Just days before my first child was born, a couple in our church gave my husband and me some advice to which I didn’t pay much attention at the time. I realize now that it was a glorious piece of information that I would later come to cherish in my motherhood days.
In the conversation, our dear friends (who happen to have SIX children…SIX!) said to us, “Just be sure that when your sweet baby boy comes into this world that he simply becomes an addition to your family, NOT the center of your family.”
We live in a culture where we are fixated on our children. Our lives revolve around our kids, their schedules, their hobbies, their academics, and their social lives. The measures that some parents take to ensure a good and safe future for their children is not only drastic, but exhausting, all-consuming and down-right CRAY CRAY!
I once read a book that referenced a very unique baptism practice formerly done by the church when the Knights of Templar would be baptized. When one of the knights was baptized he would be done so by immersion; however, he would keep his sword in hand and raise it up as to not allow it to go underneath the water. This represented his commitment to his cause. In other words, his act of baptism said, “Lord, you can have all of me, BUT who I am and what I do with this sword on the battlefield is not part of the deal.”
How often do we say that very thing to the Lord when it comes to our own hearts? “Lord, I am perfectly willing to give you all of me BUT _______________?” (Fill in your blank.) We straddle the fence with God so often throughout our lives: negotiating with him, working out deals saying, “I’ll give you this if you do this, but please don’t make me do this.” Yet, I think it is safe to say for those of us who consider ourselves Christ-followers, we know that’s not how this Christianity thing works. We must surrender ALL of ourselves to the Lord for Him to do His work within us. Otherwise, the Gospel means nothing. The cross, Calvary, his death and resurrection happened, for what?
And here’s the kicker: an area of our lives that is up for surrender INCLUDES our children. Just like the Knights of Templar, we hold our kids above the water saying, “No, Lord! Don’t make me surrender them. Don’t make me relinquish control.” The result? A child-centered home and a child-centered marriage—not to mention the trust issues we parents have with the Lord, who happens to love our children more than we do.
If we want our children to understand and appreciate God’s perfect will for their lives, we are going to have to understand and appreciate God’s perfect will for our own lives. God’s will for our lives as parents is to know His Son. And to know His Son Jesus is to trust Him and to believe that His plans for us and for our children are beyond our wildest dreams.
“Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20, TLB)
- What consumes your thoughts?
- Do you think more on your children or your spouse than you do on the Lord?
- As Christian parents where Jesus teaches us to die to ourselves and make ourselves the least of these, how are we teaching those principles to our children in a culture where children are gods?
- Do you have a child-centered home, a child-centered marriage OR a Christ-centered home, a Christ-centered marriage?
Our children won’t live at home with us forever, a fact I struggle with often. One day I will have an empty nest. When that day comes, I don’t want to have an empty marriage, too.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jesus, in John 10:10, ESV)