Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To Train Up A Child

The last few weeks I have been joking around that I wish God had included a detailed instruction manual with each of my kids because honestly, some days I find myself at a loss and feel like I am failing as a mother. (Side note for you super-spiritual ones- yes, I do know I have the Bible as my manual :).)
Samuel playing with Caleb's hair.

After almost 8 years of parenting (quite a few that I would love to have a do-over with), I am more aware than ever of my need for God and His wisdom - and yes, I am fully expecting this awareness to become deeper every year :). Lately, I have really been chewing on the question of what am I really training and instructing my children in these days? Am I making each day count to the end or am I just counting on making it to the end?

Time is short. I know, how cliche...but so true. Before I know it, they will be behind the wheel of a car and waving goodbye. Will we as their parents have prepared them in the ways of the Lord so that they can stand strong in this world? So that their Light shines through. Will my children know how to act with integrity and kindness? Will they be prepared for what God has for them?

Abigail at 2 days old.

Each child is so different and unique. They are wonderfully and fearfully created and He knit them together in my womb. Called by God for His purposes. And as their mother, I have a responsibility to prepare them for those purposes. I have read two different things this month that helped give me new insight into Proverbs 22:6 :

Train up a child in the way he should go...

What has been confirmed for me is that this isn't just talking about following the Lord. It's about training them specifically in the path that each child should go, in the unique way that God designed them - personality, interests, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

When I think about this verse now, I am finding a new freedom in my parenting. How many times do I beat myself up because our family doesn't quite look like another's that I think it should? How many times have I unintentionally constrained my kids in a "box" (figuratively speaking!) because we had to be a certain way?

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of areas in our lives that we need to improve and many ways that we could glorify God better in our family, but it needs to be His way for our unique family and each of our wonderfully individual children.

I become truly excited when I think of my children's futures. Abigail is so new and we are just beginning to get to know her. Both the boys have such strong personalities and as much of a challenge it can feel like, I know that God needs people like them on this earth. That ultimately, with the proper training and guidance and the grace of God, the issues that we seem to have to work with daily, will be their strengths as they step into His path for them. What a blessing to be their mother and to have a front row seat!