“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
~ Psalm 127:3
One of my greatest enjoyments and gifts are my children. God was good to bless this undeserving, selfish and rough-around-the-edges man, with not only an incredible wife, but four amazing daughters and each married awesome guys. Now we have the thrill of grandchildren . . . WOW. So far, we have been blessed with 7 . . . three are awaiting us in Heaven, four are here. I love my Grandkids. Just as beautiful is seeing my girls accept the roles of mother and aunt.
There are many happy times with children, as well as some heartaches. Looking back, there is incredible joy on this journey. The investment in a family requires intentionality, involvement and integrity. You don’t have to be perfect . . . you just have to be purposeful and passionate.
I have appreciated the process of parenting. It has made me scratch my head, stay up late, get up early, be tough, be tender, shed tears and laugh a lot. I yelled way too much and prayed way too little. In spite of all my fears, failings and faux pas, my little girls have become wonderful women.
The realization that all parents don’t experience the same kind of relationship is humbling. I’m grateful for God’s grace. Ultimately, the longing to leave a legacy of love still promises hope. There are no easy remedies . . . But, there several realizations.
It’s Wonder. When new life enters this world, it is emotional and exhilarating. The wonder of two people making one is overwhelming. David understood the intimate intricacies of God’s creative work, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:14) The psalmist also reminds of deliberate design, “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14) God’s present of children is a reflection of His presence in our lives.
It’s Work. Raising children is not easy. It’s work . . . it’s hard work. You can never give in and you can never give up. Parenting requires devoted diligence. God instructed the Israelites that the task of teaching the next generation was all encompassing, “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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Duet 6:6-9) The more energy we give, the more effective our parenting becomes.
It’s Weary. There were a lot of days when Debi and I were tired of it. Kids have the energy to wear you out and wear you done. That’s when it’s easy to throw in the towel. That’s when it’s less drama to just be a friend, instead of a father . . . an equal instead of an example . . . a girlfriend instead of a guide. Solomon gives us some insight into the value of proper discipline, “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Prov 29:17) I’m reminded that in our weariness, Jesus calls us to Himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
It’s Worth It. I am so proud of my girls. I have seen them handle birth of children and loss of children . . . starting business and losing business . . . loving God, loving family, loving the unlovely and loving enemies. I have seen them look back on relationships with lessons of wisdom. They have experienced hurt and embraced healing. They are investing in this generation and the next. The return is worth the investment. I’m often reminded that my children are also worth it to God. Paul reminds us that they also are God’s masterpiece.”For we [they] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)
My wife often says, “You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube.” It’s so hard to re-route the paths of the past . . . but, it is possible to chart a new course, today. Appreciate your child’s uniqueness and masterpiece. Love on them. Hug them. Tell them you’re proud of them . . . and be proud of them. Embrace the wonder, work, weariness and worth of being a parent.
“If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks . . . Don’t you see that children are God ’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your adversaries don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” (Psalm 127:1-5 MSG)