How’s parenting life going today?
Maybe it’s a great day. The kids are entertaining themselves and playing well together. They’ve been relatively obedient and no one’s crossing the boundaries you’ve set.
Or maybe your teenager has a bad attitude and doesn’t want to do anything with the family. Perhaps there’s been one argument after another with a child who wants to do the opposite of whatever you suggest.
We all have a mix of those types of days, though to be fair, it does seem like the difficult days outweigh the easier ones sometimes! And no matter the gender, age, or personality-type of child we have, we always need wisdom as we parent.
As I’ve mentioned here before, one of my favorite Bible passages is Proverbs 3:5-6. Today I wanted to take those verses and see how they might apply to our parenting.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
It didn’t take me long after becoming a mom to realize that trusting myself to parent well wasn’t going to go smoothly. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to do it in my own strength on many occasions!
If I’d only had one of my children, I’d have been patting myself on the back thinking what a great parent I was. She just has a milder temperament and is easy to get along with. She was one of those who, when she was young, could get teary-eyed if you just gave her a stern look.
But God also gave us a strong-willed child, perhaps to keep me humble. Parenting her has specifically shown me how much I need Him in order to parent well.
There are many ways we could talk about trusting God in parenting, but here are three.
- Trust Him with the past. We all know there’ve been times we blew it as parents. Ask God for forgiveness, apologize to your child, and move on. God’s grace is there for us and our children.
- Trust Him with the present. Ask for wisdom as we’re told to do in James 1:5. Every stage of life brings challenges, and what worked with your child before will likely change. Pray, get good counsel if needed, and then walk forward in your parenting having faith that God will guide you.
- Trust Him with the future. Parent a teenager and you will quickly realize that any control you thought you had was an illusion. You could pick up that screaming two-year-old and take him to his room. That doesn’t work so well when he’s twelve! But God is still able to work in his heart. Every situation our children will face in the coming years can be trusted to God’s care.
Don’t lean on your own understanding.
My “understanding” would include a variety of things. Like jumping to conclusions instead of waiting to hear the whole story. Thinking that my unruly three-year-old will never learn to obey. Worrying about a situation involving my child and giving in to fear about what will happen if I’m not around to step in.
Or it might be thinking that what I want for them (which would include a life of ease and no disappointments) will lead to them becoming the mature adult they should be. But we know our way – the easy way – isn’t really what’s best for them.
It’s probably natural to rely on our own experiences or even our particular desires for our children. But this passage tells us not to rest in how we perceive things. God alone sees the whole picture and knows how to work in the life of our child.
In all your ways acknowledge Him.
“God, I need your help.” That’s a daily prayer for us as we realize our inadequacies as parents. It seems like the longer I parent, the more I see those deficiencies!
Whatever decisions we need to make, regarding discipline or direction or just patience for daily parenting, let’s recognize God as our all-wise provider. We can set a wonderful example for our children as they see us putting Him first…even ahead of them. More than we want to make our children happy we should want to please our Lord.
He will direct your paths.
We’d all agree that we want God to lead us in our parenting journey! For us, one aspect of this has been the Holy Spirit revealing issues to us that need to be addressed in our children’s lives. Our discovering things “behind the scenes” have sometimes led our girls to believe that we find out everything. But it’s God’s grace that has allowed us to spot areas of weakness and then walk through them together.
I’ve found that He will also direct you in letting go. It’s a hard line to walk. At what age do we allow what freedoms? We’re dealing with this in a couple of areas now. I hope (!) I’m learning that as I trust Him fully and acknowledge His authority, He will lead and guide us.
I’m thankful that all of God’s Word is given to us to help us meet our daily challenges and to encourage us in every aspect of our lives!