Formula? Nursing? Co-sleep? Crib? Organic? Non-Organic? Vaccines? No Vaccines? Private School? Public School? Homeschool? Sports? Drama? Singing? Dance?
On and on the questions go. Each well-meaning side has a very strong opinion in support of their reasoning. Even reading this list has given some of you strong feelings toward one side or the other of these issues. How do you, as a parent, choose amidst the bombardment of information? What if you choose wrong? What if you offend the wrong person in the process? What if it looks different then the way you or your spouse were raised? So much pressure!
Let’s take a look at one parent who clearly heard from God, but must have felt enormous pressure making the decisions God had asked him to make.
Here’s Abraham! He finally, after all these years, had his promised son Isaac. So much drama surrounded the birth of this promised son. Sarah got impatient and had Abraham sleep with her Egyptian servant in hopes of giving him the son they had both been promised. After Isaac was born this maidservant’s son starts picking on his younger step-brother and Sarah wants them both sent away. Abraham was forced to send his son, Ishmael, and his mother away. God told him that it would be ok, to listen to Sarah’s request. So, he prepares food and water for them both and sends them off to wander aimlessly in wilderness, according to Genesis 21:14.
A quantity of time passes and the Lord, again, has directions for Abraham. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
OK, can we just digest this for a minute? I know that we all have numerous decisions to make each day that will affect our children, but really, this one takes the cake. This poor guy was promised, years ago, a son. It took decades for it to come to pass. He has to send off his other son to make room for this promised son in his household and now God is asking him to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Talk about a parenting dilemma!
But, Abraham’s faith never wavered. Somewhere along his journey in his walk with God, he had learned to trust the instructions God gave him. The very next day, he saddles up his donkey and off they go, father and son. I imagine Abraham holding Isaac’s hand as they walk and Isaac chatting Abraham’s ear off, much like my own children. You can read the rest of the story in Genesis 22. In the end, God just wanted Abraham’s obedience. He was rewarded with numerous blessings because of his obedience.
My take away for us, in this story, is the unwavering faith Abraham had in what God told him to do. An unimaginable request! When we are bombarded with questions and decisions about our kids, we need to stand firm in what we believe God is asking us, as parents, to do. We need to stand up for how God is directing us to raise them. He entrusted your kids to you. Under his directions, walk boldly in parenting your child(ren). It’s going to look different then Johnny down the street, but God didn’t give you Johnny down the street, he gave you your child(ren).
I’ve written before about how we use the comparison game in our own lives, but today I want you to evaluate the ways you might be playing the parenting comparison game.
Does your neighbor use all organic stuff and make all homemade stuff and you just went through the drive-thru? It’s ok.
Does your neighbor feed their kids junk food all day and you’re the organic one? Still, ok.
The point is, we all have to make decisions based on what we feel God is directing us to do for our family. In the end, we only have Him to please.
Father, I pray for us parents as we navigate the plethora of information and pressures facing our parenting choices each day. May we lean wholly on You for wisdom and direction in raising our children. Amen