Rest in His Promises
I have heard the same concern so many times from mothers, fathers, and even in my own mind: “what if my kids turn out wrong”, “what if I mess them up”, and “what if they don’t live for God?”
It amazes me how prevalent this concern is among parents and how it is no respecter of persons. Even those with seemingly unshakable faith are haunted, at times, by this fear.
My husband and I had so many conversations surrounding this as we began our journey in parenting. Are we doing too much? Are we doing too little? What can we do differently?
As followers of Christ, we all know that God does not give us a spirit of fear. He wants us to walk in faith, but how can we combat this unrelenting worry?
For my husband and I, we have found that the key is resting in God’s promises. In Proverbs 22:6, He promises that if we train up our children in the way they shall go, then when they are older, they will not depart from it. In Acts 16:31, He promises that if we believe in the Lord Jesus then us and our entire household will be saved. In Psalm 102:29 He promises that, as servants of God, our children will live securely, and their descendants will be established in His presence. In Joel 2:28 He promises that He will pour out His Spirit on our sons and daughters, who will live by His supernatural leadings.
God does not want us imprisoned to this fear which takes our focus and power off of the present by enslaving us to the “what if’s” of the future. To silence the lies of fear and doubt we must choose to place our hope in the promises that our unfailing, unchanging, entirely faithful God has given us. We must choose to see our children, our parenting, and ourselves in light of how God sees these things, and not in the dim light of the present circumstances.
I remember one day when I had responded wrong to Ethan, our oldest child, and was beating myself up for it again, assuring myself that my boys will never love God because of how poorly I represent Him to them. I began begging God for forgiveness when He interrupted me and in His usual loving, tender, and encouraging voice said, “I do not need you to be perfect. I just need you to be repentive.”
God doesn’t need our perfection. He simply needs us to model devotion to and dependence on Him. One of the most valuable things we can teach our children is that we all fail, but God gives grace to us all, and humility means admitting you were wrong, asking for forgiveness, and pursuing God’s grace to change you.
So, we no longer worry so much about trying to be perfect or how our imperfections will somehow hinder God’s work in our children. Instead, we model dependence on God’s grace and humility through repentance to Him and them.
We explain that we were wrong, that our wrong response was not a result of their behavior but our own wrong action, and we ask them for their forgiveness. Then we ask God to forgive us, to heal them, and finally, we ask them to pray with us for God to change us.
For us, this has silenced our fears, because we know that we are pointing them to God and training them to handle their own failures in light of His love, forgiveness, and grace.
We are resting in His promises and allowing His power to change and direct our parenting rather than obsessing over what we could be doing wrong. As we pray for and claim His promises for our children daily, we no longer do so out of fear of failure. Instead, we pray with expectancy inlight of His faithfulness.
But resting in His promise is only half of the key. The first promise mentioned above is one of the most common verses I hear people quote about their children: “train up a child in the way they shall go and when they are older, they will not depart from it.”
This promise from God, like so many of His promises, comes with an instruction. You could really read it like this, IF you train up a child in the way they shall go, when they are older, they will not depart from it.
There is an action, an obedience in faith required for this promise to become active. We must train our children in the way they should go. As parents, our number one job is not to help them become successful in sports, academics, or even their social status among their peers.
All those things are fine and have their benefits, but they come second to God’s calling for us to train our children to follow His ways and to live a devoted life to Him.
If you struggle with the concern of how your children will turn out, perhaps you need to rest in His promises. Begin declaring them daily and watch as you move from anxiety to expectancy.
Maybe you need to release the fear of imperfection and start resting in God’s strength for your parenting, allowing Him to redeem your imperfections and releasing the burden of their salvation to the One who desires it more than you do.
But perhaps, you may be feeling the Holy Spirit’s pull to begin walking in the calling of God placed on your life as a parent, so His promises can be birthed in your family.
If you feel either of these speak to your current condition, take a moment and ask the Lord to help you enter His rest for your parenting.
Father, I praise You that Your promises say my children will accept Your salvation, will not depart from your ways, and will be established in Your presence. Forgive me for not trusting You and Your faithfulness. Forgive me for not placing the importance that You do on training my children in Your ways. Holy Spirit, teach me to do so. I rest in Your provision and instruction for this. From now on, I trust my children with You, God, who loves them so much more than I do. I trust my parenting to You, trust that you redeem my mistakes for Your glory, and ask that you heal us as a family, so we can be used to bring Your healing to others. I praise You for this, King Jesus, and for the new ways that You will touch our family with Your love and power. In Your mighty name I pray, amen.
Guest Blogger: Lori Thomas