Many years ago, during a different season of my life, I had the opportunity to participate in prayer journeys all over the world. We went onsite to pray with insight – coming alongside missionaries and church planters. During this time I was mentored greatly and built what would be the bedrock of my relationship with my heavenly Father. It is one of my favorite periods in my life; not only did I travel to places far and near but I also met some amazing Jesus followers. Men and women, some older than me and some younger – each in a different walk of life. They were moms and dads and grandparents and church planters and missionaries and translators – each of them a blessing in my life imparting wisdom and knowledge in their own way.
During one such journey I remember how we were led to pray that about the tearing down of idols. It’s been many years since this trip but I distinctly recall my mentor speaking about idols and how as parents we can make our children into idols.
An idol is anything we love more than God.
At the time I was young, single, and sold out for God. I was also judgmental, self-righteous and without a clue about being a parent and having kids. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I couldn’t fathom how someone could let their relationship with God or their willingness to serve and obey Him to play second fiddle to something like kids. I vowed that I would never let that happen if I had kids.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 NIV
Easier said than done. Right? Please, tell me some mother out there feels the same way? The truth is, sometimes I have a hard time finding the line in the sand. I believe with certainty that as parents we are entrusted with a stewardship; that God has given us His children to care for. Every day I feel the significance of this charge; these little girls I tuck in at night are the next generation of kingdom builders and prayer warriors. God has a plan for our children’s lives and I pray that our actions (or failure to act) don’t cause them to live outside of His will.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Striving to raise Godly children is important; it’s serious business and one of the most important things you can do. And we know that parenting is no easy task, there is plenty to do and to figure to keep our days full. These children of ours need and require so much stuff, so much time, and so much attention. Or do they?
God knows what His children need.
I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that raising my daughters is the most important task God has set before me. While there are seasons in which this might be true, I know from experience that this is not an absolute. He knows what my children need – they were His to begin with. They are an important piece in my life and I in theirs, but not the only one. If all my girls see is a mother sold out to serving them, pleasing them, consumed with their happiness then what have I taught them about what God expects of us, about His call on us to serve others? How have I demonstrated a faith in His ability to provide? Mommas, is God calling you to do something that you’ve pushed aside, or turned from because you were afraid of how it would impact your family? Remember, you can count on Him; He is your strength and defender – surrender to whatever it is He is calling you to. Show your children what it means to be obedient to God’s calling on your life, show them what it means to love Him so much that you are willing to lay your plans, your life, down for Him. You can trust Him with what is most important to you.