When Noah was born I felt an overwhelming love and protection for him. Like a mother bear, it was an instinct to guard and watch over him, essentially giving my life for him. My heart was filled with unconditional love. I could weep when I looked at him or just thought about him. Then Scarlet came along, Aquila and now Selāh and I can firmly tell you the love doesn’t change, it just grows. And these intense feelings of love and giving my all for them hasn’t altered. As I sit in these feelings, sometimes so overwhelming I get hit with bad thoughts. Thoughts of ‘what if’s’. What if something happened to them or James and I. I hate to think about any type of pain my children might endure. Subconsciously I know I try to handle situations where I know they won’t get hurt or be affected. I find that I try my very hardest, in my own earthly ability to protect my children in each moment. In writing this thought I want you to know reader there is nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your child. The best life, best career and the best family.
The next thought that follows for myself is this, Christian because of sin, there is heartache and pain and hardships. The bible also promises in Romans 5:4 that your hardships develops character. And isn’t that a beautiful thing right there to help our children, developing their character. Friends, that is one of the reasons why we homeschool. Only one of, but an important one. For me in those quiet moments as I watch them sleeping, breathing in and out, stroking their hair or holding their little hands in mine I know there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect them from the things that will hurt.
Writing further on that point, our friends and family know we are mindful as to who we let our children play with, as a means to help them, so they don’t need to endure hardship or bullying. We know that this isn’t always possible and there might be situations where we aren’t able to be as ‘controlling of the environment’ – in cases like this we are able to help our children recognise right from wrong. It also means that, if appropriate, mummy and daddy can step in, protect, and guide an appropriate way to respond to certain situations, to know how to act and handle different people and situations. I personally feel, at this stage in our little ones lives, they are not yet at an age, or have the capacity to know how to always appropriately act and respond when confronted with a negative situation, so we want to be there. I know many of you are probably thinking, ‘how do they build resilience?’ or ‘it’s good to be bullied so they learn.’ And each to their own. We all parent differently, however we all want the same results. We want to help mould our children to be their best. Honestly I have been met with these types of questions and statements. In my own time with God, I see this as part of my role as a mother. We aim to help our children to consider and understand; It is important to forgive, however, if someone is continually unkind to you, do you continue to be their friend? What if they continue to hit you or say harsh words to you? No, of course you don’t. Like I said, this doesn’t mean you don’t forgive them and pray for them, seek reconciliation or restoration, however sometimes what is appropriate is to distance yourself. Reader please don’t feel you have to keep forcing your children to play with other children who aren’t being kind. If we don’t stick around unkind people as adults, why subject our children to it?
Now, for my children I can’t protect them from this world. I’m not God. There is no way I can do this. But when I see wrong or bad against them. My role is to protect. And in doing so, here’s the key point, we are teaching them how to deal with enemies. Bullies of any nature. I always found it so encouraging watching Noah and Scarlet at Martial Arts. Their instructors taught them to walk away. To state clearly, “STOP, don’t touch me”. “Don’t speak rudely to me”. If the bully continues and hit them, they need to then create space and run to us (or someone they know) for SAFETY. And what do we do friends as adults when we are bullied or constantly attacked? We run to the Father in Heaven for SAFETY. We pray for our enemies and forgive them, just as Jesus forgave us.
Reader, you might have your own steps in helping your children deal with negative behaviour and that’s great. But the idea is through this procedure we then point them to Jesus. We help to teach our children to pray for their enemies. For God to shut their mouths and to protect us with the armour of God.
In the bad thoughts, the thoughts of doubt and fear for my children I also know that one day they stand before our Gracious God. Their actions and deeds are accountable before Him. On their own. So then, mum and dad ask yourself what could possibly be the best thing I could do for each of my precious babes? Pray for them. Let go of trying to control their lives and hand them over to God’s keeping. Into the Fathers hands.
Does that scare you? Does it make you feel like you’re not in control? Do you think you’re not looking after them? As I write this I’m shaking my head, because for me reader, the answer is YES! It’s so hard to give my babies over to Jesus. It’s a given as a parent to be in control of everything in your child’s life. I’m not talking about what will they will eat, should they go to school or homeschool? If they do go to school, then what school? What sport should they play? They are all great things but you and your child can work that out together. As you discover their God given gifts. I’m talking about the tough stuff. Their salvation. That’s the believers number one priority for their children. To be saved. Pray for that. Pray that Christ saves them and that His name will be glorified through them in their life. Then pray for the path they will walk. Because in this life they will no doubt meet suffering and pain. Ask God to teach them how to deal with the heartache when it comes. Pray for the Gift of faith and pray that they might be a vessel to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to many. All I can do in my own earthly ‘power’ I do. However, Christ can do far more than I could possibly imagine. There is a particular prayer I pray over my children as they go to sleep. When I am in my quiet time with the Lord. I’ve had seven years to add to it. It seems to keep growing as I ask the Holy Spirit to help me to hand each of my children into His keeping. Again, just like my post on singleness, I cannot do this in my power. I can ask God specifically to make me let go and allow his work in their lives to take place. Giving me a peace that surpassess all understanding.
Remember resilience comes from God. Character comes from God. He will guide and strengthen your children to know how to handle each situation. And you parent need to keep a safe and open relationship so your children can come and tell you just how they are feeling. Then mum and dad, with arms open wide and hearts ready. You listen and pray through every situation for guidance and protection.
Let me encourage you with a prayer I have for my four children. This prayer is one based around what we feel is most important for their lives as they grow. It begins with who God is as a reminded to myself that I have nothing to fear. He is enough and His power is unfathomable. I invite you to pray this prayer believer or your own, make it your own and pray for the things that matter.
You are so good and mighty. You are mighty to save, mighty in love and mighty in your promises. Thank you for sending your precious son to save us. Instead He has saved me and brought me out of the grave and given me life. You are so worthy of praise. Thank you for holding me up daily, teaching me and correcting me along the way. Gently showing me your ways and pointing me to your son Jesus in all that I do. Jesus you are my hearts joy and greatest desire. I’m sorry for the way in which I sin against you in thought, word and deed daily. Forgive me, wipe me clean and purify my heart. Allow me to always show this side to my family. When I am in the wrong to ask them for forgiveness, always teaching my children how to function and behave as a family unit. Close, understanding, empowering and rejoicing for each other. Holy Spirit come into my heart and do your work. Create in me, change me and strengthen me to be your vessel. To live for you and proclaim your gospel to all people. Especially my children. Oh Lord, that you will save them. There is nothing good they or I can do to make them be born again. But you can do it. You can change their hearts and take the scales from their eyes. Please Jesus bring each of my children to you. Let their hearts be changed and their longing to be for your laws and to have a heart after You alone. Holy Spirit transform my children to be strong and not waver from the truth. Cover them with the armour of God. Make it a daily wanting to be in the word and spending time with you. I ask that your hand is upon their lives. That like you say in Proverbs you steer them towards the right career. Where they will study. What they will do in this life. Remind them, nothing matters unless they are doing it for your glory. And God please help me to raise them to fear and love you. Help me to encourage, affirm, equip, train and correct them so that they might be the best they can be. I pray for their husbands and wife. I pray now that you are moulding them and strengthening them by your Spirit to be the best they can be for you and the families they will one day create. Make each of them be slow to speak and quick to listen and understand the needs of their spouses. Help my children to choose their partner wisely. Listening to your direction. Knowing your voice and obeying at all times no matter how hard. Jesus will you bless their families and homes. Bless them in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Help them to live in your joy and your covering. I pray for their children and each generation to follow. That all will be saved. All will call upon your name. And finally God when they experience hardship in this life, show them how to press into you, how to rely solely on you and give thanks. No matter what. Always declaring your goodness. Oh, give them a great faith. I pray that I will see each of their faces in Heaven. Praising you forever.
Thank you Father, thank you.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13.