by: Scotty Smith
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Ps. 127:1-3
Dear heavenly Father, it’s a joy to address you today as the architect and builder of your own house—including the household of faith, and the place and state of our children in your family
As I look back over the years of my pragmatic parenting, I’m saddened, but I am also gladdened, for you’ve always been faithful to your promises—even when I was overbearing and under-believing. Movement from parenting by “grit” to grace—from fear to faith, from stressing to resting, from controlling to trusting, from obsessing to accepting, has been a slow but, liberating journey. I so want the gospel to permeate all of my relationships.
Thank you for already rescuing me from parental “laboring in vain”—assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear. Father, only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children. Only you can give anyone a new heart—including our kids.
You’ve called us to parent as an act of worship—to parent “as unto you,” not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or re-doing our lives through our kids. Oh, the undue pressure our children feel when we parent more out of our threat and pride, than by your love and grace.
Thank you for freeing me from the arrogance of “good parenting” and the fatalism of “bad parenting.” Our “good parenting” moments aren’t the only reason some really good stuff shows up in the lives of our kids; and our “bad parenting” moments don’t negate your sovereignty and limit the reach of your grace. Hallelujah, your name is Redeemer.
Since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, help us to parent as humble stewards, not as anxious owners—whether they are infants or adults. Show us how to parent, and grandparent, in ways that best reveal the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Convict us quickly, and deeply, when don’t relate to our children “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14). Grant us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ faithful and loving name.