What is God saying to us about our children?
That’s a question Casey and I ask ourselves at the beginning of every new year. We take some time to process and pray about where our daughters are and where they are going. We think through areas of strength we have seen in them this past year, as well as areas of needed growth. Where do we need to focus our attention and training? What does Jesus see in them and how can we call that forth?
The question we ask ourselves is this, “What is GOD saying about our children?” It’s not, “What do friends say about our children? What do grandparents say about our children? What do teachers say about our children?” It’s not even “What do I say about my children?”
The question is what does HE say.
There are so many wonderful ideas floating around – books, teachers, resources – but in the end, I don’t simply want good ideas, I want God’s ideas. I want His purposes and plans for my children, and I want to hear His voice and implement His strategies.
Raising children is a great responsibility and honor. We have been entrusted with these precious gifts from our Father, and ultimately, we answer to Him. What is on His heart for our children this year? What does He see in them? What does He want to grow in them, and how does He want to accomplish that growth? How can we, as parents, partner with the Father heart of God for our children?
Proverbs 29:18-19 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
I am desperate to see and know what God is doing in the hearts of my children. Without this vision, I will be stumbling all over myself, and they too, will be stumbling in the dark!
We need a clear prophetic vision for our children.
We talk, often, about how the hearts of our children are like a garden. As parents, we must cultivate that garden, and this cultivation takes strenuous work. We must both plant the seeds and pull the weeds.
The word keeps used in this verse comes from the Hebrew word Samar, which actually means “to guard a garden.” In fact, the first occurrence of this word is in Genesis 2:15, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The word keeps used here implies one’s responsibility to work and tend a garden!
It is our job to keep, to Samar, the garden of their hearts. It is our job to sow the law – the word of God – into their hearts.
We must carry a vision for our children and intentionally sow truth into their hearts.
When I lose vision, when I lose sight of where we’re going, when I fail to tend the garden, that’s when “the people cast off restraint.” This phrase, in the Hebrew, literally means “to become undisciplined, out of hand, unruly, or running wild.”
Those would be accurate descriptions of what happens in a home where there is no vision.
How many times this past year did I lose vision, and things got out of hand? (Yeah, not gonna actually answer that question…let’s just say, it happens.)
So, what IS God saying to us about our children?
For our oldest, He’s saying to encourage her as she is growing and developing her own relationship with Him. He’s saying to teach her what it looks like to dig into His word. He’s after a soft heart and teaching her what true repentance looks like. He wants us to pull weeds of pride and sow seeds of humility.
For our youngest, He’s teaching her how to embrace, but not be controlled by her sensitive, tender heart. He’s teaching her hard work and perseverance. We are being challenged to pull weeds of fear and sow seeds of faith.
We have to keep these things in front of us this year. We have to intentionally take advantage of the opportunities for them to grow in these areas.
When Ellie has an emotional moment, we don’t need to brush it off; we need to stop and pull that weed. We need to be looking for opportunities and creative ways to sow the seed of faith into her heart.
When I look through the filter of our vision, the attitudes and struggles of my children become an opportunity for growth and not an interruption to my day. Those moments are not an inconvenience. In fact quite the opposite, they are what I’ve prayed for – a chance to tend the garden.
“To my best mom! Have you heard? I use your weakness to turn you strong.”
My oldest daughter was six years old when she wrote that note and left it on my nightstand.
I remember standing there reading those precious misspelled words, thinking, “Then I should be the strongest person in the world.”
If weak means strong in this upside-down Kingdom of God, then why don’t I feel stronger? If weak means strong, then I should be winning at this. If weak means strong, then I should be a body builder by now.
But, instead, I just feel weak.
I could easily list areas of weakness and places of failure in my life. I can lay in bed at night and think about the things I wish I had done differently that day, things I shouldn’t have said, and things I wish I had said instead.
Regret is a nasty companion.
We’ve all had those days…days we feel like the whole world is out to get us.
It’s the kind of day where you think, “If one more thing goes wrong today, I’m gonna lose it.” You end up halfway through your day, and that one more thing always happens, and you snap under the pressure – too weak to handle one. more. thing.
You lose patience with your children, and you have no grace for your husband. If you could step outside yourself you might find the humor in it – but that’s not likely to happen for a while.
You become a version of yourself you never wanted to meet.