It was a seemingly standard invitation.
Just your average birthday party sleepover. There was no reason why we, as parents, shouldn’t allow our son to participate. But, for some reason, my husband and I both felt uneasy. An unexplained feeling that our son could attend the party, but should not spend the night. We prayed together and despite still having no concrete reason, other than a hunch, we came back again with the same decision. No. Our son didn’t understand our decision, but he was willing to trust us.
Some people might call what we felt that night a parent’s intuition. Others might name it their conscience or street smarts. As for me, a mom who believes in and follows Christ, I knew it was the voice of the Holy Spirit being our help as we parent our children.
We as parents need to lean into the Holy Spirit’s leading in our parenting.
I’m not talking about freaking out at every thought of danger or life not going perfect for our children. That sounds more like helicopter, or even lawnmower parenting. And I’m not interested in parenting from an anxiety-riddled list of yes’s and no’s. I’m interested in you and me being the parents who know Jesus so well, that our yes and no in conversations with our children come from a place of trust and wisdom in a God much greater than we are. That our parenting decisions are not based on what the other families around us are doing or if our children will be happy. But based on God leading our hearts through His Word and our relationship with Him. Sometimes these decisions will lead to a no that has saved our children from something we will never know this side of heaven. Sometimes these decisions will lead to an uneasy yes that might have hard consequences our children will have to learn. And at times these decisions will lead to a confident yes filled with joy. None of these decisions are based on the outcome. Instead, these parenting decisions are based on listening and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Here are 4 ways we can invite the Holy Spirit into our parenting:
1. Spend time in Gods Word. Being in Gods Word sets our hearts on Him and His truth so that we know and recognize Him in even the ordinary moments.
2. Pray for your children. Pray that their hearts will be softened toward God and you as their parent.
3. Pray that you will be aware and listen to the Holy Spirit all day, in all moments. Pray that you will be aware of those little thoughts or pricks in your heart that say this is the moment, this is the person, this is the question or decision.
4. Teach your children that they are loved more than they can imagine. By you, but also by the God of the universe. As they trust in the love and goodness of God first, they will learn to trust your Spirit-lead parenting decisions, even when they don’t agree with them.
Parenting led by the Holy Spirit is filled with grace and freedom. We are freed up to follow God, not try to be perfect parents.
My husband and I will never know if our son was saved from something earth-shattering that night of the sleepover or if he would have stayed the night and simply had a fabulous time, but we do know that our decision to pick him up early was totally based on the Holy Spirit’s nudging our hearts to say no and that we held fast to His leading without knowing the outcome. As parents, we can trust that as we seek God and listen, the Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom in faith, to handle the situations He lays in our children’s lives, as well as our own.