I grew up in a tight-knit homeschool, gospel-centered community. All of us were raised in the church and all of the parents eagerly exposed us to God’s word from a young age. We memorized scripture together, were taught to share the gospel, studied the word of God together, and prayed as a group several times per week. We were all challenged to read through the word of God individually, and Proverbs on a monthly basis. Surely, in this group, you would think that life outcomes would be somewhat predictable, but sadly, that has not been the case.
My heart has been ripped out and broken by the experiences people I love have been through. Marriages ripped apart, children raised in split families, wild parties, and abandoning the church. While I was pregnant with my youngest son I cried daily at the thought that my children might one day make these same decisions.
Does the way I raise my children matter?
Lately, I have been struggling with the idea that even though I read the Word and raise my children in the Faith I am not guaranteed that they will follow that faith in love all the days of their life. I have looked for answers, formulas for “saving my kids”. All the while I acknowledge that salvation is from the Lord, and even if I do all the “right things” the outcome is in His hands, not my own. I have swung to the other side throwing my hands into the air yelling to the heavens “I can do nothing if you want to save them just do it. I quit.” Yet the answer doesn’t lie there either.
Why am I commanded to raise my children in the faith? Why do I pour the love God into their hearts when it is not our job to save? Could it be it is the same reason I am commanded to pray? The same reason I share the gospel? The same reason I serve and love?
These things are for my own faith?
Could it be that in speaking gospel and truth to my children every day I am not “helping God” save my children, but I am drawing closer to him? When I remind them that God commands us to be “kind” and to “love one another”, after breaking up the 500th fight of the day. I am not changing their heart, but my own.
In the morning when my toddler splashes in the toilet AGAIN, I already have the truth in my heart to respond patiently the way that God has called me to live. I can also remind myself of the way that God continues to be patient and love me when I break his laws over, and over, and over and over again. When my heart breaks when my boys hit one another or fight over little things, I am reminded of my own ugliness of heart when I judge my brother or sister at church for not speaking or acting in a way that I think they should. When my children stubbornly hold out for what they want. I’m reminded of the silent treatment I gave my husband the night before.
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