If You Find Parenting Difficult,
You Must Not Be Following the Right Plan
Giving Up My Quest to Discover the Best Formula for Raising my Children
Pursuing a Genuine Relationship with God
“The hardest, most real work of parenting is done when I give up my own agenda and seek God’s, when my heart asks to be molded to God’s will and character.” (Fields, pg 116) So, what does it mean to give up “my agenda” to seek God’s? Do I pursue God and let “the village” raise my child?
If having children meant that Moms would find themselves having to ignore their relationship with God, I doubt that God would give us the gift of children. God designed within every Mother the necessary tools to parent our children, and I know that God wants me to attend to my child’s needs. Some of the most basic needs are:
Nutrition – breastfeeding and/or infant formula, introduction of solids and nutritious food
Development - milestones with an emphasis on the individuality of each infant
Connecting - bonding and how this varies for each individual
Communicating – listening to baby, development of language
Behavior - you cannot spoil a newborn, teachable moments, positive reinforcement
Sleep – adequate amount, SIDs safety
Health and care - signs of illness and what to do, immunizations and hygiene
But, there is more to raising children than just being attentive to these basic needs. Sometimes, however, I think that the current parenting programs, formulas, and books paradoxically increase my fears and concerns. I know that being a Mom is not easy. The demands are constant; I cannot sit back and coast. The tasks are never-ending, and there is much to learn. But how can I put it all together to be the best Mom I can be? What is my first step? Do I need to take an inventory? Is my life so caught up in trying to be the best Mom that I’ve forgotten my relationship with God? Is my life sending my children a message of hypocrisy and spiritual indifference? Is my own commitment to Christ what I hope to see in my children’s lives? How do I integrate being a good Mom with putting my relationship with God as a priority?
What does the Bible say about being a Mom?
1. Children are blessed gifts from God Psalm 127:3-5: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”
2. Children are a joy, not a burden Proverbs 29:17: “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.”
3. Raising children is a “full-time” responsibility Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
4. Children need to be taught about God Ephesians 6:4: “Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
So, because of what God says, I know I am on firm ground as I work diligently to be a good Mom. God has given me a gift, and has inspired a new kind of commitment – a “blueprint” that comes from Him and flows through me to my children.
Scenario for Discussion:
I am feeling isolated and alone. I’ve asked God to please help me feel better about my life. I am a young Mom, with one child, and my husband works long hours. We do not live close to family. I’m trying to be a good Mom, and I think I’m doing most things right, but I still feel insecure in this new role. It’s been a big adjustment, and that has surprised me. I’ve always wanted to be a Mom and I thought that all of this would come easily for me. When I begin to wonder if I’m doing things right, I read more books written by child care experts, but sometimes the books cause confusion. I love my child so much, and am disappointed that my days sometimes feel long and not a lot of fun, particularly if the baby doesn’t nap, or my husband doesn’t come home until late. Is there something else I could do? Am I missing something? I want to be able to say at the end of the day, “I’m a Mom, and I love it!” It’s not that I can’t say that, but everything has changed for me, and I don’t know how I feel!
1. Have I ever felt like this?
2. What helps me most when I feel insecure about being a Mom?
3. Does God understand my frustrations, longings, hurt?
4. What are God’s promises to me when I feel lonely and insecure?
God chose me to be the Mom. How can my relationship with God help me with any of the following statements?
· The verb that most accurately describes the management of my life is “to juggle.” Motherhood is one of the balls I am trying to keep in the air.
· Now that I am a Mom, I am feeling a mismatch between expectation and experience, between what I “ought” to be feeling and how I do feel.
· Motherhood is more than I bargained for.
· I have been given a child to be loved, cherished, cared for, and protected. I feel so blessed, but also fearful at times. I love my child so much!
· I think that sometimes I’m being judged by other Moms. I observe some “competitive mothering” and sometimes have trouble coping with “know-it-alls,” “finger-pointers,” and others who try to “out-Mom” me.
Bible Verses in Chapter:
Ephesians 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Proverbs 13:24; He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Psalm 34:11 Come you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalm 78:4-6 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children.
Luke 18:16-17 But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.
Matthew 18:6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
Mark 3:35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
Judges 13:8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom Thou hast sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.
Psalm 128:3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.
Galatians 2:16; Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
Isaiah 29:13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.