Many people embark on the daunting task of parenting without considering this fundamental question: What is your goal in parenting? I’ve heard a variety of answers to this question; they all seem to boil down to one ultimate answer: to raise children to become “responsible” adults.
Think of “responsible” as “response-able”– “able to respond well” in good times and bad. We dis-able our children if we pave the way for them, smoothing out all of life’s problems, instead of empowering them as they grow to successfully navigate the brokenness of life. What better way to empower them, than to teach them to know and rely on God?
When my husband left and our world collapsed, I was devastated. I was sure that I would never be okay again. I was terrified of the future for myself and my children. An impenetrable darkness shrouded our world. Surprisingly, two days later, verses I had memorized 15 years earlier kept reverberating in the back of my mind: “I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (Ps. 27:13-14.) Those verses did not match my circumstances or my outlook! “I would have despaired”…yes…unless what? “Unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Finally, I said out-loud to the Lord, “I don’t see anything “good” in our circumstances, or any “good” outcome for me and my children. But your Word says YOU are good.
The next day, a casual friend who lived across town showed up on my doorstep with homemade muffins. She had no idea my world had crashed; she just said the Lord had told her to bring me some muffins! I was flabbergasted–and thankful. Another time, a friend brought bags of clothes her children had outgrown–did I want any of them? Glimpses of God’s goodness; kisses from heaven. I started looking for, and noticing, keyhole glimpses of His goodness, daily. Chasing Light, the darkness receded. Whether reveling in the beauty of spring flowers, or marveling at an unexpected and gracious provision, all were reminders to me and my children that God was good, and He was walking this path with us.
Thus began my journey of hope–not hope in an outcome, but hope in God. If we doubt God’s goodness, we can doubt every other attribute of God. Seeing and celebrating His goodness, my children learned they can rely on our no-matter-what God who is good ALL the time–no matter what!
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