Thursday, February 24, 2022

Parenting is Tough

Christian slogans have been around for a long time. As a kid that grew up in the late seventies and eighties eventually working at three different Christian bookstores, I vividly recall all of the different Christian bumper stickers. I remember all of the Christian t-shirts including my own collection of Living Epistles t-shirts. It was and remains to happen where people slap catchy Christian phrases on many different things from church signs to our cars bumpers. Our social media platforms are chocked full of witty Christian memes but this leads me to one specific question. Do we believe it? It's so easy to post catchy sayings but it is super tough to have the guts to actually believe it. Do we actually believe Acts 16:31 which states "And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

I remember a good friend of mine telling my wife and I "When we have kids...we won't become weird." Guess what...if you are a parent, you will become weird. You will have moments where your faith is shaken and you will most certainly have times where you think back to times before you had kids. It will cause you to question life choices and more. Regardless, I am reminded of the saying that men are not unfamiliar with and it is simply "It is what it is". I would simply add the thought of why not make the most of it?

If you, we, are truly people of faith why do we panic when life's situations go south? Why do we panic when the kids start making bad choices? Why do we (as Christians) so easily forget the words of the Apostle Paul found in 2 Corinthians 12:9(NIV) "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

We are so quick to turn to the ways of the world to fix our problems. When the going gets tough we turn to remedies the world offers rather than turning to Christ. We seek secular counseling and means that are quite honestly removing God from the equation. Instead of turning first to prayer. We turn to the mental mindset of "what can I do to turn this ship?" Therein lies the problem. We replaced the word God with one little letter from the alphabet "I". 

Being a pastor for the past 26 years and working in a crisis center as well, I offer one bit of advice. Advice we see everywhere on bumper stickers, church signs, t-shirts and more. That advice would simply be "Let go and let God." The modern day catchy trending phrase is "But God." So instead of scrambling to get your daughter/son back on track by ways that leave God out of the equation...why not pray about it? Why not take your kid(s) that is struggling out for a fun evening? Why not remind that kid he/she is loved. I have found that I garnish the most respect from my kids when I am very firm yet very loving with them. Sure, I have blown my stack on my kids but then we go out for ice cream. Remember Ward Cleaver from the show "Leave it to Beaver"? He would come into his kids bedroom and have a chat with his kids but then he would move on. He would not punish them for weeks on end. He was firm and yet loving. This garnered respect from his kids.

Do people become weird when they have kids? Absolutely. The two just kind of go hand in hand. Regardless of how our kids act, we as parents have an important call. If you wanted to be a parent...then be a parent. As people of faith instead of asking for solutions from outside secular sources I would humbly submit that you hug your kid and tell them everything is going to be okay. Remind yourself the words of Joshua who said in Joshua 24:15(NIV) "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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