Joey Sparks
7May/130

2 Things that Scare Me About Parenting and 1 That Destroys Them

So this is birth month for our first child, Hazel Grace. We're at maximum excitement and anxiety about the journey ahead.

Two things I've read scare me to death about bringing this precious girl into the world under my stewardship:

1. A girl's father is the most important person in her life.

2. Parenting is largely who you are and what you do as a person; not what you do or what you say as a parent.

Talk about pressure! The Lord created this beautiful soul and body inside Amanda's womb and he's entrusting her to my leadership (thankfully, with Amanda's help). And that leadership isn't as much something I learn from a book/lecture/class as it is an outgrowth of who I am as a person.

Not me & Hazel. She's not born yet.

Not me & Hazel. She's not born yet.

I am humbled the Lord trusts me and Amanda to raise Hazel to know him. But I also recognize his trust has little-to-nothing to do with my ability to earn or deserve it. I want to please the Lord more than anything, but boy do I fall short sometimes (cf. Rom. 3:23)! My laziness, fearfulness, apathy, complacency, anger, jealousy, and judging rise to the surface more often than my ability to control them.

So I'm a little anxious I'll raise a lazy, scared, disinterested, entitled, mad, jealous, judgmental little girl. Overreaction? Possibly. But I still have doubts about my ability to consistently be the man of God she needs in her life.

But there's one statement that continues to blow up these doubts.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Paul had every reason to believe he was unworthy to preach the gospel and serve as an apostle. But he recognized God's loving mercy and grace allowed him and empowered him to do just that.

I am so thankful Jesus came to extend God's grace over my sin. And I'm thankful that as I grow daily in His grace, my daughter can see not how great I am, but how awesome God is.

While I want to be the perfect dad for Hazel, I'm thankful that she gets to see the perfect Father working through an imperfect one. And that she can learn she has the same hope in Him.

23Sep/110

You Are the Shortest Distance

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

The shortest distance between children’s hearts and Christ is their parents (Deut. 6:6-9).

From the beginning of creation, God designed the world to operate through parents raising children, who then become parents who raise their children, etc. Modern societies spend countless hours and dollars attempting to transform current generations into upstanding citizens. Yet God’s design places them into the care of people who are relationally and emotionally in the best situation to protect them, teach them, and introduce them to Him.

  • They are blessed to listen to you pray thanksgiving for their food.
  • They are blessed to see you show affection to your spouse.
  • They are blessed to interrupt your quiet personal study of God’s Word.
  • They are blessed to notice your graceful and calm response to difficulties at work.
  • They are blessed to discuss perplexing spiritual questions while you’re in the car.
  • They are blessed to ask you about sensitive and embarrassing things they hear at school.
  • They are blessed to cry on your shoulder when you tell them about death, pain, and loss.
  • They are blessed to observe that your commitment to the Lord guides your every decision.
  • They are blessed to approach God’s throne while you tuck them into bed each night.
  • They are blessed to receive the discipline you lovingly provide.
  • They are blessed to hear your words of praise more often than words of correction.
  • They are blessed to witness your example of service to the Lord and others.
  • They are blessed not just to have someone. They are blessed to have you.

The ugly side of this blessing is that parents are also the shortest distance from their child’s heart to hypocrisy, apathy, resentment, and rebellion. Each day’s decisions are building something in their hearts. You have the opportunity to ensure what it is.