I want to be a peaceful parent. Not just act peacefully towards my children, but I want to feel and experience the peace that comes from knowing everything is going to be alright. The peace that the Bible promises is a fruit of the Spirit.
But I find it stressful trying to achieve this peace. In my mind, for me to have this internal peace of assurance, I need to make sure every parental box is ticked. And there's a lot of them. I often go to bed with a mental check list. How did I build their physical, mental, spiritual and social health today? Have they exercised their brain and body today? Are they stimulated enough? Did the Bible reading time actually get through to them? Did they even brush their teeth? Once I know I can answer each of these questions positively, I can relax, feel peaceful and drift off.
Needless to say, this is a pretty useless bed time routine. In trying to seek God's peace I lump it on myself to get my list ticked off. Peace can only come when I have all my ducks in a row. But God's word tells us something different. Philippians 4:6-7 says:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This verse tells us that peace comes when we've handed our anxieties over to God. This does not negate our responsibility as parents, but it does tell us human limitations prevent a peaceful heart. To hand our anxieties over to Jesus reminds us that the destiny of our children, their health, safety and even dental hygiene are in the hands of a powerful and loving God.
God's grace saves us, but it also sustains us. We rest on God's grace for our justification, we should also rely on it for our parenting. We aren't expected to be a perfect parent! Jesus' perfection counts on our behalf, and God's sovereign hand guides and cares for our children greater than we ever could. Prayerfully do your best, then trust and find peace in God.
And then, if your kids don't wake you up, you might have a good nights sleep.
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Save the date...
Parents Seminar "Raising Resilient Children" - 25th June. More info to come