Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sacred Parenting

At my church we have just started a new video course called Sacred Parenting. The premise of the course is that our children teach us to know God. Gary Thomas, the author of the course, believes that God uses our kids to change us. I can't help but reflect on the ways my children have changed me.

My children were my best teachers of grace - no contest. No matter how angry, sad, or upset they were when I put them down for a nap or tucked them into bed at night,  they loved me with their whole hearts again when they awoke. No matter how I failed them, they will still loved me. I think that children become less grace-filled as they grow up but as their parent you will continue to be forgiven and loved in spite of yourself. You may not deserve it but they will still love you. (Kind of like God!)

My children saw my authentic self - not the mask I sometimes wore for the world. They watched me so closely. They knew my habits and could predict my moods, even when I had on my best party manners. You will often hear an older child counsel a younger one: stay out of dad's way when he's (fill in the blank) because it means he's in a bad mood, or if you want her to say yes, ask her when she's (fill in the blank) because that means she's in a good mood. They know us so intimately. (Also kind of like God!)

My children's faith inspired me - and helped me to discover God again as a child. Because they had not yet learned to be skeptical, they could appreciate all that I taught them about God.  When I was worried, one of them would say "we can pray about it" which would stop me in my tracks. I COULD pray about it. Sometimes, as adults, we make things entirely too complicated. "And a little child shall lead them" is true in so many ways.

My children depended on me – and assumed that I would provide for them. With complete trust they believed that their needs would be met. They didn’t worry about tomorrow; they simply lived life one day at a time. This is how I should act with God, and I’m much closer to that place than I was before I had children!

My children are adults now, but I continue to learn from them. They are still open to the world in a way I have long since left behind. Sometimes that means they look at things I have long treasured and criticize or dismiss them. And sometimes they embrace things that I long ago dismissed or rejected. Just as a toddler's discovery of the world delights and refreshes our perspective of things we've long taken for granted, so my adult children's encounters with the adult world refresh me and cause me to see what I take for granted with new eyes. 

God's infinite wisdom and love permeate this parent-child relationship. It is a sacred relationship. Thanks be to God.

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