I imagine there are veteran parents out there who do not only ‘talk the talk’ but have excelled at ‘walking the walk’ for much longer than I, and therefore may be better placed to speak authoritatively about parenting. As one in the trenches of parenting young children, I wondered what warrant there could possibly be for me to write on this subject matter. However, since my goal is not to offer some sort of soapbox rhetoric, rather to seek out biblical wisdom that will profit both my readers and me, taking on the challenge may not be overly ambitious after all!
First things first
As with all worthwhile ventures, a good starting point is often always to set the goal towards which we hope to work. Once goals are set, we can then beaver away at the task at hand. So, it is with parenting, whether we be of the tribe who intentionally take time out to set impressive parenting goals, or of those who unintentionally stumble upon the business of parenting. Whichever category we fall into, the good news for believers is that the gospel offers an overarching motivation that undergirds everything we do, and that of course includes parenting:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
This gospel imperative keeps us from the temptation to compartmentalize our lives into neat categories that separate the secular from the sacred. As such, the choices we make in the humdrum of everyday life ought to find their underlying motive in seeking to honour Christ; the outworking of which, admittedly, may differ from one parent to another.
Living from identity
As followers of Christ, we are called to live from our God-given identity, and not up to any image held up to us. What this means is that we are not first and foremost marching to the drumbeat of pop culture, or any other subculture. Therefore, we need not labour futilely to measure up to its fickle standard of truth and beauty.
In a world where carefully curated media content, picture-perfect children, alongside things like financial and career achievement, has quickly become a metric of personal success, the pressure to measure up unsuspectingly creeps in.
Yet, if a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear, we reckon it still does make a sound. Even so, with or without spectating nods of approval, Christians make it their aim to please the audience of one.
In the gospel, we have a motivation tenable enough to keep us going. The earlier we see parenting for what it really is – a privilege to be God’s tool through which he chooses to mould a soul – the more inclined we will be to faithfully steward such fleeting opportunity.
Let us habitually seek faithfulness ahead of fruitfulness, resting in the knowledge that we’ve been called to parent, “not because we are able, but because he is; not because we are wise, but because he is; not because we are faithful, but because he is; not because we are strong but because he is” – Paul Tripp.
We have a saviour who infuses our parenting with his grace, and that’s all that really matters!
Sike Osinuga is a Christian woman learning the ropes of being a godly wife and mother, one wobbly step at a time. An erstwhile Telecoms Engineer, she enjoys reading good books and writing. Her passion is to know Christ and to make Him known. She blogs at http://www.thrivebytheword.com”