Parenting is tough work. It requires diligence, great love, and vast amounts of patience, among other things. And God understands – he is heavenly father to how many people?
We know the importance of good parenting, but some days (and seasons) are long. Here are some encouragements from my heart to yours as we are in the trenches of raising children.
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. ~ Mark 6:31
I read somewhere that most bad parenting does not stem from ignorance but rather from the parent simply being too tired! We must be proactive in finding time to rest, especially in the Lord, thus storing up reserves to be able to discipline, influence, and listen patiently as we are called upon.
Ask for help
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
There are no trophies awarded for parents who never ask for help! Of course, the first and best source of help is the Lord Himself. I think of the lines from that old sweet hymn: “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer” (Alan Jackson). God is always ready to listen and to help his children. But he also provides help in valuable, Godly companions. Sometimes, we need some perspective or simply encouragement.
Go back to the source
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. ~ Psalm 103:13
There are many good parenting books out there (I know! I’ve read some). There are also mediocre and even truly awful ones. But the best book ever written has excellent parenting advice. Not only does the Lord speak to us about how to train our children specifically, he gives us his own example of parenting and nurturing us. We have so much we can learn from his patience, grace, discipline and truth.
Remember you’re not alone
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Proverbs 1:7
The same God that was present when your little child was born is still with you now. In fact, he is the only presence guaranteed for the entirety of your life and the life of your child. That’s why teaching our children the fear of the Lord is so important! Lord willing, if we die first, we can trust, knowing the Lord will always be with them, just as he has been with us.
Beloved, wherever you are as a parent, God knew exactly what you would be like, and he gave you this particular, unique, and precious soul to nurture. Don’t doubt that he is able to equip you to love and nurture and teach that child to know Him. He will help you – if you will let Him. Lean on his strength, trust his wisdom and purposes, and go forth in faith, not merely following the footsteps of the crowd.
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13