great faith.” Thus we named her Clarissa Faith, which means brilliant faith.
I have a friend whose nephew was born last month with some serious heart conditions. He has been in NICU his whole life thus far and they are crying out to God for a miracle. Yesterday as we got the latest report, I really felt like it was time for the children to pray. So I posted his picture on facebook and asked for my friends to have their children to pray for baby Donovan. I showed Clarissa baby Donovan’s picture on my phone and tried to explain to her toddler self how sick he was and asked her to pray for him. I really don’t know what she was saying, but she kept touching the picture of Donovan and saying something for a couple of minutes and we just prayed together. I really do believe that we will hear of a breakthrough because of the prayers of children for this little boy.
When I was the children’s ministry coordinator at my church, I spent a summer teaching kids about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. In my quest to help equip parents I stumbled upon the book Discover Your Kid’s Spiritual Gifts by Adam Stadtmiller. The book contains a spiritual gifts test for parents to take for their children. The book talks about each gift, how to notice and test which gifts your child has, and how to nurture your child in his or her spiritual giftings in practical ways. I thought the book was great and decided to reread it recently now that I am a parent myself.
The author asks you to take the spiritual gifts test twice, before and after reading the book. I got similar results each time. I will probably want to do this every couple of years. Some of the questions in the test are hard to answer at this point. For example, it is hard to know if Clarissa is able to communicate the Bible clearly since she is only twenty-three months old and does not communicate many things clearly (in English) yet. The test did confirm what we thought about discernment and administration gifts and also some things to look for to see if she does have a missions, giving, or mercy gift.
Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:
“Children can rip God’s kingdom from the sky and release it with a vibrant infusion into this dull and sullen world. That is, if we as adults do not hinder them with our unbelief.”
“If we disregard our children’s sensitivity to what God is saying to them in the quiet of their hearts, they will begin to doubt if they can hear from God.”
“Believing kids are called not only to understand the faith but also, like us, to find their unique ministry and purpose, and live it out the fullest. Navigating this journey with them is part of our divine commission as parents.”
“If we listen to and seek God for our children’s life purpose and direction, especially in the area of their spiritual gifts, God will make them known to us.”
In the book Adam Stadtmiller tells a story about a little girl and then says not to get lost in thinking it is just a cute story. It reminded me of Lenny LaGuardia. I went to a signs and wonders camp the summer I was teaching this (I plan to bring Clarissa to one of those once she is old enough) and he emphasized that “Kids aren’t cute. They are dangerous!” Kids can do big things for the kingdom of God.
I was also convicted from reading this book that as she grows I need to be as worried about Clarissa’s spiritual education as I am her academic education. I need to find practical ways to incorporate scripture memorization into her life.