My wife and I have been parents for a little over three years now. We have a three 1/2-year-old daughter and a four-month-old baby boy. No, we are not getting sleep at night, and yes, we still love being mommy and daddy. Just the other night I was holding our four-month-old, Caleb, as he had fallen asleep in my arms. I began to look at him, gently rub his head and pray for him. In the background I could hear our three 1/2-year-old daughter running around, avoiding brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed. She is a constant reminder of what energy and laughter are. I thought about the current state of the world and what lies ahead. I thought about the solar eclipse that occurred this past Monday and what an incredible display of the awesomeness of God it was. I thanked God for who He is and how He graciously continues to reveal Himself to us. I thanked God that no matter how crazy our world gets, He is still on His throne.
As I was looking at Caleb, I began to have a thought I have had many times before, “What do I want our kids to learn and grasp?” As a Christ-following parent, if I could remind them of a few things over and over, what would those things be? These three things came to mind…
God loves you more than you will ever know. Yes, it is crazy important for our kids to know how much we as parents love them. We are very intentional to continually be affirming and loving with Madelyn and Caleb, even in the tough moments. Even in their very young minds, we want to instill in them that the greatest love they will ever know is the love of God. As much as mom and dad love them, God loves them more. While being raised in a Christian home, having a dad who is a pastor, and being taught the Bible at church and home, a relationship with God is personal. We desire for our kids to know and embrace how much God loves them personally. He loves them so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for their sins so they can have a right relationship with Him.
This world is broken. Just yesterday morning, while working from a local coffee shop, I had a conversation with someone about brokenness in their family. Divorce amid an affair had broken a more than 20-year marriage within their family. As I talked with this person, the conversation led to how an eight old girl had been affected by the situation. In one word, brokenness. An 8-year-old sees this, and an 88-year-old considers this. We live in a broken world as a result of sin. We need to continually remind our kids that the brokenness they see is NOT the way God intended the world to be. He still is crazy in love with us even when we make decisions that do not bring Him glory. We must instill in our kids that yes, brokenness will always exist on this side of eternity but, they can choose to pursue Jesus.
Jesus is always better. Our kids will face many temptations and decisions along the way. When it comes to choosing the God-honoring path or the worldly path, may we always instill in our kids that Jesus is simply better. He still is. The world offers quick, temporary “happiness” and Jesus offers eternal joy. There is a big difference between these two things. From the young child that yells, “But Mommy, I want it now!” to the teenager that keeps asking, “But why…?!” we need to continually keep Hebrews 12:1-2 on the hearts and minds of our kids. Why? Because Jesus is better, in every single circumstance that may arise.
From one Christ-following parent to another one that is reading this right now, I know it is hard. We in no way have this parenting thing figured out. There are parents that we lean on and ask for Godly advice all the time. We are praying for you as you raise kids in a world that does not love and pursue Jesus. We pray the Gospel of Jesus Christ will so grip your kid’s hearts and minds that they will passionately live for Jesus and His Kingdom. We are continually praying this for our kids.