Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, Children are a gift from God. But we get tired as parents and we can become a little frustrated with what sometimes seems to be slow progress in our children’s lives. I love my children, but wow! Their behavior often stumps me and sometimes I get reactive and lose perspective. I absolutely believe that my children are a gift from God, but sometimes God’s gifts are hard work used to refine us. Just what does it mean that children are a gift from God and how should it change how I parent?
Children are a gift from God, but sometimes God’s gifts are hard work used to refine us.
No matter how much you love your children, there is no denying that parenting is hard work! This life altering, self-sacrificial task of raising children often leaves even the best parent scratching their heads wondering if they are “doing it right.”
It’s time to take a deeper look at what the Bible says about children. In this first part in a series about what the Bible says about children, we will look at how children are a gift from God and what that means to us as Christian parents.
There is so much confusion regarding how best to raise children because we have access to so many conflicting opinions. In this day of information overload, much of what was considered good parenting in generations before is seen as archaic and so we have traded in some of the wisdom of the past for modern day theories. Some of this is absolutely positive, but some of man’s wisdom is absolute foolishness and we need to hold ourselves accountable to Scripture as we navigate our perilous role as parents.
Even when we think we are parenting from a Biblical perspective, it is helpful to review what Scripture actually teaches and what the Bible says about children so that our parenting can be renewed by the transforming of OUR minds.
I am NOT a parenting expert. My children would be quick to tell you how imperfect I am and how quickly I can “lose it” with them. I know I am sometimes guilty of seeing my children as an annoyance and an interruption and can easily begin to focus on my own goals and aspirations, rather than see raising my children and pouring into them as an important part of my calling–or even seeing that my children are a gift from God. That’s part of the reason I feel led to do this little review of Scripture and see where I need to recommit myself to the task of raising Godly children and remind myself of how much of a gift children really are.
So what does the Bible say about children….especially about them being a gift? Let’s take a look.
Treat your children like a gift received from God Himself
If children are a gift from God that means that we receive them from God Himself. If we receive an important gift from someone that we love, we treasure it, give it honor, and do what we can to protect it.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
However, because our children are a gift from God, they are not ours to do whatever we want with. We are to respect them as a precious gift and treat them with the care something of infinite value deserves. Ultimately, God asks us to return this gift to Him, because our children don’t stay children. They grow up, they leave home, they pursue what God has called them to do and to be in this life.
Because our children are a gift from God, they are not ours to do whatever we want with.
It is our privilege and joy to parent our children.
We need to be SO VERY CAREFUL about how we manage the emotions and exhaustion that go with parenting. There is a certain solidarity and humor in poking fun at our children’s irrational and draining behavior. I am sure parents of all generations have laughed about the ridiculous antics of their children, but parents today face more opportunity to slander our children than every before.
Social media has made it popular to share how our children are driving us nuts because… well its funny! But be sure you are also seeing (and sharing) the ways your children are reflecting God’s goodness. And protect your children’s online presence by not sharing things that may later be damaging or embarrassing to them.
We don’t always realize the power of the words we speak to our children or how they receive our actions. Tread carefully and protect their precious souls. We do this so later they will not have huge barriers to trusting God as their loving Father. This doesn’t just apply to what we share on the internet, but putting something out there in writing for all to see can alter others opinion of our children permanently.
It is pretty easy to fall into the trap of seeing your children as ridiculous and treating them like a chore. We don’t do it all the time, but there are moments when getting up from the table to get one more thing for your kids, or getting through that excruciating bedtime routine are enough to unravel your best parental intentions.
Reminding ourselves that our children are a gift, a joy, and a blessing in these times may give you the where with all to endure those moments when you just want to throw in the towel and hide in your room and pretend you can’t hear them. (Of course, I’ve never done AYTHING like that…have you?)
Make your children a priority, your time of influence in their life is short
Children are a gift God entrusts to us for a short time. How you use that time, is one of the only things you truly control in parenting.
Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
John 16:21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
I just heard a snippet on the radio this morning about how no parent would sell their child for $100,oo0 because we know their value, but how we sometimes rationalize the amount of time we spend working (over working) and neglect the time we spend with our children. By doing so, we are in essence trading the time we have with our children for a paycheck–selling them one paycheck at a time.
This is obviously an extreme example, but it should cause us to pause and evaluate the quality of the time we spend with our children. Are you engaged? Are you present? Are they a priority in your life?
The world really doesn’t need more perfect parents, but it does need more present parents.
The world really doesn’t need more perfect parents, but it does need more present parents.
Understand God knows your children better than you do
Children are created by God, known, and valued. We get to have front row seats to see our children develop and experience life. But, ultimately it is God who ordains the days of our children’s lives.
Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
As parents, we have the privilege of DISCOVERING who God created our children to be and to become. We help shape them, but ultimately God decides our children’s temperament, gifting, and calling.
As parents, we have the privilege of DISCOVERING who God created our children to be and to become.
This means that part of understanding children are a gift from God is that we get to participate in seeing how God will use the experiences of their lives to shape them and use them for His glory. That is part of the joy we receive as parents.
Help your children discover their God-given purpose
This is such a life-altering perspective: Our children’s lives have purpose because God made them. God uses parents as the most influential people in a child’s life. We can either help or hinder their ability to live out God’s purpose for their lives.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
We want what is best for our children. But beware of confusing providing for your children with their purpose. Those with wealth and privilege have the ability to offer their children many advantages in life and protect them from some of life’s ugliness and cruelty, but God doesn’t always work through what we as parents can provide for our children (or protect them from). Sometimes, he works in spite of it. The Bible is chock full of stories of God using the lowly and broken to bring Glory to Himself and accomplish His purposes.
God is bigger than our parenting and we can rest in that truth. We make our decisions to care for our children out of our best intentions for the good of our children. But, we need not fear when things don’t go according to our plan. We can trust God to be faithful in our children’s lives.
In what other ways, do you think seeing children as a gift from God should matter to parents?
When is it hardest for you to see your children as a gift from God?
How do your children bring you joy? How have they helped you grow in your relationship with God?
Hope you enjoyed this post: Your Children are a Gift from God, Now What?
In part 2 of this series about what the Bible says about children, we will look at what the Bible says about the discipline and instruction of children. It is imperative that we understand who are children are in God’s eyes because it gives purpose to the exhaustive task of teaching and disciplining our children. When we understand our children as a gift from the Lord, created with purpose, we understand Who we are accountable to for how we train them.
Check out part two of this series What the Bible Says About Children: How to Discipline Children Without Crushing Their Spirit coming soon.
Photo Credit: Summer Moody Photography