If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.
Children are a blessing from God but let us not be careless to forget that most things that are blessings are in fact hard. God provides all blessings to us to cause a change in us. Whether it’s the strength of Samson or the wisdom of Solomon or quite simply our children, each blessing given by God causes us to grow and mature.
I should clarify first that a lack of children or the inability to have children is not indicative of God failing to bless one’s life. Just as God intends some to marry and some to remain single, He has his reasons to withhold certain things that the scriptures consider blessings. Not everyone has every gift bestowed upon us from Heaven, but everyone has the ability to petition God on their behalf. As James says, “we don’t have because we don’t ask”. (James 4:2)
For those of us that have been blessed with children we initially find ourselves celebrating at the news. The first arrival of our littles ones causes tremendous joy and elation. We begin making promises to ourselves, our kids and God that we’ll do things a certain way and will abstain from other things. We read books on parenting and what to expect through the years of rearing a child. We rejoice in their triumphs of crawling, walking and speaking their first words and all seems to be going wonderfully.
For those parents who have been committed to the task for decades we start to mature into what many would consider parenting obstacles or troubles. Our children demand our attention in ways that are usually unexpected and we are generally unprepared for. As they grow up they begin attending school events, sporting events and a plethora of extracurricular activities that take time away from home and inundate our routine with stuff.
Our children begin assaulting our precious time with their wants and desires. No longer can we enjoy a few hours of reading, watching television or relaxing. Our days are packed to the brim with activities or preparing for activities. The days sometimes feel like they never end and we begin to question why we even have children in the first place. Every parent experiences these feelings at some point or another and sometimes multiple times. We are tired, challenged and exhausted by these blessings that God has given us sometimes to the point of forgetting the very fact that they are indeed blessings from God.
If we are truly honest with ourselves I think we can all agree that the root of this feeling is naturally selfish. The only reason we want reprieve is to do things we enjoy selfishly. Now I can’t continue without expressing how important it is for parents to get recalibrated. We do no good to our children or anyone around us if we don’t take time on occasion to be still and know that God is God. We can’t pour into our children if we don’t spend time in fellowship with God in His word or in prayer. Those things are crucial and important and aren’t inherently selfish. The tendency however is that as we enjoy the time we take for ourselves we can convince ourselves that we deserve more, and then the cycle repeats.
It is in our interest and the interest of our children for us to recall the day we found out that God has blessed us with a little life to nurture and care for. As easy as it is to be distracted by the chaos and crazy of life with children, we can always find the reality of God blessing us with them. Nothing changed in our love for our kids or the reason that God blessed us with them; the only thing that needs to change is us. We need to see our kids as a ministry that is Five Feet in front of us. A place where we have been given the tools necessary to ensure the proper raising of our children and the fact that God needs to sanctify us through the struggles and trials of parenthood. It is for our benefit!
The danger we face is the feeling of bitterness or resentment toward those God has entrusted us to care for. The little lives that need us to teach them the Gospel and prepare them for life in expanding the Kingdom. We need to pour into them the idea that we should find contentment in all things. That we should rest on the Lord and serve Him in humble obedience as He begins to sanctify them and us through them.
Children are still a blessing from God, even when they are sick, crying, arguing, stubborn, demanding, careless or plain mean. They are still a blessing. When God blessed us with children He knew full well that they would irritate us or make us cry on some days and guess what? He blessed us with them because He loves us and sometimes His blessings are hard.