A few nights ago, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “How do we handle this? Dear God, help!”
We were trying to navigate a challenging parenting situation, one of the countless scenarios that inevitably arise on the parenting journey, and one that was relatively complex.
It was a reminder that being a parent is difficult and challenging work. It was also a reminder that we need God to be intimately involved in the process of helping us make parenting decisions.
We have made many missteps along the way, and there are a lot of things we haven’t done well. At the same time, there are a few things we’ve gotten right so far. (I am fully aware that we have a long way to go in this parenting adventure, which is one of the reasons we try to be intentional to learn from parents who have logged more miles than us.)
One of the things we’ve learned to do, and I believe it is extremely helpful, is to ask God at the beginning of the year for ONE WORD for each of our children. The word becomes a window to see how God is uniquely at work in their heart and mind, and it affords Ashley and I the opportunity to stay in alignment with what God is doing in them.
For example, last December as I prayed for Avery, our almost ten-year-old, I sensed the Spirit say “BOLD.” That one simple word said a lot about what God would be cultivating in her life this year. We then began to pray the word and speak it over her life along with looking for opportunities to encourage her in a spirit of boldness. It felt like a beautiful partnership between us, as her mom and dad, and her Heavenly Father.
So, as we enjoy this Christmas season and come barreling towards the New Year, may we carve out some time to slow down and listen. Let’s ask God to speak over each of our children, and then let’s write the word down and return to it often over the next several months.
While it’s not guaranteed to take away all of the “God, please HELP!” moments, it will be an anchor which reminds us God is at work Fathering His kids…who also happen to be our kids.