Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast - Episode 062 - Do You Parent to Prepare or Repair?
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast – Episode 62 – Do You Parent to Prepare or Repair?
I still remember that morning. Of course, the day seems more vivid, I’m sure, because as I prepare this episode, I’m coming up on the 15th year anniversary of the day my oldest daughter passed away. Now that she’s gone, memories are either sweeter than before or my thoughts are pensive because there’s no going back. When you’ve lost a child, you tend to view events through a different lens.
With maturity and hindsight, I think I still would have handled the situation differently, but of course, it’s easy to say because I don’t have the pressures of having to be at work early every day. When my first two children were young, I worked outside the home in a pretty strict business. Of course, we were expected to be on time, but most people weren’t very understanding if you had to call in sick for yourself or a child. I carried a lot of mom guilt for leaving my kids, especially when I could tell they needed a little extra time on certain mornings. Just like the day I’m about to share with you.
My oldest child, Jaime, was about 9 years old or so. She was always mature for her age, so it seemed she was older, but when I look back now, she still seemed so young. On this particular morning, she was trying to get me to let her stay home from school. After checking her temperature to see if she had a fever, which she didn’t, and talking to her and sitting with her for a little bit, I convinced her she needed to get ready to go to school. I didn’t have much time to spare in the mornings as I got ready for work. When she was that age, I had to leave the house before 7:30, which would get me to work with no extra time.
My gut feeling told me that my daughter just wanted time with me, and I wanted it with her, too. But I had to leave. Now, as a mature mom, I’d like to believe I would have called in and told my boss I was going to be a little late, but while it’s easy to feel that way now, back then it felt impossible to do. It also didn’t help that my two kids were sick often. In fact, they had both experienced a year or so in which the two of them had strep throat numerous times. My husband and I had to take both of them to get their tonsils removed at the same time before they stopped getting sick.
I remember backing out of the garage the morning my daughter was so clingy. It was directly beneath my daughter’s bedroom. Before I drove away, I looked up and saw her watching me leave with her sad expression piercing my spirit. Of course, my mind was on her all day. I expected to get a call from the school saying she needed to come home, but I didn’t. Guess what? That evening at home, my daughter seemed fine.
But there were several other mornings that were just as difficult to leave her. In fact, one time she actually placed the thermometer on my curling iron so that it would appear that she had a fever. I could tell by the temperature reading that she had done something, because her coloring looked good, her skin wasn’t clammy, and her eyes were clear. However, the temperature reading was the highest number on the thermometer. Calling her bluff, I placed the thermometer on the bathroom counter and calmly told her I was going to call 911 because her temperature was so high that I was afraid she was going to have a seizure. Then she quickly admitted what she had done and said she just wanted to stay home with me.
I also often felt behind as a working outside the home mom. Or I felt like I wasn’t doing enough of what she needed me to do. It made me feel like my daughter needed more from me than I was able to be home to give her. I knew the short time we were together at night helped, because she was always with me, talking about her day and thoughts. But as I look back as a more experienced mom whose daughter has passed away, it’s easier to think about what I’d like to have done differently. Now, as I remember my parenting days with her, it makes me ponder a particular feeling. Did I set myself up to parent to repair, not prepare?
What do I mean by that?
All those years I felt like I was a good mom, and I’m sure that anyone who saw or knew me parent would say the same. My grown son testifies to the fact. It’s not something I dispute or feel guilty about. However, I don’t want to be known as a good mom. I now strive to be a godlymom. What’s the difference? Well, a good mom works hard to do the right things, but is hindered by circumstances and her own human flesh. I tried to give my daughter the attention she needed when I was home, but also had to meet commitments that affected the care she wanted from me. I remember praying that Jaime would understand that I had to leave, that she would understand I wanted to be with her, but couldn’t. I remember our talks about my job and how I didn’t want to leave her. At those times, she seemed fine, said she understood, and wanted to be in the moment.
A godly mom would hear the words and interpret them another way. A godly mom would definitely pray different prayers. If I were in the situation now, I would pray with her before I left, I would remind her that whatever was making her want to be with me could be comforted by her Heavenly Father. I would set time with her when I got home, no matter how “fine” she seemed so we could read Scripture together and she could share what was bothering her. Was something happening at school? Did she just need extra time with me? Was she not feeling good, although she seemed fine? I would be in the Word with her daily, leading her to lay her feelings, thoughts, and fears at the feet of Christ. I would pray for God to reveal what Jaime needed so that I could reach her exactly where it would help her to feel secure when I had to be away from her. I would probably take a day off work, regardless of the money I would lose, or the trouble it would cause when I returned.
I certainly did spend time with her every night, and I did pray for her, but I know my prayers would be different now. How? Because my attitude would be different. Although I was a good mom, I wasn’t a godly mom. A godly mom takes all things, every aspect of life captive for Christ. Her decisions, desires, and dreams are different because of Him. Instead of pressing forward with what I had to do financially, I would carve that time at night, despite my busy schedule, to have family Bible and prayer time. That was a missing piece during those years. One that would have helped me raise children with identities tied to Jesus as children and teens, helping them navigate the world and culture with His Truth.
A Biblical worldview and a personal relationship with Christ that is maturing moment by moment would have taken the sadness from the face of a young girl and comforted her during the moments she missed her mom. Despite having a lot of time together at night to talk, my words and wisdom can only carry her so far. I don’t want you to miss what I am saying. We talked a lot about Jesus. In fact, she had accepted Him as her Savior as a young girl, but I didn’t know enough about actually crafting a purposed parenting plan that enabled her to grow wisdom, strength, identity, and desires through Him. Only God’s wisdom and understanding builds a foundation for her life to stand secure and strong. Mothers, you must have a purposed plan that does not sway or stop.
So, when I say I feel like I was parenting to repair, not prepare, it probably sounds more obvious now that I’ve included good versus godly parenting. When we rightly place Jesus at the center of everything, and our mind is always focused on Him and the eternal outcome of our parenting years, we are changed. We become a different woman, a different wife, a different mom, daughter, sister, grandparent, friend, or follower of Christ.
When a mother is parenting to prepare, she is proactive. Parenting should always be proactively productive for Christ. Your motherhood mindset, desires, and actions should be prepping your children for a lifetime of dependence on and submission to Him. It should teach them that He is always with them. He will care for them, teach them, and carry them. In contrast, when we parent to repair, we are not teaching reliance on Jesus, but self. I call it parenting to repair because training our children (whether we do it intentionally or not) to rely on self (or us) will never be enough. There will always be issues to deal with later, whether it be relationships, habits, beliefs, etc.
Of course I prayed with her and talked about Jesus, but the biggest difference is the mindset I now carry and the way I purposely and patiently parent for Him in all ways. Like drawing and releasing breath, I think about how I am affecting my child for Christ and eternity. Not just about the situation we are currently in.
Proverbs 22:6-7 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Sometimes parents read this verse and believe that if they tell their child about Christ and take them to church every week all will be well. It’s just not the case and so many parents are hurting. Children are hurting. Mothers have stopped believing God because they believe they trained their child in the way they should go, but their child grows up to walk away from God.
Raising a child for Jesus is so much harder than we think. It is a lifetime of training, prayers, laughter, work, and tears. It is a sacrificial lifestylethat brings us to our knees and keeps us there. It is humbly submitting to transformation through Christ moment by moment so we can become the follower of Jesus that we need to be in order to model Himwell to our children. It is admitting the ungodliness in ourself that allows us to accept and love the ungodliness in our children, but striving to move each of us into Christlikeness. It is recognizing the privilege and honor of raising the children God entrusted to us, but remembering that they have a choice.
Just as we did. When we accepted Jesus as our Savior.
No matter how well we may parent for Christ, we cannot force them to choose Him. We cannot make every day perfect. So, we prayerfully place our beloved children in His hands and trust that He will harvest the seeds we have sown. That is when we know we have truly parented to prepare, not repair.
My favorite passage of parenting verses come from Deuteronomy 6:5-9 which says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
What are some ways parents can look to Scripture to practice “prepared parenting?”
1. 1 Corinthians 9:16 says, “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
Evangelism starts in the home. Our children are tiny sponges that are so eager to know Jesus. What an honor to bring their open hearts straight to Him.
2. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Just as Paul speaks of himself and his service for others under Christ, parents have a God-given, ordained obligation to raise children for Him. In order to do so, it is imperative to have relationship with Jesus, to regularly and prayerfully study the Bible to draw nearer to Him. We cannot teach our children to submit to someone we do not follow and mentor well. Remember, He chose you for each child under your influence and care.
3. 2 Corinthians 5:9 says, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.”
As believers, our top goal, or aim, should be to honor God. “Aim” comes from the Greek word that means, “to love what is honorable.” It is, therefore, the duty of mothers, to aim to achieve the high goal of maturing our Christian walk, and of prayerfully developing the relationship of our children with Jesus, with full reliance on Him. Once we have experienced the life-changing and life-saving power of God’s merciful gift to us through Christ, we must commit to be accountable to the trust He bestowed to us when He purposed to us the children we have. Parenting is truly a privilege entrustedto every mother. We are expected to be a prayerful, maturing mentor of Jesus to each of the children in our care.
As 1 Timothy 3:1 says, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” As overseers of God’s children, we carry the worthiest task of all.
4. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
These were words given to the Corinthians by Paul, but it also shows how we should plan our parenting. Paul was watchful of the world, which I call culture, and the dangerous, ungodly influences on our children. Mothers, we must submit to Jesus daily, humbly seeking His direction and transformation. Without doing so, we cannot mature our personal faith ornurture the faith of our children. As we stand in the strength and courage of the Lord, praying for the guarding guidance of the Holy Spirit within us, we will invite His merciful, abiding love for our children to direct our mind, heart, and steps.
I appreciate the beauty in hindsight. Thankfully, my kids grew up to tell me that they thought I was a good mother. However, as one now much more mature in my relationship with Christ, I wish they had grown up to tell me how thankful they are to have had a godly mother. Those are the words my younger set of children use and it doesn’t reflect on me. All the glory goes to Christ, without whom I am nothing. What a gracious God I serve that He allowed me to raise a second family for Him. Being a godly mother has been the biggest difference in my parenting style the last nineteen years. I’m thankful to share parenting tips and godly advice with you. I hope you will be an even godlier mother than I can ever be.
Dear Heavenly Father, how merciful and loving You are. How blessed we are to parent for You. Thank you for entrusting Your children into our incapable hands. Thank you for flowing Your goodness and mercy through us as we imperfectly parent Your children. What a privilege and honor You have bestowed on us! Show us the way to Your heart. Allow us to see our children with Your eyes, love them with Your heart, and raise them with Your wisdom. Carry us and our children and allow them to come to a full and lasting relationship with Jesus. Help us to view every moment as opportunities to draw ourselves nearer to You and model godly love and grace to our children, bringing them to Your feet. In His precious name we pray. Amen.
Supporting and encouraging mothers to rest in Christ and pursue a holy relationship with Him so they purposely raise set-apart children is the cry of my heart. I believe godly parenting is rooted in relationship with Christ and the mindset a mother carries. That’s why I’ve created the Set-Apart Collective. Would you like to walk with other like-minded mothers to deepen your walk with Christ, learn a Christ-centered Motherhood Mindset Model, and create a Purposed Parenting Plan? I want to share special news with my podcast listeners. The Set-Apart Collective wait list is open now. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you’d like to receive all the details, as well as a special discount code if you decide you’d like to join the collective. It’s time for mothers to be purposed in preparing their children for a lifetime pursuit of Christ.
If you connected in some way with this episode, would you please rate and review the podcast on Apple or Spotify? The best reviews are by word of mouth, so I’d be honored if you choose a friend to recommend the show to. Imagine the change we could see in the way mothers parent for Christ. The podcast can be found at terrihitt.com, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and on the Edifi app, where you can hear thousands of the best Christian podcasts in one place.
Remember, if you’re not purposed in knowing Jesus and showing Him to the next generation, the world will likely sway your children away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast enables you to stop being a good mom and focus on being a godly parent. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to parent with eternal purpose and connection.