Fresh Start Parenting: From Discouragement to Victory

Fresh Start Parenting

Ever been to the English countryside along the Atlantic coast?

I was there, not long ago. Just imagine a postcard of endless, perfect farms with approximately a zillion sheep each, and you’d have it about right, except for one thing – the wind – driving inland from the cliffs. So strong, it seems certain to strip the grass from the surrounding fields. Maybe that’s why they have all those sheep, to hold down the grass.

These hardy folks have the well-run sheep enterprise down to a science. It’s all very impressive.

But what if, instead of idyllic farms, I saw weed-infested, pale-green fields surrounding buildings in various states of disrepair and diseased, mangy sheep, scuttling through broken down fences onto the greener grass of neighboring pastures? One thing is certain: no one would think to blame the sheep, would they?

But everyone would wonder at the shepherd of those flocks. Where were they? Why were they neglecting their responsibilities?

Shepherds – that’s what we really are, isn’t it Dad and Mom? And whether it’s the good or the bad news, the current state of our families is the result of our parenting – our shepherding of our sheep.

Parenting isn’t something that randomly happens to us. It is what we are doing or have done in response to the calling we’ve received from God, through His Word.

Children are, for many, the first disciples God has entrusted to our care, training, and oversight. Just like the shepherds of those sheep, we have to take responsibility for the condition of our “flock.”

Being a parent is humbling for us all, isn’t it? There may be parents, somewhere, who haven’t made major mistakes parenting their children but, I’ve yet to meet one . . . starting with that guy I see in the mirror every morning. No room for pride, here.

Are you one of those parents for whom everything seems to fall into place and go well? Then, Praise God! And keep walking humbly before him.

What if this doesn’t describe you and you’re reaping the harvest of your mistakes or of the neglect of your calling? It is painful, but wallowing in pain for the current state of things isn’t humility and it won’t help you grow.  Your failures do not define God’s plans for you. He is The Redeemer.

Humility . . . that’s what is needed to grow and to become a better, more mature, more effective, and more godly parent. The Bible says God ‘ . . . gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5.

Do you want God’s grace in leading your family? Will you humble yourself?

If things aren’t going well with your flock, don’t despair at the broken down fences, unsightly dilapidated buildings, and poorly tended fields. Take action.

Look around you. Do you see Dads or Moms who have been faithful over the long haul, whose children walk, not in perfection, but in submission to the loving oversight of their imperfect parents?

Humble yourself first before God, asking Him to show you where you’ve gone wrong. Then utilize the resources He has provided for you in His Word and in the spiritual gifts He has distributed throughout the Body of Christ in the brothers and sisters with whom you are walking. Ask, heed instruction, and mature.

Then, when God has ahold of your heart and has given you His wisdom through the Word and through other godly parents, go to your children – even if they are young – and confess that you have not been the parent(s) God intended you to be but, with His help and guidance, you are purposing to grow in this area.

It may be that too much has transpired and your child will remain hard, but in most cases I’ve seen – and certainly in my own experience – when Dad and Mom walk in this way, God opens hearts. Fresh Start Parenting is available to everyone who desires to walk as He intended. And, remember, He is for you. His mercies are new every morning ~ Lamentations 2:22-23.

Matthew L. Jacobson

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