As I sit here typing, it’s 2:30, in the morning. Thank you parenthood. The kiddos have been waking up (separately) at hour intervals the past couple of nights… it’s hard to get to sleep (or do much else) when you know someone will be crying within the next 15-30 minutes. But I love them.
I love them with a fierce momma bear kind of love… the kind the gives a wary eye to every passerby and carefully considers every person who will have contact with my kids… the self-sacrificing kind that will give up sleep and food off of my plate for them. And like other parents, I have the kind of love that wants my children to have more than I did as a child.
Whether you have one child or are working towards 10, you face a lot of challenges as a parent. After all, you are training this tiny person about pretty much everything. But life happens. And much like gears grinding when something is off, we can send off sparks when things aren’t going according to plan.
Do our kids know that we love them?
When we are grumpy after being woken up for the seventh time that night?
When we snap at them for spilling their cereal more because we have a splitting headache than any mistake they’ve made?
What do we as parents do when the day-to-day gets in the way of loving our kids? We assess our thoughts and realign them to God’s word. We refocus our love.
First things first: We love, because He first loved us. –1 John 4:19 (NASB)
Realize that when God gives us children, He is pouring into our lives so that we can pour into theirs: Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. —Psalm 127:3-5 (NASB)
We comfort them now to show them how God can comfort their souls: O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. –Psalm 131:1-2 (NASB)
We teach them in such a way that will benefit them: Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck. –Proverbs 1:8-9 (NASB)
We are to use our material goods to bless them and their children: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. —Proverbs 13:22 (NASB)
We need to realize that we don’t hold a corner on the market when it comes to their seeking God: Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:13-14
What legacy are we imparting to the next generation? We must not live under the illusion that children the sole purpose of our existence; God crafted us–and them–to glorify Him. Nor should we create a deficient in our children that takes them years or decades to recover from and from which they must learn how to not pass on to their own children. We are to be a light, shining to guide and empower them. We must gather strength and release that power to our children.