I was reminded of this fact several weeks ago after my alarm had gone off. I was sitting up in bed trying to clear the cobwebs and started thinking about Easter, which was only a few days away. (I know we’re way past Easter now… but my writing opportunities have been very sparse lately!) Anyway, for some reason, I started thinking about Mary. The Mary. How heavy her heart must have felt at this time. Did she even want to get out of bed with each passing day, or did she jump out of bed in hopes to hear more news in her circle regarding what was happening with her beloved boy? Did she know where He was? Did she want to run to find Him and protect Him?
She knew from the moment she started carrying Him that her son had this purpose. But even though Gabriel had given her the low-down over 30 years before, she didn’t know exactly how it was all going to play out. I can’t imagine her motherly feelings as she watched it unfold.
In no way can we possibly compare our situation to Mary’s, the mother of our Savior, but we do have one thing in common… we are parents of children that belong to Him. They are here according to His plans, His timing, and His purpose.
I have to remind myself of this often. God has blessed us with our sweet children… but we have them only for a season. Out of all the people in this world, He chose each one of us to be the parents to our particular children… to pour into them what He needs them to be equipped with… for His purposes.
I don’t know what His plans are for our children. But I pray often for His guidance in helping us prep them for what He has in store. They each have their own unique beat, with their own affinities, aversions, and gifts. Sometimes I can easily see myself in them, and other times I’m left standing there scratching my head as to their latest antics.
Parenting is such a white-knuckle ride sometimes, isn’t it? Just when we think we’ve got something handled, a new crossroad pops up. The scenery changes and things get unpredictable again. We have to make decisions, sometimes on-the-fly. Then we agonize over things, stay awake at night, shed tears, question ourselves, question our kids, question our Lord, change our mind… ugh!!!!!!
That just means we’re good parents. We do this because we care. Deep down inside we want to know our children are well. And more than anything, are they safe? For Christ-centered families, that means that we want to see our children walking with the Lord. That’s EVERYTHING. Nothing else matters if our children’s souls reject the Holy Spirit. Their six-figure salary, global traveling, worldly success means nothing. What really matters is… do they know the Lord? Are their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? And, are they of use to Him and reflecting Him?
And in the process of raising our children in the light, we are preparing them for what He might have them do. Be in prayer about what He needs us to prep them for. Take note of their basic personality traits and gifts. What comes easy to them? What are they drawn towards? Sometimes I think you can see these things in their purest form when they are young, before they change due to social pressure… or our own (well-intentioned, mind you) influence.
And this is where comparison and questioning can be our enemy. It’s so easy to look around at other families and then wonder about your own… Shouldn’t my child know her times table by now?… Wow, their 14 year-old already has his own business… Their 10 year-old is playing four instruments and speaks Japanese… Why can’t my child even wear matching clothes for once?… Why is my child such a follower? (or) Why is my child such an antagonizer?… Why does my child want to question everything?…Why does my child despise math so much (when it’s so easy for me)?… When will my child pick up a book on his own?… Why can’t he/she be more brave about things?… Why is she always doodling and collecting sticks?…Will he/she ever stop talking?… Why is my child always the loudest one? (or) Why doesn’t my child talk to anyone else?
EEEEEEEEEEEEK! We could go on and on like this couldn’t we? And sometimes we do. But we shouldn’t! Use your observations in gathering wisdom for your OWN children. Then provide opportunities for them to develop and grow. Provide the basic building blocks… love, structure, non-criticism, encouragement, and being available in guiding them through all their ventures. Provide books, access to the outdoors, real-life situations, and the opportunity to let them discover answers in their own way. Teach them to teach themselves. Teach them to do hard work… to the finish. Teach them to take initiative, find answers, and be self-disciplined.
Don’t look around at others. Your child will read when she wants to read, learn how to lead/follow others wisely with your guidance, learn valuable social skills as you teach it, and excel academically/physically where they have a natural bent. Yes, you can put your own ideas on them and have them learn/do something they don’t seem to be pre-wired for, but God has purposefully planted their gifts in them… we are there to observe, cultivate, and strengthen them for Him. Be in prayer, ask for guidance, and then enjoy the journey with them.