May 14, 2012

Christian Parenting is Hard Work

In The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a childless couple writes the attributes of their dream child on paper. They want a boy who never gives up and is honest to a fault. In the same spot where the papers are buried, an unusual child named Timothy springs up out of the ground as the parents' reward. In real life, it takes more work to raise up a child. Even with lots of parental dedication, the child may not exhibit all the talents and character traits the parents want to see. Parents, including moms in ministry, need to constantly rely on the grace of God to give them strength for this momentous task.

     Start early. Some parents fail to give children a faith foundation when they are young. Later in life, these moms and dads puzzle over their child's selfishness, unruly behavior or disinterest in church. Although some children can be more difficult at certain ages through no fault of the parents, there are cases where the problem started quite early in life and was overlooked for reasons like: "They are too young to be disciplined."
     Value what God does. What traits does God want moms to foster in their children? Circumstances change and children get older, but because God's Word is unchangeable, kids will never outgrow their need for God and obedience to Him. Search the Scriptures. Believing in the one true God, trusting Christ for salvation, wise Christian living and loving others are some examples of what God desires.
     Be consistent. Children can wear moms down physically and emotionally. In addition, they have an uncanny ability (from an early age) to sense weak spots. It is harder for mom to waffle if she knows that God's will is more important that the ideas of a three-year-old. God's directions are clear. From a practical standpoint, everyone is happier and children feel more secure when expectations are understood and consistently enforced.
     Pray without ceasing. Christian moms are not called to mold their children into merely good, moral people. And, moms are not asked to use their own strength to raise their children in the fear of the Lord. Call on God for guidance and help in obeying Him. This includes praying with and for the child. Moms can ask God to do a saving work in their children. 
     What God says is the highest goal. God's parenting model is flawless. The standard for an overseer is to be one who keeps his children submissive (I Timothy. 3:4), but this and Ephesians 6:4 are worthy goals for all Christian parents. Sometimes, people in the pew express unusually high personal expectations for the kids of those in ministry. ("Mother Guilt" may encourage you.) Moms in ministry should weigh those opinions against what the Bible requires and aim for God's goals with a clear conscience. 
     
Parenting children in the way of the Lord is more work than simply wishing for a dream child, but the mom who follows Him is pleasing in His sight. This is a great reward. 











4 comments:

  1. Very good advice. Especially the part about not called to mold our children into just good moral people. By God's grace we must direct them to fear God and want to serve Him and glorify Him with their lives And it does take much grace.

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  2. Pray, pray, pray. I sometimes pray over each of my children while folding their laundry. The tiny shirts and shorts are a reminder of the unique little people who wear them and their need to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ!

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  3. Megan, I like your idea of praying for them while folding their laundry..and the reminder that it is, that they need to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ! Excellent! Not only will it benefit them because they're being prayed for, it will benefit my attitude towards that household chore!

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  4. This is very helpful. I like that you didn't mention one trait as being the most important to focus on. I think with each child on any given day there will be a trait more necessary to focus on than before. This will keep me on my toes and in the word! I think that marriage shows me my sin more than singleness did, and then parenthood turned up the heat even more as those little precious ones have found my weak spots! I try to remember that as I parent them I can show them Christ in a way that no other person can, and when I get overwhelmed with that responsibility, it reminds me to throw myself on His mercies.
    Thanks for this post! (I finally got to catch up a little bit on y'all's wonderful blog!)

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