Children are a great blessing from the Lord. We love little baby beings with all of our hearts, almost instantly. There is something in each one of us that would immediately do just about anything for the safety and betterment of our children.
This love is very important because it draws us into an extremely different level of sacrifice and service. By the time you think you are doing pretty well as far as being less selfish, children happen. The dying to yourself part takes a quantum leap when you have children.
From the last sentence to this one, I had walked into my son's room. When I turned the light on, two of the light bulbs over his mirror were out. I walked back upstairs to get light bulbs and went back to his room and replaced them.
Then, I thought my daughter might have a light out as well. I went upstairs to her room and sure enough, over her mirror, she needed a bulb as well. Then, I returned to my table to write this for you.
Children provide endless opportunities to serve. We get them up, feed them, make sure they finish their homework, pack a different lunch for each, drive them to school, pick them up from school, clean up after their meals, put dishes away, get them to bed—not to mention, we get them to sports, dance, music or some other amazing activity.
If you're a parent, then you know how taxing raising children can be. Furthermore, you understand how many opportunities those children will give you to become more of a servant. In Romans 12:1, Paul says, "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship."
Children are the perfect opportunity to present your body as a living sacrifice. This will come at times to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.
If you have lived through the movie, you definitely get that having children is a call to service that demands slightly more than you have, so you have to depend on God. Children, in addition to needing so much of our energy and time, also create demands on marriage. The chief demand children bring to married couples are all the small daily decisions and overarching decisions on how to raise them.
You both have limited family experience of your own with the family you grew up with, or that of your friends. All parents have strengths and weaknesses, as well as different values, from food to holidays.
You are creating a unique family of your own. There is no perfect family on earth, so do not aim for perfect. Instead, aim for honest, open, warm, godly, goodhearted or values along those lines. Understanding each other and hearing each other is very important.
Your different genders and personalities, and current cultural trends, create enough variables for your parenting to become a unique journey for both of you. Being parents is an extension of being a servant to each other. You will have ample opportunity to grow in serving.
Why do you think grandparents are so much more patient? It is because they have had so much selfishness kicked out of them from decades of marriage and raising children that they actually do look and think a lot more like Jesus.
There are no charts in this conversation—just a smile from a fellow traveler, knowing this is a great journey, the journey is for a lifetime and there are no known outcomes for any of us on the parenting journey. Continue to seek God and His guidance through the parenting process.
Search and reflect for opportunities to learn and grow closer in your walk with Christ. As you seek Him, He will guide you to train your children in the way they ought to go.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Servant Marriage. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com; on hisFacebook; by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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