Thursday, September 22, 2011

Success in Parenting

Recently, I identified a struggle God is lovingly freeing me from: a desire for my kids to love God and walk with Him all their days. It may not sound like a struggle, but it is. I struggle, because there are many dry seasons with no fruit. In it, I'm painfully aware that I cannot do that work in them! I can (and should) point them to Christ, love them tangibly, and pray with them. But I can't change their hearts. Only God can and He does. He is freeing my heart to find great comfort in that truth.

This overwhelming desire can turn to fear and lack of trust in the Lord. It also reveals in me my own selfish desire to succeed. If I fail as a parent, my kids are no better or worse than if I "succeed" in my desire to raise them in a way that points them to our hope and joy: Jesus. He brings fruit in them, not me. And He is well pleased as I step out in faith in this huge task that is clearly waaay beyond me.

God reminded me sweetly that He delights in my love for our children, but He delights so much more in me resting in Him. I am to work hard in this ministry I've been entrusted with and then rest fully in Him alone for all fruit in them and in me. May Christ alone be the joy of my heart and the song of my life all my days.

I read a post by John Piper, where he shared God's encouragement to him in a hard season of ministry to fight his depression with the truth of God's Word. He learned to rest in Him all His days. Read his post and be blessed!

Here's a few gems from that post:
"I knew success was not in my power. By grace I could do my work. But the fruit—that was all God’s doing (“God gives the growth” 1 Corinthians 3:6). God did not expect of me what he kept only for himself. He did expect me to work...
Isaiah 6:9, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely my right is with the Lord and my recompense with my God.
I exulted then in a dream: “To be faithful for 30 years and conquer every attack of discouragement with God’s word. Now 31 years later, I thank God for the lesson. The recompense will come whether I “succeed” or “fail”. A burden was lifted. A burden I could not possibly bear." 

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