1 Samuel 1:27-28 “‘I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.’ And he worshiped the LORD there.”
As my children grew into young adults, it became increasingly clear that I was only part of the equation when it came to whether or not they would grow to love God. During their younger years, I had placed the weight of “how they turned out” on my shoulders. I often battled fear that, if something went wrong in their lives, or if they made a bad choice, I would be the one to blame. God graciously began to lighten this heavy burden as He opened my eyes to the fact that it was not all up to me.
I was not capable of raising godly children, and I was never called to raise godly children.
As parents, we do not have the power to convert, save, sanctify, or make our children disciples of Jesus. If we are not careful, we can fall into the false belief that our children’s futures as wise, godly adults rest solely on our shoulders. Sadly, this mindset only sets us up for failure: if our children “turn out well“, we become prideful, take the credit, and think we are the ones responsible for their success (and we look down on parents whose children are struggling). If our children stumble or do not follow God, we carry the burden of guilt on our shoulders, thinking it is entirely our fault.
God has given us certain responsibilities, and it is incredibly freeing to find out exactly what those responsibilities are.
We have to learn our part in the equation, pursue our calling, and pray for God’s grace to enable us to be faithful.
- Teach your children about God. Ask God to help you see the teachable moments throughout the day. (Proverbs 22:6, Deut. 6:7-9)
- Be an example to your children by loving and respecting your husband, living in wisdom and purity, and making the care of your home a priority. (Titus 2:4-5 )
- Discipline and instruct your children. (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 23:13-14,)
- Discipline and love your children. Both discipline and love should be present so that you do not discourage or provoke them. (Prov. 22:15 Ephesians 6:4, Col. 3: 21)
- Do not forsake fellowship with other believers. Living life with other believers is important. We need to learn how to function as the body of Christ. We need each other. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Work hard, teaching them the importance of diligence. (Genesis 2:15)
- Teach and show your children that Christianity is more than a list of rules, and that joy comes from walking with and obeying God. (1 Timothy 4:1 )
- Pray with and for your children. (Colossians 4:2)
- Live and share the gospel with your children. (John 3:3)
No parenting program can guarantee our children’s godliness. Our children’s greatest need is to hear and receive the gospel, and nothing we “do” can make them God-followers. But as we faithfully obey the Lord’s calling, He will use us in the lives of our children. We will honor Him, guide our children to the one true God, and ultimately create a place where they can grow in their relationship with Him. You can be faithful to point them in the right direction and be a living example of God’s grace!
We are in this together. Please join me in my journey toward an increasing fixation on God and His glory, so that our children might see Him in our lives and actions, and so that He might use us as He draws them to Himself.
This article originally appeared on GinalSmith.com. Used with permission.
Gina Smith is the author of Grace Gifts: Celebrating Your Children Every Day, and writes at her personal blog GinalSmith.com She has also been featured on HSLDA'S Homeschool Heartbeat Radio. She has been married to her husband Brian for 29 years and they have 2 adult children. You can follow her on Instagramand Facebook.
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Kikovic
Publication date: May 4, 2017