These are the things I am so glad someone much wiser than us encouraged us to do when we were beginning our parenting journey. There’s one last thing, and it’s the most important thing, because when we choose to do this on a daily basis, it helps make all the others possible: Stay connected.
Stay connected to God.
Stay connected to a faith community.
Because parenting is hard.
And when you’re trying to be the person you want your kids to be at the same time, it’s even harder.
If I have learned anything over twenty years of parenting, it’s that my relationship with God and the way I live out my faith has the potential to impact my kids more than anything else because of the way it is impacting me.
So, what does it look like to stay connected?
For me . . .
It means trusting Jesus on a daily basis and accepting . . .
His way is best,
His love when I feel like a failure,
His forgiveness when I’ve done something wrong,
His wisdom to guide my choices,
His peace in the middle of chaos,
His comfort in the pain,
His rest when I’m tired,
and His joy in the everyday moments.
It means making the effort to connect to God’s Word and God’s people.
I connect to God’s Word by reading my Bible, praying, listening to music, and reading books that develop my faith. I stay connected to God’s people by going to church, being a part of an adult small group at church, investing in the friendships God has given me, and serving my community.
I truly believe two of the best gifts we can give our kids are:
– A front row seat to us pursuing a relationship with Jesus.
– A faith community filled with people who are walking the journey with us.
It won’t be perfect.
You’ll have good days and not so good days.
Days you’ll want to remember forever and days you would rather forget.
My spiritual walk has been messy.
My relationships have been messy.
I’ve gotten sidetracked.
Made wrong choices.
Said and done things I wish I could take back.
But I’ve also grown in my faith, which means I’ve grown as a person and a parent.
I’ve done things that apart from Jesus I never would have been able to do alone.
I’ve gained strength from my faith community when I desperately needed it.
And maybe the best news for us parents: God can redeem our worst moments (those days we would rather forget) and use them to bring our kids closer to Him.
You have more potential to influence life-change in your kids through those real life moments and growing in your own faith, than all of the messages they will ever hear inside the walls of the church. That’s how important you are as a mom or dad in the spiritual growth of your kids.
What is one thing you can begin doing today to strengthen your relationship with Jesus so you can be the person God wants you to be? How can you invest in a faith community that will support you in your spiritual journey?