I’ve been a bit sidetracked the past few weeks. It started as I took my three children (ages 4 years, 2 years, and 6 months) for a “tour of Texas,” as I often like to call necessary road trips. We loaded our pint sized RV (commonly called a minivan) with as many clothes, snacks, and books as possible, and we hit the road. The kids and I managed to turn a typical three hour trek into a five and a half hour one, between the necessary nursing and potty stops. But we eventually reached our intended destination. While we were enjoying time with Grandpa and Nana, our own home was filled dust and debris so thick every square inch needed a professional to deep clean to make everything livable again. It sounds bad, but in reality the demolition was because something wonderful was taking place–we were getting new floors and crafting something beautiful!
Our home was built in 1979 and is a modest three-bedroom, two-bath. In the six years we have lived here, we have slowly but surely done a great deal of work to make it a more functional space. The labor has been long, taxing, and, in the end, totally worth it! It’s often like that in life, isn’t it? Things must be broken down, ripped apart, and carefully planned in order for something exquisite to be revealed. It’s easy to forget that while we are busy shaping our homes and our children, God is busy shaping us. The thing is, you are a child of God no matter your age, and all children need guidance, discipleship, and boundaries. Age doesn’t determine your maturity, and it’s important to remember that sanctification is a lifelong process.
“Sanctification begins at our salvation, and it ends or culminates at our glorification. We are justified, declared righteous at our salvation. We are glorified, made fully righteous when we see the Lord face to face. In the meantime, we are being progressively sanctified. That is, we are progressively being separated from sin unto Christ.” John MacArthur
You, dear parent, have a Master Craftsman skillfully chiseling away to make you more like Him, but often times, especially in the depths of this parenting journey, it can be easy to get distracted. Your vision can get blurred. Here are a few tips to focus on personal beautification in the midst of busyness.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
- Set aside alone time for just you and Jesus. We’ve all been there. We have the best of intentions for rising early and getting quality time in with the Lord, but sometimes, especially when we have others needing us, the first thing we give up is our personal time. Relationships grow stagnant when not purposefully poured into, and, if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves cruising spiritually. If early mornings aren’t your thing, maybe nap time or after everyone is in bed can be. The time of day doesn’t matter as long as you give God focused and undivided attention so your most important relationship can flourish.
- Listen at all times. I am big on words, and I think life is just sweeter when there is a melody or spoken truth to be heard and planted within. I highly encourage that when you aren’t reading the written Word of God, to listen to it. Turn on some hymns, tune into a Christian podcast, or even play a kids Bible recording while you’re going about your day. Most of us know what we listen to and look at becomes part of our reality, so as we not only guard our ears and eyes, let’s proactively engage them so we grow up in God and become all the more mature in our faith.
- Be discipled as you disciple. There is a lot of talk in Christian circles about discipleship and the older teaching the younger, but the sad reality is if you took a survey, you would find a lot of people talking about this vital part of the faith who are not actively walking it out. It is not because people don’t desire discipleship, but because that mentorship connection has not been established and can often be awkward and intimidating to initiate. Pray and seek out someone you admire and respect who has walked the road before you, and consider asking that person to disciple you. God is so gracious to provide what and who we need, so get over any ego, fear, or whatever the emotion is you are feeling, and ask Him for someone. If there isn’t anyone, then make certain when the time comes, you are a willing discipler who is available for others. Take a moment and reflect on what this looks like in Titus.
Remember this: God is a restorer who loves to create beauty where there are ashes. He is an encourager who loves you faithfully, and He is your Father who wants to create in you a pure heart and renew a right spirit within you. Do not get so wrapped up in parenting your children that you forget you are always a child in need of parenting. Present yourself for His correction and training so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
For His Glory,
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 recently welcomed the arrival of their first little girl. 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.
For more resources, links, and to engage with other parents, click HERE and join our closed Facebook group.