A few weeks ago, I was asked to share on how to raise children in this hour for the kingdom of God. I was dumbfounded to say the least because I often feel I’m so far from doing this parenting thing right, much less by God’s standard. So, let me make this disclaimer (smile):
Phillipians 4:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
No, I have NOT mastered being the mother of God’s sons, but I AM pressing towards doing so. That’s why I started this blog- to share my good and bad moments as I seek to really live out Psalm 127- being a warrior with my husband, aiming God’s arrows gifted to us in the right direction. However, as I saw in preparing my notes and just in prayer with God, I couldn’t focus on the kids until I paid attention to the archer- me… the parent. So, it’s my hope with this blog and the next two that follow to share how to raise our children in this hour for the kingdom of God- by knowing The Archer, The Arrows, and The Target.
No arrow will get to its destination without an archer and a bow. Therefore, I have learned that we as parents must know who we are (God’s parents to His children) and be in position- that means alot of things! Psalm 127 uses the word “warrior” which, given society right now and its lack of values and morals that make any LOGICAL sense, I feel like I AM a warrior in a war zone as a parent. I constantly am struggling to keep the narrow road in focus and stay on it in a world where so much is pulling on my flesh strings as well as the affections of my sons. That is why as the archer, we must KNOW THE POWER OF PRAYER. This is where we win. As Ephesians 6:12 says, we are not wrestling with people but things we can’t see- “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” To stay focused on Jesus, remain in His Will, and train our children, prayer is NOT an option. It connects us to the only person who can give us strength- Jesus (Philippians 4:13). Prayer shows us our hearts, who are children/arrows are and so much more. It is access to POWER over the enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy us and our children. So archers, before getting your bow and pointing your arrows, PRAY!
The next thing so crucial about the archer is knowing who we are- our strengths and weaknesses. If an archer knows they have a weak left hand or right eye, they know to make the proper adjustments to get the arrow to where it needs to go. As shared in a previous post (The Heart Behind Discipline), I was confronted with a major weakness in my ability to lovingly discipline/correct our oldest son. When things reached its peak, I began to ask questions- why do I get so angry? why do I respond so strongly/negatively? why is it hard to discipline AND love? why do I get agitated so easily when they_____? Basically, why do I do/say the things that I do/say with or towards our sons? These and many more questions led me to my mother who shared with me things that had happened when she was younger all the way back to my grandparents- things that planted seeds of anger/rage, bitterness, fear, want for control, perfectionism… SO much. It was then I realized this was really more of spiritual battle against generational things (back to Ephesians 6:12 and prayer!) It was a much needed meeting because I began to see the hope of Jesus Christ even more and that in my weaknesses, my inabilities, my flaws and errors… He was standing there, so willing to heal me and help me be His daughter and my sons’ mother. My mother is a believer, so this conversation was covered in alot of prayer and overflowing with Scriptures and forgiveness. Even if your parents are not believers, I encourage you to just talk and listen to them. If they have passed, I’m sure there are other trusted “historians” in your family. Be led by the Spirit of God and speak/move how He says. The Holy Spirit is powerful and can show you the answers to “why do I do/say the things that I do/say?”
With this being said, the archer must finally but MOST importantly see the Good News of Jesus Christ. Prayer and conversations will pale in comparison to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and our need for Him- His love, forgiveness and life. We cannot give our children what is needed if we do not possess it ourselves. Until the day I die, I will always believe that motherhood is saving/sanctifying me because through it, I have seen and felt the conviction of God and the love of Christ in ways never felt before. Basically, I see the Good News in Parenting spelled out like this (midnight notes lol):
- We are broken parents, mimicking good and bad behaviors of our parents
- We try to keep parenting to the best of our knowledge/independent of God
- We meet/encounter Jesus in parenting and are overwhelmed with the reality of OUR sins/failures/weaknesses
- We embrace the forgiveness of God and recognize Him as the only person who can save us/ help us and our kids
- We take His Word for what it is and do what it asks- train our children in the way they should go- towards HIM. We still mess up, but the Holy Spirit is there to guide us to His desire and how to do it right-eously. We are not alone with our frustrations but able to sit at His feet and hear His rebuke and His love through the Holy Spirit
Having knowledge of my weaknesses and strengths, I am more willing to pray in moments of frustration, search the Scriptures for answers/help, reach out to other trusted believers for prayer and wisdom (community), receive Godly counsel and even apologize to my husband and sons when I’m out of God-like character. It is not always easy, but it is drawing me closer to Him. It’s my prayer it’s drawing my sons closer to Jesus as well.
So, parents- The Archers- know the power of prayer as you parent and take note of your strengths and weaknesses, seeing hope in the Good News of Jesus Christ. We can do this! Read next time about “The Arrows” – our children.
“Children get their values and beliefs from what they see modeled at home. It is one reason why moms and dads must live a morally consistent life in front of their kids. If they hope to win them for Christ, they can’t afford to be casual or whimsical about the things they believe.” Dr. James Dobson
“Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon