Our children didn’t understand why we made them eat green vegetables, do their schoolwork, and go to bed at a decent hour. They couldn’t fathom how baths were good and eating dirt was bad. It was a mystery to them why we were so passionate that they avoid alcohol, date only believers, and hang out with kids who loved Jesus.
I loved playing with my children. I loved teaching them. I loved sharing adventures, reading to them, and taking trips. I loved feeding them, clothing them, and giving them special gifts.
“Godly parenting can help boost your love for God.”
I did not enjoy making them obey. I didn’t enjoy holding them accountable to be honest, diligent, and respectful. I didn’t enjoy making them do chores, save their money, and complete their school assignments. I didn’t enjoy being “the bad guy” who punished them for disobeying and “forced” them to go to church.
But I did it anyway, because I knew the scriptural guidelines we were laying down would help protect them from the danger and devastation of sin and help them become happy, healthy, productive, godly adults. I wanted my children to experience everything good and avoid everything bad.
Many times, like my children, I struggle with obedience. I become willful and rebellious.
I march off in pursuit of what I know is best for me. I’m convinced I know best what will make me happy. Obey God? Surely he doesn’t know better than I what makes me happy.
And I’ve lived long enough to suffer the consequences of my disobedience.
“If you love me,” he calls, “keep my commandments. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And all these things (everything you need to be fulfilled) will be added to you.”
My children helped me understand why God wanted me to obey him.
Parenting taught me how much God loves me.
Because I didn’t enjoy babysitting, I worried I might not be a good mother. I was unprepared for the emotions that overwhelmed me following my daughter’s birth. Almost instantly, something happened that made me 100 percent mother. Fiercely protective. Sacrificially giving. Unconditionally loving. When I held my baby in my arms for the first time, I knew, should the need arise, that I would die for her.
Yet I am frail, and flawed, and selfish. I’m impatient, fickle, and imperfect. I’m plagued by a sin nature, and I make mistakes. Because of my human limitations, I know the love I feel for my children is a mere whisper of the love God has for me. Loving my children gives me a glimpse of God’s heart toward his children.