Little girls play wedding with their Barbie dolls, and as they grow up, for many of them, that desire becomes real. And if those dreams are finalized, a new wish is planted deep within their souls – the yearning for a child to complete the picture. Boys, on the other hand, do not dream of one day changing diapers or picking out blue or pink clothes. But as men, the need to spread their humanity to future generations is encouraged by the joy they feel when told they are pregnant.
But what about the rest of the world? What about those who never touched Barbie dolls or felt the need to permanently couple before the eyes of God and man, and then to further complicate their lives with children? For heaven’s sake, a dog or cat are hard enough to deal with!
What about those of you who feel so totally inept at parenthood to even consider having children, married or not? These are the three types of possible parents born every day into this world, who grow up to be adults from a myriad of backgrounds, socioeconomic families, Christian or not.
Even for those people who never wanted kids, finding out they are going to have one turns out to be pure satisfaction – in most cases I would say. I believe this. A child has a disarming factor that you can’t understand until you hold the one you birthed or created.
I’m sure that’s how Eli felt when he first set his eyes upon Hophni and Phinehas, his two sons who grew to be Levitical priests like himself. And then he realized something about his children that should have (and maybe even did) stopped him in his tracks: they were inciting anger in the Lord by the sins they committed against His people.
Can you relate to this? Are you so different from Eli?
*You berate your child’s teacher for punishing him or her despite knowing your child deserved it.
*You spend money you don’t have, on things you don’t need, to make sure your child is keeping up with the Joneses.
*You know you don’t discipline your children when they need it but you can’t stand to “hurt” them by erecting boundaries and enacting appropriate punishment.
*You would rather enjoy the church service than deal with a bored child causing disruption, and having to teach that child to sit still and be quiet during the sermon.
*You want your home to be neat and tidy and don’t want to spend the time it would take teaching your children to clean it, because you know they won’t do it right until they are taught to, over and over – ad nauseum.
These are just a few common problems parents face. Maybe you don’t take your kids to church, although you believe, because you spend the week and weekends carting them around and working and come Sunday, you just are too tired to face getting them ready and taking them to church.
What did God have to say about this? Tons, of course! But what I read today reminded me of my own failures at godly parenting. 1 Samuel 2: 27-36 says, in part, “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat (emphasis mine) with the best of the offerings of Israel My people?…But now the Lord says, ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed…Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.”
So, that’s pretty clear. Now let’s get back to my original statement: what if you never had the desire for children but ended up having them anyway? What does God want you to do? He wants your daily, loving, affirming commitment to those kids. Here’s what I think happens when you give that to them: your heart is opened wide, and a love you have never known – for there is nothing that compares to the fierce love you have for your kids – is available to you. It’s that simple and that complicated.
Now what? What if you did want your kids, and you already know that powerful love? Are you still guilty of honoring your children more than God? For 99% of us, I’d say yes! Yes, I am guilty of it. I urge all us parents to get into the Word and find out what it says about godly parenting. This is not a comprehensive list, but it’ll get you started! One of my pastors also recommended 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid: Leading Your Kids to Succeed in Life by Tim Elmore. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s on my list!