Motherhood has given me my greatest joys and my deepest disappointments; my proudest accomplishments and my most humbling failures; my deepest contentment and my most unsettling struggles. Do I have any “AMENS” out there? Parenting is quite simply the most extreme of everything. This extreme position leaves us in quite a quandary in laying out a game plan for tackling this task.
Most of the time when I am left with little direction, I go to the Word of God and see if there is a direct word for me. Searching His Word, I find much instruction for parents.
- Teach your children to put their trust in God. Psalm 78:5-7, Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- Teach your children reverence. Proverbs 1:7
- Teach your children obedience. Proverbs 1:8
- Teach your children about purity. Proverbs 2
- Teach your children about money. Proverbs 3:9
- Teach your children a healthy view of love. Proverbs 3:27-28
- Teach your children to control their tongue. Proverbs 4:24
- Teach your children to work. Proverbs 6:9
- Teach your children to choose godly friends. Proverbs 13:20
The statements above, are the instructions God gives us for parenting. In those moments of frustration, doubt and indecision in parenting, I can always measure my parenting to what God commands me to do.
While this exhaustive list is a model, an outline, for all of my instructions, I am struck as I look through the Word of God as to what is NOT on the list of commands for parents. First, God never commands us to love our children. God, the most perfect parent in the history of time, knows that love for a child is completely innate. He knew in His crafting of His precious love letter to us, that He would never have to tell us to love our children, but that it would overflow so very naturally.
The second most surprising word missing from commands to parents is PROTECT. God NEVER, EVER, says, “Thou shalt protect your children.” Again, protecting from harm comes extremely naturally as a parent. But I do wonder, in this current age of helicopter parenting, if we have gone too far to the extreme in protecting our children. Clearly from the commands that God gave us, the most important precept of parenting is teaching. I fear that quite possibly protecting from disappointment, failure, insecurity, bad influences and sadness has trumped our mission of teaching. Protection has quite possibly become the goal!
We can learn much on this topic from the mother of one of God’s most influential leaders in the Old Testament. Her name was Jochebed and she was the mother of Moses. When Jochebed gave birth to Moses, Jewish boys were being killed at the command of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Exodus 2:2 tells us, “When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.” Jochebed understood there is a time for “hiding” or rather completely protecting children from all harm. The time did come for Jochebed to trust in her God and devise a plan to keep her son alive. She placed the baby in a basket, letting him float down the river. In God’s providence, Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and decided to keep him. At that very moment, Moses’ sister stepped in (don’t you know there was an amazing plan hatched between Mariam, Moses’ sister, and her mother) and asked if the baby needed a wet nurse. Pharaoh’s daughter said yes and Jochebed nursed Moses until he was weaned. It is unclear what age Moses was weaned, but we know the moment that he was done nursing, Jochebed released him in to the arms of Pharaoh’s daughter. Can you imagine the extreme fear? Don’t you know that Jochebed wanted to protect Moses from the teaching he would receive at Pharaoh’s home? What trust it must have taken to release her child!
I do not recommend giving your child over to people who do not know Jesus, but I highly recommend the example of Jochebed in her balanced protection. Jochebed had been raised by Levi, the head of the religious leaders in the Jewish generations. She knew and had experienced the truth of God. Jochebed knew when to hold tight in protection and when to gently allow her precious son to go outside the walls of her home.
Understanding the balance in protecting your children is no easy task. As a matter of fact, it can only be found at the feet of Jesus. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We as parents are in great NEED of God’s mercy and grace in understanding balanced protection.
I encourage you today to make teaching your children a priority. Take the list from God’s word and measure every activity and teaching time to this list from the commands of Almighty God. Second, daily sit at the feet of Jesus and ask him to give you the appropriate amount of protection for your children and complete and total trust in HIM.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Kelli Lawrence for sharing her heart and wisdom with us today. Kelli is a wife and mom of three. She is married to her high school sweetheart and sincerely adores being a mom. She describes herself as a receiver of incredible, undeserved grace, a worshipper of the Almighty God who spoke all into existence and a girl who desires to share Jesus with whoever will listen. She has a passion for bringing alive the truths in God’s word, through sharing her own life stories, for practical, successful living. Kelli recently published a book with her sister, Vicki Lassiter, called “Heart 2 Heart: Let’s Really Talk.” She graduated from Baylor University with a B.S. in Speech Pathology and an M.S. in Speech Pathology.
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