Today I feel very aware of the world setting into my children. I don't like it.
We all know that one of the greatest joys of parenting is to see these beautiful children of God becoming who it is He created them to be, right before your very eyes. It's breathtaking and humbling and inspiring.
Simultaneously probably the greatest challenge of parenting is to see the world setting into your children, with all the influences and pressures that come along with this world.
Not that our children need the world's influence to be sinful. By no means. They are selfish from birth in and of themselves. That's why a toddler's first word is usually "MINE!"
But then the world does start influencing. And as all my kids celebrate a birthday this summer and become one year older, I can see it coming more and more. Setting into them. Impacting their mindsets. Creating a desire for "more" because of the world in which we live.
Why don't we have netflix like everyone else? Why don't we have all the channels everyone else has? Why don't we go to Disney World like everyone else?
This morning during breakfast I was informed that we could live in a bigger house "if you would just help Daddy make some of our money, Mom. But you don't help him make any money. You just stay home all the time."
The child who said this has a heart of gold. This statement doesn't reflect her heart. But it does reflect the influence of the world on her heart. I see it. I'm aware of it. But I need to actively do something about it. Engage the conversation. Use these opportunities, which actually are rooted in sin and its desires, as a stepping stone to teach God's truth.
And on the tails of materialism will come sexualization ...why won't you let me shop at that store? Why won't you let me wear that? Why won't you let me watch that? Why did you disconnect internet on my kindle? So and so can look at the internet on her ipad...Why can't I listen to that music?
Our children obviously have to live in this world, yet we must teach them to not be of this world. They can't live in a bubble, as much as we aim to protect them. So we stand guard and pray that God gives us eyes to see what we need to see.
Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart. For it is the wellspring of life." But the thing is, my kids are children. They can't protect their own hearts. That's my job. So as a parent, I read this verse as, "Above all else, guard my children's hearts. For it is the wellspring of their lives."
I am well aware that on a daily basis, my children's hearts are exposed to the selfishness, materialism, and increasingly as they get older, the sexualization of this world.
Just yesterday on the way home from the pool, my second daughter asked me what the F-word meant. AGGHH!! Where did she hear that? (Like most parents, sometimes in frustration we slip out a bad word here and there, but I can assure you it's not that one. Ever.) That word has no place in our home. But our kids aren't limited to our home. They live in the world.
And my daughter deserved an answer. Do you know how hard it is to try to explain, to a five-year-old, why that word is so particularly degrading and disrespectful? (Yes, many of you do). I did my best and it ended up being a meaningful teaching moment.
But we have to engage the battle. The battle's already on. The world is vying for our children, friends. It's fighting for their hearts. That's why God's word says that above all else guard their hearts. Guard their spiritual protection even over their physical protection or health or education or college fund or activity schedules.
Teach them who they really are in the midst of a world that is trying to shape them to be like everyone else. You are a child of God. You are a citizen of Heaven. You were created in God's image. God created you on purpose for a purpose. You are loved. You are redeemed. You are set free from the expectations and strongholds of the world around you. You are far above rubies. You are a mighty warrior. You are strong. You are beautiful. Your treasure is in Heaven. Your perfect home is in Heaven too. Though you may not have a crown in this world, your crown also awaits you in Heaven. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. We don't have netflix because we do have PBS (and there are children in the world without clean water), You are significant. By staying home with our children I actually am helping Daddy make money, honey...this is what God has called me to right now. God has plans for your life too, and I am so excited to see those plans unfold. You are a masterpiece.
So, game on, world. My kids belong to God, not to you.
By God's grace, I won't let my guard down. I will screw up a thousand times, but God's got my back, and he never screws up.
As strong as the world is, it will never be fully alive like God's Word. Where the world brings condemnation to my children, God's truth brings life and peace to my children.
So as the world sets in, let's be ready.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ...