by Gyle Smith
If you’re anything like me, parenting feels like both the most rewarding and most intimidating task you’ve ever been given. I just can’t believe these are my kids?! But at some point it slowly dawned on me that I am responsible, at least in part, for what kind of people they turn out to be. Without the supernatural power and grace of God, that is a heavy burden. In fact, it’s too heavy to carry.
So, let me start this series by saying that nobody in the world has parenting, or discipleship of their kids, figured out. If they say they do, it’s because last week, or maybe just yesterday, went well. But today’s chaos is just around the corner. I’ve actually been discouraged at times by the well-laid plans other parents have for making their children world-changing followers of Jesus, only to realize later that their kids and life circumstances are nothing like mine, and that their plans were just that—ideas that perhaps hadn’t even been tested by the unpredictable, messy realities of daily life.
Pretty much every plan I’ve ever laid out (and I’ve devised several brilliant strategies) has been turned upside down or eventually completely ignored by my kids at some point. My intentions have always been really good. But life doesn’t seem to be intent on fulfilling my ideals. But here’s the good, and sometimes disappointing, news. God isn’t either. He is not committed to making sure I have earned an “A” in parenting or checked off all of my goals. God is committed to His plan for shaping my children into the image of Jesus.
So, if you get only one thing from these articles, may it be this: Follow Jesus with your whole heart, and entrust your kids to Him.
Chill out. He’s got them. That may sound glib, but please know that for me to chill out and entrust my kids to God’s development is probably the hardest thing I can think of. I SO want them to follow Jesus, to be world-changers, to become the full extent of everything that God wants them to be. But, in the end, that’s not up to me. I do have a role. But we cannot live our kids’ lives for them. God and they are in this thing with each other. Yes, I have a role. But even my desire for them to know God is simply a faint echo of what the Father’s heart aches for them. Carry that ache with Him in prayer and in your own faithful devotion to Jesus. He really will sort out the rest.
So let that be the backdrop, the flavor, the canvas in your heart for what I will say about the importance of the home in discipleship. In the end, this is our Father’s work. He just lets us tag along with Him in His joyful, and at times excruciatingly hard, work. Let’s take on the “yoke” of Jesus in this and, with Him, watch our kids become near Him and like Him.