Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast Episode 065 - How to Strengthen Connection to My Child and Christ
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast – Episode 65 – How to Strengthen Connection to My Child and Christ
Motherhood is defined in the scary moments. It highlights who we are and molds us into who we will become. Do you know one of the scariest things I’d ever done in my life at the time I became a mother? Hold my newborn baby girl when I was 18 years old. Can you believe that I was more frightened of holding and caring for her than I was of delivering her?
Of course, I had all the normal questions about what the delivery would be like. But when it came time to give birth, the delivery came naturally. Caring for my newborn left me feeling overwhelmed, unsure, and alone. What if I dropped her? Would I know what to do when she cried? What if something happened to her at night? Would she stop breathing when she was alone in the crib?
When my daughter was born, she weighed six pounds, but felt even tinier. Her little head flopped back and forth so quickly! Her body curled into a ball. You see, I had never held a newborn baby before. My sister and brother were five and six years younger than me, and although I had responsibility for a portion of their care when they were growing up, I never carried that duty when they were babies. I sat on a couch and held them while my mother was around, and helped her with little duties, but that is far from caring for an infant day and night.
I really was scared when I thought about caring for my baby after she was born. After my daughter had a week-long hospital stay in intensive care after her birth, my thoughts switched from worry to gratitude that she was going to be fine. The biggest help for me was that while she remained in the hospital, the nurses taught me tips and tricks to care for a newborn. They showed me how to hold her on my lap to burp her, instead of on my shoulder, so that I could better support her head and neck. That position made my daughter feel more secure, and made me feel more capable as a mother.
By the time I took her home, I was better prepared to parent our girl. After we were home, the “on the job training” began. It surprised me that it didn’t take long to know my daughter, to understand her cries, and to know what she needed.
Now, decades later, when I look back on my early parenting years, I see other areas I wish I had done differently. Number one, I wish I already knew Jesus when I became a mother. Second, I wish I had allowed myself to be better discipled soon after I came to know Him. Next, I wish I had known about attachment parenting when I raised my first set of children.
There’s a lot of research about attachment parenting. To be honest, I’m not an expert. I’m not a psychologist. But I am an experienced mother and a follower of Christ. I’m not advocating for particular theories or practices you may read about. However, I do believe that a mother who closely follows Christ, is intentionally maturing her relationship with Him daily, and is attuned to her unique and individual child is practicing what I refer to as attachment parenting.
When people ask me what I think the greatest parenting obstacles are, one of my responses (beyond raising your child for Christ) is attachment. Children carrying weak or no attachment to Christ and parents has damaged this generation. If a child and parent are not connected in a close, respectful, growing relationship, the child will most likely not follow the parent’s model for a relationship with Christ. If they have one.
Before my husband and I began raising our second set of children, I realized things I wanted to change. It wasn't because I felt my first set of children weren't good. It was because God impressed on me the holy need to forget good and raise children to be godly. I recognized areas in which I felt convicted that I had not been a godly mother, and had only been a good mom.
I think when they stop to think about it, most parents would agree that there are universal thoughts related to “good parenting” or “good children.” Do you sometimes feel like you just want your children to behave? Have you ever been embarrassed by something your children did? Were you afraid their actions made you look like a “bad parent?” Have you ever just wanted your child to make you look good by being a “good” child? I also believe some people parent for convenience. In fact, anyone can easily fall victim to it. When those hard moments of parenting arise, it takes great effort and skill to parent for eternal purposes rather than succumb to whatever is easiest in the moment.
Mothers, we must resist cultural influences of this society. Instead, we must look to God to equip us to raise the unique children He purposely entrusted to us. Raising another human being (or beings) is never going to be easy. Why do we ever expect it to be? Raising another person from infancy to adulthood is a daunting task even to think about. When you’re in the trenches and things go backwards or sideways, it can be hard to think of the job as a privilege or blessing from God. We just want it to be easy, or at the very least, we want to feel successful and loved.
If you’ve ever felt powerless, hopeless, frustrated, or confused about what to do with your child, you’re not alone. A great majority of parents thought parenting would be different than it is. The truth is that parenting seems different than it was for previous generations. And don’t get me started on “typical” childhood or teen behavior. I’m not a part of that mindset. I believe God calls believers to raise kids who are set-apart, and that means far from “typical.” In fact, if you’ve listened to previous episodes of this podcast, you’ve probably heard episode #063, which was all about not raising typical teens.
I believe children have replaced attachment with mom and dad for attachment to peers. That’s a concerning thought, because when parents lose the status of mentor or influencer in the life of their children, the home, then in turn, the world, is altered. That’s the result we are seeing in America today. Cultural (meaning society) influences have a stronger attraction than traditional family values and is more important to teens. As kids follow kids, traditions, morals, values, and relationships suffer. Most importantly, parents lose the blessing of teaching their child the way Deuteronomy 6:5-9, instructs, "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 a beautiful image this passage offers! God gives specific instructions on how to make Him known to our children. When people complain about not receiving a parenting handbook, I like to remind them that our merciful Father gifted us a complete volume of instructions for life and parenting in the Bible. Deuteronomy offers beautiful, godly insight into how to build a firm foundation under our children, as well as how to continue constructing a heart of faith and obedience to Christ for a lifetime.
If you're like I was when I raised my first set of children, time slipped by SO quickly each day. Even though I tried so hard to be a good mom, working full time combined with life activities always left me wondering how I could do more. I felt inadequate at times, unknowingly following worldly wisdom and hoping what I did was right.
I knew I was a good mom, an excellent one in the eyes of culture. But as I listened to quiet stirrings in my soul through a deepened walk with Christ, I later recognized parenting areas I wish I had built differently by purposely constructing them on the foundation of Christ. Ignorance allowed me to think I was already doing that, but hindsight exposes the opposite. The closer we move to Christ, the more He opens our eyes, heart, and mind to His truths. May we never be the person or parent we are today when tomorrow arrives!
Years later, I sat at work, envisioning how I would parent for the Lord if I was a new parent again. In hindsight, I now understand God was preparing me for the parenting journey He had in store, because a few years later, my husband and I adopted a precious baby girl and a new generation of parenting began.
This time, our matured walk with Christ led my husband and I to plan parenting years much like people should plan for retirement or saving. We purposed our path and prayed over every step. We took classes on attachment parenting for adoption, and I realized this was the type of parenting I should have done years ago.
So what is the secret to strengthening connection with your child and Christ? Being purposed with connected parenting. Through prayer and a purposed parenting plan, you and your child will experience relationship with God and one another that will last into eternity.
Although none of us can be perfect parents this side of Heaven, I know the steps we planned and implemented pleased the Lord and allowed us to enjoy a second generation of daughters who chose Christ over culture. I want to encourage and equip you to do the same with your children.
Despite what society shows or says, the greatest privilege a mother can receive is the blessing of raising children to know and love God through relationship with Jesus.
To be entrusted to raise a child for Him, and to help that child come to the saving knowledge of Jesus as Savior, then to discover and step into the purpose for which God designed them is indeed a sacred honor!
Have you thought about the future God wants for your child (or grandchild)? God is trusting you to follow His commands. He allowed the children in your life to be with and influenced by you. One of the most important sacrifices we can make for our children is surrender. When we humbly bow before God, ready and willing to allow Him full reign in our life, we are setting the path for a purposed parenting journey that will model Jesus to the little people so important in our life. When we realize that attachment to Christ also fosters a strong attachment between self and child, we are better equipped to model the lifestyle we want our children to emulate. As we mature our walk with Christ, we are better able to mature the walk of our child.
So with a busy lifestyle, how does a woman begin to move from a good mom to godly mother? Even with the best intentions, each day only has 24 hours, and if you’re like me, you hope to get at least 7 hours of sleep. That cuts the day even shorter.
That’s why I named this podcast Purposed Parent/Connected Child. No matter how well intentioned you may be, the dreams in your mind or love in your heart are not enough. Hours blend into another so fast, but months and years slip by without you even noticing. Without purposed plans and actions, your children will grow up following peers and culture before you know it.
The truth is that you can never force your child to accept Christ. Just as God gave you free will to follow Him, your child receives the same choice. Yet if you live in humble submission to Christ and intentionally pursue deeper relationship daily, modeling the life of Jesus in your own passions and pursuits, your child will witness godly love in action and be drawn to Him. When you study and follow the words in the passage from Deuteronomy 6:5-9 that I read earlier, you will take the next step in purposed parenting for Christ. There is nothing more important you can do for your children or grandchildren.
When we were preparing to adopt our first daughter from China, we were required to complete a certain number of parenting course training hours. Because our daughter was living in an orphanage, she had already had less than optimum care. No matter the heart of the nannies in charge of child care, their lack of resources, training, caregivers, and time, left the overwhelming number of children in need lacking attention, attachment, and basic needs fulfillment. The training was meant to equip us as parents to understand what this need may present itself like in our child, and show us how to be proactive in our care. The information I learned enabled me to see that all parenting, whether the child be adopted or biological, should strive to attach children and parents through purposed methods.
Life isn’t smooth. Events happen that cause division and stressors in any home. Deaths, divorces, job losses, and so many other triggers combined with individual needs and personalities leave parents and children vulnerable. Through our courses, I saw the pattern of parenting with the purpose of connecting to the heart of the child, and understood that in a Christian context, we would never reach the heart of a child unless we know Christ and were led by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, a child must see the heart of Christ within their parent in order to ever see the need for Him in their personal life. As we parent, we must be purposed and prayerfully pursue connection with the heart of our child, while at the same time connecting their heart to Christ. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need resources on how to parent with strong, godly connection at email@example.com. There are also several early episodes of this podcast dealing with purposed parenting for Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing us the privilege of raising children for You. Our heart desires to grab hold and keep them to ourselves, but in reality, they are Yours and only loaned to us for a short time. Lord, the years fly by faster than we even think they will. What a gift those precious years are, even when we don’t realize it at the time. May every mother listening to this podcast realize the beauty of the purpose of motherhood and strive to raise godly children who are set-apart from this culture and connected to You with purpose. Help us to be pleasing in our walk with You and through our parenting practices. May we and our children bring You great joy. In the precious name of Jeus 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 information and a special code to receive a discount if you find 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 if you would also choose a friend to recommend the show to, imagine the change we could see in the way mothers parent for Christ.
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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.