God gave you your children. He didn’t give your children to someone else. God chose you, often to sanctify you, but also because there are things about you that only you have, that your children need. God made you who you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses. If we cry out to God for wisdom and are led directly by God, our parenting efforts will be mind-blowing. I’ve seen it in my own life, and it humbles me and makes me want to praise God.
On the other hand, if we force ourselves to parent the way that other people parent, we will not always see good results. For example, in my family-integrated church years ago, people were criticizing my parenting because they didn’t want their children to wiggle whatsoever during the church service. My children were completely silent and even paid attention to the sermon. Their bottoms wiggled a lot, but their hearts were soft toward God, and they didn’t feel like they were in a straight jacket at church.
Then I failed. I did the wrong thing. I cared that other people were frowning at me, and the result was anger toward my children. I sinned. But my children now looked better than ever. They looked perfect, but they were suffocating inside. It was sin for me to copy other people. It was wrong for me not to graciously forgive the person who was frowning at me. I ought to have prayed that the frowning person would yield to the Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit would shine out of that person’s eyes. I didn’t even know that person was sinning. Instead, I was sinning as a gut reaction to the person’s frown.
One time my (then) 6-year-old son cried out right before a Scripture passage was read. I know many parents who disciplined their children for any sound their children made, no matter what, no exceptions. But what they didn’t know about my son is something that only I knew. I knew his heart. He wanted to find the Scripture passage, and he tried so hard to find the passage before it was read, but he failed. I knew that he loved the Word of God with all his heart. His crying out was not sin. I would have sinned if I had disciplined him for crying out. Only parents know the heart of their child.
Of course, if your children disobey you and you don’t discipline them, you are sinning. But most Christian parents are following God to the best of their ability, and they don’t need people slamming them down.
It took years for me to get over the whole parent criticism thing. My husband went so far as to have all the children sit by him. He wanted me to sit on the aisle. Whenever one of my children would make the slightest noise, I would close my eyes, yield to the Spirit, and praise Him for humbling me. It was God’s will for me to be humble. It always is. There was actually a point where, whenever my children made any noise, my gut reaction was sweetness. I radiated the Spirit of God out of my eyes. Because when you have your face smashed in the dirt, you have nowhere to look but up.
In fact, it wasn’t until a gray-haired man from our Bible study told my husband and I (with tears in his eyes) what outstanding parents we were, that my life as a parent was changed. He saw how we shepherded each child, and we knew the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of each child. It finally sunk into my soul. At that moment, I knew that I was a good parent. Yes, I fail, mess up, and sin, but I love God with all my heart, and I actively shepherd my children. God is pleased with me. The wind is blowing through my hair on the top of a mountain, and I am free!!!Tweet