I used to think I knew a lot about being a mom. When our daughters were young, most decisions were clear-cut. It’s fairly straightforward to discipline my child when she’s directly disobeying me, lying, or being mean to her sister.
Yet the older they got, the more that changed. I saw parenting as less and less formulaic. Our approach depended more on the personality of the child, as well as their maturity level, and their history of making (or not making) wise decisions.
It became less and less about parenting through authority, and a lot more about exercising influence. Each year that passed had us releasing a little more control to them to make their own decisions.
More than ever, I realized how much I needed guidance from God’s Word. The five Bible verses below are a foundation we can return to again and again when we’re unsure of what to do. They apply no matter what stage of parenting we’re in. However, they certainly became even more treasured as our girls have gotten older.
1. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. ~James 1:5
I need this verse every. single. day. Knowing that God’s wisdom is available can give us so much hope as we parent our children.
This verse is a promise. I simply have to recognize that I lack wisdom (not a problem!) Then I ask in faith, believing that God will give me wisdom, and He will. My husband and I both experienced times when we were dealing with one of our daughters, and God gave us insight in that moment that we hadn’t had before!
2. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~Hebrews 4:16
When it comes to parenting situations, I don’t always feel like I’m coming boldly…it’s more like crawling up to God’s throne begging for help! But that’s the place we need to be if we want to find the grace we need to get us through the hard days.
This also reminds me of the daily grace God provides to us, even when we sin yet again. In that same way, I’ve needed to extend grace to my daughters when they messed up. I don’t live perfectly, so why would I expect them to do so?
While our children’s actions will produce consequences, it’s not wise to hold those over their heads or continually bring them up. We deal with it and we move on.
3. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39
Paul was persuaded that nothing could separate him from God’s love. The same is true of us and our children. No matter how they act on a particular day (that’s driving us crazy!) or the poor decision they made that we’re having to deal with, God still loves them.
And when, as parents, we lose our temper or miss an opportunity to invest in our children, God’s love for us is still there. It’s constant and comforting.
4. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
There may be a day when we experience disappointed hopes and dreams. Our children’s lives may not be playing out in the way we’d hoped. Our relationship with them may look different from what we’d mapped out in our minds when our children were little.
But God thinks about our children. He has thoughts about them and plans for their future. Each part of their story can be used for His glory…as can ours.
5. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
I think you may sense a theme here! We started with prayer and we’re ending with prayer.
We’ve never truly been in control of our children’s lives, but the older they get, the more we feel that lack of control. They make decisions and live with the consequences.
If I try to manage every detail of my child’s future, I’ll be more of a mess than I already am! So what’s the solution to that worry about what I can’t control?
Take it to God in prayer. As we release our children, their present and their future, into God’s hands, He will give us peace.
How thankful I am for God’s Word that gives us hope and comfort for every parenting situation we face!