Words Of Encouragement For Parents
Whether it seems like a big or small “mess up,” remind yourself that God is the Great Redeemer and all this is really His yoke to carry, not yours.
The Theology of Parenting
Everyone who learns they are going to be a parent quickly begins to feel a multitude of feelings…joy, fear, excitement, dread, & more. Questions begin to overtake every waking moment.
Boy or girl?
What color hair & eyes?
Who will this baby look like?
What will we name him or her?
How will we pay for everything?
In time, the fears begin to be overshadowed by an abundance of hopes and dreams for the child. Then, in what feels like no time at all, you bring this precious baby home from the hospital. Suddenly, the questions & fears are back.
Why is he coughing?
Why didn’t she wake up to eat yet?
How often do I need to change his diaper?
Is this normal?
Am I ever going to sleep again?
Will I ever stop worrying about this precious life?
Again, in time, some of the fears subside and you are filled with visions of a glorious future. Although in truth, you never sleep as soundly as you did pre-baby, and you will never stop worrying to some extent!
My girls are now 14 and 18, and I am still learning about parenting. The lessons never stop coming. Just when you think you have it down, they throw you a curve ball. From one parent to another, here are some things that have helped my husband and me on this parenting journey.
• Pray, pray, and then pray. Then pray some more. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Honestly, is there anything in life that requires more wisdom than parenting?
• Ask questions of Godly men and women who have walked this road before you. Proverbs 15:22…”Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” We all want to achieve “success” with our children, right?
• While we’re talking about success, know that your idea of success may be different from God’s idea of success! “For your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8). If your child doesn’t make the team or the grade or the whatever, it may be because God has a bigger, better plan for them, or at the very least a different definition of success than you do.
• Teach them about Jesus. I know your child is a genius and miles ahead of others his or her age, but guess what? Your kid isn’t perfect and neither is mine, no matter what the grandparents say. He or she needs Jesus. In our Early Childhood Ministry, everything we do revolves around three basic principles: God made me, God loves me, and Jesus wants to be my friend forever. Deuteronomy 6:4-8 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Here’s my version of this passage from Deuteronomy: “Dear parents, know that the Lord our God is the ONE TRUE GOD. Love Him with everything you have. Remember these truths ALWAYS in your hearts. Teach and model them to your children. Talk about them during dinner, when you’re on the way to soccer practice and piano lessons, when you’re sitting around playing board games, when you pray as a family before bed and before everyone leaves the house each day for work and school. Don’t be afraid to wear jewelry or clothing that shares your faith. Leave post-it notes around the house and send your kids text messages with scriptures.” Please don’t quote my version to anyone as truth, it’s just my version! Whatever parenting methods and techniques you use, teach your children that although they are awesome, they simply cannot be good enough. Teach them that they need a Savior who took their punishment and will live in them and love them forever, no matter what, if they ask Him to.
• Don’t be too hard on yourself when your hopes and dreams for your kids seem to not be a reality. When I was recently struggling with some things concerning our children, a dear friend texted me in just the right moment and said, “You can’t mess this up!” In our desire to raise our kids to know and love Jesus and give them the best possible life, we often beat ourselves up when we see in our kids what appears to be a parenting “fail.” Our children belong to God and although it may be difficult to really believe, He loves them far more and far better than we can. He created them, after all! They are His. He will take our bumbling parenting efforts and use them to bring glory to Himself. There are many things we can do to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6), but sometimes, our kids are going to mess up. Whether it seems like a big or small “mess up,” remind yourself that God is the Great Redeemer and all this is really His yoke to carry, not yours. No matter how things look and feel, our choice is simple…worry and fret, or trust Him that He really does have this!
• In the same way that we must remind ourselves that our children belong to God when they mess up, we must also remember that they are His when it seems like all our efforts have paid off. Don’t take much credit when your kids are amazing. Do we really think that highly of ourselves? If your kids are following Jesus, doing great in school, discipling their friends, and are the absolute best at everything they do, we better give credit where credit is due. To God be the glory.
I have to end with what Paul says in Philippians 3:12. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on…” Dear friends, none of us are going to have it all together all the time. We are going to want to be in control and it’s going to be difficult for us when we realize we are not. We are going to do our best, try to lean on God, and make a lot of mistakes. Hang in there. Let’s do this parenting thing together!