Children: A Gift and an Offering

I started to teach my class about Samuel a few weeks back.  The lesson started out with them learning about how Hannah prayed to God for a child.  She was so desperate she bargained with God.  We have all done it; promised God we would go to church more often, give more, read our Bibles more, volunteer more or some other form of service if He would only answer our prayer.  Hannah told God she would give her child back to God if He gave her a child.  Well, He blessed her with a son, Samuel, and when he was weaned she brought him to the Priest Eli.  She told Eli, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27-28 NIV

Wow! Hannah gave her little boy up to live in the temple with Eli.  God answered her prayer, and she kept her word to Him.  We dedicated our children to God.  We promised to raise them to know God.  We taught them God’s word, how to pray, how to serve others, to love others, and we took them to church.  They even attend a Christian School. We have done pretty good, if I do say so myself.  However, as I read about Hannah giving her son back to God when he was so young, I thought, “How could she do that?!”  Her child was not going to be living with her anymore.  I could never do that.

I then heard God say to me, “You will be doing that soon.”  I then realized I was getting ready to give him back to God. I thought back to that day when we dedicated him to God.  He was so tiny.  He needed me for everything, and now he is growing into a wonderful, young man.  Over the last year, he has started to drive, make choices for colleges, and it looks like he is going to serve our country.

I watched him lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in his Civil Air Patrol uniform.  When asked why he wanted to serve our country, his response, “I need to do my part so that their sacrifice wasn’t for nothing,” would make any parent proud.  I was very proud of him, but also very worried.  I am not ready to let him go and serve our country, let alone go and serve our God.

He is my gift from God. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him,” Psalm 127:3 NIV.  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it,”  Proverbs 22:6.  We have taught him to follow God and use the gifts God has given him.  God entrusted him with us, and I now need to give him back and allow him to continue to follow the path that God has laid before him.

It says in Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart,” NIV.  The Bible also states in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I know that God will be with him as he walks the path that is before him. I will trust God as I know He is the all knowing Father.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving me the children you have.  Thank you for the blessings they have been and for the challenges they provided me.  They have helped me grow closer to you. I pray that as my children are heading into the next season of their lives, you give me the courage to let them go down the path you have laid before them. I pray you keep them safe and help keep their eyes on you.  I ask that you give me the wisdom to know when to help and when to step back.  Please give me the words to encourage them and not hinder them.  

Shannon Smith

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years. Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm. They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow. Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading. One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book. Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him. Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

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