Lord, Help Me to Love My Children Well - Encouragement for Today - March 20, 2019

Lord, Help Me to Love My Children Well - Encouragement for Today - March 20, 2019

Susan Merrill

March 20, 2019
Lord, Help Me to Love My Children Well
SUSAN MERRILL

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:1-4 (NIV)

Recently, my poor, sweet kids were each trying to navigate life alone … ranging from an emotional teen outburst to tolerating painful behavior by classmates, and I didn’t see it.

Eventually, God let me know what was happening to them. It’s so like Him to bring truths about our children to light.

I discovered my kids’ lonely, inner struggles in different ways: through a journal we shared, a coincidental conversation with my son’s teacher, and a laundry request to remove chewing gum from a costume inflicted by a student in my daughter’s play.

According to several studies, loneliness is growing. How ironic that modern technology allows us to be more socially connected than ever while making us relationally disconnected.

Well, the enemy is sneaky. It’s so like him to take the phone, a tool of communication, and make it one of isolation.

Loneliness is an emotional response to isolation. It’s an anxious feeling about a lack of connection or communication with others. Loneliness and isolation are strategies the enemy uses because God designed us to love and to have relationships.

Jesus made this clear: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-39, NIV).

Love God and love your neighbor. Love is the only way to have a relationship, and relationships are the only way to overcome loneliness. My husband and children are my closest “neighbors,” and I want to love them well. I want to teach themto love well.

The secret to parenting well is to teach my kids to love well.

If I teach my kids to love well, they will never be alone. Especially in light of these reminders in God’s Word:

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4).

Can effective parenting be so simple it can be summed up in just three sentences? Yes!

I must teach them that if they keep His commands in their heart, and don’t let love and faithfulness ever leave them, then they will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

These are the things I crave for my children. But not if I am fixated on my laptop or too busy to even notice they are withdrawn or frustrated — which is sometimes easier said than done. And not if they are left to navigate life alone, something God never intended for a child.

Could they miss the promise because I was not tuned in?

I must look up when they walk through the door, listen when they chatter and explore when things don’t add up. I must help them navigate life, teaching them as they grow.

… then they will win favor with God and man.

Oh my, this sounds like someone else I know: Jesus.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52, NIV).

Loving well, parenting well — we make it so complicated. It doesn’t need to be.

I think our children simply need us.

Sweet Lord, open my eyes to see my children with Your wisdom. Help me to love and teach them well so they will grow as Jesus did. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 20:7, “The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.” (NLT)

Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
If you hope for a more “tuned-in” relationship with your child, check out From Me to You: A Conversation Journal for You and Your Daughter and From Me to You: A Conversation Journal for You and Your Son by Susan and Mark Merrill. These unique conversation journals provide a simple, straightforward way to create more meaningful moments with your children. You'll experience connecting conversations, a renewed relationship and joy-filled journaling.

CONNECT:
For more encouragement, guidance and tools to help you on your journey through parenting, visit Susan's website.

Enter to WIN a copy of From Me to You by Susan and Mark Merrill. In celebration of these books, Susan’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, March 25.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What has distracted you from your child (or another child in your sphere of influence) in the past? What did you miss?

How can you learn to stay focused on your family today and love them well, so that they can learn to love well?

© 2019 by Susan Merrill. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.