I am not always an awesome parent. I am going to be honest and say that there are many days when my only goal is that everyone makes it out alive.
Today, I am praying life over my three children who, ironically, I believe are trying to be the death of me.
My 20-year-old wants another year in El Salvador, and I want her stateside.
My 15-year-old wants to live in squalor; I am declaring his dwellings uninhabitable… oh, and he is currently sporting a rather large afro, sigh.
And the little one, well, today she is six going on 26, and believes she knows what’s best for her life… and my life too.
For those of you with babies, this may seem at the very least, exaggerated, but don’t judge me too quickly.
I’ve been where you are, and today I want to share with you (and remind myself of!) a few simple tips on raising a child of the King, so that when you have a day like I am having, you are able to just stop and take a breath and remind yourself that it is just a part of the journey.
Give more hugs than rebukes
There is a Chinese proverb that states the reason that people shout when they are angry is because their hearts are far away from one another and they must shout to be heard. Try to intentionally keep your heart near your child’s (try to remember where she is) so that your love and compassion is heard through your words. And give twice as many hugs as rebukes (Proverbs 15:1-33, I Cor 13:4).
Fight the battles that need fighting
There are many lessons that they will find out on their own, whether they hear them from you or not. Perhaps the shoes don’t go with the blouse, but we will foster a stronger relationship by allowing them to make more of their own choices when we can. If the decision they are making doesn’t go against God’s direction for our lives, let it be, and be supportive. If you are anticipating a battle, stand back and ask yourself, is this a battle that I need to fight (Eph. 6:4)?
Love them with the love of Christ
I know that this seems obvious, but before you pass this one, take a moment and really take it in. We know that we love our kids, but we spend a lot of time attempting to create them in the image that we would have them to be because let’s face it, we want them to be better than us. Instead of simply loving them, I challenge you to love them with the love of Christ. Accept them as they are, for who they are, not for what they do or don’t do (John 15:9, Romans 15:7).
Above all things, mommas, remember that God’s got this. It is true that we have been entrusted with the most important job in the Kingdom: growing Christ followers. But remember that we are not expected to do this alone, so let go and place every worry, and every care, at His feet, every day, as you continue this important work for the Kingdom. And when things get challenging, remind yourself that the journey is as important as the destination and if we trust Him, He will get us all there in one piece.
Word of the Day:
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Father, thank you for these beautiful children that you have placed in my care. Even on the difficult days, the love that I feel for them goes deeper than anything I could ever explain, yet I know that you love them more-- with a greater, deeper, more encompassing love. Thank you for loving them more than I ever could. Today I ask that you guide my steps as I walk before them and please guide my hand as I raise them for your Kingdom, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.