This guest post is by my friend Suzanne Karkada. A software engineer by profession she recently got married and resigned from her job in order to devote her full time towards her family. Suzanne loves singing and her deepest desire is to use her voice for God’s glory. She also has a powerful calling to minister to children and young mothers. You can follow her on Twitter here
The Bible says in Luke 15:7 that there is rejoicing in heaven over one lost soul who returns to Christ. As a mother, you are already entrusted with that one soul (more than one to others) and that is your very own child! In this post I want to share with you (this applies to fathers as well) four ways in which you can equip yourselves to bring up your children in a godly way:
Mother’s role in bringing up godly children.
1. Don’t neglect your preparation
Samson’s mother is a fine example of how a mother needs to prepare for her child. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her that she would give birth to a son who was to be a Nazarite (set apart for God) from the womb (Judges 13:5). As a Nazarite, he had to strictly follow the rules of the Jewish law. But interestingly as a mother she had to take equal efforts in abiding by the rules (Judges 13:4, 13), which she did.
Listen dear sister, you may not have an angel coming to tell you that your child is to be set apart for God’s service, rather it should be your desire that your children may be used for God’s glory. And for that, as a mother you need to set an example before your child!
Pray, intercede and fill yourself with God’s Word daily. Even for those who are pregnant, remember the child inside you breathes what you breathe and feeds on whatever you feed both physically and spiritually. So make sure your child gets the right food!
2. Satan doesn’t wait, then why must you?
You noticed how Satan does not wait till your child is older or of age to start tempting him to do the wrong things? Then why should you wait till our child gets older to teach God’s Word?
The earlier we start inculcating Godly habits into them, the better. Just as we teach our children to brush their teeth which is an essential part of our daily living, reading the Word, praying, praising, thanksgiving must also become a part of their daily routine.
I suggest read the Bible to them daily or as often as you can right from day one (& not just Psalm 23). Your child might not understand a single word of it, but by doing so you are imparting life into him.
3. Do the right things yourself
Children learn or pick up things very fast. But although they are in the learning stage, they are not in a position to tell the right from the wrong. And the best way to teach them do the right things is not by yelling at them or beating them, but by doing the right things yourself.
Remember children see, children do. See this powerful video below:
If your children see you shouting, fighting or arguing, they will soon grow with these habits. But if they see you loving, patient and self-controlled, they will also adopt these qualities. We cannot teach our children something that we are not and we cannot instill into them the things that we ourselves do not practice.
A clay pot, while moulding needs the right amount of pressure and water to turn into a beautiful and useful pot. If either of the two factors goes amiss, the pot does not come to a proper shape. Isn’t it better to do it right from the start than to reach halfway and realise that it does not have the desired shape and then break it to start all over again. And so is the case with our children- they need to be given the right training from day one.
4. Let them live in the fear of the known God
It’s a common practice especially in a country like India — we usually scare our children by making up some imaginary evil character that will come and harm them if they don’t obey. This may give you a temporary relief, but I feel it is not a right thing to do. Rather than fearing the unknown evil character, we should teach our children to fear the one true, living and Almighty God. Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
We should teach our children to talk to God as they would to a friend. And when they mess up, they shouldn’t be scared of the unknown evil character that you made up, but rather they should be able to look to their God who loves and forgives.
Parents, what has God taught you in raising up your children? Anything you want to add?
Recently I happened to talk to Pratibha Kinkar, who co-pastors New life Fellowship, Nerul (Navi Mumbai) alongside her husband Pastor Daniel Kinkar. Our discussion revolved around pregnancy and parenting, and in this post, I thought of sharing excerpts from our conversation, which am sure will edify young couples who are looking forward to childbirth and parenting. A mother of 3 young children who are being used by God powerfully in their area of ministry, Pratibha shared with me testimonies of God’s guidance, provision and direction over her family over the years. (It’s a long post, but worth reading every word!)
On the trend of ‘delayed’ pregnancy
I got married at a young age of 25 and within a year of my marriage I conceived. We were going through a tough phase financially but as a couple we never thought of delaying pregnancy due to our finances. We knew that the Word of God calls children as a blessing and we had faith that God would take care of us. And He did!
I feel sad to see young couples delaying pregnancy for years. They first want to ‘settle down’, buy a house or own a car before they can think of starting a family.
I would say if you have got married in your early twenties it may seem ok to wait for some time, otherwise you should not delay pregnancy. Gynecologists suggest that the 6 month period post marriage is an ideal time frame to ‘adjust’ to each other. Also medically as a woman’s age progresses, conception becomes difficult.
As couples, don’t depend on your self-efforts, rather depend on God’s grace for your children. Set an example before the world rather than following the world’s footsteps. In our time we didn’t have the knowledge and revelation of the Word of God as much as the younger generation now with media access has. How much more should you then be depending on God’s Word to sustain you?
On God’s provision
Post marriage we lived off a miniscule monthly income of Rs.1200. The house rent would wipe off half of it, plus the routine expenses were so much that by the end of the month we had no money left. We could not afford to go the doctors and so all my three deliveries were done by my mother at home. But we never depended on our salary to sustain us; our dependence was on our God. We were new believers that time and we didn’t have the knowledge of His Word like we have now, but we knew that the God we served was a living God and as His children we were His responsibility.
We also took a stand to never compromise on God’s principles. We never failed to tithe even once and we also learned to be good givers. There were times when we had little money and we would sense the Holy Spirit asking us to bless someone else with it and we would instantly obey. And this is my testimony – my Jesus took care of every SINGLE need of ours.
I remember one day we didn’t have money to buy milk for our youngest son who was a few months old at that time and he was used to having milk early in the morning when he got up. The previous night me and my husband prayed and believed God for His provision and early in the morning the doorbell rang and we had one brother handover money to us saying that God had told him to do so. I want to encourage you dear reader instead of worrying about your problems, give God a chance to show His faithfulness and you will be amazed at how He works.
We didn’t have the money to buy vitamin supplements, Cerelac boxes or ready-made diapers, but not once we grumbled or complained. Sometimes pregnant women panic so much about taking their dose of calcium and vitamins that they worry if they don’t take it something will happen to the baby. Am not against supplements, but remember your baby in the womb is sustained by the hand of God and not supplements.
When people would bless us with second hand clothes for our children, we would joyfully accept it and bless them. I have seen how first time mothers are so finicky about her children that they feel offended with this. But these are simple things in life that we learned- to be thankful in all things and be good receivers.
Also me and my husband took a stand to never ask people for money. Our trust was not in man but in our heavenly Father and God took care of us beautifully.
Pastor Daniel Kinkar with wife Pratibha Kinkar and children Sharon, Anugrah and Arpit twenty years ago and now.
On enjoying pregnancy
Pregnancy is NOT a sickness and every woman should know this well. Yes, you have to take care of yourself and your baby but don’t make pregnancy as an excuse to gain unnecessary sympathy. ‘Sickness-mentality’ can become a doorway for the devil to attack your mind and body. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! Husbands, provide full support to your wives pre and post pregnancy and at the same time do not let your children take your focus off your ministerial calling.
On parents making children their ‘God’
Increasingly I have seen in churches when youngsters get married, they start coming late to the church, and if they get children, then that becomes an additional excuse. I remember when my children were small even though we slept late at night, I used to get up at 5:00 am on Sundays, keep all their things ready and be at church early. Throughout the service when my husband would be busy ministering, I would single-handedly manage my children, with equal focus on the Word that was being taught. We never gave children as an excuse to be late to church or to miss the service. When you lay priority on the Word of God, He takes care of everything else. And when your children see you loving your God like that, they learn to do the same.
On God’s protection over our children
I remember when my daughter was very small, we went to attend the funeral of a girl who was of my daughter’s age. In the coffin, the dress that the dead girl was wearing was similar to what my daughter had. At that moment tremendous fear entered my heart. I would see my daughter in the coffin all the time. When my husband and I would go out for ministry leaving our children alone and I would weep for hours worrying about my daughter’s safety. Then one day God spoke to me. We were on a two wheeler traveling on a deserted and dangerous road, when God opened my spiritual eyes and I could see a huge angel keeping guard over us. God reminded me that He is the one who has brought my children into this world and He will take care of them. And in an instant that fear was gone!
I want to tell you parents, you can in your human efforts safeguard your children only to an extent, but beyond that point you got to entrust them into the hands of your Heavenly Father. As good stewards we need to sow into their lives the principles of the Word of God and the Word of God will never let them fall.
What are your views about this post? Anything you want to add or get clarified? Do drop in your views in the comment section below.