Co-Parenting with God
Do you trust God with your finances?
Do you trust Him with your job?
Yep. Yep. Yep.
Do you trust God with your children?
Well…I try to.
If you’re like most parents, fully entrusting your kids to God is something you know you can and should do—but something you catch yourself easily not doing.
From the moment we see our squalling little bundles through the nursery window, we’re hardwired to protect and nurture them and create an environment where they can flourish and grow into everything God intends for each one to be. In the early years, if there’s a boo-boo, it’s our job to kiss it. And no matter how old they are, when there’s a heartache, we want to soften the blow.
But it’s easy to forget that we’re not CEO of this operation. The Creator, who knit our children together in the womb (Ps. 139:13 NIV) and has numbered the very hairs on their heads (Matt. 10:30), holds the blueprint for their lives. Of course, that’s fine in theory, but how do you fully trust God when your child becomes dangerously sick, or when he makes a choice with painful consequences, or when you can’t get hold of her all night long? What happens when you doubt your parenting ability, or when your imagination reminds you of everything that could go wrong?
God never said parenting would be easy (excuse the cliché). But He did say that He will never leave us or forsake us, (Heb. 13:5). And He reminds us that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). We also know that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). These are promises we can hold onto, no matter what our struggle may be.
Trusting God to equip
For my friend Hope, simply trusting that God would help her to be a good parent was a huge challenge. She cried the first time she found out she was pregnant. “I’ve never had much of a relationship with my own mom,” she explains. “So how could I raise a little girl when I’ve had no example to follow?” Hope would drive to work and talk to her unborn daughter, making promises to be a better mother than hers had been, to develop the relationship she herself never experienced—all while wondering if God had made a mistake.
“Somewhere in all the concerns about how my past would affect my relationship with my daughter,” she says. “I forgot that God had chosen me out of all the people in the world for this little girl. I now see that He knew what He was doing and gave me the tools I needed, when I needed them, to be the right mom for my kids. Now I can’t imagine any other life.”
Trusting God to discipline
For me, one of the hardest things about parenting has been not doing too much for my kids—not picking up after them, not rushing up to school because she forgot her P.E. clothes or he forgot his clarinet, not buying them everything they think they need. It can be hard not to swoop in immediately and come to the rescue when our children have done wrong. Even when we know that discipline is for their own good, it can still be tempting to make everything all better—“just this once.”
But we need to ask ourselves, Are we really helping them grow into people of character? Scripture gives this big picture:
- God has a perfect plan for your child’s life (Ps. 37:23).
- That plan involves the loving discipline needed to become the godly man or woman God created each one to be (Prov. 3:12).
- Even the most difficult things your son or daughter endures—whether or not someone else was responsible—can be used marvelously by God to reveal His glory and develop your child’s character (Rom. 8:28).
We have to remember that our kids are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ for the greater work He has planned for them.
Carol, another friend, faced a nightmare when her son was arrested on drug charges. “Knowing my child was going to jail was one of the most helpless feelings,” she recalls. “At first my husband and I stood strong, knowing we’d given him to God. But as time went on and his prospects looked worse, I felt as if my faith wasn’t enough.”
She decided it was up to her to try and save her son, but when he was given a ten-year sentence, she fell apart. “Then God opened my eyes to realize my son was alive. And that’s when I truly gave him over to the Lord.” Carol now sees the grace in her son’s situation. “I realize now that, had I been able to find a way to get him released, he probably wouldn’t be alive today. Considering everything he was into, jail saved his life. Sometimes we think we’re the only one who can do what needs to be done. God has to remind us that He’s in control—and is much more capable than we are of protecting our children.”
Trusting God to save and keep
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But what happens when we see children veering from that “way”? Then we have to remember that our kids are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ for the great work He has planned for them (Eph. 2:10).
When it comes to our kids, to “let go and let God” can be a struggle. What helped my friend Teena was that the Holy Spirit would bring her own story to mind. “God saved me when I was 15 and delving into lots of negative things,” Teena recalls. “My parents rejected my new-found ‘religion’ and even forbid me to go to church. Yet here I am. I realized that if God was able to keep me against all odds, I could certainly trust Him to do the same for my child.”
Ever since our daughter was little, my husband and I believed that our job was actually to work ourselves out of a job. Our goal was to teach her the way God wants her to live, model godliness in our own lives, and then get out of the way and trust Him to take it from there. That didn’t mean it would be easy to watch her leave the nest. But our comfort was in knowing that her perfect Parent would never leave her or stop providing for her.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Our heavenly Father is committed to finishing everything He begins, even after we pass back to Him the baton He gave us.
The article was selected from In Touch magazine.
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