For a few years, I’ve had this nagging feeling that won’t go away. I don’t want “church kids”! Does that mean I don’t want my kids going to church or viewing church as an important part of their lives? Certainly not and I believe it’s an essential part of their spiritual growth. I just want more for them than obedience and going through the motions. Anyone can be trained to obey over time, but do you want your kids to obey mainly because they fear the consequences? I want them to trust God in all things with their lives and to know He won’t fail them. I want their souls to be on fire for Him, but that may take some time to happen. My hope is that they find their identity in being a child of God because our strength is in Him not us.
As Christ following parents, it can be tempting to focus on performance in our kids. Sometimes it’s for our selfish image in the church. Other times we get lost in the chaos and exhaustion of our daily routine that we don’t take the time to think about our parenting motives. We just want them to do what their told! I get that, I have 4 children and I know how that feels to be so tired and if they could just be the good Christian kids I want them to be. If they would just stop fighting and tattling and just sit down at the table like the well behaved kids in the booth next to us, that would be GREAT! The more I go through these experiences with my children that I cannot for the life of me control, the more I know God is using it for our family’s good and for His glory. He is teaching me to point them in His direction because I can’t do it in my own strength.
The enemy takes every opportunity to distort God’s purpose for us. Think about about play dates for example. The purpose is to come together in community and fellowship with one another with benefits for parents and children. I’ve seen it happen over and over again where Moms begin to compare their child’s behavior with another child. If their child is the one that’s going through a season in which the Lord is working on them, they are usually the targets. God is exposing their sin so it can come out into the light, but we typically want to shut down the behavior immediately and make them behave. That tactic backfires and the enemy takes that opportunity to tempt you into humiliation, shame, and isolation.
Don’t allow the seemingly difficult season your child is in to allow the enemy to make you feel unworthy of community. Please don’t allow anyone make you feel like a worn out and bad parent because your child isn’t good at performing. Be thankful to God that your child can be free and honest in the season of life they’re in. How sad it would be for our kids to avoid coming to us with a struggle in their teens for fear of rejection, condemnation, or lack of unconditional love. Be thankful in those days they have public tantrums and your face turns bright red, for the judgement of others can easily change them into obedient guarded church goers. God wants more for our families!
This verse always encourages me as a parent. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In those embarrassing moments with our kids, there is a purpose. When we feel defeated as parents, there is hope. Don’t be discouraged, He is using it all!