My Four Year Parenting Anniversary

Today is my firstborn’s fourth birthday, or my four year anniversary of being a Dad. Those four years feel both like an eternity and a breeze in the wind all at the same time. Since my son first came into the world four years ago, we’ve added our first daughter to our home (who will be two next month) and a second little girl on the way. The last four years brought good days and bad days. On the one hand, I’ve stood in shock of a temper tantrum with such volatile flailing that you’d think the demons of hell have taken hold of this child. On the other hand, I’ve received more kisses, hugs, and I love you daddy’s than any heart could hold.

God has given me the gift of fatherhood, and with that comes the painful revealing of my own sin. Second only to my marriage, nothing reveals the sin of my own heart like fatherhood. Yet, God has sanctified me through the journey. I never realized how selfish I was until I had another human life depending on me. God has taught me to die to myself and to take on the form of a servant to my family.

However, the most overwhelming part of the parenting task, is the eternal ramifications at stake. Indeed, God has entrusted me not only with keeping these children breathing, but nurturing their souls. Compared to keeping them fed and alive, shepherding their souls is far greater challenge. My job as a Christian father is to both proclaim and model the Gospel to my children. However, my children are more apt to pick up their daddy’s patterns of sin than my meager godliness. Each day, my children develop their view of God from daddy’s example. Though they cannot yet read the Scriptures, they learn about God from daddy’s life and teaching. Knowing that such eyes keep watch protects me from thinking I’m ever “off duty” in the Christian life. Thus, I must be cognizant of the hypocritical life that could very well develop between my public persona as “pastor” and the personal persona as “father.” My children need a Father who lives his entire life under the banner of the all surpassing preeimence of Christ.

The Aim of Parenting

For parents out there, we must ask ourselves, “What is the aim of our parenting?” In other words, “Who are we trying to form these kids into being?” I’m afraid many parents greatly miss the mark on this. They are far more concerned about their children’s accolades and GPA rather than their spiritual formation. It’s good to want the best for your kids, and to give them every possibility imaginable, however what kids need more than anything else is a Mom and Dad devoted to Jesus and who centers their home upon Christ. Such children who grow up with parents who read the Scriptures, teach theology, and pray for their children, are blessed beyond measure.

Yet, the aim of our parenting points ultimately towards Christ and his glory. The greatest disciple making any of us will do will be with our children. As God gifts us with these precious children, we invite them to watch our life and our doctrine. We nurture them, love them, and weep over them, begging the Lord to save their souls and use them mightily for the advancement of the Gospel. Children are like arrows in the hands of a skilled archer. We raise them only to release them into the world, praying that the sharpening and training over two decades will bring glory to Jesus.

For me, these last four years of parenting have flown by, and even still I’m reminded of the ticking clock of how little time I have with my children. Every child’s birthday, I’m reminded of the urgency and importance of my work as father that will far exceed and outlast my work as pastor or scholar. May we parents resolve to honor God in our task and fully devote ourselves to the precious work of ministry called parenting.

How Moms Change the World

Mothers are a gift from the Lord. Yet, our society tends to treat motherhood as a pretty worthless task. Many seem to think that motherhood should be on the back burner to personal ambition. Children are often seen as burdens who hold back women from true fulfillment and success. This just goes to show us how twisted our culture's definition of success truly is. What is the measure of a woman? Is it the position in her corporation or the amount on the paycheck? Is it the degrees she has attained or influence she possesses? Is motherhood a waste of a good intellect and a sound education? I would say most assuredly not. Motherhood is one of the most glorious callings a woman can attain in this life. There is no task more urgent, demanding, and eternally significant than the calling of a mother. Companies will go bankrupt and money will be spent, but the legacy of investing into the next generation has ramifications that ripple into eternity. Here is how Moms change the world.

1. Mothers Disciple the Next Generation

Motherhood is in essence a lifelong discipleship with children. From infancy to adulthood, moms teach and train the next generation to function in the world. Moms not only do this in a practical sense, but the Christian mom does this in a spiritual sense. She is not only working to send out productive, responsible adults from her nest, she is also seeking to send out faithful, reproducing disciples of Jesus.

A Christian mom spends her life praying for her children, teaching them the Bible, singing spiritual truths, and counseling in scriptural wisdom. Motherhood is a 24/7 discipleship journey. Motherhood is one of the most fruitful ways for a woman to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by Jesus.

2. Mothers Demonstrate the Love of Christ

Mothers tangibly show their children the love of Christ. Before a child can even speak, a faithful mom has already shown the love of Christ. True love is a sacrificial love that has others best interest at heart. Jesus did this for us by going to the cross on our behalf, sacrificing his life so we could be forgiven of our sins. So to do Moms sacrifice and give to their children through blood, sweat, and tears.

If you desire to see true love lived out, watch a godly mom with her children. She is tender in kindness, compassionate in disappointments, fierce in rebuke, gentle in hurt. She sacrifices and gives until she has nothing left. She is hard working, never seeking any praise or pay check for her efforts. With a smile on her face she does the menial tasks no one in the family wants to do. She gladly count herself as loss for the good of he family. She gives and gives to the expense of herself.

As children watch the life of their mom, they are able to better comprehend the love of Christ as they see that loved lived out through their moms.

3. Mothers Create a Legacy

Yes, mothers do change the world in a way even the most powerful executive never could. The legacy of raising and discipling children makes an eternal impact, not only on the souls of your children but for generations to come. As mothers pass the baton of the Gospel from one generation to the next, the mission of God spreads as more and more disciples are made. The world is changed through Jesus Christ as disciples are made and His glory spreads. Motherhood is often the front lines of the Great Commission.

So even though society might seem to devalue motherhood as an insignificant or menial task, do not believe those lies. Motherhood is a glorious task and calling from God to change the world through the discipleship of your children. There is no task more urgent, important, or significant that your work as a mom.

Thank You Moms for Changing the World

To all you moms who sacrifice and give to your children and who seek to raise them in the Lord, I thank you. On this mother's day I want to especially thank my own mother, Ginny Deeter, who so faithfully lived out these three truths. I also want to thank my wife Kaitlyn for her dedication and commitment to the glory of God in the discipleship of our son Jude and any other future Deeter children.

Moms, may the Lord find you faithful in this weighty task he has given you, and may He receive all glory, honor, and praise through your life.  As you faithfully serve as a mother you are in fact changing the world for the glory of God.