As a parent with two young children in their formative years, I have recently felt the great, at times seemingly overwhelming, responsibility that I have in raising them. I have so many dreams and desires for them, but at the same time, I know that my job is to guide and not create their life path for them. This can be reassuring but also somewhat scary!
My recent prayer time has highlighted a simple yet important truth for me to hold onto this year – it all starts with my relationship with God.
It goes without saying that I want my children to be firm followers of Christ, but, obvious as it may seem, I need to first and foremost be one myself.
If I want my children to learn to lean on God, I must lean on God, continuously.
If I want my children to spend time with God, I must spend time with Him, daily.
If I want my children to be armed with scripture to guide them wherever they go, I need to build and maintain my own arsenal of memorized scripture.
It makes sense, but I think many of us try to do the hard work of parenting by ourselves before allowing God to parent us first. Before being a parent, I am God’s child. When I remind myself of this beautiful truth, I revel in the relief of it because I don’t hold this important role of raising these tiny humans alone.
And the more time I spend talking to God, listening to Him and for His wisdom by immersing myself in His Word, the better I will be as a parent, getting the spiritual inpouring I need in the busyness that I know lies ahead.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
When I read these verses, I see what I need and how I would like to see the Fruit of the Spirit ripen in our family through my focus on God and His Word. I want to:
- answer my children and act with them in love, no matter what the circumstances
- bask in the simple joy of their childhood
- rest in the peace that God is guiding me in my parenting and has their best interests at heart, always
- rely on Him to provide me with patience in those trying moments of nagging and tantrums
- show and model kindness towards them and others
- show them His goodness all around us by verbally counting blessings and seeing His craftsmanship in nature every day
- thank Him for His faithfulness in every trial and challenge we each face personally and as a family
- respond in gentleness when I’m tired and feel like my fuse is short
- exercise self-control when reacting to moments that don’t go as planned
My goal this year is to focus on God and let Him guide me so I can guide them, mold me first, so that I can mold them, and see the Fruit of the Spirit play out in all our lives in 2024.