When we talk about parenting often times our discussions revolve around the negatives. Kids are misbehaving, disobedient, and stubborn; not enough sleep; too busy to be involved with kids; personal failure in this, that, or another area; kids haven’t accepted the Lord; worry concerning their future. As much as parenting is a difficult calling, filled with failures, frustrations, and future unknowns, God calls parents to be the joy-filled leaders of their family.
Joy, as the Bible describes it, is a mixture of peace, contentment, and a God-focused optimism. Joy believes all things are in peaceful order by God’s control (even when it seems chaos reigns). Joy contently believes all things come from God’s gracious hand (even when it seems there isn’t enough). Joy thankfully believes God’s good is the best good (even when God’s good isn’t apparent). Joy comes from anchoring our faith in God. In turn, God blesses His faithful with joy. Let’s take some time to remind ourselves of some joyful blessings found in parenting:
Joy in Being a Parent – God has sovereignly given you children. In fact, He has sovereignly given you the exact children you have; their attitudes, passions, and quirks. Remarkably He has done this in order to bless you. Ps 113:9 and 127:3-5 point out God’s intended blessing to parents by entrusting them with children. Joy as a parent starts with believing God sovereignly gifted you the children you have and did so intentionally to bless you.
Joy in Parental Success – God blesses parents with the gift of seeing their parenting pay off (3 John 4), both in the short run and the long run. We can find joy in seeing our kids know how to math, how to hold a conversation, how to take responsibility, etc. We can also find joy in seeing our kids repent of their sin, trust in Christ for their righteousness, and live a faithful life to God.
Joy in Parenting through Hard Times – Parenting is hard, the Bible makes no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But God also tells us His will in tough times: James 1:2-4, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” By God’s will tough times perfect your faith. And by God’s will tough times lead your children to faith, especially as you model faith.
Joy in the Future – God is timeless and in control of every aspect of our future. Ps 100 and 1 Tim 5 both point to God’s future provision for His people. A specific example of that provision is God designing parents to provide for their children by coordinating future needs. Yet, God has also designed the relationship of child to parent to change over time. Eventually the child, understanding their parent’s godly love for them, begins to provide for their elderly parents. God’s provision encompasses the family by providing the members of the family.
So a few questions to consider: What jeopardizes your joy in parenting? What is your joy anchored in? How does God’s sovereignty secure your joy in parenting? Hopefully as we analyze our hearts, thoughts, and actions we will be able to uncover our false sources of joy. Then, to return to God and enjoy his sovereign presence and orchestration of our families and futures.