I will never forget the day. Walking in the door of our home with our first child, our daughter Stephanie. Just days old and to us, the most beautiful child God ever brought into the earth. The moment was glorious. The moment was frightful. In the hospital, the nurse was there to help with everything. Now we were on our own. It only took minutes before she started crying and we had to figure out what to do. I hadn’t heard her cry in the hospital (although Renee assures me she did.) It was so wonderful and scary all at the same time. What were we doing and why did we think we could do this?
The only thing I can remember about preparing for parenthood was helping Renee with the breathing classes and learning a Bible scripture, Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” That was my big preparedness plan. We got through the breathing part fine. When Stephanie was born, I didn’t really feel like I could implement this training plan with a newborn infant. She was not really in the ‘to be trained’ mode. Yet I did find my little ways. In the middle of the night, Renee would feed her and then I’d rock her back to sleep. I’d use that time to tell her about Jesus. I’d sing her songs about the Lord and His goodness. I’d pray over her. She was all ears and took it all in. I’d do these things over and over again loving every minute of it and realizing that I’d be doing this all my life with different applications as every season of life changed.
There are many aspects to “training a child.” You want to draw out and encourage their natural gifting. You want to encourage them in the things their heart and desires gravitate toward. You want to instruct them and teach them boundaries and disciplines. But most importantly you want to train them foundationally in the love of Jesus Christ and the purpose of God for their lives. That was always my highest focus. I clung to that promise that if Renee and I did our part faithfully, God would see to His promise – “and when he(she) is old he will not turn from it.” To be honest, it took unswerving dedication and faith to do this.
The word train in the Hebrew implies dedication. It implies a narrow way, commitment, discipline, training, and dedication. In the balance of things over the years, I’ve learned that this training has to be with great patience and love. It has to always be focused around God’s love. Otherwise it becomes dry, legalistic, and like a noose around one’s neck. I knew this training of my children would be just as much about my training and development, as theirs. It would be about helping them to understand that the Word of God is a living and intimate letter of love and instruction from the heart of God that has the power to bring daily and fresh hope, the excitement of conquering impossibilities, great joy, and promise to our lives – not dry dead religion.
Now here we are 31 years later. My daughter Stephanie, her husband Daniel have already planted a church and are now on the mission field in Peru. They are now training their two children and the flock God has entrusted to them.
We raised our children trusting His promises. Every promise of God should be embraced as though Jesus sat at your table eating dinner with you and looked you in the eyes and said, “What you see here is a promise to you. If you believe it and base your life upon it, you will see it manifest in your life. All things are possible to them that believe. So, only believe.” That is what the Lord has said to us. 2 Cor. 1:20 shouts to us, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
We came home from the hospital with our new born Stephanie not having much of a clue, but we did know to dedicate ourselves to His promise. Each promise would be an anchor of our soul. He helped us walk through the rest. We are still on our journey. I praise Him who is Faithful and True forevermore. Praise His Holy name!
2 Cor. 1:20 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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