When I parented my first set of children years ago, I was barely more than a child myself. My parenting was influenced by the way I was raised and of course, by what I desired to change. Most everyone likes or dislikes certain aspects of their childhood or the way their parents chose to raise them. My wish was to create a home that was quite different, while still keeping some of the traditions my parents created. Although I wasn't sure how to define it, I desired a home of excellence, but not in the way the world would describe it.
Since I was not raised in a Christian home, I didn't come to have a personal relationship with Jesus until I was in my twenties. Even then, my discipleship road was rocky and uneven. I definitely loved the Lord, but in hindsight, truly wish I would have intentionally grown and deepened my walk daily instead of traveling the twisting journey my faith took through my ignorance. The main reason I wish things had been different? My children. This was the biggest area of change I wanted for my family. Purposed relationship with Jesus would be the key that set the dynamics of my family apart and would give us the strong relationships and intimacy I deeply desired (and knew that the Lord wanted for us).
Now that I am raising my second set of children, and I have walked with Jesus for decades longer than the first time, (especially having lived through hardships and blessings that have shaped and molded my beliefs and trust more intimately and intricately than mere words can convey), my strong faith and relationship with Christ are the most important valuables I treasure. There is nothing more that I want to shine and share with my children than the beauty and blessings of a true, deep life led by Jesus.
So how does a mother do that?
"Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him for His excellent greatness." Psalm 150:2
In all things, hard or easy, known or unknown, large or small, joyous or disappointing, decide to praise Him.
1. Praise Him with all that is in you. Reflect the Lord in your thoughts, actions, reactions, and words Make Him known and welcome in all areas of life so that your life reflects Him, in and with, all you are, and do.
If we honor God and praise His excellent greatness, we are choosing to pursue excellence.
When we praise Him, despite curcumstances, even death loses its sting.
2. Pursue Him. The pursuit of God is central to my parenting. When my children see me seek God, talk to, and listen for God, they recognize obedience. When they see me choose to know, honor, and obey God; when I invite Him into our daily life, they do the same.
When a mother pursues Christ, she mentors the pursuit of Jesus to her children.
3. Prioritize Him. Relationship with Christ should not come across as a chore or an item to check off your list, but as an expression of love and privilege.
Where is your personal relationship with Christ now?
Where do you want it to be?
Do you have a plan to get there?
Where is your relationship with your child?
Where do you want it to be?
What is your plan to get it there?
Make God known through every activity, in the exchanges you share with your child. In the actions your children see you make each day.
As you intentionally and consistently read God's word together, seek answers together, and pray together, a strong bond develops and expands with Christ and your precious child.
Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12 says, "Again, I saw futility under the sun. There is a man all alone, without even a son or brother. And though there is no end to his labor, his eyes are still not content with his wealth: “For whom do I toil and bereave my soul of enjoyment?” This too is futile—a miserable task. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up! Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
As you and your child or children pursue the excellence of God together, your relationship develops the strength and durability of a three-fold cord. You are not with your child by chance. With God, your relationship has the strength of the trinity, the ultimate three-fold cord. God promises to honor the work we do with a pure heart of love for Him. Raising our children or granchildren to pursue Christ will not be work completed in vain. When you and your child face life, reliant on Christ and His mighty direction and provisions together, a supernatural comfort, companionship, and conservation is found. What Christ builds will not be destroyed.
Rest in, and believe, that God's word is truth. Trust that He is working within you as you seek Him and rely on His strength and power. If you exercise the grace and love of God and insert Him into His rightful place each moment, He becomes a living trust for your child or grandchild to follow. Not because they are forced to, but because Christ has become real, tangible, and known. Your pursuit of Christ offers insight for your child, a deposit for the life he will build for himself. Begin or continue allowing Him to work within and through you. Rewards will come along the way through joy, peace, and connection with Jesus and your child, but the best blessings are being stored for the yet unseen future where you will be able to exist in true bliss as you joyfully experience Jesus with your child for eternity. Pursue excellence. What Christ constructs through your obedient and loving pursuit will shine for generations to come.