Written by Barbara Deatherage, Elementary Ministry Leader for Stonebriar Community Church
When my four kids were little, my husband and I liked to try to figure out what their spiritual gifts might be. Two of them seemed to be really easy to discover. Melody was our outgoing, persuasive (bossy) child. By the end of elementary school, she was well-known in our neighborhood as a peddler of her “artwork” and homemade cookies (which were really good!). She was also extremely outspoken about her faith and an expert at asking awkward questions. We had her pegged as having the gift of evangelism.
As a preschooler, our youngest, Evan, loved to turn the laundry basket upside down, stand on it, and “preach” to us. So we thought Evan might be the pastor/teacher in the family.
Now, I look back and wonder.
My wonderings are just that. They don’t come from a seminary or a book on spiritual gifts. They come from thirty-five years of parenting and observing and thinking.
Will you come and wonder with me?
- I wonder why we didn’t see that a preschooler who wasn’t yet a believer would not have a spiritual gift!
- I wonder why we weren’t looking at the whole child with their natural bents and talents and spiritual gifts.
- I wonder why we were so obsessed with pinpointing one spiritual gift in them. Surely spiritual gifts tests are fallible as a man-made invention?
- I wonder why instead we didn’t just give our kids a ton of opportunities to try new things, to take risks, to learn how God had put them together and why.
We seem to be so focused on finding out what is special about each individual that I think we could be missing the point.
Yes, we are eager to skip to the middle of Psalm 139 where we find out that we were wondrously made by God, but when we do, we miss the first part that tells us the God who made us that way is an absolutely incredible God who knows us deep down inside like no one else ever could!
It’s good to know what we and our kids are good at, but how much better to know that God knows. How much better to know that if we will let Him, He will lead us in the way and He will use our gifts and talents to glorify Himself.
So, I wonder, what would happen if we taught our children to thank God for the way He put them together? What would happen if we taught them to listen to Him and to give their unique selves to Him? What if we taught them to follow Him unswervingly, sure that He is leading them to the adventures He prepared and gifted them for well before they were ever born?
Barbara Deatherage is the Elementary Ministry Leader at Stonebriar Community Church. At nineteen, her life completely changed when she met Jesus Christ and accepted Him as her Savior. Three days later, she met Jim Deatherage who would become her husband. Barbara went from rebellious college girl to pastor’s wife in a very short amount of time. Several moves took them from Pennsylvania to Maryland to Virginia to North Carolina to Kansas and finally to the North Texas area where they live now. Also, along the way, Barbara and Jim became mom and dad to four children: Rachael, Caleb, Melody, and Evan. Their kids are growing up, but that means the blessing of five grandkids. What fun!