The Parent Race: Week 1 - Day 2
Heavenly Father, as I reflect on the wisdom shared with me from my parents and what you have taught me through their words and lives, I am so very grateful for the models they provided me of how Jesus Christ is to live “through” us and “in” us. Let me be a wise voice and model for my children, so that they may demonstrate God’s love to a hurting world around them.
Read: Proverbs 1:9, NIV
9 "They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”
After marriage, there is no greater satisfaction in life than to have children. At the same time, for some, there may be no greater frustration or pain felt than to raise children who do not choose the path of following Christ in their life. As a father whose children are no longer living at home, I am so very thankful that my children serve the Lord and love him with all their heart! When they were younger, they were not always so eager to listen to our input. The Godly counsel we so willingly shared with them to love and honor God wasn’t always first and foremost on their minds. One of my children strayed the farthest and caused more worry and anxiety than we bargained for. All the while she was aloof on her journey of pleasing “self” instead of “God,” we knew that she had God’s word inside her. She had been involved in children’s Bible studies at an early age and loved to be at church. We asked God for wisdom, so that we could impart that wisdom to our children. In time, Jesus captured her heart once again and both of our kids have amazing passions for the lost today!
I watched my father and mother-in-law pray over their children. My father-in-law never knew a stranger. He never lacked a desire to bless others. He “modeled” Jesus and believed that his children and grandchildren would be world-changers! Over 16 members of his family have gone to do missions all over the world since his death in 2003. His words spoke of a loving Jesus. The joy in his heart flowed over to wherever he was and his love for God changed lives!
The verse today speaks of an “outward” appearance, but it is figurative language that points to “inward” beauty of who parents are to be. I Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes, instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that is of great worth in God’s sight.” The writer of Proverbs speaks of the counsel of parents in this reference. The point being, flowery words will not save you, but heartfelt words shared with a heart of love ‘can’ lead others to walk closer with Jesus. The words of encouragement a parent shares become a marking post of faith for their children when they face struggles in later years. When I share of how God’s faithfulness poured out to me with financial provision to get me through college on my own; when I testify to my kids of how God saved my life in an instant…these words build memorials for them as they grow and struggle in their own walks of faith. Even as my children are on their own now, they never stop asking questions of us as their parents. My prayer is that they will have the same spirit of God and conviction in them when they have children one day.
When I hear the daily news of so many examples of parental abuse and neglect, it pains me to think how those children’s lives could have been different if Gods love had been shared with them instead. Then I consider my words to my kids. Do I have God’s interests in mind when I speak to them? Or do I only take time when it’s convenient for me? The timeliness of the words I speak are as much or more important to my children as the words themselves. I pray that God will make you sensitive to his Holy Spirit for when and what to share with your kids. We are still learning and growing in God, so always remember to be “quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19, NIV). I pray that I would be mindful of what “He” wants me to share: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NIV)
Lord make me a vessel of honor to you. A vessel that honors you by loving your children. Make me my kids’ greatest cheerleader, greatest encourager, greatest advocate and most persistent reminder of God’s love for them. Amen.