To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Promises and Faithful Parenting

My children are still sleeping. Well, except for Claire who is snuggled down in my bed...she usually wakes early and likes to be close.

I love my kids. With that vast, down in my bones, squeeze my heart, painfully sweet kind of parental love.
I'm doing some reading on parenting. And I'm having quite a few conversations about parenting with different people at different ends of the spectrum...a Mother to a teenager, a Mom to little ones and Mom's in between.
And I have a ton of questions. They rattle around in my brain like little bumper cars and whenever I try to pin one down...to follow it to a conclusive answer it smacks into another one with a resounding 'Thump!'
Is it enough to say "You do your best and hope for the best"? "You do what you can to teach them the right way...to teach them truth...but God is sovereign and you just don't know what He has planned for that child"?
I think the first is nothing more than hoping your child doesn't end up pregnant while still in high school or hooked on drugs or something else that is potentially embarrassing to you. I don't think that's hope at all. And I think the second is a cop out and misuse of God's sovereignty.
They both leave parenting so unstable...so unknown and unsure. And as I'm reading what the Bible says on parenting the last thing I see it teaching is un anything. Seriously, it is full of promises to us...if this, then that.
Train up a child in the way he should go...we all know that verse, right? How many times have you heard it used to offer hope to the parent of a wayward child? You know, as a promise that "Hey, you've done what you could...you've taught them about God. Even if they rebel they'll be back. God says so." But is that really what that verse means? Even says?
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
What if the promise is that when we are faithful parents we can fully expect our children to not rebel? Not because we've done anything right...but because God made a promise.
I know. I know! I know the thoughts that crop up in your mind about this...against this.
Does this mean we can ever say to God, "Look, I've done my part and now You have to ____________" and fill in the blank.
Absolutely not. No more than we can say, "Hey, I prayed a prayer or I went to church or I read my Bible and now you have to save me."
It's faith.
Why would I not raise my children according to, and trusting in, the same faithful mercy that I rest my eternal salvation on? Can I make God save my children? Again, I say absolutely not. Do I trust that He will? Absolutely. Will it be because I have a checklist of things that I do that will cause Him to do it? Absolutely not. It will be because He promised...even when he is old.
This is such a huge subject. I'm sure I'll be thinking and posting about it a lot.
I'm just thinking out loud.

2 comments:

Roni said...

I like when you think out loud. My children are my greatest joy and blessing. Beautiful post.

Marty said...

Thanks Roni! How are you?