Are You Parenting with Faith?
- 2009 3 Nov
It was a typical October morning. My two girls stretched their arms and legs reluctantly. Neither was interested in getting up and beginning the school day. My sixteen year old pulled the covers over her head and became unresponsive to my urgings to ‘rise and shine'. My youngest just lay quietly snoring no matter how many times I called her name.
I smiled. It was just one of those days. Homeschooling although filled with benefits always has that pull to have a slow start especially if the day is cold as this one was. But I am still a teacher at heart. After twenty some years teaching public school I usually start the day with a bang and a ‘get up and go spirit' no matter what.
But this day was different. It wasn't just the coldness of the house and the shivers running through my body. No, it was the drag of problems to be solved, bills to be paid and pressing things needing to be done which caused me too to slump into the cozy reading chair in the living room longing to not be disturbed. At least for a few minutes.
Opening my Bible I was drawn again to the passage in Matthew 2:13-14 where Joseph experienced a dream and heard the Angel of the Lord tell him clearly to take the Child and Mary and flee to Egypt. Joseph has captured my attention frequently being the chosen earthly father for His Son. His faithfulness to do all that God told him to do encourages but also challenges me.
It did this cold October morning. I too sensed God's call to adopt my two daughters. I too have experienced the challenges of parenting them and facing decisions in which I just did not know what to do. But until now God has always faithfully guided me. Yes, just like with Joseph, God has enabled me, a very simple, single woman, to parent with faith. Although many times I am not able to buy many of the things that some other parents can afford, we are happy and there is usually a spirit of peace in our home.
Whenever I look ahead though I tend to get fearful. Doubts arise and questions pepper my thoughts. How will I ever afford college? How will I be able to weather by myself those teenage struggles? How? Why? When?
But stop. I must continue to learn from Joseph. Somehow whether by a dream or a book or another person, God will reveal to me what to do. And when He does I must do as Joseph did. I must get up and get going. Immediately.
Yes, Joseph, didn't wait until morning. He didn't call and check with his friends. He didn't question if he really heard it right. He knew what God had said and he put faith to action. He got up and got going.
What a difference it makes in my life to remember what I must do. Instead of pulling the covers of daily distractions over my head, I must take action and step out in faith. Only then will God reveal the next step.
There are three steps of action which will always lead to peace and stability no matter what you are facing. These are worded to focus on adoptive parents but can apply to other situations as well:
1. Focus on God
He gave you this child. Remember the many ways He showed Himself faithful during the adoption process. Write them down. Ponder them. This same God will also give you the wisdom to parent one day at a time.
2. Get Help
When you reach a place where you don't know what to do instead of doing nothing reach out to a doctor, a coach, counselor or pastor. It is better to consult with someone who is familiar with the needs of adopted children and the challenges of parenting. Do seek help rather than remaining in isolation.
3. Do it.
As you focus on God and what is going well today, as you pray and reach out for help and consider some suggestions, you might feel a nudging to try something different. It might be the smallest change. But the pull you feel is to keep doing the same that you have been doing. Resist this urge and just do it. Move out of your passivity into action. Walk by faith instead of fear.
Life continues to have those days when we want to pull the covers over our heads and sleep on. But all too often doing nothing is doing something. Missing out on God's path of healing and hope. Dare to get up and get going today. Whatever you have been putting off, just do it.
You'll be glad you did.
November 4, 2009
Sharon Beth Brani lives in Culpeper, VA..Her greatest treasures are her Lord and her two adopted daughters. She is a licensed professional counselor and a specialized adoption coach working with adoptive families. She helps the adoptive parent and their children to maximize the adoption process and to enjoy a lifetime of committed love and growth in a healthful family situation. Her website is www.heartprintsadoption.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org