I’ve said many posts ago that I grew up in a very strict and religious home. My parents did their best to raise us the best way they knew how. I don’t remember very much about my childhood but I do remember when we would pray together my father would always get a small, old picture off the wall with King James Version of Psalm 23 on it and began to read:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head
with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
I even remember at the age of about 10 or so, leading the family in Bible Study of these scriptures. Then as I began to get older, religion wasn’t enough. I found myself lost in this world where I was controlled, directed, compounded by these strict rules. My adolescent mind trying to comprehend the purpose of church and religion with an unhappy life. Then I became this child looking for anyway out. Which is was the quickest way? I took it. How can I control my own life? I’ll take it.
In most cultures the stance of religion over parenting is held firmly, and our religious practices began to overshadow the love of the Lord. In Jeremiah 31 the Lord is speaking to His children of Israel and He says, “… “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Ephesians 6 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate (provoke) your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Yet, our generational religious parenting does not look like this.
Now I hold in the balance motherhood and religion. Is that what the Lord wanted? No, Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 NIV, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” So how do we get our children from here to the Lord? We go to Him in prayer. We are incomplete without Him. The Lord has to first teach me kindness and love in order for me to pour into my children, so I must become like a child ready to learn the Lord’s ways. Matthew 18: 2-4 (NIV) says, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
When my children and I reach difficulties I look to my children, and my childhood, and young adulthood for the answer. I remember those days I woke anxious, angry, lost, confused, broken, disconnected from my family and friends. Seeking the answer through life because I wasn’t getting it from religion or the ways my parents chose to raise me became my method to the madness. When I come across a path that is all to familiar to me from my childhood, I ask God to help me navigate so that I do not steer my children from Him, so that I do not make Him into a reprimander and not a redeemer, so that I do not make Him a figure for rules and restriction but for rest and restoration. Make no mistake, I fail at times to pause before I react but I am a work in pursuit of God’s progress.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You Lord for my children. You have entrusted me with this position so that You could raise me. Humble me Lord so that I accept Your instruction. Show me every opportunity available do that I can redirect my children from the paths that I went wrong. Let my life reflect the life that will lead my children to You and not away Lord. Soften my approach so that my children will see that You are gentle and loving. Let my children see my growth in You so that they will understand that Your way is the truth and the light. Pour into them Lord so that every generation from them will seek Your ways and not the ways of our past where religion caused us to run but Your love insisted that we remain steadfast in You.
In the name of Jesus I pray,
Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/images/NuPcc8