Raising Those Kids for Jesus

I struggle with raising my kids. As a solo parent, I never feel like I am enough for them. You’ve probably read the articles about moms wanting to be “enough” on various blogs. I’ve read them, too. But I still struggle with it. Every day probably. You too?

When I was young and first having children, I had so many thoughts of what I would and wouldn’t do. By the second kid, most of those ideas were thrown to the curb like last week’s trash! And by the third and fourth kids, well, let’s just say, they are being fed and clothed! My standards have changed a LOT!

My standards for other things have changed, too. I started reading my Bible in a “year” in August of 2014. We are beginning 2016 and I am nearly finished with “June” readings. I have decided the point is to DO it, not just do it in one year. That’s my defense anyway! So when I find great little nuggets, I want to share them. Just today I found this one that encouraged me as a solo parent:

Psalm 144:12 NLT

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars carved to beautify a palace.

Isn’t that a great prayer for our children?

Many of us with teenagers consider surviving the teen years as a lofty goal, but to pray for them to flourish? A very different approach to parenting teen boys, I think. Flourish is more than just giving them enough to survive in life. Flourish means to bloom or blossom, spring forth or shoot up. I want to include this in my prayer for my teen sons and wait expectantly to see how God answers it. It is similar to gardening; it may not happen this “season”. Well-nurtured plants don’t happen by accident. They don’t happen at my house much of the time actually! I love perennials because I have to do virtually nothing to have them bloom each year. But children are not like that. If we did nothing to help our children mature, our world would be a crazy place (more than usual!). If I took that approach to parenting, it would bring the opposite of flourish – withering spirit, immaturity, and stunted growth.

And our daughters? Graceful pillars? That reminds me of the Greek and Roman pillars used in building the temples of the past. Not the rough-hewn ones of a barn or the hidden ones inside our homes. Grace has to do with a “controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving” (according to Merriam-Webster). I’m going to just say it. Girls do NOT turn out this way left on their own! Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and we could probably connect politeness and pleasant behavior there, too. Pillars bring a beauty and a support to the building. Our daughters bring that to our families when they are following God with their whole hearts. As mothers we must model what that means- by the way we dress, talk, worship, and love. The Apostle Paul states it in this way: You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (I Peter 3:4 NLT)

Let’s make this our prayer for the coming year. Regardless of our skin color, financial standing, or church membership, praying this Scripture over our children brings our focus into what is truly important in parenting.

Lord God, may (insert son’s name) flourish in his youth, and may (insert daughter’s name) be like a graceful pillar according to Your Word. Amen 

About Elizabeth Dyer   

Elizabeth Kay Dyer is a contributing writer and speaker for aNew Season Ministries. She raises six children (named after biblical characters) in the Oklahoma City area, along with a large black dog (named after a grandfather), a noisy cat (named after a race car driver), and two guinea pigs (named after yummy snacks). She was widowed in 2012 and is learning to navigate life as a solo parent. You can follow her on her ministry page at www.anewseason.net or her personal blog at www.dyerhalfdozen.wordpress.com Elizabeth is eager to share her story at conferences and retreats.