I love it when I have the chance to learn from Christ-follower parents who are a couple of steps ahead of me on the parenting journey. This week, we have the privilege of sitting under Sandra A. Lovelace, a writer friend that I’m sure you will love! Read more about her at the end of this post.
Both ladies sported face-wide smiles. Emma jumped out of the silver Honda with fourteen-year-old delight. Mom grabbed her purse and slid out from behind the steering wheel. They’d taken a few steps when the older woman started to sing what had become their just-us-having-fun song.
The daughter’s eyes shifted from the ice cream shop to the tires of an old green truck. Mom slowed her tempo as she made beckoning circles with her hand. No response. “Hey now. Don’t leave me with a solo here.”
“Aw. I don’t remember the words.” Her sweatshirt-clad shoulders dropped.
Mom stood still. “What? My top-of-her-class daughter can’t remember three simple verses we’ve been singing forever?” Her outstretched arms hung in the air.
“No, Mo-om. Come on.” She lengthened her stride. “Let’s just get our milkshakes.” She yanked the glass door open and gestured for her silent mother to enter.
Most parents remember a similar experience. This scene involves a mother and daughter, but the same type of interaction occurs between mothers or fathers and their sons or daughters. Somehow, seemingly out of the blue, the close relationship between parent and child becomes stilted. A partition appears that often grows in width and depth until it seems impossible to penetrate.
If that’s what happened with you and your parents, or you’re seeing the same thing with your own child, you may be nodding your head. But if you have yet to see such signs, you’re just hoping to avoid them. Right? Welcome to one of the more difficult realities of parenting, to retain influence with your child as you raise them for Christ.
More than forty years of parenting and grand-parenting, and interactions with families both in the US and internationally confirm our common bond in this regard. Whatever the family mix in your household, let the following insights encourage you in your conscious quest to nurture the next generation with confidence, compassion, and courage.
Check Your Attitudes
- Psalm 127:3 Each child is a gift, a reward bestowed by the Lord. Parents are accountable to handle them as treasures, not as objects of our whims.
- Ephesians 6:4 Fathers are warned not to frustrate their children as they teach and train them in the ways of the LORD. We mothers need to take heed too.
- Colossians 1:9-12 The world pushes us toward pleasing the people around us. The Word instructs God’s people to live before an audience of One.
- 1 Samuel 16:7 God cares most about our inner heart condition. The outward results of behavior modification are not the marks of success.
- 2 Chronicles 20:6 Our Sovereign LORD is the One able and responsible to direct and transform. Control is above our skill level and beyond our radar screens.
Choose Your Actions
- Genesis 1:26 Each child is created in the image of God. Get to know, understand, and appreciate His design in light of that Truth.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Introduce your child to the One True God that they would comprehend His loving character, and love and serve Him in return.
- John 15:15 Jesus was Savior and friend to His disciples. Look to Him as you seek to be wise and compassionate friends, not careless buddies.
- Acts 15:6-11 Be cautious to apply only godly standards, remembering the common position of parent and child as co-recipients of saving grace.
- Isaiah 41:10 Rely on God’s promise to strengthen us in our parenting. Even in the times when we need to let go and leave a child in His hands.
Wherever you are in the parenting journey, consider the powerful principle of this verse.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Be intentional about your own faith walk as the role model of all you hope your child will become. Do you see God’s image reflected in who you are? How deep is your relationship with Him? What is His design and purpose for your life? Do you reflect His character when you interact with others…beginning with your family?
Perhaps, like me, you sense you’ve messed things up. You’ve been paying so much attention to your child’s development that you’ve ignored your own. And you’re losing them and your goal in the process. It’s never too late to change focus, to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16 NASB).
Did you need this back-to-basics parenting reminder? It’s certainly easy to get wrapped up in behaviors and miss the essence of Christ-centered parenting. How will you respond to this wisdom? Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!
Sandra Allen Lovelace is a continuing missionary, pastor’s wife emeritus, and homeschool pioneer. She’s been supporting families with her speaking and writing for decades across various platforms. At this point, Sandra’s a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and an Agented Author at Credo Communications. Her current manuscript is under contract with Elk Lake Publishing.
Sandra enjoys hiking with a camera in her hand, best done on an international adventure. She and her husband Curt are transitioning to South Carolina. Sandra would love to have you connect with her at SandraAllenLovelace.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Wallflower Women Conversations.
From Carole: Every time we have a guest here at Intentional Parenting, I want to say, “Didn’t I tell you?” Sandra is grounded in God’s Word and thoughtful about its application. If you want to know more about her, read my interview with Sandra over at pastorswives.com.