Parenting Moment by Moment, a parenting devotional by Carla MacLachlan, is now available. Click here to learn more.
God has used Carla’s teaching to change my life! She has taught me that truth is clearly and easily found in God’s Word and that it is my choice to decide if I am going to follow it. These truths have changed the way I lead my life and especially the way I parent. Through Carla, I have learned that living a life resolved to follow God’s Word brings peace and joy.
Tracy Drake, MOPS/Women’s Ministry
First Baptist Church
Fort Mill, SC
Q and A:
I did not have a relationship with Christ when my children were growing up. Now that I do know Him, I feel like I have failed in many ways as a parent. How do I make this right?
As we think about our children and the role we have had as parents, not one of us has been a perfect parent. I can write this statement with complete confidence, because as human beings it is impossible to be perfect. However, our loving, holy God does call His followers to be blameless (Psalm 19:12-13, Psalm 119:1). While being perfect means never committing sin, being blameless results from asking forgiveness for sin and repenting; changing our behavior to reflect the Lord Jesus and His Word. 1 John 1:9 teaches: If we confess our sins, God is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Because God’s forgiveness is complete, we are also free from guilt.
Therefore, you may find that you first need to do personal business with God concerning your children. It could be that the things you now know about the importance of God’s Word you did not know when your children were growing up. As a result of a lack of training, your adult children may have made ungodly choices, resulting in you feeling guilty. However, God does not ask us to carry guilt stemming from the choices of our children. Please choose today to invite God to show you those areas of your life where you are wrong and ask Him to forgive you of sin. Ask Him to help you in every way fulfill His plan and purpose for your life. Then, walk in the freedom forgiveness brings.
Because we cannot go back in time, it’s easy to assume that we are incapable of correcting our mistakes. However, a heart of genuine repentance desires to not only change behavior, but also strives to correct any wrongdoing. Remember, God’s Word calls us to be blameless. In the same way that repentance brings us into a right relationship with God, repentance also brings us into a right relationship with others. James 5:16 instructs us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other. I encourage you to ask the Lord if there is anything that you need to confess to your children, seeking their forgiveness. Ask the Lord to show you how to make it right with them and follow through with what He reveals to you.
You may want to prayerfully consider the following: Tell each child that you realize that you are not perfect and ask them to forgive your mistakes as a parent. Explain that you desire to be a godly parent and grandparent. Tell them that you would like to know specific ways you can be praying for them and how you can help them to become a godly parent. Further demonstrate through your actions your resolve to grow in dependence on Christ and walk in His truth. While relying on God to enable your obedience, ask Him to work in the hearts and lives of each of your children. Remember, according to Scripture, God asks us to be obedient and to leave the results to Him.
Since experiencing Carla’s teaching, I now parent using the Bible and realize this is the only way to parent successfully. We have found that there is great freedom in raising children God’s way. At a very young age, our daughter has an understanding of truth and the blessing of obedience.
My spouse and I grew up under entirely different parenting styles. How do we become unified in our parenting as we await the birth of our first child?
Some parenting sources teach that in order for parents to be united they may need to reach a level of compromise with their spouse. To the contrary, while God’s Word teaches that unity in parenting is vitally important, it does not advocate compromise. Philippians 2:1-2 tells us: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. In these verses Paul is instructing believers to be like-minded or in mutual agreement concerning the things of God. Reliance on the Holy Spirit enables believers to be one in spirit and purpose. This is particularly beneficial to parents.
When God brings two people together in marriage, He desires them to be united in all aspects of marriage. Parents striving to live for Jesus should share a common interest in and commitment to raising godly children. They should be consistently united as one in spirit and purpose. God’s purpose in every circumstance is to bring honor to His name, which should be every parent’s goal in determining desired behavior.
Parents who are one in spirit recognize one standard of absolute truth: God’s Word. In developing parenting skills, practice using biblical truth as your guide. Consistently using the Bible as the perfect standard for living and relying on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment takes the guesswork out of parenting. Even though children’s personalities and life experiences may differ, the absolute truth of God’s Word remains the same.
God has used Carla’s teaching to challenge me to apply Scripture in my life in a way that is life changing. I now have committed to sharing daily with my daughter who God is, His Word, and what He is doing in our lives.
Our household has not run smoothly since bringing our new baby home. We have given it our best effort, resulting in little success and a lot of exhaustion. What should we do?
The constant care required by an infant can create many changes in a household. Although it is important for parents to spend time loving and nurturing their baby, the additional work that comes with having a child can be overwhelming. Sometimes new parents push themselves to rise before the baby and stay up after the baby has been put to bed, seeking to accomplish as much as
possible each day. When a person strives to do too much, little is accomplished purposefully or successfully. Psalm 127:2 states: In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. Our loving God not only cares about our spiritual needs, but also desires to meet our physical, mental, and emotional needs. God knows we need proper rest in order to maintain good health and stamina. He knows good sleep is vital for mental clarity and stable emotions. Sometimes parents place pressure on themselves without God asking them to do so. An important aspect of becoming a successful parent is recognizing and choosing the Lord’s best for your life and the life of your child. Therefore, ask God to prioritize your life with Himself as the center of all things. Ask Him to show you what needs to be accomplished each moment of the day and what can wait. Choose to rest in the knowledge that you are pleasing God as you choose to walk in obedience to His agenda.
I have tried to raise my children to love and serve Jesus. Now that they are grown what should be my role in their life?
Apart from Christ we have nothing of any worth to offer our children. Therefore, as parents we should fully rely on biblical truth, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to aid in their spiritual growth. If you have been consistent in living and teaching God’s truth while they were at home, your children should expect you to continue to point them to truth even though they are now living on their own. If you have not been diligent in conveying truth, ask your child to forgive you and express your desire to become an advocate of truth in their life. Remain under God’s authority and depend on the Spirit to provide His Words and timing to convey truth. A child living at home provides at least some occasions for personal contact, but when a child lives away from home it can be harder to ascertain an opportunity for conversation. For this reason, be faithful in prayer and prepared to engage in purposeful dialogue with your child.
Even though they are still your child, a young adult does not usually appreciate being treated like a child. Therefore, parents desiring to continue to affect their adult children for Christ should adjust their parenting practices. For example, when your child asks for help, listen carefully to what they are saying. Then, ask God to show you exactly how and what to say in response. Rather than giving them more information than they want or can comprehend, ask God to provide all that they need for that moment. Although there will be times when you see they could benefit from assistance, they may not ask for help. Consistently encourage your child that you are praying for them, asking the Lord to specifically meet their needs. Rely on discernment from the Holy Spirit as you consider providing unsolicited aid or insight. At times, a child may not realize they need help or may avoid seeking it by choosing to live in denial. Since living this way denies both reality and the power of God in it, pray for your child to seek God’s best in each circumstance. Although the role of parenting an adult child can be challenging, continue to obey God, trusting His eternal purpose in your child’s life.