We have three daughters. And if there is something I have found to be harder than pregnancy and labor combined, it is raising them.
They are different from each other, and different from me altogether. They are also growing up at a different time, surrounded by different messages from the world, and in a different environment. I struggled often using methods of “how” I was taught when I really should have been focusing on “what” I was taught. The message delivered is the same, love God, love others, be kind etc. But HOW it is taught has to be different. I can’t expect to raise my daughters using methods that were used with me when I didn’t have to deal with half the things they are facing.
I grew up going to church, but we were not a ministry family. We were like any other family going to church, school, work etc. But my daughters are growing up under the umbrella of our calling. When my husband and I said yes to ministry, we did so as a family. Our kids travel with us to meetings, events, services, practices, you name it. Sometimes I can keep them on schedule and sometimes they are playing hide and seek on the church chairs past their bedtime.
A a parent I have questioned and wondered how this will affect them in the future. But then I remember that God was the one who gave them for me to raise. He knew the lifestyle they were going to be in therefore I believe their personalities and temperament were designed to fit the calling we have as a family. One day they will discover their own calling and continue to do God’s work long after we are gone.
Don’t get me wrong, they are kids and do things kids do. They run, play, cry, whine, pout, get into things, giggle at the wrong times….but one thing is certain, they will never see ministry as something “mom and dad” did but something “WE” did as a family. My job right now is to teach them why we do what we do. Why we pray for the sick, take a meal to someone in need, or pray for the random stranger we met at the store. You don’t have to be a ministry family to do those things. Serving is something all families can and should implement in their lifestyle. That way we create a generation that can be God’s hands and feet in this world.
We don’t have to stress over how what we’re doing is going to affect them. If we put God first in our lives, we can set the example and God will be faithful to guide them in their path and lead them to personally encounter him at the right time.
If there’s any advice I can give parents is this; the only thing you should worry about is whether your kids see Jesus in you. Do they see love and compassion? Do they see a helping hand or someone who lifts others up? Do they see someone who loves God and lives by His word? These memories will stay with them forever and the impact can bear amazing fruit.
Let them see you make and admit mistakes. If you lost your temper or raised your voice, turn it into a teaching moment where you can share with them that you were wrong but God is helping you to be better.
Long before I had children I saw raising a daughter as a scary thing, yet the Lord gave me three. (talk about facing your fears!) But I believe God will not give you something if he wasn’t going to equip you and be there every step of the way.
Mom and dad, breathe! It’s going to be ok! The Lord is always faithful and you’ve got on your side a God who NEVER fails.