Before our first child, Karaline, was born, if we were honest, Andrew and I would have to admit that we of course had many moments of freeking out. “How in the world did we think we were ready for this?” “We’ll never have time alone again!” “How are we going to afford this new creature?” “How do we choose the name someone will have for their entire life?” and so on and so on. Some of these questions ended in giggling, but many of them led us to prayer and to mentors; seeking wisdom for the great journey we were embarking on.
The most pivotal question that continually came into our minds was different than those listed above. Soon after we got pregnant, Andrew and I had a conversation about the fact that God had entrusted us with an eternal soul to raise, shepherd, disciple and train in the ways of the Lord to the best of our abilities. What a lofty calling. How in the world were we supposed to start this process in a Godly manner? How were we to begin living as intentional parents; not simply dealing with situations as they arose and our emotions became entangled in our decision making process, but intentionally; all decisions geared towards the one goal of growing our child in Christ’s likeness and allowing ourselves to faithfully be used by our Lord to draw our child to Him, if they are to be His. Simply put; our call is to be faithful; how do we do this well?
God had entrusted us with an eternal soul to raise, shepherd, disciple and train in the ways of the Lord to the best of our abilities. What a lofty calling….how do we do this well?
We started with Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and then boiled our plan of intentional parenting down to three main categories for now, and we know we will expand as our tribe increases.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
1. Feed our souls. (Vs. 5-6)
This is first priority. Before we can teach, before we can be the type of parent we desire to be, we first must feed our souls; growing continually in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This comes before anything else, for Ephesians 5:1 calls us to be imitators of Christ. Andrew and I must seek the Lord through constant study of Scripture, personal devotions, the reading of good books, the listening to of sermons, seeking wise counsel from our mentors and being sensitive to the Lord’s Spirit as He prompts us, convicts us and leads us. This can only happen through the intentional carving out of time. It will not just happen. Our prayer for us and all of you as parents is that as the deer pants for the water, may our souls pant after our Lord Jesus.
Before we can teach, before we can be the type of parent we desire to be, we first must feed our souls; growing continually in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…[this] will not just happen.
2. Pray and Teach (Vs. 7)
Before our children were (and are….we have one cooking in the oven right now) 🙂 born, we realized that we can be intentionally investing in their lives; making an eternal difference. In Luke 18 is the parable of the persistent widow. In this, a widow continually goes to a king with a request until he finally gives it to her. vs. 18 says, “Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up.” How our sovereign God chooses to change events or plan events in accordance with our constant prayers will always be beyond my understanding, but it is evident in Scripture that He does. May we be parents who are interceders for our children; for their souls, for their decisions, for their future spouses, for their health, and whatever else we desire for the Lord to do in their lives.
How our sovereign God chooses to change events or plan events in accordance with our constant prayers will always be beyond my understanding, but it is evident in Scripture that He does
We are also to make God not just part of our lives, but the very heartbeat of our lives. Deut 6:7 makes it clear that as we go about living, even doing the most menial of tasks, we are to train up our children to see the Lord in everything; every decision, every moment, every aspect of their lives. Again, we will not be able to do this effectively or honestly (children can read through unauthentic parenting without a doubt) if we are not teaching and training ourselves.
3. Guard our Home Environment (Vs. 8-9)
Have you ever wondered how to make your home a place of rest and of the Lord for a child even before they can understand the truths of the Lord? This question plagued me. I found the answer specifically in worship music. Even before Kara could understand words, she knows the difference between peace and chaos; between joy and restlessness. Worship music has a way of setting a tone of these beautiful characteristics of joy and peace within a home and we seek to set that environment for our children. Andrew and I also realized that we are gatekeepers of our home; we are responsible for the media our children are exposed to while under our roof. We do not let Karaline watch TV or movies yet, but once we do, we will carefully undertake the responsibility of guarding what she is exposed to. Romans 16:19 says, “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
Andrew and I also realized that we are gatekeepers of our home
Let’s be on the front lines of not just guarding but intentionally training our children in the ways of the Lord, and may we all strive to be parents who seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness; loving Him with ALL of our heart, soul and strength.