A friend shared this web link and prayer for parenting with me this morning. It was/is very convicting - may I always remember God has placed me as a steward of my kids, not an anxious owner. More than anything else, may I parent in a way that best reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel. I deeply desire for the gospel to be beautiful and believable to our children.
May I give quick repentances and observable kindnesses. And may I remember that my heavenly Father can and does redeem my past parental failures for His glory.
The following prayer comes from the website: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2011/08/09/a-prayer-for-gospel-parenting/
A Prayer for Gospel Parenting Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Ps. 127:1-3
"Heavenly Father, it is a liberating joy to address you today as the architect and builder of your own house--including the household of faith and our children's place in your family. No one loves our children more than you. No one has a greater investment in their future than you. No one can teach us to parent them like you.
As I look back over the years of my pragmatic parenting, I'm saddened, for there have been consequences. But I'm also gladdened, for you've always been faithful to your covenant love, even when I was overbearing and under-believing. The move from parenting by grit to parenting by grace has been a fitful, but fruitful journey. Take me deeper; take me further.
You've rescued me from parental "laboring in vain"--assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear. Father, only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children. Only you can give anyone a new heart. You've called us to parent as an act of worship--to parent "as unto you," not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or proving our worthiness of your love.
Oh, the arrogant pride of thinking that by our "good parenting" we can take credit for what you alone can graciously do in the lives of our children. Oh, the arrogant unbelief of assuming that by our "bad parenting" we've forever limited what you'll be able to accomplish in the future.
Oh, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of fear than faith; more out of rules than relationship; more out of and pride than patience; more out of comparison than covenant; more out of threats than theology. Forgive us. Free us. Focus us.
Father, since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, teach us how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in a way that best reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel. We want the gospel to be beautiful and believable to our children.
Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Grant us confidence that you can redeem our past parental failures. Convict us quickly and surely when we don't relate to your covenant children, "in line with the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:14). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus' faithful and powerful name."
Ben loves transformers - you know, the toys that 'transform' from robot to aircraft or car.
The other day, as he was playing with a new transformer he received, I was thinking how what his toys do is a lot like what Jesus does to us in molding and shaping us into His likeness.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,are being transformed into
the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Ben's transformer toys have levels of difficulty - some of his are level 1, some level 3, 4, 5 - - accordingly the transformation from robot to car or aircraft gets more difficult.
Isn't that like us? Some transformations in growing in Christ can seem relatively easy, others difficult.
I rate the passage in Colossians 3 as a "level 5" - really, how easy is it to be patient, loving, kind, gentle all the time, especially in the light of an ongoing interpersonal issue with either a spouse, child, co-worker, friend?!?!? But thanks to the patience HE shows us, we can extend that grace to our fellow travelers on the road of life. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift"(2 Corinthians 9:15)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,...
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
A Living Sacrifice 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable
to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Just a pondering from a fellow traveler on the transforming road of His love and Grace as we journey to our true home - Heaven!!!!
We all face trials.
Some BIG, some small,
God uses all these to shape His character in us....
we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love
has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who
has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
A friend here facing the trial of the death of a parent sent out this quote from Hudson Taylor this morning in her email. I share it with you.
(pray for Barb, too, as she flies to the states for her dad's funeral).
"...though He does not deprive me of feeling in my trial,
He enables me to sing, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy
in the God of my salvation. Thus I do rejoice by His grace and will rejoice and praise Him while He lends me breath. Now I am happy
in my Saviour's love. I can thank Him for all, even the most painful experiences of the past, and trust Him without fear for all that is
to come." - Hudson Taylor