Monday, September 20, 2010

BE-ing the Parent

Christians are usually very familiar with the word “obedience”. Upon accepting Christ as our Savior, we desire to be obedient about the things that God views as right and wrong, and how He calls us to live our every day lives. Sometimes obedience is easy, but sometimes it is not.

About ten years ago, I felt God calling me to leave my executive position in the corporate world, to be a Christian speaker and writer. Although it was difficult to make that change, and there were a lot of personal sacrifices that had to be made in order to make that happen, I finally heeded God’s call- emphasis on finally (a mere five years later - grace, grace, grace).

But in 2005, God had made His call on my life crystal clear, and I resigned from my job, leaving behind the career-focused lifestyle that I had always known. Although I harbored a bit of apprehension about my new life as I tried to embrace my newfound freedom, I enthusiastically took a leap of faith into the ministry God had prepared for me, in speaking, but also in parenting.

Being a parent is much like that type of leap of faith. We feel apprehensive about parenthood, but we know in our hearts that we want to experience that blessing.

So we enthusiastically leap into parenthood as we hold our tiny infant baby in our arms, but then go home from the hospital with a bit of apprehension about the responsibility that we now feel for this new little person. Those similar feelings of apprehension, fear and unworthiness, stay with us through the years of parenting toddlers, teens, and even young adults.

Parenting is a lifetime commitment, which requires extreme devotion to obedience. Not just obedience to God, but obedience to Gods call to BE parents. Anyone can become a parent if they have a baby or adopt a baby, but it takes a commitment to God, and to our children, to BE a parent.

In the matter of parenting, obedience is really a two-fold commitment.

The first commitment step in being a Godly parent, is to obey Gods commands about the art of parenting. Let’s take a moment to remember a few verses that God shares about the responsibilities of parenting:

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.

Hmmmmmm, as I ponder over these verses, it appears there is a central theme that runs through them - BE the parent!

Gods command to parents, is simply to BE the parent. To fight the good fight of faith on behalf of our children, and for our childrne, because He called us to the task.

Even when the kids are stepping on the last nerve we have left, pushing our patience at every turn, doing things to disappoint us, or living completely defiantly - we are still called to BE the parent.

God made it clear that parents are to “obey” the calling of being the parent, and our reward for that obedience, is seeing our children grow into respectful, loving individuals, who will one day love and obey the Lord in their own lives.

As I said last week, and as every parent knows, parenting is hard work, and any type of hard work, requires commitment, and an undying devotion to follow that work through to the end. So the first step in parenting, is to obey Gods commands in our own lives, and in our roles as parents.

The second important step about obedience, is to expect obedience from our children, by using discipline and expectations in ways that can be backed by Gods Word.

Obedience and respect for one’s parents is a holy command for children. In fact, it is the only one of the ten commandments that is directed at children. All of the commandments are meant for everyone, however, one commandment is meant strictly for children, and other verses support this as well.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

So if you are raising toddlers, tweens, or teens, or even twenties, and you are at the end of your rope with attitudes, eye rolling, arguments, debates, incessant explanations, misbehavior, wrong choices, and so on - breathe in a sigh of relief friend, and say to yourself “it’s okay to BE the parent!”

We are commanded to be the parent through the direct Word of God!

I have to admit, there are times when I feel guilty for being the parent. So much so, that my husband has even called me 'wimpy mom' before - because I feel bad for saying no, and then my compassion overrides my thoughts, and I try to compromise! Or, I get angry with them for misbehaving or not listenting in some way, and punish them or scold them, then feel bad about it, and want to make up!

I would venture to say that all parents do that from time to time, because our love for our children far exceeds any other emotion.... and that can make being obedient, and expecting obedience, a daunting task.

Obedience can be hard, not only as we try to obey God, but also as we try to raise our kids to obey us, but in both cases, obedience is a holy command.... and the Holy One always knows best. Maybe that is why the word BE is smack in the middle of oBEdience. Just a thought. :)

Dear Lord, will you give us the strength and courage to be able to fulfill this monumental task of raising our children into magnificent God-fearing adolescents and adults, who will honor their Lord, and love their families? We need your wisdom to make good decisions, and your discernment about how about how to be a Godly parent.

We desperately need extra doses of patience, compassion, tolerance, and an abundance of love, to carry out this responsibility, and we know those things are only available from you. We cannot do this on our own.

Lord, you know the burdens of each mommas heart who is reading this, and how tired they may be of trying to be the parent. Will you fill them, and me, with a strength that we cannot muster up on our own? Will you show us glimpses of how our obedience is making a difference in their lives?

We ask for your intervention in every aspect of our lives, and not only for perseverance to keep going when the going gets tough, but for grace to refuel us when we feel discouraged or overwhelmed. Help us to not only be obedient to You, but to hold our children accountable to follow your commands in their own lives. We love you Lord. Thank you so much for the blessing of being a parent.

BE-ing the ParentSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

Great post! Parenting is definitely not for whimps! ; )


Anonymous said...

I sure needed to hear this today. Thank you for the encouragement from a mom of a teenager.