The first sermon I ever preached was on Mother's Day years ago. My kids were young, and I preached from a place of an expert. So if you just listened to me...you would know what to do, and your kids would turn out great!
Now that our kids are grown, and Matt and I are empty-nesters, I feel like I have no answers, and I know nothing about making your kids turn out great. LOL! This past Mother’s Day (2022), I preached a message to my younger self with all of this in mind.
The Bible has words of wisdom that we can learn from and follow and give our kids a great foundation to build their lives.
So if I could go back in time and talk to my younger self about parenting, here are a few things I would tell myself.
1. Deal with your yesterday’s so you can live and parent in Freedom.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and I believe that includes our family and those closest to us. So if you do not love yourself well, you will not love others well, even though you want to love them with all your heart.
In other words, our children will inherit what we don’t deal with. They will hurt with what we don’t heal from because unresolved trauma is transferable and unavoidable.
And you cannot act like it didn’t happen, so you have to heal from it. If you don’t heal from your past, your hurt will ooze out on your family and parenting.
In parenting, more is caught than taught, and so you have to say to your kids, “follow me as I follow Christ.”
Parents have to live out what they want their kids to do first because you reproduce who you are.
The Fruit of the Spirit doesn’t talk. It grows. You will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, & self-control out of your relationship with God.
Your life will prosper as your soul (mind, will, and emotions) prospers.
2. Train them up in the ways of the Lord.
This is more than just taking them to church.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
You can train your kids in the ways of the Lord, or you can train them in the ways of the world, but however you choose to train them when they are old, they will not depart from it.
You can train your kids to be angry and to yell.
You can train your kids to be avoiders or pleasers.
You can train your kids to be chaotic.
You can train your kids to be controlling.
…And when they are old, they will not depart from it.
Here’s the thing: you were trained, and even though you may hate how you were trained, you will repeat it unless you are “saved” from that training.
The alcoholic who hates that his parents were alcoholics and still becomes one...He needed to be saved from how he was trained.
The child who hates the affair, the yelling, the abuse and yet repeats it because that is the homelife he grew up in, and that is how he was trained.
Unless the child surrenders his life to Jesus and is born again into the family of God, there is the possibility it will be repeated.
We were all trained wrong. We all fall short of God’s way. This is why we need a savior.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds they are nothing but filthy rags.
Jesus died so we could be made new. Born Again.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
1 John 1:7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
It’s the blood of Jesus - not anything that I do - the blood of Jesus.
So when you make Jesus Lord of your life, you are born again. You become a new creation, a child of God. That means you have a new bloodline. The old is gone. The new is here.
And if you were trained wrong, you now have the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to train you in the way you should go, and when you are old, you will not depart from it.
So I would tell my younger self where I was trained wrong and stay close to God to allow Him to train me in my parenting.
3. Write down the vision you have for your kids' lives.
“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
What is the vision you have for your family? Write it down.
What do you want your kids' life to be like? Write it down.
What do you want them not to have departed from when your children are old?
This will help you in making decisions.
If family is important, you won’t have them so busy there is no family time.
If you want them to go to church, consistently attending church will be important.
Vision always helps us in our decision-making because we know where we are going.
I didn’t write it down, and I wish I would have, but this has always been in my heart for my kids.
I want my kids, when they are old, to have an authentic, passionate relationship with the Lord. I want them to read and study the Word of God.
I want them to have godly spouses loving each other, passionate for each other, and loving God together.
I want my kids involved in church, and I want them to raise my grandkids in church.
No matter what it looks like, I want my kids to serve God and His kingdom.
I want us all in heaven together.
When their life is over, and they stand before God, I want him to say to them, well done, my good and faithful servant.
That is my vision, and now that Matt and I are Happy Nesters, this is what I pray for. And this vision reminds me of what’s important in my relationship with my kids, so it keeps me from getting easily offended, keeps me pursuing my own health, and keeps me speaking life over my kids when I am around them.
If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?