@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka
When we brought our first boy home, I had no doubt we could be the perfect parents for him. God had given him to us, hadn’t He? Of course we could parent him. And train him up in the ways of the Lord. And get him to follow Jesus whole-heartedly. All before he left the house some eighteen years later.
I knew God figured into the equation, but in my naive, new-mom mind, I hadn’t thought through just how much I would need Him in parenting a boy, then two, who are . . . human.
And unique individuals.
When our kids are young, it’s easy to guide them. They trust our thinking and leading. We do our best to train them in basic living skills. To help develop a good character. They want to please us, their parents.
As they begin to reveal their unique selves somewhere in the toddler years, we gain glimpses into who God created them to be.
Our boys have strong wills, but we didn’t realize just how strong until they hit about ten years of age.
Okay, our younger boy . . . we knew he was a strong-willed chap. He made that clear almost as soon as we brought him home.
But, we’d read books. Prayed over these boys. Sought guidance from those who went before us. We knew we could love them without fail.
Parenting is so much harder than I envisioned the first day we carried our oldest boy into our home, crying, hungry, and tired.
The thing is, the older our children grow, the more independent they become. They will make choices that we disagree with. That break our hearts.
It’s as they’ve grown older that I’ve seen how desperately we need our heavenly Father to shape Hubs and me into the parents our boys need.
We’ve grown right along with our children, in character and wisdom. I’ve never prayed for anyone so much as I’ve prayed for our boys.
As we seek to equip them for the time when they leave our home and venture into adulthood and living in this world, I understand that I can’t do anything good without our Father’s help.
I can’t make them accept Jesus.
I can’t make them turn their backs on the lure of an enticing, visually-stimulating world.
I can’t make them choose Jesus over the world.
All I can do is pray. Like. Crazy.
Because as much as Hubs and I’ve tried to instill into their tender minds and hearts the truths of Jesus and His love for them? We cannot force them to accept His gift of love and abundant life.
They must come to that decision on their own.
They’re going to fumble it.
Falter in deciding what they truly believe.
Let’s face it. There’s a world out there that wants to devour our children. To lure them to the very real “dark side.”
There’s also a God who loves them passionately, perfectly, and completely. Even when they fall short. Deny Him.
Even when they choose the world over Him.
Our heavenly Father—the only perfect Parent—knows they’re going to do this. That they will stumble as they learn to define and walk out faith. And still, He loves them.
I’m learning how to live in the truth that my role is to teach our boys about Jesus and living for Him.
My role is to pray diligently for them. To be there when they want to talk.
My role is to love them well.
Because it’s Hubs’ and my way of loving our children that will shape their understanding of God’s love for them.
God’s role is to quicken their hearts to His Spirit.
His role is to work in their lives in ways I can’t. To open the eyes of their hearts to the reality of who He is.
God has given us these two amazing boy-men, not so that we can be the perfect parents for them. Rather, so that we can be His tools to love them and point them to Him.
He’s given them to us so we can see our incredible need for God to be our Father in the journey of parenthood and life.
And we will only see this when we seek God first, asking Him to give us what we need to parent them well.
What about you? What big lessons have you learned in parenting your children? What is one way you have seen God’s love for you?
Click to Tweet: It’s as they’ve grown that I’ve seen how desperately we need our heavenly Father to shape us into the parents our children need.
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This is deep Jeanne. I filmed a parenting seminar a while back and made few snippets on parenting based on christian values. You can view the videos here – https://miraclesfromheavene.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/parenting-seminar_-christian-perspective/
So, thank you for your words. God teaches us different things in varying seasons in our lives, doesn’t He? I truly appreciate you stopping by!
You are welcome Jeanne, I appreciate the inspirations from your posts 🙂
Your vulnerability in describing what it is like to parent two boys creates a space for others to say “me too”. You also admit freely how desperately you need God to parent in all situations. We all have moments when we take on the “super mom or dad” persona and believe we can do it all on our own. But I learned the truth of what I needed the hard way. When I asked God to join me in this role of parenting, things have gone smoother. There still are many challenges but none that He doesn’t already know about and none that He can’t fix. It’s a beautiful realization, isn’t it?
I heard these wise words once that we can’t be the ones to work out others salvation. Only God can work out salvation within another as he/she works it out within him/herself. If I’m basing my ‘goodness’ on how well another around me is becoming more Christ-like then it becomes about me rather than God. With what I want for my kids, it is so much harder to detach and let them work out things for themselves! Living out your faith in front of them is the best way to teaching His ways I think. I can hear in your words how deeply you care and love your children, J! And that’s modelling Christ in it’s finest!
Lynn, a number of years ago, I heard a speaker say that we cannot force our kids’ hearts to be quickened to the Holy Spirit. Only God can do that. And so that’s one thing I’ve prayed for them for a number of years now. It’s tough to watch them grapple with the world on their own. Hubs and I do what we can to model what living with Jesus looks like, but they’re teens. Not really open to hearing it. So we hope they see it. 🙂 Because you’re right, their choices are THEIR choices. Not so much a reflection of us. It has to be God working. Thanks for your kind words, friend.
Such an encouraging post….first parents of all ages. I naively thought once they were grown, the whole parenting thing would “be over”…or at least be easy. Oh my. Parenting adult children is its own game. Very rewarding – especially if you seek God’s help all along the way – but not without its own challenges. But, yes, we grow right along with our children and, thankfully, God can redeem those less than perfect moments during the early years!!
Thanks, Jennifer. I’ve learned parenting is never completely over. Relationships change, but we never really lose that role in our children’s lives, do we? The older our boys get, the more I’m on my face before God, begging for wisdom and guidance with them. And yes, thank goodness God can redeem those choices they make in the growing up years! Have a beautiful day, my friend.
We’ve been told (and it’s true!) that prayer is the master key. It may not always seem like much, but the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much. Thanks for this reminder, Jeanne. Blessings to you.
Yes, Boma. Prayer is key, isn’t it? Thank you for the reminder of James 5. God hears the prayers of His children. Thank you so much for visiting!
Great wisdom here, Jeanne! I think recognising the difference between what is our responsibility and what only God can do is important.
Lesley, I find that this understanding of our role and God’s role extends beyond parenting and into many situations in life. 🙂 Being the “I can do it!” girl, I’ve had to learn how to let God do His thing and stick to doing what I am meant to do. 🙂
Wow, Jeanne! Great words for me to hear. I’ve been known to try to curate a perfect life for my kids but God has been trying to drive this home: he is writing their story, not me. Ugh! Thanks!
Chip, we want that perfect life for our kids, don’t we? In my flesh, I don’t want them to suffer, or hurt, or make mistakes. But it’s through those occasions when they learn the most about themselves and the God who loves them best, isn’t it? I love what you said: God is writing our children’s story. GREAT reminder!
Right there with you. I loved your comment “Our heavenly Father—the only perfect Parent—knows they’re going to do this. That they will stumble as they learn to define and walk out faith. And still, He loves them.” I heard something similar to this recently. I think it was something like “your unbelief was preordained” and it brought me so much comfort. God knows their every move, even the ones that we don’t understand. I can guide, but I can’t control. Blessings!
Lisa, what you added to the conversation is so good. I never thought about unbelief being pre-ordained before. I find great comfort in knowing that God’s got those areas in our children that we either don’t know need attention or those areas where our children are not open to our input. 🙂 Yes. We can guide, but we can’t control.
No matter the age of our children, this was a wonderful post. Thank you for reminding me that it is God’s role to quicken and draw their hearts to Him. It’s my role to pray – constantly.
Terrific essay, Jeanne. Not being a parent (or having experience with kids) I’m not qualified to say more, but I can recognize foundational truth and wisdom.