Attempting to parent as a Christian is daunting. I don’t think this is a shocking revelation to anyone. You really don’t want to mess up a child in the first place, but you especially don’t want to mess up a child while trying to do it for God’s ultimate glory.
So it can be scary.
I don’t say this to make you more apprehensive; just to clear the air of any wrong ideas that say parenting is easier as a Christian. It isn’t. You are trying to do things God’s way. (Yes, He has a “way,” whether you like the idea or not.) You will mess it up because you are still a sinner. (So am I.) You want your kids to live for God and love Him like you do. It’s a lot of pressure.
Oftentimes, Christians add more pressure to this job by adding “extras” to the formula for parenting. So parents- especially moms I think- feel they must “do” these “Christiany” things because someone else said to. They may or may not have a verse to back up what they are saying. This verse may or may not be in context. We listen to it, read it in blogs like this one, and pin it to our walls on Pinterest. And we thus add to the pressure.
We do these other things with good intentions. And these other things are not necessarily wrong things. No, the wrong comes when we think that these “things” are a formula for perfect kids. It’s a lot of undue stress that we heap upon ourselves.
I want to eliminate this pressure in one small way for you today. It’s found in Deuteronomy 6, and it almost seems too easy.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 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.
Love the Lord. Passionately. Develop a hunger and thirst for Him. Read His Word as though you need it to survive. (Because you really do.) And even this you cannot do on your own. You need to ask God to give you this passion for Himself. The Holy Spirit has to do this work in your heart. Maybe He already has.
As you grow in this love for God, pass it on to your kids. It doesn’t have to be a formal thing. As you live your life, pass your love on to them. While reading your Bible. While teaching them after they disobey. While working. While playing. While talking. While just… living.
This teaching doesn’t have to be forced. The crazy thing is, the more you grow in your relationship with Christ, the less forced it will seem. God, His Word, the Gospel can just be a part of your normal conversation with your kids.
And it is awesome. There will be times and kids who will embrace this truth filled life and you will know it was God and not you who did it. I love those times.
And it is still scary. There will be times and kids who you think will never get it, who you think are not listening. They are. They may be fighting it, but they are listening. That’s when you pray fervently and wait for God to work.
This kind of instruction requires a commitment to Christ, but it doesn’t require perfection. Actually, it requires imperfection. Your kids not only need to learn about righteousness from you, but they also need to learn repentance and restoration from you as well. Be honest about your own walk with the Lord.
Let your children see you spending time in the Bible. Let them see you serving others. Let them see you praying in the middle of a storm in your life. Don’t be an exhibitionist, but don’t hide from your kids either.
Point out the beauty in creation. Point your kids to the Gospel when they are misbehaving. Point them to Christ when they aren’t sure what the right thing to do is.
Really, when you are doing Deuteronomy 6, the possibilities are endless. I can’t give you the conclusion to this teaching through living; I’m not at the end of my parenting journey yet. But I will say that it is working in our home, slowly and surely.