WHEN FAITH AND PARENTING COLLIDE:

grayscale photography of baby holding finger
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This week is pretty special to our family. We celebrate our second son’s first birthday and I’m absolutely grateful for each day.
As I look back at his first year, I feel joyful, grateful and graced. As I reflect on the year that was, I can’t help but think of what I’m learning through my children and what God is teaching me in this area of my life. I’d love to share those lessons in this post.
  • Providence:
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)
My children hardly ever have to ask me to buy them clothes or food; I just do it because I know what they need. In the same breath, God my Father, gives me what I need and ask for as long as it is in His will for me. He is my Father, Jehovah Jireh, Supplier of my needs.
  • Child-like faith:
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 18:3)
Children instinctively trust their caregivers. I see this in my children daily; especially my toddler who gets off the bed so dangerously, trusting that mum or dad will catch his fall. Children, in their innocence, know that their needs will be supplied, that they will be taken care of as needed. How do we regain this and trust God fully?
  • On precious thoughts:

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalms 139:17-18)

I love my children and have their best interests at heart. I want them to know God. I want them to move, live and have their being in Christ. I have so many good things lined up for them. Stuff that will grow them, challenge and bring them into a deeper knowledge of God. How much more precious are God’s thoughts towards me? I can’t fathom them. They are too high for me. A perfect, powerful, unchanging and unstoppable God holds precious thoughts towards me. How awesome is that?

  • Security:
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Prov 18:10)
Our children look up to us for security, trusting that we will defend them if needed and defend we will, as a mother bear fiercely protects her young. What sense of security should we have in God? He who stands with us even when our own parents forsake us, (Psalms 27:10) He who is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. (Psalms 68:5)
  • Discipline:
“Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (Proverbs 23:13)
Some parents fear offending their children or ‘losing’ their friendship so they choose to take a laissez-faire approach in matters discipline. We prefer to take a proactive but gentle approach to discipline where we use the rod. There are varied opinions on this but we choose to go with what’s in scripture…….. In the same way, our Father disciplines us out of love because He knows what sin can do to us.
  • Gratitude:
Be thankful in everything, in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 
Parenting comes with its highs and lows and every stage presents its own challenges. I’m learning to be grateful in each day, regardless of what it brings. I daily ask God to teach me how to be grateful, to always find a reason to be grateful even in the midst of chaos and overwhelm.
  • Humility:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
I can hardly put into words the feeling I had when I held my newborn son in my arms for the first time. Amidst the admiration, I knew this one reality, that he was utterly helpless and would need all round care for a long time God has entrusted me with another life. I’m yet to think of anything more humbling than that. I would have to put aside my plans for a while and focus on this new little person in our care. As he grows, I will have to get down to his level, change gazillion diapers, play with him on the floor, kick ball, clean up twenty times a day, wipe boogers and all that other good stuff. Then I’d have to teach him ABC’s and how to pray and life’s truths in a language he can understand all the while being kind and tender.
  • Stewardship:
The earth and everything in it, thworld and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord. (Psalm 24:1)
God, in His infinite wisdom chose me to bring my children up. I call them mine but they actually belong to the Lord. One day I will stand before Him and account for them. He has given me a free will to choose how I will raise my children. I choose His will; teaching them His ways and His word. I pray that I may humbly depend on Him in this role.
  • Interruptions:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I’m task-oriented and thrive when I’m working within my routine. I feel lost without my faithful lists to remind me what I need to do during the day, what I need to do when I find time, what I need to be doing yearly, monthly, weekly and daily. I even have a ‘simplify my life list’. I love it when things go my way, I mean who doesn’t? Life as a parent has shown me different. I would feel miserable after a sleepless night or when baby was fussy because of one reason or another; forgetting that the only way he can communicate at this stage is through crying. After self-examination I realised that my first reaction when things don’t go as planned is shock and utter frustration. Through prayer, I’ve been able to channel my energy towards gratitude and worship. I acknowledge the situation and take in the reality of things not going my way then I shift my focus to searching for the positives, being grateful and talking it out with God.
  • Wisdom:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5) 

I‘ve learnt not to stress so much about decisions, both little and big ones, but to just seek wisdom from God about them. The best thing I can do for myself is to seek God’s partnership in ALL that I do. I pray that my common sense may be drenched in God’s wisdom and that when I struggle with certain decisions I cast my cares unto the Lord.

  • Grace:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)
This is a huge one. I know how good God has been to us as a family, how far he has brought us. In our daily lives, in the mundane tasks and in the huge ones…I see His faithfulness and presence shining through. When I think of the parents around me, my relatives, friends and even strangers, I can’t help but think of how God graces us. The mother on the bus, who knows what she is going through? The couple with their special needs child, the single dad taking care of is children, the expectant wife grieving her husband’s death wondering how she will make it……where would we be without His grace?

Parenting is deeply impactful and is a high calling. It’s a life of sacrifice and learning. It’s hard, tiring but beautiful all the same.  Our humanness breaks through. Some people say that you should never let your children see you broken or crying because they’ll despair. Others say that you should keep it real and let them see your weaknesses. I don’t know which is correct because there are varied opinions when it comes to parenting. Parenting is very personal. My husband and I are independent-minded but over and above that, we depend on God in everything we do as parents. We have a higher standard than what our culture, society, environment or peers may dictate. Our parenting standard is beautifully driven by something that doesn’t waiver and won’t pass away and that is God’s word. When we’re discouraged we can sit at God’s feet and seek His comfort. When we don’t know what to do about a certain situation again we can cry out to Him. He is ever present and has poured out His grace for us.
Be encouraged as you nurture those hearts!