(For Our Children And Any Other) 8 Words To Me.

13 11 2012

Part Six.

If you have been reading my blog lately, this won’t come as a surprise. Right now I am reading and writing everything through a certain lens; I know it; I can’t help it. I am in the middle of full-on parenting perplexities and I have got my eyes and ears wide open. I am analyzing every word, every idea; anything I see is something to ponder from this perspective. I think the Starbucks menu is speaking to me in code: “Hm. Gingerbread Latte… Gingerbread… children…” I have my pencil and paper out and I am in the classroom.

I go about my day and do the things I do. I carry on other conversations; but in the back of my mind I am gleaning.

So 1 Peter 5, I know you are about something else, but I can’t help but think it applies to my situation too. This chapter is about shepherding the church well (I want to do that) and along with that I have my own little congregation to be concerned about and it might be the most important leadership challenge I will ever have. As we live out our family life in front of the world, what will it say about our relationship with Jesus? Our faith in Him? His trustworthiness?

1. Parenting with diligence.

God has asked me to “care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because I have to, but because I want to please God.” Diligence is just one of those loaded, tireless words that keeps calling and calling and calling. I can’t give up. I can’t just say, “Had enough!”  This is an assignment given to me personally – my name is on it — and if I don’t do it, no one will. No one will ever have as much of a pure interest in it as Mike and I do.  A lot of people will be happy to lead astray, but no one will have as much passion to lead for their good, to do a job pleasing to God, as much as we will.

2. With the right goal in mind

“Not calculating what you can get out of it,” is a reminder to my heart not to parent with myself in mind. There is a different goal here. So be clear about the goal. Keep getting clear about the goal.

3. Light on my feet

“…acting spontaneously.” Parenting kids is a desert location with sands that shift in ways you never saw coming. I can’t go into shock when a sandstorm hits; I have to know what the values of our home are and respond accordingly. Like instinct.

4. Remembering who the adult is

“Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.” Keep yourself in check. Enough said.

5. If I’m not clear, get clear and then be clear

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert.” There is nothing worse than when I don’t know what I am talking about, don’t know why I am talking about it, and don’t know what is supposed to be achieved here. If I need to go a few rounds with Mike to know what we need to do and how, then I have to do it. That’s my deal.

6. Don’t get confused by a confused culture

“Keep a firm grip on the faith.” There isn’t a parent alive who hasn’t heard the words “Other families don’t do this.” Normally loving children will beg, borrow and steal brilliant lines like these from other kids and come up with plenty of their own to make you feel like you are a dictator, a loser, and a failure. I need to know what I believe is right and why. I do not need to bend to the culture; not an inch. I need to pray for wisdom to know what is right and then courage to do what is right no matter what “all the other parents” are doing.

7. There is something much bigger happening here

“It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ…will have you put together and on your feet for good.” God has plans that go beyond a report card, graduation, good or bad habits, the conflict that goes on between my children and I. God has a great plan – a long-term plan –  and that influences how I parent. It is not just about them as a pupil; it is about them as a person. God is much more interested in putting this together than their present reputation and future employability. God wants to help us stand on our feet and His goals involve eternity.  This makes me braver about my parenting. It makes me less concerned about what will presently crumble, and more concerned about the future structure of their lives and how they will land there.

8. And it will turn out His way

“He gets the last word; yes he does” and there is nothing better than this as a parent. When you give a last word and everyone knows it was the right word, there is a finality to the issue no matter how we want it not to be; oh that’s sweet. When there is nothing else that can be said; when you know it was the last word, said with a calm and confident authority, there is a goodness and a rightness to that moment.

My word in any one of my children’s lives is not it. So whether I do this super well, or could have done things better (most likely the case) I am not the final word. They don’t even get the final word. God gets the final word and how I love the emphasis: Yes He does. What. Will we have some smart-alecky remark for God? Will we disregard His instruction? Will we walk out on Him in a huff? He gets the last word, yes He does.

And their word to us is not it either. As parents, we might presently feel distraught, distressed, and overwhelmed when nothing seems to be working? It might feel like not only do we not have the upper hand, we have no hand at all. That’s when we need to take out a pen and feel the confidence as we write, no matter what, God gets the last word. Yes, He does.

Those words are speaking to me today.

— Teresa Klassen

* Scripture passages quoted from The Message

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