One of the questions that came up in a recent podcast I did was this: Why can it be so hard to trust God with our kids? Is it because we think we know what’s best for them? Is it because we think we have bigger dreams than God does for them? Is it because we don’t like feeling like we don’t have control over them? Oh yeah, I had to admit that all of those things tempt me to put my trust in my parenting rather than in God’s providence.
And I know I’m not alone. As one mom said to me recently, “The older my kids get, the more I realize how little control I have over them. My slipping sense of control produces so much anxiety in my life so I end up grasping for even more control. I don’t know what else to do but I’m afraid to surrender.”
So I can’t help but wonder, would we be more willing to surrender our kids to God if we understood that surrender is not an act of giving UP, but of giving OVER? Of choosing to trust.
Surrender only happens when we remember that all the things we feel pressured to produce in our children’s lives – like character and a thriving faith and a hope-filled future- are ultimately all the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It all belongs to Him.
- He authors and perfects their faith.
(John 6:44, Eph 1:4-5, Heb 12:2)
- He gives them the desire and power to do what
pleases Him, producing righteous character in their
(Phil 1: 6-11, Phil 2:13)
- He has their hope-filled future all planned out. (Jer 29:11, Eph 2:10)
- He even allows them to share in His suffering that they may also share in His glory.
(Rom 5: 3-5, John 16:33, Rom 8:16-17)
We get to partner with God in that work, but we don’t have to play His role! For example, we can’t produce a thriving faith in our kids’ lives, but we can partner with God by planting “seeds of faith” in their hearts. And we can’t produce character in our kids’ lives but we can partner with God by training them in truth. Let us not forget that part of God’s purpose is to produce character in the lives of His children. And all of this will bring much glory and praise—not to our parenting—but to God.
This is not to suggest that God is making our children’s choices. Our children, like us, have human free will. Still, it gives me immeasurable hope to remember that God loves our children and longs for them even more than we do!
And our children were His good idea to begin with. Your son. Your daughter. They are His workmanship. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)
God’s heart belongs to them! Imagine that! So we can lay our burdens, and our worries, and our fears at the foot of the cross, where Jesus proved His love once and for all, and we can trust Him with the children He has entrusted to us.
This is a brief excerpt from the #MomSetFreeBook
Jeannie Cunnion is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child and Mom Set Free, and a frequent speaker at women’s conferences and parenting events around the country. Her passion is encouraging women to live in the freedom for which Christ has set us free – a message her own heart needs to be reminded of daily. Jeannie and her husband Mike have four boys who range from teenager to toddler.