I love the Biblical accounts of Mary as she was being filled with the Lord...her journey...her obedience...Joseph’s obedience! What an awesome testimony and heritage she left for the world...being found righteous in the sight of the God Almighty. God’s plan for Mary and Joseph was big! I’m sure neither of them dreamed they would hold the Son of God in their hands as he entered the Earth. How awe inspiring to think of the two young people being entrusted tom raise the Son of God, Jesus. God didn't entrust me with Jesus, but he did give into my care my children. His plan for me is the same as for Mary…raise children who love and Trust the Lord. To raise my children in the admonishment of the Lord and equip them to live a life of devotion to the Father.
God has a plan in mind for each of our children and He is placing them into our hands to train in Love towards Him, that one day they, too, will chase after His will and calling on their lives.
“For I have no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth” 3 John 1:4
"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
As parents, we have a choice. We can answer the call to follow Him...to show His Love and Grace to those around us...to teach our Children about His great Love and Sacrifice...to be Obedient in walking after His ways, with His character and His heart of compassion…or we can struggle in our self to raise upright children in today’s culture. When we choose obedience & humility, we are not only allowing God to work out His perfect plan, we are teaching by example. We are the Hands and Feet of God to our children. We are their first encounter with Love, Discipleship, & Caring. When we Love our children well; when we gently lead them into righteousness…we are showing them the face of God.
I know that may seem a bit over the top, but it is TRUTH. We, as parents, have a big responsibility. But we are not alone. The God of the Universe has not created everything and then abandoned us to our own devises to struggle. He has given us an example. He has given us His Word. He leads us by His Spirit. Scripture says
"Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." "Take my yoke upon you for my burden is easy and my yoke is light." "Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it." Matthew 11:28, 30 & Proverbs 22:6
You see, as children of the Most High God, we can learn from His ways. We can call Him for advice. We can read His letters to us and be encouraged. We take joy in the task at hand, because with Him ALL things are possible.
The awesome path of parenting is simple, but takes a dedicated heart and intentional living. We will mess up. We will ask for forgiveness (from God AND our children- a practice in humility). We will have victories and Joy. As I have walked this path, I find 3 simple guidelines make all the difference in parenting my children. Again, simple…but it’s a journey of intention.
- Pursue YOUR relationship with Christ. Drink deeply from His goodness everyday so He can fill you with Joy & Peace, speak to your heart about your children, love on you through the hard times, and guide you as you encounter new curves in the road.
- Love your spouse well. When children see their parents in a Godly, loving relationship, it brings security to them. Loving your spouse isn’t about being perfect, or waiting hand and foot on the other, or lavishing them with gifts. NO! It is about dying to our selfishness and putting them before us. It’s about dancing in the kitchen when you REALLY don’t want to. It’s about laughing at their corny jokes or making a cup of coffee…just because. It’s about taking Joy in them and it is a reflection of God’s great love for His bride. Remember…He laid down His life for His bride.
- Teach your children how to love the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind. Remember, our children learn more by watching what we do, how we react to situations. They learn from our words and attitudes in everyday life. Are we exhibiting Grace, Mercy, Trust? When a need arises, to they see panic in us or a trust in God that brings peace that passes all understanding? We teach our children every moment of every day. It’s not about the right family devotion or the right calendar that will help you schedule obedience. No, it is about having a LOVE relationship with our children. It’s about holding their hearts, buffeting their fleshly desires and showing them Truth in action.
I am not always obedient, not even in the little things sometimes. But, I know that God is merciful and full of Grace. As I seek Him, He will mold this heart of mine, and the hearts of our family, into willing and obedient hearts that He may find pleasure in our actions, just as He found in Mary and Joseph.
I thank Him today for the privilege of Motherhood. I thank Him for the 'hope and future' that He has orchestrated for me, and YOU, through the birth of a Saviour. I thank Him for the humility and obedience of Mary & Joseph. I pray that I will be used of God to impact the next generation living under my roof...that they, too, will impact those around them for Christ.
Take time to thank the Lord for being Jesus (Saviour), Emmanuel (God With Us), today. Praise Him for the privilege to be involved in His plan. Thank Him that even when parenting is difficult and we think we have messed up beyond redemption, He IS with us. It's WHO and WHY He IS.
May your Christmas Season be filled with Jesus, Family & Friends ...and Intention.