My husband and I became parents in our early twenties, I was just twenty. I did not know much about being a mom or what it meant to love sacrificially. What I decided in the beginning was that I was going to be intentional about parenting. I didn't want to be on autopilot or overbearing, although I did become overbearing for short period of time but I'll talk more about that later. The bible says in Psalms 127:3 (TPT) "Behold, children are God's love-gift; they are heaven's generous reward." Our children are eight years apart, during the first eight years I received revelation that I was raising adults not children. The Holy Spirit began to show me that I needed to equip our children in the Lord while also teaching them how to function in the real world. Teaching meant not only using my words but displaying the type of habits and behavior I wanted to see in them. There is a popular saying in the American culture; "do as I say not as I do." When you become a parent or a leader you quickly realize that most people learn by watching. I've said this plenty of times in our household, "I listen very carefully with my eyes." I can careless about the words people speak especially when their actions are saying something completely different.
I am very close with both of my parents and I wanted the same if not better relationship with our kids. Since they were babies I was intentional about spending time with them, allowing them to express their interests while encouraging their creativity. Coloring, playing and watching movies with them even if I was too tired or simply had no interest. I was there and present. Teaching our kids perfection isn't the goal but always progressing towards the life God has called us to live. The picture above was taken last year at our daughter's Quinceanera. As our daughter got older I became more afraid of something happening to her or getting involved with the wrong crowds. So out of fear I began to hold on tighter than ever before, trying to control everything around her, essentially becoming God over her life instead of seeking the One who created her and who chose me to be her mom. He gently expressed to me that I needed to trust that the seeds I planted in her would flourish into the path He destined her to go down. He reminded me that the prayers I prayed in the wee hours of the morning were not in vain and that He loved her more than I did. Being intentional is so important not just in parenting but across the board. A few years ago my daughter expressed to me that she preferred I'd listen to her stories from start to finish instead of always offering my input because most of the time she just wanted to get something off her chest. I apologized for not allowing her to finish without giving my two cents and now I listen without interruption which is sometimes very difficult. As she speaks I often pray in the spirit waiting for the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom on what to say, sometimes he gives me nothing and I wont respond but I'll pray it about it later.
There is no such thing as the perfect parent or child which is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit. I pray about all things concerning my children and marriage. Our goal as parents is to raise God fearing children who can function and influence the world. Get to know each child and love them according to their specific need and please don't compare them. God doesn't compare us to his other children so why would we compare our kids? There isn't a handbook to raising kids, we can only take what we've learned from our parents, tweak it and lean heavy on the bible and Holy Spirit. May I encourage you to parent on purpose even if it seems time consuming. You may not see the harvest right away but trust me you're making a huge impact. Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they've learned from you will be with them for life. Proverbs 22:6 (TPT) Pray and prophesy over your children daily.