Thursday, April 2, 2015

About Parenting

The Scripture truly is sufficient for parenting. That is, if you read your Bible heartily, consistently and prayerfully, you won't really need parenting books. The Bible is the best parenting book ever, and it will take all our lives to mine its riches in just that one area.

You might be saying, "Really? I mean, yeah, there's the fourth commandment, and that Deuteronomy passage about teaching them diligently, and then a bunch of the Proverbs about parenting, and Ephesians 6, and then that passage about Timothy's mother and grandmother...and it's all really good, but that's such a small percentage of the Bible to study when I want more specific answers for how to deal with my children every day." At least, that's kind of how I thought at one time.

But consider this: The Bible is a book about all about parenting the way the Bible is a book all about marriage, because both of these relational realities picture aspects of God's relationship to His people. In the Bible, we see God dealing with his children from beginning to end - loving them, directing them, blessing them, punishing them, reasoning with them, rescuing them, helping them, and welcoming them home. He does it perfectly. The more we learn from God as Father, the better we will know how to parent. But it doesn't come off nice and slick like a 20 Steps to Raise a Dandy Kid. God did plant some outstanding parenting sign posts throughout His Word, but the Bible isn't just a handy list. The Bible is a story about God and His ways with men, and we have to spend time in that story, following His ways with our hearts as we read His word over and over, praying to see Him, letting His revealed character transform our vision of what it means to be His, and then what it means to glorify Him in stewarding the children He gives us.

I haven't quite finished the journey I've described - but I've started it, and the glimpses of the road are enough to make me say, "Come on down this way - it's amazing!" That is, the road of reading more Scripture, memorizing, meditating, repeating, reading over. At the beginning of this year, I took a challenge of reading a book of the Bible 20 times. I'll admit, I didn't make it to 20 - I read my book of choice just 10 times, but then I did choose 32-chaptered Deuteronomy, so I don't call it a  goal failure. But I was amazed at what happened during those ten readings. God Himself started to become very familiar, and His methods of dealing with His people started to impress themselves more deeply into my moral sense and thinking patterns. That's what Scripture is supposed to do. (When you find yourself making automatic mental reference to Israel in the wilderness while trying to deal with a complaining child, my premise at the top will start to make sense.)

So read the Bible and pray. Yep. Comes down to that, doesn't it? But more and more. And maybe stop reading all those blogs. Except maybe sometimes read them, because (thank you) you're reading mine and I hope it did you some good.

-- A word to other mamas. I only have one child, so it's easier for me to read the Bible than others, but it's still not easy. Ask God to help you read His word and then keep your Bible(s) handy and look for how He will answer. No complaining that you can't find time if you haven't seriously asked God to provide some for you. Seems to me its one prayer He will be quite willing to answer.