This is the third part in a series My wife & I thought we would share on parenting. Each blog shares a couple parenting realizations we’ve had. I say realizations because sometimes it feels that way. Like you’re stumbling, but hopefully stumbling forward. Some of the “realizations” are born out of mistakes we’ve made and others are lessons we learned from others. If you missed part one or two, I would encourage you to check them out (part 1 & part 2).
TALK ABOUT YOUR FAITH AS A FAMILY
There are a lot of great parents who will say that you need to do family devotions. In fact, Janelle and I used to think we were bad parents because we didn’t do family devotions. It’s probably a very special time for some families who are having wonderful experiences with their own children. When Janelle & I were growing up, both of our families would do a family devotion from time to time and we didn’t enjoy it at all. (Sorry mom and dad!).
So we needed to try to find other ways to disciple our kids that didn’t require a fixed regular time and format. It’s a little more organic. Depending on your personality, it can be more difficult because you have to look for moments…or make them. So, if family devotions are working for you, please continue, but if (like us) you are looking for an alternative way of discipling your children, here are a few suggestions:
My wife & I were recently talking about the lessons we’ve learned since becoming parents, and this is the second in a series of blogs we thought we would share. If you missed part one, I would encourage you to check it out (part 1).
DON’T LET YOUR LIFE REVOLVE AROUND YOUR CHILD
In this age of helicopter parenting, this point may seem counter-culture. When our children see our lives (the parents) revolving around them, it creates a false sense of reality. Obviously, this will look differently during different seasons. When they are younger, children need a lot of attention. But even at a young age it’s important that your child knows you love them to death, but are not going to drop everything for them every time they call.
It’s a great thing kids are resilient. No, seriously. What would parenting be like if kids didn’t bounce back as easily as they do? Parenting may be the most difficult thing you will ever do in life. There are some great books and blogs on parenting and of course mentors are helpful, but in the end nothing can prepare you for what you are about to go through when you see your first child for the first time. The highs are EXTRAORDINARY. And the lows are, well, extraordinarily bad.
My wife & I were recently talking about the lessons we’ve learned since becoming parents and this is the first in a series of blogs we thought we would share. Some of these things we learned from doing the wrong things, while others we learned from people who gave us good advice. The list is by no means exhaustive, and we are in no way perfect, but hopefully there are a few things here that you’ll find helpful. So without further ado:
I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ life recently, especially as it pertains to how I relate to Him and His suffering. Some things, like you, I was very aware of. Of course, Jesus suffered tremendously. For those of us who believe He was a real person that’s undeniable. We remember it ever time we take communion. His body was beaten and he hung on a cross and died for our sins.
I don’t want to downplay this incredible act of forgiveness and grace. It is the most amazing thing in all eternity! But maybe because it is such a God-like, giant action that sometimes I struggle with relating it to my journey (and therefore my own pain and sorrow).
If you go a little more in depth in Jesus’ life you might remember a story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert (Matt 4). This story is much more relatable, but a 40 day fast, talking with Satan, and angels taking care of Jesus — I believe it’s true, but that’s not the way things happen with me. I’m assuming nothing like this has happened to you too.
Then I started thinking about Jesus’ pre-ministry life. There is the complication of Jesus’ mother being a virgin when she gave birth. The first and only time that has happened. But what did that feel like from Jesus’ perspective? Did His brothers know their dad wasn’t Jesus’ birth dad? Did they treat him differently? Did Mary try so hard to make him feel like He was just like the other siblings, that she over-compensated? Was their family outcasts because Mary couldn’t explain who the birth father was? Did Jesus get teased or bullied?
What about Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph? We don’t know a lot about Joseph. We know he was a good man. We know he brought up his children with the Jewish customs and that he passed his carpentry trade on to Jesus. And we know he died sometime between Jesus’ age of 12 and 30.
Yes…Jesus could have been brought up in a single parent home. How’s that for relatability? Jesus buried a parent way before he was suppose to. He became very familiar with the pain and sorrow of losing a loved one — too early.
And then there’s all of Jesus’ friends leaving him at the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter denying his friendship 3 times. And of course, Judas. One of his closest friends betrayed him.
Has anything like that ever happened to you? Yes, I thought so.
You got passed over for the promotion at work. Your marriage has more conflict than joy. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a job. A friend betrayed your friendship. What friends? You eat alone most nights. Pain. Disappointment. Suffering. Three words we learn very fast in this life.
The next three words that come out of our mouths is usually some variation of, “It’s not fair! ”
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:15-16
A lot of Jesus’ story reads as current as today’s news feed. He faced our same testings. Our same pain. And now, Romans 8 tells us He is seated at the right hand of the father pleading for us.
The God that we serve and entrust our life to understands exactly the way we feel. He knows the sorrow of loss. He knows the gut wrenching feeling of betrayal. And everything He went through was for you and me.
When bitterness, sorrow, and depression begin to fill your heart, meditate on Hebrews 4. Our High Priest understands us. Take comfort that He has gone through many of the same things you have — He has felt the same feelings — and God strengthened Jesus to fulfill His plan for His life. And God will do the same thing for you too!