In my last post I shared how valuable The Power of a Praying Parent has been to me as a parent. Today, I wanted to share another resource that helped me through some of our parenting experiences. I realize you may be reading this and have absotootinlutely no idea who I am or if I am in any way fit to give you any piece of encouragment or advice on parenting. Well, good point. I can’t say I read a lot of parenting books for advice on parenting. Maybe I should have. I can’t say I was a perfect parent. Who is? But, our boys believe we did a fairly job of it–they survived and so did we. In fact, we did more than survive, a lot of the time we thrived! In part because some other people who, with God’s help, were raising their kids well, and shared some of their best resources with us. So I think it’s only fair to do the same. We were made, in part, afterall, to encourage one another by passing on the things of God to future generations. So today I was thinking back at the things that shaped me as a parent and my mind decided that the things that taught me most about being a good parent were the things that taught me the most about God, and one of those things was the book/study Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.
Blackaby’s book goes back a few years, but don’t let that keep you from picking up a copy. The book he bases it on, (The Bible) is kinda old itself, y’know. They say we are living in experiential times. They say we want to experience everything for ourselves. Experience, they say, (I’m still not sure who all the “theys” of the world are) makes us who we are, makes our lives more fulfilling. (I suppose that depends on what the experiences are, but oh well) Blackaby challenges us, at least he did me, to Experience God, to take Him at His Word, and to remember the whole truth of the circumstances of God’s Word and His character.
There are two things that I still remember today after doing this study something like 12 or 15 years ago. One is that God is always at work around you. In the worst circumstances, whether it was the Isaelites in Egypt or wherever you find yourself today, God is at work. He doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t slumber. He doesn’t forget–and that is something to put in your spiritual bank account. That truth alone helped me to realize and remember that on my worst days or my best days as a parent, wife and woman of God that He was at work, and I could have hope. And that truth is not changing. I have experienced it firsthand.
The second related to something Blackaby called, A Crisis of Belief, which in essence says that there will come times when we will have to choose what we are going to stand on, which road we will choose, which path we will follow, (insert your favorite metaphor here) and when that time comes we will have to decide if what we say we believe is what we really believe, and if we believe it enough to live it out. There are still a lot of times when I come to those “crisis of belief” moments. Sometimes I’m sad that I still have to even think about some of these things, but mostly I’m thankful that I learned the wisdom of stopping and really thinking about what I believe and what I want. . . or more importantly what God wants. . . or maybe more importantly what I don’t want and what God doesn’t want for me before making a decision.
So how did this affect my parenting? These two principles have helped me to be a better parent because they helped me to be a better person. They helped me to think less about myself and more about God. They helped me to keep the end, not the immediate, in my sight. They helped me to know the real character of God and what that meant to the situtions and circumstances that came my way. They helped me to gain a confidence that the God I loved and believed in was there and would be there guiding our family each step of the way. They helped me to get through hard times which allowed our kids to see what it looks like to get through hard times by depending on God, and lastly, they helped to realize that the my best experiences in life come from Experiencing God first.