I Got This… Revelations In Parenting.
If you were like me, when you were a kid, there was this magical time when you thought you knew it all. You didn’t need to listen to experts because you felt your intuition, observations, and experiences on any subject provided you with all you needed to know. And when it came to parenting, you definitely had all the experience you needed, because let’s face it, you had been parented every day since you were born, so of course, you ‘knew it all’ when it came to being a parent. I know I thought did. I became an ‘expert in parenting’ when I was in 4th grade, during the many times I would tell myself what I would never do as a parent. I felt I knew better. However, my self-proclaimed “parenting expertise” came to a screeching halt on July 14th, 2012, the day my first daughter was born. I quickly realized that I honestly knew nothing. I was shocked when the doctors let me drive away with this brand new, precious little life in my car!
This sudden realization that parenting was much different than I had imagined, caused me to look back more closely at just how I was raised. Maybe my Mom and Dad really did know something about parenting! Suddenly, I was able to admit that I had never been the expert I once thought I was. I look back now and see that I was very blessed to have my parents as examples, despite some things that I may choose to do differently with my own children. Whether we like it or not, for better or for worse, we are influenced by the way our parents raised us. When it comes to the good, that’s easy, we copy and paste. It’s the negative that we have to work on. Maybe you can relate? Maybe there are things you wish you could change about your upbringing? Maybe you would change everything; everyone comes from different experiences. Maybe you are striving to create a better ‘story’ for your kids, but perhaps how you were raised is holding you back? Whatever the case, if my memories strike a chord with you, I am guessing that it is your desire to be a better parent too. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” God redeems us every day, even when it comes to parenting. Whether it’s redemption from how your parents raised you, or how you treat our own kids, like you, God wants a different story, perhaps a better story for your family too.
Okay, so where do we start? How do we get that story we want? It starts with us. We have to admit our own brokenness and bring that brokenness to God. No one wants to admit brokenness, because broken people are seen as being weak, but we have to change the way we think. We have to look at our brokenness as a sign of strength, not as a sign of weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Another starting point is developing the courage to change. Being a parent is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. And, because we are tired, change can be difficult. It is easier just to remain the same, and stay in our brokenness. But as 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10 teaches us, we now know that it is okay to admit our brokenness. God in His goodness does not want us to stay in our brokenness. Remember, you are a new creation! The desired changes are going to look different for everyone, but the promise of being a new creation is for everyone, including your children.
I would like to encourage you to always maintain an eternal perspective. Having a plan for how to best raise your children, whether it for the next three weeks, three months, or three years, is good, but the goal is to establish a strong, healthy family legacy for eternity. Jeremiah 29:11 is a great verse to keep in the front of your mind. “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The context of this scripture is one of hope… permanent, long lasting hope. When the Israelites were in exile, they lost their land, their temple, and their national identity. They lost their hope. In Jeremiah, God tells the Israelites that they are not getting these virtues back until 70 years have passed. So the Israelites most likely heard these words of “plans, hope, and future” and realized this promise was not for them, but it was for their children. This was God’s plan to get their children to return to the land, and the life that God had for them. This was the hope they were given, to be people of God again; the promise their children would have a future, and ultimately, a Savior. But first, because their children were growing up in a pagan culture, their parents had to move past their brokenness, and keep that eternal perspective.
Perhaps in 2020, you want to be the parent that you always desired to be. This year, know the importance of what you do today, as a parent, will have eternal results. With your heart and your eyes set on God’s eternal promise, you affect the plans, the hope, and the future of your children, grand-children, and great grand-children! It is my desire, as your family pastor, to partner with you on this journey.
By Michael Jones, Family Pastor