From the moment we hear the words, “I’m pregnant,” our lives are never the same. Our futures will consist of many sleep-deprived nights. We will spend much more money on toys and sports equipment than we ever expected. We may need to buy bigger cars and bigger homes. We will spend hours standing in the cold and rain to watch them play sports. Our hearts will swell with pride as we sit through their various performances. And all the while, we will document their lives by taking hundreds of photos of them at every stage.
And then the teenage years arrive. Hormones surge. Bodies grow stronger and minds grow sharper. The teen years are a difficult time for some parents because it calls for them to make a transition from being in control of their kids’ activities to giving their teen counsel to help them make healthy decisions through those tumultuous years. (Easier said than done). Finally, our children leave home to go to college, or to start a job, or to begin their own family.
The Bible says, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” Therefore, the most important thing is to give them a spiritual foundation that will help them walk with the Lord throughout their lives. I don’t mean to be critical, but sometimes it seems that parents allow church to take a backseat during their child’s formative years. It’s not wrong for them to participate in sports or extracurricular activities, but we must also show them that Christ and His church are priorities. God has given us the responsibility to train our children to love Him.
Before I go on, I want to address those of you for whom parenting has been a grief. You had such high hopes when your child was small, but as they grew, you endured the pain of watching them make one bad choice after another. It pains you even now that they don’t seem to be walking with the Lord.
For some of you, the years of raising kids is past and you are now enjoying grandparenting. For others, you are in the thick of parenting right now. For yet others, you are still hoping to have kids in the future. Whatever stage you are at, parenting teaches us three things.
- Parenting reminds us that God has a purpose and plan for each of our children. Their personalities and abilities are unique. He has placed these abilities and interests in them, and it is our duty to help them realize how special each of them is to God.
- Parenting magnifies our need for God’s help, forgiveness, and wisdom. I don’t know any parents who feel they have done everything right. We are dependent on God to use what we do well, and to make up for our mistakes. Even after our kids leave home, we never stop being concerned about them. We daily ask God to fulfill His good plans in and through them.
- Parenting pictures the Gospel. Those who say, “There’s no such thing as a FREE lunch” have never been parents. For years parents’ love provides meals, clothing, education and shelter without ever asking a penny from their kids. In a similar way, God has paid all the costs through Christ to provide salvation as a FREE gift, available to any who would receive Him.
Wherever you are on the parenting timeline, God wants to walk with you and guide you through life. If you have not yet received Christ into your life, I encourage you to do so. Also, the Bible is a wonderful textbook about raising children. You will find time-honored wisdom within its pages.