One Question Every Parent Must Ask
Although I wish I could, I can’t remember many details from that day. Everything is just a big blur. And to be honest, if I didn’t have a video of the event I’m not sure how much my feeble mind could recall at all. Some people can remember even the littlest details of their special day. The pain. The agony. The smell of newborn skin. That feeling they felt when they held their child for the very first time. What I would give to be able to remember that moment.
One thing I do remember is thinking, “What in the world am I going to do with this child?” I was only 19 at the time and barely an adult myself.
That day was a long time ago. Even though I now have two grown children and a young daughter who is about to graduate from Kindergarten, I still find myself asking, “What in the world am I going to do with these children?”
When we are faced with tough questions like these, a unique story in the book of Judges can offer valuable insight. It’s about a man named Samson. Initially, his mom was unable to conceive a child, however, a man of God visited her one day and told her she was going to give birth to a son. Can you imagine the shock and excitement she must have felt at that very moment? She immediately went and told her husband, Manoah.
When he heard the message, Manoah begged God to bring the man of God back again.
8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8 ESV (emphasis mine)
How interesting. Manoah wanted the man to teach them how to raise their child. How many of us have ever asked God that question? “God, why didn’t you send us instructions on how to raise this child??” (Sarcasm intended!)
God heard Manoah’s plea. The man of God returned and when he did Manoah asked the one question I believe we should all ask of God for our own children.
12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” Judges 13:12 ESV (emphasis mine)
Wow. Such a heavy question.Are we so lost in our “parenting” that we forget it's not about us? Click To Tweet
God doesn’t give us children just so to keep us from being bored while we’re on the Earth. There is a greater purpose.
Have you ever looked at your child(ren) and wondered what their purpose is in this life? Do you notice any special skills or talents they have? Have you thought about how you can help them use those gifts for God’s Kingdom?
Do you have a child with special needs? God has a purpose for placing that child in your home.
Do you have a strong-willed child? (I have 3 so I can empathize!) God knows you can help that child harness their energy into something productive.
It comes down to trust. Do we trust that God knew what He was doing when He gave us these children and do we trust ourselves to parent them well?
We will make mistakes in our parenting journey. That is a given. But to be even the least bit successful, we need to ask the same question for each of our children that Manoah asked for Samson.
“What is to be (Anna’s) manner of life, and what is (Anna’s) mission?
When we approach parenting this way, we are acknowledging that God has a specific plan and purpose for each of our children. We will also recognize that we are the one He has specifically called to teach them how to fulfill that purpose.
No one else can do it better.
May we all commit to parent each of our children well, raising them to be all that God wants them to be.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for getting so distracted with daily tasks of parenting that I have neglected to ask you the most important question, “what is to be my children’s manner of life and what is their unique mission?” Lord, teach me what I am to do with these children. Open my eyes that I may clearly see the journey these precious souls must take. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. Protect us all as we seek to fulfill your purpose in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
**This post is an adaption from my seminar series titled Parenting With a Purpose. To see all my speaking topics, click HERE.