A Little Pink Chair
by Priscilla Perumalla
This image – my daughter’s little pink chair next to my own – evokes so many emotions for me.
As I was reading my Bible, my daughter pulled up her little pink chair and insisted that I hold her little finger and run it under the portion of scripture that I was reading. I know it sounds cute.
In that moment, it wasn’t cute.
I found it distracting because I was trying to regain the strength that I need for our family’s task at hand: planting a church in NYC. So, I stood up, took this photo out of frustration, and had plans to text it to my husband. I wanted to show him what spending time “alone” with Jesus looked like for me.
I was about to send it when I heard the words… "training ground."
I have always said that we are not just raising children who can tell you Bible stories, but kids who are active in their faith in Jesus Christ. I say that, but I have failed to intentionally teach them. They have picked up habits from my husband and me because we try to be open with them to the best of our ability about our love for God.
However, I have allowed my kids to be mere spectators. Because of this, they could easily misinterpret what we do, and those misinterpretations could lead to a breeding ground of self-righteousness and judgmental ideology. It can also lead to a breeding ground of contempt and anger if you are heavily involved in ministry.
This photo convicts me. I can’t look at this chair as a point of distraction anymore. It is an opportunity to intentionally train up a strong, healthy daughter of God. I want her to be a vessel that shows God’s goodness to the next generation, not a woman hanging on by the skin of her teeth to the faith of her parents.
Now we spend time with Jesus together. We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide and comfort us together. We pray for our church and the people in it together. We turn up our music loud and lift our hands and voices and worship together.
She sees the tears that stream down my face as I pray for my family and asks questions as to why I am crying, and I get the chance to help her understand. She sees me kneel before my King in my kitchen and does the same, again, asking questions as to why.
It’s not enough that they know that we do, they need to know why. The whys are the arrows in their little pouch that they can pull from when something happens at school, when they lose a loved one, or they are angry or sad. The whys can be arrows of happiness and joy showing them how we give thanks to our God in the good and bad.
This is just my formula. This is what works for me and my schedule. I don’t know what yours is, but I know that with our children intentionality is the key. In whatever form that might look like, I pray that you find it.
I am praying for you that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you on what that looks like and how to accomplish it. This is still very much a work in progress for me. Doing this sort of thing with small kids is no easy task, but it is a task that we are called to complete.
Proverbs 22:6 (AMP) – Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Priscilla Perumalla and her husband, Stephen, live in New York City, where they planted The Grace Place Church in 2016. They reside in West Harlem with their two children, Boston and Aviah.