In the Van: Teachable Moments

It’s quiet in the van after school. That’s when Eva opens her heart if she’s going to. I get lots of news when it’s just us. Some things have taken me by surprise. Some have been details of school days or whatever feels most important to her in the moment.

For a while I saw this time simply as an after school conversation to catch up on news. I’ve read ideas about initiating conversations and asking open-ended questions to get her talking, but honestly there are times I struggle with putting it into practice.

As she grows up and I grow in my desire to make disciples of Jesus, God has invaded areas of my life I never considered before. I welcome it.

I pray often for Eva to place her faith in Jesus, but she doesn’t have the necessary understanding yet. It feels so close. This past weekend during Easter festivities and family devotions we were pleased to see development in her knowledge of the big picture of God’s word and in understanding what it means for her to be separated from God by sin.

When she mentions spiritual things we discuss them. Intentionally having times through the week as a family to study God’s word has helped Eva grow in understanding. It helps her father and me as well. We are called to marriage and parenting before any other work so we guard this time of seeking God together. It takes effort and thought, but it’s rewarding.

Daniel and I continue asking God for wisdom in taking advantage of teachable moments. Like the ones I occasionally get in the van.

My husband was out of town presenting our ministry at a church so I picked Eva up after school.

Once she was buckled in and we were on the road Eva told me about a friend who is having a problem. She was upset. I listened for a while.

The lightbulb came on- a teachable moment.

“Eva can we pray for your friend and ask God to help? We can also ask God to show us ways you can help her”


I began to pray for Eva’s friend. I was talking to the only One who can meet our deepest needs, change hearts, and help in any situation. It was beautiful to see Eva grasp the idea too- Jesus could help her friend. She began praying out loud.

“God I love my friend and I want her to find help for this problem…” She continued praying for a while.

I listened to my 7 year old pour her heart out to God on behalf of her friend. I could feel how important this was to Eva. When she finished she wasn’t worried anymore. She left her fears with the truest source of help she knows.

What I love about this: Eva never questioned whether God was there or if He would help. In her mind that’s a given. She just went to Him and asked. The beginning of faith in her Creator, Friend, Helper…and Redeemer.

I pray soon she will truly understand and believe.

We continue to pray together when Eva tells me about something going on in her life. Before going to school. Before doing something fun together. Any situation is an opportunity. I invite her to join, but don’t force her. It is sweet to point out and celebrate answered prayer with my daughter so she can see God’s work in every day life.

My desire is to prepare Eva for the time she believes, guide her through it, and walk with her as a mentor afterward. I need God’s grace and wisdom for this.

Teachable moments probably happen in your vehicle also, but my guess is they happen in all sorts of places- wherever life with your family takes you. Everyday moments where the stuff of life happens. That’s where our attitudes and verbal responses model things our children pick up and carry with them. Quite a responsibility. Impossible without God.

I hope you have the opportunity to do life with other families in your church and community who are also following Jesus. We need each other. I’m so thankful for what I learn from parents who are a little farther down the road than me in raising children. I’m grateful for peers who are walking through the same stages in parenting.


©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved

Would you like a resource to help your family understand the Big Picture of God’s Word? We’ve been teaching through The Gospel Project in Sunday School and with our family this year (thank you Carrie!) and we love it. Here are the links:

For your Personal Bible Study/ Adult Study Groups, & Children’s groups:

For Family Devotions/ Study:

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