Guest post for www.babasglory.com.
We are not called to raise good kids. We are called to raise kids who are a light in the darkness, stand for justice and walk closely with the Lord.
I sure liked that statement much better when I heard it as a newly pregnant mother-to-be. It even sounded good as the little lives grew a bit. I heard it or read it at some point during my first pregnancy. I’m certain I said a little ‘amen’. However, it wasn’t long into parenthood before I realized just how hard that statement was to live out. There were days when just raising good kids was not looking good. And then there were days when that option was way more appealing (with less risk) than the latter. On occasion I would believe it would just be best if I kept my kids in the bubble of our home without any outside influences…but then the spit in my face or a chocolate milk spill or a tantrum or backtalk would quickly remind me that separation was good…needed.
In reality I knew shielding my kids from the world was not what we were asked by God to do. In fact, I knew the opposite. I knew the scripture in the book of John that says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” And in Acts, “‘I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” God’s heart is for all people to come to know Jesus, therefore we and our children are the ones to show them their Savior. That just simply cannot happen if we are not out in the world.
I found out I was pregnant with our first child in the summer of 2001. It was just a month later when the attacks of 9-11 occurred. After the initial shock, I wondered why we were bringing a child into this dangerous, filthy, broken world. Out of fear, I posed that thought to my dad. He responded, “Because God is raising a generation that will welcome the return of King Jesus. You are bringing children into this dangerous, filthy, broken world to release His glory all over the world.”
A few months after the birth of that chubby baby, we dedicated her to Jesus. In essence, we were giving her back to Him; giving Him permission to have HIS way in her life and trusting His heart for her over our own dreams and desires for her. At some point my fear of what was to come in her life had to die.
We were not to shield her from the danger by bubble wrapping her and keeping her indoors. We were not to keep her hands from touching the filth in fear of her getting dirty. We were not to remove her from the brokenness to protect her from getting hurt. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
So we trust. Trusting is a process. Over time we see God’s faithfulness in the way He designed each one of our kids. We learn their personality, their spiritual gifts, their drive and destiny. Our prayers at home started out something like this: God, draw our kids close to Your heart at an early age. God, teach our kids Your nature. God, give our kids the faith to trust You at Your Word. God, reveal Your heart for people to our kids. God, unleash Your plan and destiny for our kids. God, give our hearts a passion for Your Name. God, bless our kids with boldness to stand for righteousness. God, give our kids a heart for the nations. God, reveal to our kids that the world is bigger than what they can see with their eyes. God, ignite a fire deep down within them that will grow. God, give our kids a love for Your Word. God, anoint our kids with gifts of healing and prophecy and words of knowledge. God, reveal Your nature and Your heart through visions and dreams.
And over time God has answered those prayers. Not in totality, but in His time, He places them in environments where they thrive or He puts them in situations where they must know His promises and cling to them. He gives them courage to take a stance for justice and righteousness. God gives them boldness. He gives them spiritual eyes to see beyond what their physical eyes can see. He gives them faith to believe in more. God gives them hope in hopeless situations. He gives them the voice of Truth to speak out. He uses them to draw others to Jesus.
These little prayers seem simple and manageable…and yet, not small at all, and definitely not manageable by me. I look back over the short 13 ½ years of parenting and I see how God has taken those tiny breath-prayers and increased their return. Like the time our five year old boldly (in front of the entire Kindergarten class) prayed over her teacher for healing in her back. She was healed on the spot. Like the time when one of our girls was so quiet and shy that she would not speak a word in public, yet found the courage to invite our postman to church (no one would believe she was ever quiet or shy and by the way, the postman still attends church). Like the dream of heaven that our third daughter had that ultimately led her to give her heart to Jesus. Like the compassion of one of ours to give up things that she could have in order to feed the hungry and care for the lonely. And the stirring one had to pray over a classmate’s mom for healing of her cancer during athletics in public school; like the heart for the nations that is growing in our family and sending us out.
In an era when school shootings are a common reality, and oppression and persecution is on a rapid rise, we, as parents, must lay aside all of our fear and trust God’s call for our children. Whether He calls them to public or private school, Africa or Israel, the richest part of town or the forgotten neighborhood down the street, fear must die. Our capacity to trust God must increase in order for this generation of revivalists to do what God has appointed them to do.
We are seeing a stirring, a passion, a boldness, a stand for righteousness and a heart for relationships growing in our kids. And I am not referring solely to our family. This generation of children is honoring the LORD by being Light in the darkness, the voice of Truth, healing to the hurting and restoration to the broken. So no, we are not just raising a bunch of good kiddos, we are raising up a generation who will lead others into the throne room of Heaven, boldly go where God has asked them to go and whole-heartedly do what He has asked them to do. Yes!