Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 016 - Parenting for God
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #016 – Parenting for God
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? Let’s grow together now with practical tips, scripture, and stories geared to draw your heart to Jesus and guide your child into His arms.
In our image-absorbed culture, our children ingest a great amount of photos and videos that are most of the time about absolutely nothing. At least they’re not about anything we should want them to care about.
1 Samuel 16:7b says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Have you ever felt overlooked? Perhaps forgotten or less than others? Do you ever feel like no one understands you? When sorrow befalls you, do you cling to blessings or allow anguish to overwhelm you?
Remember that God sees what happens in this world through an entirely different vision and mindset.
One Bible story that I believe we can be encouraged by is what we read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, where we see this woman drowning in misery because she could not bear children. Remember, in Old Testament times, to remain childless was to be known as a failure.
After Hannah waited for a child years longer than she could stand to bear, she beseeched God, saying to Him, “O Lord Almighty, if You will only look upon Your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget Your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:11.
Have you ever done what Hannah did? Have you thrown a bargain to the Lord? Hannah, in desperate misery, muttered words felt deeply in her spirit, words that became a promise shaping her future, but also that of her child. Remember, we must be careful how and why we pray to God. Prayer opens the door for God’s work and He hears every thought or word we offer to Him.
Hannah so fiercely desired a child that she offered a negotiation to receive a son. God heard her plea and gave Hannah the son she desired. Can you imagine the pain Hannah must have felt when she realized she had to uphold the weighty promise she previously made to God in desperation? As she nursed her son, did she live with regret that she would soon have to release him to service for God? Or was she joyful inside, trusting that this was God’s ultimate will for the precious boy in her arms?
In 1 Samuel 1:27-28a we read of the time Hannah took her son, Samuel to stay at the Tabernacle, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord. Hannah had promised God the return of her son, and she upheld her end of the agreement she initiated.
Obviously, God doesn’t need our negotiations. None of us are in a position to bargain with the Creator of the Universe. Yet despair, heartache, confusion, and many other emotions can cloud our senses and heighten our emotions to the point that we feel we have no other choice.
God keeps His promises and expects the same from us.
As we ponder the words Hannah spoke in 1 Samuel 1:27-28a, we must remember that when Hannah gave her son up for the Lord, she was actually devoting her own life to God at the same time.
In order to sacrifice her son to our Heavenly Father, Hannah had to focus on God and on keeping the promise she made to Him. Her life became a testimony of keeping that vow as she arranged her present and future days to fulfill it. In actuality, Hannah was returning her son to the One he already belonged to. These verses, however, and this story remind us of the types of gifts we should prepare for God. Hannah’s willingness to walk through the pain of extreme and deep loss in order to execute the promise she made to God is an illustration of faithfulness that should spur each of us to examine ourselves and our faith journey. I’m not saying to model how Hannah bargained, but to look beyond that into how she upheld what she promised.
Do the gifts you offer to God reflect the joy He brings your life? Are they costly to you? Do they exhibit the level of your faith? Are you offering God small tokens of belief or presenting Him with more than you can spare because you trust in all He will do with it? I ask these questions of myself, as well.
We don’t know each of the reasons Hannah wanted a child. In the Bible, we are able to read some of them, but we can’t know her full heart. If someone else desperately desires a child and they pray like Hannah did, will God bring them a child, too? Not necessarily. God’s not in the business of bargaining with His creation. None of us know the reasons God allowed this child for Hannah. Hannah may have decided that she wanted a child so desperately that she didn’t care if she was able to keep it very long. Perhaps she believed it would be better to bear a child that would be devoted to a lifetime of following and serving the Lord. We can’t understand all of her thoughts or the reasons she released ownership of her son before she had him in her arms.
One thing we do know for sure is that like Hannah, we do not own the children God gifts to us. Each precious child is already His, and we are responsible for raising God’s children to answer to Him. We are only stewards of the children He has entrusted to us for a very short while. What this world teaches or believes does not matter. What we find within the pages of God’s Holy Word is the guiding truth that should direct our very short time with them.
1 Peter 1:22-25 says, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Mothers, remember while you change diapers, wash countless loads of laundry, cook meals, correct, educate, and play with your children, it is only a season of life for each of you. Yet, the moments that make up those passages of time are allowed by God and are to be used for His purposes and glory. How you use that time matters for eternity. Both the hard and the easy moments, the joys and the disappointments shape you, as well as your child and form the type of spiritual walk, the relationship you and your child will carry with God into eternity.
What can we glean from Hannah’s bargain or prayer to the Lord? Surely there is a lesson that will enable us to draw nearer to our Lord and direct our children to His feet in humble adoration. I believe we learn that no matter what our parenting motives are, no matter where we come from, what type of childhood we had, or where we are in life as we raise our children, God is the true parent of our child. It doesn’t matter whether your pregnancy was a surprise, whether you tried for years to conceive, or whether you adopted your child. The little ones you love and treasure came from Him, belong to Him, and answer to Him. Whether your child is loving and submissive, strong-willed, lives with extensive special needs, is a foster child, or because of divorce or separation is only with you part time, through great privilege and honor, you were chosen to be the one to direct your child to God. There is no greater honor than to live a life that seeks and reflects God with thoughts, words, actions, and reactions.
I believe there are 5 practices to ensure that we purposeour heart and mind to hold and exhibit godly influence that we desire our children to witness and imitate.
1. Proclamation - Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” When we acknowledge God as our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Giver of all, our life must proclaim His truths in all we think and are. Moment by moment, day by day, we seek to know Him better and imitate Him more clearly.
2. Profession - Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” As we profess that Jesus is our Savior and the only way to God with our mind, heart, lips, and actions, our life becomes worship.
3. Purity - Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Obedience is one of the purest form of faith and worship. As we study God’s Holy Word and allow the Holy Spirit within us to transform us daily, our life shines the Lord more and more clearly.
4. Persistence - Luke 10:42 says, “but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” As Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and reside with Him, our life must reflect that genuine desire in order for our children to begin to build a walk with God. As we persist in knowing and showing Jesus they will begin to display the same desires and characteristics.
5. Praise - Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” As we choose to live with open praise, joy in the relationship will be reflected in our expression, words, motives, and dealings. Praise transforms our life as we live with authentic gratitude worship. When we are changed, the present and future of our children and grandchildren are as well.
Jeremiah 10:6 says, “There is none like You, O LORD. You are great, and Your name is mighty in power.” Lord, may our lives, and the lives of our children shine a maturing walk that please You more and more each day.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your goodness and faithfulness to us. We know we are not worthy of anything You so generously give, yet we humbly thank You and desire that we please You more and more. Help us to be the example You desire for our children to come to know, follow, and show You. Help them to crave You over culture and live with focus on eternity, even while on this earth. May they proclaim You, profess You, live lives pure in Your eyes, persist in time with You, and praise You in the ways You deserve. May we lead them straight to You with the way we live, as well. Show us the way to model that lifestyle and desire for them. Pierce our heart with Your pureness and desire for You that they will see and grasp. In the precious name of Jesus we humbly pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find value in what you hear, and you would like more information on the topic we discussed today, I invite you to listen to previous episodes. To hear episodes similar to this one, I suggest listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast Episode 076, "Direct Your Focus,” or Episode 108, “Jesus Desires Three Responses.” You may find these on the terrihitt.com website. Just click on “podcasts” and type in the topic or title you wish to hear about in the search bar at the top of the page.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.