When Parenting Challenges Your Faith

Originally published Wednesday, 06 November 2013.

Have you ever watched your child live their faith “out loud” in the form of sacrifice, humility or kindness?

Recently, I sat in the back of a room and witnessed my 6-year-old daughter show a level of humility that would make a parent proud.  Surprisingly, the experience left me feeling unprepared for the possibility of answered prayers.

Here’s what happened…

A young man on the stage asked, “Can I have four volunteers?”

Immediately, all over the room, hands were flailing, bodies were jumping and kids were screaming, “ME! ME! ME!”

The young man on stage loosely pointed to different areas around the room and called out, “You! You! You! You!”

About 7 kids came running down the aisle, climbed the stairs, and planted their bodies within inches of the man, anticipating what was to come.  My baby girl was one of them.

The young man looked down at the kids and said, “We have too many volunteers. I need three of you to go back to your seat.”

I watched my daughter, with a smile on her face, immediately turn around and bounce back to her seat. After a little prodding, two more kids left the stage.

I should have been proud of her leadership, her decision, her attitude, and her obedience…right?

But can I be honest?

My immediate feelings were not that of a proud mother. Instead, I felt sad for her and a bit disturbed by the selfishness of the other kids. I wanted her to have something that I knew she wanted. But all I could do was watch quietly from afar as she humbly surrendered and took her seat.

Although I know that sacrifice is at the center of Christ-like living, the reality of the disappointment caused by her Godly decision left me empty. It’s one thing to teach and encourage our kids to give up their desires for the benefit of another and to be kind to those who mistreat them…but it’s an entirely different ball game to sit on the sidelines and witness it happening.

If there is one thing the parenting journey has taught me, it’s this:

"Parenting is just as much about my relationship with Christ in the right now, as it is about training my children for their future." {TWEET THIS}

It’s in the moments of watching my children suffer, sacrifice and serve that I am truly challenged.  Heartbreak, discomfort and pain are a very real part of raising Christ-like children.

Tears may roll down the sweet cheeks of our little girls.  There will be times when their good decisions will break their hearts.   But in these moments, realize that the test may very well be yours.  Will you trust God with your children or will you protect and shield them from the need to practice the Word you’ve taught them. Will you focus so much on hiding God’s word in their heart that you forget to apply it in your own?

While you are praying that God grabs ahold of your girl’s heart, don’t forget to pray that He prepares and strengthens your faith for their journey. {TWEET THIS}