Parents: Administers of God’s Love
By: Trisha Hiatt
Hi, fellow mommas and dads. Wow, parenting is such a blessing, but can be so incredibly difficult at times. AMIRITE? You take one look at their little faces when they’re young and you just want to laugh instead of discipline sometimes when they get in trouble. And when they’re teenagers, the bickering can seem unbearable. Then you feel guilty for getting onto them and ask yourself, “Why can’t I just respond without getting upset?” Right? Gosh, I sure hope I’m not alone here.
We are so, so, so important as the leaders in our children’s lives. Our role as Christian parents is to be administers of God’s unconditional love to our children 24/7. Not just when they are getting good grades or on a roll of obeying cheerfully… no, ALL the time we are called to love without limits, to be patient, kind, supportive, engaging, and giving of ourselves when it’s not so easy.
Ways to administer God’s love in your home:
1. Practicing gratitude
2. Modeling kindness
3. Engaging with your child
4. Implementing prayer time
5. Teaching God’s word
From sun up to sun down we have the opportunity to be a prime example of God’s love to our children. One of the best ways we can do this is by starting the day with gratitude. Start the day off by praying with your child and thanking God for the simplicity of a new day and the many blessings He’s given you. You can model gratefulness in your home by trying not to complain, by staying positive, and by making simple statements throughout the day to your kids about what you’re thankful for.
This is pretty much a no-brainer, but it can be hard to model kindness ALL the time. Making sure we, as parents, think and say good things is so important and is the beginning of being kind. Remember what Paul said in his letter to the Philippians? “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8. Being kind starts in our hearts and minds.
Are we always kind 100% of the time? Absolutely not, but the important question is do we strive to be kind? Are we watching what we do and say around our kids? Because, trust me, they are watching us and they are picking up on our behaviors and attitudes. Colossians 3:12 is one of my favorite verses and it says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Modeling kindness by staying patient, being compassionate, remaining positive and trying to understand your children (even when it can be so hard) can create a beautiful family atmosphere.
Engaging With Your Child
School, extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, church, dance, homework, projects — the list of things we can have going on is never-ending and can very much be a distraction to your quality time with your child. Carve out special time for you and your kids that is one-on-one, with no screens, and has lots of opportunities for heart-to-heart conversations and lots of fun and laughter. It doesn’t matter how young or old your child is, you can always have a special conversation that is heartfelt. Get to know your child on a regular basis.
Consistently ask your child questions like what their favorite parts of their day or week are or what it is that they are passionate about. It isn’t always just play that can create a close bond to our children; simply connecting and engaging with them is just as important. God wants us to spend time with Him in His word, by serving others, and by talking with Him in prayer throughout the day. He created us as human beings and not “human doings,” so just slowing down and being face-to-face with your child having a conversation, playing together, or simply taking a walk together will do wonders for the bond between you and your child.
Implementing Prayer Time
Again, in busy homes, which most of us have, this can be hard. But if you have some kind of a routine in place, it should be simple to incorporate prayer into it. If you are in a hurry in the mornings and don’t sit down for breakfast together, pray on the way to school. Children need to know they can talk to God anytime, any place, and about anything. (Just keep your eyes on the road, LOL.) If this doesn’t work for you, try praying at any mealtime with your children or before bed. Most young kids have a bedtime routine involving bath time, brushing their teeth, putting their pajamas on, and story time, so why not have prayer time at the end of their night to wind them down and teach them to thank God for their day whether or not it was good? Teach them to pray by praying first and remember that most importantly, our goal is to teach our children to develop a solid relationship with their Heavenly Father.
Teaching God’s Word
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” One of the best things we can do as parents is hold fast to the promises of God’s word and to sprinkle His words throughout our child’s day. Take one night a week and read and discuss a Bible story together. For little children, I like The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones because of its simplistic storytelling and vivid illustrations. For boys, the Little Boys Bible Storybook for Mothers and Sons by Carolyn Larsen is excellent and she has also written one for girls, the Little Girls Bible Storybook for Mothers and Daughters. These are wonderful Bibles because they include a “Becoming a Man/Woman of God” section that is an applicable extension of the Bible story, and a “Mom’s Touch” section that encourages moms to share their personal stories that might influence their children for Christ. Also, Everything a Child Should Know About God by Kenneth Taylor is a great resource for young children from about preschool to third grade.