I am told of a story of when a mother put her three-year-old son down for his afternoon nap. She went to check on him a few minutes later only to find that he had used a permanent marker to scrawl the letter “Z” across every surface in his room: walls, furniture, sheets, mini blinds, carpet and, of course, his bare chest and forehead. He had recently watched his first episode of Zorro, and like the masked swordsman, he wanted to leave his mark.
Every parent has had “that moment,” whether it be crazy toddler behavior that left you speechless with frustration, when you knew with a sinking heart that you did not handle a situation with your child gracefully or when your teenager made a choice that left you utterly devastated and at a loss. In the midst of the often-hard reality of parenting, it can be easy to forget that God tells us our children are our treasure and on loan to us as a gift from our Heavenly Father. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord” Psalm 127:3.
If we are told that our children are precious gifts from the Lord, how can we believe and act on this as we navigate parenting?
God Has Entrusted Us With Our Children
God has entrusted you with parenting your specific children. That means He has given you the responsibility to raise them, in the unique way that only you can. And since God does not make mistakes, He chose you to parent your child as only you can. On the frustrating days when it seems like you are failing at parenting your child, lean into the truth that God has entrusted you with this job and He will uniquely equip you with all that you need. There have been many days when I felt like my best was still not cutting it, but I have to stop and remind myself of the truth that God gave me my children as a gift and He entrusted me with caring for them. He will equip me with all I need.
Children Are A Gift FOR Us
God gave us our children as a gift FOR us, not just TO us. I was the perfect parent before I actually became a father. After my first son was born, I received a huge dose of humility as the reality quickly settled in that I could no longer control this tiny human, my own image or my life anymore. And I continue to be humbled daily by my children, this many years later. But as a Christ follower, that is a good thing. I want to be more like Him in all that I do. My children give me the humility that is required for me to fully and intentionally trust in Him for my needs rather than relying on myself.
God Gave Us Our Children to Enjoy
When I think of every truly fantastic gift I have ever received, the common trait is that I wholeheartedly enjoyed each gift. Our children are a gift to us, so ENJOY them. Delight in them. Have fun with them. Play with them. Watch them learn, discover and grow. Write down the cute things they say, take pictures and videos of them, spend time with each of them one on one. Learn about their interests. Take them on adventures.
We, as adults, take ourselves way too seriously. Kids just have fun. Many times we can see kids bolting to the playground yelling with excitement and seeing the joy radiate from them as they barrel towards the slide. The hard stuff of parenting can easily overshadow the amazing stuff if we let it. So pause and sit in the really fantastic stuff too.
That is the place I want to rest in, where I am enjoying my children with a thankful heart for the gift of raising them and a treasure, meant to strengthen and grow me as a person and Christ follower.