It was an enjoyable summer day in the middle of our summer break from school. The kids were playing together nicely in their rooms. I was doing housework and listening to a program on the radio. They were interviewing a woman who wrote a book called What If Parenting is the Most Important Job. That phrase stood out to me. I’ve heard it before but that day I pondered on it a little more.
A few days later I got a call from a friend that I had been waiting for. Some of the churches in my area help a camp for foster children. These children get God’s love poured on them for a week. They do crafts, summer activities and hear the gospel message. It’s a great camp that has left quite an impact on not only the children but also the adults who help them. Every year the camp goes to churches in my area and asks for people to commit to praying for one of the campers during camp week.
My friend helps the camp out every year. Really close to the camp dates she calls me to see if I will pray for one of the campers. I’m so glad she does. I love praying for the kids. This year I knew it would be coming so I was leaning in to hear the Spirit’s leading on what to pray. As I thought about the foster children and all they have gone through in their young lives, I began to see even more how true it is that parenting is the most important job.
As parents we lay the foundation for our kids. We teach them right and wrong. We show them how to treat others and teach them about the world around them. The foundational years of a child’s life are very demanding and the fruit seems to come slowly. You feel like you’re always giving. Laying the foundation is not the most glamorous part of building but it is the most important.
As Godly parents we are to set our children apart from the world and give them eyes to see the world through God’s perspective. Setting their lives on the solid rock of Jesus Christ gives them a firm foundation. Giving them God’s standard to live by gives them boundaries so they know what is expected of them and what to expect from others. Raising them to know the good news of Jesus and experience a personal relationship with Him from an early age gives them hope, joy, peace and freedom unlike anything the world has to offer. Equipping them to do what God has called them to do as they are being raised releases purposes in them. All of this sealed with the love God gives a parent for their child. This is what laying a Godly foundation in our children looks like.
As a parent, this may seem like a tall order but with God’s help we can raise our children in the ways of the Lord. We aren’t expecting perfect children and the Lord knows we aren’t perfect in the ways we parent. However, taking the time to develop Godly character in our children will always be time well spent.
Now on the days when I get frustrated because my kids are arguing and I wonder how I’m doing as a parent because I don’t see the fruit of my labor, I remind myself what an important job parenting is. I’ve learned that instead of trying to find the fruit I need to ask myself, have I been obedient to do what the Lord has called me to do? Am I not seeing fruit because I haven’t planted or is it because the fruit is still growing? I remind myself that laying this foundation takes years of diligent training. I remind myself that I am not in this alone. The Lord is right beside me cheering me on.
So for those of you who need to be cheered on as you raise our kids, be encouraged. You are not alone. Not only is the Lord beside you but there are many of us walking this path together. In households all over your city there are parents that feel the same way you do. Don’t give up. The impact you’re making on your children is bigger and longer lasting than it may seem. Pray for your kids. Ask the Lord what to do. Search scripture for your answers. Find others on the same journey. God is faithful to give us all we need if we only ask.
These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7(ESV)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)