October is an unusual month for our family this year. Our youngest is turning fourteen. To actually put that down in black and white makes it even more real. It may not sound like a big deal to you, but for us it is major. Our youngest will be fourteen, y’all! Crazy. So, I’m finding myself in a place of contemplation and a place of remembrance.
As I think over the earlier years of parenting, I have been wondering what truly would have helped me as a younger mom. What would I say to myself when in the midst of nurturing those two little guys? What would I have benefited from knowing?
I think the first thing I would tell myself would be to read “Grace Based Parenting” by Tim Kimmell earlier. It changed my parenting style and my whole outlook on parenting in general. Before reading this book, I was so uptight about what people thought about our kids and I would always automatically say “no” to everything. That book changed my life and in turn, the life of my boys. I am forever grateful.
The next thing that I would tell myself is to trust God for daily bread. Honestly, I have just learned this in the last two years. Concentrate on the needs for today, lay them in God’s arms and He will provide. I would tell my earlier self to quit trying to devise ways to provide for your family. I would tell myself to spend that time on my knees thanking God for the provision of the day instead. He is faithful! He is Provider! He can be trusted for daily needs. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 “each day has enough trouble of its own”.
I would also tell my younger version that you will never regret staying home with your boys over a “career”. You will get to the end of rearing two amazing human beings and know that you made the right investment. You will not regret leaving singing options behind because your oldest boy will be the lead in several college musical productions. You will never regret not becoming the next fitness guru because your youngest is now running down the road with you three times a week. You will never regret investing in your family instead of your own wants. You are making the right choice.
As my younger self, I would also like to know that homeschooling is worth it. Yes, the burnout will come, the frustration will be often, but it is more valuable than gold to see and hear your little ones read and to know that the only reason they are reading is because God gave you the ability to teach them. You will have many precious moments when you know God is your Ebenezer, the only way you have come this far.
The last thing I would tell my younger self is to not worry about praying for the right thing. Don’t worry with the latest book, the newest article, or even the most recent “in thing” to pray over your kids. Simply pray. Pray for them to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, that they would be men of God’s Word and men of prayer. Everything else will ‘come out in the wash’. So, wad up the massive list to pray over your kids each day and realize that as long as you are praying, you are doing it the right way. Romans 8:26 assures us that “…the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” We are assured that the Spirit takes our heartfelt groanings for our children and molds them into the prayers that God wants prayed over them. So, relax, pray and leave it in God’s hands.
We have not finished rearing our boys, but we are close. Before I know it, my youngest will be going to college and my oldest will be graduating college and beginning his own, independent journey. So, for now, I need to be reminded to finish my race well. The Lord laid out a journey for our family that seemed overwhelming at the time, but He has been so faithful and I know He will continue to be. I Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He will also bring it to pass.”
Through the Lord, the journey will soon be complete. But, for now, I also need to be reminded of Deuteronomy 31:8. It says, “And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.” God will be with us through the upcoming decisions, temptations and paths to cross. He is before us paving the way.
I likewise need to be reminded of Isaiah 66:11. It says, “‘Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?’ says the LORD.” I need to remember that God has brought us to the point of delivery with our boys and He will allow their birth into this world to be completed. He will sustain them, provide for them and be faithful to them just as He has been their entire life. He will not bring us to the point of their adult birth and leave. He will deliver! That’s our God.
So, as I finish thinking of our parenting journey, I am left is awe of the provision that God has given to us over the course of this amazing voyage. I am left in such a state of gratitude and wonder that God is indeed faithful and true to the promises of His Word. I am left with increased faith knowing that if God has done so much in the past, I know He has great things in store for our future. I am left in awe of the daily bread, the answered prayer, the deep, abiding friendship that He has provided over the years and I am left with such an intense love for a God that cares about every detail, every nuance of each day in this crazy family. I am left knowing that God is a God of comfort, insight and truly the best teacher of all time.
God of all gods, I give You praise today for the two amazing men that You have provided for us. I praise You today for all of the children all across the world who love You. Help them to stay strong in Your power. I pray that they are men and women of courage and strength through the power of Your Spirit. I pray that they will love You with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength and I praise You that they will become men and women of Your Word and of prayer. In Jesus’ Name…
Please visit the website at: Seeking Hearts Ministries