As we find the need for basic parenting skills squarely on our own shoulders, many of us wish we’d grown up with more perfect examples of mothers and fathers. Some of us had well-meaning, loving parents who did their very best to bring us up. For others, that wasn’t our experience. Either way, all of us feel or have felt totally unprepared for parenting.
I came across a parent who actually gives us the example we all long for. He is perfect. He always gets it right. He doesn’t just show me basic parenting skills, He always knows the precise discipline for every situation. His kids lie, blame, hide, fight, wander, and disobey just like ours do. He’s even watched a child murder their sibling and still loves them. He understands every possible parenting scenario. He has never made a parenting mistake. His failures total zero. His name is God. I call him, Father.
A while back, my pastor, Craig Groeschel, talked about the movie Steve Jobs, an example of an incredible man who was an imperfect parent. According to the movie, He actually lacked some very basic parenting skills. He didn’t get to pick his kids, and his kids didn’t pick him. Then there’s the perfect parent, who’s ours only if we want Him. He wants children to come to Him (Matthew 19:14). We get to choose Him (John 1:12). We call out to Him, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15), and He becomes the parent we always needed. He bandages our wounds, heals our broken hearts (Psalm 147:3), teaches the ways we should walk in (Psalm 25:8), and fills us with an all-abiding, unfailing love (Psalm 57:10).
He shows us how to love, interact with, and discipline our children. We can learn to work with our children just like He works with us. Regardless of how we grew up, when we become children of God, we gain access to the example parent. Not just basic access either—He puts His Holy Spirit and His power inside us (Ephesians 1:17-20).
I remember when our twin boys were born. I’d dreamed of it ever since I first rocked my toy dolls. Yet, these two little boys came, and I was so overwhelmed. It wasn’t only the minute-by-minute tasks that overwhelmed me, but also the weight of responsibility. I still feel it, and they’re teenagers now! But, when I take time to sit with my heavenly Father, receive His love, hear His voice, and learn from His example, I know I can do this. I know He’ll help me be an example parent for my boys. I know He’ll help me point them in the way they should go.
Do you know God as your Father? How have you learned from His example in parenting? How has He helped you on your own parenting journey?