3Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from Him. (Psalm 127:3)
Blessed Friday my Friends! I hope this message finds you in the full favor of the Lord.
I took the verse above from my favorite Bible: The Jesus Bible. Other interpretations of this verse read “Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him”. It was this translation that caught my eye and the reason I share this particular verse. It fits perfectly in my final point to being a parent: the reward.
For the last two days I have written about the responsibility and role we play as parents to raise children to walk with God, to love like Jesus, to be world-changers, and be the future generation to finally bring lasting change to this broken planet. It is not easy, nor for the faint of heart. There are sleepless nights in the beginning, there are moments of high stress as your infant cries and cries and you do everything you can to dissect the mystery of their pain; and there’s the constant chasing once they get mobile to keep them from harming themselves. And this is just in the first two years. Children will drain you of your energy, your savings, your sanity. But they will redeem it with a sweet hug, or a random “I love you Dad/Mom”.
I am in a surreal time of my life right now. Last night I was holding our nearly one-week-old baby girl, looking from her sweet face to the beautiful freckled-face of our oldest with her full-head of flowing golden-blonde curls. In some moments, it seems like just yesterday I was holding our first as a baby. At other times, it seems like a lifetime ago, a distant memory that if I did not see her everyday, I would wonder if it had all been a dream. I have never felt so blessed as I do right now. I mean, that was how I felt when I met Mrs. Z, and then how I felt when our firstborn turned my world upside down. And of course, when we had our son, I felt that way again, praising God for a second beautiful child, and a boy to balance out our family, to gift us with the ability to experience both sides of the spectrum. And I thought we were done, I did not think we would ever be able to fill our house with more love than we already had. But God wanted us to do this crazy parent thing one more time, and after this first week, it has been quite the challenge. This little angel has us on our toes already. She’s an eating machine, like clockwork every two hours which is wearing Mrs. Z and I out, but more so for Mrs. Z. I somehow made it through both our first two without ever being pooped or peed on and SGZ3 has got me caught up to that wonderful experience already. And then there is getting two school age kids where they need to be everyday, which has been a great test to help me stay organized and manage my time to the second. But every minute of lost sleep; every shrill cry while trying to change a baby three times after she pooped, pooped again on a clean diaper, then peed all over the changing table; and the juggling act of playing with a five-year-old, helping an 11-year-old with her science homework, and caring for a newborn; it has been such an rewarding week, I would not ask or imagine life any other way.
There are a lot of books out there, and experts offering advice of how to be a good parent. The only advice I ever heard that really made sense was “sleep when they sleep”, but every other piece of advice may or may not ever work. Every child is different, every single one. That is what makes us so amazing as Children of God. We are all a separate miracle. What may work for one child, most likely will not work for the next. Or it could. You never know until you are in the moment.
The one piece of advice that I heard once that I do not agree with is the statement “your children should not be your best friend”. That is 100% a ridiculous thing to say. Your children should absolutely be your best friends. This does not mean that you do not discipline your children when they need to be disciplined. This does not mean that you give them whatever they want just to make them happy. This does not mean that when they turn high-schoolers you start throwing them house parties to make them more popular. It means that you raise them to be responsible, loving, compassionate people, and they want to spend time with you. You do things with them on their level and their age. You get down and play with your five-year-old when he has his toys out. You help your 11-year-old work on her back handspring. You take them to do things they want to do. When you become a parent, I hope you realize your kids come first and you are second. I pray everyday that my children and I will always remain best friends. I pray that when my daughter grows older she confides in me her greatest worries, and trusts me to give her advice in all of life’s greatest challenges. I hope they always want to go on vacations with Mrs. Z and I even when they are not forced to. I hope they always love to just sit down and talk to me. Which is why you must invest so heavily in your children, so they will grow to be productive adults who thrive in the world and as you grow old, they will never stray far from you, nor you from them. And you can all walk close to God, so that when you reach eternity, it will be as a family. That is the eternal reward of children.
There are two big albums that were released today, one from Travis Greene and one from TobyMac, which I will share tomorrow. Travis Greene’s album, “TENT REVIVAL”, kicks off with the catchy song below.
But Mr. Greene is not the only Christian artist singing about tent revivals. Zach Williams‘ newest single, titled “Big Tent Revival”, is also a wonderful catchy song, but of a different twang. I can feel it. There’s a reason these wonderful men are singing of tent revivals. Revival is in the air. And just as Jesus came to destroy the temple and show that worship and praise lives in the heart, this revival will not be in tents, but in the hearts of every woman and man. Let’s get out and spread this eternal flame to the world around us.