Your Children Do Not Belong to You!
I will never forget December 19th 2006.
Days after having my first baby, I was sent home with a perfect bundle of joy. She was beautiful, healthy, and calm-mannered on the drive home-everything I had hoped for. Yet, about fifteen minutes into the drive home, a feeling of overwhelmingness overcame me. Before long, I was crying hysterically and couldn’t contain myself. Simply considering the capacity to care for a child for the rest of her life was daunting.
What if she doesn’t have a good life?
What if she got hurt or sick?
What if I can’t provide for her?
What if I break her heart with my words or actions?
The “what-ifs” flooded my mind and came out in many tears. This fear of messing up in motherhood would last many years. As this same daughter struggled with paralyzing illness years later, anxiety, and more, this emotion would only deepen. Sleepless nights, deep depression, and crying myself to sleep was the theme of my parenting journey. I was convinced that I was a failure. Yet, one day in a time of desperate prayer, I heard the Lord speak clearly,
“Will you trust me with my daughter?”
From that car ride home to the years later, I had never fathomed that my daughter was His first. I had never come to terms with the fact that I had been entrusted with God’s child. The weight of motherhood wasn’t for me to carry alone. This was His daughter and He loved her more than I could even imagine. He had more thoughts about her the sands of the seas (Psalm 139:17-18). He knows the number of hairs on her head, and He knew her while she was in my womb. Before I could hear her first cry, know her gender, or think of being her mother, He had a plan and purpose for her life. What wonderous love this is!
I was reminded of this moment.
Our children do not belong to us, they belong to the Lord.
From this moment on, I would seek Him for my needs and trust Him to carry me when times were difficult. And time after time, He would continually restore my soul, and give me strategy to raise her in a way that honored Him.
Mothers, I want to empower you today and remind you that God is with you. He cares about what is happening in your life and your child’s life and is asking you to release the need to control it all, know it all, and be it all for your child. This is God’s responsibility. In my new book, Warrior Mother: Equipping Your Heart to Fight For Your Family’s Faith, I share how we can truly see God as the commander of our parenting journey. When we do so, we will see change within ourselves and our children that will be generational. I leave you with these vital pieces of Christian parenting.
God has called us to love our children the way, as He would.
In John 13:35, Jesus says this, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV). In other words, if you want to show the world that you belong to Jesus, you should love people well. As a mother, it may come naturally to say, “I love my children.” Rightfully so, our hearts may have immense love for our children. However, our actions must also follow.
I challenge you to ask yourself, how well have I loved my child this week. Was I patient? Was I kind? Did I continually remind them of the things they have done in the past? Did I show grace or were my words shameful? I often think of it this way, “If someone else treated my child the way that I am right now, how would I feel?” Would I be angry or thankful that I had entrusted them to care for my child.
My friends, this is exactly how we must think when we consider how we are treating God’s children. Although there are days, we will need to be stern, let us always lead with love, truth, and grace. When we do so, we can truly reflect God’s heart to them versus parenting out of our own emotion or rationale.
We should create an environment that leads our children closer to Christ.
Does your home environment lead your children closer to their Father in heaven or away? Here’s the truth, the children who live in your home will one day move on and have their own lives. Outside of your protection, they will face many trials that they will need God to rescue them from. Our homes today can set the foundation for them to find Christ for themselves in the future.
Consider this passage.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7-8.
God takes teaching your children about Him very seriously. So much so, that in this passage, the Lord speaks to the Israelite parents to talk about God’s commands as often as possible. From the dinner table to a family walk, His words were to be on their lips. If you have not been intentional about sharing God with your children, I encourage you to do so today.
-Find Bible versions that are easy to read/catered to their reading level
-Consider doing nightly or weekly family devotionals
-When difficult times come, point them back to God’s word or Bible stories that can encourage them.
- Join a local church and become active members
God is expecting us to pray.
Last, but not least, God is expecting us to pray like our children’s life depends on it.
Jesus was not stranger to prayer during His time on Earth. His disciples would often find him praying to His Father for instruction. He prayed for the sick, raised others from the dead with prayer, and even calmed storms with just a Word. Yet, the prayer that has always impacted me as a mom is found in John 17. In this moment, Jesus prays for His disciples in a way that shows His love for them and desire that they be protected at all times.
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. (John 17:9-10)
The prayer continues with this,
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
If Jesus prayed and sought the Father for His disciples, we should certainly do the same. He prayed that they would have joy, that they would be sanctified and that they would be protected! In the same way, Jesus recognized that ultimately even when He wasn’t present physically on Earth, His disciples would still need help.
As mothers, may we never be too busy to pray. When we start our days, before they go to school, and as they rest, let us pray that God would protect their hearts and minds. Let us pray that every attack of the enemy will be thwarted. In the same way, let us continually have communication with God about His children. He will show us what’s needed and how to raise them in a way that will honor Him completely.
Prayer is the greatest act of love and our reminder that our children belong to God!
May this fact give you extravagant peace and strength in your motherhood.
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*Portions of this devotional were originally published on ibelieve.com*