One of the biggest challenges I faced as a parent was to be a Christian parent.  Don’t get me wrong there was plenty of information out there telling me how to parent my children according to various scriptures – but I don’t think that was my real problem.  My real problem lay in my heart.  I was a Chrisitan and I was a parent.  How was I to be a Christian parent?  That is what we are talking about in today’s episode of Heart focused parenting – the biggest issue we have as a parent is our own heart and living out our faith as we parent our kids.

 

What does it mean to be a Christian parent?

Being a Christian is about following Jesus – I’m sure you know that.  I think too often tho we separate different parts of our life into different segments and we go to church as a Christian and we have our devotions as a Christian and we teach our children memory verses as a Christian but does that make us a Christian parent? 

I would define a Christian parent as one who responds to their kids in a way that reflects Christ.

Living as a Christian Parent

Instead of “Christian” just defining the things we do – it needs to define the why and the how as well.

What is the point of teaching our children memory verses if we do it while being impatient!
What’s the point of teaching our children who Jesus is if we were unkind 5 minutes beforehand.

It isn’t that we have to get it all right – but we do have to walk with Jesus while we parent.  

To me walking with Jesus means: Desiring to love others – which includes my kids in all that I say and do.

And it means
That when I do things that don’t reflect Jesus’ love and life in me – then I put it right both with Jesus and with those whom I have hurt.

Living the Christian life isn’t about getting it all right.  

Living the Christian life gives us a motivation to do things differently than we would have without Jesus – we love others – that is love our kids – because Jesus first loved us.  

Loving them while they were still pulling against us because Jesus loved me while I was still pulling against him.

Loving them while they disobey because Jesus loves me unconditionally and forever.

Living the Christin life though also gives me the strength and ability to love like this because the holy spirit lives within me guiding me, reminding me, and strengthening me to live as Jesus would have me live.  

So being a Christian parent isn’t about teaching our children diligently to love the Lord our God with all their heart mind and soul (though it does include that).  It is about living my life, with my kids, as Jesus would have me live.  Respond as Jesus would have me respond.  If Jesus is Lord of my life that means He is Lord of my attitudes and actions.  He shapes my every choice as a mother. And this is the important thing – He also shapes my choices when I mess up. 

Jesus wants me to grow to be more like Him.  And we grow as we depend on him to help us respond differently than when we respond in our own strength.  

When we snap, when we are impatient, unkind, proud, disrespectful, grumpy – then we are parenting in our own strength.  Human parenting.  Christian parenting needs to be motivated by and empowered by the living power of the Holy Spirit in us.

He will help us love our kids, teach our kids, forgive our kids, and encourage our kids.

 

God’s Standard not Human Standard

This idea of benign a Christian parent so changes the performance model that I see young mums falling into.  We don’t have to be perfect mums, we don’t have to have it together, we don’t have to be on Instagram – that is not where it is at.  That is a false standard.  A human standard. 

God’s standard for us is that we depend on him and respond to the people and circumstances in a way that honours Him as our God.

Let me just finish with this Bible verse that was one of my parenting verses.  And it has nothing to do with what my kids do – or need to do – it is all about me and my heart.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Col 3:23-24

This Bible verse was something that I remembered often as a young mum.  The work I did in my family was to be done as a Christ-follower.  It didn’t matter what task that was – I could choose to do it with a heart that glorified myself or with a heart that glorified God.  

 

Let Jesus Change You

Let me just repeat something I’ve already said…

Instead of “Christian” just defining the things we do – it needs to define the why and the how as well.

Why do you parent the way you do? Is your WHY consistent with your relationship with Jesus?

How do you parent?  This addresses both the actions and the attitudes you have when you carry out those actions.  Is your HOW consistent with your relationship with Jesus?

Christian parenting should reflect our relationship with Jesus – Not a parenting curriculum.

We cannot separate our life as a Christian – a forgiven human, walking with Jesus – from our responses as a parent.  

 

Heart Focused Action Step:

I hope that today’s episode has made you think about what motivates you to be the type of parent you want to be.  I pray that it is the working of the Holy Spirit in your life as you raise your family to know and love God as well.  

 

I’d love to hear from you – if this podcast has touched you at a heart level – touching what you believe and value – then please leave a review or comment so I know you’ve been here and it helps others find the podcast too.  As a thank you, I have a bonus Heart Booster Parenting Quiz based on 12 Parenting Skills for the Heart Focused parent, and a bonus audio dealing with that inner conflict where we know we need to change and yet still be content within ourselves so we aren’t driven to guilt and self-criticism.  To get this Bonus Heart Booster you need to write a Podcast review, take a screenshot of it, and send it to me and I’ll send you the download!  The details of how to contact me are below.  (This bonus is available till end July 2022)

Email me:  belindaletchford [at] outlook.com
Direct Message: instagram.com/belindaletchford
Message Me: facebook.com/heartfocusparenting

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Further Reading:

Does being a Christian Affect your Parenting? We need to let the Holy Spirit guide us so our parenting reflects the love of Jesus. This is true Christian parenting.

Words I live by: God’s Grace is Sufficient:  God’s grace is more than salvation, it is God’s power to live life; His power enables us to be more like Christ.

I had Faith, now it’s up to my Kids:  When parents make decisions with faith we need to pray that our children will have the faith to walk in the consequences of our faith.

10 Ways to Glorify God daily as a Mum: To glorify God is to acknowledge who he is, and give him honour. I want to live my daily life as a woman giving honour to my God.

 

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