January 10, 2013

Loving Your Children

Understand, I am not a parenting expert. I’ve still got a lot to learn. In fact, when we first had kids, I read all the parenting books that were out there, and I thought, “How hard can this thing be?” Since that time, there have been many times I’ve felt completely in over my head and clueless when it comes to parenting. I’m just a fellow struggler like you are. In fact, I remember one such time several years ago when one of my sons was four years old, and we were sitting at the dinner table. He asked for a cookie, and his mom pointed out that he hadn’t eaten his vegetables yet. So, I said, “Son, if you’ll eat your squash, I’ll give you a cookie.” And he said, “I don’t want to eat my squash.” And I said, “You don’t understand. It’s really not an option. You must eat your squash.” He said, “I’m not going to eat my squash.” And, right then and there, all my parental authority had come down to a plate of squash. I knew I was in trouble, but I didn’t know what to do, so I just kept going at it. In fact, I said, “Son, if you don’t eat your squash, I’m going to spank you.” He said, “Go ahead and spank me, but I’m not going to eat my squash.” That’s when, panic stricken, I looked at Chris, and I said, “What do I do? You know, our four-year-old has taken over our family.”

Now, I know that some of you parents can relate to that – those times where you feel completely in over your head, and you don’t know what to do. I really want to encourage parents today by saying that God is the only perfect parent. He is the wisest and most experienced parent and He relates to His children, you and I. God’s the only perfect parent, and even God has some rebellious kids – us. So, I hope this can really encourage you today, parents, and learn some things from the only perfect parent, God.

First, visit their planet. You have to visit their planet often – that is, live in their world. That’s what God did for us, His kids. Look at John 1:14. “The Word became human and lived among us.”   You also need to touch their world. They need your hugs and your high-fives. Jesus understood how important this was in the life of a child to feel that acceptance through hugs. In Mark 10:14, it says, “Let the little children come to Me.” He held them, and He blessed them.

Secondly, we need to hear their world. We need to listen to them. They need you to listen to them. If you want your kids to confide in you when they are teenagers, you have to listen to them in those early years. I have to really work at this. I’ve got a long way to go on this. Sometimes my kids want to talk, and they need me to listen, and I’m focusing on something else. I hear them, but I’m not really listening. And, you know what? They know it. You’ve got to really work at this. God is always there to listen to us anytime we want to talk. He’s always there. Whenever we want to talk to Him, He drops everything He’s doing and focuses in, and He listens to us. Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him.” I want to be more like my Lord, the perfect Heavenly Father. I want to be more like Him. When my kids come to me and want to talk, I want to be there to listen whenever they want to talk, and that’s the way we ought to be.

Lastly, we need to see their world. That’s what Jesus does for us, His children. Matthew 9:36 says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Jesus saw what His children were going through, and He saw that without Him, they were like sheep without a shepherd. They needed guidance. They were confused, and they were helpless, and they needed Him to guide them. Parents, do you see what your kids go through? Do you see a little bit into their world and what they are experiencing each day? Do you understand what they experience? It’s tough out there in our society to be a kid.

So to my children, Ryan, Joshua, Megan, and Stephen, I love you more than life. I love you more than I could ever love anyone, but I’ll tell you there will be times when I will let you down because Dad’s not perfect. You know that well, and there will be times when I’ll let you down. I’ll drop the ball, but there is one – there is a Heavenly Father who will never let you down. He will always catch you, and no matter where you go – you can go to the other side of the world – I’ll never stop loving you, and your Heavenly Father will never let you down. That’s why I’m so thankful that you’ve asked Jesus into your life. The most important thing that I could ever give you is the gift of Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Father who will never let you down. And, some of you today need to hear that. You need to hear what God spoke to my heart. “Kerry, you’re not a perfect father, but I am; and I’ll hold them, and I will never let them fall further than their knees.”