Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it. Â Â Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Today is the birthday of my oldest children. Every year I think back on the years, thanking God for His precious gift and, as I do every day, praying for their today and the days ahead.
I’ve often said with laughter that â€œParenting isn’t for wimps!â€ and that is a true statement. If I had known before I had children what I know now, it would have scared me witless! Like marriage, it isn’t to be entered into lightly and certainly not without relying on God every step of the way.
Unknown. From the beginning, God has enjoyed bringing surprise blessings into my life through my children. I did not know I was pregnant with twins, despite three ultrasounds. He hid the â€œdouble portionâ€ of His great love. Raising children is filled with many unknowns. Each child is unique and needs unique love. What works for one child will not connect with another.
Mistakes. So many mistakes I made as a parent. I take ownership for the mistakes but God has taught me about forgiving myself for those mistakes. He also taught me about saying, â€œI’m sorryâ€ to my children. It isn’t enough to tell my children to apologize to others. They need to learn to learn about admitting their mistakes and asking forgiveness from me. Now that I have grandchildren â€“ I wonder if that isn’t an opportunity for me to â€œdo betterâ€ the second time around.
Love. Parenting is truly about imitating Jesus’ unconditional love. So many parents say that they love their children unconditionally but children do not see that from them. Do my children know that no matter what â€“ I will always love them? Have they seen by my actions, the tone of my voice, the words that come out of my mouth that even when I do not like their choices, I love them and that I do not reject them for who they are? Look at God’s example. Read from Genesis to Revelation how many times God’s children made bad choices. The path â€œhomeâ€ to be reconciled to the Father was open. Remember Jesus’ story of the prodigal son (Luke 15)? The Father knew the son was making a bad choice and yet He still and always loved the son. Even the elder son was wrong in his anger but the Father reassured the son that he was loved and welcomed in the home. Parents, let us truly love our children, as the Father loves us all.
Time has flown by since that early morning when these two children came into my life and forever changed me. We have had some extraordinarily happy times in swimming pools, around the dinner table, snuggled up watching TV together, and supporting each other at games, meets, and concerts. We have also held each other physically and in prayer as we walked together through very dark days and nights. God has grown and expanded our family, multiplying His love to us and through us.
It is a day for memories but mostly for great expectation for what is to come. Our life here in this world is all about how God can use us to love and serve others so that they might know Him more. One day we will all be together forever and ever and ever. My heart is full today because, thanks be to God and His grace, my children are on His path. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Happy Birthday, Janet! Happy Birthday, John!
It Won’t Be Like This for Long co-written (with Chris DuBois & Ashley Gorley) and sung by Darius Rucker