Last night I was laying in bed waiting for Matt to get home from a late meeting for church and spending some time in prayer. Why is it so hard to give things up to God?
The last few days we have noticed that Caleb has officially turned into a toddler. He is almost 16 months old and seems to really be starting to show his personality. He is into everything in our house and talking up a storm! I am excited for him and to see how he will develop and yet a part of me is scared beyond words. The next steps of parenting are one of the reasons that it took me so long to want to have children. I don't have the faintest idea of how to raise a child. :)
Selfishly, I know it is going to be a lot of work. Teaching, guiding and disciplining take a lot of time. I am an information seeker and have a lot of good head knowledge, but my follow through is not always so great. We have taken a couple of parenting classes through our church, one being Shepherding a Child's Heart. This way of looking at how to teach your children and help them to understand why they should obey and align their behavior with Jesus Christ through scripture is excellent. The trouble I keep struggling with here is when to know that they can understand more and to help them to start to see how and why they might have made poor choices to lead them into bad behavior/situations.
I want our children to think of discipline as more than just a "law" or "because mom said so." A book that I would like to read is Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. When I heard this author talk at a Biblical counseling conference that I went to recently, she posed the question to us all, "what makes your parenting Christian, not just some very well behaved children?"
I have also been looking at my own heart and thoughts through all of these worries and realizing that there are also a lot of sinful motivations to parent well. I want others to think I am a good parent. I don't want to be that parent that has a disruptive child. When I was a child, I talked a lot and my parents had to talk with me about not saying everything that came into my head. Caleb is pretty social already and sometimes I think about this and pray and hope that he is not this way. On another note, forging ahead with this parenting role I have also been convicted of a prideful perfectionist tendency. I have always done well in many things that I have done in life and tend to steer clear of things that do not come easy to me. I am still thinking through the question am I really OK with failure or do I just avoid it?
A passage in the Bible that has been brought to my attention recently about this is James 1: 2-4 which says:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
I have always thought that the trial that you may be experiencing is what produces maturity in your faith and yet what it really says is that the perseverance from the trial is what produces the maturity. Let's just say....I don't persevere very well in things that are hard.....such as parenting.
Last night I was feeling very defeated and helpless about this because the fact of the matter is I am going to have to parent Caleb alongside Matt. I have to remind myself that he is a gift from God and that I have the opportunity to disciple and raise him up to glorify God with his life. However, the best news of all of this is the fact that I don't have to do it alone! It was amazing how much better I felt after praying and asking God for his help through the Holy Spirit. He is ultimately the one in control of Caleb's life and I need to trust him to help me.
Help us all to remember this each day. Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.