Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 14 - Parenting With Faith

Hebrews 11:23, Exodus2:1-10

I have a son with a severe food allergy. His allergy is so severe that even a trace of peanut could kill him. I discovered his allergy when he was only 13 months old when he swiped some peanut butter off his brother’s sandwich. That evening changed my whole view as a parent. As I watched his little body react to the peanut butter, worry changed into fear. The things that parents often worry about such as illness, child development, and social interactions turned into a real fear that I could lose my baby in just a moment. I could control his environment when he was with me; in fact, for the most part I trusted that my husband and I could be diligent about keeping anything with even a trace of peanut away from my son. But, when I had to leave him with someone else, fear of peanut exposure was always on my mind. I could educate and inform people, but I could not control what my son was exposed to the minute he was away from me. We have taught my son how to use an epi-pen and have taught him to look at the ingredients and never eat anything that could not list the ingredients, but human error is real, and even my husband and I could make a mistake. I had to remember that my son is really God’s child and that he is in God’s hands. I had to learn to trust God with my child’s life and see that his spiritual growth was a priority.

The story about Moses’ parents reminds me of how much more my faith needs to grow. For three months they hid Moses because he was “a fine child,” (Exodus 2:2). The Egyptians were under a decree by Pharaoh to kill any Hebrew boy that was born, but Moses’ parents hid him. After three months, his mother realized that she would no longer be able to hide him, so she put him in a basket and set him in the Nile River. Wow! She did not know what would happen to Moses, but she knew that God could use Moses and would not let the Egyptians kill him. We know that Pharaoh’s daughter found him and she even paid his mother to nurse him, but none of that would have happened if Moses’ mother didn’t trust God with his life. Moses’ mother risked losing her son in order to save him.

Where is the spiritual application? While being faced with the fragility of human life, I learned that it is absolutely important to raise my children to love God. I want them to have a real faith that is alive and growing. I don’t want them to believe in God because that is what they were taught in Sunday school, I want them to learn to apply God’s Word to their lives and desire a relationship with Him. I want their roots to be deep. I can’t shelter them forever, and I do have to send them out into the world every day as they go to school. I am not guaranteed that they will follow God their whole lives, but they will never learn to follow Him if I keep them sheltered. Isn’t that what God did for all of us when He gave us free will? He risked losing all of us so that He could have an honest and real relationship with us.

Obviously, as parents we need to keep our children safe, but we also need to give their faith room to grow. Are you giving your children over to God? Are you teaching your children to apply God’s Word into their everyday lives so they can learn to navigate through the world? Do you trust God’s work in their lives? I am still learning!

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