December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”—Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
When I was a kid, I’d spend countless hours dreaming about my future. Who will I marry? Where will we live? What careers will we have?
One day, I’d dream I’d be married to a prince living in a castle in the English countryside. We of course wouldn’t work because a prince and princess don’t need to. Then the next day, I’d dream I’d be living in Hawaii, married to the island’s best surfer. We’d spend our days getting to know the tourists who passed through the quaint beachside restaurant we owned.
Every day, my story would change. However, there was always one part that never did and that was the amount of kids we’d have. I wanted twelve. It was a non-negotiable number, and since my husband was imaginary he always agreed. No matter what life I created, my children never misbehaved, which is probably why I wanted so many. They never screamed or had a meltdown in aisle six of the grocery store. They never rebelled, lied, or cheated.
Like a puff of smoke, though, this fantasy disappeared the moment we had our first child. Not only was I abruptly made aware of her sinful nature, I also quickly realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew I had to look to the One who knit her together.
Jesus was the center of my world and would now become the center of my parenting. If I wanted to thrive as a parent, it was vital for the Word, Spirit, and life of Christ to permeate all I did. He was her maker, and only He could truly lead me as I desired to train her up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6).
So, each day I rose with a heart to follow Him down this humble parenting road. Some days I got it all right and floated into bed at night feeling like the world’s best mom. Other days, I got it all wrong and fell asleep thanking God that new mercies awaited me in the morning.
Now a mom of three, I’ve learned that the hard days are ripe with opportunity. I use them to show my kids my own brokenness and need for a Savior. I use them to display God’s beauty to forgive, comfort, and redeem. My desire is for them to see the beauty of the gospel for themselves and to intimately know the One they were created for.
I’m no longer the naive little girl who once wanted a house full of perfect kids. Instead, I now welcome the imperfect because I know that’s where my kids will see their own weakness and need for Jesus. I know that in their failures and moments of vulnerability, I can point them to the One who always hears, always sees, and always loves. He’s using their humanity to reveal His divinity and, if they are willing, He will use every moment of their lives to draw them close and be their God.
Pause: In what ways has the gospel influenced the way you parent?
Practice: Think of ways you’ve seen the faithfulness of God in the lives of your children and thank Him for each moment.
Pray: Jesus, thank You for the privilege of being a parent. It’s a humbling experience and one that keeps me on my knees and close to You. Please, by the power of Your Spirit, allow the seeds I sow in their lives to grow deep roots in the soil of their hearts. May they come to know You, love You, and serve You all the days of their lives. Amen.
Shona Baselice has the privilege of being married to Pastor Chris Baselice. They have three spectacular children, and serving her family is her full time job and ministry.