Something God says about parenting.....

I'm pretty reluctant to give parenting advice.  For one thing, I'm not done yet!  Even though my primary contributing author role has passed in a couple of my Living Letters, the ink is far from dry on the others. By God's grace, things look pretty good so far, but I'll not ever consider myself a parenting expert.  It's just way too hard and way too complicated for me to glibly pass along many "how to" tidbits for Moms.

But I do have some encouragement to share.  From the one from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  Just take a look at what our Heavenly Father promises to do for us in Exodus 20....

The backdrop is in verse 5, where He warns His people not to worship or serve anyone or anything but Him.  To say that the consequences of such sin is undesirable is a major understatement -- our disobedience predisposes subsequent generations to fall prey to the same thing.  That's what is meant by "visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the third and fourth generation."  The verse does not mean that God punishes the children for the sins of the parents!!  If you want further support for that, check out Ezekiel 18:20.  Not what that verse means at all.  The Hebrew word for "visiting" is "paqad" and it means "to review, inspect, number, take a census".  In other words, God's not going to zap your kids on account of your critical spirit, addictive behavior, immorality, selfish ambition,  greed, or obsessive fears  - but if you were to take a spiritual/emotional family history, those same sins would show up through the line, time after time.  God's stating what will result - not what He causes. 

Here's the good news -  but showing lovingkindness, to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.  Exodus 20:6.    The word for "showing" is powerful.  It's so strong.  "Asah".  While verse 5's "visiting" is a passive observing, "asah" is active  - it means to create, to construct, to labor, to accomplish.  WOW!!!  Do you see what God is saying?  He will take our obedience and love, frail as they may be, and He will build into our posterity fortresses of grace and blessing and love and benevolence and favor and honor  - His lovingkindness. 

It's too good to be true!!  Except that it is.  So very like Him.  Above and beyond what we can ask or imagine.  He will take my heart to serve Him (which is only possible to begin with by His grace!) and then, He will build into my children and my grandchildren and my great grandchildren BLESSING.  Favor that they did not earn.  Just cuz I believe and obey...and cuz He's good and generous.

Every parent I know tries to do the best job possible.  I'm sure someone can find an exception somewhere but I don't know any.  Every parent wants their child to be better off than they were.  And they will do everything they know of to make that come true.  Well, now you know how to be sure it happens.  Cooperate with God.  Don't worry so much about what the parenting books tell you to do - just obey God.  Serve Him with your whole heart.  Let Him transform you... and it'll show up in your children.

Now, I know.  You're thinking of some great parents whose kids messed up royally.  Yeah, me, too.  As in all of us -- we have the perfect Heavenly Father....and we still rebel.  To be sure, all of us, including our children, have the freedom to choose our own way.  Sometimes we all do.  But here's what I have to say about that -- first, the story's not over yet.  God's not done.  And, last, I trust His construction.  If He says He is building blessing and grace and honor and favor into their lives because I believe and obey Him, then that's all I need.  I plan to continue to do my part - to love and serve Him.  And I'll trust Him to do His work.

And one day I'll get to look down through history - HIS Story - and see what He has done.  Hallelujah!!!