Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 003 - Set-Apart Parenting for a Set-Apart Child
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #003 – Set-Apart Parenting for a Set-Apart Child
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child and Christ? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? Do the days seem long, but you know the parenting journey is short? 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.
After my husband and I raised our two children, certain events happened that led us to understand that God was opening a future bigger than we ever imagined when we married at the very young ages of 17 and 18. During that same period of time, God gave my husband and I “visions,” or dreams that we both experienced while awake. In these dreams, God let us know that we had a daughter in China, a baby we needed to bring home. We weren’t sure how to adopt from China, but we knew Who was in charge and both of us desired to honor God and raise this baby for Him. The two of us began praying specifically about what He desired for us and our family and for Him to show us the way to make everything happen.
It honestly shouldn’t have surprised us that God was revealing a plan for us to adopt. A few years earlier, my husband and I were getting into our car after shopping at the mall when I suddenly felt a strong knowledge that God was telling me I would be a mother again before I was 45. Since I had a hysterectomy at the age of 22, I didn’t know for sure how this would unfold, but I knew without a doubt that what God was showing me would happen just as He revealed.
Once my husband and I knew what God was calling us to do, we prayed about the adoption and God’s plans together daily, then stepped forward in complete faith. God was orchestrating a beautiful story and we deeply desired to be obedient. As we followed God’s wondrous plans, we did travel to China and receive our precious baby daughter. Remember when I mentioned that God specifically told me that I would be a mother again before the age of 45? Well, my husband turned 45 only 4 days after we received her. I turned 45 four months later. Even when through the process, adoptions began to slow down, we knew that our journey would stay on track. When people told us that we might be delayed, we rested assured that God’s promises never fail.
Because we had already raised two children, and the parenting journey was so fresh in our mind as our first two were now 22 and 25, we had very reflective insights into how we wanted to begin again. As I had a deep and solid relationship with Jesus at this time in my life, I was immersing myself in His word daily, and it gave me a heart that cried out to honor and please Him. My faith was my resting place, my solid ground, my hope and future. I had lived a journey of coming to know Jesus after my first two children were born, and had a testimony of coming to love Jesus, after wrestling with understanding release of self and control to Him. I believed I understood more clearly what it meant to truly seek and follow Jesus. I’d been hurt in the church, as many have been. I had learned the hard way not to place people on pedestals, but to pattern my life after and for Jesus. My heart yearned to raise our daughter to know, show, love, and honor Jesus. My husband and I began praying for her to shine Christ before we ever received her, along with many other requests for her heart and life that we knew God would desire.
Our daily prayers together were sweet and specific. Since we wanted to raise our daughter in the right way for God, because we wanted her to truly know Him in a holy and personal relationship, our parenting mindset was already focused on the ending of our parenting journey with her. We sought specific goals during our prayer time with God and expectations for our parenting journey.
Here are questions we considered to make 8 of the goals we kept in the forefront of our mind and heart:
1. What steps would we personally need to take to ensure we shined Jesus for our daughter to see and desire Him in her life?
2. What type of character and relationship with Jesus did we want her to have once she was raised?
3. How did we want her relationship with Jesus to shine through her life?
4. What type of relationship did we want to have with her personally?
5. What did we hope her walk with Jesus would look like through the years?
6. What did we want her relationship with us to be like as she matured and entered her teenyears?
7. How did we want our relationship to be with her when she became an adult?
8. How would we stay consistent in godly parenting that helped her love Jesus in humble submission and enjoy a maturing relationship with Him?
The truth is that if parents do not purposely consider and plan what we want the end of our life and the life of our children to look like, we likely won’t receive the results we long for.
We must intentionally reflect on what God would desire for our children and seek His discernment, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding on how to parent the child He has entrusted to our care.
So how does a parent become set-apart to raise a set-apart child? First we must understand what the term, set-apart means. The basic definition is “to do something that makes someone, or oneself, noticeable, remarkable, or distinct in comparison to someone or something else.”
To be set-apart also means to be sanctified. In a very simple explanation, it means that something or someone is sanctified when used for the purpose God intends. When we live according to the purpose or design Godintended for our life, we are sanctified. More clearly defined, that means when we are pursuing and following Jesus and His ways and will.
The Greek word translated “sanctification” means holiness. This means that when we are sanctified, we are made holy. As believers and followers of Jesus, we know that He is the one sanctifying us. God calls us to know Him, to become more like Him, to become holy, as He is holy and He allows us to be transformed by Him and through Him by our relationship with Jesus. Obviously, we never reach the holiness of God, but through the transforming sacrifice and sanctification of Jesus, we can become more Christ-like moment by moment.
The deeper we pursue, know, and follow Jesus, the more He is shown to our children. The Jesus children see is the Jesus they see within us. Our children will desire what is appealing to them. Our relationship with God through a maturing and deepening walk with Jesus matters very much.
Since we desire our children to know and grow in Jesus, we must raise them to be set-apart, to be what God intended for them. This simply cannot be accomplished without intentional parenting reliant on the holy power and directionof Christ within us.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Now I want to read the New Living Translation, which makes understanding the importance of this verse for a set-apart life much easier. The NLT version simply translates the same verse this way, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
To be a set-apart parent, to raise a set-apart child, we must purpose to think and live differently. We can’t desire or mimic the behavior or customs, the culture of this world. We must purpose to allow, and invite God to transform us into a new person, a new parent moment by moment, day by day. Through the sanctification of Jesus and the Holy Spirit alive within us, we have the power to live a set-apart life and be a set-apart parent. His will within us changes the way we think, what we crave, what we believe, how we react. Through His life-changing, set-apart power, we are able to raise children who will be set-apart and sanctified for Him and a live powerfully beautiful testimony of His love and grace.
I want to share 5 biblical truths that impress the impact Jesus makes on a submitted life.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Galatians 2:20 says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Colossians 3:9,10 says, “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.”
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
Rest in His power. Parent in His power.
There are critically important things for us to remember when we deeply desire to raise children who will walk with the Lord and live godly lives pleasing to Him.
Our walk with Jesus matters.
The way you love Him and presentHim to your watching children reflects the way you feel about Him, the way you trust Him. Your set-apart walk affects the way you present Jesus daily. With the power of Christ working within you, your child will begin to shine the light of Christ and live a life set-apart from others in ways that are pleasing to God and your heart.
3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
I do not strive to have what society considers “typical children” or “typical teens.” I would feel I failed God if I heard those words spoken to me.
Don’t settle for what this culture cheapens. Life is meant to be so much better than what this broken world offers or tempts us with. Your child, our children deserve what God purposed them to be, do, and have. Their calling is higher than this unstable and sinful world can give.
I want to share 5 steps to combine with the goals you heard earlier in the podcast. I encourage you to set similar goals for your family, as well as steps like the ones I will mention now.
1. Show Jesus – Your joyful relationship with Jesus, the way you seek and follow Him with obedience and lovewill attract your child. The level of depth and maturity in your walk with Jesus will guide your life as it influences your child’s. As you read God’s word, share His word with your children through reading the Bible and discussing it together, and make it applicable to life situations, your child begins to assimilate the mind and desires of God. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
2. Make Time – Be attuned to your child, each precious and unique child you have been gifted. Be present. Put down your phone. Stop working. Delay chores. Look them in the eyes. Wrap your arms around them often. Love them in their language. Do your children need to be invited into your space or are they always welcome? Do they know it? Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”
3. Tame your Tongue and Tone – Does joy or aggravation shine from you? Does your child see love in your eyes and actions? Are you a constant complainer? Or do your days radiate gratitude? 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”
4. Be Consistent – In character, relationship, parenting, integrity, and pursuit of Jesus. Let them see your loving pursuit of Jesus and the ways He continues to mature you and transform you. Humbly give God the glory. Romans 12:1 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.”
5. Stay Involved – Guide, don’t hover. Allow maturity at proper times. Don’t hold on too long, but don’t push too fast. Know friends and set examples for the type of friends to connect with and the type of friend to be. Make godly life and parenting choices and guide your children to put God first when making decisions, not as a chore, but because they love and honor Him and desire to please their Heavenly Father. Set Jesus as the example for both of you to follow. John 17:15-18 says, “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth. Just as You sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”
In order to raise set-apart children who are in the world, but are not worldly, we must set that as a priority to achieve. We must be the example they see. A set-apart parent grows depth of love for and maturity in the Lord and seeks to pass that legacy and blessing to their children and grandchildren.
John 15:19 says, “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.”
Once we are living that set-apart life, it becomes our family lifestyle. We can help our child desire and do the same. If your child is older or already a teen or adult, remain steadfast in your pursuit of Christ and in living a godly life that reflects Jesus and gives honor and glory to the changes He is making in your life daily. Remain prayerful. James 5:16b says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
It is Christ’s work within you that will attract your child to Him and help your children to see their need for a Savior who transforms and mends relationships, but only the sanctifying power of Jesus will transform the desires and life of your child as he or she turns and submits to Him.
Isaiah 54:13 says, “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.”
Dear Heavenly Father, there is none like You. How great and loving You are. Thank you for gifting us with Your Son and the Holy Spirit within believers that guides us to desire and seek You. Thank you for Your holy power living within us! God, let us realize what You are capable of and rely on Your strength, wisdom, guidance, and power to enable us to walk in pleasing ways with You. Enable us, gift us with Your wisdom and insight, Your knowledge and understanding of Your children, whom You have entrusted to us for this exact moment in time. We are helpless and hopeless without You. Craft Your desires within us and enable us to attract our children to You instead of this world. Enable us to be the magnet that draws them to You. May our spirit shine You because our heart desires You so clearly. May our children be mighty followers of You for this next generation and complete the works You have established for them. We ask these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. The Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast will soon be available at terrihitt.com, where you can access the episodes housed in one convenient location, receive access to blog posts, read transcripts, and find additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and equip you to raise or influence connected children through Him.
God knows that we are not capable of successful parenting on our own. As we rely on Him, as we release doubts and expectations, and humbly bow to His guidance and experience, we find greater clarity in parenting and a wondrous walk with our Creator that will extend to our children and those around us for generations.
I pray this podcast helps you parent with purposeand deepen your connection to Jesus and your children. Intentionally place Christ above culture or self. Allow Him to work through you for true connection that will draw your children to Him and build a maturing relationship with Christ and your children that lasts for eternity.