When I decided to leave the military, part of the out-processing checklist required that I take classes on transitioning to civilian life. I completed all the classes and felt good about returning to the civilian world. I had spent four years defending my country and believed I was ready for anything; little did I know how hard it was in the world of “stay-at-home moms” and it was not something covered in any of the classes!
I was ill prepared for life as a stay-at-home mom and quickly struggled with feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth. Was this really what life was about- cleaning house, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking care of my daughter? It didn’t help when I’d meet new people and the question-“What do you do?” was raised. The moment I would respond, “I’m a stay at home mom,” I could just feel and see the disapproval and disdain.
So, my days became filled with searching for ways to bring meaning and productivity to my life. What I failed to understand back then was what I was doing in those years was far more valuable and productive than anything I’ve ever achieved in the working world- the reward of raising a Godly child!
I love this quote by Andy Stanley-
“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”
God’s truth but, sadly not the world’s truth. Evident by what we see all around us… parents that want to fill their children’s lives with everything (the newest technology, the latest fashion, comfort, conveniences, vacations, sports, camps, schools, cars, the list goes on and on.) Meanwhile, the importance of God takes the backseat or overlooked all together!
In Deuteronomy 6:5-6, God instructs parents:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
Our priority as parents should be focusing on raising our children to know and love God- BEFORE ALL ELSE!
The success of their lives and the final determination of their souls rest largely on what you do as parents, especially in their formable years.
If you have been blessed with a child/children, the greatest job you will ever have is raising them. Nothing else compares.
Proverbs 14:1 tells us “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working one- how well are you building your house? What priorities and investments are you making in your home to raise Godly children?
Are you doing any of the following?
1. Developing a strong personal relationship with God.
How can you teach your children about God if you don’t know Him yourself? You cannot impart what you don’t know.
2. Praying for your children DAILY.
Pray for Godly friends and influences. Pray for their future spouse. Pray for their career and path in life. Pray for their growth, safety, character, and strength. Pray that they will develop a heart for God and accept His gift of salvation! (Don’t forget- to model and teach your children to pray!)
3. Committing to developing a solid marriage and providing stability in your children’s lives.
Stability is a foundational building block that promotes feelings of security and trust. If you are a single parent, strive to show respect and avoid negative commentary with the ex-spouse.
4. Making the Bible your ultimate source of authority.
All your answers can be found in God’s word, whether it is parenting, marriage or just daily living questions or problems- the Bible has it all. Having a common source offers consistency, stability and a great example to your children on how and where to look for truth! Teach your children how to study the Bible and how to apply scripture to their daily life.
5. Safeguarding your children.
In a culture that is filled with immorality, sexuality, and falsehoods you need to make it your priority to protect your children and teach them the truth so that they can recognize for themselves right from wrong. Guard your children by monitoring what they are exposed to-- television, movies, internet, books and even school materials. Make it a priority to know what your children are doing and what they are being influenced by and taught. Spend time with your kids and take advantage of opportunities to teach. For example, a commercial comes in your child’s presence that is controversial-seize the opportunity to talk about it with your children and impart what the Bible has to say on the subject.
6. Training and disciplining your children. (Brats are a product of their upbringing!)
Ephesians 6:1-3 commands children to do two things – to obey and honor their parents. Likewise, parents are responsible for nurturing and disciplining their children. Yes, they are both equally important, and consistency is key! Discipline can take many forms, but the Bible speaks very clearly that corporal punishment should be used on children that exhibit defiant and rebellious attitudes. I know this is a controversial topic, but corporal punishment sometimes is necessary. It should never be abusive or injurious to the child rather should be used as a means to impart the seriousness of consequences. Let’s be honest, if your toddler was getting ready to stick a fork into an electrical socket you wouldn’t gently whisper to him “Honey don’t do that” and try to negotiate with him. No, you would jump up and physically slap the fork from his hand as his life may depend on it.
7. Blessing your children.
Bestowing a blessing onto your children is vital to their self-worth and growth. A blessing means you’ve thoughtfully considered your child; you carve out a special time to impart a message that speaks of their high value and worth, describing a special future for them and your active commitment as a parent to helping them achieve it. Plant the seed of greatness in your child and be their strongest advocate!
8. Being a safe refuge for your child.
You will never be perfect, but you can be a safe place that your child seeks knowing they will always be loved, always be accepted and will always find truth and trust.
My efforts spent building my house and raising my daughter paid off because I now have an adult child that loves the Lord God with all her heart and strives to build her own house based on God's teachings. I have comfort knowing God will always be on her side and her eternity is secured.
What's more, she is doing the hard work necessary to raise the next generation to know and love the Lord. What greater accomplishment is there?
God’s legacy is in the house you build!
Father, thank you for the gift of children and the privilege of raising them. May we never underestimate the importance of our role as parents and may we strive to teach them to know and love you before all else. Help us Lord to not copy the things of this world; rather to allow you to renew our minds to know your will for raising our children so that their lives will be good, perfect and pleasing in your sight.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? ~Mark 8:36