Guest Post written by: Chelsea Roberson
I’m sure every mother can relate to this. In a perfect world, parents want their children to be kind, well-behaved, and obedient.
This is not a perfect world, and humans are nowhere near perfect. Expectations ruin reality, so if you’re not a parent quite yet but will be, go ahead and really let that sink in so you aren’t caught off guard.
Here is the thing. I am 34 years old currently. I truly long to know Jesus more. I hunger to be closer to Him, to understand His Word, and to live like Him. Even someone like me that truly desires these things still sins each day.
I get frustrated and sometimes react in sinful ways. Unfortunately, I don’t always think before I speak. I get distracted by worldly things and sometimes hear the Lord telling me that something I see as a good thing has become an idol in my life without realizing it.
All of that to say, I am frequently turning to God for repentance. Praise the Lord that he never runs out of mercy and grace. So how can an imperfect sinner raise children that are obedient?
I don’t have all the answers, but as I was reading today, something stirred in my heart. As the Jesus led by example, so should we. As He gently rebuked Martha, we should be gentle and direct with our children.
This world is full of sin and temptation, and the only way to protect our children from falling into its trap is not to shelter them from everything but to teach them what the Bible says about it. We have to teach them how to think as Jesus does so that one day when they leave our home, they know how to think for themselves and who to turn to for truth!
Every child who has ever been lovingly disciplined eventually learns. Just as we learn from the Holy Spirit’s conviction, our children will learn from our gentle and persistent discipline.
This thought has crossed my mind in the past, before being a parent. Wouldn’t kids prefer parents that didn’t discipline more than those that did? You would think so, right. FREEEEDOMMM… ha But truthfully, I am thankful that my parents cared enough about me to take the time to teach me right from wrong. Parenting is hard, and I’m sure I gave my parents a hard time at times just like we give our Heavenly Father. A parent that is loyal to raising us in way that honors God is a parent that loves the Lord and loves us.
Hebrews 12:11 says this, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (ESV)
Though at times you may feel discouraged and that you aren’t up for the task, I can assure you that you are! God is many things to and for us! He entrusted His children to us, and He isn’t going to abandon us in the process.
He sustains us. He gives us hope and peace. He restores our weary souls. He teaches us so we can teach them.
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21)
The best way to teach your children is show them that we are learning and walking a life of obedience to Christ ourselves.
James 1:22 says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (NLT)
Here are three things to remember on our journey to raising obedient disciples:
Have patience. Emotions are real, and just like we are still learning as adults to deal with ours, they are learning to deal with theirs. Be okay with walking away from a high-stress situation with your children, and coming back to it in the future. Every lesson can’t be understood on one occasion.
Show them how to respond to conviction and repent. We are going to mess up a lot. When I raise my voice or act out of emotion, I ask my kids to forgive me. I tell them what I did wrong and what I plan to do next time to prevent that from happening again. I want to teach them that pride will ruin relationships and that we aren’t too proud to admit when we are wrong.
Show them unconditional love. It is such a relief to know without a doubt that God loves me. How can he not? HE IS LOVE! I don’t deserve all He has done for me, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for it all! I don’t ever want my kids to think they have to earn their love from me. Even though we are the ones who discipline, they should never feel that they aren’t loved due to something they have done. 1 Cor 13:13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I want to encourage you today, friends. Motherhood is beautiful and challenging. We don’t have a guide that tells us how to be a perfect parent. All we can do is love them relentlessly. Focus on showing them love every single day, and never grow weary of teaching them how to be obedient to the Lord. Have you heard the phrase, “see one, do one, teach one”? We see how Jesus lived, and when we aim to live like him, we are teaching our kids exactly what we should.