Friday, October 3, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday: Joy!

This chapter talks about how raising children helps us embrace God's joy. We make sacrifices as parents, but we also reap transcendent joy. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a good example.

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49.

There was a lot of really good stuff in this chapter, but for brevity's sake, my favorite parenting pointer was this: we will experience increased joy in parenting when we pray prayers of thankfulness for our children. What does this mean? Well, most parents' prayers for their children fall into 2 categories: (1) God, protect them; and (2) God, change them. What is wrong with these 2 types of prayers? Nothing. But, if we only pray for protection, we will probably have to constantly fight off fear. If we only pray for change, we lose sight of our children's strengths.

Why are prayers of thankfulness important?
(1) It will give you a new perspective. You will focus on positive qualities in your children and appreciate the privilege of living with them.

(2) It will remind you how faithfully God cares for your children who have put their trust them.

(3) It will give you a more stable foundation on which to build a relationship with your children. We should rejoice in our children rather than show obsessive fear for them and constantly harping on their failures.

Practical application for me:
(1) I will not obsess over negative things in my children and lose the joy of parenting. I will focus on and thank God for the positive things in my children.

(2) I will not be consumed in fear for my children's protection.

(3) I will be my children's chief encourager. I want them to know that regardless of how the world treats them, there are at least 2 people (mom and dad) who will also delight in them.

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