What’s your favorite thing to worry about?
Don’t worry (pun intended), this isn’t going to be another lengthy article about the problems of worry, stress and anxiety. No, I simply ask because I’ve discovered that (for today) my pet worry is parenting. And I simply hope I’m not alone.
I knelt fretfully before Father’s throne this morning. Our daughter, Eve, is entering an age when specific discipline to correct specific behaviors becomes necessary. Suddenly, my perfect little ray of sunshine is daring me with shiny brown eyes and placing a tiny foot squarely on top of her library book—one more time.
What on earth do I do? Is she old enough to spank? And while I believe in spanking, so many of my Christian peers seem to prefer all manner of other methods and I’m not above doubting myself.
We all know, though we do it anyway, that talking sense into a one year old is impossible. I cannot simply explain to her why she’s not allowed to stand on her books. I don’t want to just take them away—what is learned in that?
And so, I asked the only perfect Father, “What on earth do I do? There will be thousands of even more significant scenarios when I’ll need to discipline and train our daughter. I desperately want her to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t expect perfection (neither do I want to portray that expectation); I want to manage a home filled with and fueled by lavish grace.
I finally quit asking God questions and waited for him to speak. That’s a step in prayer I often forget and then wonder why I don’t receive clear answers. This morning, Father’s words came through loud and clear and from all over the canon of Scripture. He said:
- First my dear one, before you parent or do anything else, remember the summation of all I’ve called you to do. When you, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself,” you will fulfill all the law. If you fail to do everything else, but these two commandments, you will bring me honor.
- Next, pray this: “Lord, today begin to exalt your servants, my husband and me, in the eyes of our children so that they will know you are with us and among them.” (based on Joshua 3:7-9)
- Encourage, comfort and urge your children to live lives worthy of the God who calls them into his kingdom and glory. And pray that they will receive My word and accept it as the working, supernatural word of God. (based on 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13)
Finally, as for practical steps:
- Be someone your daughter can emulate. Practice what you preach.
- Do not burden her with laws that you yourself cannot bear.
- Remember, I am her true Father, true parent,—not you.
- And beloved, be humble. (based on Matthew 23:1-12)
If I had asked God for a basic primer on parenting, I could not have expected more. His wisdom is unsearchable and His ways unfathomable.
Oh Lord, let me grow up to look just like my Daddy.
What specific tools do you find most useful in Christian parenting?