“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” ~Isaiah 64:8
Of all the things I have seen, tasted, and touched during my time on earth, none has compared to the one dream I never even knew I wanted: children. I know many of you probably sit back, stunned by God’s grace to give you a family, just as I am. The idea that we as parents are impacting eternity through the people we raise is incredible—incredibly beautiful and incredibly daunting. Sometimes, we focus on the magnitude of raising people and miss out on the moments along the way. I want to encourage you to sit back, relax, and believe God is in control—because He is. At the end of the day, children (and teens), with all their beautiful complexities, are really very simple and have simple needs that parents can embrace on the journey. While your children are still under your roof, remember to do these three things regularly and intentionally: pray, play, and pursue.
*Pray regularly and pray passionately. Pray for your children. Pray with your children. Teach your child that prayer is nothing more than talking to God and can be done anytime, anywhere. Let them hear you praying—show them you are standing up for them and always will. Let them know wherever they go, no matter their age, God goes before them and they have a parent who is praying for them.
*Play with your children every moment you can. As they say: the days are long and the years are short. Don’t miss out on their laughter (and sibling rivalry) because you are too busy listening to a podcast or so consumed with your own thoughts you don’t hear their hearts. You would be amazed what conversations and gazes you miss because you are there but not present. Put down your phone, turn off the tablet, and play. This goes for parents of teens, too. Even when they don’t seem like they want you there and you’re no longer their “best friend”—they do want you, they do love you, and they do need to have fun with you! And maybe, just maybe, one day you will be their “best friend” again, more than ever before.
*Pursue your passions and teach them to pursue theirs. You were created for a reason, and you have a purpose. Yes, one of them is being a parent. But before you were a parent, you were given distinct gifts, and you have a calling on your life that doesn’t go away because you are busy rearing humans. While you’re helping your kids grow, make sure you are growing, too. When children see a parent pursuing their God-given passions, it gives them the freedom and courage to pursue theirs, too.
“You teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.” Dr. Howard Hendricks
In these last moments before I go collect my little ones from the “Mommy’s Day Out” they attend, I am not only excited to see them and hear about their day; I’m excited God has given me another day with them, and for that I am so grateful. Not only do I have two beautiful little boys, but in a short while, our little girl will make her debut. There’s not much time left with her in my womb, and I am relishing feeling her kicks from the inside out. I picture her big brothers “protecting and defending” her in the years to come. And while those years will come quickly, right now my little boys still think I am a princess and they are knights (and firefighters). I want to walk the talk by praying, playing, and pursuing those little hearts with all of mine. The big events begin with little moments along the way—don’t be so busy that you miss them before they are gone.
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first daughter in March 2016. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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