Don't be discouraged! Part 2
As parents and/or ministry leaders for kids it’s easy to get discouraged and wonder if we are really making a difference. This part 2 of a 3-part blog series is meant to encourage you as you interact with your own kids, or serve as a ministry leader for kids. As a parent who is a control freak, I can understand how we jump in and try to fix things and plan the course for our kids without first asking God. Maybe it’s okay if our very talented son doesn't have the best soccer skills coach, but the coach he does have models family values. Do our kids need to have the best piano teacher on the other side of town, or maybe the Christian piano teacher in the neighborhood that’s not rated as highly, is just what God intended for our child. And when it doesn't work out when there’s no spot with the teacher we want, do we trust what our child might learn from that other teacher, is God’s plan, or do we moan about it before God and our child? Many times the conditions we think ideal for our children, are not what God intends to teach them about life, relationships, and Himself.
And on another note, when our kids get really embarrassing, how often do we want to shout “stop that ugly behavior!” Michelle Anthony, in her Spiritual Parenting series talks about what happens if we respond with what she calls “shock and appall, too often. “You WHAT??” – that is shock and appall. This reaction causes children to believe that what they did is shameful. Children can soon learn that any sin may be met with disapproval, so they hide it. The result is that the child doesn’t deal with the sin or heal it, but instead “stuffs’ it. And what is dangerous is that we have a tendency to carry this habit into our relationship with God. And just like God, don’t we want our children to run to us – straight to us – so we can help them and bring them to restoration?
Often as parents it’s easy to get in the way of what God is doing. Michelle also talks in her series about how we need to slow down before we “react”, and ask God and the Spirit to guide us so we can come alongside of what He wants to do. I believe one of the most important things we can do is remind our children of who they are and whose they are. Michelle says that part of our children’s journey centers on what we believe about them. They need to believe they are the person Christ identified them to be. Often we make identity statements without realizing it. Things such as “She is shy” or “He’s not very athletic” when instead we could be giving them life by saying “she tends to be quick to listen, taking in her environment” or “He’s gifted in the arts.” In this world, our children are offered many counter-identities every day. It’s a normal process for preteens and teenagers to experiment with several identities, like trying on outfits to see which fits best. But be encouraged that those who have been granted a new identity in Christ are sealed by God’s Spirit. And remember Philippians 1:6 which says “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Lastly, always pray for your child’s heart, knowing that even though the enemy is seeking to devour whatever faith they have, Jesus intercedes for them every day. He is continuing a work in them and let’s not forget that we too, are children of God who bears the mark of His identity.
Written by Darla Bair, with parts adapted from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony