Five years ago my family blackmailed me into getting a dog. They threatened me with a rabbit. If I didn’t cave on the dog, we would have a long-eared carrot chomper stinking up a cage in my daughter’s bedroom. I wasn’t about to let that happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to see a cute bunny hopping around the yard as much as the next person. I just didn’t want one as a roommate. If we had a big house or a basement or a barn, it would be a different story, but we don’t. When it came to Peter Cottontail, our house just wasn’t big enough for the both of us.
I don’t know what 2015 was like in your home, but in mine, there are definitely some things I’d like to do over. Times I became frustrated and snapped at my kids. Times I let our family get overcommitted and exhausted. Times I worked too much, prayed too little and neglected the things that really matter.
How about you? If you could have a do-over from 2015, what would it be?
The great news is that our God is a God of second chances, and third and fourth and fifth and so on. No matter what your parenting was like last year, no matter what mistakes you made, it’s a brand new day. Not because it’s a new year, but because you’re a new creation, and every day is new with Jesus.
Don’t listen to the voices of failure and regret. Don’t listen to the voices that say things will never change. Listen to God’s voice. Listen to His promises of hope, a hope that reminds us that every day is a fresh start with grace.
So, this year, don’t commit to being a perfect parent. Commit to being a forgiven parent, a growing parent, a dependent parent, a desperate-for-God-parent, and day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, you will raise kids who will become desperate for God themselves.
As good parents, we’re always thinking about what our kids need. From a mother taking prenatal vitamins in the earliest stages of pregnancy, to a father saving for his child’s college fund, we’re constantly thinking about how we can provide for our kids.
Their greatest need, however, is love. Not just any kind of love, but the unconditional, secure love that comes from God.
Rick Warren, author the Purpose Driven Life, said it like this, “Out of all the conversations parents need to have with their children, one of the first and most important is telling children that God created them and loves them. Until our children understand that they were made by God and for his pleasure, life will not make sense.”
It’s not enough for kids to know God loves them. They need to understand how God’s love works and makes a real difference in their lives. If kids don’t understand how God’s love can change them, it will cripple with their spiritual lives and lead to all kinds of problems including struggles with:
Legalism (religion over relationship)
On the other hand, if we can help our kids get their heads and hearts around the reality of God’s love and how it works in their lives, they can experience freedom, confidence and spiritual growth.