In a conversation with a friend yesterday concerning a hurtful situation her daughter was having to face, it came up that as parents we can't, as much as we may wish to, protect our children from everything, and as I have rolled the conversation around in my mind since it has occurred to me that, no, we can't, but be encouraged that, yes, we can equip them for everything, which brings me to writing on the topic of the Mother's Day speech I presented a few weekends ago at Alfordsville Christian Church. It begins with a scripture with which you are likely very familiar especially if you've been following along with this blog. If fact, I used it in my last post Matthew 7:24-27 in this passage Jesus is concluding a very challenging sermon including teachings that run totally contrary to our human nature, but he insists that if we want to love God with our lives we must live totally contrary to our human nature doing things like when someone has taken your tunic give him your cloak also and if someone forces you to go one mile, go two! Well, after blowing everyone's mind with these mind-shattering teachings, he says,"therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Well, this is the key to equipping your child to not only survive but flourish in any tradgedy, disaster, or unfotunate event or circunstance she might encounter in the course of her life, and for the purpose of proving its validity, I must say that I am living proof that an individual whose life is firmly established on the foundation of Jesus's teaching stands in the storm no matter how strong the winds blow or how high the flood waters rise, and I give credit to my parents for helping me in the initial stages of building that foundation, so although they were unable to prevent me from suffering a stroke at age 28 only to survive with potentially life-altering disability, they were faithful to equip me for whatever life might bring my way by introducing me to Jesus and setting an example of the importance of living life by his teaching! So parents, take heart, it may be scary to send your kiddos out into the world/future not knowing what it holds for them while being completely aware that you cannot protect them from whatever challenges they will face, but you can prepare them to stand in the storms of life by introducing them to Jesus and encouraging them to put his teaching into practice in their lives.
The most effective way to teach them how to do this is by setting an example by doing it in your own life! For example, if your boss is giving you a hard time at work and you have vocalized this during the dinner conversation, before bedtime prayers pull out the scriptures and read Matthew 5:44 Unfortunately, I cannot type it out for you exactly because this page of my Bible has been torn out, so I will paraphrase, and you can check to make sure I'm correct later:) It says, " pray for those who persecute you!" After reading this scripture you could ask your child to pray with you for your boss as dificult as it may be explaining that it doesn't necessarily make sense to you, but you know that following Jesus' teachings no matter how crazy they seem is a way to tell God we love him, and since Jesus loves us so much, we know he would never give us any kind of advice other than that which is best for us and will lead to the best quality of life possible! This example could also be used more directly if your child is being bullied personally by praying together for the bully accompanied by a similar conversation. Obviously, in order to parent this way, it would be necessary to familiarize one's self with Jesus' teachings by reading and studying the Bible, which is also an excellent activity in which to include your school-aged child...I have attempted it with my 3-year-old, and although I still find it a valuable experience for her, as could be expected, we don't accomplish much:) These are both reminiscent of methods that were used to assist me in establishing my life's foundation on Jesus's teachings...thanks mom and dad! Anyway, you may not have the money to leave your child a huge inheritance or pay her way through college, etc, but you are completely capable of providing her with a spiritual inheritance that will enrich every area of her life forever and provide stability that will ensure she will stand in the storms of life. I must qualify here that, ultimately, It is a child's personal decision whether he or she will continue building her life on the foundation of Jesus' teachings and be a fully-committed follower of Jesus as she grows and lives her life, but the power of a parent's influence and example cannot be rivaled, and wouldn't it please you to see your 28 year-old daughter stand not only strong and resilient, but also joyful, peaceful, and contented in a collosal storm from which you were unable to protect her knowing that she is standing due to your faithfulness to pass on the great inheritance of your faith, and in a way, you did protect her from the GREAT CRASH Jesus spoke of at the end of 27 in the previously mentioned scripture:) Oh, and I have to add that if you know you neglected this aspect of parenting as your children grew, it is never too late to influence your children for Christ! As a mother or father of grown children, you can choose to make Jesus your Lord and Savior today, so you can effectively set an example of following Christ from now on that they will be sure to notice and be influenced by...parenting is a life-long endeavor!:) Here's to living for Jesus and equipping our children for all that life is today and will be tomorrow!