When our girl graduated from high school, her dad and I were given the opportunity to write her a letter to be read during our church’s service to honor graduates. I pondered on this, prayed about it, and basically fretted that I might leave out some really important nugget for her to remember. You know, what if I die on the way home and this will be my last words to her kinda thing. Oh the weight that an over-thinker carries.
What will I tell her? I wrote, be there. My greatest desire for all of my family is for us to be reunited for eternity in heaven.
If she and I live our lives in such a way that we will “be there”, we have lived our lives truly well. Pursuing a Christ centered life covers all of those things that I want for her. The Apostle John says it beautifully in 3 John:4,
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”
A group of young moms once asked, “How did you raise a godly kid?”. By the grace of God and her own choices in life. We definitely made plenty of mistakes and I have often said if we can keep her from being on Oprah, we have succeeded. So far, so good.
I was honored they asked. Instead of talking about how to raise godly kids, why don’t I share what I feel are three important traits of godly parents.
Love unconditionally and extravagantly…and show it. By extravagant I don’t mean “things”. Our little ones and big ones need to hear about our love as well as feel our love. Maybe you were reared in a family that was not demonstrative, “We didn’t hug in our family and we didn’t say I love you.” mentality. Can I just say, we’ve got to get past that. It will get easier the more you do it.
Forgive and ask for forgiveness. The mistakes our kids make may be hard and difficult, but they do not need to define them. It is something they did, not who they are. If we are still breathing, there is hope. Yep, it might change the course of their lives. But God is the God of second, third, fourth….chances. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. Proverbs 24:16 reminds us that even thought we fall, we can get back up.
When we mess up, we must acknowledge it and ask for to be forgiven. I think that when parents do this, it is a beautiful mirror of God’s grace and mercy. We after all, are the biggest influencers in our children’s life. You may think it’s their friends, nope, it’s mom and dad.
Live authentically. We need to be the same person at home that we are in public, especially who we are in church. So many children struggle with trust and confidence in God because my “godly” parent is living ungodly at home. We must live our testimony in front of those we love. And when we fail, we must acknowledge it for what it is, sin, and turn from it. Live redeemed.
Run after God with all you’ve got and I promise, they will run with you. They may run a different direction for a bit but they will never forget running together.