I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
August 9, 2011
I grew up in a Baptist church in a small North Georgia town.
I grew up believing in a God who was out to get me.
The God I learned about at church watched over me like a hawk, ready to put a black mark beside my name if I argued with my brother or said a bad word or disobeyed my parents. The God I learned about at church was more than willing to send me to hell once too many of those black marks accumulated, where I would burn in anguish for all eternity.
I was baptized at the age of six, simply because I was so terrified of ending up in permanent league with the devil. I still remember the congregation of my church laughing as I swam across the baptismal pool to meet the pastor for my ceremonial dunking. And I still regret now, years later, that my baptism was one of fear and not spiritual rebirth. I’m still a little appalled by my Sunday School teachers and youth leaders for putting that fear in my young heart.
We moved from that town when I was ten and joined a different church, one where I learned that God was about love and not punishment, and that He wanted to redeem me rather than zap me down like a pesky mosquito. Years later, when my children were born, I made a promise to God that I would raise both of my children in the Christian faith- not the faith of my early childhood, but the one I had come to understand as an adult.
Since that time, I have made a tremendous effort to teach them about the true God I feel working in my life today. And I’ve taught them about the Jesus who loved the unlovable, reached out to those scorned by society, and experienced righteous rage from time to time, rather than the simpering, sparkly clean Jesus of badly-written children’s storybooks.
I want my kids to feel the presence of a God who loves and understands them better than anyone, a God who can comfort them in the night when they’re afraid and is ready and waiting to forgive them when they make their inevitable mistakes. I want them to make an effort to be kind, loving and compassionate people not because they’re afraid of going to hell, but because they’re so grateful for all that God has given them, and can’t wait to share His love with others.
It’s not all that easy to convey these beliefs and values to small children, but I’m trying — and that’s why I was really excited to get the opportunity to sign on as a blogger with Tommy Nelson, along with a few of my favorite real-life and online friends.
Tommy Nelson is the children’s division of the Thomas Nelson publishing company. Each month, my fellow Tommy Mommy bloggers and I will be sharing personal stories on the Raising Faithful Kids blog about parenting our children in the Christian faith. I plan to use the space to share ideas I’ve had on teaching my children about God, and I hope you’ll share some of yours as well, whether you’re Christian or of another faith. I love hearing about your traditions and exchanging ideas.
My first post just went up on the Tommy Nelson blog and I hope you’ll read it, and leave a comment if you feel inclined.
And for those of you who are interested in doing an online Beth Moore study with me this fall — YAY. The response has been fantastic, and I think that everyone who participates will get a lot out of it. I’m putting together a schedule this week and will have more details soon.