I clearly remember the day we found out that we were not pregnant. I held a piece of paper in my hands, that would conclude the curiosity of my questioning heart.
Is there life growing inside of me or not?
The doctor had requested that I do some blood tests to determine if we were pregnant. I opened up the neatly folded piece of paper and the words negative screamed louder than any noise I had ever heard.
It’s from the very first moment that we settle our hearts on becoming parents, that we open ourselves up to the privilege and pain of parenthood.
A few months later, my one lined negative test turned into two lines of happiness, high levels of HCG and a rush of hormones.
Today I have three toddlers aged 2,3 and 4.
My days are full of feeble attempts to breed well behaved children, cultivate good conduct and strengthen math and writing skills, all the while trying to maintain my sanity. I pour myself into the priority of pre-school etiquette by teaching my kids to count from one to ten, going through the days of the week and months of the year and by reiterating the sharing is caring concepts. But most days consist of less counting and more character building.
Both mine and theirs.
After nearly eight months of homeschooling my kids, I’ve officially earned my degree in conflict management, relationship development and communication advancement. Long days, late nights and little sleep; lengthly tantrums, loaded bills and loud noises; lessons on listening, literature and life skills – the list goes on. My hands are hard at work and my heart is heavy.
To be a parent is a call to persevere through the ups and downs, to lead while we sacrifice, to carry on going even when the going gets tough. To be a parent is to practice selflessness while desperately needing space for ourselves, to feel all the feels, to be so aware of our selfish needs while submitting to the demands of our mission to parent well.
To be a parent is to celebrate and surrender, to enjoy and endure, to form friendships with our children and forsake some levels of freedom; to refrain, redefine and recondition our once self saturated ideologies on life.
To be a parent is to carry burdens and blessings at the same time.
I once heard this quote and it shook me to my core. “You have what it takes but it’s going to take everything you’ve got!”
Parents: Moms and Dads – you’ve got what it takes to parent purposefully – both of you, but it will take everything you’ve got.
Your mandate is to shelter, shield and Shepard your kids well. Where life has created brokenness and barrenness, you are called to mend and make better. You are called to shift the atmosphere of adversity and create adventure through the journey of parenting.
Sometimes we wish that the mandate came with an instruction manual. I believe it does. For believers, the instruction manual is Gods Word, the Bible. It gives us everything we need to sustain us in this season of our lives.
Our minds so often resort to the false feeling that life should be easy but of what worth is it if we do not carry any weight? The weights of life make us grow. The responsibility of raising world changers and history makers should weigh heavy on us.
It is no easy task but it is one of the greatest privileges known to man.
To raise up the next generation is our way of making our mark on this world. We too are world changers in the midst of the mundane, monotonous and all the moaning. While we drive our mini vans and make cupcakes, throw parties and plant veggie gardens, we are making our stamp on society. We are educating minds and birthing intelligence. We are exploring creativity and enduring chaos at the same time.
How would you like the world to change? You know the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would like to rephrase that by saying, “Raise the change you want to see in the world.”
The Bible says that children are a blessing from above. They are compared to arrows in a warriors hand. They are a token of favour. A gift in this life.
My favourite time of the day is when we sit around the dining room table as a family. Together we eat, we share and we laugh. This is my safe place, my reason, my mission. This is my task, my story to tell. These lives are the lives I get to shape and love and lead. This is me, living out the gospel in my home. This is me, advancing the Kingdom of God by making disciples around my dining room table.
As we are faithful to fulfil our task as moms and dads, caregivers and grandparents, we are fulfilling the needs of the world for more loved human beings. Loved people, love people. But hurt people, hurt people. When we raise kind hearted kids, we raise a new generation of kindness that this world has yet to know. We are raising Kingdom kids in a world full of conformity.
We are leading a revolution by living with intentionality and parenting on purpose. This is our assignment. Our assignment is to advance and catapult our children into the next century, armed with right living, right attitudes and right thinking based on biblical principles.
As parents, we need to maintain our posture of presence not presents. I often come home from the shops, bags full of biscuits, books and ballet shoes. But if my presence is not available then how am I fulfilling my assignment? My kids can’t learn character from a packet of crackers.
This is our assignment: to bear children, to build them up by loving them and to be attentive to their needs. The days are long but the years are short. This assignment won’t last forever. We are on a mission to make the world a different place but our time is limited.
If I can encourage you with anything today, it would be this: Moms and Dads – don’t give up. Don’t grow weary of doing good because you will reap the rewards in due time.
As I sit here and write this to you, I still don’t get it right. Everyday is an opportunity for me to do better, be better and love better than the last. And yes, most days I mess up because I’m selfish. But everyday I try and do my best. Being a parent doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. But it does mean that we need to find purpose in our parenting adventure.
We need to parent purposefully and we need to do it on the days we’re tired and the days we’re overwhelmed, the days we’re busy and the days we’re not so busy, the days we’re happy and the days we’re sad, the days we’re frustrated and the days we’re feeling affectionate. We need to parent purposefully not perfectly.
Let’s make history by moulding our kids the right way.
Let’s lead well. Let’s live well. Let’s love well.
And may we never get tired of learning and growing and being all in.
Let’s parent on purpose. Let’s play on purpose. Let’s prioritise our kids, on purpose.
Let’s parent purposefully. This is your promise land!