[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S[/dropcap]o many thoughts going through my head on this busy morning . . . the biggest, longest train of thought though has been on the relationship between parents and children. And of course, that stems from my pondering of how to raise my strong willed boy. How to teach my firstborn who argues about everything, wants to have the last word on everything, wants to do everything himself, and whose most often said phrase is “so I have a better idea”. He wears me out. And yet he is so smart, so quick, such a thinker, and his ideas really are good ones. I love him so very much as I see so much potential in him; he is such a treasure. So I daily approach the Father on how to be a mother to this boy. I want to be a good mom, not just a barely get by, let him get away with everything, too tired to deal with his ideas, or too harsh to let him be him type of mom.
And this morning, as I was thinking about all the ideas of parenting that float around, all the advice that we hear, all the “you should do this or you should not do that” stuff, I started thinking about how God deals with us and our wills. I used to think that Father God was harsh with me. I thought He had some reason for always dealing harshly with me. I don’t know of any other way to say it, but I really battled with feeling like He was a hard parent. I felt like I couldn’t ever step out in faith or really leap off the edge and trust Him, because I would be disappointed in the result. I had this mentality that said that He always has to teach me the hard way. And I was way off track. It took about a journey of wading through a lot of anger, bitterness, disappointment, and many tears cried before Him, as I so desperately wanted to trust Him and to fully give my all to Him yet didn’t really know how, before I got my thinking and beliefs about Him straightened out.
And most of that story is for a later time . . . but what corrected my thinking and got me into a much better walk with the Lord was having someone tell me that I needed to get a hold of the Father heart of God. I needed my vision of Him to be corrected, and I’ve heeded that advice and now view Him so differently. I now know that He is not harsh; His heart is not to break us in the sense of devastating us and destroying our hopes and dreams. His heart is to lovingly get us straightened out, and that requires correction that can be painful. Yet it’s always for our good.
And I hesitate to dive into this topic, because there is such varied thought on suffering, obedience, the God of the Old Testament vs. the God of the New. For the most part, I feel people have never been taught on the subject of covenants and how God consistently works through covenants throughout the Bible. This explains how we can look through the Old Testament and read about examples of what looked like harsh treatment towards the disobedience of His people, but we have to also realize that they were under an old covenant. They were under the law, which had consequences, and which did not allow for any tolerance of sin as God could not be in partnership with sin. For the majority of OT people, they didn’t get the privilege of a personal one-on-one walk with God. Everything was through the priest, and I don’t know if we can even imagine how different their lives were due to this fact. Yet today, we’re under a new covenant, which still does not tolerate sin, yet the sin issue has been covered by Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross. And let me make myself clear – sin separates us from God; doesn’t matter when in history you lived (live). We cannot be in right relationship with Him and willfully stuck in sin. However, in this new covenant, we can quickly and easily approach the throne of God in repentance, and through the Priesthood of Jesus, be made right and put back in relationship with God. So simply put: in the OT, it was a bigger ordeal to get your sins forgiven, but today, under the new covenant, it’s quick repentance of the heart and a change of action. What Jesus did on the cross changed the course of history, changed our approach to God, and made a giant impact on what is available to us through Jesus. That is a significant moment that vastly separates the OT from the NT. I hope that makes sense . . .
So before I get totally off track, I’m saying all of that to say this: God created us so that He could be in relationship with us. He wanted to be a Daddy!! He completely understands my heart to be a mama to babies. He put that desire in me. He gets my love for Ryder, because He loves Ryder! And we are so blessed to be living in the time that we are, because God made everything right for us through Jesus. God set us up to succeed. And if we transition over to Jesus and His heart, He submitted His all to Father God and took on all of our burdens, all of our cares, all of our sickness, and all of our pain, in order to redeem us. He willingly became our Redeemer. Yet He did it out of love and obedience to the Father. He exemplified the perfect, obedient Son to us. And in no way did He lose the core of Who He is . . . as the Word. Yet He became the Word in living Flesh, and He became so much more afterwards. He is now our Bridegroom, He is the Lover of our Souls, He is our Warrior Hero who rose from the dead, defeated sin and death, and is coming back to claim His church and to defeat Satan. He’s our Hero. Yet all of that was able to happen because of the relationship that existed between Father and Son.
(And please don’t get overly theological when you read this and go into well, the Father and Son are one, and you’re taking this to literal or too much to our level or whatever. You’ll just waste your time as I’m not a theological expert.)
What I am realizing right now is that as I parent my son, it all flows out of a heart of love and out of a desire for his best. My main goal in parenting is to cultivate in my children hearts that love God and are obedient to Him. That requires a.) that I am a lover of God and in obedience and b.) that I teach my children about the Father heart of God and how He loves them! How He desires their best, how He has set up rules and boundaries to keep them from getting hurt, how He has this beautiful, perfect plan for them, yet it requires their submission and obedience. And it’s a process that we go through together. As I submit and obey, hopefully, they will learn more and more about how to do the same. As I lovingly teach them that the ways, ideas, thoughts, and motives of this world are corrupted, sin-motivated, and something for us to stay far from, I pray that they will have eyes and hearts to see that the goodness, the kindness, the justice, the sometimes hard, yet always worthwhile ways and thoughts of God and His kingdom are always the far better way to go.
I’m rejecting the thought of parenting that says you must break your child’s will so that they obey you in every circumstance, keep them in these clearly defined rules and boundaries until they are out of your house, and rule them with an iron fist. I’m also rejecting the thought that says you should just let your child to be a free spirit and never correct them, make sure that you’re always there for their every need and want, and just allow them to live and learn on their own. Instead, I’m going for the idea that says I am not going to cultivate, encourage, or allow for the sin nature to have its way in our house, but instead, I’m going to teach them what is right and wrong, I’m going to set up health parameters and boundaries for their own good, and most importantly, I’m going to teach them the Father heart of God and the obedience of Christ. I am going to raise my kids to know that God desires to know them, that He created them with so many talents and gifts, and that He has an excellent plan for them. Yet more than any of that, He wants to know them. They can trust and obey Him, because HE IS GOOD! That will be how our household is set up.
And I have no idea how to go about all of that, except to draw closer to my Father, to learn from Jesus and His example, and to know that God has equipped my husband and I to be parents. If we lean on Him and listen, He will teach us. He will correct our mistakes, He will teach us to have grace for each other as a family, and He will bless the work of our hands as we seek to honor Him in our relationships with our kids.