Parenting - the Most Important First Step

be-strong-and-courageous-joshua-1-9-step-one-of-parenting-mrs-designs.png

Are you currently in the depths of parenthood? Have your children all grown up? Maybe you haven't embarked on the wonderful world of parenthood just yet. Once we're born into parenthood our lives will never be the same and we never stop being a parent. Parenting is a thing of many stages. Wherever it is you find yourself in the stages of parenthood, you can know one thing is for certain; our Heavenly Father is the perfect parent. I think the first step to good parenting is being able to admit that we aren't perfect and that we can't do it without Him.

Children are a gift from God; they are his reward. Psalm 127:3 (TLB)

children-are-a-gift-from-god-psalm-127-3-step-one-of-parenting-mrs-designs
children-are-a-gift-from-god-psalm-127-3-step-one-of-parenting-mrs-designs

Continuing with the Family Matters theme this week's sermon was about raising kids. Before I had children I had a hard time grasping God's love for me. Having children changed how I saw everything. Now moving to grand parenting I feel there was another level I'd been missing in my understanding of the depths of the love between God and His children.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

What lengths would you go to for your children?

To protect them? It's not something we sit around and think about ahead of time. We don't have a plan in mind for when the day comes that we'll want to protect them. It's not even something we think about it's just automatic. It's second nature to throw our arm in front of them when we have to chalk up the brakes. It's also natural for them to learn by watching us. Growing up with us. What comes natural in your home?

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (ESV)

teach-them-to-your-children-deuteronomy-6_6-9-step-one-of-parenting-mrs-designs
teach-them-to-your-children-deuteronomy-6_6-9-step-one-of-parenting-mrs-designs

I saw the movie Miracles from Heaven over the weekend. Great movie, by the way. In fact, I cried practically from beginning to end. How far will you go for your children? What lengths would you go to in order to protect them? What if your child was suffering from an illness where there's no hope? In fact, it would take a miracle for your child to go on living. Would your faith waiver? Would you cling to the Father?

In the movie we're presented with a family that serves Christ. A family that looks like your everyday, run-of-the-mill Christian family. It seems to come out of nowhere, but this family is hit by an illness. The characters take on a bit of a different persona when they are face to face with unwanted circumstances. What comes out when the waters become rough? What's inside our hearts that overflows when we're vulnerable? We watched as the mother in this story began to show her fierce side. Something was wrong with her daughter. Something that no one wanted to take serious. She became a fierce warrior right before our eyes.

As the story unfolded and the battle raged this momma became battle weary. Almost to the point of giving up. Her faith didn't seem to be able to hold her up. To carry her through to the end (whatever that might look like). Her fierceness is a good thing if channeled the right way. How are you channeling your fierceness?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:1-2

If you've not seen the movie I don't want to give it away. But I will say there's a point where we're faced with a choice to go on fighting for our children with our own strength or we choose to give them back to God. In fact, that was step one as I have written in my sermon notes from Sunday.

Give your children back to God.

Which is directly related to what I said in the beginning. (I think the first step to good parenting is being able to admit that we aren't perfect and that we can't do it without Him.) When we are at a place where we can give our children back to God that goes hand in hand with the admission that our imperfect selves can not do it without Him.I remember very clearly the first time I did this. I find that I need to practice it everyday.

step-one-of-parenting-without-it-you-will-fail-mrs-designs
step-one-of-parenting-without-it-you-will-fail-mrs-designs

Parents, whatever you're facing, please know that God cares. He sees. He knows. They belong to Him.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11