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Discovering God's Plan For Your Parenting (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2022 6:00 am

Discovering God's Plan For Your Parenting (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 7, 2022 6:00 am

Author Gary Thomas explains how parenting can lead to spiritual transformation in a discussion based on his book, "Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls". (Part 1 of 2)

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The hearing when it becomes difficult if you have selfish motivation if you're not getting the rewards that you thought you would get out of parenting if you're embarrassed by your kid are frustrated with your kid are just too tired to care you stop. Which is why think spiritual motivation is crucial and so I'm doing it out of reverence for him, which gives me a motivation that goes beyond whether I'm feeling fulfilled whether I'm feeling proud whether I'm feeling happy at the moment I'm doing it as an act of spiritual worship. But I wonder if you've ever thought of raising your kids is an act of spiritual worship.

And that's a good comedy comes from Gary Thomas. He wants to help you gain an new perspective or fresh look at your role as a mom or dad and you embrace God's purpose for your parenting welcome to Focus on the Family Gary Thomas is our guest your hostess focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller and John if were honest. I think every parent would admit that raising kids is a lot harder than we thought it would be maybe has something to do with our expectations there so high and that we imagine ourselves sitting calmly in the living room with her angelic children sitting in her seat probably nice and quiet, not making any other coloring or something yes and that you know what this is not the way reality is, it is different. It's a whirlwind of activity, and not a lot of peace or come many parents they feel like they're treading on water. I know I do at times have absolutely and that we want to talk it through and equip you today, and next time to think things through little differently and we have a great yesterday that gears can help us get past the blur of busyness and it really sit down and think it through and savor the moments that God gives us as parents and and I know you can benefit from our conversation, so Gary Thomas is been a guest on Focus on the Family a number of times and days written so many different books.

This one that will form the foundation for conversation today is called sacred parenting how raising children shapes our souls and John we should mention there were hunting at a ranch in Texas and were in the big lodge enjoying the view and enjoying the beautiful animals.

God's great creation right it is a wonderful place to spend really relaxing to be out here and have fellowship with some warm hospitality that's making it all really nice and you know the great benefit is the Gary Thomas lives just a couple hours away so Gary it is great to have you here. We so much appreciate you and all you've done for the kingdom just building marriages that building.

Parents, thank you. Well it was nice of y'all to come out to Texas and make it easy for.

I got a little off there yet. Hey you've got a lot of advice and encouragement for moms and dads, especially about the spiritual aspect of parenting and we don't always connect those two things, why his parents do we need to think about the spiritual dimension of our parenting. When I first wrote sacred parenting I was in the midst of parenting the kids were still young. They were all at home speaking now is an empty Nestor.

That spiritual element is even more precious to me. It's what Lasse and I would say to every parent out there is important as it is to help your kids succeed in getting the right skills are get in the right jobs. What gives Lisa and me the most joy these days is seen our kids faith seen them grow in their faith, as when John says I have no greater joy than to see my kids my children walking in the truth that's is true for earthly parents. In fact, I had one season where my sunset me to text messages just a couple days apart. The first one was. I found out he'd gotten into Harvard at the Masters program but a couple days later I was great news, I'm not. I went to Western Washington University. That's the arrival of Harvard is 500 universe had looked it up to 500 and Michael have that, then the top 500 University but but two days later I got the text where he had found this series of devotionals online to prepare you for Good Friday and he said that he's been so meaningful to me. I thought you'd enjoy him and his God is my witness, I think I was just as excited about that second text as I was the first because nothing fills your heart than to see your kids walking with luggage you that's what's eternal as an empty Nestor time becomes so precious EEE you have overload of Canton when they're young and then you just counting the minutes that you can have with them when they get older. But the hope of heaven is that we can have an eternity continuing that relationship and deep meaning that it's just the way that I think God redeems the greatest frustrations of this life, for lack of time, a lack of love and it just gives us a foretaste of what's to come, but that foretaste is dependent on a spiritually united family under Jesus Christ that's so true. Listen, you have a quote in your book. I want to get your response to you said it's it's humorous.

He said God can baptize dirty diapers, toddler tantrums and teenage silence in order to transform us parents into people who more closely resemble Jesus Christ. Now I'm not sure how dirty diaper translates into my sanctification but can you elaborate forming well many traditions of Christianity. Stress being over doing and I think that's what the season of parenting pushes us into.

We can't do as much when you're a parent and be a responsible parent, but it really does help transform who you are, whether you responding with patients whether responding with grace.

I think as a parent you will face levels of anger you've never experienced before. As a parent I face levels of fear. I never experienced before.

Also face levels of happiness and joy and wonder. So there's a positive as well, but it just pulls you out of the lukewarm and it seems to push you into the extremes and II think it's God's brilliant plan that if we can learn to deal with fear in an appropriate way for can learn to deal with anger. If we can learn to deal with our frustration if we can learn to listen and understand. The more we engage in the act of parenting, the more were equipped to do works of service for the church at large. Whether your working in academia or business or sports or the arts community or serving within the local church. I don't think anything really prepares us to become the kind of people that we need to be more than children.

So let's put to the test. A meeting with you and your wife Lisa. What surprised you and your parenting. What was something that caught your attention the change your walk. The change your view of God, your thought. I was surprised at the level of fear. I face. We love our kids so much and I remember as a young man reading the story of Joshua and Caleb same week. We can take these yet yet you remember they were the that two of the 12 spies that went into the promised land and the other 10 spies were saying we can't take this people on there too big there too powerful. The crutches all have their way with our wives and children and I was imagine I would be the Joshua Caleb hey guys we can do it got got on his legs. I delivered us out of Egypt. What could there be. That's what you envisioned your sets.

What I thought as a single man when I read that passage again with two daughters and a wife. I thought if failure means. My wife is at their mercy and if failure means my daughters are there property.

How bold would I be now. So I was reading that as a single man I'm thinking let's just go for let's be bold.

God's already delivered us from Egypt. How difficult can this be, but then when you're a married man and you have a wife and you have two daughters and your realizing the consequences of failure is that your wife could be taken over by them in your daughters could become the property of these vicious people. I can understand why they weren't quite so bold, the stakes just are much higher when you look throughout Scripture before, virtually every person is called in the service of the gospel talk about Gideon. You can talk about Elijah. You could talk about in the New Testament there always told not to fear for God says them. I have this plan on going to do something amazing, but the first thing he says is don't fear we often think of scandal taking a lot of people out of ministry and occupying us and keeping us away from doing what God wants us to do but anyways fear aborts a lot of ministry before it even starts as if I can learn to handle that fear God places a vision on my heart I can say you know what I had to face is down with my kids. I let my kids that one could go to Johannesburg Africa for missions trip another one went to Kenya when I thought she might have a hard time finding a way around the block and I lay there without knowing anybody but when you can face down those fears. The other fears that hold back so much ministry don't seem quite so scary. You know Gary in the book you talk about how your children can teach you something is a parent that seems counterintuitive. Seems different right that normally were teaching them and we get in that mindset is apparent that it's only a one-way street here let me teach you how to do things, but you raise this question. The book about being open to what kids are teaching you as a parent. What kind of situations would be conducive to that word is apparently to say okay what is my child to determine what God teaching me through my child, one of the things I found out was there is this evil little part in me that says don't inconvenience me. It's just it's a selfish, how I hate it. I don't have to but often I found that the problem was my annoyance.

Not that my kids were annoying me and I think I was younger. Father, I just sometimes you just want peace and quiet and I thought the problem was somebody who was stopping the peace and quiet God challenging that sometimes a problem is that I'm annoyed when it's not always peaceful and quiet and and that's real life running a business coaching attain in a ministry out in the public square. Interruptions are never convenient and people don't die on the schedule they don't get sick on a schedule you don't have accidents on schedule and so for me it was learning to let go that I can't control my situations I can control my response to the situations, but kids can bring a special kind of chaos and and so it's a learning disorder. Just go along with that rather than letting that.

So how do you do that, I mean you're talking to guys right now and moms to have that same problem. Had he practically stepped back from that. And so, take the breath of not to let the situation dictate my joy dictate my response. How did you find a handle to deal with it.

One of the things I'm seeing now as an empty Nestor is that when you see other parents with young kids right now and you see the response and I know the tiredness. I know this isn't the first time they dealt with this issue with this child. It's probably the hundredth time and so you see the lack of patience. Or whatnot, but just when you can look at it with objective eyes you can see a little bit of the affluence the kid takes that they realize they're just an annoyance to their parent or their frustrating to them. They feel it will they do they do and they internalize it and so it's just I think accepting that your desire is I want my kids to feel loved.

I think looking back now, what I would say is the environment I would want to create is that you mean the world to me you're more important to me than my comfort, you're more important to me than my reputation. You're more important to me than my hobby and I don't want you to think that just not being this perfect being in the sense of being quiet when I want you to be quiet and going to sleep, but I want you to go to sleep and not getting hurt when I want to get hurt that that's not what it's all about it's not about you pleasing me. It's about who you are and developing their character into that confident person because that's that's how God treats us less when we were yet sinners, and so it's not that he loves us more when were making life easy for them. It's that he loves us because he loves it when it is such a good parallel gear. You also talk about parental guilt and I think this is a place we need to spend a couple minutes here because I think particularly moms have so much guilt about this not going right that not going right speak to guilt in the power the negative power of guilt and how does a person turn that into something more positive. A lot of the guilt comes from this desire and I had it I think is much as anyone I wanted to be the best dad in the whole world. My goal was that if my kids went to counseling as adults they would only rave about how thoughtful and understanding and caring their father was. Not trying to recover from it and then you get into parenting, you realize I don't have the patience I need. I don't have the wisdom I need. I think of the right thing to say. Two days later but our kids have moved on to something else. At that time for me. I'm very much a morning person. I would hear parents talk about having these loving conversations late into the night. I think of my butt and turning off the light and just feeling like whom I kidding that you got this right. But where I was freed from this was.

It was a time with the Lord when I felt like I was trying to almost be arrival of God. Trying to be almost like a godlike figure. Not that I would consciously say I could ever be God or be like God but I wanted to have his wisdom. I wanted to have his patients. I wanted to have his understanding and I realize I'm not the Messiah job is taken and wanted them to know this is my repeated failures that instead on the messenger and when I took on the role of John the Baptist instead of Jesus with my kids. Parenting became a lot more fun as I could use my weaknesses and say kids see this is why we all need a Savior. And that's when the real purpose is a sacred parenting is that it's not like we've arrived, spiritually, emotionally, and then are pulling kids up to our level. It's like were all rubbing shoulders sinning against each other, asking for forgiveness receiving God's grace so that her kids seem modeled not just good behavior, which I hope they see and not just a worshipful attitude what's I hope they see but also how they deal with their sin. How do they confess it. How do they recognize instead of run from it and how do they asked for forgiveness. So for me the joy of parenting was preserved by reminding myself I'm a messenger. I'm not the Messiah. I want to cover listening and sacrifice before we get out of here for today were to come back next time with more but this listening concept.

This may be the toughest area for mad about you John. Maybe most men moms just tend to be good listeners know God just gave him that blessing, but for dads it can be so frustrating yet and then what happened and then what happened. Oh really and then what happened in your sins are going. He is like nails on a chalkboard. How do we slow down settle down.

Forget all the to do items and actually zero in on their kids to hear their heart. I had to slow down and I wish I could've told myself as a younger husband, Gary, your kids will receive curiosity as an act of love when they know I'm listening just to be polite and to get over with it so I can get back to my book back to my Tasker back to fixing whatever I'm fixing.

They don't feel loved, but curiosity even goes a step further, not only my listening I'm saying. Tell me more. It's how we show interest in our kids. We show interest in their day. If something matters to them. It should matter to me it's it's not so much what they're saying as who is saying and so it's learning to really as Jesus made his abode with us he incarnated himself to relate to since the process where we learn to relate to our children will never forget. I was the first amongst my friends really start having kids and I took my oldest daughter, she got a little bit older to ice-skating and when my friends sent Gary. I can't believe you're going to an ice skating show when did you get into ice-skating is that I'm not that I'm really into my daughter and she's really and ice-skating. So I'm learning to get into ice-skating now since Allison left the house. I don't know that her watch ice house and were sorry, but that IP address now, but it is a process of listening is not something that's natural, but that is how people feel loved.

It's how our spouses feel loved. It's how friends feel loved, not just listening but being curious of our kids are going to feel valued.

They've got to feel hurt you think about Jesus in these conversations when he walked the earth. Enough my temperament with her.

Yeah, I know that part going faster I read, the largest exuded patient's right as he could say I was there a good thing he had other attributes.

The most but he Gary, I do want to talk about sacrifice right at the end here because it's so important to the Christian faith. What does it mean in a parental role to show that sacrificial love to to model but for your kids and then hopefully to see you and your children.

This is I think one of the biggest aspects of parenting for me and it happened early on after we had our first daughter, Jesus is tiny baby and at the time I thought Dairy Queen blizzards had to of been invented by a Christian. I thought it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have something that delicious to to give to people and so we'd stopped off at a Dairy Queen and I got a eminent blizzard you got the fries and got the burger and sounds really healthy. Well, yeah, I would be having that now with my wife with me, but our oldest daughter like to save up her digestive efforts every three or four days. Okay, so we did change a lot of diapers but when you did change a diaper.

It was a 20 minute experience and so I just got this cold blizzard you have these hot fries and it that the fireworks started. You could hear him across the parking lot and we knew it was good be a mess since Alisa looks at Garrick Monica need your help and I'm holding this blizzard and holdings fries that have a shelf life about five minutes at the are you serious and ambitious is silly stupid little thing but I was such a young man is in my mid-20s and I realize this is really the first time where I would have to truly say someone matters more than me.

I'm going to have a runny blizzard and I would have wilted fries and a it took parenting for me to make that connection that sacrifice is really the heart of what were called to be. As Christians in parenting is a brilliant process to make you willing to sacrifice for someone other than yourself so that you can grow and sacrifice for others you don't have that connection with Gary that in the last few minutes that's coming through loud and clear. That's the point of parenting only when God designs this it's obvious that it has a purpose is not just willy-nilly, the Lord is saying Mary and him to teach you things in your marriage that's going to be selflessness and humility and then were going to put kids into the mix, and if there's any selfishness left on the ring it out and I mean that basically is it but you had to make a choice when you had your blizzard day in mind that in all kinds of ways and in so we had to make a choice.

Okay, I'm in way my desires down and that could be more serious. It might be that career choice and it could be anything but delay your life down for your spouse for your kids and I think that's what I walk away with today, but before we go I want to ask you what if I blown what if I haven't modeled that what if I'm the dad or the mom hasn't done that.

It's been about rules.

It's not been about laying your life down effect.

I'm so irritated at you because you're not being the child I thought I would have you had better grades.

Whatever it might be. How do I say what in my doing, and backup. I take great encouragement from Paul's work with Timothy Timothy in one way was like his son and he tells them in the third chapter of first Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely and that's what were supposed to. His parents is persevering them. Here's where I found the encouragement so that everyone may see your progress.

I can't give my kids a perfect dad but I can give my kids are progressing. Dad, I can't get in getting better day that I can give my kids a dad that's got it all together but I can have it in my kids a dad who's working on getting it all together and so I think if we just have that embrace that with humility were not there yet and going back to what you said before I think that's really where we get the most out of this. What I would say to myself again as a young parent is one we need the humility. None of us have arrived. God is growing as to the process of parenting. So just say Lord today. There are lessons I need to learn of patients of anger, of putting people over things of of listening to my kids and being present in second II think it's just a key of listening to God what he's trying to teach us through this. Why am I annoyed, why am I so angry. Why am I so fearful so that when were listening to God he can develop those lessons and then I think what I would really say to parents is just be present in the parenting process it so easy for days to become filled up with tasks that we miss the spiritual wonder of what's taking place that God lets us be parents that God lets us be together and and just say I'd I want to be present for this moment and not let this season slip by. I know empty-nesters tend to get too sentimental, but it really is a season, it's a cliché that he, the days are long but the years are short but it's a true cliché.

It really does feel that way as a parent with the children in the home. I'm grateful for the empty-nesters or can light the path ahead. And this is a great book sacred parenting.

Thanks for being with us. Gary, let's come back next time will pick up the conversation and continue can we do it absolutely great conversation with Gary Thomas. This episode of Focus on the Family, and I hope you make plans to join us for the second part of the conversation. Gary has a gift for honing in on what's most important job which she are those relationships with our children that we will value for the rest of our lives. Even through the frustrations I really appreciate his heart for the family if you were encouraged by what Gary shared today.

I hope you let us know and please consider joining our support team as well so that we can continue providing broadcasts like this one to strengthen families and equip moms and dads to be the best parents they can be for their children that your financial gifts are so valuable to us and if you can send a gift of any amount today would like to send you a copy of Gary's book sacred parenting as our way of saying thanks for your support. Sacred parenting is a great resource.

I think every family should have one in their library, so contact us today to get your copy and our number here is 800 232-645-9800 the letter a in the word family or stop by the episode notes for all the details and Jim we should mention our free parenting assessment that is at the website. It offers a really comprehensive overview of the most effective ways to raise our children.

Yes we do.

John R parenting team has identified seven key traits. Parents need to raise a thriving family. Things like love, respect, intentionality, and so many more.

The assessment only takes a few minutes to fill out and then you learn where you doing well and also where you need a little strengthening will also mention resources that will provide that strengthening check out our free parenting assessment today and once again the link is in the show. By the way, if your family is traveling this summer. Stop by and see us here in Colorado Springs would be happy to tell you more about who we are and why we do what we do and I know your children will love the adventures in Odyssey play area over it with that coming up next time Gary Thomas offers a reminder about not missing special moments with your children just cause me to to settle down and say Gary this is the miracle of parenting.

This is an A+ day for your son should be an A+ day for you and again looking back is an empty Nestor that even hits me more on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ you ever wonder what it was like to meet face-to-face and miracle teachings, the long-awaited Messiah/novelty Focus on the Family, I have called you by name. Based on the hit streaming theories immerse yourself in first century Galilee experience of his followers. When I dive deeper into Scripture with everything Stern learn more about the chosen novel chosen lashed out that

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