Tag Archive | raising godly children

The Parenting Trap

Here’s the hard truth. Are you ready to hear it? It’s not going to be popular or sugar-coated or comfortable. It’s a trap many parents walk into with the best of intentions, but ignorance of the gospel. Ready? Here it is:

12-2-03You can do everything according to all the experts in your parenting journey, and your kids could still walk away from Jesus.

♦ Stay together as a couple with love and happiness in your household. check

♦ Go to church as a family, build a firm foundation of faith. check

♦ Pray together, both as a couple and as a family. check

♦ Encourage openness, ask the hard questions, be there for them emotionally. check

♦ Provide things for them, but don’t over indulge. Help them learn the value of work and study. check

♦ Give lots of physical affection and words of affirmation. Let them know they are always loved. Show grace, yet speak truth. check

♦ Give them both an anchor and wings. check

Fact of the matter is, no matter what you do right, or what you do wrong; no matter how hard you pray or how close you feel your relationship is, your children still have the choice to go their own way.IMG_6263

It’s heartbreaking.

That’s how God feels all the time. He so loved the world that He gave His only Son to restore the broken relationships. And still people argue that He doesn’t even exist. They insist that they’re better off without Him. They want to do their own thing without restrictions. Without consequences. Without fellowship with God.

It’s devastating.

And yet He loves His children, rebellious or not, and we love ours. He refuses to give up on them, constantly seeking to woo them back. And we don’t give up on ours.

Love them well. I haven’t yet figured out what that looks like, but I know part of it is not throwing their sin in their face. I know it means maintaining a relationship and speaking truth in love. I know it means letting them know that they are loved no matter what they have done, simply because they are my children.

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, NIV.)

fullsizeoutput_193On this earth, our nights of weeping are not yet done. But the promise is this: rejoicing comes in the morning. If I didn’t believe that, I would curl up and die.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NIV.)

If loving wayward children well can reflect the deep, deep love God has for them, then I will keep loving mine, praying for that day of repentance.

I could look back and say, “We should have made sure they were owning their own faith. We should have listened better. We shouldn’t have let them hang out with that person. We should have kept a better eye. We shoulda, shoulda, shoulda.”

Don’t fall into that parenting trap. Do the best you can, and surrender your children to Jesus. And pray, pray, pray.

Their salvation is not your burden.

Their decisions are not a reflection of your worth.IMG_0780

Much as I want my children’s lives to look like the pretty postcard I pictured when they were born, it’s not about me, and I’m not in control.

No matter the pain and heartache I experience with every decision that rejects Jesus, God is still good.

Through my tears I won’t fall into the trap that says I blew it somewhere along the line; I should have been a better mother.

After all, it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus.

On Mission

Several years ago, I helped edit a curriculum called “The Significant Woman.” One of the goals of this curriculum is to have you write a mission statement, so that you have a basis for doing the things you want to do or are asked to do by others. We all know that we can get sucked into a relentless schedule by filling it with everything anyone wants us to do.

Even though I did not actually go through this curriculum in the group the way it’s designed, because I edited it, I was aware of the principles. So I wrote my mission statement. Here it is:

To raise godly children in community with other believers; to enable others to communicate professionally and clearly by using my writing and editing skills; to support my husband in a way that makes him feel empowered and loved; and to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in the process.

It was only supposed to be one sentence, but, through the clever use of semi-colons, I was able to say what I wanted to. So now, I have a way to look at all my activities and see if they meet the goals of my mission statement.

1. Teaching 2nd grade at Trace Academy: This was a little hard to put into my mission statement, because I couldn’t exactly see how it fit. I just knew that it was what God wanted me to do. But then, as I looked again, I realized that my first clause says “to raise godly children.” It doesn’t say they have to be my children. I am so fulfilling that goal by helping to raise these 2nd graders in community with their parents and other believers. And everything I do in regards to that occupation is very fulfilling.

2. Copyediting Worldwide Challenge magazine: I have been involved with the magazine in one capacity or another for 26 years. Whereas my first love is writing, I am also detail oriented and qualified to answer most questions that come up regarding grammar and style in the articles we publish. What I do there definitely fulfills my mission statement as I use my writing and editing skills to help others communicate better.

3. Ferrying my children to their various activities: This is not just something I do because I’m a mom. We evaluate each activity our children are a part of and weigh it against our priority of having dinner together each night and having quality family time. We are teaching them the value of perseverance, health, exercise, sportsmanship, and everything else that goes along with being a part of tae kwon do, fencing, archery, horseback riding and the like. But it is still my responsibility to make sure that we, as a family, are not over stretching.

4. Running my household: This, of course, fits into my goal of loving and caring for my husband so that he feels empowered to do what he’s called to do. If I’m constantly gone or neglecting him and the household, then he is severely handicapped from doing his job. That’s not good.

5. Participating in spiritual activities: This category is probably the most nebulous, but if I am going to enjoy my relationship with God, I actually need to spend time with Him. Whether it’s going on retreats, participating in a home group through my church, reading, whatever, if it builds my relationship with God and allows me to love and serve Him better, then it is on mission.

Having a mission statement might seem like it puts a box around your life and constrains you, but it is actually very freeing. I know that each and every thing that I do fulfills what I see as my mission. I listen to the Holy Spirit, go where He wants me to go, and if something comes up that doesn’t seem to fit in with my purpose, then my agreeing to do it has to be a very clear directive from God.

I want to make a difference. I want my life to count. I want to be a significant woman. Weighing every opportunity against my God-ordained mission increases my chances of that being the case. I’m not just randomly doing whatever comes along.

Proverbs 16:3 says: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”

Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

He calls me, He won’t let me fail. He always follows through.

Thankful today for:

78. hard decisions

79. lesson plans

80. a less stormy day than was predicted