Yesterday’s destination #1: Claim your place as parent and authority. “Who’s the Boss? What’s God’s Plan for Parents and Children?”
Today, as we unfold the road map a little farther, our next stop is Spirit-led Parenting: Letting God Raise Your Children Through You.
With the responsibility of growing and raising six children, there are many times that I just don’t know what to do. As a mom, I have faced sickness, rebellion, emotional outbursts of rage and sadness to dilemmas with chores and getting kids up on time. There are times when my way just doesn’t work. I try to talk sense into my children. I try to redirect their actions and mold their behavior. I try to plan and organize our way out of chaos. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. There are times that I feel utterly overwhelmed and totally clueless.
The funny thing is, I think that’s just where He wants me. God wants me to remember that this parenting journey isn’t about my plans, but His. God wants me to remember that these are His children and I am just the vessel to nurture and train them for Him. God will always parent my children properly, I just have to trust Him.
So what does God want for my children?
And what does he want? Godly children from your union. Mal. 2:15
God wants my kids to look like Him. He wants them to imitate Him. He wants the hearts of my children.
That’s a pretty tall order! So how do I do that? How do I raise God-like children?
1. Commit them to Him.
I find such courage for motherhood from the story of a woman named Hannah. You can meet her in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah wanted nothing more than to have a child. When the Lord granted her request what did she do? Did she start his college fund? Read all the latest child-rearing books? Research the best preschool programs? Nope. She gave him right back to God.
“Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently…” I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”
We may not have the option to go drop our kid off at the local tabernacle to be raised by a prophet, but can dedicate our children to their Maker. We can stop dedicating them to academics, popularity and sports. And start dedicating them to learning of God, their Savior, and His Spirit. We can dedicate them in prayer. We can dedicate them to being among God’s people and preferring them above the world.
2. Invite God Into Every Part of the Day
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:6-9
God longs to be part of your every waking moment. He wants us to consistently speak of Him to our children. He wants His commands to be on our lips when we are at home, in the car, running errands, first thing in the morning til we go to sleep. He wants first place in every part of our day.
3. Imitate God Myself
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Ps. 103:13
Whoa! This is the crucial piece of the pie. If I am going to raise godly children, I am going to have to be a godly parent. I am going to have to imitate a holy God. It is like what Paul said, “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). So what kind of parent is God?
God is provider (Matt. 6:26). God is comforter (Ps. 34:17). God is love (1 John 4:7). God is tender (Luke 1:78). God disciplines (Heb. 12:6).
I may not be a perfect parent, but He is. My challenge is to I simply get out of God’s way and let Him work through my parenting. Instead of making my plans, I need to follow the plans of the Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This verse deserves more credit than the poster board signs at football games give it. I think sometimes we skip by the truth in this verse. God gave up the most precious thing to Him, a holy son, to save a world full of ungrateful children, who would mostly reject the sacrifice.
And we complain about dreams put on hold, the loss of freedom, laundry, cooking dinner and sleepless nights. But our God is the kind of parent that gave up EVERYTHING to rescue His lost children.
5. Realize That Parenting Will Require Me to Let Go
Mama’s this is HARD! But if we want to raise our kids right and do what is best for them, sometimes that means letting go. And this letting go may have to happen long before they are 18 and moving out. Let’s go back to Exodus 2 and meet Moses’ mother, Jochebed. She gave birth to her son during a time of great persecution from Egypt when they were slaughtering little boys. Did she try to control the situation? Did she try to figure out the best escape? Nope, she gave her INFANT son over to God’s protection.
A man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.
From Jochebed’s trusting faith and ability to let go, God rose up in her son one of the greatest leaders this world has ever know. He led millions of people out of slavery, through the wilderness, and forty years later, to the gates of their promised land.
I’d say that fearful moment of letting go, not knowing what the future held, was worth every bit of trust and courage that Jochebed mustered in her moment in time.
Lord God Almighty,
Please let each one who reads these words be led by Your Spirit in everything, especially in raising our children. May we be a mothers and fathers who imitate You and walk in the Spirit. May our children never be snatched from Your hands. And may You bless them to walk in your ways all the days of their lives.