Sunday, May 3, 2015

"What do you raise them for?"

Over the last week, I've had a handful of people talk to me about how my kids are growing up. I know it's true...my oldest (12) just "graduated" from AWANA's and this summer my baby will turn 4. In 5 years, I know our house, and life, will look much different. We'll have 3 teenagers and 2 tweens, drivers, busy(ier) schedules and less time together as a family. I don't even want to think about the 10 year picture!!

These comments have had me thinking and then the other day as I tried to teach my daughter about poetry, I came across a poem I'd written when our oldest was our only child. You can read those words and then I'll share some new thoughts....

You hear a new Mom say,
“She sleeps thru the night,
sits by herself and patty cakes, too,
she’s growing up so fast.”
But the Mom who’s been there before says,
“That’s what you raise them for.”

A young Mom says,
“He can ride a bike,
tie his shoes & write the ABC’s,
he’s growing up so fast.”
Again, the Mom reminds her,
“That’s what you raise them for.”

Time goes by and she says,
“Now she can drive by herself,
plays on the team and babysits.
She’s growing up so fast.”
But she remembers,
“That’s what you raise them for.”

A few years pass and she says,
“He’s been to the prom,
had senior pictures and is visiting colleges.
He’s growing up so fast.”
But again she hears,
“That’s what you raise them for.”

Time marches on and she says,
“She graduated from college,
was married and will soon be a Mom.
She grew up so fast.”
But her mom reminds her,
“That’s what you raise them for.”

Years go by and you hear her say,
“She did so much for me –
listened to my troubles,
cheered at my success and
led me to the Lord.
She’s gone too fast.”
But then she heard God say,
“That’s what I raise them for.”

A day or two after reading this poem again, I heard a program on the radio talking about "Growing Kingdom Kids"...how as Christians that should be a parenting goal for all of us. It's a great goal and one I'd say I have, but as my mind continued to work, I wondered, "How do I achieve this?"

Honestly, God's plans and purposes for our kids are so much different than the worlds! He longs for them to do so much more than stay busy, learn things and win trophies. Granted that may be part of the process, but it can't be the priority. My children must learn to tie their shoes and drive the car; chances are some of them will go to prom and play on the team, but if they are rushing from one season to the next and living to go from one milestone to the next, I'm not doing my job.

Ultimately they are God's children and He's given me the responsibility to raise them up. And if you're a Mom that's your job too! So let me ask you, "What are you raising them for?' Do you prioritize getting good grades, being a great student and landing a wonderful career? Or do you focus on them making the team, winning the scholarship and being a success? Are you raising them to be a good friend, a responsible citizen and loving person? Or are you raising them to love the Lord, serve Him and share Him?

Friend, I think we all know the right answer to the questions, but do our actions match up with our answer? It's easy to say we want to raise Godly kids who impact the kingdom and make an eternal difference, but it's harder to do it. As my kids grow I know this is going to get more challenging...when it comes time to choose between church and sports what will we do? (Which will happen next month when VBS and softball overlap.) When it's time to let go and give them freedom will they see me fret and worry or pray and find peace? When life gets busy, will we make time for family devotions?

I can look ahead and wonder all I want, but that doesn't do much good, but doing something now is what will be productive. Friend, regardless of the age of your children there is something we can do to play a part in raising them up to be the one God created them to be! We can pray and live out our faith. Remember "More is caught than taught" and "Children learn what they live and will one day live what they learn!!"

Friend, if you are like me and long to raise your kids up for more than what this world offers, I'd love to hear your heart - what excites you about this challenge? What scares you? How do you do it? And I know I have friends further ahead in the journey who are doing a wonderful job, what's your advice? How do (did) you do it? How do you prioritize faith and the disciplines that come with it without being legalistic and creating bitterness which causes kids to push away - not just from you, but God?

As we raise the little people we are responsible for may we remember we are a child God is raising...O Lord, help us be children who are quick to obey, willing to draw close and always trust our perfect Parent. One specific promise we can cling to is found in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Jill! Happy belated Mother's day to you, my friend! :)
    I loved reading your post, and although I don't have children I thought of some things. If I were a mom, I would pray a lot for my children (as I'm sure you do), and the hardest part for me would be trusting God and letting go of wanting to control situations. It also reminded me of how the Lord has answered two prayers for my husband (for him to become a daily flosser and for him to stop drinking pop) only after I was on my knees and crying out to God to the point of weeping or at least in tears over it. He has two uncles with diabetes and he used to drink several Dr. Peppers daily, so I was worried about him drinking so much pop. Anyway, he finally completely quick drinking all pop about 2.5 year ago, Praise God! God bless you and your family.

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    1. Wanting to control is a challenge, but an area I have countless opportunities to practice. Thankfully it is a process and God gives us chances to start with little things before we move to bigger ones. My oldest is 2 years from his driving permit and that is an area that scares me...not so much the driving, but the responsibility and freedom/independence that comes with it!! Prayer is vital!! Thanks for the sharing the evidence of answered prayer in your life!! God is good!!

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