After years of diapering, potty training and preschool, we are officially in the golden years of childhood and parenting. I remember before this stage kicked off how tired we were, physically. We thought that stage would never end. Three kids in 3 ½ years kicked our butts and most of the time we were simply in survival mode.
With that stage over and moved to the next all I can do (most days) is pray for Jesus’ return! This stage brings new challenges and a different level of tired. We are not only physically tired from the rat race of school and extracurricular activities but we are beginning the emotional tired that we know will only increase as they age.
This is our last year with all the kids in elementary school and I look back and think, “where did the time go?” The days that seemed so long are now just a memory and there are days I wish for them back. Now my concerns are no longer about potty training and playdates but about their spiritual well-being. We are faced daily with increasing challenges and difficult decisions that require research, prayer and many discussions. Today it’s praying about whether or not my 10 year old should read the Harry Potter series, tomorrow it’s discerning if my 6 year old can sleep over at a new friend’s house.
We are in the stage that control is slowly slipping away. We can no longer control their environment, their eyes and ears every moment of the day. So we make family devotion time important in hopes of laying a foundation that will remain with them for years to come and help facilitate a relationship with Christ. But that’s where my heart breaks a little. I can’t make any decisions or follow Christ for them. Reading the Old Testament I find heartbreak and encouragement with the Kings of Israel. The great king Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh did not follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he did what was evil in the site of the Lord. It wasn’t until two generations later that his great grandson, Josiah ruled with honor and devotion to God. Upbringing is important. Helping to establish patterns is important. Leading my children by example and teaching them the commands of the Lord is important but it is not ultimately up to me. It’s the work of the Spirit and it is a process:
“The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in to the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
This unveiling, so they can see and understand him more clearly, comes only from the Spirit, not from me! That removes the pressure and requires my dependence and faith in the Lord. It’s a great encouragement and reminder in those hard days when they disobey or make unhealthy decisions. Just like me, they are being changed from one degree to another. This process didn’t happen overnight in my life, and it certainly won’t in there’s. It is not personal sufficiency, merit or works that earns salvation or special favor with the Lord, its His Spirit alive and active in us that enables us to do these things.
Dear Lord, thank you for loving my kids more than me. You are concerned with their spiritual health and love for you more than I ever could be and you know their future. Holy Spirit, unveil their hearts that they may see you clearly and learn to love and follow your commands all the days of their life. Let them say, “For you, O Lord are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth.” (Psalm 71:5-6). May their praise for you be continually on their lips. Amen.