Ten years ago I became a mom. I remember the feeling of finding out I was pregnant. Andrew and I had decide to start our family and looking at the pregnancy test with a bright plus sign gave me the biggest smile.
Nine months later I had Kai’s sweet body in my arms. I remember those first nights feeling overwhelmed because I didn’t know what I was doing or if I was doing it the right way. There are so many opinions about the right way to raise children, from the moment they look at you for the first time all the way to the day they become independent adults.
So I read, and I watched and I listened. I love learning and going very deep into topics that I care about. Parenting has always been one of them. For the las ten years of my motherhood life I have researched all types of parenting styles and I can say with all confidence that it hasn’t been helpful.
It has left me doubting myself about everything I do and comparing my children and myself to people that are flawed just like I am and my children are.
One good thing that has come out of all this searching for the perfect parenting style is that I have come to realize that parenting can be just like my relationship with Jesus, very simple.
What I mean by that is that my relationship with Christ is the example that I have decided to follow when it comes to my relationship with my children.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
God gave us The Holy Spirit to be our counselor, to teach us and to guide us. God as a perfect Father disciples us, as we read his word he changes ours hearts and makes us more like him.
God doesn’t impose his will on us, he doesn’t exasperate us or makes us feel like a disappointment as if he failed at fulfilling his purpose in our lives. Instead his desire is for us to rest in him and to obey him as a response of our love for him and trust in him. His commandments are not burdensome because they represent his love for us and they are not arbitrary.
Parenting makes sense and it is a joy when looking at it through this perspective. Our decisions and guidance are not based on fear or pride. We stop putting expectation on our children that we wouldn’t put on us.
We do life along side them and learn together. We disciple instead of imposing. We search our hearts and motives before saying things like “because I said so.”
We discipline with their heart in mind not our pride. We extend grace instead of judgment and embrace every opportunity to work on their hearts not only their behaviors.
We understand that good behavior not always equals a changed heart so we pray knowing that the only one that changes hearts is God.
Every day comes with new mercies so we rest in the one that knows their futures and loves them more than we can ever imagine. This is simple parenting, trusting in God’s will for their lives not ours.