by Donna Gaines


I LOVE my children and grandchildren! I flew to Raleigh, North Carolina this week to surprise my granddaughter for her fifth birthday.  What a delight it was to hear her and her sister squeal when they saw me! What indescribable joy to be there for her birthday breakfast (a family tradition with gifts, decorations and balloons) as well as her preschool party and then family dinner at a restaurant for her favorite food—Mexican (another family tradition, which really has more to do with the cheese dip than the food).

As I sit in their home reflecting on the day; after all three children are in bed and mom and dad have slipped out for a movie, my heart is strangely unsettled. It has been a wonderful day, but this day and her life are not congruent with the world in which she is growing up. By God’s grace she is in a home with a mom and dad who love the Lord, each other and their children. But how do you protect these precious ones from the sin, pain and cruelty that are right outside their door?  Better yet, how do you protect them from the sin, pain and cruelty in their own sinful hearts?

How do you guide them and prepare them for loving Jesus more than they love themselves?  For truly, loving Him above all, is the secret to life. When I reflect on my personal walk with Christ, the times I have been most at peace, content and disentangled from my flesh and the world are the times I have been most enthralled with Him. 

How do you like that word “enthralled”? It literally means to captivate or charm.  A couple of synonyms for enthralled are to enchant, or enrapture.  That is exactly what scripture conveys when it commands us to love the Lord—with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to love Him with our entire being. We are to be utterly enthralled with Jesus. We are to be all in. In fact, in his book by that title, author Mark Batterson said, “If you don’t hold out on God, God will not hold out on you. There is nothing God cannot do in and through a person who is fully consecrated to Him.”

Parents do a lot of things to try to protect their children. But are you doing the main thing?  The main thing, according to God is to love the Lord and to pass that love and passion on to your children. I believe our children’s greatest protection will be their intimacy with Christ.  Their ability to know Him and love Him experientially is what will put them on the path to life and enable them to count for Christ and His Kingdom.

When I am enthralled with Jesus, I am no longer entangled in the sin that so easily besets, in fact I am no longer even enticed by it.  When my love for Christ surpasses my love for self, sin is defeated.

If I could pass one thing on to my children and grandchildren, it would be for them to purposely choose to set their hearts’ affection on Jesus. My greatest desire is for them to not let anything or anyone move Jesus from a place of preeminence in their hearts.  I want their hearts to be enthralled—captivated and enraptured by Christ!

Parents and grandparents, are you living in such a way that your love for Christ is evident?  You cannot pass on what you don’t possess.  Ensure that your children know what it means to love Jesus by being enthralled with Him yourself!

Donna Gaines


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