Monday, August 24, 2009
Marriage Monday: Part 1 of New Book Study "Parenting Is Your Highest Calling"...
Welcome to another week here at One Man Revival and a new Monday of Marriage Monday. Being married comes with challenges, but having children make that challenge a little different. Today, and each Monday through the first Monday in November, we are going through a book I recently read.
The book is from author Leslie Leyland Fields and is called “Parenting is Your Highest Calling” and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt. I have to admit, raising three children is probably my toughest job. I want to do better for my kids than I had as a child and sometimes that does leave me feeling like I am not measuring up. Also, when you have kids, everyone wants to tell you how to raise them. However, that advice comes in to raise kids in their image rather than God’s.
That’s a major reason that I think this book is so good and so appropriate for Marriage Mondays. I want to encourage you as parents, as well as encourage myself, through this study. Here are the nine myths that we are going to debunk.
1. Having Children Makes You Happy and Fulfilled
2. Nurturing Your Children Is Natural and Instinctive
3. Parenting Is Your Highest Calling
4. Good Parenting Leads to Happy Children
5. If You Find Parenting Difficult, You Must Not Be Following the Right Plan
6. You Represent Jesus To Your Children
7. You Will Always Feel Unconditional Love For Your Children
8. Successful Parents Produce Godly Children
9. God Approves Of Only One Family Design
The first chapter of the book is Leslie telling some of her personal struggles with six children and a husband living in a fishing area of Kodiak, Alaska. I admit that knowing she was from Alaska enticed me to pick up the book, because of a feeling of kinship since my dad lived in Fairbanks many years ago. Alaska is a lovely place to see.
The first story she tells is of a good family meeting that she kids about rolling the cameras so that people can get the perfect insight of a Christian family. I laughed because I wish that it was that easy. The other major story that she shares with us is of the day she began writing the book. It was not a good day. In fact, she even tells about taking a walk and crying because she was feeling like she was failing in parenting. I think anyone who has been a parent or currently going through it understands that feeling.
I love her honesty about taking the matter to God. She asked Jehovah a great question and felt as dumb as I have once she began thinking about it. “God, how do you know what it’s like to be a parent?” I think we tend to forget that God has seen it all and experienced it all when he came to earth in the person of Jesus. Jesus was not a parent, but he was the Son of God. Throughout the Gospels, you see the father-son relationship.
Leslie doesn’t stop there. She shows that God not only possessed father qualities, but the qualities of a mother too. She uses scripture to drive this point home, Isaiah 66:13, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” The end of the first chapter gives us something we need as parents; HOPE!
The following paragraph might have been my favorite so far. “The freedom God offers us is not like the world’s freedom, which often means escaping from family responsibilities. Instead, God’s truths call us back to our families with renewed commitment, love, and hope- hope that blooms from a whole pattern of thought, word and action revealed throughout the scriptures.”
Why is this paragraph so powerful to me? Glad you asked. For every time I have felt frustrated and overmatched and felt like running to a cave somewhere, when I look at God’s holy Word, I begin to understand what God expects of me. Is it always easy? No.
If you know me personally, you know that I am a very independent person. I like to do what I feel I need to do. When I got married almost seven years ago, my wife didn’t step on that freedom much because she liked her time as well. But when we had Megan, and then James, and then Maggie, more and more of the independent freedom that we had diminished. It’s not a bad thing, but it is change. As much as I’d like to say I’ve adjusted to it, there are still times I want to do what I want to do. Thankfully, I have a spouse that feels that need.
I do spend a lot of time with my children. I am very lucky in that regard. My wife works a job that is very hard mentally. I get to stay at home and be a part in raising them into happy, Christian children. Sometimes they don’t act either, happy or Christian. That’s hard for me. But others have shared with me that it is hard for them too.
So I hope this study helps us. We want our kids to be raised right, but I think this book will help take a little of the pressure off of us. All of us worry and feel guilty at times. I hope the freedom that I bring you with this study is a little less guilt and a whole lot more love.
I love you guys!
Postscript note: You can get personally inscribed copies of the book by emailing Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, you can pick up the book at your local Christian bookstore or online at Amazon.