Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth, Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. Psalm 127:3-5 NKJV
Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday. She is an amazing woman. I won’t divulge her age, but I was 25 when she was born, and I am now 72~so she is no longer a young girl. Her daughter turned 17 yesterday. As most parents, I wish I could have some do-overs. She has taught me so many things. Children are a gift to be valued, cared for, and stewarded. Difficult, but doable with our gracious Heavenly Father’s help. They also come to change us, teach us and help us learn about ourselves and Him, if we let them.
She taught me. As a young mom, I had to learn so much. Her presence caused me to call upon the Lord and ask for wisdom and grace. I learned humility, as I had to ask for forgiveness for the times I spoke rashly, in anger, or frustration. When I made small things into bigger things than necessary. Watching her grow and develop into this separate, unique individual was a gift. Discovering my own insecurities, inadequacies, and fears was not fun. But it caused me to lean on the Lord even more.
Parents, I want to remind you today, no matter what age or situation you find yourselves in with your children, that it is a trust walk. Learning to walk in balance between strict discipline and permissive “give them anything they ask for” is difficult. About the time you think you’ve got it down, they grow and change. There are so many voices in your head “do this oh no, you should have not done that” etc…that it can fill you with anxiety. But we must trust Him with them and for them.
Parenting is not simply to birth a child, but it means to steward this child that God put into their life. To take responsibility for not only their physical care, but their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. There are many people who seem to think children raise themselves–without the training to become responsible adults, and then are surprised at their weed like outcome!
For example, Rosanna was 21 months old when her sister was born. Trying to juggle two young ones during our church service was not easy. We did not have a nursery. I took her out of service one day, because she was having trouble listening and I said, “you know you don’t act that way in church”. The Holy Spirit whispered to me, “How is she supposed to know? Who taught her?” I guess I assumed she would have figured it out! What an excellent lesson for me. I apologized and then began teaching her. This lesson carried over in so many areas. Teach first before you get upset and discipline! You think it would have been obvious, but I missed it.
My heart goes out to parents of young children today. Be encouraged. God is available to give you the wisdom you need to parent each of your children. We can’t do it alone, and you don’t have to. When in doubt, remember, charity never fails. You can’t go wrong in doing the most loving thing that you know to do. Teach your children respect, but not in harshness. Do not provoke your children to anger and bitterness by your own selfishness and impatience. Teach them by example and then use words. Ask the Lord for His insight and purpose. He loves to share! Pray for them, pray for yourself. Learn to walk in forgiveness for yourself as a parent. Do not give in to discouragement or the pressures of this world, gird yourself with His strength, wisdom and grace.
I am grateful for my dear daughter and her decision to walk with Jesus as an adult. It was our desire and pray that this would happen, but ultimately we had to trust God to work in her heart the will to obey Him. We did our best to model the blessing of obedience and serving Him. Like most people, we did not do it perfectly. Maybe that was a key–to love our perfect God with His grace and mercy, imperfectly.
If I had some do-overs, I would spend more time listening and simply talking together. Utilizing the wisdom of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV). These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Make it a natural part of your life to talk about the things of the Lord. I would relax and enjoy my children. Releasing my faith to trust Him, that He that began a good work in them, would finish it.
Father, I thank You for all the help You gave me in parenting my children to adulthood, I thank You that You are still helping us navigate our relationship as adults. I ask for an outpouring of Your wisdom upon every parent and grandparent that reads this blog on how to appreciate and add value to the gift of each child in their sphere of influence today. In Jesus’ Name, amen.