What I desire? To parent with all gentleness and grace, facing each challenge with a gospel-lesson. Reality? Not always that.
But if we ask, then listen, the Lord speaks. And He says to me, as He says to you, “Feed my sheep“. I know He really said it to Peter, but the application is there. And it is rich and deep and wide.
Purpose of Parenting
Really, it’s all in understanding the purpose of parenting as a Christian. Too often I think, even in Christian circles, it’s been treated as a peripheral job…herein lies a huge problem. Why have we been given children? Our motive will determine our methods.
Of all the things that our children are–cute and cuddly, fun to watch, mess-makers and time-takers, they are our disciples. They were given to us to shepherd. And listen to this…before Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep”, He questioned him: “Do you love Me”? In other words, “if you love Me, prove it by tending my lambs”. Just stop there and chew on that for a minute.
The reason we are so often prone to frustration is that first of all, lambs are foolish. That’s why they need tending. They do dumb things and they have no idea about the ravenous wolves. That’s why they need a shepherd.
But if we don’t understand this role that God Himself has given us, then their foolishness becomes a source of irritation (“Why can’t they just do what they’re supposed to do!”) instead of a precious opportunity to lead, guide and protect them. Remember, “tending” takes time.
If my life becomes about living for my desires and aims, and I forget that Christian motherhood requires me to die to my flesh, then these foolish little lambs are simply in the way.
We parent in frustration mostly because we forget that we are shepherds.
Here’s the “secret” I promised:
As earthly shepherds of these lambs, our method MUST be about taking them to the Great Shepherd. And I mean every day, every offense. Because if I am not always showing them why we must do or not do certain things, in light of God’s Word, I’m not showing them the gospel. I’m just trying to make “good children”. And if I’m not showing them the gospel, I’m not tending the sheep.
Ah…when the light breaks through, again, and the Lord breathes new life into my work, it is a glorious thing.
I hope this helps you!