A New Normal Begs for a New Way of Parenting
I’m sure you need no reminders of the perils the first six months of 2020 held. In addition to whatever personal battles you fought, there were also global disasters of pandemic proportions and fiery national crises that erupted in the wake of the senseless murder of George Floyd. For months on end, there has been deep unrest in our government, in our communities, and yes, in our homes and our souls too. We are all aware that things are not going back to the way they were. We are certainly living in a new normal. And this new normal begs for a new way of parenting.
As I see the three (soon to be four) pairs of little feet that are following in my footsteps each day, I’m acutely aware that while I’m a part of God’s plan to bring hope and healing to the world today… THEY are a part of his plan to bring hope and healing to the world tomorrow. Lord willing, someday they will “be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom [they] shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15) Even more, than I hope they get an education and land a career and start a family, I hope that they shine as beacons of light guiding a world lost in the dark to be found in God.
But as the days get darker and the path forward in faith more unclear, I’m realizing that gone are the days of passively transferring faith to my children. Gone are the days of checking out while letting the kid’s church pastor or cartoon characters teach my kids what it is to be a Christian. Instead, my children (and yours) need parents who will tenaciously pursue God and earnestly lead their children to do the same. Our world needs a generation of children who will rise into adulthood with their faith firmly established not flimsily built. I imagine you are nodding your head in agreement while simultaneously wondering, “how do I actually do that?” I’m with you!
Thankfully scripture holds the answer. Philippians 4:12-13 says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
In these verses, Paul is encouraging the church at Philippi. He’s saying [in my own paraphrase], “I see your hearts for God! You listen to the truth and you obey it! So now, press in even deeper and continue to do the inner and outer work that produces the fullness of your salvation in you.
Don’t be content with where you are in your faith and with what you currently understand about God. Keep working this out in every corner of your mind, heart, and life. Work it out with the sober and fearful understanding that this work is the most important thing you could possibly do. But don’t fear, you’re not alone in this most important work, no not alone at all. For it is God who gives you the will to persevere in your faith and does all the work of maturing you spiritually.”
This isn’t just a timely encouragement for the church at Philippi, it’s the encouragement we need as parents today.
There has never been a time when it’s more important for you to be wholly engaged in your relationship with God. He is calling you to rise up, press in, ask questions, wrestle with your doubts, and lead your children to do the same.
Shelby Turner is a stay-at-home-mom, speaker, and writer who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. She is all about helping women kick the pursuit of a picture-perfect life to the curb and inspiring them to live a purposeful life instead. She’d love for you to follow along with her on Instagram at @shelbyraeturner!