Tips on Parenting

We had 10 days until we were moving out of state.  I was one week overdue with our first baby and began feeling a bit overwhelmed!  Okay, I was feeling a LOT overwhelmed!  Our baby girl did not want to make her entrance any time soon and I was convinced I would be the first woman ever in the history of the world, to be pregnant forever.

Then, the day arrived.  After hours upon hours of labor and over two hours of pushing, our baby was born.  Oh she was precious {and I was exhausted!} and as they pbabylaced her into my arms for the first time I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Both love for this sweet baby and relief that labor was over, washed over me!  I held this tiny seven pound fourteen ounce baby in my arms and she was our very own to raise!

A few days later and we were ready to be released from the hospital.  Sent out by doctors and nurses to care for this new baby, to meet her every need, to love her and raise her to one day be a godly, responsible woman.  Wait, where was her instruction manual?!  I had never been a mom before!!  What if I didn’t know how to do this?!

Well, here we are nearly eight years later and I am pleased to say that first baby is now in lower elementary and she is happy, healthy, and growing just fine 🙂  One of the first things I learned about being a mama is that….. I didn’t know much about being one!!  Isn’t it funny how we tend to think we have parenting all figured out before we are actually parents?  Then we have children and realize, “Wow, I know nothing about this!”

Oftentimes when people think about having a baby they think only of that, having a baby!  The neglect to realize that babies grow!  They are not babies for very long and though those first weeks and months feel like hard work as we adjust to little sleep and giving the majority of our attention to someone other than ourselves, when our children are older we look back and think, “That time was a piece of cake!”

Raising children is such a blessing and if we’re going to be honest it is hard work!  It is absolutely a gift from God and it takes a lot of time.  How many days have I thought and prayed, “Lord, help me not to mess them up!!  Please make up the difference where I lack!”

I am by no means an expert, I am right there with you Mama’s, in the trenches of child rearing and training! In the 8 years I have been a Mama here are a few things I have learned along the way.

First, pray!  The world wants our children, Satan wants our children.  We are in a spiritual battle for their lives and this mama is not backing down.  I will forever and always storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of my children.  Having children has taught me so much more about how important prayer is!  I don’t know how to raise godly children because I have never done it before!  So I pray!  I pray Scripture, God has said in James 1 that if any of us lack wisdom, let us ask of God and He will give it liberally!!  I need that wisdom!!  I pray that God gives my husband and I wisdom beyond our years to know how to raise these sweet ones entrusted to us by God Himself.  Here are a few of things I pray for about my own children:

~ Pray for their salvation at a young age!

~ Pray they will always walk closely with the Lord

~ Pray for their protection, safety, and for God to bless them

~ Pray they will never be enslaved to sin, but will confess their sins quickly

~ Pray for their future spouse and his/her parents as they raise their children

~ Pray that God will help them to have tender hearts towards His leading in their lives.

I would encourage you if at all possible, pray with your spouse as you pray for your children.  I cherish hearing my husband intercede in praying for our children.

Second, seek wise council.  Find parents who have raise their children well, whose children are godly and ask them for their advice.  My husband and I have sought the counsel of several godly parents and are always desiring to hear godly counsel on both marriage and parenting.  We know we need advice and the Bible clearly teaches that the older are to teach the younger {Titus 2} and that in the multitude of counselors there is safety {Proverbs 11:14}.   Older parents who have raised up godly children who are now godly adults have a lot to offer we younger parents!  Also, books written by good Christian authors are a huge help!  My husband and I often read books together on both marriage and parenting and we have found so many to be helpful resources!!

Third, consistency consistency consistency is also key.  Oh heavens, the temptation to not always be consistent can be tough.  It does not pay off in the long run though!  Consistency is huge!

Fourth, try to incorporate Scripture and teachings of Christ into everyday parenting as much as possible.  There are SO many verses in the Bible that teach character, and discipline, respect, love, etc..  When handling sibling squabbles we often use the verses about treating others how we would want to be treated, a soft answer turns away wrath, love your neighbor as yourself.  {Prov. 15:1; Luke 6:31; Mark 12:30-31}  Do daily devotions as a family, teach your children Scripture, teach them that prayer is important and teach them how to pray!  As they grow teach them how to study God’s Word!  God is the One that will ultimately do the work that needs to be done in their heart.

Fifth, don’t just treat the outward action, try to reach their heart.  The outward actions often reveal the inward man….. what we see on the outside is often just the fruit of what is going on in the heart {1 Samuel 16:7}.

Sixth, remember you and your child will never be perfect, don’t expect perfection.  We are all sinners.  When I do wrong as a parent by speaking to harshly, jump to conclusions, or whatever, the Lord will often convict me of my wrong doing and my need to make it right.  I have also given my children permission to let me know when I sound unkind because how we say things is also important.  What we may need to say has no need to be said in an ugly tone.  It is very convicting and humbling to have had my children let me know in a very kind way that how I said something was unkind.  Yet, it is also a good reminder for me to be careful in my speech and to ask the Lord to filter my words and how I say them.  Asking forgiveness of my children when I have been wrong is humbling, but it also is a sweet time.  My kids are always so quick to forgive and reach out with a hug.  I want them to know how important it is for them to ask forgiveness when they need to and I need to lead by example.

Parenting is the most rewarding and one the toughest “jobs” at the same time.  My husband and I truly desire to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  We make mistakes, our children make mistakes, but our mistakes point out to us how much we all are in need of the grace of God!

I hope this post has been an encouragement to you.  We don’t have it all figured out, we are still learning, but these are a few things we have learned and been taught along the way!  We love talking to older wiser parents and reading books on parenting, but ultimately, wisdom comes from God and we are in need of His wisdom in large doses!  Making sure to spend daily time with God is key!  Keeping my relationship right with God will make my days as a Mama go much more smooth.

Keep on keeping on!

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