Hello Church Family,
I hope you’re having a great week! This Sunday is Mother’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate moms and the impact that they have on our lives. I have a great mom. She has the spiritual gift of mercy and is full of compassion. She got to exercise those gifts all the time when she was raising me. For those of you who haven’t met my mother, her name is Tanya.
I have two younger brothers, Kyle and Luke. I got the height, Kyle got the looks and Luke got the musical talent. I can get by on a guitar and even sing a little. But Luke can shred like a pro. I relied on my quick wit and humor to get girls to like me. All my brother Kyle needs to do is walk into the room and he draws the eyes.
If you’ve ever met my family then you’ll see right away just how different we all are. I think those differences serve as a tribute to how well my parents raised us. There’s a passage in Proverbs 22 that reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Scholars say the word translated “way he should go” means a child’s natural bent.
In other words, it’s up to the parent to study their child, see the way in which they are wired and help facilitate the growth of those natural strengths and areas of giftedness. My parents did a good job of that. They didn’t try to squeeze us into some predetermined mold. They didn’t force us to live the lives they wish they would’ve lived. They let us grow into the men we were naturally wired to become.
That said, not everything natural is good. We have a sin nature as well. We have a natural bent to do what is evil instead of what is righteous. This is true of all humanity outside the transformational grace of Jesus Christ (even your children.) G.K. Chesterton said original sin is the one Christian doctrine that doesn’t need much of an argument to be persuasive. All you have to do is read the newspaper.
Kids come out of the womb with a sin nature that we inherited from our first human parents: Adam & Eve. Therefore, parents have a two-fold task of promoting and encouraging the image of God in their children based on how they’re wired while at the same time restraining and correcting areas in which God’s image has been marred. Talk about a roller coaster! That’s why your kids can drive you crazy at one moment and in the very next they make you want cry tears of joy.
Even with that dynamic going on in our home, my parents did a good job of pointing us to Christ and showing us our need for a savior. They promoted and encouraged who we were wired to become even when our unique personality profiles might have driven them crazy. My mother, with her gift of mercy and compassion, was especially patient and understanding in even the worst moments.
Every child grows up, eventually. The crazy years with your teenager will eventually come to an end. Their brains do grow back, I promise! I remember when the light came on for me. I was in college, driving back and forth from Abilene to Fort Worth. I had attended some youth revival as a counselor/leader. The talk was on the relationship between parents and their children.
That night I called my folks and told them how thankful I was for their patience and godliness in raising me. I don’t even know if they remember that phone call. I remember the night pretty well. The speaker of the youth event had a cross shaved into the back of his head. Ken something…. I can’t remember his last name. He was a pretty popular speaker for the Abilene area at the time.
I can remember during my “rebellious years” that I caused my mother to cry more than few tears. If I were in her shoes I would’ve been trying to find a way to beat the devil out of me. Instead, she took the path of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, long-suffering, forgiveness and love. It’s the same path Paul encouraged the Christians at Colossae to take when he was instructing them on how to live in harmony with one another. (Colossians 3:12-14)
If you’re reading this and find yourself in a similar situation, then don’t lose hope. All is not lost. The Lord is still able to work a miracle in your family. Just stay the course of loving your children unconditionally and working to raise them in the way that they should go. Promote and encourage the image of God where you see it. Restrain and correct sin as you’re able. Above all else, pray for God to do what only He can do.
Join us this Sunday as we celebrate “all moms” and dive into the Scripture to see how we can be GREATER in our parenting. It’s going to be a great day. I hope you’ll invite a friend and join us. Remember, you can catch up on the Greater campaign on our website or in our app. For super practical help in your relationship with your spouse and children, check out the small group discussion videos for the GREATER campaign (sessions three and four.)
I hope you all have a great rest of your week. If there’s anything I can pray for you about please let me know!