Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Parenting: Bring Them Up in the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord

Being in a child development class this summer has me focused on my own children and how they are growing and changing. Each of them are doing a great job and I want to make sure I continue to support them, encourage them, and be consistent in my parenting. (I personally categorize myself as an “authoritative” parent.) Further, with our upcoming move, I want to make sure it is as smooth as possible for our younger ones (the older ones have each established their own households) when it comes to transitioning into a new church, school, and with new peers. Most of the children with whom they have grown up have already moved to other states or areas but there are a few still in this area they will hate to leave.

I have to be honest, I am fearful of failing my children…each of them. What if my parenting style is not best for them? What if one (or more) is unable to transition from adolescence to adulthood? What if temptation becomes too great and one (or more) gives in to an unhealthy lifestyle and “death”? All of this worrying is enough to stress me out! But God’s Word promises
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6. ESV.)
And God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Further, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

I feel I worked especially hard when our older children were growing up. I held to God’s guarantees. I fought to “start them off on the way they should go” and to “not provoke [them] to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) according to scripture. I battled sin with the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:13). I was HATED (and treated accordingly) by a handful of individuals who asked, “Why is your way the best?” To which I responded, “It is not my way! It is God’s way.” It was horrible! But God does not say being a follower of Christ will be easy…quite the opposite, actually.
Being entirely at the mercy of such doubtful and vacillating friends, I, though perplexed, felt it best to obey. I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush. The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but of yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus. Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship. If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then? (John G. Patton: Missionary to the New Hebredies, An Autobiography Edited by His Brother [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965, orig. 1889, 1891], p. 200)

John Piper states
Then the second thing that Jesus is doing in [Luke 9:56-62] is to test you, to see if this is enough, to see if he is really your treasure, your joy, your security, your hope, your friend in times of loneliness, your home, your father and mother, your power to look straight ahead – to test you in all these ways, he tells you what it will cost. By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-radical-cost-of-following-jesus

I love that my children are so far apart in age (there is a ten year difference between the older ones and the younger). It allows me to see what the various seeds planted look like when they are grown (Galatians 6:7). Our one kiddo, in late adolescence, was baptized Mormon (at age 18) and our young adult is a self-proclaimed Atheist. So, it appears to me that either, 1) I failed and did something wrong in raising them or 2) I do not understand where God is going with this. Given God ALWAYS keeps His promises, my hope is in #2.

God REALLY is my treasure, joy, security, hope, friend, home, parent, spouse, and power! When it looks as though He has removed everything I feel I require, He shows me He alone is all that I truly need! The rest, the love of others and my support system, is a precious blessing…a desire. I am called to have faith and God takes care of ALL the rest! And, I do. I truly believe God loves these little lambs He has entrusted to me more than I do. And, He will keep His word, the names of my children are written in His book, and we will share eternity together! My prayer to Him is always, “Lord, please place your hedge of protection around my children and please do not allow seeds of sin to take root in their heart.”

31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33. NIV.)

(Photo Information: Bing Public Domain.)
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