It’s no surprise that my husband and I are followers of Christ. Each day we try to put God the center of our marriage, home and lives. But when you have new people coming into your home to live… it can get difficult.
During our foster training we were told that some kids will reject the idea of church and God. As foster parents we cannot force them to go to church. We were warned that we may have some kids who come into our home that have had bad experiences with religion. Here are some ways we’ve talked to our teens about God.
- Be open. We had the privilege of meeting all of our girls before they came to stay with us. During our meetings we talked to them about how we do go to church and that we are a Christian home. We talk a little bit about our values and let them know what that means. This was really helpful because they can know what to expect. Especially if God is a sore subject.
- Practice what you preach. If you are a follower of Christ then you know the Bible talks a lot about grace, mercy and forgiveness. You may even have your kiddos ask you questions about what they mean and maybe even giving examples of it. But when they get in trouble or talk back you cannot waver from what you’ve talked about. Meaning, you can’t talk about forgiveness and grace and then not show it in the midst of struggles. That will not only destroy your relationship but it will create a bad experience for these kids.
- Don’t push. My husband and I are strong believers that we show God’s love through our day-to-day actions. We talk about God but we don’t pressure our foster kids to read their Bible daily or force them to do things that are uncomfortable. You have to remember, these kids probably never grew up in that type of home. So you can’t expect them to adopt your habits over night. You have to slowly introduce them. A great way is taking them to church if they want to go. Let them get involved in youth group. Maybe have family discussions about stories and meanings of scriptures from the Bible. Find a way to educate and teach but don’t push. Let them make their own choice to follow Christ.
- Have the tough conversations. Many foster kids that come in your home have different beliefs. Even if they are accepting of this relationship with God they still struggle understanding what God says about things like sin, being gay, cussing and divorce. Many foster kids have seen more than we will ever see or know about. You may have to have a deep conversation about topics most christians fear to have. Like explaining why a loved one died. Or talking about what God considers a sin. Sin is a big topic because you don’t know what these kids have done. So telling them they sinned and they’re going to hell — may not go over too well. These kiddos have enough guilt so you will have to be careful with how you word certain things. Most importantly you need to remind them that no matter what we as humans have done, Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to be free. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing that we should be teaching and demonstrating in our homes everyday.
- Share your testimony. The best way for your kids to see how God can work in their lives is by sharing your own experiences. I talk to them about having an abusive father. I talk them about mistakes with guys I’ve dated. I talk about my personal struggles and what brought me to where I am today. I am very open about my life and what I have been through. I even talk about my daily struggles with faith, stress and fears. This is probably the best way to share your love for God without being pushy.
These are just a few ways you can share and discuss God with your foster kids. It may vary depending on the child and how they take up. Be open and transparent about your walk with God. Let them see christianity is not about perfection. It’s about having a deep relationship with God.