My wife, Sue Ahn, is a gifted teacher and amazing wife, mother and grandmother. One of the many things I love about Sue is that she loves to learn and grow. She has always been hungry, not just for information – but wisdom that will impact how we live. Sue has applied that same desire for practical, godly wisdom to raising our children and imparting to our grandchildren. I believe the wisdom Sue has learned over the years will bless you and your family as our guest blogger, this week.
– In His Love, Ché Ahn
GOD AND PARENTING
As a mother of four and grandmother of five, I have learned to parent children through the various stages of their life and mine! But, there’s something special about being a parent to little ones. I spend a lot of time with my grandchildren, so every week, I learn over again the precious uniqueness about taking care of babies and Pre-K age children.
It can be challenging at times, but it’s also a joy – with lots of laughter.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” – Psalm 127:3-4
Starting a family will turn your schedule upside down and completely change your relationship with God. That is when you will have to establish a new normal in your life, with God’s help. If you are willing to adapt, you may find that while time with the Lord looks different, there is a deeper level of understanding of His love to be found through parenting.
FAMILY = CHANGE
When Ché and I were starting a family, we had four children under the age of five at the same time. Gabriel and Grace are 15 months apart in age, Grace and Joy are 18 months apart, and Joy and Mary are 22 months apart. At one point in our household, all four children were in diapers at the same time! Can you imagine?! And not one child was an “accident.” We planned it that way. I believe that God’s intention has always been for us to have righteous, holy families. Family is meant to reflect not only heaven, but more specifically the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share deep relationship with one another—which is God’s greatest gift to us. Beginning a family, however means rather drastic change. Marriage is a life-altering experience, because you learn to deny yourself (every day) in considering another person. Parenthood takes this to a whole new level. (Basically, you get to die twice, every day.) When you become a new parent, your time is totally compromised by this tiny person who is fully dependent on you.
A NEW “NORMAL”
Parents of young children don’t have a lot of control over their schedules. They usually have to have a plan B, C, and D. Here are some life-giving things to remember that can help you in your walk with God and bring you peace as a child of God and parent of young ones.
1 . Be Flexible and Creative
If you’re a young mother or father, you’ve got to be flexible and creative. Time with Jesus might not look like it used to. You may connect with God during unexpected moments of just getting to sit down (even in the bathroom). It’s not important what it looks like; the word of God says Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The key is to always keep a tender and pure heart towards the Lord. One practice I developed was memorizing Scripture while pushing the stroller, one child in the carrier, one in the stroller, and one by my side.
2. Avoid Comparison with Other Parents
There’s a temptation to compare yourself to the way other parents appear to be succeeding in “doing it all” — but don’t fall into the trap of comparison. No parent can actually “do it all”, it just appears that way. When your groundbreaking experience for that day may be succeeding in getting dinner on the table, it’s easy to feel discouraged. However, the good news is that having children sets us up for a profound revelation of God’s unconditional love for us as we are growing.
3. Rely on the Best Parent – God
Our reliance on God to parent well enables us to grow in our knowledge of God as Father. When we have little ones who are dependent on us, we realize just how much we depend and lean on the Lord. And when we realize we have a divine Parent who was so selfless as to give us His only Son, we understand what it really means to be selfless. Remember, the Trinity is our model for family, so we can learn a lot from the Father’s own selflessness. And don’t forget to ENJOY the process. God loves watching you develop and grow too!
LEARNING TO PARENT WELL
God wants you to be blessed in your natural family. Learn from your own experiences (both the success and the failures) and the experiences of others. Know that God will reveal Himself as your own loving Father through that radical change in your circumstances.
Here are several resources to help you cultivate a healthy family, build intimacy in your home and learn how to be a strong parent:
Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing up Boys: Shaping the Next Generation of Men
Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing up Girls: Shaping the Next Generation of Women
Danny Silk’s book, Loving Our Kids on Purpose
Focus on the Family has a great website with multiple resources to help your family thrive.
Our HRock Church sermon series on the Family Mountain of Social Influence Join us via live-stream at HRock Church (Sundays 9:30 & 11:30am) as we continue our message series on Family at www.HRock.tv