Do you remember praying for your children before they were born…while they were still in the womb? Over the nine months that my wife was pregnant with our first child, I prayed often for our little girl. I prayed that she would be healthy. I prayed that she would be kind, compassionate and loving. I also prayed that she would be mesmerized by the love of God.
I remember verbally handing her back to God during that time – before I had ever held her in my own arms. I recall praying that her life would be spent on the things of God, regardless of what that meant.
Today, it’s a little harder to pray those prayers for our girls (there are now 3 of them). I still pray regularly that they would be mesmerized by God’s love. I still pray that they would live sent. But, I secretly pray that they would always live sent, close to home.
I have a deep admiration for parents who train their children in the ways of Jesus, knowing those teachings may one day lead them toward difficulties or away to distant lands. I have an incredible appreciation for parents who love their kids so deeply that they learn to release them to God – knowing that He loves them infinitely more than we ever could.
So, I write these words as admirer of yours and as a fellow struggler with you in the world of raising SENT kids. And with that heart, I want to offer you two quick ideas that may help you stay the course when you would like to turn around.
1. Our children can learn to live sent apart from us, but God desires that we would play a key role in their SENTness.
In other words, God can do anything He desires in the life of your child, but sending works best in generational models.
Do you remember what Jesus said about His mission on earth? After He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples with this message:
“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”
I do not think that Jesus stumbled into these words. He could have said any number of things. He could have simply said, “Hey guys! I’m back. And my work is done. Now it’s your turn.” But instead, He outlined the pattern for sending. He indicated that the Father initiated the mission and the Son modeled what He saw from the Father. Then, He told those men – whom He “raised” spiritually – “I am sending you.” From the Father to the Son to the apostles…there was a generational model of sending.
As parents, I think that God desires for us to continue this pattern. We model SENT lives and regularly teach our children to live in the ways of God. Not only do we teach them this this out of obedience, but just as importantly, we teach them these things because it’s the only road leading to a truly abundant, satisfying life.
- 2. We play a crucial role in helping our children listen to the Sender.
Some parents may think I’m nuts at this point, but let me tell you something that I think will get your attention. Not only do I believe that God is speaking to you, but I also believe that God is speaking to your kids. He is doing things in your child’s life to pull on their heartstrings. He is whispering in the still, small voice that He used with Elijah (see 1 Kings 19) to teach your child His ways.
He knows how to get their attention.
As parents, we all want to give our children great gifts. And one of the greatest gifts we can give them is an awareness of God’s voice. So, encourage them to listen. Ask them how God is speaking to them. Engage them in seeking God’s voice through family prayer times and help them to understand that as God sends them out, His voice will always guide them.
What do you think would happen if we allowed these two ideas to shape the culture of our homes? Give me your feedback so that we can grow, together.