I would like to say now that even though I am the mother of 5 children, and a stay-at-home mum, and a homeschooler, I do not consider myself to be an expert parent. In fact, I can only point to the grace of God who sustains me, gives me wisdom when I ask Him, and who forgives my sins and heals both my wounds and the hurts I have inflicted on others.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation.
Today I’d like to share some of the verses that have been signposts pointing me to a way of parenting that is more Christlike. I have been transformed from a violent, angry and selfish parent to one who is patient and loving (though still not perfect). This process has taken about 10 years. My darkest time was about 7 years ago when my third child was a baby. I wanted to change desperately, but it seemed impossible. I wanted to kill myself, run away, anything to escape. I thought that my family would be better off without me. That was a lie. Somehow God’s Holy Spirit got through to me that it would be better for my family if I was able to change and be a different person, than for me to die and leave them. He gave me a thread of hope to hold on to, that better days would come. And they have.
‘Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.’
Philippians 4 v. 5
The true Christian parent must be gentle. This does not mean that the parent is weak or does not discipline their children. However we can see the gentleness of Christ with children. He valued them, He welcomed them and He was beloved by them. They were drawn to Him because of the love that radiated from Him. That is what I want to be like.
Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
James 1 v. 20
This verse has reminded me many times that my human anger will not produce true righteousness in my children. It may induce them to comply with my wishes, and behave as I want them to, but will not change their hearts. My Heavenly Father has worked in my heart, taking away the anger and giving me peace. I need to come to Him each day because it is easy to fall back into my old habits of becoming irritated and impatient, and using my anger to try to produce God’s fruit. It won’t work!
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31 v. 26 (NRSV)
How can I teach others to be kind, if I am not kind myself? The righteous mother teaches others to be kind and her words are wise. They flow from a life that is full of wisdom and kindness.
For the Lord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread….
See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
Isaiah 8 v. 11-13, 18
I call this my ‘homeschooling verse’ because God gave it to me about a year after we started homeschooling. It is a reminder to me that I must not fear what anyone else fears, but only fear God and do His will. He will make me and my children a sign to others. They will see His presence with us as we obey Him. There are so many things that we as parents worry about and fear, but Jesus tell us not to worry about the future. Trust in Him for the days to come. Seek the kingdom first!
Here is my last one to share, which the Holy Spirit pointed out to me only recently.
I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Revelation 3 v. 8
God gave me this verse at a time when I was deeply discouraged about homeschooling. I was afraid of what others were thinking about my children and about me. I had a sleepless night, torturing myself with these thoughts. Then in the morning, I asked Him for guidance, and turned to Revelation, the book I was reading then, not expecting anything encouraging, but that verse leapt out at me. He was saying that He knows that I am weak (and I am), but I am faithful to Him and that is what matters. This past year both my husband and I have been praying more, seeking God more, and putting Him first. He is in control, and no one can shut a door that He opens. 🙂