by Shauna Wallace
Sometimes, as a parent, I am easily distracted from my primary job: to train my children up in the ways of the Lord and give them safe boundaries until they are able to walk under His direct authority. The world throws so much at us and our children; keeping this number one objective in focus can be difficult.
I find myself wondering if I’m giving them the right…
education, activities, friends, experiences, clothes, etc. It hurts my heart when they feel like an outcast; I’m tempted to make their fitting with the world more important than makings sure we’re pleasing God.
I struggle with this more than my husband, James, because I am emotionally enmeshed with my girls’ emotions (and hormones!). Because I homeschool and work from home, I spend the majority of my time with them, which I love. However, that means I shoulder the brunt and volume of their discontentment, arguments and negotiations when they aren’t getting something they want or are discontent in a particular area of their life. I wear much faster than James; I am so thankful for his strong resolve!
When it comes to making unpopular decisions for our kids, James will never compromise what’s right for them to be liked by them. Don’t get me wrong, our kids have an amazing relationship with their father, and he loves them immensely! They are friends, they hang out, and they are very close. But if he knows it’s what best for them in the eyes of the Lord, he’ll gladly risk their approval for their protection according to these three principles:
- Make wise decisions for them until they can make them for themselves.
- Teach them how to make wise decisions as measured by God’s standards and instructions, not the world’s and certainly not their peers’.
- Create an environment and boundaries that set them up for success in God’s eyes.
As mom, I would add (isn’t that just like a mom to have more to say?
- Point them to the cross when they fall short; that’s the whole point of the cross. We all fall short and need Jesus. That’s why He came and died for us.
- Be transparent, honest and humble about the ways you have and do fail. As is age appropriate, share examples from your life. It’s good for our children to see us as imperfect humans just like them and to know we have and do struggle with the same things.
- Give them more and more room to practice what they’ve learned as they get older. Be there when they don’t get it right, because they won’t, and they’ll need to receive from you the same grace you receive from God every time you don’t make a wise decision.
- Humbly seek and extend forgiveness.
- Always assure them that while humans will always let them down – including you – but God never will.
- When God’s will isn’t their will, explain your job is to obey Him, and until He tells you differently, you’re going to do what He says.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with moms thinking about homeschooling. “How do I know I’m choosing the right curriculum? How do I know I’m giving them everything they need academically?” they’ll ask with a tinge of panic in their voice and concern on their brow.
While these things are important, for me, they’re not most important. In the end, I’m not looking for my kids to get into the right university, seek the right degree, find the right career or marry the right person. Again, these are important, but the most important thing is to do everything God asks me to do to raise kids who desire His will, seek His purpose for them and submit to His authority, first in our home and then even more so when they are living on their own directly under His authority. If they learn that, they will be successful in everything they do. They will know how to live in His will, and His will comes with His provision in all ways – spiritually, physically and academically.
God impressed this parenting-changing truth on me when I was hurting for my son as he struggled with whether or not to go to college. The world has a definite formula for how kids should do things to be successful, and this kid wasn’t fitting the world’s mold. As I worried for him, God assured me, “I have equipped him for what I have for him to do. If he needs college to do it, then I’ll give him everything he needs to get through college. If not, it won’t matter at all that he doesn’t go.”
And you know what? It hasn’t mattered at all. He worked hard and earned his real estate license. He works in real estate and alongside his dad in our custom home building business, and we have witnessed the Lord has bring forth the very giftings He put in Ryan to make him great at what he does.
We don’t sit back and do nothing while we wait on God to do His work in our kids and for their futures. We do what He says. We teach and train and model and mold. We live and hold to biblical values and standards. And we trust God. Because if we make our goal anything else, that might become the idol that destroys us and them. If we pressure ourselves and them into doing all the right things exactly right, then we’re looking to ourselves and them to be successful. Based on God’s plan for each child, they may need to get certain grades, be involved in certain things, and go to certain schools. And that’s great! Do as God shows you. But when fear of them not having everything right drives us to drive them in a direction that may not be God’s way, we may be leading them away from and not to Him.
One day their faith will have to become their own. Following Jesus will have to become important to them. That’s not our job. God has to do His work in their hearts to bring that about, and sometimes it won’t happen the way we want. But God is faithful, and that’s all He wants of us is to be faithful to Him and what He teaches us to do as parents, even if it looks totally different than every other family around us.
We can trust God’s faithfulness and continually turn our children’s attention to Him both in how we live and in what we train. He will and only He can do the rest.
An inspirational writer, teacher, and speaker, Shauna Wallace burns with passion to see women experience the fullness of God’s grace, faithfulness, peace, joy, protection, and provision by becoming wholly His. Finding hope and life in God’s word motivates her to help other women discover God’s power to transform lives.
Transparent and real, she opens her life and heart to encourage others. She and her husband, James, serve their church, community, and clients of their custom home building business. As a homeschooling stay-at-home mother of four, Shauna treasures the privilege of being James’ helpmate and training her children in the ways of the Lord. Check Out Shauna’s Blog Here!