One kid was easy. Really easy. But then the second kid came along, and everything changed. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you have one kid or more than one. Either way, parenting is hard but thank God for grace.
2018 was a year of change for my wife and me. We welcomed our second boy, Hudson, into the world. Being a dad is hard but being a dad who desires to raise godly children in an ungodly world is harder. Why? Because my flesh wants to get irritated, annoyed and selfish when it comes to parenting. I want to do what the world does—pass my kids off to school, daycare or a sitter and enjoy working and my hobbies. But—raising godly children requires full access, 24/7. It means being intentional with my boys even when I just want to go drink coffee outside alone.
Sometimes I like to think I’m the only one who feels the pressure of parenting in the modern era. But I’m not alone. You’re not alone if you’re a parent reading this. I know my wife does—and more-so than I do. She’s an incredible mom and wife and I know it’s no easy task being the mother of all boys.
The legacy I want to leave more than anything is that my boys grow up to love Jesus more than everything, fear God, and live out the gospel (not just talk about it). I have other ambitions and desires, such as writing books, but my boys trump them all. Why? Because writing a book is temporary. My boys are eternal—meaning, they have a soul that will live on long after they leave this earth. And so do you and I. I care more about the condition of their soul—better put, where they will spend forever. I’m holding onto God’s promise:
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” — Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
I need more grace.
Raising godly children would be impossible without God’s grace. I have more failures as a parent than I’d like to admit. I wish I could say I’m flawless and I parent perfectly but that just isn’t the truth. I can teach my boys about God’s grace because I need it every day.
I want them to grow up seeing their dad mess up, seek forgiveness and embrace the beauty of grace even when we don’t fully understand it.
Grace lived out is better than grace talked about.
I want to live out God’s grace. Because I need it every day.
I want to be an example to my boys of God’s grace. And parenting is a doorway by which I can model how to receive grace when our flaws get the best of us.
There is no perfect parent on the planet. There is, however; a perfect God who loves to forgive when we repent.
I need more grace to parent today than I did yesterday, because my flaws remind me of my failures and God’s grace reminds me of His promises.
Recently, I was doing something and I accidentally slipped up saying, “Oh my God!” I know that doesn’t sound horrible and isn’t like dropping the F-bomb, but I don’t want my boys growing up misusing and abusing the Lord’s name. I understand “God” isn’t the personal name of God, but its more about the principle. If they learn to nonchalantly toss around God’s name then they likely won’t learn to have a healthy fear of the Lord.
Jesus is my anchor.
As I learn to navigate the challenges of parenting—especially trying to raise God-fearing kids—I hold fast to the promise in Hebrews 6:19-20 that Jesus is my anchor in the good times, the bad times and the hard times:
“19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” — Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV
Jesus is my hope. When I fail as a parent, I know His grace is there to pick me back up. He’s the anchor of my soul to hold me steady when the world tries to sway my opinions, push me down or make me feel as though I’ve failed as a dad. Jesus is my anchor that gets me through each moment of parenting. For that, I’m forever thankful that I get to serve a God who cares about even the small and mundane moments of life—especially the hard moments that come when trying to raise godly children!
What are some of the challenges you have faced as you raise up the next generation of fearless, godly men and women? Share in the comments below! 🙂