Just under a week ago, my wife and I welcomed our third child into the family: a beautiful baby girl! I’ll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on her. As she let out a cry for the first time, my heart was filled with love and my eyes welled up with tears. Absolute perfection!
As any parent knows, taking care of a newborn is hard work. Infants demand constant time and attention. They need to be fed often, their diapers changed frequently, to be burped, held, rocked to sleep, and more. As expected, the amount of sleep my wife and I have gotten over this past week is minimal. We are quite exhausted, but have never once resented the time, effort, and sleepless nights required to care for our new child. The love in our hearts overrides any sacrifice required.
Throughout this past week, I have been meditating on the power of God’s love and what happens when we have His heart for others (in this case, our children). In that moment of seeing my daughter for the first time, God filled me with His heart and love for her. Though tiring and sometimes difficult, caring for her does not even feel like a sacrifice. We can apply this principle not only to newborns, but to raising kids in general.
Without God’s heart, it would be easy to see parenting as a nuisance, inconvenience, or heavy burden to bear. But children are a blessing, not a burden. And it is God’s love that empowers us to lay down our lives for our children, whatever stage of life they are in. The apostle Paul applied this same concept in his care for the church:
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-11, emphasis added)
The apostle Paul described the heart that he had for the Thessalonian church as that of loving parents. Having God’s love for them allowed him to labor, serve, and pour himself out for them. The same is true for us in parenting. When we have God’s heart for our kids, it will drastically impact how we care for and train them.
Parenting is multi-faceted. We love and nurture, train and instruct, set boundaries and discipline, protect and provide. Having God’s heart for our kids will help us to approach each of these areas in a way that honors the Lord and blesses our children.
So, let’s ask God to give us His heart for our kids. The responsibility to train them up in the ways of the Lord is no small task. Parenting is not easy. But with God’s love in our hearts, we will have the fuel needed to parent well and pour into our children the way God intends!